11 August 2014

Have your Cook’s Treat firmly in mind before you start cooking.

Despite having been aware of the fact, for over half a century, that one day I would become 60 I am still surprised that last Saturday it actually happened! So far I feel just the same ... or do I? 

I just had what may be considered a senior moment! Last night I made a lovely Dark Chocolate Caramel Sauce  to go with homemade double vanilla ice cream (it’s easy peasy and in the book) and homemade choc-chip cookies.




Only seconds after putting the dirty sauce pan in the washing up water this morning I remembered what I should have done with it! Because of the caramel element this leftover sauce sticks quite hard to the pan so the correct way to deal with this is thus ...  

~   Add water (enough to fill your favourite mug or cup and no more) to the chocolatey pan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve all the loveliness.
~   Make a cup of coffee with the chocky-water.
~   Sit down, relax, sip and grin.

What a dickhead I am!  This prompts me, however, to remind my readers how very important it is to have your Cook’s Treat firmly in mind before you start cooking.  

If you are unsure exactly what constitutes a Cook’s Treat well, according to Wikipedia, it is 


“ ...a portion of the prepared ingredients not served as part of a dish, but which is nevertheless tasty and enjoyable and may be eaten by the cook.”

Some Cook’s Treat Suggestions

~   Obviously scraping the bowl is a time honoured cook’s treat but have you thought of extending this to the food processor (which, incidentally, I advise you to turn off first)? If I make hummus I wipe out the processor bowl with a piece of good bread and eat it, if I make vinaigrette (see here for lots of ideas) I wipe out the bowl with a piece of lettuce and eat it. And so on.
~   Also obvious is the “checking for quality” of random pieces of fruit as you prepare it.
~   Similar to the above I always (so far, I hope I don’t start forgetting) bake a small tester when making scones, for instance, or cookies. I’m just being greedy assiduous.
~   When starting a new, crusty, delicious loaf it’s quite likely, especially if you concentrate, that the first slice or so will be too small to make a sandwich or toast or it may be that you just have a few crusts over.  Either way dip them into some good olive oil and enjoy yourself.



~   Pastry scraps can be used to make all sorts of treats – see here for lots of ideas and here  for Brown Sugar Doo Dahs which make a pleasant treat for one.




~   Not enough batter left to make a final pancake?  Well fry some rags for yourself and drizzle with maple syrup.



~   Chicken Oysters – these are the two little pieces of delicious sweet tender dark meat that you’ll find either side of a whole chicken's backbone. Whilst the chicken is resting and you are waiting for the veggies to be ready scoop these out and eat them unobtrusively over the sink – they might cause you to dribble.  (If you’d like to save the oysters for yourself when cutting up a raw chicken there is some useful info here and remember that other roasted birds have oysters too, of course. 
~   Whilst on the subject of chickens you might as well have the liver for yourself too!  They contribute nothing other than bitterness to any giblet stock you might be making and on the other hand they contribute a great deal to toast, butter and brandy.

     Chicken Liver(s) on Toast

       ~   Remove the liver from the giblet bag and trim it of any stringy and/or greenish bits.
       ~   Sauté the good bits in a little butter and when turning brown but still a bit squidgy add a
            spoonful of brandy (away from the flame), a good grind of black pepper and a little salt
            and turn your liver in it, so to speak.
       ~   Mash onto a sippet of toast.

~   Chickens again – whilst serving the dinner pop a few scraps of chicken skin back into the oven to crisp up and tease your appetite with them before joining your guests at the table.
~   When slicing cheese it is often a good idea (and is actually de rigueur in the case of Cornish Crackler) to eat any crumbs that fall off accompanied by a sip or two of “chef’s coffee”.


~   Related to the above – you have probably been asked to taste the wine when dining out, don’t you owe it to your guests that you also taste a little before serving it to them?
~   Crispy bacon crumbs should always be eaten by the cook either just as they are or sprinkled onto something accommodating such as ice cream with a drizzle of maple syrup.
~   A spare anchovy is surprisingly good crushed onto hot toast and topped with ... clotted cream!  Ta da!!!
~   Leftover gravy is great finished up by dipping bread into it. 
~   Leftover stew is good on toast even if it’s just the scrapings left on the bottom of the pan.
~   Chocolate – this is taken directly from my book "The Leftovers Handbook"




Although I have given what I believe to be the most commonly held definition of Cook’s Treat Urban Dictionary gives this alternative ...


“Street name for coke used by senior chefs.”

... and I don’t think they are talking the sugar loaded fizzy drink!  I have oft been a senior chef but never took coke in either form and I don’t blame me!


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~   Have your Cook’s Treat firmly in mind before you start cooking.
~   Cook’s Treat Suggestions ~ do you have any more ideas?
~   A spare anchovy is surprisingly good crushed onto hot toast and topped with ... ?

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1 comment:

Katerina said...

First of all happy belated birthday! Thank you also for the tip on how to clean the caramel pan! Again, thanks for coming and linking up at The Weekend Social. All posts get pinned in our pinterest board! Please be sure to come back next week starting Thursdays at 9PM EST on culinaryflavors.gr ! I hope to see you there!

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