If you want to get fancy…

August 23, 2011

Random Thoughts

So I was on my lunch break at the big Green Machine reading through the RSS feed from Fox News following a rabbit trail from one story to the next when I came upon a page for lamb meat balls.  I was reading through the opening paragraph describing the recipe, towards the bottom of that paragraph the writer commented that if you would like to get fancy add some garlic to the dish..Umm EXCUSE ME???  Garlic is “FANCY”?  Please tell me the writer was kidding. What is the world coming to when those who cook think garlic is fancy?

Now granted The Husband, when we got married, thought garlic was fancy as well.  Little did he know when we got married what he was getting into cooking wise.  He grew up in Central Ky.  He had not even eaten grits by the time we were married….a southerner like him having not eaten grits, say it isn’t so!   Boy where his taste buds in for a shock like there is no tomorrow.

You see I am a BRAT.  I was raised a BRAT, I married into the Army and became an Army Wife but I am still a BRAT at heart.  There is nothing that will ever change that, once a BRAT always a BRAT.  In being a BRAT I learned to enjoy foods from just about all over the world.  My Dad introduced me and my fellow offspring to a wide selection of items.  Some really good…some others, ummm not so much.  Baluts??  Really Dad, did ya have to tell us about those.  I have never looked at duck eggs the same.  Just thinking about it makes me shudder. Oh don’t click if you have a weak stomach…

My Dad was a chef in the Navy, I remember he made the most amazing wedding cakes…one of the many things he didn’t pass along to me along with that fantastic thick black hair and olive skin undertones that come from being Navajo.  OH to have that black hair or even the chocolate-brown The Brother got….but nope no cake decorating skills, no rich dark hair…I am the whitest Navajo chick you will ever meet, mousey blond hair, mud swamp eyes…Shoot I can’t even tan I just burn to a crisp.

But I digress yet again….

So what do I consider “getting fancy” well I can tell you its not adding garlic that’s for sure.  In the WikiJan household garlic is used like one would use olive oil or salt.  We go though so much garlic I should buy a farm to grow it.  So we are going to zoom right on by garlic as being “fancy” and head on out into the bush to see if we can find something fancy.

Getting fancy for me is a Marsala wine reduction sauce over perfectly cooked stuffed chicken breast. Moist, tender, flavorful.  That is fancy.  But in saying that I am not saying you have to be totally whacked like me and spend 2-3 hours making dinner.  Getting fancy can be as easy as a mixed selections of mushrooms made into a simple white wine cream sauce to kick up the flavor of a slice of pork loin roast. Or the flawlessly decorated sugar cookie.  The perfectly browned med rare Beef Wellington.  Mashed potatoes so smooth they are like silk.  That is fancy…but garlic, not so much.

Saffron with it beautiful reddish-orange hue, that is fancy.  The color Saffron gives off its truly amazing if you ask me, so little of it goes such a long way.  Toasted Pine nuts in chicken salad giving it that buttery nutty flavor, that is fancy.  Buffalo milk Mozzarella with heirloom tomatoes and basil just trimmed from the plant…that’s “high cotton” as they say.  Fresh dill added to a dark leafy greens salad really kicks things up. I guess what it comes down to is stepping outside your normal cooking “box.”  Reaching beyond what you normally do stretching a bit to see if you can take your cooking skills to the next level.  Going beyond the blue box of Mac & Cheese, as it were.

I think what has really set off the rant is the total lack of imagination I saw in the opening paragraph of that recipe so much so that I didn’t even bother reading the actual recipe.  I guess the lack of inspiration is what really struck me and caused me to think about why I do what I do.  So I ask you have you gotten into a culinary rut doing the same old thing cycling though a handful of the same old recipes?  I had a friend who would always describe a rut as “a coffin with the ends knocked out”…So let me lend you a hand to help you get yourself out of that rut and a push to restart your cooking imagination.  Need some inspiration I suggest you check out Foodgawker.com the ideas and imaginations will fly off the screen for you.  I am there daily enjoying the photos and ideas out there in the food blog world. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Now go play with your food.



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Random Thoughts From Jono's Brain

Theology, Coffee, and Overall Randomness

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