Monday, December 3, 2007

Kitchen Confidential

Loyal readers know of my recent attempts to become a better maker of soup with the help of my friends Rachael and Sandy and the many magazines to which I subscribe. I thought I was over the soup phase and indeed had planned to move on to something new, like a category of meat, but I'm just not in the mood to enter a pork phase just yet. So, if you can stand it, I have two more soup adventures to break down, a kitchen triumph to celebrate, new food products alert, and some culinary television updates. Here goes:

"Baked" Potato Soup* from Southern Living: I have long been a fan of potato soup and after a cold, snowy, and wet weekend in Chicago, this "Baked" Potato Soup sounded perfect. Better still, it was a slow cooker recipe so it required very little hands on preparation (except for the peeling and cutting of the potatoes). The only wrinkle was that the recipe called for Chicken Broth with Roasted Garlic, which the Jewel did not have (obviously, Kroger would have). In the spirit of my friend E's improvisational cooking, I used regular chicken broth and added a can of Cream of Mushroom Soup with Roasted Garlic. All in all, I thought the soup was a great success. I couldn't find the recipe I used online, but here's another to try. If you're desperate for the one I used and you know me, email me and I'll pass it along.

Split Pea Soup from Cooking Light: My hubby is in New York doing more work so tonight was the perfect night to make a soup he would hate (or at least refuse to try). I followed the directions fairly closely, but this soup was not a total success. The flavor was fine, but my celery did not get tender and thus my soup had a crunch factor I was not expecting. Not a total failure though.

Kitchen Triumph: The credit for the triumph goes to the hubby not me. A few days before Thanksgiving, I bought an industrial package of sliced mushrooms and used about a third of them. The day we were leaving town for the holiday, I had the foresight to throw them in a freezer bag and then into the freezer. I congratulated myself on not just leaving them in the fridge to rot. We returned home from Thanksgiving to find a strange new phenomenon: our ice-maker was no longer making ice. Why? Because I had thrown the bag of mushrooms a bit too close to the ice maker and a corner section of the bag had become ensnared in the ice apparatus. I guess I don't need to say that the hubby was not pleased. Each time he went to the freezer to get some ice, the sighing would ensue. One might have thought I purposefully threw the bag of mushrooms into the ice-maker. A few days ago, talk of having to defrost the entire fridge and freezer to extricate the bag began. I was silently panicking because such an event would push the aggravated sighing quotient over the roof and would also be a real pain in the ass to execute. In desperation, I suggested my hubby take a knife to the mushroom bag. NTB, but it worked. I woke up this morning to a full ice basket.

Wildtree Products: A friend invited me to a Wildtree Tasting party this Sunday. I seldom get invited to such parties (Pampered Chef, Southern Living At Home, Party Lite, etc.) but I actually like them. I don't feel pressured to buy anything (though I usually do) and I love chances to hang out with other women and eat food. I was the first to leave on Sunday not because I was not having fun but because I feared I might single handedly polish off the beer bread and dill dip (just some of the items on offer) if I did not remove myself from the situation. Who knows what will happen when my own beer bread and dill dip mixes arrive.

Culinary Television Update #1:
One of Emeril's shows has finally been canceled. I have nothing against the guy, but if I turn on the Food Network and see his show, I immediately change channels. I'm just not into the "bams" and the "kickin' it up a notch." His food never looks like something I would make.

Culinary Television Update #2:
There is going to be a Top Chef holiday special on Bravo on December 6th. Can't wait to see Padma again, just hoping she is not dressed as an elf or something.

Apologies for a semi-tedious blog. Hopefully I'll be back to my witty (NTB) self soon.

*I'm not sure why the quotation marks, except that the potatoes aren't actually baked.


LAP said...

The sigh is so easy to imagine.

The baked potato soup sounds delightful but I too would hope to be out of state if Split Pea Soup were offered.

Actchy said...

I love your kitchen blogs. I really, really do. Not in the least tedious.

So, just so you know, you may have a borderline copyright issue with your post's title, what with "Kitchen Confidential" being the title of Anthony Bourdain's breakthrough book that is, I believe, the only book my husband and I have both read and enjoyed and the book that inspired our choice of Les Halles restaurant for my husband's 32nd birthday. (I thought the restaurant was too commercial-esque; he loved it.)

Second, your selection of soups is wonderful. They all sound delish. I'd be thrilled to get your slow-cooker recipe if my own slow-cooker hadn't nearly killed us over the summer. I used it to make a pot roast for the 62 year old Australian woman who was our dinner guest, and when I took the bowl part out, I saw that the wires had burned through the metal part of the thing and cinged half of the undercarriage. It was only then that I discerned that the (heavenly) scent of pot roast was intertwined with the slightly less lovely (and possibly toxic) fumes of pending electrical fire. I sent a strongly worded email to Rival ASAP, to which they replied with a half-assed offer to send me a 25% off coupon for a new Crock Pot. WTF? Hmph. Convenient cooking, my foot.

MEP said...

I am aware that Kitchen Confidential is Bourdain's breakthrough book (though I haven't read it). I am positive he would shit all over my kitchen posts if he ever read them. Actchy, one of the many reasons why you should be watching Top Chef is that Bourdain shows up as a guest judge several times each season and is hilarious.

T-BABY said...

For the record, the sighing was not about the zip lock stuck in the ice maker - stuff happens. It had to do with the fact the freezer is so over stuffed with things that I will likely never eat that every time I tried to fix the ice maker stuff would start falling out of the freezer all over the place making a mess and my job even less enjoyable. Lesson learned - only put in the freezer things that you will actually one day eat. Can we also rid our fridge of just 50% of our 31 different salad dressings and other old condiments that must go bad when less than 50% full? Why else would we keep buying more?

Steph said...

Potato soup is my favorite, so I'll have to try this! I'd like to say something witty about the hubby sighs, but it's 9:07 on a Friday night and nothing is coming my way. :-)

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