Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Birthday Nights

So it was a friends birthday, and she arranged a nice little evening spent in LA doing what people in LA should be doing, attending movie screenings at the Egyptian with Director attended Q&A, wine, and eating two meals.

After getting lost, and eating a fantastic meal of Scooby's hot dogs, Mexican Coke (in the bottle) and french fries that were a real potato just minutes before we ate them, we entered the theater to watch George Washington, the first film by David Gordon Green, who would next go on to make All The Real Girls (one of the most heart-wrenchingly beautiful movies ever made). This film had all the atmosphere of his later works, and it was great to see his style of film-making evolve. Watching this movie I was struck with how important and relevant film is to my life. It expresses and connects feelings I experience that I cannot begin to describe, but when I see images on that screen, I find I don't need to convey ideas with words. 

The director Q&A at the end went from cute to awkward to dull to tolerable, but I had left the theater by the time the tolerable portion rolled around. After this we capped off our night at Canters with food that was wholly unnecessary. I find the time so rarely these days when I can go out and have a night to spend with friends, it was another reminder of the import things in life. That's two in one day, friends and movies, and especially friends who "get" the things that are important to you, which brings me to my next topic that will be covered another day, discerning taste. Please tune in for that little nugget.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Mastering the Sauce

This week, I successfully made two sauces from scratch, both with a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants approach.

The first was a pan sauce to accompany my steak. I de-glazed the pan I cooked the meat in with Maker's Mark Bourbon, then I added a bay leaf, assorted peppercorns and heavy cream. The sauce was simple, yet highly effective in making beef peppery and delicious. This was the first time I have made this sauce and I must say that I was proud.

Tonight I went for sauce improvisation part two, and utilized more of the cream. I made an Alfredo sauce with pasta and grilled chicken. I started the sauce by melting some butter in a pan, then sauteing some garlic and shallots , to which I added freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and finely chopped fresh parsley. I threw in a bit of salt at the end, but that's it. It takes a while to reduce the sauce to the right consistency, and you have to continuously stir with a whisk, but it's a fairly easy sauce to make and the outcome was honestly about as good as anything as I've paid lots of money to eat at a restaurant. 

A friend asked me to help her cook so she can get more comfortable with it, saying she messed up easy recipes. The thing is, I mess up recipes too. I think a lot of the time they are poorly written, or just plain incorrect when it comes to their proportions or measurements. Sure, there are some things that should be precise, like, uh, ok fuck it 99% of cooking can be done by feel. And that is my wisdom for the day, I encourage anyone with an interest to just mess around with food. You start to get an idea or what ingredients make sense in which dishes, and then cooking becomes a trial and error journey. Sometimes, that journey ends with delicious food, and that's worth any flubs you might encounter along the way.


I believe I should start by stating the purpose for this blog. I see a lot of things in everyday life that cause me to stop and ponder my place in the world. Nine times out of ten these observations cause me to form an opinion, and I have come to the conclusion that these little nuggets of critical thinking should not be lost upon the masses.

Before you go accusing me of high horsedness, please understand that these are my opinions, and everyone has a right to express their own. Having said that, it is my opinion that mine (opinions) may be of more value than others. So you have a choice, you can read this because it amuses you to find others who share your distain with, oh say, Amy Winehouse, bad indie rock trends in fashion (sideways belt anyone?), or intelligent design. Perhaps you will read this because you completely disagree with everything I say and you like to be infuriated. I believe then, that you are an A-hole for wasting your time in such a fashion.

Mostly, I am doing this because I find that venting opinions about random occurances gets them out of my head and leaves more room for memorizing scientific names of Native California plants and animals.