Thursday, September 11, 2003

Y'all can just guess whether or not I made asparagus last night.

I got home around 7:30, actually in a kind of chipper mood due to the fact that I take far too much glee when some asshat cuts me off in traffic (in this instance, driving onto the shoulder of the 10 in order to move from directly behind me to directly in front of me- a whopping advantage, I tell you) and then is left far, far behind me as the natural order of things smooths it out (at the exit, he got stuck behind a Mack truck and I whizzed past). That and getting semi-rockstar parking (rockstar parking is directly across the street, semi-rockstar parking is within the first section of the perpendicular street across the street) put me in a good mood despite being at work 2 hours late for the second day in a row.

So I was happy to tackle the curry crusted scallops and ginger curry rice from A New Way To Cook. I've cooked this a lot- the first time, I used shrimp, which is what the recipe calls for. This was also right around the time I really started cooking regularly, and the shrimp were a bit of a disaster. (The charred onion salsa I made to go with them was delicious, though. I should make that again.) The curry didn't stick or crust. They came out overdone, and messy messy messy. I tried to make it again with scallops, and it came out well, but I think more due to luck than anything else. The next time, they came out disastrously. I actually cried. Then I got them down. I hadn't made them in a while, though- not since before I got my gorgeous Calphalon and before I really mastered the art of pan-frying and sauteeing. So this time, with evenly heating cookware and an expertise at cooking in a pan, the scallops were a snap. Basic things like patting them dry with paper towels first, that never occurred to me before, now would never NOT occur to me. I guess my point is, cooking really is a set of skills. Learning is its own reward. Or something. The scallops came out beautiful and tender and sweet but crisp and tangy on the outside.

The rice, though. A bit disastrous in prep due to a lack of mise en place. Chopping garlic while Jeff stirred the onions (and note to Sally Schneider: how does one cook something covered while also stirring frequently, exactly?) and then making Jeff continue to stir the rice as I measured out curry powder and grated ginger directly into the rice. And then, my homemade chicken stock wasn't quite fully defrosted, but taking a cue from Julie of Julie/Julia, I said "What could happen?" as I dumped the semi-frozen chicken stock in and brought it to a bowl. And as it turns out, not much- the rice came out fine, if a bit less flavorful than in the past. I think that is more due to inaccurate ginger measurement and running out of curry powder than any frozen stock issues, however.

Tonight, God as my witness, I will make asparagus. Kind of defeats the purpose of buying all that asparagus fresh way back on Sunday, but it was cheap. I'm making grill pan fish with greek seasoning- which asparagus prep do you think would go better: a) steam/sauteed with Chinese five flavor oil and toasted sesame seeds b) steam/sauteed with Hollandaise sauce c)roasted with brown butter and pecorino romano? Leave your thoughts in the comments section if you are reading.