Well, I realize it’s no longer January, and I am now back in Oberlin, not Montana, but I have just a couple more posts to finish off the cooking-blogging project. And I also have an update on the banana-bread front… Caleb said he liked it. That, unfortunately, is all the information I have on the subject, as I did not speak to Caleb directly, but rather to my mom, who simply said that he liked it. But it must be said that based upon The New Best Recipe‘s track record, it is likely to have been very, very good.
First, I must post about a meal I made long before all the catering began, which was TRULY delicious and included MANY of the items that must most certainly be on the Red Kettle’s menu:
Oven-Droopified Grape Tomatoes with Garlic and Olive Oil
Sweet Potatoes, Baked and Sliced
Mashed Potatoes with Basil and Garlic
Spicy Crispy Tofu
Very-Hot-Oven-Cooked Green Beans with Garlic, Soy Sauce, and Olive Oil
It was after this meal that I decided that the restaurant should, perhaps, serve largely a la carte options. Which is not to say that it couldn’t have more pre-arranged meals, but I do like the idea of being able to choose many of what might normally be thought of as side-dishes, rather than a main dish with one or two sides. It is something to consider, anyway.
What explanation of this meal shall I offer?
The tomatoes are done by simply putting some in a baking dish with a ton of olive oil and a bunch of garlic, depending on your taste, and cooking them at a very low temperature for a very long time– several hours. The trick is not to leave them in so long you forget about them and then burn them. Truly, that is the trick.
The sweet potatoes need few directions, I imagine, although it could be recommended that to cook them first in the microwave for a time, before placing in the oven does speed up the process, with little detectable difference in final product.
The mashed potatoes did inspire some research in the good ole New Best Recipe, which reported that after extensive testing, it was discovered that mashed potatoes are most flavorful in the end if when boiling them you leave them whole and unpealed, which does add to the total cooking time by quite a bit, but could be worth it. The test cooks also explained that it is best to first add butter to the potatoes having been mashed (preferably with a ricer), rather than milk, as it coats the somethings and makes for a smoother, creamier, less soggy final product. These I look forward to making with many additional ingredients, but the garlic and basil were certainly a good idea.
The tofu I sauteed in olive oil having rolled it in cornstarch, which made the result quite crispy, and I also cooked curry powder in the oil before adding the tofu, which gave it a more interesting flavor than it might otherwise have had. I would like to experiment here with more spicy ingredients, and other not spicy additions.
And finally… the green beans! These, in my estimation, FAR FAR exceed the taste, texture, and overall dining experience one can get with a French fry. It is my contention that they should replace French fries with these trusty vegetables, which are indeed reminiscent of thinly sliced potatoes except in color, in all fast food restaurants. The world would certainly be a better place for it, I think. To make them: Place, with some olive oil, soy sauce, and garlic, in very hot oven, and wait ’til they seem like the right texture. If they are left in long enough they become crispy, almost like a French fry. Sea salt also works very well for seasoning.
Try them out. These are some of my Favorites.