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Friday, January 6, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Another round of holidays has given way to the enivatable, back to work, hectic schedules, and general chaos. Round one 2012 here we come. We have all danced this choreographed juggling act of planning meals, shopping, wrapping gifts, cocktailing with friends, and heaped that upon our regularly scheduled programming. I think it's about time to wind down a little, spend a few quality moments in the kitchen, and reflect on some of the more interesting things that have occurred this past year.
Our festive little tree

Christmas Eve Dinner
 I was recently home right after some birthday fun in Cocoa Beach, FL.(Birthday's ten days before Christmas, so I love December) It was an incredible celebration with lots of food, friends, and general merriment. While I'm not able to post about it now, the birthday blog WILL be epic, and will coincide with the air date of a nationally syndicated television show we'll be appearing on. Sorry about the hush, hush, but I promise it'll be worth the wait. I bring it up because we did boil lobsters and had one soldier left out of the bunch, which I used in this version of GG's Kitchen Sink Skillet Potatoes.

So after the general chaos dies down, phone's not ringing, house is quiet, coffee's brewing in the kitchen, (Safehouse Honduran) the stillness suits me in a way I don't get to indulge in very often. I know when this house wakes up I'll have a couple appetites ready, and am loathe to leave the peaceful confines of my kitchen for anything, much less a store run. So I tackle the task of hunt and gather in the pantry and fridge. This step will change every time you make this, as the kitchen sink is the only thing this dish is lacking. It's a simple tool to use what's on hand and available. Sometimes it's ordinary,while other times it's simply exraordinary. Due to the leftovers in my fridge, let me assure you exraordinary is not only possible, but almost required.

Assembled ingredients
While at the food co-op in Cocoa Beach, I had picked up a bag of gourmet baby potatoes, the Yukon gold, red, and purple had such a pretty contrast I just couldn't resist. We had such a busy schedule the previous few days, that I had thought ahead and par boiled these adorable little spuds with the general idea that I'd roast or fry them later. I like shortcuts like these. Being prepared with clean, cut vegetables or partially cooked veggies saves me a lot of aggravation both at home and on the road. Also on hand are baby bell peppers in orange, yellow, and red. Sweet onion is in abundance along with shittake and baby portabella mushrooms, thick sliced bacon from our friends at T&T Meats in Mc Donough, GA, and fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary from Ms Faye's garden, marjoram, and sage). Already looking like something delicious in my head, I remember with a start that I have an entire Maine lobster left over from my birthday. Yay! We have now graduated to extaordinary! I'm not gonna lie, the prospect of cracking that girl outta her shell doesn't make me warm and fuzzy inside, but it was infinitely worth it in the end. I'm gonna get right on to the recipe, so you can enjoy it too!

GG's Kitchen Sink Skillet Potatoes

GG's Kitchen Sink Skillet Potatoes
2 lbs baby potatoes, par boiled and cut in half or quartered depending on size
1 med sweet onion, julienned
3 baby bell peppers, rough chopped
1 sprig each fresh chopped herbs (use what you like, I used thyme, rosemary, marjoram, and sage)
1 lb bacon, cooked and rough chopped
1/2 package each shittake and baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 lb female lobster, cooked & shucked of meat
3-4 cloves of garlic minced
1 T Hungarian paprika
1-2 t Tony Chacherie's extra hot seasoning blend
cracked black pepper to taste
bacon drippings/olive oil/butter to sautee ingredients
There's a few things you can do ahead of time to be prepared. I strongly recommend par cooking and cutting the potatoes to save time, as well as all the veggie and herb chopping, and bacon cooking. When this is completed assemble your ingredients, and get your skillet hot. Medium to medium high will do. Add 1-2 T olive oil to the pan along with a tablespoon butter, and a tablespoon bacon grease. I know this seems like a lot, but the potatoes will absorb quite a bit and you'll need it to achieve golden brown crispiness on your potatoes. Next add the mushrooms, garlic, onion, and bell pepper, sauteeing for 3-4 minutes before adding the potatoes. Once you add the potatoes, season with the dry seasonings, tasting to adjust if necessary. You won't want to stir too much at this point. The whole idea is to get those spuds golden brown and you can't do that if you're moving it around too much to allow the browning to occur. About the time the potatoes are looking close to done is when I added the bacon bits, herbs, and lobster. The lobster and bacon are already cooked, so you really just want to warm these through. Also, the golden rule with herbs is to add fresh close to the end, dry in the beginning for optimal flavor. All that being said you can fry a couple of eggs like we did, or simply plate when you're ready. This recipe is not set in stone. You do not have to follow it to the letter. The point is to use what you have. Prime rib, leftover steak, chicken, or pork, partial veggies, that scattered bulb of garlic, whatever. It's all up to interpretation and creativity. That's why it's called Kitchen Sink. The amounts can be adjusted to feed a crew of people in a shortish amount of time and is delicious. You can add cheeses if you like, I omitted it this round in favor of showcasing the lobster flavor.

This year has been a whirlwind of transition, change, excitement, drama, golden opportuntities, and above all, love. I have journeyed through the corners of US, and the corners of my soul. I've lost friends, made stunning new ones, welcomed new lives, ended long suffering heartbreak, said some sad good byes, and began a whole new adventure. I am grateful for all of it. Without it, I just wouldn't be who I am. This year is all about living your dreams, reaching for the impossible, and never forgetting where you come from. So this year, instead of focusing on all the things that went wrong last year, I'm commited to making this year the best it can be by embracing the positive things and reaching for the stars.
Keep an eye on your Gypsy Gourmet, this year is already off to a stellar beginning, and there are many exciting, life changing irons in the fire. I will keep y'all updated as soon as I'm able, and post air dates and such as soon as it's written in stone.
Until next time folks, eat well, laugh often, drive America's highways safely.

gypsy gourmet

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