Monday, February 16, 2015

Brunch, New Pots and Pans and a New Recipe... Oh My!

Hubby and I had plans for today.  Not big plans, but plans.  We decided to go out for brunch somewhere, and after much pondering, decided on Jack & Benny's.  We had driven by it's location on High Street dozens of times, but never when Jack & Benny's was open and we were hungry.  We'd always talked about visiting, though, and today was the perfect opportunity.  Since it was Presidents' Day and lots of businesses and things were closed, I guess we picked the right time.  Not only did we not have to hunt for parking, we got the most prime spot.

I had both been told Jack & Benny's was good, as well as read good reviews of it, so I was excited to try it.  It did not disappoint.  It's a small little breakfast/lunch greasy spoon type place, and it was delicious.  My food came covered in country gravy, which, as a girl born and raised in the country, is one of my favorite food groups.  "Breakfast Gravy" is the food group they don't teach the city kids about, but you know it in the country, and moving to the city sure doesn't make you forget about it.   In the event there are any other Columbus dwelling folks migrated from the country, and hankering for some gravy... I highly recommend this place!

Our plan was to go to the Main Library downtown after brunch.  Unfortunately the weather gods had different ideas.  It had been flurrying on the way to the restaurant, but turned into a fairly steady snow by the time we came out.  We headed toward the library anyway, but after getting a little below Ohio State, we decided to abandon the plan.  I didn't relish the idea of driving downtown on snowy, slushy roads, even if it was a holiday.  

We turned around and went toward home, but got side tracked by Goodwill on the way up High St.  I wanted to look for some stainless steel pots and/or pans, since I'm learning that professional cooks prefer them over non-stick cookware, for most things.  Amazingly, I actually found what I was looking for!  I rarely leave a thrift store empty handed, but also rarely leave with what I went in to find.  Today was my lucky day I guess.  I found these...

They're not stellar quality, but I thought they'd give me the chance to get a little experience with stainless steel, without sinking a ton of money (that I don't have) into new cookware.  I did a little research on non-stick vs non-coated cookware and came across this article which had some pretty good information in it.  There are, of course, a plethora of different opinions on both sides of the non-coated/non-stick issue, but to my way of thinking, it seems fair to say there are appropriate uses for both.

Like a little kid with a new toy, I had to try them out.  Fortunately the recipe we were planning to cook, this Chicken Gruyere with Sauteed Mushrooms recipe, required sauteing the chicken and mushrooms in a pan before placing them in the oven.  The first thing I learned was... if I let the pan get too hot before putting butter in it, the butter will scorch and smoke and generally behave badly.  So, alrighty, duly noted.  Poured the scorched butter out, wiped out the pan, and tried again with much less heat.  This time it worked fantastically.  Browned the chicken and shuffled it to the baking dish, then browned the mushrooms and simmered them with some wine before sticking it all in the oven.  20 minutes later, I sprinkled the shredded Gruyere on top and put it back in to melt it.  After a few more minutes, this...

I hope it looks as good in the picture as it tasted, because sweet Christ, it was amazing.  Both the mushrooms and the chicken were cooked perfectly and it was just delicious.  This was my first experience with Gruyere, and I loved it.  

The rest of tonight is going to be a repeat of last night -- Some quality time under a warm quilt, reading and chatting with Hubby.  And again... stay warm, folks!

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