Sunday, January 07, 2007

New food is good food!

So here's the challenge: Spend the entire month of January adding to the food repertoire. Sounds pretty simple. Get away from all those fall back dinner staples, the things we can make with our eyes closed. Maybe even open some of those cookbooks that have been largely ignored since their purchase. It's kind of exciting actually...a leap into the culinary unknown. Spending the entire month of January, every time we prepare diner at home, making a new dinner entrée.

So here we are, one week in, and because of previous social commitments and sudden invitations, I have to say we've only done three things. But the success rate is encouraging. Two definite successes, one so-so result. Nothing inedible, and one thing that will definitely be in the permanent rotation. The first thing we did, a braised chicken thigh recipe from Gourmet mag, was the ho-hum dinner. Good, not anything exciting. Our second dinner , from the same recipe section of the Jan. '07 issue, was a resounding success. Tilapia steamed in a foil pouch with lemon slices, capers, grape tomatoes, fresh thyme, and a dash of olive oil....delicious, aromatic, light, and incredibly satisfying. The recipe called for sea bass, but as my New Seasons fish guy reminded me, somewhat disdainfully if I may: "We don't carry sea bass. It is endangered, you know." Uh, okay...but can I have some anyway? Apparently not, so tilapia it was. Great meal with a side of rice to help soak up the juices.

Then last night's attempt at porcine perfection, which I finally remembered to get photographic evidence of, a recipe from Cook's Illustrated for perfect pork chops with a mustard-sage sauce.
I love Cook's illustrated. They take a scientific approach, and sometimes make things 30-50 times to get it just right. Plus who doesn't like product comparisons? This turned out really well, although I left the chops on a smidge too long, missing that seeming microsecond window when pork goes from medium-rare perfection to medium-well over doneness. But the chops still came out juicy, the sauce was savory and delicious, and with a side of brussel sprouts and my personal food fetish, roasted fingerling potatoes, plus a couple glasses (or so) of wine, all was good.

Stay tuned for further adventures in the food wilderness. Tonight: w tackles Thai Chicken Soup!

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