Friday, July 15, 2016

Cooking LBC 07/15/2016

Lets talk cooking.

Cooking is something people typically either really enjoy  or simply accept as a necessity and tolerate. I fall into the really enjoy category. I am a good cook - or so I have been told.  Cooking is where any creative sense I have shows its presence. My preferred cuisines are most often Cajun/Creole, Italian and my own version of str-fry.

Cooking requires a basic sense of pairing things - what spices go with what proteins, how to get the most out of your spices and the like. My preferred quick go-to meal is some sort of  madras curry based dish. Chicken, pork or lamb if available, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, garlic, mushrooms, potatoes and whatever other handy veggie that is available.  What you will never find in anything I cook is tofu. I despise tofu - its consistency, taste (well - lack thereof). I typically serve my curries over rice - its a gravy on my starch thing I have always enjoyed. My grandmother raised me on southern cooking - fried with gravy on bread or mashed potatoes. That stuck with me - quite literally actually as the multiple Xs on my frame confirm.

But though there are supposed norms in pairing things, the only rule that really matters is taste - it must taste good. Why else would a whole group of foodies invest time and energy with different methods of cooking. Why else would Molecular Gastronomy - the science of cooking - even exist?  If that modernist view of cooking suits your fancy check this link for some interesting stuff.

Of course the science of cooking applies to  traditional cooking methods as well. Why else would you deglaze your cooking pan if all of that burnt-looking stuff on the bottom of the pan didn't add a ton of flavor to the dish? And of course your deglazing liquid of choice also adds to the flavor.

Occasionally an inventive chef takes something a step further, like the late Paul Prudhomme did with blackening as a cooking method.
Image result for paul prudhomme
It was such a huge success the redfish population took a serious nose dive. Read about the technique here if you are interested. It is a bit tricky to use at home but worth the effort.

I spent most of the last 22 years in Texas where chicken-fried is a food group and the sauces are white and brown gravy. Of course the French insist there are five "mother sauces" that  every cook should know - Bechamel, Veloute, Espagnole, Hollandaise and Classic Tomate (yep, they spell it that way). Me? I usually use a simple roux, the flavor varying by the color and an Italian red sauce/gravy. I make  pretty good white sausage/pepper gravy too - a southern staple.

Another go-to dish of mine is soup. I make soup all of the time and use whatever is available in the fridge, spice rack and veggie bin. I always have chicken and beef stock available and can make them both from scratch if necessary.  My soups tend to be quite hearty - and they go great with freshly baked cornbread.

So that's a quick take on this weeks LBC topic To see what my buddy Ramana, another self-professed good cook has to say, simply click here

See ya  next week. 


  1. Your post is a complete surprise to me Shackman. I am impressed!

    1. Really? Surprised to be impressed? That I can cook? Now I am puzzled. I thought the circus clam was gone.