Sunday, January 16, 2011

Top Chefs

This past year, we transitioned from reality shows to cooking shows for our television entertainment. We started watching shows like "Chopped", "Top Chef", "Iron Chef", "Cake Boss", and "Cupcake Wars". Ironically, I often watch these shows while I exercise on my elliptical. :) It isn't that we spend hours watching t.v., but after the kids have gone to bed, we often turn the TV on while we do other things like fold clothes, exercise, surf the Internet. And these are often the shows we turn to in such times. I have a real appreciation for food, so watching these shows is really fun for me.

I didn't realize how much influence these shows had until we started looking at our food presentation at restaurants, using "food lingo" like "reduction" of a sauce, and heard our oldest daughter ask one day how her "plating" was for whatever food she had just made.

I often watch these shows with my mouth watering, secretly hoping that I can be a guest judge, especially if the food consists of seafood of any kind.

Anyway, I digress (as usual).

Not long ago, I mentioned to Mark that my favorite dinner to make is tacos. It is the one meal ALL of our kids love to eat and we (being Mark and me :) usually make it together. It is rare for us to both be in the kitchen otherwise.

So not long ago, Mark said, "I think you and I need to cook together more maybe try a new recipe together every other week (coinciding with our "off weeks" with Life Groups)." That is one reason I love this guy. He hears what I like, then tries to figure out a way to make that happen more often. Isn't that thoughtful? It is such a precious way he shows love for and to me.

Anyway, tonight was our first cooking night. We let the kids choose a video to watch (a treat for them), and we went to work in the kitchen. It was my turn to choose a menu. I have been craving PF Chang's, so I did a little google search and found a PF Chang's copycat recipe for Mongolian Beef. That is one of our favorites there. I also found a recipe for fried rice. Then as a bonus, last night on another friend's blog, I saw a recipe for Molten Chocolate Cake. I thought that might be a fun dessert which is a rarity around here...usually dessert is a small piece of candy.

There was a snafu here and there. I really thought I had gotten ginger which is important in Chinese cooking. No luck there. So we had to use the powdered stuff. And for whatever reason, I did get fresh cilantro which doesn't typically go with Chinese food...oops! My fried rice didn't turn out quite like I had hoped...I think it needed a little more sauce and a little more fried. But an hour later, we had a nice little meal on the table...

The Mongolian Beef was delicious. It tasted just like PF Changs' beef to me. The fried rice...well, it worked. By the end of the meal, it was pretty much all gone, so I guess we didn't do too bad for our first time.

After dinner, I sent the kids (and Mark) to watch the end of the movie they had started, then I went to work on the molten chocolate cake. It is a very easy recipe. I have these nice little ramekin dishes I have been itching to use...they came in perfect for this. The only trouble I had was that a couple of the cakes ended up being a bit more molten than I had hoped, but in the end, it all goes to the same place, right? We scooped out a little ice cream and then had some dessert...

I will say the dessert was a HUGE hit with my kiddos. They seemed to enjoy every bite. Maria told me about every two minutes just how good it was. I think we will be making that again some time. (I will also say that it was really RICH. I LOVE chocolate but I could not eat it all...)

So, for our first cooking night, I would say overall it was a thumbs up experience. I loved being in the kitchen with my main man. And of course, food is a particular love of mine. So how could we go wrong with this combination?

Mark gets to decide the menu in a couple weeks...wonder what we will cook up next?


1 comment:

  1. How neat! I had a vision of you two in the kitchen singing "Hey Good Lookin, Whatcha got cookin?" as you danced and worked your way around the kitchen preparing this meal together! :) Fun (and tasty) memories. And what a great thing for your kids to see you do together! Cant wait to hear about the next episode of Top Chefs at the Cloud House! :)


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