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A cooking fool

I haven't posted in the last several days and I apologize to all of my avid followers  ;)

I've been in town due to having a week from travel and I took the week of May 31 as a much-needed vacation week.  Not really doing anything this week; cooking and sitting by the pool.  The pool...ahhhh, I believe sitting by the pool is my most-favorite pastime.  A good book or mag, a bottle of water, sunscreen and the refreshing water as it calls out to me - Amy, come in come in!

Saturday morning, I trekked to the farmers market along with everyone else in Charlotte.  Fresh veggies and fruits are beginning to make their way to market.  All the vibrant colors are such a pretty site.  I packed my San Fran market tote full and I can't wait to go back for more!  Saturday night, the hubby and I went to Cantina 1511 with my parents and grandparents and had some fabulous guacamole and salsa.  The chimichanga was tasty also - the carne asada, not the chicken.

Sunday morning I stumbled out of bed around 7am to make two of Momofuku's Crack Pie to take to my sis's for lunch.  You heard me - Crack Pie.  And it is like crack, or so I'm guessing since I've never actually snorted or shot crack or whatever it is you do with the stuff.  But this pie - O.M.G.  Let's just say you don't want to know what's in it.  You only want to know that it is outta this world and you cannot get enough of it!!  Michael and I ate it right out of the pan - we couldn't waste the time to put it on a proper plate.  Those precious seconds were seconds that the pie could be in our mouths, making us gush and groan.  Alas (big sigh), our pie is gone and I've yet to make another.  I just can't bring myself to take the 4 sticks of butter out of the fridge.  Wait!!  Shhhh - did I say 4 sticks of butter????  Ignore that comment please because it may make you turn away from the most delicious, most enjoyable, most mmmm-good pie you've ever had!

Tuesday, I pulled out the food processor to make a batch of pesto as I've been longing for fresh pesto for several weeks now.  The food processor didn't work AGAIN.  So I proceeded to have a hissy fit in my small little kitchen (I think I scared the cat and the dog).  Not the first hissy fit I've had over this thing.  Michael was privy to the first one and if I remember correctly, he just stood there and laughed at me.  Anyway, I half-assed my pesto because I was not giving up that easily.  Called Michael, threw the processor in the trash and marched myself into Crate & Barrel and purchased a nice, new, fully-loaded and working food processor!  Yesterday, I made a chocolate marbled banana bread that is absolutely yummy!  Very crumbly, with a cake-like texture.

Also this week, I've made ribeyes with chimichurri (can't get enough of this stuff), extra-thick pork chops with a balsamic vinegar, honey, butter and rosemary glaze (holy cow - it was good!), baked chicken with a lemon, garlic, rosemary and oregano sauce (I get happy just thinking about this), sauteed bok-choy, sauteed spinach w/red pepper flakes, roasted lemon asparagus...mmm, I think that may be it.  No wait!!  Monday, my mommy and I made a  strawberry and rhubarb pie.  Our first cooking with rhubarb and I fell in love with its tartness!  I can't wait to make something else with it!!  I think today's lunch will be a tomato sandwich with loads of Duke's mayo, S&P and Bunny bread - love me some bunny bread!!!

Update on the pota-toe...the blister had decreased.  However, this weekend I found that I had blistered the underside of 2 toes.  But, I'm no longer in pain.  Tuesday night, as I was pulling the asparagus from the stove, i was really trying to be careful but I touched the pan with my finger and now have a pretty little blister on my finger.  Poor Michael - he has been reduced to telling me to 'please be careful' every time I start cooking.  I'm dangerous - there's no two ways about it!!



Chimichurri - it's goodness in the belly.....

I believe I made my best Chimichurri sauce yet last night!  Right after I taste-tested it, I had to call Michael into the kitchen for his taste test.  Thank goodness we are like two peas in a pod.  We both really enjoy bold, strong flavors on our food.  And he loves garlic, which makes me love him even more!!! 


I have a confession to make.............I have a problem with garlic.   I seek out foods with garlic.  When I'm at a restaurant, I'll select the meal that has garlic in the description.  I cook heavy-handed (very much so) with garlic.  I'm a garlic-holic.  


Chimichurri Sauce

zest of one large lemon

juice of one large lemon (zest the lemon prior to juicing it)

6 medium size garlic cloves, minced very finely

1/2 cup minced flat leaf parsley

1 tsp red pepper flakes (we like things spicy so you can use less if you want)

~10 grinds of fresh black pepper (the little bit of crunch from the pepper bits was fabulous!)

1 or 2 really good pinches of kosher salt (to taste)

5 or 6 tbsps of extra virgin olive oil

Mix all together.  If the sauce is still thick, you may want to add a little more olive oil.


Michael and I dropped this sauce directly on a medium-rare ribeye (and left over potatoes from the previous night - see previous post of the escapades!)  YUM-O


San Jose Pictures

Henry's Hi-Life BBQ:  I was so unimpressed by this that I only took one picture.  See how dry the ribs look?  Even the chain BBQ place down the road from our apt is better!  Sad...

 Ribs and Chicken - the chicken is the scary looking thing at the top of the picture.


Amber India:  great Indian food!  I don't think these pictures do the food justice...


Cauliflower with a sweet, spicy sauce.  The cauliflower was very soft, kinda like chicken.  It didn't have the texture of what I think of when I think cauliflower.


An appetizer plate with various marinated chicken and a beef 'log' with mint.  This tasted much better than it looked!


My main couse.  Chicken in a spicy marinade (red) and chicken marinated in lemongrass and Kafir lime (green) - this was fantastic!




Pota - Toe

I know what you are thinking.  What. in. the. world. is. a. pota-toe???  A pota-toe is a toe that has had a just-out-of-boiling-water potato dropped on it.  And this is my world.  Fun times, isn't it??  Not so much.

I was cooking dinner last night and moving along just fine.  I baked chicken smothered in Nat's 'it's so good it's dangerous' bbq sauce and I was boiling potatos for my lemon-thyme potatoes.  I had just taken the chicken out of the oven, made the sauce for the potatos and was forking the potatoes from the boiling water.  One of them was very soft and as I was moving it to a plate, it broke apart, bounced on the plate and landed squarely on my left toe.  The soft potato broke apart even futher upon landing and little bits of hot-hot-HOT potato seared into my toes (I was being the typical Hunt girl and wearing flip-flops).  I started jerking my foot around trying to sling the burning mash off and was screaming.  Loudly.  To tell the truth, yelling is probably more like it and while I don't remember what I was yelling,  I'm sure it wasn't pretty.  Michael came running and helped me to the sofa.  He brought an ice pack and ran out to purchase Solarcaine.  The throbbing was so intense!  So today, I have a very nice blister that covers most of my second toe.  Putting shoes on this morning was tricky. 

I bet BC never has to put up with anything like this!!!


On a better note, one night last week a work buddy took a group of us to a fabulous restaurant in San Jose - Amber India.  Thanks Raj, for introducing me to great Indian food!! I had a grilled chicken kabob that had been marinated in lemongrass and Kafir lime.  Delish!  I also had this fantastic sauce (I believe it's called Chutney even though it was a smooth sauce - when I think of Chutney, I think of a chunky relish type thing) that was a deep vibrant green and spicy hot.  I believe it had cilantro, mint, garlic, lime juice and serrano chiles in it.  I went to B&N last night and dug thru several Indian cookbooks until I found what I think may be a recipe for it.  Shhhhhh!  Don't tell Michael - I'm going to spring it on him at some point.  He has said he doesn't think he likes Indian food because he doesn't like curry or coconut but I think this sauce would be great on bruschette, steak or (God help me) boiled potatoes.

My sis has asked for the recipe for the lemon-thyme sauce so I'm including it here:

zest of one large lemon

juice of 2 or 3 lemons

3 or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme - only the leaves

several tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil - whisking in with the lemon juice

freshly cracked pepper to taste

kosher salt to taste

I usually boil 4 soft skinned potatoes, then cut them into chunky bites and mix with the sauce.  The sauce would make a great salad dressing also.


Henry's Hi-Life

It's a beautiful day in San Jose.  The sky is Carolina Blue and not a cloud to be seen.  The palm trees are gently swaying with the morning breeze.  Oh to be about 45 minutes north of here! 

Yesterday was a very long day.  Up at 3am (6am EST) and worked until 7.30 (10.30 EST).  I talked a gang of guys into Henry's Hi-Life for dinner.  It is a BBQ restaurant that was recently featured on Man v. Food.  Adam really liked the place so I knew I had to eat there.  After all, he is a professional.  Let's just say - his taste buds are very different from mine.

Henry's is a neat little place.  It's a red clap-board building with not much inside space.  The menu is on the wall at the bar with about 16 items (ribs, chicken and combo meals).  We placed our order with a barmaid and stood until a table was ready for us. 

I ordered the ribs and chicken combo.  I had thought the ribs would be baby-backed but instead they were a beef rib with a St. Louis style dry rub (and not a lot of meat).  Disappointing.  One of my tablemates ordered a full rack of baby-backs and he let me steal one off of his plate.  It was tender and the meat fell off the bone.  But hey, the meat falls off the bone when I make baby-backs.  And the sauce?  No comparison to my brother-in-law's sauce.  His would win in a blind taste test any day of the week.  The meat came with a baked potato, a small salad with old wilted lettuce and garlic bread that I withered away from (I am a garlic bread snob since I make BC's version).  The group that went to dinner was the highlight of the meal as we shared many great laughs.

Does anyone have Adam's phone number?  I need to call him.

I will post a picture of the food this weekend.