Monday, March 1, 2010

Fast Food and a Frenchman

Richie has fallen in love with a new TV channel. It's called "Create" or some such and at 5:30 p.m. they run a cooking program. First time he watched it, the chef was a woman who over-salted. Last night, who should pop up in our living room but Jacques Pepin whose cookbook I'd been laughing at two weeks ago! (The book looked mid-'70s vintage.) I was fixing our dinner when I heard "Jacques Pepin" and blurted out, "My God! Is he still alive?"

He is and doesn't look much like his book jack photo any more. Gone is the hair, added are some pounds. He is promoting "fat food" his way (read: cans, bottles.) For a French person, he seemed inordinately fond of a can (yes, can) of lima beans. The frozen are far superior. He advocated using chicken broth to make French onion soup! Quite mad.

Any road, he made me think of "fast food." Last night's dinner is an example. I sauteed baby asparagus in olive oil and finished them with a splash of balsamic vinegar. I got the big skillet going while I trimmed the fat off of a t-bone steak and used it to grease the skillet. I started the spaghetti water and make a quick sauce of olive oil, with sauteed chopped garlic and chili peppers.

I finally figured out how to cook steak properly. Get the skillet nearly white hot. Put the meat in, five minutes for the first side, three minutes for the second and turn the burner off. Let it sit until you're ready to serve it.

Tonight's dinner turns out to be timely -- it's National Pig Day -- and we're having leftover pork loin roast, chopped with barbecue sauce and chopped onions added and baked beans from the brown can. I add maple syrup, smoke sauce, garlic powder and habanero chili powder to the beahs. I will have bought a small container of cole slaw at Guiliani's and dinner's on the table.

The plastic tub of dried, sugared pineapple chunks on the counter kept looking at me reproachfully. Knowing that ginger and pineapple go together quite amiably, I bought a sack of sugar cookie dough, ready to go and made Pineapple Ginger Cookies.

The sack instructions call for a softened stick of butter and one egg. I beat the egg, added the butter and began gradually putting in the dry mix. Each addition, I also put in two teaspoons of ground ginger. When the dough was pretty much mixed, I added about 3/4 cup of chopped pineapple - wet your knife blade, this stuff is sticky.

You can roll out the dough and use a cookie cutter (too labor intensive) or make drop cookies, which I did. Since I didn't really do anything, I can say that they are very, very good! 10 oz. tub of Mariana Pineapple, Trader Joe's. Purists may, of course, start from scratch and make their own sugar cookie recipe, by my way is faster! Au revoir, M. Pepin!

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