Cooking in the Nickel City

Last night was my first time trying to cook something out of the Nickel City Chef book. I had got the idea in my head last week that it was something that was a good idea, despite these recipes being WAY above my level of cooking expertise. The recipes seemed to be well written and concise so I figured I’d give it a shot anyway and eventually work my way through all of the recipes in the book.

First up I decided to make the recipe from Chef Krista Van Wagner (of Curly’s Grill fame) which is a rib eye with sherry saffron aioli, fiddleheads and fingerling potato salad. Except I used strip steak instead of rib eye and asparagus instead of fiddleheads. Luckily under the “chef’s notes” section of the recipe the asparagus substitution was suggested for fiddleheads, as I would have had no clue where to find finddleheads in December in Buffalo and wouldn’t have known what to use otherwise. And I only used strip steak instead of rib eye because when checking out Spar’s European Sausage Shop the other day, there were two very well priced and mouth-watering strip steaks calling my name. So I guess there goes my “staying true to the recipe” idea I was going to have with this book, but I’m trying to do this without breaking the bank too much and strip steak is slightly cheaper than rib eye. Maybe if I didn’t have to buy so much other stuff (I’m looking at YOU, $10-for-a-half-a-gram saffron.) Oh, the other tweak I made was when the recipe called for bacon for the potato salad I left that out and used lard instead of the bacon fat for cooking other stuff in. I swear, that’s it though.

I made the aioli ahead of time (in a blender, because apparently the food processor I have is totally broken. I don’t even want to get a new one because my kitchen doesn’t need any more crap in it! Except a roasting pan, which I want. But that’s it. Really!) and put it in the fridge, salted the steaks and let them come to room temperature, boiled water for the asparagus and potatoes and cut up everything else I needed. I’m trying to get better at reading a recipe 900 times beforehand so I don’t have to stop and wait to check it out to see what to do next, and get everything in order ahead of time so I don’t get too frazzled once things start going. I especially was with this recipe because I hate messing up at all, much less messing up ingredients that are on the more expensive side of things! I still wound up looking at it constantly to make sure I wasn’t forgetting to do anything. My boyfriend came over and we manged to not have any horrible burns/knife accidents/staying out of his light in my cramped kitchen so he could snap a bunch of photographs as I was cooking.

I don’t consider myself a wine drinker, but everyone time Luke has wine I have to take a sip to see if my thoughts have changed and I like it, which I never did until the other night he was drinking La Crema, which is pretty tasty. And yes, I finally learned at the age of 29 to open a bottle of wine. My mom will be proud.

Everything went surprisingly smoothly during the cooking process – YAY! The only thing that went wrong was the asparagus got just a smidge overcooked. I like it to have a bit of a crunch to it and it was just a little overcooked, but not ruined and still edible without turning into green mush, so it was okay.

The final product….

It turned out amazing! I guess to actually gauge how it turned out I would have to go to Curly’s on a night when they had this on the menu, which I may just do one of these days to see how my dish REALLY stacked up to the recipe. I was pretty proud how it came out being that cooking a bunch of stuff and having it done at the same time is always really complicated for me since I never know “okay, it will take X amount of time for this to cook, X amount of time for this, start this now then do this” but it was almost all done at the same time – at least nothing got cold or anything. My boyfriend gave it an 8 out of 10 which is pretty good, in my opinion!

We finished off with some key lime cheesecake and raspberry cheesecake from the bakery at Premier Liquor, which although photographs pretty it was less than stellar and pretty dry and blah, which surprises me since usually their bakery is pretty good!

I deem recipe #1 a SUCCESS! Up next week is something totally different from the book, woohoo!

6 Responses to “Cooking in the Nickel City”
  1. Natalie says:

    mmmmm !! Looks great!

  2. Luke Copping says:

    I’m pretty damn hungry to eat this again! What is next on the menu?

  3. 29andhungry says:

    You’ll see next week, Luke!!

  4. artisankitchensandbaths says:

    I really enjoyed this! Season 4 of NCC starts in February. We’re really excited to get back at it!

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