Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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I can bake!

Filed under: — stan @ 5:27 pm

When Lucinda and I got home this afternoon, there was a package on the porch. It was the new igniter for my oven. So I got out my tools and put it in. It was a bit of an ordeal, just because the two screws that hold the igniter to the side of the burner are at a very odd angle and very hard to reach. But aside from that, it was quite easy to install.

And it works just fine. So now I have a batch of focaccia dough rising to bake later this evening.


Our first dinner party

Filed under: — stan @ 11:32 pm

Tonight Susan and I hosted our first dinner party for some friends. It was fun to cook a fancy meal and break out the nice dishes and all that. We made a marinated beef rib roast, snow white potatoes au gratin, brussels sprouts, and I made some homemade rosemary dinner rolls.

It was a fun time.


Perhaps this is getting out of hand…

Filed under: — stan @ 4:19 pm

I’m making a cake to take along to dinner tonight, and I was just checking my supplies. In my pantry I have:

  • 15 pounds of sugar
  • 15 pounds of all-purpose flour
  • 15 pounds of bread flour

Did I mention that I like to bake, and that I do it a lot?


Thanksgiving with Lucinda

Filed under: — stan @ 8:59 pm

Because our family is fragmented now, Lucinda wanted to do a Thanksgiving dinner with me here. So today was our day. I picked her up at 1:00 and we came home to make it. We made cornbread stuffing, snow-white potatoes au gratin, kale, and a cornish game hen. We also made a chocolate bundt cake with the recipe from the Hershey’s cookbook. It was all quite good.


The first rain of the seaon

Filed under: — stan @ 7:27 pm

This afternoon we got some rain. The first rain of the season here in L.A. So Lucinda put on her coat and went outside to stand in it. Rain is a novelty around here.

It was gray and dreary all day, so it seemed like a good day to be cooking. I made short ribs with lentils and rice for dinner, and I also made an apple pie. It was an experiment, since I used Granny Smith apples this time, instead of the Fujis that I’ve used before. I think I like the texture of the Fuji apples better. I also tried making the crust in the food processor, instead of by hand with the pastry cutter. That was a whole lot easier. I also experimented with decorating the top of the pie with shapes cut from crust dough scraps. It was a good pie.


Pasta at Chez Cherie

Filed under: — stan @ 10:21 pm

I did another cooking class this evening at Chez Cherie in La Cañada. This one was the hands-on pasta class. I did the hands-on souffle class last February, and it was fun. So I thought it would be interesting to learn to make pasta.

At the beginning, Cherie demonstrated making it by hand and also with a food processor. Then she asked if anyone in the class wanted to learn the hand method. I raised my hand, along with one other person. So we went up to the front table and made our pasta by hand. That was an interesting exercise. Not all that different from making bread.

After the dough was made, we had to let it rest a bit, so they fed us some fresh pasta with different sauces. Then we got to roll the dough out and cut it. At the end, we each had a bag of our fresh pasta to take home and cook.

It was a fun evening.


Neither rain, nor…

Filed under: — stan @ 7:14 pm

Today is Friday before Memorial Day, and so we had planned on having a cookout at the office. Who knew a freak storm would blow in and it would be raining? Usually, if it’s after March, this is just not something we have to worry about here in L.A. So nobody could have foreseen this. But the show must go on. We moved the actual serving area inside to the conference room. But the grill was still outside, so I just stood out there in the rain cooking our sausages. It was all right.


Weeknight meals at Chez Cherie

Filed under: — stan @ 10:13 pm

This evening, I went to another cooking class at Chez Cherie. I’ve done a few of these before. They’re always fun, and they give me some new ideas and recipes to bring home to my kitchen. Even though I don’t really have a family to cook for right now, it’s always good to know how to cook good food.

Tonight’s class was “Weeknight Meals”, which means recipes that can be done quickly, but which are still tasty and good. We got a handout with the recipes, and we got to see each of them prepared. And the preparation was complete with running commentary from Cherie, who is very entertaining. At the end, we got to sample each of the dishes, and they were all quite good.

It was a fun evening out.


A simple dinner on a Saturday night

Filed under: — stan @ 7:17 pm

Lucinda is over at her mom’s house today, so I’m on my own. But I’m still eating well.

Tonight, I had a steak on the barbecue. I built a little oak wood fire to cook on. The steak was rubbed with olive oil and seasoned with ground black pepper and fennel seed, and also with rosemary and thyme from my garden. I made potatoes with the spice mixture. I made a foil pouch and cooked them on the barbecue, too. I also grilled a portobello mushroom to go with the steak. And tonight I got to have the swiss chard from my garden for the first time.



French cooking with Saveur

Filed under: — stan @ 10:55 pm

I signed up for yet another cooking class tonight. This time it was “Saveur Cooks: French Classics”. This was a slight departure from the other cooking classes I’ve done at Chez Cherie in that the recipes and menu were provided by Saveur magazine, rather than straight from Cherie.

We all got a little Saveur tote bag with some food samples and a recipe booklet in it. The dishes that we got to see done were the Gougères, the Salade des Moines, the Gratin Dauphinois, and the Poussin Vallée D’Auge. All the demonstration was done by Cherie, who is very entertaining, and also answered questions along the way. At the end, she demonstrated making chocolate soufflés before we all headed up to the tables in front to eat everything she had made.

It was a very entertaining evening, and I’m going to try out some of these recipes Real Soon Now.

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