Thursday, September 10, 2015

Life Experiences: Top 5 Home Cooked Dishes

I like food. No, understatement. I love food. Around the year 2000 or so, I discovered my love for cooking... primarily from my love of eating. By 2005 or so, I took it upon myself to start trying out more gourmet'ish dishes out there as part of my development to the culinary experience. Since then, I've had some great experiences, ridiculous failures, and plenty of great times and good laughs. Today's post is a recollection of my top five dishes I made in the comfort of my own home.

Life Experiences: Top 5 Home Cooked Dishes

1. French Onion Soup
The very first "gourmet" dish I attempted was French Onion Soup. To this day, my college roommate and I can laugh about how I basically made our entire apartment building... no, our entire city block, smell like onions for the duration of a summer. Even from the bus stop, you could smell the cooking in the air. The key, I found, was to reaaaallllllly take the time and caramelize the onions over HOURS. Then it would be appropriate to add the beef stock and season to taste. And, sadly! I HAVE NO PICTURES! Ahhhh... so very sad. But, truly very tasty :)

2. Bacon Wrapped Fillet Mignon, Grilled.

I love steak. And, there is nothing more interesting nor exciting than properly grilling Fillet Mignon. At the time, a local Asian store was selling the entire beef tenderloin for $3.99/pound. It was an absolute steal! All you had to do was take it home, trim it, clean it up, and you were good to go. I got some thick cut bacon, mesquite, wood charcoal, and got to work!

3. Salmon Beurre Blanc

Drawing from my wife's French heritage, I took it upon myself to attempt finding some sort of familiarity with French sauces. This combined with my wife's favorite fish... well, I couldn't go wrong! What I found truly interesting about French sauces (with Beurre Blanc being no exception), when the recipe says "whisk," it doesn't mean whisk once or twice. It means you need to furiously whisk that puppy so the sauce doesn't break. And, I mean FURIOUSLY.

4. Beef Bourguignon.

After watching Julie and Julia, hearing so much about this beef stew compelled me to give it a try. So, I did. And, I have to say, it is actually quite easy to make (given certain material short cuts) and is absolutely tasty. The big key is finding that magic point in time when the red wine is cooked off. It was quite enlightening the last time I made it; I had my mother-in-law taste test the soup with me incrementally during the phase of cooking off the wine... and, it was quite interesting how instantaneous it was when the soup tasted like wine... then suddenly tasted like super awesome soup!

5. Bone In New York Steak, Butter Basted & Pan Seared
I've always grilled my steaks. Always. Pan seared? I felt that was robbing a good steak from the proper flavor of the grill. However, having watched both an episode of Master Chef and a quick YouTube video by Gordon Ramsey on pan searing steak, I took it upon myself to try it out. Well, hear the sizzle ;) It tasted just as good as it sounded. I need to work on my timing to work out the cook as well as the searing. I've also heard of a good technique to first sear, then bast, then oven the bone in... I'm no where near an expert. So, if you know more details on this, I'd love to hear about it!

Well, that's in for now! I'm hoping to write up a couple posts on the truth of academics and career paths -- and of course -- some eye opening posts about relationships.

Stay Tuned!

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