Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cooking 101

I have mentioned before that I use the book Sylvia's Farm as a sort of literary guide or mentor to my farm pursuits. One of the things that she does in her book, is describe her cooking. She cooks in a french rustic style. She cooks many things that I cannot pronounce. It is an area where I feel I fall short. I'm an okay cook. No one has ever starved on my watch and I have a good touch with bread, but still.... It seemed that no matter, how many lambs Sylvia had to bottle feed she still had time to make her Shaker Daily Loaf. Maybe she didn't make it everyday. Maybe in reality it is Shaker Twice A Week Loaf. Can Sylvia eat a whole loaf in a day? Does she like toast a lot? Hmmm.....

I think about this stuff a lot. I don't have a radio and I don't like the noise of television. During the day, I usually have quiet.... just me and my thoughts and my plans. But Sylvia tends to jump into my head at least once a day, and let me tell you, that woman bakes a LOT of pear tarts! Sometimes thinking of her is a challenge to work harder and sometimes I just feel bad that I haven't gotten further. And when disaster strikes, she goes and cooks fromage something, something.

Then last night I did something that I was rather proud of... it had been a busy day. I was wounded by some of the attack plants that pass for brush around here. I had also been damaged by my own brush saw and had a jagged hole in my thumb and thumbnail. Just burgers for supper but my real victory was my home fries. I had seen on the scandinavian cooking show on PBS (just before switching off the tv) that the trick to a good french fry was the frying twice. But, if you had already cooked the potato then you could fry it just once at high heat. I thought, "what the hell! I'll give it a whirl" So, step one on my french fries was to just pop them in the toaster oven and bake for thirty minutes. They were medium sized, red skinned potatoes. When done baking, I halved them and then cut into wedges. They were a bit crumbly, which I worried about. In for a penny, in for a pound, so I proceeded. Got the oil hotter then usual as the second cooking is suppose to be at a higher heat.

They were AWESOME!! Absolutely creamy on the inside and the frying made the crumbly bits on the edges into a perfect texture. The best fries I've ever eaten. The skins were still on so I can lie to myself and say they were still healthy. A total win/win scenario.

Tonight will be beef stew and biscuits. Scratch biscuits.... none of that crap that comes out of a tube. It will be cooked after I spend a day cutting poles for the round pen, choring the horses, hauling water, walking a quarter of a mile to the mail box and back and throw a load of laundry into the washing machine... but there won't be any bottle lambs and there won't be any pear tart. I guess I will just have to live with that guilt.


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