December 22, 2002

A Day of Hacks

Today was a day of cooking hacks. Lots of "meals" made with leftovers, shortcuts, and various tricks.

First off in the morning was biscuits and gravy. I had fresh sausage around, but for the gravy I used some leftover chicken gravy (which is basically all milk and cream anyway) and hit it with some extra Penzy's Black and Red to send it up into the spice area. Very quick overall, and you more or less didn't taste the sage from the chicken. Mostly.

For lunch, I took some leftover tomato sauce from the week's chicken and made a pizza/focatia. The bread was a basic quick yeast dough with a fair amount of olive oil. A thin coat of the tomato sauce, some sliced smoked beef sausages, and a sprinkling of cheese. 45 minutes in a medium oven, slice, and eat while watching Clerks. Yeah, Kevin Smith kick. There was some hours of dough rising in there someplace.

For a treat, I made Almond Brittle. Had a big sack of uncooked almonds. Mixed up a batch of sugar syrup and started cooking it off. I let it go a bit too close to hard crack (my brand new candy thermometer seems to have discharged the battery), tossed in the almonds along with some salt and baking soda (supposed to help it foam up so you can spread it) and cooked down until the sugar re-melted. Spread out on a greased sheet pan, let it set up and then cracked it into eatable bits. As I said, I went a bit too far with the inital cooking, but it was a nice dark brown and very tasty. Next time, I'll reign in that first wave.

All in all, a very nice day of "casual kitchen." The week will become more involved. I'm BBQing on Christmas Eve, and Carol is making an elaborate Coke-brined pork leg for Christmas Dinner. Should be fun and interesting.

Posted by dowdy at December 22, 2002 04:17 PM