There is nothing more FUN, nothing that makes me happier than cooking with a bunch of people that like to cook. That’s what we did this past Sunday – gathering 10 members of meetup.com/SanDiegoFoodies or as I have it listed on Facebook ‘San Diego’s Foodies‘! lol Hey! You do whatever it takes…. even if someone else has your domain! You find a way to make it work!
Our ‘Foodies’ will be the first to tell you that they were surprised they learned so much. And equally glad they cooked with me on a Sunday and got to take home portions of what everyone made, all along hearing and seeing what most everyone was cooking on their own. (If someone wants to email me and let me know how to set the margins on this blog….. geeez…. I would be forever grateful)! : ) I am also aways looking for help with social media.
Soooo… if you’d like to come to either a Cooking Class, Cooking Show or one of my special Food & Wine Tasting Dinners I put together all over the county, or you have a favorite restaurant you think I should consider adding to the San Diego Foodies Family of Restaurants, email me!
Meanwhile here’s a list of the common mistakes, some pictures of what we made along with recipes.
Remember: I am a conceptual cook. So it’s not exactly recipes – but general knowledge of what to do to create a dish you’ll make for friends and family.
The TOP TWELVE things we learned:
- Always make sure your pan is hot before throwing in Onions and Mushrooms.
- Make sure everything is neatly tucked in to your Chicken when doing Cordon Bleu.
- If you are going to crust Polenta with Parmesan Cheese, never on the stove top, always into the oven.
- Parmesan Crisps for a salad are easy to make. Shred Parmesan on a silpat in a round design, cook until crisp in the oven and you have a ‘crisp’ for your salad.
- Roll your Egg Rolls quickly because the wrapper when left out too long doesn’t hold up – it rips.
- If you want Chicken Parmesan to cook quicker, cut the breast in half and pound it before you flour or bread it.
- When you’re making whatever you are making have all your ingredients in front of you so that you don’t forget to add something that’s part of the recipe.
- You can use canned tomatoes in Eggplant Parmesan, but fresh look so much more substantial.
- A secret ingredient for Chicken Pot Pie? A dash of nutmeg.
- Thicken that sauce? A roux of flour and butter.
- Secret ingredient for Pizza? Sprinkle it with Chili Powder at the end, before cooking.
- And the number 12th item? We learned that there’s nothing better than ‘community’. A group of people getting together on a Sunday afternoon to share information, stories, laughter, wine and food? It’s a GOOD thing!
So that’s my Top 12. Now, how about looking at what we cooked? Let’s start today with this one, and see what I come up with for tomorrow.
I would say that the days’ favorite was Chicken Pot Pie. So we cut all the vegetables, using that as a ‘bed’ for the chicken. And guess what happens to the veggies? They get flavored and caramelized in the juice of the chicken. Good idea? Yeeaah.
So we chop everything up. Suggestion? Make every piece the same size so it cooks evenly. We’ve got carrots, onions, celery….. wait… Didn’t the French NAME that? I can name that dish in three notes. Mirepoix (pronounced mi rah pwah). And isn’t that the ‘basis’ for all good dishes and soups? Yeeaah. So we’ve got our Mirepoix and then we’re adding everything else YUM: garlic, pearl onions, peas…. oh and yes, there’s not enough carbs in the pastry crust so puleease make sure you add the potatoes! XD (what’s xd? Picture a face laughing).
With social media today, we don’t know who knows what. Depending on what sites and how often you go on sites…. you might not actually know that XD is the new LOL.
LOL? You don’t know what that means either? Suggestion: Wikepedia.
Back to business here….. So now we have the chickie laying (or is that lying) on a bed of vegetables………?
But wait! Do you think you should put that chickie on the veggies without doing something to it first?
How about an olive oil massage (the bird has had a long day) and sprinkled with garlic salt.
Did YOU say Garlic? That’s the magic word baby! I asked Mark to sliver garlic and insert under the skin. But guess what? Some parts didn’t have skin. So what did Mark do? He cut slits into the chicken and inserted garlic. What a man. What a man.
So I guess we all know the routine: 350 degrees about 40 min. to an hour, depending on what pieces or if the chicken is whole. But what happens when you have a convection oven? Well my friend, that means you have hit the jackpot!
Now wait a second…. you’re NOT done. You’ve got to wait till the chicken cools down, the juices redistribute throughout the bird, then….. and only then, can you start to cut that chickie up.
Now here’s the next part of a potential nightmare. What about the dough for the Pot Pie? I don’t mind telling you that I have used Pizza dough, made from scratch. It was good. But it was not pastry for sure.
Remember the old Chicken Pot Pies they gave us from the freezer as kids (and once we got into High School we decided when the parents had a ‘night out’ to go crazy and have both a Chicken Pot Pie AND a Macaroni and Cheese)? You didn’t do that? Well…. then that’s another thing you missed doing as a child. Add it to your bucket list! Speaking of Bucket List, wouldn’t it be fun to have Jack Nicholson cooking in your kitchen with you? Yeeaah. NOW we’re talkin’! (Back to our Pot Pies…… and the wonderful men currently in our kitchen).
Wanna hear me RANT?
You’ve got it! Always, ALWays, ALWAYS read your labels. Don’t be servin’ up pastry dough or ANY THING that has the words hydrogenated on its’ label. Why? Your body CAN’T digest it. Now I won’t say it’s not YUM because Pastry Dough has a YUM factor. But puleeaase be good to yourself!
Alrighty, then. You’ve got your pastry dough rolled out. You flip your tin and cut around it.
Photoshop would let me put text next to the pictures…. WAKE UP WORD PRESS! A girl’s gotta speak here….
Ok. We’ve pressed our dough into the tin. And now? We need to fill and top it.
No pix on the filling. No idea why. But…. it was a roux (hard to spell, I know but pronounced rooooo) to thicken the sauce of what else? MORE BUTTER, and cream, some of the soup or juice left over from cooking veggies with chicken on top and the ‘world class’ veggies. Add your chicken and then let’s braid the top!
First, cut strips.
They have to be rolled out THIN and then cut relatively thin. We made that mistake of not rolling out the dough enough and then towards the end we were short strips and had to ball up the strips that wouldn’t work and start again. WHY? Heavier strips won’t cook as quickly. You have to have all the same thickness or it will be YECH instead of YUM! Plus thinner cooks faster. Nothing worse than waiting… and waiting…
Into the oven at 350 for about a half hour or until brown. Watch out you don’t under cook it and get gush. Or is that mush? It’s a technical word. Look it up. Over cook it …. it dries up when you do that. So careful with the ending.
And to you I will say “Happy Ending”. I’ve gotta run. But I’ll be back tomorrow with other recipes from our Sunday in Chef Marian’s Kitchen with San Diego Foodies!
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