Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cooking Up a Storm

Remember how I mentioned I'd had some luck lately with blog contests? Well this Sunday afternoon I got to redeem a rather exciting prize.  A few weeks ago the lovely Barb from ran an interview with Mike Hawkins from  The interview is here and you should go check it out. To make a long story... well not exactly short but to get to the point, I won the cooking lesson with Mike.  We exchanged emails prior to meeting up so he was familiar with the level of my cooking skills (better than Sadie's), our eating habits, my Simply for Life goals and probably a good deal of information he didn't need.

Fast forward to Sunday when I suddenly remember that I actually kind of have a phobia about people watching me cook.  No seriously, I wouldn't let David in the kitchen with me for the first three or four months. I think it's a woman thing. I have multiple degrees but I feel inferior because I don't actually know which knife is meant to do what. So it starts to dawn on me that a virtual stranger is showing up to poke around my kitchen and discover my complete inadequacies. This is about the time that my husband points out that I have issues... and buys wine.  Husband can be awfully useful sometimes. 

Hiding the fact that "I have issues"

Enjoying the fact that my kitchen is relatively clean and
there are no pets on the counter.  Both would be short lived!

I needn't have worried as Mike showed up bearing KitchenAid Stand Mixer, a box of food and print copies of all the recipes and all was well. There were one or two moments when I had to explain that no, I didn't own a pizza stone or a cutting board the size of a small island, but accomodations were made.  Oh and husband kindly ran next door and asked one of our lovely neighbours for vegetable oil. He wanted special mention to be made of that.  Gold stars were given out for service above and beyond the call of duty.

With one of Mike's famous stand mixers. When KitchenAid gives you free
ones for all your publicity I want it!!

I'd seen on Mike's blog that you can make pitas for pocket change so that was one of the projects I requested. Not sure how it would have been without the stand mixer but with it they were easy-peasy and so very cute when they puffed up in the oven. If you haven't eaten a pita straight out of the oven (dipped in pesto still in the mortar but we'll get to that) then you haven't lived.

Pita dough balls

Rising pita dough
Leaning tower of Pita.
Top two just out of the oven so still puffy.

By the way, added to my kitchen issues (which were largely moot at this point) is the fact that Mike is a super talented professional photographer. Which means every time I took a photo I ordered him not to laugh at them when they went on the blog.  Nothing about Mike led me to believe he would make fun of me but the theme of today's post is basically "I have issues".  So there you go.

Anyway,  while pita dough was rising we made pesto.  Many a time I have been in a store and seen a beautiful mortar and pestle and said to my husband "That's so pretty but what would we do with it? We don't live in the stone age!".  However, now I need a motar and pestle (something tells me that's more likely than the stand mixer being rather cheaper) because it seems you can do pretty much anything with one.

Mike did 99.9% of the work. I did .1% for the photo.
Then Mike pulled out the full chicken. Which was perhaps not the absolute highlight of the afternoon!  Actually he did all of the icky chicken touching work but I could now portion up a chicken entirely on my own and am actually thinking I probably will. I didn't get husband to take an "after" photo because really raw chicken is only so visually appealing but when you se the chicken wings, breast, legs all piled up on the cutting board and realise how much you'd pay for it already portioned it makes you want to save your money and wield a knife! We set the "carcass" (lovely word, eh?) to making chicken soup stock which it practically does by itself!

I didn't name our chicken which is very unlike me.
That's Mike picking off a feather.
 Following icky chicken we got to taste test the pesto as well as a lovely tomato, garlic pasta sauce.  Mike even showed up with the pasta! The goodies just kept coming.  Then came the piece de resitance... the chicken curry.  Mike showed up with an entire curry kit and left me with loads... except the mortar and pestle.

Do it yourself curry kit. So many pretty colours!

That handy mortar and pestle
Sunday night supper.  Was so full of yumminess.

Final food count: Over a dozen whole wheat pitas, pesto, tomato garlic sauce, pasta, chicken curry, enough chicken soup stock for me to put half away for later and still come out with 4 portions of chicken (using the chicken breast that didn't go into the curry) lentil soup, 4 chicken wings, 2 legs, 2 thighs. Plus Mike left me enough stuff to make pretty much everything all over again.  I'll be able to make curry for quite awhile with all those pretty spices!! So much food!

Make sure you put Food Funk on your regular blogroll.  We'll be checking it out in order to make good use of those chicken wings very soon.  I can't imagine a fashionista in New Brunswick not yet following  but you don't want to miss her take on the latest runway looks and you certainly want to be in the running for her contests.  I mean seriously, free food!

In case you're wondering:
Top- Ricki's
Jeans- RW&Co
Necklace- Reitmans (I think... it's been awhile)
Earrings- Made for me for my wedding rehearsal by my high school friend Jennifer who now has an amazing jewellery company JennyFish 
Headband- Band Geek (by the wonderful Patience)

I'm sure Mike will post his outfit details on his own blog very soon :)


Elizabeth said...

I enjoyed this so much - love the humour in it and the cooking tips! I hope that someone nips into Paderno and buys you a mortar and pestle very soon. I so relate to your phobia about being watched while you cook. It took me 30 years or more to get over that one and even now I am better left alone when being creative in the kitchen! Great pics too - made me want to eat curry even though it is 8am ;-)

Adam Shaftoe said...

What was in the home made curry kit? Also, you didn't have vegetable oil in the house? Please tell me it was because you only stock the finest extra virgin olive oil, right? Right?