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Things i can and cannot do while cooking.

can:

use every single utensil in the kitchen.

cannot:

use anything less.

how to woo a southern girl.

my dad and i used to drive up the highway, taking ourselves an hour or two outside of atlanta. you’ve got to get far enough away from the city and suburbs to find places where the best food options can be found on the side of the road (exception: waffle house). yellow corn, green beans, peach peaches. but the reason my dad and i would drive up the highway and swing off the dusty exits would be for boiled peanuts.

for two dollars, or maybe three, you get a paper bag stuffed to the brim with steaming, soft, salty peanuts. peanuts that have been cooking all day, if not all week. you’ll sit in the car and eat the whole bag, wishing you had more napkins and some water, but nothing else.

i didn’t believe the flavor, not to mention the legacy, of the road-side boiled peanut could be duplicated in brooklyn, and most certainly not by a yankee. but my boyfriend won my heart with his unsolicited, near-perfect re-creation.

they are simple and delicious and remind me of home.

here it is:

1 lb raw peanuts

1/2 cup kosher salt

2 tbsp old bay

thoroughly rinse the peanuts to remove dirt and debris. place the peanuts, salt, and old bay in a large pot and cover with water. cook on low for 8 hours or so. as the water cooks down, try the peanuts. if they’re not salty enough, add more salt and water and cook more. peanuts are done when they’re soft on the inside. 

et voila.

mushrooms that people will actually kill for.

do you know when you take a bite of something and you’re like: this is good? and then you’re like: oh wait a second, this is really good? and then you’re like: whoa, my eyes are closing and i’m making a moaning sound and i really can’t stop? and then, when you finally pull it together, your eye is still twitching and you’re trying to figure out how many more bites you can have before you get sick?

that’s what happens when people eat these mushrooms. it’s like an explosion of flavor. i’m not even kidding. i have to stop raving about things because when i really really mean it, you might not believe me.

i’ve made these mushrooms a handful of time, and each time, someone has proposed marriage to me. i think it’s because they can sense the sticktoitiveness that comes from cooking mushrooms for 9.straight.hours. yes, this recipe is no joke.

here’s what i recommend. on the morning of a dinner party, wake up at 8 AM. put your ingredients (prepare thyself) - mushrooms, two sticks of butter, entire bottle of red wine, 8 boullion cubes - in a covered pot, and then go back to sleep. you literally don’t need to touch these babies for the next 6 hours, at which point you’ll take the lid off, and cook for another 3 hours. the major issue with this recipe is how good your house will smell while you’re waiting.

i’ve never cooked these for the recommended 9 hours. i’ve normally done about 7 hours - 5 with the lid on, and 2 with it off. also, burgandy is a little expensive, so you can sub in a dry pinot noir.

this recipe comes from the lovely ree drummond of the pioneer woman. katie got me her cookbook for christmas and it’s well-loved! you can find (and should find!) the recipe on her website, here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/09/burgundy-mushrooms/

do yourself a favor. grill this.

quickly! quickly now! run to the store and buy the, like, 3 ingredients you may not have on hand, and make what i consider the best thing i’ve ever had. (fine, full disclosure: top 5).

when I first came across this recipe, i immediately emailed sean with the subject line: I AM GOING TO MAKE THIS FOR YOU. i considered walking out of work and making it that very second, but i wanted to wait until i could share it with someone else. and that was totally the right move. because if you make this for anyone, he/she will love you for.ev.er.

it’s a grilled cheese, y’all, with zucchini and it’s all melty and there’s this one thing that makes it extra special. you make a garlic aioli (garlic+salt+mayo) and you put it on the outside of the sandwich before grilling it. no, really. you take the mayo and spread it on the outside of the bread and put the cheese and zuch in the inside of the bread. do you understand what i’m saying right now? someone must have been so high when they invented this, because it’s the kind of brilliant that only comes from elevated consciousness.

okay, here’s a link to the recipe: http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/2011/09/recipe-flash-golden-zucchini-sandwich.html . imma write that lady a thank you note!

Bacon, Leek, & Goat Cheese Pizza, ya’ll

okay, so I steal recipes that my friend jessica shares on google reader - all the time. i mean, technically i’m not stealing them from her, since she’s just sharing other people’s blog posts, but she’s the finder and i’m the keeper! so, thanks, jess, for your constant cooking inspiration.

this recipe was, how do you say?, out of control. bacon. leeks. goat cheese. pizza. deal with it.

i split the pizza in half and did a basic red sauce on one half since i obviously lack a certain faith in my recipes until after i’ve tasted them. however, i could eat the bacon and leek pizza every day forever and ever. amen.

here’s what i did: i bought pizza dough at a nearby pizzeria for, like, $3-$5. (i know, this is supposed to be a cooking blog. shut it.) then i, like, followed the directions entirely and made myself a tasty pizza.

but the takeaway is, you can saute anything in white wine, butter, cream and bacon fat and it will taste like the most perfect thing you ever ate. so i’m gonna start doing that every time i’m hungry. see also: a good excuse to keep wine on hand always. amen.

here’s the exact stolen recipe, in all its perfection: http://www.food52.com/recipes/4484_leek_bacon_and_goat_cheese_pizza

sick of scrambled eggs.

my scrambled eggs are fine. they’re good, i guess. i add as many spices as i can stand just to make them exciting but, frankly, i’m sick of them!

my boyfriend suggested we steal this recipe that a friend of his shared. we went by the book, and we were not disappointed.

since we’re in the habit of stealing and repurposing things, let’s call this recipe: cupceggsandbacon.

yes! it’s true! bacon, egg, and cheese cooked in a cupcake tin!

here’s what i did: i cooked some bacon until it was brown, but not crispy. i lined the pam-sprayed cupcake tins with the bacon, sides and bottom. then i cracked an egg into each, added salt, pepper, fresh chives, and cheese. as the recipe suggested, i used both cheddar and goat cheese, though my goat cheese was herbed for an extra kick. the cupceggsandbacon cook at 400 for 15 minutes or so. let them cool before removing from the tins and then dig in! obviously, and as the recipe suggests, you can use any combination of cheese and herbs that you like!

the recipe is beautifully presented here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOurjE9s3GA&feature=autoshare

stealing things is a glorious occupation, particularly in the art world
steamed clams in a white wine sauce

i was talking to my co-worker, ruben, the other day about cooking clams on the grill. i love them, grilled till they open, cooled till the shell is cool enough to touch, and then dunked in melted butter. yum.

and ruben reminded me that clams are their best when cooked in white wine, butter, parsely, shallots, garlic, and parsley. and he’s right. i served my clammies over linguine, but you can serve ‘em straight up with some thick bread for sopping up the sauce!

here’s what i did: i put delicious kerrygold Irish butter (an entire blogpost dedicated to this manna from heaven tk) in my le creuset - you can use any pan big enough to hold your clams. i used about 4-5 tablespoons of butter. when it was simmering, i added minced garlic, sliced shallots, red pepper flakes, and a handful of parsley. i threw in some salt here, as well. after cooking these for a few minutes, i turned the temperature up a bit and added white wine - the recipe called for 1/2 a cup; i used at least a cup - i was cooking 2 dozen clams, after all. i squeezed in half a lemon at this point. when the wine had simmered for a few minutes, and all the delicious smells in my kitchen were almost unbearable, i put in the clams and covered the pan. the clams cooked for 5-7 minutes - i like to knock on them if they’re not opening in a timely manner.

when i served the clams and sauce over linguine, i threw in another handful of parsely and some parmigiano cheese.

a few things: use more butter than you’d think. use more wine than you’d think. use more salt than you’d think. this blog is about high-flavor, y’all. sorry.

here’s the recipe I followed for basics like timing: http://savorysweetlife.com/2010/04/steamed-clams/ and here’s another I used for inspiration: http://www.food.com/recipe/clams-in-garlic-white-wine-139629

i would like to make a toast to lying, stealing, cheating, and drinking. if you’re going to lie, lie for a friend. if you’re going to steal, steal a heart. if you’re going to cheat, cheat death. and if you’re going to drink, drink with me.