The Devils are in the kitchen making mischief! The Devils in this case are Scott and Liz…and every so often a special guest chef! (we use the term ‘chef’ liberally). The Devils wanted to take a stab at expending our knowledge and you now get to be a part of the mischief making! Each week we will attempt to prepare a menu of items we have never made before, using equipment we never used before (or equipment we would never have thought of using in the kitchen)…all in an attempt to provide you with a world of comic relief! There will be commentary on everything…from food to politics, reviews of our favorite cookbooks to our favorite restaurants and maybe even some gossip! But mostly it will be just about The Devils in the kitchen…because mainly we just like the attention.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Week 2: September 11th, 2008

Week 2.

Roasted Chicken
Pommes Anna
Steamed Asapargus
Lime Chiffon Pie

Scott: We punished ourselves this week! Total cooking time was about 24 hours! Not really, but it was 3 hours of cooking before we finally ate. As Liz referenced in last weeks post, I do not particularly like working with raw meat...especially whole chickens. What's fun about that? So Liz worked on the roasted chicken following a 20 page recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. And I am not kidding....the reciped was long! I decided to tackle the Pommes Anna.

Wikipedia gives the following description of Pommes Anna: a classic French dish of sliced, layered potatoes cooked in a very large amount of melted butter. BTW, they actually make a special pan for cooking Pommes Anna. It is expensive! It is made in France! No, I did not buy one!

It is true....lots of butter and lots of labor! You have to clarify the butter before you use it which takes a bit of time. Then you have to peel and slice 5 lbs of potatoes (8 cups)! This was my first time using a mandoline and thank God for it. My arm is still sore from slicing all those potatoes with the mandoline, but it saved me from the horrifying prospect of slicing them all by hand! More importantly, it saved the bloodshed that was bound to occur! In the end, the Pommes Anna turned out to be fantastic and well worth the effort.

I also got to try out my new All-Clad Asparagus Steamer this week! And the snack for this week was Magin Hat beer. Snacks can be liquid, right?

My lesson learned from this week: don't touch anything hot with your bare hands. Added to the shopping list is lots of additional oven mitts!

You might be asking about the Lime Chiffon Pie right about now....and I will leave it to Liz to tell you about that! This was also our first week with guests and they even provided some commentary below. AJ and Laura were our taste-testers for the week and the both provided hours of entertainment and heated discussion. Our table talk was all about politics and there was not even a single bodily injury in this discussion. Perhaps next time we should choose to talk about some gossip!

Liz: Mmmm. The pie. So the picture of the pie in the cookbook was true cookbook porn. One of those things that you just have to try because it's so pretty. Not only that, we really like pie. And limes. So Scott started on the crust (crushed up ginger snaps and butter) while I made the filling. We also like ginger snaps, so we highly recommend the crust. Now if you try making this yourself, you will realize that like most citrus fillings, zesting and juicing the limes is the hard part. Once you're through that though, it's pretty simple. You heat the egg yolks, and the sugar, and the lime juice, and you stir it. Slowly. Now after a few minutes of this, there will be a completely amazing smell coming from the pan, and it will have taken on a kind of velvety consistency. At this point it will occur to you that there are probably things you could do with it that would be a lot more fun than pouring it into a pie crust. But Scott and I don't have that kind of relationship, so I went ahead and beat up the egg whites. The filling cools a little bit, and then you fold in the egg whites. Now THIS is the point where when you tell someone who knows what they are doing in the kitchen about it, later, they will look at you with great suspicion and say "How did you fold in the egg whites??!". Folding has always been a bit opaque to me, and in this instance it resulted in a somewhat lumpy, faintly still eggy, mess. See? I told you to stop with the lime custard. Anyway, we persisted, and poured the custard-folded egg white slightly ominous filling into the ginger crust, and then into the fridge it went. Some hours, and a little time in the freezer later, we ate it. It wasn't bad, but it didn't compare to scraping the filling out of the pan with broken up ginger snaps... or...whatever.

Notes from the Peanut Gallery (Laura)- Musings of an innocent bystander: Upon arriving on the scene of what appears to be several kitchen crimes, I was quickly directed to the beer in the fridge. We'll see if it's a one, two, or three beer night... potatoes are sizzlin', chicken is brownin', and the key lime pie that was promised is apparently being held in an undisclosed location...but I see some VERY promising remnants of key lime bliss... Most importantly, the chefs are happy and the mess is, at this point, still manageable. There does appear to be a lot of recipe ad-libbing - it's apparently a well known kitchen secret that a couple shots of whiskey can substitute for port wine. Just overheard: "hmmmm...whiskey doesn't taste much like port, does it?" I'm hungry and on the edge of my seat!

Week 1: September 4th, 2008

So this is actually a retroactive post, being that Scott just now started our blog, and we are already one meal down and counting. Nonetheless, since Scott is waiting for this week's potatoes to sizzle (one of the many cryptic directions of this week's recipes) I thought I would catch up on our description of last week's repast.

Week 1.


Swiss Steak
Steamed Rice
Peach & Raspberry Cobbler

Liz: Not wanting to be overambitious (not us) we picked the first recipes from Paula Deen (Swiss steak), our own repertoire (rice in the rice cooker), and Classic Home Desserts (Peach and Raspberry Cobbler). Now anyone who knows us will not be surprised to learn that Scott made the rice and the dessert, and I made the Swiss steak. Scott does not, categorically, deal with raw poultry, beef, or a variety of other items that he deems to be "a nasty mess". He also does not deal with large insects in the home- but that is probably a story best saved for when we are not discussing food.

Scott: Liz is being dramatic about the raw meat! I just prefer that if someone else is around they get to do the nasty stuff....and they almost always fall victim to my powers of persuasion! Of course there is a negative side to this which usually means that I get stuck with the recipes that have 50,000 steps to them! In this case it was the cobbler, which required "made from scratch" biscuits for the topping.
Liz - Anyway- the rice was lovely, and the cobbler, which turned out to be nectarines and blueberries because the raspberries and peaches available at our favorite Kroger were less than optimal, was SPECTACULAR. We cannot recommend the cobbler- any and all parts of it- highly enough. We ate the nectarines on their own, the sauce on its own, the nectarines in the sauce...you get the idea. It is a wonder we were able to eat anything at all by the time the dinner was actually assembled. The Swiss steak was very good too. I refrained from wrapping the beef in wax paper and pounding it on the floor like I usually do, and I probably should have pounded it, because it was a little tough. Despite that, the sauce that accompanied the steak was GREAT. Very stew like, what with the tomatoes and onions and all. One important note- we substituted celery for green peppers. It was an important substitution- green peppers, as everyone knows, are a nasty mess.

Scott - Everything was great! The biggest lesson I learned is that you have to have something to snack on! During the prep of this meal...it was processed cheese spread and ritz crackers! And to share another lesson learned.....you have to watch Liz in the kitchen! If you turn away even for a second she tries to sneak "suprise" ingredients into the recipes!