Monday, October 21, 2013

Experiment Sunday: I am a Social Cook

Yesterday was experiment Sunday! I love experiment days! My experiment days typically go something like this:

  1. Remove all jewelry
  2. Wear something that I don't mind getting oil splotches on just in case my skillets spit. OR wear an apron. Yesterday, I wore an with pockets. Oh, how I love aprons!
  3. Pull my hair back
  4. Turn on classical music or jazz 
  5. Get out all my ingredients
There was a lot riding on these experiments because we invited some family friends to eat with us, so I couldn't mess up ;) 

To improve the process flow for this amazing experiment, one thing I did differently was I measured out all my ingredients, and put them in separate bowls/dishes. Typically I would just throw them in per the instructions, but the recipe had a lot going on, and with a limited amount of time, measuring was essential.

Here are the two dishes I made:

Butternut Squash Skillet Lasagna: 5 of 5 *'s

What I did: I love cooking with gas, but sometimes it is so hard for me to gauge how HOT it really gets. This transition has not been easy, but I am definitely a gas lover all the way! Mid-way through my process, I had to switch it up, and ended up using most of my dishes (something my sweetheart gives me a hard time about every time I cook). Oh well, deal with it! 

First things first, I didn't have an oven-safe skillet, so I used my amazing ceramic coated dutch oven for roasting the squash. This is where the comment above kicks in. After leaving the gas on to continue simmering all the ingredients, it started to burn. I switched to a regular frying pan to complete the chicken and onion ingredients.I also used a sauce pan to make my butter/flour/milk mixture, but after boiling for a while, it didn't get the thickness I needed, so, I washed my dutch oven and tried that again. It worked perfectly. I combined the squash and the mixture and topped it with my fried chicken and onions and then packed the dish full of noodles.

It turned out amazing. I highly recommend this dish and wouldn't change anything about it. With a little innovation, I was able to make this dish work...and it turned out 5*'s

Turmeric Toasted Cauliflower with Cherry Tomatoes and Cannelloni Beans: 4 of 5*'s

What I did: I followed the recipe as best I could. The only changes I made was covering my dish when in the oven, and using whole onions (because I didn't have shallots). I also couldn't find the nigella seeds anywhere, and didn't include a substitute.

What I recommend: This dish tasted amazing. However, I would change some other things including 
  1. Boil the cauliflower and get it semi-soft first. I don't know if this was supposed to be a crunchy dish. I personally like my cauliflower soft. 
  2. Use a different dish. The oven dish I used did not allow the dish to marinade in the sauce, so next time I will use a bigger pan so that all the cauliflower is touching the sauce.
  3. Add a little spice. The flavor of the cauliflower was good, but it was missing a little zest. I would either add lemon juice for a citrus flavor, and some type of hot sauce. I was thinking roasted peppers or cayenne might work well to bring out some spice, but I wonder how Tapatio would fare in this case.
Otherwise, this was a fabulous dish, which I also totally recommend. 

I love being in the kitchen and cooking. It makes me incredibly happy. What makes me even more happy is when people make yummy noises when they are eating my food. And what makes me even happier than that is cooking for people so we can experience my experiments together. I guess you could say I am a social cook ;)

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