Sunday, November 20, 2005

Being Entirely Impractical With The Joy of Cooking

Posted by Trott

I used to have sensible plans of seeing the world with an underground band I would front or bicycling across continents.

Now I try to do things that are entirely impractical, like planning on cooking everything in The Joy of Cooking in sequential order skipping only those items that cannot be made meat-free. (Yes, the person who posts the most at PalaceFamilySteakHouse.Com and sings about the virtues of au jus is a vegetarian.)

I hope to assemble an arsenal of recipes that I particularly like from the cookbook. I haven't yet figured out how to deal with the fact that it will take the rest of my life to get through the thing.

The first chapter was easy enough: Coffee, Tea & Hot Chocolate. The winning recipe from that chapter was Spiced Tea. Now you know which recipe in that chapter to go to without having to try everything. I'm all about helping the rest of mankind.

The next chapter, Stocks & Sauces, took a lot longer to get through, and I really didn't come up with a winner of a recipe. A sauce by itself is not really a recipe that knocks you out, even if you know how much goddamned effort it was to make something that turned out to be "just" a sauce.

This problem is likely to persist through the rest of the current chapter: Condiments, Marinades & Dry Rubs. All the salsas were good, but without being a part of a larger recipe, it's hard to pick a winning salsa, much less a winning overall condiment.

Today, I finished Piccalilli Relish, which I had to start yesterday because the chopped vegetables had to soak in brine for twelve hours. Holy crap, some of these relishes are a lot of work. Piccalilli was easier than Chow Chow, but both involved chopping an ass-ton of vegetables. The book warns against trying to cook condiments in smaller batches than the recipes call for because doing so can affect flavor. Therefore, I have an absurd amount of Piccalilli Relish. Anyone need some?

So, next is Whole Cranberry Relish, just in time for Thanksgiving. It's a reasonable amount yield too. I only need a pound of cranberries. For Piccalilli, I needed five pounds of small cucumbers alone. Maybe I'm just a wuss who's never worked in a restaurant, doesn't own a good knife, and/or needs a knife skills course, but I had to chop that in several shifts.

I'm looking forward a couple recipes to Green Tomato Relish. It requires eight pounds of green tomatoes. Eight pounds! And you can't buy them, as far as I can tell, at supermarkets or anything like that. Chow Chow Relish called for one-and-a-half pounds of green tomatoes, and I had to go to several Mission produce shops to scrounge up that much. The produce shops didn't sell green tomatoes intentionally, but sometimes if you went to the bottom of the tomato bin, you could find one or two. I have no idea how I'm going to gather eight pounds.

Maybe some kind reader has a tomato plant that has an abnormally large amount of green tomatoes at the end of the season? Yeah, didn't think so.

Maybe someone wants to accompany me as I scour every produce shop in San Francisco looking for enough green tomatoes? Yeah, didn't think so either.

Maybe someone somewhere is still reading this? Yeah, again, didn't think so.



 Ajax said...

I read the whole thing, and would just like to say "I support your endeavor to do ridiculous things".

9:37 AM, November 21, 2005
 Trott said...

Thanks for your support, Ajax. Can I thank you with a plastic container of Piccalilli Relish?

11:00 AM, November 21, 2005
 Anonymous said...

are greem tomatoes just regular tomatoes that haven't fully ripened? If so, you're in luck. My tomato plant didn't produce a single ripened tomato all year and I was just about to rip out the whole thing last weekend and throw it into the compost bin, when I thought "I wonder if there are any recipes that call for green tomatoes". Then I happened to stumble upon your blog. I probably have 1 to 2 pounds of green tomatoes that I'd be happy to donate towards your cause.

BTW, is the Steak House open on New Years Eve?

4:44 PM, December 08, 2005
 Trott said...

Yes, green tomatoes are ordinary tomatoes that have not ripened. I would love to take your green tomatoes off your hands! But you didn't leave any contact info. Who are you? Send me an email: rtrott AT gmail DOT com.

Sadly, I have no idea what the steak house's holiday hours are. I have no affiliation with them and I don't live in that neighborhood anymore.

4:46 PM, December 08, 2005

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