Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Labor of Love...

We've been super busy working on Cynthia's book. Did you know that my sister is coming out with her very own mixed media jewelry book? Due out next year by Interweave Press, the book is speedily taking shape. The house is infused with a sense of creativity and I feel super-charged with ideas. If this book retains but a fraction of this energy, it'll be a great success. Simply put: We're kickin' ass!

To keep our energy up and cut down on time in the kitchen, I whipped together a quick pot of chili. It was super easy! First I browned the ground turkey, caramelized some onions and garlic, and added a couple of cans of black beans, chicken broth, and tomatoes. (Nowadays you can buy cans of roasted tomatoes, which is highly convenient.) To flavor it all, I used brown sugar, ancho chilies, chipotle chilies, cayenne pepper, Vietnamese cinnamon (which is sweeter and less bitter than regular cinnamon), and dark chocolate powder. A gentle hand must be used for the seasonings and spices, as too much of anything can throw the entire pot off.

Bob Burkett, one of the talented artists who drifts in and out of the Green Girl Studios, will be making his way back to California tomorrow. We asked him what he'd like for dinner before he left. He said that anything would be good, but that he'd like to try my (in)famous spicy carrot cake. For the most part, I use a standard recipe for carrot cake. However, I've adjusted the recipe slightly, using both fine grated carrots and roughly chopped pieces that are then braised in a maple syrup and brown sugar mixture. I also have cut out any all-spice, nutmeg, or cloves. Instead, I use cinnamon, chilies, and ginger. I use both powdered and candied forms of ginger. For the frosting, I used a mix of cream cheese, chevre cheese, maple syrup, brown sugar, powdered sugar, butter, and a whole lot of whipping. I also added a dash of vanilla syrup that Cynthia made that's super easy to make. Just infuse simple syrup (sugar water) with vanilla bean pods and wait. The vanilla syrup is a staple in this house that we use all the time while cooking.

Anyway, back to work...


Janet said...

Me thinks you are a very talented cook! Maybe a cookbook for you in the future?! Your quite unique Andrew! Btw how does one make a very tender pork loin? (I saw you posted one recently) Does one cover it with tin foil too? Life is for savouring yum!!

Andrew Thornton said...

I'm an okay cook, but I think what is important is the idea of sharing your love through food. Sounds pretty cheesy, but I think it's another way to communicate the way you care. Often times we get caught up in other things and forget the simple pleasure of making something good to eat and sharing it. The rest falls into place.

I don't know if a cookbok is in the future or not. Maybe I'd self-publish one that would be more of an art book with all the things I love about old cook books like pasted in recipes and spidery handwriting and ancient coupons long since void stuck between the pages.

I think the secret to making a very tender pork loin is not to over-cook it. People think that you have to cook pork until it is dry and tough, but as long as the internal temperature is above 150 (ideally 160, you'll be fine). You could try doing it with tin foil and then for the last ten minutes or so, remove it for maximum browning, but we don't. I also heard that if you sear the meat and then cook it, all the juices will be locked in. We do that with big pieces of beef, but haven't had to with the pork loins. We've been on a sort of pork loin craze.

And I agree... Life is for savouring!

lorrwill said...

I totally share your view on food.

You're explanation of the pork roast reminds me of a conversation with co-workers about how I get my veggies to look all colorful and "like a restaurant".

The answer: do not overcook them.

You publish that cook book and I will definitely buy it!

Carter said...

Can you please cyber-send me a piece of that cake!?!?! (If there's any left!)