Cheatin' Cookin'

Cheatin Cookin in a minute. But first......" Ta Da !!! " The clock is ticking. TWENTY ONE days to go before the four of us start to cook our way through 12 entire issues( entire , I say) of GOURMET MAGAZINE . Launch date: October 1, starting with October 2009 issue .

The four of us love to cook as a hobby. So cook we will. Sometimes together. Sometimes apart. Sometimes the same recipes. Often,different recipes. Until the month is over and every recipe in that magazine for that month has been cooked. Then on to November. And so on. Until the end of September 2010.

Were we inspired by Julia Child and Julie Powell of Julie and Julia? Absolutely. ( But at least we chose to cook from a different set of recipes). And what better choice than the fabulous Gourmet Magazine. Thank YOU Ruth Reichl.

We have now planned a "kick off" dinner at my place on the evening of October 1. For the 4 of us and our spouses/partners. Babette and I ( as in me, Saucy ) plan to do the cooking. We are "treating " Gary and Ace. Ace just embarked on a long distance relationship with Katie,so she will be there in spirit only. Martin or mmmmmmMartin (attached to Babette) will be there. Note...often we will refer to Martin as M&M. Think yummy. Bacon Boy ,my sweet patootie, will be in town. And Annie,married to Gary....well her name has now changed to "Sexy Mary" and yeeeeeees,she will be there.

Oh, did I mention that October 1 is my birthday? Birthday MONTH in my books. Saucy's "National Holiday Month".

Today I found the greatest suprises for Babette,Ace and Gary. To be presented the night of October 1. No hints.

So now.... "Cheatin Cookin"( CC). That is my current solution to a bunch of cucina dilemmas. Only because I will be cooking my 'lil 'ol fingers to the bone starting October. And for now I'm taking it "eas"on myself. So I am finding ......"shortcuts" to some very tasty dishes. Truth be known, I kinda like these "compromises" from time to time. And thinking of Julia C. and omelettes for a moment.......I say" if no one asks....well,why tell....?"

For instance. Try my "CC" "homemade " baked beans . Get yourself a can of Clark's yellow eyed baked beans with pork (or another brand,but I like Clark's) . In fact, there was a time they used to be packed in a brown glass jar.

Empty the can in a bean crock or a nice covered glass baking dish... anything suitable to beans. Then fry up a slew of chopped bacon. Brown it. Drain it. Add to beans. Use some of the bacon fat to saute chopped onions( till soft). Add to beans. Need more sauce? Add in some molasses,water,dry mustard,s&p. Careful now. Add only a bit at a time so you can eyeball it and make those beans taste and look just like Grandma's. Heat up,keep warm and serve. Goes nicely with thick sliced, buttered brown porridge bread.

Or try my "CC" barbecued baby back ribs. Buy some frozen and fully cooked with sauce from your supermarket freezer. Try one rack first. I like a brand called "Stampede".

Take 'em ,still frozen, out of the plastic wrapper(inside the box). Let 'em thaw or....cook from frozen but ya know that means an increase in the cooking time. These might say "fully cooked" on the box but trust me.... they are not YET "fall off the bone". So.... wrap those baby backs in tinfoil. Two layers,seal tight. Put on a baking sheet and bake at 200 F for about 1.5 hours. Check to see if tender enough. If not,rewrap and bake maybe 20 to 30 minutes longer. Then finish them off briefly on the barbecue to crisp them up a bit on the outer layer. Or...if you leave them in the oven a bit too long, the barbecue will NOT be necessary and they will still taste great. Play with this method a bit to get your own rythym. But I gotta say, once you perfect it, sometimes the prospect of the task of making ribs from scratch might become a stretch...Need more sauce? Pour some Bull's Eye Traditional Barbecue Sauce into a glass dish....

A glass dish is important. Cheatin Cookin relies on you to dispose of any and all "store bought" evidence. That includes bean cans,rib boxes and sauce bottles.

You like this? My little occasional short cuts? Well then, ask me sometime about "CC" Key Lime Pie. It'll take you all of 5 minutes after leaving the grocery store....

Wait,you say. This is written by a woman who fancies herself a good cook? A chick planning(with the help of 3 great buddies) to cook her way through Gourmet Magazine for 12 months? What's going on here?

Relax,I say. Nothing is black or white. What's wrong with cutting a few culinary corners every so often? Don't we all have a teensie-weensie list of recipe short cuts that we pull out of the mental file box when time,work,family,energy level or sheer devilishness overwhelms us?

I'd love to hear your comments

Big hugs


  1. Ha! Everyone does a bit of CC every now and again; a bit like living dangerously for foodies.

    Good luck with the Gourmet challenge!

  2. I used to live in Portland, Maine when trains rolled slowly down Commercial Street filled with fish for the fertilizer factory up near Bath. The smell on a hot summer's day, coupled with the smoky rich smell of baked beans from the B&M baked bean company... and the papermill up near Lewiston-Auburn (LA) made for a cassoulet of smells for your nose, some good, some bad and some downright ugly.