Monday, March 21, 2011

0 Has Chef Penguin Gone Off the Reservation?

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With all of the recipe postings here, you may've noticed that there haven't been a lot of posts about other topics lately. Most of that is just because I'm really, really busy, and every recipe I complete for the blog gives me more options for recipes to include in the cookbook. And, this recipe-writing is in addition to the several recipes I've been writing that will only appear in the cookbook. As I may've mentioned before (either on this blog or the running blog, or in other social media spaces), I'm getting ever closer to wrapping up the recipe-writing portion and will soon begin the nutrition/sports nutrition section of the cookbook.

Plus, it's not just with the cookbook writing itself --  -- but there are other work-related and personal projects on the horizon as well. Life is a bit crazy here, but I decided to take a little breather in between the goings-on to let you know what's actually been going on. ;)

First of all, as many of you know, ever since Recipe #100, I've been hosting blog contests after the completion of each 50-recipe increment. So, since this blog has now reached 250 original recipes, there'll be another blog contest very soon. In fact, it's currently in the works as I write this. I've been doing some behind-the-scenes work to set up a really cool contest with some very unique prizes. So that's something to look forward to in the near future. :) As soon as all of the pieces comes together for that, you'll be the first to know.

Also, in other non-recipe-related news, I'll be literally going "off the reservation" for a while. No, that doesn't mean I'll be moonlighting as a spy or an assassin-for-hire. LOL. Hey, I'm a chef. I create stuff, not destroy stuff. ;) Well, er, that is, most of the time. ;) We won't count the kitchen tools that got bent out of shape in the dishwasher or the minor incident in which I set the kitchen ablaze once during a dinner party. (My guests found that latter occurrence highly amusing. Another story for another time. Perhaps. ;) )

And when I say I'm "going off the reservation," that doesn't mean that I've lost my marbles either, although some people might've been questioning that as they scratched their head at the shepherd's pie recipe, especially the ones who know me. ;) Yeah, that recipe was really for Erik and the other carnivores (er, cough, I mean, mostly male diners ;) ) out there. Plus, it was my own dang fault, because once I'd mentioned the idea, after wondering aloud about whether or not I should make it, the cat was already out of the bag. Basically, by that point, I'd already planted the idea in his mind and then it was too late, especially after he'd gotten really excited about it. And since I've mostly been "cooking for the cookbook" these days, and my latest cooking agenda has consisted almost entirely of vegetable-centric dishes, I thought I'd cut him some slack and honor his request. And plus, it was a highly fitting recipe selection for St. Patty's Day. So there. :)

And let's face it, while I'll be honest and say that shepherd's pie isn't really my thing (it's not something I'd personally seek out and try), it was actually pretty tasty, all things considered. As I said before, I'll try almost anything once, and will only post the recipe if it tastes good and also passes the family taste-test. :) Needless to say, Erik was very enthusiastic about the final product. So, I'm glad the meal made him happy, because I told him he'd eating it for dinner for the next 3 days. Hahaha.

The funny thing is that I initially resisted making it. I think I said something like, "I don't know. Ground meat and potatoes in the same pie? Would that even taste good? I'm not sure that's something I would like." You see, even though I'm of British extraction, I'll confess that I'd never actually made shepherd's pie before until St. Patty's Day rolled around. Yeah, I know. It's pretty unbelievable. However, what can I say, I just wasn't raised eating a lot of dishes based around ground meat. Sure, we ate meat and potatoes, but if it was ground beef, it was typically a hamburger, served with a baked potato and a salad or steamed veggies. ;)

Plus, I associate meat pies with Sweeney Todd and British nursery rhymes -- you know, four & twenty blackbirds being baked into a pie and such - BLECH! Hahaha. And then, of course, after I started thinking about that, I couldn't get the nursery rhyme, Sing a Song of Sixpence, and the theme song from Sweeney Todd out of my head while I was making the shepherd's pie. Isn't that lovely, eh?! ;) Probably not the most encouraging of signs. Hahaha!

Anyhow, back to the story....

Then, he said, "OK, you don't have to make it." And then when I relented, he said something like, "No, please don't make it, because then it won't turn out like it should. And when you don't want to make something, we all know what happens." ;) Of course, that really pushed my buttons, because I then took it as a challenge, because nobody tells me what I can or cannot do. ;) Hahaha. Of course, I already knew that he'd been employing a bit of reverse psychology, and this was exactly the outcome he'd been hoping for. ;) My suspicions were confirmed when I called him out on it, and his only reply was a very wide grin. :-D He knows I hate when people tell me I can't do something, because then I'll just have to prove them wrong. ;)

I'm sure that my usual subscribers probably didn't know what to make of that shepherd's pie recipe. I know it just didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the recipes here. By now, most of this blog's readers have probably come to expect veggies galore with a few chicken dishes scattered here and there, and an occasional red meat selection or two. So OK, you can count the shepherd's pie as the once-in-a-blue moon red meat selection, even though it's atypical of the recipes I'd typically choose. ;)

So, what did I mean, exactly, when I said that I'm literally going off the reservation? Well, maybe this isn't the typical or proper usage of the word, but I'm getting out of dodge for a few days. Erik'll be holding down the fort here in DC, with the cats et al, while I'll be going home. (And, I mean "home" as in my "original home," a.k.a. "hometown.") As usual, I'll most likely be cooking for my family while I'm there. I can't guarantee that I'll have time to post recipes, as it's most likely only going to be a short trip, but if you do see some recipes pop up here and there, they might actually be postdated autoposts. So, online and IRL friends, please don't think that this means that I'm online or available for IM chats and such. ;) If I do have time, I might pop onto Facebook and Twitter, and of course, I'll be checking my email. If you've got any urgent correspondence, please email or DM me. Thanks!

So, enjoy the rest of the week, and if you don't see a post or two from me here over the next two weeks, expect to hear from me again in about a week. Have a good one!


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