A Return to Television

So we have television again. It’s such a little blip on the things that are important that I can’t even remember the last time we had it: perhaps when we were living in the 1950’s house two or three years ago. I think we had possessed a cable box for six or seven months, and when we finally got it set up, we watched an hour of America’s Funniest Home Videos, and then never watched it again while we were living there.

My husband works for a local phone/internet/cable company, and we get a certain amount of free services. Traditionally, we have spent this on cell phones and internet services, but when cable has been included, out of preference and habit we just don’t watch a lot of it.

I like to listen to podcasts while I work at home, but since my iPod bit the dust this past winter, I’ve been doing without. Since the cable was installed earlier this week, I’ve been listening to various shows on Food Network and HGTV as they strike my fancy. I’ll probably expand that to other history/science related channels as I run across them, but I still don’t see myself watching a lot of television, or rearranging my schedule in order to watch something with regularity.

I’m curiously fascinated with “personality cooking shows” as most of them seem to consist of the host awkwardly narrating and telling odd stories while they cook really pedestrian dishes, and tasting things with exaggerated moans and rolled eyes of yumminess, which I feel is sort of fake and creepy, kind of like porn.

I watched a few episodes of Chopped, which feels very snobbish, but I was glad to see Joshua Stokes of Grill-a-Chef win his competition. His mission statement and blog is very cool.

I also saw an episode of Cooking for Real with Sunny Anderson from 2008 called North of the Border. I’ve never heard of this lady or this show, but I thought I’d wing several recipes since I had a great deal of the ingredients at home. Note that I did not use any of her actual recipes, I simply cooked from what I remembered from the show. I’m including her recipes for reader reference.

I adapted her Chicken Flautas with Avocado Cream for what I had on hand. I substituted ground pork for the chicken, and I added the ingredients to make up a salsa right in the pan rather than using a canned brand, which I don’t like and never buy. I didn’t have any tortillas and I didn’t feel like making any, so I just added black beans to the pot. I seasoned with Ancho powder, New Mexican Chile, and Cumin from the local Summit Spice and Tea. I used fresh sweet peppers from costco and finished it with my favorite jalapenos: Mrs Renfros, which I process to a relish for easy addition to dishes. They have a very vinegary pickle that brings out the best in the high heat of the jalapenos and keeps their texture quite crisp and fresh. I did not use any cheese, simply because I did not think it needed any. I paired the Avocado Cream with spinach for a salad.

The Corn Pudding was a revelation. It was so good that I’m sure it will become a regular feature. Somehow I’d never heard of tempering eggs like this. I mean, I vaguely remember it from when I make custard with egg yolks, but never I realized you could just do it to whole eggs as well. I love custard, but I don’t make it often because I have to find something to do with the egg whites and I’m not always keen on freezing them or making meringue. My husband absolutely adores creamy vegetable dishes and this is an excellent way to achieve a creamy texture without using sour cream or cream cheese.

Overall dinner was incredibly well balanced between sweet and spicy, heavy and light, green and starchy, meat and vegetable. I simply wish I would have made the lime soda, as it would have finished this meal off extremely well.

I was feeling under the weather, so for dessert I made a batch of Mexican Hot Chocolate with Cinnamon, Vanilla, Cayenne, and Ancho Powder and sipped it while I watched Julie & Julia on DVD.

We’ll see if I continue watching much TV once the novelty wears off.

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