Wednesday, July 17 2019

concert on the square, castiron, stuffing, french toast

Dear Journal,

Yesterday was a pretty good day. The interns and I are clicking pretty well, and by gosh are they smart. Aside from the stand-ups in the morning, they pretty much just do their own thing all day. I had a few meetings in the morning, then I heated up some leftover stamppot for lunch. In the afternoon, I picked off a few tickets from our backlog.

On the way home from work, Marissa told me that we were going to concert on the square after all. We were planning on heading to a goodbye party for some agility friends in Rockford, but our car's air conditioning is broken, and Marissa driving it around all day in the hot summer weather must have inspired the change of plans. So I had to quickly plan a meal to bring to the concert on the bus ride on the way home.

It was pretty short notice, but I think it turned out pretty well. I made a stuffing featured in Stefan's Oefs Chimay that used butter, shallots, and diced mushrooms. Once all the cutting was complete, the recipe was very easy, as I just needed to let the water evaporate off of the mushrooms. A few minutes in, it looks like a bit wet disaster, but slowly over about twenty minutes the stuffing dries, concentrating the flavors and leaving a much more appetizing texture.

Once the stuffing cooled, I hard boiled a half dozen eggs and popped the yolks out, then I mashed them into the stuffing. I added some chopped bacon as well. Lastly, I halved a few bell peppers, hallowed them out, and filled them. My only regret was not making enough stuffing. Throwing everything into the pot, it looked like I had enough food to feed several people, but man do those mushrooms just shrink up when they lose their water! I barely had enough for a taste test.

In other kitchen news, we bought a twelve inch cast iron skillet, and I think I'm in love. It can get really hot, obviously, but yesterday I was reading about all the advantages of cast iron, and they're pretty compelling. Did you know they form their own natural non stick surface? If you expose oils to eat beyond their smoke point (which is easy to do, because cast iron heats up like a freakin' meteor), they break down, polymerize, and bond to the metal itself. A cast iron skillet should be able to fry an egg without anything sticking. They're also virtually indestructible, and even the most hideous, rusted, neglected cast iron ware can be restored anew by stripping it with oven cleaner.

And cleaning it isn't as bad as I thought. You can wash it in the sink with soap and hot water. And after you pat it down with a towel, you just need to leave it on the hot stove for a minute or two to heat away any excess water. Once it cools down, you can just wipe it down with a little bit of mineral oil.

Last night, after frying the bacon for the stuffing, Marissa slacked me a message asking me if I was down for making some french toast as a snack, and of course I was. I will literally make french toast for anyone that asks at any hour of the day. Plus, it was another excuse to bust out the cast iron skillet. The cast iron worked beautifully, I feel like I was able to really smell the eggs and the milk while they browned in the butter.

Today should be a pretty good day. I'm heading into the office so I can hang out with the interns. Our team's ticket duty board is in a pretty good state, so I think I have the bandwidth to work on something a little more substantive. And after work, we're going to enjoy some stuffed red peppers at concert on the square. And if you're reading this, I hope you have a good day too.