Follow the culinary adventures and misadventures of the Cooking Agents (Ray and Katie). Watch as we eat/cook our way into adulthood.
Katie, Ivy, and Ray — three very full traveling companions, at the famous Chinese Theatre
Guess what? We’re alive and posting from California!
This trip has been a long time in the making. After finally passing my last CPA exam this past February, I was able to make the executive decision to inject more fun into my life. Why not round out my first summer of freedom with a foodie fueled west coast adventure with old college friends I haven’t seen for years. Yes, you read that correctly. YEARS.
Our timing couldn’t have been more perfect. By a stroke of luck neither Ray nor I typically experience, we were able to fly safely out of Logan Airport Saturday morning right before Irene hit Boston. We were greeted by a very friendly and familiar face, Ivy who flew into LAX from Palo Alto.
Once we got our big bear hugs out of the way, we headed out to Roscoe’s for some rib sticking chicken and waffles. Having never experienced this before, I was more than ready to fill my quota of true “soul” food.
We each ordered southern style fried chicken (dark meat obviously!) with waffles. In a total gratuitous act of fatness, we ordered a large plate of chicken chili cheese fries. Let it be known, we’ve made a lot of decisions like this one since the first day.
What arrived was a plate full of crispy fried chicken (disappointingly, a breast and a drumstick — seriously, white meat puts the BOO in boob), two golden waffles, a heaping ice cream scoop of butter and a small cup of syrup. Whether or not it was pure maple was debatable.
After I took it all in, I found myself in a conundrum. Is this finger food/knife and fork food/a mixture of both? My comrades took different approaches as Ivy started eating her drumstick with her fingers (a girl after my own heart) and Ray went in with his utensils. I did some kind of unassertive mix of both. Am I supposed to have a bite of waffle and then a separate bite of chicken? Do I put the chicken on the waffle and let some of the grease fill up the nooks and crannies? Should I sandwich the chicken between the two waffles and risk exposing my true barbaric eating habits to the regular patrons? Am I supposed to be this boggled by soul food?
Once I decided to stick to utensils and take a bite of everything all at once, the myriad of flavors exploded in my mouth. This reminded me of one of my staple favorites, bacon doused in maple syrup and not just drizzled, but poured with a very heavy hand. Savory and sweet, not battling, but dancing together in frenetic excitement.
The chicken chili cheese fries were a sad plate of not surprisingly very soggy french fries. Though the additional pieces of chicken thigh dotting the dish were fun, I have nothing further to say about these.
This was my first experience with chicken and waffles and though I’m sure this particular experience is not going to set the golden standard for me, it certainly was eye opening. I think of all of the food out there that has not crossed my path and realize the new experiences are really endless. I’m just lucky that I have food companions that are more than willing to take on the new adventures with me.
My sister came over for dinner on Sunday, and I was going to make Thomas Keller’s Roast Chicken, but since it was only the two of us, I butchered a whole chicken into 4 cuts (2 white meat and 2 dark meat cuts). Since my sister prefers white meat, I managed to remove the breast bone and roasted it with salt and pepper. The simplicity of roast chicken is mind boggling, and over the years I think I’ve gotten better and better. The two tweaks include being more liberal with the kosher salt and tempering the chicken. Letting the chicken air dry lets the skin dry out a bit, which makes for crispier skin and speeds the cooking process. The middle of the meat is also likely to cook all the way through. Enjoy an easy lesson and go make a chicken like the best chef in America!
I was determined to put my slow cooker to use and decided kill two birds with one stone by also making pulled pork for the first time. After reading so many times about the wonders of the slow cooker for winter time BBQ, I decided to use a simple recipe so that I could see the pork by itself and then try a bottled sauce as well.
Simple Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
3 lbs Pork Shoulder
Salt and Pepper
1 Bottle of BBQ Sauce
Season pork shoulder with salt and pepper. Place in slow cooker and add water until the bottom of the slow cooker is covered. Set to low for 8 hours. Once shoulder is ready, take shoulder out of slow cooker and let rest 15 minutes. While the meat is resting, remove liquid from slow cooker and add BBQ sauce of choice to slow cooker bowl. Begin shredding meat from shoulder and place in the bowl. Mix with sauce. Return bowl to slow cooker and cook 30 minutes on high. Serve and enjoy. I use a Texas style sauce from World Market, which was bold and just a tiny bit spicy.
Mini Pulled Pork Sandwiches
I initially made some mini pulled pork sandwiches, but decided to use the leftovers with some cauliflower puree. Looks like cauliflower is good for something after all.
1 Head of Cauliflower chopped into 1-1.5 inch florets
1 cup Water, Milk or Stock
3 Cloves of Garlic
3 tbsp Butter
Salt and Pepper
Take cauliflower florets and place in a shallow sauce pan with 1 cup milk, water, or stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer covered for 10 minutes or until tender. While cauliflower is cooking, roast 3 cloves of garlic with olive oil in a foil pouch. Place 3 tbsp. butter, garlic and oil, cauliflower florets, salt and pepper in a food processor and blend until desired consistency is reached. Use remaining liquid in sauce pan to thin out the mixture in food processor by adding a little at a time. Season to taste.
Pulled Pork Over Cauliflower Puree