Wednesday, March 31, 2010

No Gluen No Dariy Pumpkin Pie (Part 2)

We tried the pie last night. I wasn't hungry enough for a whole slice so I had a taste of DBF's piece. The filling tasted like pumpkin pie but the crust left something to be desired. I almost want to say that it tasted like uncooked flour. It was not flaky, just crumbly. I understand that this is a result of there being no butter or shortening in the crust.

DBF's review was that it was OK but I should actually use the dark corn syrup instead of the molasses that I substituted. He liked it enough to eat 2 slices so I'd say that it was successful.

I also need to find a good egg salad recipe. I happen to like my bare bones boiled egg, mayo, relish, salt and pepper egg salad but I don't know if other people will want something fancier. Perhaps some mustard powder? Does anybody have an egg salad recipe that they like?

Happy cooking! - KP

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

No Gluten No Dairy Pumpkin Pie (Part 1)

I spent $8.67 on ingredients to test out the pie recipe. $3.99 for a bag of Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free AP Flour, 1 15 oz. can or organic pumpkin puree and 1 pint of Silk French Vanilla Creamer; I had everything else at home. I probably could have saved some money if I shopped around but I purchased everything at the organic market for convenience sake, I was already there investigating the no gluten no dairy bread options. Well, I haven't tasted the pie yet because it had to be refrigerated overnight and I didn't want pumpkin pie for breakfast.

The recipe was easy to follow. I made the pie crust and pressed it into my ceramic pie plate. I brought the crust up to the lip but not over because I thought that it was getting a little thin. It baked for 15 minutes in a 400°F oven to a lovely golden brown. Then I dropped the oven temperature to 350°F and added the filling. There was some filling left, my pie plate was thrown on a wheel so it isn't exactly 9", so I had a little taste and it was edible. It wasn't as thick as the Libby's recipe but the pumpkin puree I got was thinner and there's no eggs or evaporated milk in the recipe I was testing. The spicing was milder than I was lead to expect from the reviews but I'm sure that the flavor profile changed after cooking.

Yes, I need to take more photos of what I'm cooking. I also need to find an auxiliary lighting source because all the lights in the kitchen seem to cause my food to look jaundiced.

Happy baking! - KP

Monday, March 29, 2010

Small Scale Event Planning

One of my friends is holding a class at her house in a couple of weeks and I offered to take care of the food. I'll be doing lunch and dinner for 15 people. Of those people, 3 have a no dairy and no gluten diet. One of those three is also a vegetarian. And a fourth person can't have oranges.

The original plan went like this:

Lunch - quiche (1 spinach and 1 with meat); make your own sandwiches, pita pockets or roll-ups (lunch meats, tuna or chicken salad, cheese and vegetables); and crudites with spinach dip and hummus.

Dinner - corned beef (I already have a 16 lb piece), potatoes, carrots and cabbage

Dessert - I need to plan a dessert because I keep forgetting that people eat dessert, I rarely do.

Nibbly Bits (to be left out throughout the day) - mixed nuts, fruit, and the crudite platter

Drinks - water, tea, coffee (possible logistical problem since she doesn't drink coffee and I don't have a large coffee maker, possible DD purchase) and lemonade

Dinner is fine for everybody but the vegetarian. Lunch will be fine if I can find a non-gluten bread or wrap. My friend says that they sell really good gluten free chips at the store by her house and she'll pick up a couple of bags.

All my go-to desserts involve dairy and one of the no dairy no gluten people is an 11 year old girl so I want to make sure that I can accommodate her needs. Fruit pie with a gluten free crust? Wheat free, dairy free pumpkin pie? I'll try out the pumpkin pie recipe tonight. Does anybody else have any ideas?

Happy cooking! - KP

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Gear: Rice Cooker

The first thing my father bought me when I announced that I intended to go to college in Maryland was a rice cooker. In fact, this is the exact one that he purchased. We've always had a rice cooker in the house. I remember seeing one in all my friends' and relatives' kitchens growing up. When you grow up in Hawaii, you tend to eat sticky rice on a regular basis. For example, a common breakfast is rice, eggs and Portuguese sausage or SPAM. You can order this at McDonald's, Jack In The Box, Liliha Bakery and at most places that serve breakfast. Rice is essential for my favorite form of "heart attack on a plate," the Loco Moco...a mound of sticky rice topped with a hamburger patty, maybe some grilled onion, a couple of eggs and brown gravy.

I purchased a rice cooker for DBF when we started getting serious because I knew I'd be spending a lot of time in his kitchen. It's the exact same model that my father purchased and I think that a 3 cup rice cooker is perfect for two people. 1 cup is enough, if I do the portioning, for one night's meal. 2 cups means that DBF can eat as much rice as he wants with dinner and we still have enough for 1 lunch. 3 cups means that I might have some leftover after packing lunches. Leftover rice is great, it's the central ingredient in fried rice and sticky rice reheats well in the microwave.

Supposedly one can cook things other than rice in a rice cooker. Mine came with a steamer insert that I've used to steam small quantities of vegetables. Some of the fancier ones have settings for soups and I've read about people making oatmeal in their rice cookers, something I need to try this weekend. So, technically one CAN make other things in a rice cooker...and thus it isn't a uni-tasker :)

I hope you all have a great weekend! - KP

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Got Nothing

I wish I could say that I have this great post planned for today but I don't. Even yesterday's post was disappointing. I haven't cooked much since I got back from my trip last weekend. Sunday's dinner was Chinese take out. Monday I made chicken long rice. Tuesday was curry stew from the freezer. I went out with friends last night and DBF ate leftover stew; DBF has eaten stew for 3 days in a row. Tonight we're going to Costco to look for a new TV so I'm either having a chicken bake or hot dog with sauerkraut. Friday is free (back) crack day at my chiropractor so I'm going there after work and DBF is again on his own.

I go through these periods when the entertainment category of my budget far exceeds my grocery category because I'm just not home or I don't want to cook. I debated re-posting something I wrote about mindful eating on my personal journal back in December but since most of my readers cross pollinate I didn't want to do that to you. So, I'm sorry but I do not have any recipes or cooking adventures to share with you today. I am thinking about you, dear readers, and that's why I wrote a post about not cooking. There will be a gear post tomorrow and hopefully a trip to the Asian market this weekend.

Happy eating! - KP

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Magazine: Eating Well

I was at the chiropractor's office yesterday and noticed a magazine on the reading stack, Eating Well. The articles were well written and OMG the food porn. The first 1/3 looks like the sort of magazine that I'd want to publish if I was in that industry...and it doesn't hurt that there's a Welch's ad with Mr Brown in it ;-) The receptionist let me swipe the copy, they get it for free, so I'll do a mini review later. It looks like I'll be adding another magazine to my list of subscriptions. Has anybody else come across Eating Well?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Happy Free Pastry Day!

It's free pastry day at Starbucks. Do you drink coffee from Starbucks or do you think they burn their beans? I read somewhere, I think it was The End of Overeating, that people are drawn to establishments like Starbucks because they serve caffeinated sweet warm milk; baby formula for adults. Not only is it free pastry day but it's week 3 of the bold coffee passport and another star towards the gold rewards level.

I finally ran out of pre-ground coffee so I picked up a Cusinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind at Costco yesterday. It was $19.97, about the same price as a blade grinder. However, a burr grinder should create a more uniform grind. We'll see how this goes.

Office Ninja requires coffee. - KP

Monday, March 22, 2010

Friday Challenge Roundup: Cornmeal

I hope that everybody had a good weekend; I know I did. So, what did you make? As I mentioned in my post on Friday, I made cornbread. Isn't that pretty on DBF's mother's silver?

There is some debate in my family as to where this recipe came from; I swear it's from Girl Scout camp and my mom claims she got it from a friend. Either way, it makes a sweet moist cornbread that usually earns me rave reviews.


3 blocks butter
4 c Bisquick
1 1/3 c sugar
1 t baking soda
4 beaten eggs
2 c milk
1 c yellow cornmeal

Melt butter, add to milk and eggs. Add sugar and dry ingredients. Mix. Pour into greased 9"x13" pan. Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

 I usually do a half batch in one of my unglazed pie pans from Ironwood Pottery. Best cornbread pan EVER!

And I leave you with a picture of DBF's mother's cat Dickens.

Happy cooking! - KP

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Challenge: Cornmeal

This is the first "Friday Challenge." The purpose of these posts is to build community and maybe get some people to step outside of their comfort zones. I will suggest an ingredient, technique or tool that I want you to try out and we'll all report back on Monday. Suggestions for Friday Challenges can be posted as comments and I'll add them to the list.

I've been reading Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals and so far it reads like corn is in everything. What can you do with cornmeal?

  • They're like little ball bearings under your pizza and bread helping to keep it from sticking to the peel.
  • Polenta.
  • Grits.
  • Thickening agent in creamed corn.
  • Cornbread.
I'm making cornbread and will have photos and a recipe on Monday. Real life friends will probably call me on doing something that I've made many times but I'm out of town this weekend and I already have to make cornbread for DBF's mother. It's my blog and I get to pick the secret ingredient :-P Have a great weekend!.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Of Lists Big and Small

I will admit it, I have some control issues; I have been accused of being a Type A personality. I like to make lists. I've got the rolling grocery list stuck to the side of the refrigerator where I jot down ingredients that we're running low on so I can start keeping an eye out for sales. I've got my ingredient lists when I cook for large groups so I can shop effectively; I have the master ingredient list that I take when I go grocery shopping so I can make up a price book then I put all those prices into a spreadsheet to figure out where my best bargains are. Then I work out my time lines for prep-work, shopping, and what we're doing on the day of the event. I have a few short kitchen related lists that I'd like to share:

Things I should have but don't. (This is NOT a request for my real life friends to buy me any of these items; this is list parking.)
  • Melon baller.
  • Grapefruit spoon.
  • Honing steel.
  • Flour canister (I currently measure my AP flour directly from the 50 lb bag then vacuum the area around the bag).
  • Kitchen shears.
  • Juicer (one of those wooden ones).
  • Strainer (for when I need to dust things with powdered sugar or sift flour).
  • Basting/pastry brush.
  • A stainless steel pot somewhere between the 5 quart and the 5 gallon capacity.
Things I wish I had.
  • Mandolin.
  • Fancy bread pans.
  • A bigger kitchen and pantry.
  • A grill
  • Gas appliances.
  • Double bowl sink.
  • Shun knives.
Things I have but don't use.
  • V slicer (it's a pain to clean and the blades aren't very sharp).
  • George Foreman grill (it was useful in college but now just sits in the cabinet; something for the April yard sale).
  • Pipkin (but it's so sexy on the shelf with my other medieval replicas...).
  • Two shelves of cookbooks.
So, what do you think my lists say about me as a cook?

Cheers! - KP

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Applied Laziness

One of the basic tenants of my meal planning philosophy is "Cook once, eat 2+ times." I have a number of friends that work in the IT sector and they sometimes use the term "applied laziness." I'm sure the term has its own meaning in the IT and engineering world; but in Kitchen Penguin HQ, it means minimizing my per-meal effort. Preparing and cooking a double batch of something generally does not take twice as much effort as making a single batch. So I plan my weekly meals around maximizing my resources to produce as many meals as possible from each kitchen adventure. It does help that I have a separate freezer in the garage and DBF doesn't mind eating leftovers.

Example #1 I have a hunters stew that I like to make but it usually takes me at least an hour to do all the prep. I have to cube the stew meat (it's generally cheaper to buy a roast), cut up bacon, cut the kielbasa, slice the onions, slice the mushrooms, peel and slice the apples, and rinse the sauerkraut. Then there's two hours of simmering everything until the meat starts to fall apart. So I make a triple batch and freeze any leftovers in both single serve containers for grab-and-go ("oops I forgot/don't have leftovers to pack a lunch" or "honey, I have to go out of town/have a doctor's appointment after work this week and you're on your own") meals and larger containers for a lazy weeknight dinner.

Example #2 I'm making corned beef hash for dinner tonight. I know that one can of corned beef, half an onion, two medium sized potatoes and an egg makes enough corned beef hash patties for both of us to have dinner and a lunch the next day (assuming DBF doesn't decide to eat more than usual). I cook two cups of rice, make some extra vegetables and we're set for two meals.

I made a double batch of pizza dough on Monday night so we had four medium sized pizzas. Enough for dinner, lunch the next day (with enough to share with my Minion), and a whole pizza left for dinner on Thursday.

This is how my kitchen works. I haven't had to prepare a separate meal just to pack lunch in over a year and that makes me happy.

Happy cooking! - KP

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chicken Refrigerator Velcro

Originally written on 03/11/10

DBF is on this weird diet for some stomach discomfort. Basically, no dairy, onions, bread, tomatoes, carrots, and some other things that I can't recall off the top of my head. He has been filching pieces of the chocolate haupia pie (essentially the same recipe that I use but I don't have coconut extract and I used a graham cracker crust) that I made on Sunday and swears that it isn't causing discomfort. But I digress.

I had thawed two packages of chicken breasts, 2 breast halves per package, with the intention of making teriyaki chicken for dinner last night. However, I didn't want to start the oven for 4 little chicken breasts. So I dug around in the fridge and freezer to see what I had available.

  • a handfull of cremini mushrooms
  • a bag of frozen peas
  • a bag of frozen broccoli florets
  • a bag of carrots
  • the dregs of the Yoshida bottle (I have a fresh replacement bottle)
  • maybe half a cup of sake
  • oyster sauce
  • sesame oil
I started the rice pot then I cubed the chicken breasts and started cooking them in the frying pan while I: sliced the mushrooms with the egg slicer, peeled and sliced the carrots, nuked a couple of handfuls of the broccoli florets, and separated out half the bag of peas. I threw in the mushrooms and carrots after the chicken was browned and let that all cook for a couple of minutes so the carrots would have time to soften. Then I threw in the rest of the vegetables and the Yoshida sauce. I poured a couple of shots worth of sake into the Yoshida bottle and swirled it around to clean it out then added that to the pan. A few shakes of oyster sauce and a good stir. A splash of sesame oil to finish. What do you have?

Enough food to feed 2 adults 3 meals each.I need to start taking more photos of the cooking process.

Happy cooking! - KP

Monday, March 15, 2010

Brew Moon: March 2010

Happy Brew Moon! Today is a new moon and the debut of the monthly "Brew Moon" post. One post a month dedicated to home brewing. I rarely drink alcoholic beverages but I do enjoy making beer, wine and mead; plus my friends are more than happy to help me dispose of the product.

What's in the carboy? Well, right now I have a stout that needs to be bottled and a Riesling ice wine that needs to be racked. There's 3 gallons of mead at my friends' house that I need to check on. I've got grain for another stout, I want to do a recipe comparison, and some soda extract for DBF.

Rule #1 of brewing is sanitation. Cross contamination is bad in cooking and it's equally bad in brewing. Rogue microbes can lead to skunking and unwanted growth. I remember the first time that my former brewing partner tried making beer, he got one of those beer kits from know the ones with the plastic carboy and the screw on cap? They don't make a very good seal and something got into the wort that created white tendrils. It was gross, I teased him about having a yeast infection.

However, primary fermentation is often done in a plastic bucket and the home brewer needs to be aware that plastic is a porous material. If you have scratches inside the bucket then you might want to consider replacing it, the same goes for hose; I replace my hose every year. Soda extract can be very potent and can permeate a plastic bucket so it might be a good idea to have a dedicated bucket if you want to make soda. How do I know this? The #1 comment about my latest batch of beer is that it "smells and faintly tastes of root beer." The batch was a crap shoot anyway, I bought the wrong ingredients, so it might still taste like root beer if I tried to replicate the batch. Either way, I can smell the root beer extract even when the cap is on the bottle so I'm going to have a dedicated soda bucket.

"Relax. Don't worry. Have a home-brew." -Charlie Papazian

- KP

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Gear: Fire Extinguisher

While is is always best to have a fire extinguisher and not need it, it's very bad to need one and not have it. As Mr. Brown says, the fire extinguisher is the only uni-tasker allowed in the kitchen. According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are the #1 cause of home fires and home fire injuries.

For those of you that didn't pay attention during fire safety month, usually October, in elementary school; a fire needs four things to burn (the fire tetrahedron): oxygen, heat, fuel and a chemical reaction between the other 3 elements. Take away any of those and the fire should go out. As I mentioned previously, we had a small oven fire in my kitchen a couple of weeks ago. We closed the door to the oven and the fire stopped but when we tried to open the door again, the fire came back. Why? Closing the door deprived the fire of oxygen but opening it again completed the tetrahedron. We probably could have just closed the door, turned off the broiler and waited for the oven to cool down (taking away the heat side of the tetrahedron).

I have two, I had three, fire extinguishers in my house and I know how to properly operate them. They come in different varieties but an ABC will take care of most fires in the home. Be safe, use your brain; it's better to ruin a meal than to watch your dwelling go up in flames.

Please be safe when you cook. - KP

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Water Bottle Rant

One of my biggest pet peeves is water bottles. I don't understand why somebody in the USA would need to purchase drinking water unless they're drinking water from a non-municipal source. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) of 1974 (and amendments in 1986 and 1996) ensures that public water systems adhere to a set of standards to keep us safe. Yes, SDWA does not apply to wells on your property, it's your own responsibility to maintain private water sources, but it does mean that a lot of the tap water in the US is safe to drink.

Will you like the taste of the water? That isn't guaranteed. Some people are sensitive to the chlorine and fluoride that some municipalities add to their water. Water can taste stale or flat if it sits in the pipes for too long. Water is an excellent solvent and could pick up off flavors if you have old piping in your house. However, charcoal based water filters are very cheap and will remove many off flavors if you don't like the taste of the water coming out of your tap. Also, chilling your water (ie. putting a pitcher in the fridge) tends to make off flavors less noticeable.

My co-workers drive me insane when they drink bottled water or soda. They're in the break room where we have the water cooler and they're drinking bottled water. Then they throw the bottles in the trash when the recycle bin is right next to the trash can. They're adults and if they want to waste their money on individually bottled drinks then that's their business but at least recycle the bottle. I probably pick out at least three bottles a day from trash cans around the office and we only have six people in my office.

What's my point? Why are people paying $1+ to vending machines and convenience stores for a 20 ounce bottle of water that's often just filtered water from a municipal source? Make the investment of buying a nice water bottle that's BPA free. Plan ahead so you have water when you leave the house. Fill up at a water fountain if you run out. Save your money!

- KP 

Bottles Rescued From the Trash (03/11/10): 4

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

St. Patrick's Day is Coming Up

Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day? The receptionist at my chiropractor celebrates by taking the day off and doing a pub crawl with her boyfriend. I celebrate by stocking up the freezer with cheap corned beef. We finally ate the last two packages a few weeks ago and now I need to make a decision: do I buy smaller packages from the grocery store or a couple of giant pieces from the restaurant supply store?

The difference in price is about $0.20/lb but it's a 15 pound piece of corned beef that I'm going to have to slice up and vacuum seal for future use. Plus it probably doesn't come with the spice packet; yes, that's easily fixed. I've had the corned beef in question so I know that while there may be a large fat layer, the lean meat is in greater quantity than what I get at the grocery store. So the real question here is do I value convenience or do I value a deal? I value a deal.

What do you do for St. Patrick's Day?

Happy bargain hunting! - KP

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bread Arms

Baking bread was my favorite way to work out ideas when I was in college. There's the repetitive motion of the kneading, learning to trust your instincts, punching down the dough...and the amazing smell of bread baking. The recipe that I like is from S. John Ross; I was turned onto it back when I hung out in an AD&D chat-room. I once made 15 loaves for a lunch, all in my college apartment kitchen. But I haven't pulled an all nighter in years and home bread baking wasn't fitting into my work schedule so I stopped baking my weekly loaves and lost my touch.

Up until last weekend that is. I decided to make a loaf of my usual bread on Saturday to have with the generally unexciting spaghetti. I got all my ingredients together, proofed my yeast and started incorporating my flour. The last time I made bread was for a similar dinner a few months ago but I tried to do all the mixing and kneading in the stand mixer. I have learned that my eyes are not as skilled as my hands. When you knead the dough by hand then you know when it needs more flour or if it needs to be kneaded more. When you do everything in the mixer then you pray that you can trust the recipe and that you have perfect humidity in your kitchen. Yes, I could probably get better if I practiced making bread with my stand mixer but I like the feel of the dough in my hands.

I was a little rushed, dinner was late, so I didn't let the dough proof long enough. So the crumb wasn't great and the middle was too dense, resulting in a doughy center. Something that I've learned with brewing is that I have to assume that anything yeast related will take longer in my house during the winter because we keep the thermostat below the optimal temperature for yeast. What does that mean? Yeast likes a 72°F environment and we keep the house at 65°F.

Sunday's dinner was pizza and I made two batches of crust from scratch using a modified version of the Joy of Cooking recipe. Because I'm lazy and obviously don't learn from previous mistakes; I made the first batch in the stand mixer. After 20 minutes on the hook it STILL wasn't window paneing (when you stretch out the dough until it's a thin enough membrane that you can see light through it). I was on a schedule, dinner was at 6, so I started the next batch and hoped for the best. I did the next batch by hand. I proofed the yeast, mixed in 2/3 of the flour then turned the dough out onto a floured counter to start kneading and incorporating in the rest of the flour. It took me about half an hour but the result was worth it. The first batch was for crap but the second batch was very tasty and I'd eat it again.

Kitchen Penguin, do you have a point? your hands when cooking; using tools to speed up processes can be great but learn to trust your hands before you use the heavy machinery. Also, don't try to do three batches of dough in a weekend if the heaviest lifting you see on a regular basis is filing paper; that's something to work towards.

From my kitchen to yours. - KP

Monday, March 8, 2010

SPAM Tasting: Cheese Edition

A group of my friends gets together on Friday nights to socialize and I threatened to bring back different SPAM varieties from Hawaii so we could do a taste test. This is the first of three tastings; Bacon SPAM disappeared somewhere between HNL and BWI.

SPAM with Cheese...I choose this first because it the only one that I had that wasn't flavored. There's little cheese nuggets/pockets/bits mixed up in the SPAM so I figured it would taste like SPAM but with cheese pockets. The can had a recipe for the SPAM breakfast burrito thing pictured on the front. We agreed that it would be a good application of this product.

SPAM with Cheese fresh from the can.

SPAM with Cheese cubes frying to golden brown and delicious on the stove.

I like my SPAM cooked, pan fried to be exact, so I cut it up into cubes and lightly fried them until the outside was browned and the inside was hot. My first reaction was, "OK, it tastes like SPAM." Then one of the little "cheese" bits oozed into my mouth and I thought, "OK, it's SPAM with what Cheeze Wiz probably tastes like." The cheese felt a little gritty and stuck to the roof of my mouth, like Crisco does, for a couple of seconds.

Other reviews included:
"It's SPAM with a cheese like product."
"I've never had SPAM before but I'm going to eat this because you made has the consistency of Vienna sausage or a hot dog."
"I think I'll stick to regular SPAM."

My final verdict? I wouldn't go out of my way to purchase SPAM with Cheese. I don't think it would be tasty in SPAM musubi but it might be good with rice and eggs for breakfast.

Happy eating! - KP

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Out of Town

I'm going to be out of town for a couple of days so I can't guarantee substantive posts today or tomorrow. The Friday challenge post might be late as well since I'm not sure where I'm spending Thursday night.

Happy Girl's Day! - KP

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Girl's Day is Tomorrow

Hinamatsuri or Girl's Day is tomorrow, 03/03/10. Traditionally, a family will have a set of dolls dressed like heian courtiers and they would set up these dolls for Girl's Day. The dolls were believed to trap bad luck, thus ensuring good fortune for daughters of the family. My family doesn't have a set of dolls, come to think of it I don't think I know anybody with a full set, so I've never had a Girl's Day party.

What are my memories of Girl's Day in Hawaii? My grandma would make pink nantu (steamed mochi rice flour) that I would take to school and the boys had to put our chairs on our desks at the end of the day in elementary school.

What can you do to celebrate Girl's Day? Well, be extra nice to any females in your life. Enjoy some nantu or butter mochi, both of which are made using mochiko (sweet rice flour) instead of having to steam and pound mochi rice, with some green tea. Watch "The Peach Orchard" scene from Akira Kurosawa's Dreams.

Itadakimasu! - KP

Monday, March 1, 2010

Spoke Too Soon (re: Gear Friday)

I took a couple of hours on Saturday to plan out future posts for this blog and it turns out that I don't have nearly as many gear related thoughts as expected. So, to supplement the Friday Gear posts I'm going to alternate them with Friday Challenge posts.

What's a Friday Challenge?
A Friday Challenge is an opportunity for my readers and I to try out different ingredients, styles or techniques. I will suggest something on Friday and we have the weekend to make something to share and discuss on Monday. I'll try not to pick expensive or completely obscure items because I want everybody to have the opportunity to participate in the Friday Challenges.

I am also taking suggestions for Challenge or Gear items; please drop me a comment and I'll add your suggestion to the list.

What else is new?
There's an About Kitchen Penguin page and a Friday Gear page. Links are at the top of the blog. Safeway is having a really good sale on London broil and top round roast, $1.99/lb, so I stocked the freezer. Speaking of Safeway, they discontinued their United Airlines partnership yesterday. I heard that it's because Safeway wanted to focus on offering better prices; we'll see how that pans out.

Friday dinner was pork fried rice and leftover rotisserie chicken. Saturday dinner was chopped steak and rice. Sunday breakfast was pancakes and bacon. DBF marinated and broiled one of the London broils on Sunday and started a small fire in the oven. Perhaps I should have started the Friday Gear posts with a fire extinguisher because it's more important than an apron. I have three fire extinguishers in the house: one in the furnace/laundry room adjacent to the kitchen, one in the dining room next to the sliding glass door (it's part of the BBQ equipment), and one upstairs in the linen closet. Everything and everybody is fine but DBF is going to be doing a thorough cleaning of the oven tonight.

Be Safe. - KP