Thursday, April 11, 2013

Leaving the comfort of cruise control

Chef John Ash & T bone steak

A few years back I was shooting for Bonterra /Brown Forman while Mr Ash was the culinary director, this shot of him with a nice T-bone steak was one of a few that day and reminds me of how my kids now see me.

The cook has had some feedback from the front of the house...
Where's the beef?  well this is not what I am hearing from those I cook for.. in fact they have had it with my simple meat, veg & potato wife asked me this morning if I could get a Jamie Oliver cookbook?  Alright, I have to admit the last year I have slipped into cooking cruise control, relying on the same old things to make my cooking job easier but at the expense of my family.   So, in interest of all and an attempt to change the house menu, I am off to the grocery with a recipe I pulled out of "Firehouse Food: Cooking with San Francisco's Firefighters".  I will start with something easy like Joe's Special..Yes it has ground beef but it is camouflaged in spinach, onions and scrambled eggs, I don't think they will really recognize it if I am diligent in breaking it down to bits.
 It has been almost 10 years since shooting this book with author and stylist George Dolese and of course the SFFD.  George told me recently that Chronicle Books has finally taken it out of print..a nice long run.

The recipes here are not fancy and do not require much prep or obscure ingredients from specialty markets.  I have eaten all that was shown in the cookbook but I have not cooked from it.  All the reviews have been good and many claim it is their "go to" cookbook..well I am going to it today.. we shall see if meets with approval.  Even though I have shot many cookbooks and we did follow those recipes, I am not wild about cooking from a recipe.. but I will put aside that and follow it to a T.. I can't promise precise measuring though..but it will be close.  I would love that T-bone steak with a Caesar salad tonight..but instead it will be Joe's Special scramble.

The Joe's Special was a hit.. I couldn't help but tweak as I went..and I did not have a stylist cutting and preparing the ingredients for maximum curb appeal but my picky son cleaned this plate and went back for seconds.  Yes, those are pan roasted potatoes but truth be told, I have not been doing roastie potatoes since the holidays. So this was a disguised meat&potato meal, but not the "same ole", this was a hit.  It looks like I have some cookbook reading to do in the coming weeks and expand my comfort zone.

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