Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Just when I thought I couldn't cook any worse, I go and do something like this...and totally redeem myself. This picture doesn't do last nights meal justice, but it was absolutely delicious. Simple, easy, healthy. I cooked another flounder, but decided to broil it in stead of pan fry it. I kept it simple by putting a bit of soy sauce, olive oil, slices of lemon and pepper on it...that's it. I placed it over a bed of rice (cooked in chicken broth in stead of plain water) and had some lima beans on the side (cooked in chicken broth again with some pepper flakes added). It was quite a memorably meal and I definitely regained my confidence after Sunday's debacle.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Nasty fish on the loose

Maybe it wasn't as bad as the slop in Oliver Twist, because you didn't see all those kids running out of the dining room vomiting, but the meal I made last night was pretty bad. I've been trying to get into cooking fish really well. It's healthy, tastes good, and other than last night, it's usually pretty easy to cook. Last night I tried to make flounder with a lemon butter sauce. It probably would have tasted butter if I had eaten it all tequila shot style...lick the butter, slam a bite of fish, and then down the lemon to take the edge off.

As you can see from the picture, it was not inedible, but I would not have served that meal to anyone. Everyone has kitchen disasters though I suppose. At least it wasn't for a group of critical people.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Napa Valley

I don't know if you can tell, but the statue in the picture is of a woman that has her arms outspread giving a sign of welcome. Robert Mondavi designed his vineyard after a monastery and all monasteries have statues such as this to illustrate to passers and other travelers the sign of welcome. The Mondavi vineyard is right in the heart of Napa and sports some interesting wines.

My tour of the vineyard was quite interesting as well. Of course you get the sweeping views of Napa Valley and hundreds of thousands of rows of grapes, but we also got to see the inner workings of the vineyard, the wine barrels, the fermentation barrels, etc. Our tour guide was quite the trip and probably both enhanced and worsened the tour. He knew his Mondavi/Napa valley history inside and out, but along with the scripted jokes, he was dry and boring. It's probably a good thing I wasn't there with friends because I would have been subtly teasing him all day long.

Anyway, I spent about 3 hours at the vineyard and overall it was incredible. I also hit what used to be the Coppola vineyard as well as the Martini vineyard...both incredible. I highly recommend Napa...preferably with a significant other. And yes, I did just come back from Oktoberfest where I drank 10 liters of beer per day and go to Napa Valley where I had a few bottles of wine per day. No big deal.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Pork Knuckle

I'm shocked I didn't put this picture of German pork knuckle up until now. The pork knuckle looked like...a pigs foot, and it was delicious to rip the meat off of the foot of a pig. The sauce was amazing and the dumpling was above average as well. I had this pork knuckle at the Haufbrau House restaurant the same day as arriving. (I think the dumpling is still digesting in my stomach 2 weeks later)

Friday, October 3, 2008

True Chef

I'm an amateur chef, a passionate chef, but still an amateur. I often go into restaurants and am blown away by incredibly creative and successful chefs. This picture is an example of a chef at a French restaurant (forgot the name) in Charleston, SC. Not only was the fish incredible, but the mussels before hand were incredible and the crusty French bread was out of this world. Anyway, only a true chef can cook a whole fish and make it taste this good and look this appetizing all at the same time. Makes me wonder what it takes to become a true chef. Practice? Culinary school? Owning a restaurant? I don't know yet, but I think I'll try practice and find out for myself.