Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On that note...Cooking FAIL

So I have been trying various rubs with pork chops as of late. I've tried three over the last two months with the third taking place tonight. I have always tried to pan sear the chops which has been problematic in my apartment. I am constantly setting off smoke alarms because you have to cook the chops on a high heat, and the fan above my stove does not work adequately. Usually I cook them on high about three minutes to a side. Tonight I tried a couple of different things. Which so far has had an unfortunate turn out.

The first thing was that the chops were thicker. I therefore needed to cook the meat longer. The problem is if you do that at the same high heat, my smoke alarms are going off longer and you tend to burn the outside pretty badly as you wait for the inside to cook.

The second thing is that I am using with new cookware. I've been married since April and we finally got our wedding presents shipped to us. So we have snazzy cookware. Unfortunately I have no idea how to cook with it because it is not supposed to see extremely high heat.

I figured this would work out well for this application because I would just use the lower heat and cook them longer. Four minutes to a side. Using this cookware it is supposed to transfer the heat better so I didn't think the lower temperature I was using would be much of an issue with the longer cook time. WRONG.

It looked amazing, its smelled delicious, and it was totally raw on the inside when I thought it was done cooking. Oops.

Its now coming out of the oven now. We'll see how it is.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Cooking can in fact be fun

When I lived at home with my parents, I never once prepared a complex meal for myself, or others in my family. It just wasn't how our family worked. Either mom or dad cooked. Then for four years at school I either ate in the mess hall, or I ate out. Needless to say my cooking skills were not up to par when I finally moved out on my own. And it showed.

For about two weeks I attempted to actually make complete meals for myself; a meal like spaghetti, bread, and salad. There were two big problems with that. The first was that I always made too much. Eating spaghetti for days on end gets tiring. So if you don't eat it all it just goes to waste, which is no good.

The other problem is no matter how simple the meal is I make a huge mess. Spaghetti sauce would be everywhere, I would have tons of dirty plates, utensils, everything. Don't ask me how I could consistently make such a huge mess. About the last thing I wanted to do was to go home after work, make a meal I would then have to eat for 4 meals, and then have to clean everything up. I very quickly adopted a microwave diet. If it couldn't be cooked in the microwave I didn't eat it. And that is how it stayed for about two years.

Two things changed that. The Food Network (as well as some Bravo) and getting married. I recently became a Food Network addict. Particularly the various cooking competitions, Iron Chef, Chopped, Food network challenge, Top Chef. The problem is when you sit there and watch good chefs make amazing looking food, and then you go and eat your hot pocket it just isn't quite as satisfying. I started wanted to be able to make some of that stuff.

Secondly getting married gave me someone else to cook for. Its a little more motivation. I want to make food that she enjoys. Between these two motivational factors cooking has actually become a lot of fun.

I have cooked a curry, London Broil, pork chops, chili, fish, arrabiata sauce, vodka sauce, lasagna, hamburgers. All sorts of good stuff. I'm going to try to write about some recipes as I try them, and say what I have changed, what I kept the same and what I thought about them.