Friday, September 30, 2005

1000 places to see before you die - #5

Last night I received a photo from a trip I had taken last spring to Maui, Hawaii. I wasn't prepared to love Hawaii, and I still wonder if my affinity is based on the beauty of the area or the marvelous vacation I had. Either way Maui, Hawaii deserves a spot in the 1000 places to see before you die.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

meatloaf tacos and other fine cuisine ...

Last night was my first cooking class. While I came out of it with all ten fingers I was more than a little disappointed with the lesson and as far as the recipes - there is no way I will ever puree a perfectly good avocado into guacamole you can suck through a straw.

I love my grandmother, but…. (you always have to start with “I love” when you are about to dish on a relative) my grandmother had a certain knack for ruining perfectly good food, not unlike my cooking teacher. So, while the skills I learned last night were taught with more finesse then what my grandmother might offer, the basic lesson was the same – take excellent ingredients, pulverize them so they no longer can be identified and then add mayonnaise.

Setting the avocado aside, I do not understand the desire to turn meat or fish into anything other than a beautifully cooked, or raw, presentation of their pure state. The whole idea of a “loaf” or “mousse” escapes me. Last night as we pureed the chicken livers into a suckable mousse and added mayonnaise to replace the crab juice we had squeezed out of the fresh crab I couldn’t help but smile as I recalled my grandmothers own recipes. My favorite by far being “meatloaf tacos.”

For those of you wanting to recreate this classic it is quite simple… First you take a perfectly good piece of meat, season it well and serve it on Sunday. Next you take whatever is left over and put it through a meat grinder. A couple of days later you reform the newly ground meet into a presentable loaf and reheat. Finally you break apart the loaf into ground beef sized chunks, serve with tortillas and ketchup and presto – you have meatloaf tacos! The same loaf treatment can be done on anything that was once good – fresh salmon, prime rib, steak … you name it, anything can be turned into a loaf.

I have 24 hours more of cooking class before I receive my certificate as a qualified loafer. Hopefully somewhere between the salads and desert I will find something I can share with my family and friends. Otherwise, it looks like I will need to pay a visit to my grandmother – she will be so proud that I finally learned how to cook.