You can't make everything from scratch

...but you can sure try!

Monday, March 27, 2006

The week in review

Last week was pretty slow for me professionally; consequently, it was pretty busy for me in the kitchen. That doesn't mean it was necessarily a good week in the kitchen.

It started last Saturday, when I decided to make chicken stock. Generally, we use tetra-pack chicken broth from Campbell's, which is a reliable substitute. But I suddenly found myself in possession of six leek tops, and chicken stock is the only thing I know how to make from leek tops. (I'm open to other suggestions). Unfortunately, I fell asleep on the couch in the middle of the process, which is the best way to bring your stock to a boil. Fortunately, I'm not that picky when it comes to stock.

On Sunday, I made salmon burgers with hoisin and ginger. I don't have anything to say about them, except that I used trout in place of the salmon and they were tasty. Maybe I'll do a taste-test comparison between them and PC Atlantic Salmon Burgers this summer.

On Tuesday, I finally succumbed to my desire to bake some bread. I had twigged to a recipe for brioche provided by the good people at endless banquet, so I took it out for a test drive. I spent the whole two-day process convinced it was going to fail, and in fact it didn't seem to rise as much as it could have, but it baked up nice and brown, and it sure tasted good! Apparently brioche can't smell your fear the same way hollandaise sauce can. You can see the results pictured above.

What's more, I think my bread baking skills are about to take a quantum leap forward: on Friday, my copy of Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice arrived. I proceeded to spend every spare moment over the weekend with my nose buried in it.

On Friday, we had a group of people over for a deep fry party, using our T-Fal EZ Clean Deep Fryer, which was our Christmas gift to ourselves. I made spring rolls using rice paper wrappers and filled them with glass noodles, cloud ear mushrooms, carrots, ginger, garlic, cilantro, green onions and sesame oil. They were pretty tasty, but I think they still need some work. I'm not convinced that rice paper makes the best spring roll wrappers.

On Saturday, we picked up some cultivated mussels in Moncton, and made moules frites for dinner, using Anthony Bourdain's recipe for moules marinières. Score another one for the Les Halles cookbook!

Finally, yesterday, I attacked our wok in yet another attempt to season it properly. This has been an ongoing saga in my relationship with my husband, since he failed to follow the instructions for properly seasoning it when he bought it (12 years ago), and all subsequent attempts have failed miserably. Here's hoping this one worked!


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