Friday, December 24, 2010

Picky Pick Pick!

She'll eat the tomatoes if they are ripe and fresh, but not the seeds, in a sauce but if it's pureed not chunky and it has to be savory not sweet.  She loves pickles, sour things and lemon on everything but she hates saurekraut.  She won't touch an egg or mushrooms (although she will forage for them).  She doesn't like chocolate but she loves nutella in the morning.  She doesn't like things that are "gushy," "slimy," or "jellied."  She won't touch a stew and will eat certain fish only if it's fried but likes sushi but only if it's maki rolls, not sashimi and it has to be dipped in eel sauce and then dipped in soy sauce (I really don't think she tastes the fish at all that way).  She doesn't like to eat pork because she had a pet pig but will chow down on some bacon but well and cripsy, not thick cut or applewood smoked.  Hmmm.  One of the hardest things about being a chef is cooking for this lovely, goregous partner of mine that is picky as hell.  I recently made french onion soup and I have to strain out the onions for her but I made a batch for my dinners and pureed the entire soup together and she ate it up, onions and all.  Just when I think I know what she likes she throws a curve ball.  And she's allergic to duck.  Maybe some of you can relate.  I've known meat and potato men, meat and potato women, and kids who will eat only chicken and rice and then I've also met the other end of the spectrum.  When I was young I was pretty picky but I loved canned sardines, smoked oysters, pickled pigs feet and wild mushrooms.  I tried things. 
My partner will try things which makes me happy.  In two weeks we are going to Schwa and it's crossed my mind to ask Michael to not tell us what is in any of the dishes until we eat them.  We are going for my niece's birthday, she'll be twenty-one and she eats everything.  Both of these women live with me and for the most part I cook their dinners and we sit down like a family and eat.  It seems that the more I cook food that tastes like it's from a box, the more they love it.  Here's Beef Stroganoff, tastes like a box but it's from scratch.
1 lb. fresh pasta (the recipe I wrote the other day) or egg noodles from package
1 pint sour cream
1 lb. ground beef
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 T vegetable oil
1 to 1 1/2 cup of milk or half and half or cream
1 pack of mushrooms, sliced
salt to taste and cracked pepper
Boil the noodles till al dente, strain and reserve on the side.
Saute the shallot and garlic in oil.  Add the ground beef and mushrooms, cook through and drain the fat.  Add the pasta, milk and sour cream being careful to stir as to not scorch the bottom or boil which will break the sour cream.  This is where I add my salt and pepper to mine and my families preferrence.  They like things a little saltier than I do so I adjust to about right in the middle of what they and I like and it works perfect.  You can add 2 oz of butter at the end to make it a little more rich.  Loosen with a little water if it gets too thick. 
I made this a couple weeks ago for them and they loved it.  I actually had some of the unpureed french onion soup made so I added some of that liquid along with the milk and sour cream for a nice extra layer of flavor.  I have to admit, it was good and it tasted a little like from the box.  Homemade "hamburger helper."

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