Please stand by Nobody has heeded the warnings of climatologists and look at us now. -J. ...that make me happy. . . . . As you were. -J. MWAH! P.S. Since this post will shove everything down, don't forget to vote*. * Nobody's telling THIS Floridian not to count all the votes. Here are the pots and pans which I have in heaviest rotation. From left-to-right they are a Cuisinart saucier, Calphalon anodized 12" sauté pan (my oldest pan still in use, it's seasoned so much it's practically nonstick by now), Bourgeat 12" skillet and Calphalon "mini" stockpot (not pictured are the pasta strainer and stacking steamer baskets). My main piece is the Bourgeat. There you have it. -J. Here is a brief Easter brunch photo essay. Table is set with the aforementioned plates and so forth. -J.
We seem to have cleared the worst.
Resumption of bloggery is imminent.
Monday, April 21, 2008
There is pestilence at Chez Joke. The least waylaid among us has to do the ministering to the others and that includes mopping.
It is not pretty.
More as soon as this blows over. No pun intended.
Friday, April 18, 2008
More You Tube love.
Friday's Film Flashback...
Man does this make me happy...
P.S. To prove the complete and utter worthlessness of the Oscars, this film lost in the Best Original Screenplay to...get this...Ghost.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Doubt me, do you?
Look at this:
Consider the fact we're in APRIL, admittedly the cruelest month, pretty much a full month into spring (those of you in the other hemisphere pretend it's October and that we're talking about one of the very warmest of major cities) and it's pretty much "unusually crisp and breezy."
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
But, before I get to the coolness, Election Results.
Butcher block wins, in a landslide. Order has been placed. I'd especially like to thank those of you who sussed out the fact it was a binary thing, if you will. I realized that I actually don't care about stains/scorch marks all that much and, if one such stain were to be so outrageous and upsetting, replacing the whole hunk of butcher block is a relative pittance. My intent is to make this kitchen a working kitchen, which includes a certain...er...patina. So that's that.
Oh, and I need a new meat thermometer. To celebrate the end of tax season and my SAHDness, I bought a whole tenderloin of beef to roast and, while I didn't RUIN it, it was definitely subpar. I seared it off, set it on the cool side of the porno grill and set the thermometer to beep when it got to "rare" only that it LEAPT to medium without stopping by rare or medium-rare. It was merely okay and -- you foodies in the crowd will know the feeling -- I am still smoldering bitterly over the injustice of this world.
OK, coolness (with a tip o' the Trilby to the very lovely and exceedingly gracious Poppy.)
Sunday, April 13, 2008
It's the little things...
Friday, April 11, 2008
X marks the spot.
Today makes it TEN years I have been pals with the very lovely and exceedingly gratious Poppy.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
YouTube makes heroin addiction look like a craving for "something chocolaty"
From one of my fave unremembered films of the 1980s.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
My carefully arranged posting schedule goes to Hell in a basket.
I blame the Easter brunch.
The Buxoms and NOS. The ferris wheel at Disneyland's California Adventure has two types of gondolæ, the usual kind that just goes around and one that has tracks and therefore spins and swings and loops -- at a pretty good clip, too -- which is quite impressive given the ferris wheel in question is 150 feet tall. Master Buxom didn't care for the swingery but NOS did, so we swapped eldest sons. Even in the mild version, TFBIM pretty much had a total neurological collapse.NTS runs into a hail of bubbles as we attempt to exit the park in a rush (we had to get back to our room and then proceed thither to dinner).NOS has difficulties with his sweatshirt on our way to dine with Poppy & Crew.
I'll take that as a "yes." (Notice we hadn't even taken off yet!)
Monday, April 07, 2008
A cross between a survey and a plea for help.
You may remember the long-gestating kitchen re-do.
The only thing holding the project back has been the matter of the countertop. I had long leaned in the direction of butcher block, even though I was worried about its various* drawbacks. A big part of why I did could be explained by the fact the butcher block color is ideal for the (postmodern Mediterranean, if that makes any damned sense) kitchen as planned.
Well! Something's come up. (Stay with me, because you're in this.)
The color works, it won't scorch and I think the price** is more or less right up my congenitally cheapskate alley.
(Here's where you come in.)
So...aye or nay on the limestone? (Anything that is not an "aye" will be considered a vote for butcher block. This is not a pure democracy, this is a representative republic.) Feel free to voice your opinion, or someone else's with a notarized statement, in the combox. You have until, say, Friday.
As you were.
* Believe it or else, the bacterial contamination thing isn't as big a deal as originally feared.
** Though not as ridiculously cheap as butcher block. Even super-duper fancy-pants butcher block -- finger-joined hardrock maple from John Boos & Co. -- is only 25%-33% the price of limestone.
Friday, April 04, 2008
Check out my equipment.
The lovely and gracious Jaye, at her other blog, posted on the matter of her fave kitchen gear and she proceeded to ask her readership to do likewise.
Since her orders are like commands to me, here are my two most heavily used bits of kitchen equipment. Here you can see my knives in the heaviest rotation. They are (from left to right) Calphalon Katana 7" santoku, 6" slicer, 6" utility, 9" serrated, Shun 8" yanagiba (mostly for thinly slicing delicate things) and 7" nakiri (mostly for light cleaver-y dicing/chopping). My go-to knife is the 7" santoku, it is a spectacular all-rounder.The blade is that "damascus" steel which is emblematic of Japan (and not, ironically, of Damascus). The principle is that soft and hard steels are layered to give the blade superior durability and sharpness and edge retention. It is, by far, the sharpest knife (along with its brethren) I have ever owned -- and this includes a slew of Wüsthofs, Henckels, Sabatiers, Füris and Shuns -- it is apocalyptically sharp.
I'm pleased to have gotten these knives at a price that is far, far closer to larceny than retail. (It was a set with a knife missing and a damaged block. Wound up about 75% off retail.)
You can tell it's been through the wars.
The bottom is suitably scorched and also scuffed.
I bought this about 12 years ago at a restaurant supply place and, later on, I was much pleased to discover that Gordon Ramsay used the same one. The rivets are still tight and even though its nonstick (and THE most durable nonstick I've ever owned) it still develops an amazing bit of caramelization when you sauteé things.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
It is not only tax season, but the last 10 days before the end of tax season, during which those who traipsed off across the continent to loiter with Poppy for a week must make up for lost time AND do so while having the serial-murderer variant of PMS.
It is a very wise SAHD, with a keenly developed case of self-preservation, who hides in the tall grass.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Joke's Book Club: Poppy be thanked.
This book is a fun read. It will carry you though a flight from California to Florida. That said, it is NOT an exhaustive or, by its own admission, even-handed in its approach. As the author states in the preface, this book is about New York and California, with a chemical trace of Chicago. Boston and Miami, the author admits with his apologies, were excluded, as were others.
The exclusions extend beyond geography. Cook's Illustrated, the bible for the perfectionist foodie, is mentioned in passing, and the public TV series that gave us the first glimpse of celebrity chefs (Great Chefs) isn't even mentioned at all. Most of the chefs who have become prominent in the last 10 years get mentioned cursorily, if at all.
To a hardcore foodie, these omissions -- especially if you are among the groups omitted -- kind of stand out. But that's mostly in hindsight.
These sins are covered up by the dispassionately gossipy nature of the writing. The evolution of the American outlook on food is traced through the careers (and often, the private lives) of the principals involved. James Beard, Craig Claiborne and Julia Child are the principals and you learn all you need to know about their secrets by midbook. Some of the supporting players (Alice Waters, Wolfgang Puck, Jeremiah Tower) are also examined assiduously...although in JT's case, all there was to know about his "pansexual libertinism" he covered in his autobiography, in far greater detail.
The book traces the changes from the food-as-fuel farmstand ethos, the comfortable bastardizations of ethnic enclaves, and the gorge-fests of the trencherpersons of 100 years ago; through the arrival of classical French chefs at the outbreak of WWII, to the processed food epoch, to how the 1960s led to a revolution in farming, to how foodiness grew to encompass foodways once sneered (Italian) or derided (Japanese), to the ingredient-driven state of things today.
I'm hoping for a sequel.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Fished out from the draft pile.
The food has been demolished. It was my FiL who drank beer with brunch.
NOS unwinds after a hard job well done with a flute of Domaine Chandon Blanc de Blancs. (Relax, it had about an ounce in it.)
Nobody has heeded the warnings of climatologists and look at us now.
...that make me happy.
As you were.
P.S. Since this post will shove everything down, don't forget to vote*.
* Nobody's telling THIS Floridian not to count all the votes.
Here are the pots and pans which I have in heaviest rotation. From left-to-right they are a Cuisinart saucier, Calphalon anodized 12" sauté pan (my oldest pan still in use, it's seasoned so much it's practically nonstick by now), Bourgeat 12" skillet and Calphalon "mini" stockpot (not pictured are the pasta strainer and stacking steamer baskets). My main piece is the Bourgeat.
There you have it.
Here is a brief Easter brunch photo essay.
Table is set with the aforementioned plates and so forth.