Tuesday, January 12

This is how I looked this afternoon when I opened my prepared post file and found it empty (and I wasn't home alone!) Does that ever happen to you? Or do you always wing it?


The weather people keep promising a warm-up for our area, but it has yet to happen. I can't wait for Wednesday and Thursday, when we may crack the 50's for the first time in two weeks. My purple down jacket is really getting a work-out this winter. Most of the time our temperatures in January hover in the 40's and 50's every day, but not this year! I have 4-5 sleeveless vests, which I love wearing for the freedom of movement they allow, but lately I'm all trussed up in a t-shirt, a sweater (more often than not , it is wool) and said jacket, which will certainly need to be cleaned before long. There's one thing I'm not complaining about though - and that's the fact that we've had no snow!


The grocery store was almost empty of people yesterday, and that is the way I like it. However, it turned out to be a day when they were stocking shelves in nearly every aisle and it is hard to navigate when carts, boxes and people doing the stocking are taking up nearly all the space you need to push the cart. I wish I knew the one day of the week when they are neither stocking nor busy! (Surely there IS one.) After I unloaded the cart and paid for the food, I told the guy bagging for me that we were going to have to give up eating. Every time I go shopping it gets more and more costly, and now that gas prices are creeping - no, jumping higher by the day - food costs will continue to rise. It's a good thing we like beans.


An email arrived this week that I'd like to pass on to you, but due to the format it will have to be re-typed. (The things I do for you guys!!) It is about kitchen myths; those stories we've heard through the years about things we are or are not supposed to do. The writer of this email says he has personally checked out each one, and I can't prove or disprove his conclusions - but I thought they were interesting enough to pass along. Unfortunately, the email wasn't signed. Here's the first one:

"Searing meat seals in the juices" - FALSE
"This old saw has been around for ages, probably because searing (browning) meat that will be stewed, roasted, etc., does indeed give much better results. It has nothing to do with sealing in the juices, however. Careful experiments were performed in which identical pieces of meat were cooked with and without searing.
If searing did seal in the juices, the seared meat would lose a smaller percentage of its weight during cooking than the un-seared piece. In actuality, both pieces lost the same amount of weight. Searing is important because of the Maillard reaction. When the proteins and sugars in meat are exposed to high heat (searing) a large number of chemical reactions take place, resulting in the creation of lots of new flavor elements. It is these flavors, both in the browned surface of the meat and any pan juices that result, that make searing such an important step in some recipes. Source: On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee, Simon and Schuster, 1984.

Let me know if you found this interesting; I will share more of them in the near future.


Grannymar said...

I do indeed wing it at times. The surprising thing is that those posts lead to great fun among the comments.

Gilly said...

Searing meat makes it look better, too. Just left ordinary, I find it looks a bit pallid.

I still do it, and with onions, though I tend to have to scrape off the burnt bits from the pan!

Pat said...

'Careful experiments were performed'
whenever I read that I tend to switch off. I trust the housewife who has been cooking for decades above a scientist any day. Nothing against the two scientists I have married :)
Your temperatures sound like the happy medium to frying in Oz and freezing the UK.

Tabor said...

One of my very favorite TV cooks (chefs) Alton Brown has mentioned this as true on his show. It helps the taste but not the juiciness.

Arkansas Patti said...

Sometimes I am good with prewritten posts for the week and others, like for tomorrow, I haven't a clue. You did a great job winging it, pray for me.
Love meat seared to crispy on the outside and barely warm on the inside. Care less about juices, just like the taste of rare but seared meat.
As they liked to say in a small cow town I migrated from... "knock off the horns, wipe the as* and serve on a hot plate."
Stay warm.

robin andrea said...

I try to avoid grocery stores on Fridays and weekends. I think Mondays are the busiest stock the shelves days. I think the quietest times are Tuesdays before noon. (You can probably tell, I've thought a lot about this!)

Tracie said...

I think the big secret to keeping the meat juicy is letting it rest before you cut it....of course, since my idea of cooking is generally stopping at Taco Bell, I might be wrong on that.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

I brown all meat before going into the crock pot. I think it adds to the overall flavor. I need more tips!

Peter said...

Although I do sometimes have "one we prepared earlier" posts mine are usually on the spot affairs... thats often very easy to spot!!!!
The easy ones are the "cleaning out my in-box" the tough ones sometimes take hours of research, the ones that fall between are the "life's experiences"

Pagan Sphinx said...

Hi, Judy! Regarding the snow, we've had our share of it, though not recently. There is, however, still plenty of packed snow on the sledding hills at school. And cold? Oh, man. The sun was out today and it wasn't bad during the day but by the time the sun started going down, the temps dropped. I haven't looked, but I can feel it in my bones.

It "feels" like teens. And speaking of clothing, I'm SO glad I bought my long down coat last year. Brrrrrrrrrrr

stay warm!

rosemary said...

I wing it all of the time...when I pre-write something it goes to blog heaven....or hell maybe. Gee, sorry about your weather. It is 35 and raining turning the little bit of snow to ice and muck. I don't sear...i just cook and hope for the best.

Looking to the Stars said...

Our weather has been cooler, also. When it snows it usually melts within a day. We had snow 2 weeks ago and we still have it in the backyard. Its not getting warm enough to melt like it always has.

Sometimes, I write my post and pre date it. Other times, it's just off the top of my head.

I have tried every day of the week for shopping and have always ran into the same two problems that you have. The prices are terrible, I don't know how a family is making it now a days

tiff said...

I practically always wing it.

Mmmm, seared meat.

Shephard said...

I actually found that very interesting... always thought searing did seal in juices.