Posted by: Erin | December 2, 2008

Dinner with Chris Kimball

So, last night, I totally had dinner with Chris Kimball.

Chris Kimball, telling us a story about... something. Food, I imagine.

Chris Kimball, telling us a story about... something. Food, I imagine.

Okay, so I didn’t really have dinner WITH him exactly. My coworker and I went to one of the Boston University Food, Wine, and Art Programs‘ tasting demonstrations on Monday night. The place was PACKED. I understand that they wanted to accommodate as many people as possible (and probably wanted to collect as many fees as possible), but seriously. We were crammed in there like sardines. I, along with at least 10 others, were relegated to folding chairs stuck at the ends of the small tables, which already had three people sitting next to each other rather closely. If we weren’t being fed, it would have been less problematic, but we were. I’m also willing to bet that’s probably why the room was so warm. Well, that, plus the fact that the stoves were on and such. In either event, poor planning on someone’s part. Anyway.

I’m not a Cook’s Illustrated or Cook’s County addict like many in the room were, but I definitely enjoyed the event. I also had the best chicken noodle soup EVER. Granted, I’m used to soup out of a can, but that’s hardly the point – this was good soup, kids. We were served a simple salad (romaine, slivered toasted almonds, goat cheese, vinaigrette, and yellow raisins, I think) and Scoop-and-Bake Dinner Rolls with the soup – the rolls were made in a muffin tin. Someone asked if you could add things like currants to the mix, and Chris said you can add whatever you want, as long as it’s not too heavy. My coworker whispered to me that you could probably add herbs as well, which is a fantastic idea. I may have to try that.

As we ate, Chris made a bizarre concoction called Wacky Cake. It’s a chocolate cake that has no milk, eggs, or butter. (The recipe came about during wartime – milk, eggs, and butter were in short supply then, so many cooks had to work around the ingredients were rationed.) Due to a reaction that happens between the vinegar and the water (I think), you make three craters in the dry mix – one for vegetable oil, one for vanilla, and one for vinegar. You then pour water over it, and put the pan in the oven immediately, to keep that reaction from advancing too much before baking. It’s kind of funny to watch someone make it, but it was decent. Not the best chocolate cake ever, and a bit dry, but in a pinch (or if you’re just totally craving something chocolate), it’ll do.

The cake wasn’t fabulous, but the Easy Chocolate Ice Cream was kind of amazing. I was so psyched to see an ice cream recipe that doesn’t require an ice cream freezer – a few months back (or maybe last summer?), Cooking Light had an issue with a bunch of ice cream recipes in it. Every time I get excited to go make one, I realize I can’t. So this recipe had me intrigued. It’s really more of a mousse than an ice cream, but I’m not complaining – it was fantastic. Sort of like a soft Fudgsicle. It makes me want to have a dinner party so I can serve this to people. (Hell, I just want to have a dinner party!)

As he cooked, Chris took lots of questions, and also showed us some nifty kitchen gadgets. I was highly entertained when he shows us a personal milk frother – a totally useless item that I believe one of my housemates in college had. (She was having a Chai phase, if I remember right, and thusly, wanted to froth milk.) There was a pretty excellent meat thermometer, the name of which I did not catch, and a timer that allowed you to time four different things at once (awesome!). He also mentioned a decently priced Dutch oven that caught my attention. I’ve never had actual need for one, but every so often, I come across a recipe that looks interesting and calls for one, and I always think, “Who just has one of those lying around?” I’ve looked online, just for kicks, and discovered they don’t usually come cheap, which is why this one caught my attention. I also got a knife recommendation (mine are not so great, and I’ve been debating the merits of ceramic blade knives).

Despite the overcrowding, it was a good event. Chris Kimball was super nice and funny, and I enjoyed listening to him share stories and knowledge. This was the first BU Food and Wine event I’ve gone to. My coworker and I are signed up for another course in January that I am very much looking forward to. More on that after that one happens.

Cook's Country (January 2009)

Cook's Country (January 2009)

Oh, almost forgot – in addition to the recipes made at the tasting, we all got copies of the January issue of Cook’s Country. I haven’t looked at it too carefully yet, but there’s a recipe for Cashew Chicken that looks promising. If it turns out anything like my favorite Thai takeout, I will be forever indebted to Cook’s Country, because I’ve been looking for a cashew chicken recipe forEVER. Because December is so crazy busy, I may not get to try it for a while – I think it may be a between-Christmas-and-New-Year’s project. But I’m definitely looking forward to it. And who knows – maybe I’ll also get up the energy to try making the chicken noodle soup, too.

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Responses

  1. […] bunch). I knew who mine was on the first day, due to the gift. My coworker (the one I went to the Chris Kimball thing with in December) and I had a discussion about where one might find cheesecloth. (I wanted to try […]

  2. […] always fun, regardless of how good or bad any of us are. This year, my foodie coworker (the one who went with me to see Chris Kimball back in December), organized something new: a cooking class at the Cambridge School of Culinary […]


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