Who says I don’t cook?

mark peel and daphne brogdon cook

we had fun and worked off each other well

A few weeks back Mark and I were guest on Hallmark Channel’s “Home and Family”.  It’s a great domestic oriented morning show.  No trash stories, helpful and fun.  Wish it was on my cable carrier.  Anyway,  We did a Chicken Thigh Throwdown. Everyone thinks Mark is nightly making me great meals. My standard line was, “sure, if I went into his restaurant.” But, at home I do most of the cooking and since we don’t have any restaurants anymore and my work has been…meek.. the last couple of years I’ve been cooking more than ever.

Mark getting his mic...I hope

Mark getting his mic…I hope

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 The idea was Mark would do the “restaurant” or fancy version of chicken thighs and I would do the easy, your family will eat version.

mark peel and daphne brogdon cookAs someone who made her living for years as a TV host I really appreciate a good host.  Christina Ferrare and Mark Steines are great and improvising and brought out the best in us.  It was the first time Mark and I have cooked together out of our home and it was a lot of fun.  In case you want to try either dish, here are the recipes.  Enjoy. http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/homeandfamily/recipe/markpeeldaphnebrogdonchickenthighthrowdown

Better start cooking: crispy eggs

Since Campanile is closing at the end of the month I’m going to have to step up my game.  Granted, Chef Peel will be home more so I might get some home cooked meals, but I am usually the cooker or at least the Executive Chef.  So, While I’m running to feast at my husband’s fantastic restaurant for dinner as much as I can I thought I’d start on breakfast.  When Vivien was little we went out to breakfast a lot, but Rex doesn’t have her ability to sit still so I’ve been working on creative breakfast for longer. This recipe came about the other weekend after I had made bacon for Rex. I cooked this in bacon fat with a small pat of butter for flavor.

1 corn tortilla, 2 eggs, ( you could use olive oil instead of bacon fat), butter, salt and pepper, boring taco cheese. When I do it again I will also add a little diced onion in the saute.

Cut up the tortilla in small strips. Put in iron pan with olive oil, don’t be stingy

I’m trying to make a crust.  Cook till you see it brown on the edges, about 5 min.

crack in two eggs and pierce the yolks to spread around.

throw on the pre grated taco cheese.  Could I use better cheese? yeah, but I always have this stuff on hand because the kids like it on their tacos and I’m in a hurry and don’t want to chop or grate anything in the morning.

then, flip it over

There it is.  It looks like fried potatoes.   I meant to eat half and give the other half to Mark, but I inhaled the whole thing.  I was full till 3pm!

 

I need a better name then “crispy eggs”.  Any ideas?

Fish Night : cooking for the family

Here is another of my super simple and tasty meals that can be made well even if there are interruptions, which with a house of kids is about as common as an avocado going bad before you use it ( how did I not see it there?).

Petrale sole, caught wild, bought fresh so I had to make it within a couple of days of buying it.  Rice, and salad.  Does it please everyone in my family? No, Rex won’t eat fish or salad. So he got hot dog, grapes and rice.  If he was a baby I’d call that meal “choking hazard delight!”

Our family this night was myself, Viv, Rex and our neighbor gal pal ( 10 years old) Gracie.  She is far less picky than my kids so she is a delight to feed.

First, I make the rice.  Much to Chef Husband’s chagrin I, like my father before me, I love the rice in the bag.  Sorry, rice is my Achilles heel and I can’t take the time to spend 40 minutes making the kind of rice he does.  Boil in a bag of salted water and then after I drain it stir in a bunch of butter.  The kids love it, and darn it is tasty.

Meanwhile, I take the fish out and lay it on a paper towel.  Good to get the moisture out and let it rest. It’s pooped.

Then set up my work station. Flour, egg mixed with a little milk, breadcrumbs with dried oregano.

The fish goes in the flour first.  Then the egg, then the bread crumb.  After that trip through three bowl lane the fish is tired again and needs to rest.  Back to a paper towel while it all sets.  It works out better this way.  ( note: Rex’s dinner is ready to go nearby)

Then I go to the garden and pick our lettuce. Our best crop of 2012.  Wash and drain it. drizzle a little ranch dressing on it because universal truth everyone loves ranch dressing.  I’m not kidding around with oil and vinegar, little bit of ranch, not a ton, and my daughter eats salad. 

I get the plates and forks ready because the fish takes no time to make.  I heat up the pan on low with olive oil, place the sole in the pan with a little chunk of butter. Not to get all Paula Dean, but butter does make things better.  Everything.

Then I go to the backyard and yell for Gracie and Vivien to come in for dinner.  Each side of the fish takes one minute.  No more.  I ask the girls where Rex is.  They go to get him and as I am about to put the next fish in the pan I realized the yelling for him has gone on to long.  I turn off the pan.

“Where is he?”  I yell out.

The girls say they don’t know.  Visions of him hurt and unconscious in the yard  cause me to run out of the house into our back, back yard ( it’s long and large). I scream his name with no response.  Then  I find Rex looking downcast, sitting by himself by the fence in the wood chips.

“Rex, are you feeling sad?”  He nods his head. I think I know what happened.

“Do you feel like the girls left you?”

“Yes, I want to play.”

“But, I called you into dinner.”

“But, I want to play.”

“It’s still early and dinner won’t take long.  Then you will still have time to play, okay?”

“Okay.”  I pick him and we walk and I explain to the girls that they need to be like the Marines and not leave a man behind.  Always bring him up with you when you come in.

Now, they are all at the counter and I make the rest of the fish.  I serve them the salad, chopped, rice and fish. Then I finish making my portion of it all and by then Rex is done and I sit down to eat ( three seats at the counter).  They had juice, I had a French Rose.

The girls clean their plate and then ask for more rice.   Success. 

4 pieces of fresh petrale sole

1/3 cup of flour

one egg

1 tablespoon of milk

salt

pepper

1/3 of a cup of breadcrumbs ( store bought)

a couple of pinches of dried oregano

olive oil

1 table-spoon of butter per two fish

inappropriate sandwich shapes for kids

In my quest, like many parents, to keep my children interested in that thing called eating I have tried on occasion to form food in fun ways.  Astronaut carrots, deforested broccoli, you know the usual.

As I was taking my pizza cutter to shape a sandwich for Rex today I had the impulse to make really inappropriate sandwich shapes.  Here are are some of my favorites:

A gun

Devil, but it didn’t look devilsh enough, so I thought I would try the crazy anti semite leader of Iran Ahmandad..whatever and add coffee grounds for his permanent sort of beard.  This was not my finest.

I was more pleased with my next creation, Crime Scene House

By the way, Rex picked up the gun sandwich and the barrel went limp.  “Momma, it broke.”  Yeah, there is a reason sandwiches are  NOT shaped like that.

What kind of sandwiches do you make your kids?

Diner home cooking and Roy Choi, Mark Peel Mashup

I get asked a lot “why do you ever cook? Your husband must do all the cooking.”
My standard answer is “if I am at his restaurant he does.” Even when Mark is home at night ( at most two nights a week) I am the executive chef and he is my sou chef.   I tell him what we have and what I was thinking, then he takes and comes up with something.  Is that something that would be featured on a special tasting menu at Campanile?  Not usually.   The kind of food a great restaurant makes is a little too involved for a family of five when small kids and one grown lady will get really cranky if they don’t eat on time.
Also, I have to remind Chef Peel about what the kids will really eat.  I use to say, “okay, we have sausages, broccoli, grape tomatoes and various pasta.”  Mark would cook it all, and spice it well, then he would put it ALL TOGETHER.  For a my little kids that was a big yuck.
“No, the sausage, must stand alone, the broccoli, must stand alone, and so on.”
I will never be a chef like my husband.  Not even close.  But, I have realized I am a diner cook.  If you walked into a NY diner and looked at the menu, that’s the kind of stuff I can do pretty well.  Chicken Milanese, fettucine alfredo.  My vegis are way better than a diner, though. When I want exciting food, I can go out.
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Speaking of going out. I’m very proud of putting together a special culinary event. Even people out of LA have heard of the Kogi truck.  Chef Roy Choi put delish Korean meats in a taco and a cult following was born.  He is a very creative chef who has branched out into restaurants without wheels as well.  I went to his latest restaurant, The Sunny Shack and loved it.  I knew Mark would love the adventurous spices, the stewed goat.  Mark kept back with me one night and they chefs were pleased to talk about their shared passion.  Roy had been a fan of Marks.  I said, “Hey, would you do a special night at the Tar Pit?”
Several weeks and our team and Roy’s great team meeting and such and an exciting night is born.  Here is the flyer the Kogi gang put together that I love.
choi peel

The event is almost sold out.  I don’t even have a seat.  I’m meeting with our managers today about the event and one thing on my agenda is, “can you guys set aside some food for me?”