Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Research in Action

     One of the things I love to do is perfect a recipe.  If you have read the description of this blog then you already know the level of my expertise, little to none.  So my most recent endeavor last week was preparing for the coming New Hampshire Highland Games.  My chef is in his second week at a new restaurant and I have already flooded him with texts of suggestions, dates of food competitions and ideas for a food truck at our nearby college.  I'm telling you, food trucks are the way to go. They were all over the Burlington, VT campus. We have one here!  A recent magazine article reported that fashion trucks are the new thing same idea but with clothes, hide your wallets gentlemen. Anyway, so the Highland Games is a huge weekend here in central New Hampshire.
     The Games take place around the end of September and is packed full of fun! My father in his younger days threw a caber, I've got pictures. If you are a local you probably avoid Lincoln, NH the way you avoid Laconia, NH during bike week.  You know the weekend is fast approaching when you start to see businesses flying flags that have purple thistles on them and everyone starts wearing plaid. It doesn't matter if it's not you own families' tartan, which is a plus, you just wear it!  Even the locals in the area don't blink an eye when you start to see men wearing kilts all around town.
     My idea was this... I have stood in the endless lines at the games for some meat pies and bridies.  Why not offer it at the restaurant.  If I could get it there instead of standing in line forever and trying to find a bottle of Lea and Perron's that isn't empty to put on my pie, I'd be in heaven! So the game is on.  I started searching online for recipes and found some great resources on allrecipes.com. It being August in New Hampshire we're already thinking about fall and soups. If you don't live in NH, fall really starts about mid August. The nights start cooling down and the mornings are chilly for longer. I seem to be very hotblooded first thing in the morning so my mornings consist of my husband and boys complaining that I have the back porch door flung open to let in the early morning air. 
      I decided that I was going to try a leek soup since leeks are very plentiful this time of the year.  I started with one pot then in the true spirit of experimentation I divided the batch among two pots and started varying the ingredients. One batch had potatoes, the other had mostly veggies like cauliflower, carrots, broccoli and other spice.  My poor chef was just about to head to work and I sat him down at the table with two bowls, two spoons and a glass of water. I sat in a very official fashion across from him pen and paper in hand.  Keep in mind every time I taste test anything from my chef it's usually atomically hot in temperature.  He sat and tried the first with the potatoes. He liked it well enough, we established that it should definitely have potatoes, there weren't enough leeks blah blah blah. The blah blah blah was a lecture I received on what is authentic leek and potato soup and what isn't. Don't ask me because I tuned him out. 
     Next he tried the primarily veggie one. Okay my chef doesn't like cauliflower in the soup. I think I got that point with the face he made. We established no carrots, not enough leeks and no cauliflower. So now my recipe has been reduced to leeks and potatoes. I still have yet to retry leek soup. I instead suggested he have a Portuguese night at the restaurant.  For now I think I'll experiment on the nights when he's working and not have any taste tests till I have found the true magical recipe. Right now my plans for the Highland Games is to stand in line for my meat pies and bridies. I wonder if they're available in the frozen food aisle...

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