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The Mike-the-Mooch/Mitch Project

August 15, 2011

What if I always relied upon the kindness of strangers?

Oh wait – this one is true.

In High School I received the dubious nickname of Mike the Mooch. I think it started out because I would always be a few yen short for train fair, but it grew to epic proportions where I mooched an entire house once.

Well it seems I have not left my mooching ways behind me. Or maybe it is just that I am surrounded by generous people.

Three weeks ago I sent an innocent recipe question to Cynthia Gerdes and Mitch Omer asking about the quantity of an ingredient. Cynthia’s response exceeded anything I could have dreamed of. She told me that they had been thinking about the Mike/Mitch project a lot and someone had mentioned me at their last marketing meeting.

Really that would have been enough for me. I’m good. They know who I am and there is at least one person on their marketing team reading the blog. Huzzah!

She continued on to say that Hell’s Kitchen (or rather Mitch and Cyn) would like to provide some ingredients for my upcoming recipes. If you follow me on Twitter you may recall this:

They really are.

Cynthia and I traded emails back and forth and Mitch even left a comment on the blog letting me know he’d procured some truffles for me. That’s right, truffles.

More emails were traded , flash forward another week. We stopped by HK to listen to the jazz stylings of Arne Fogel. About 10 minutes after we were seated Mitch came lumbering over with a huge bag of groceries that he had pilfered from the HK Kitchen, plus some other items that he got just for me. I could stop here and this would be an amazing story.

It gets better.

Mitch sat down at our table and we talked about recipes and he thanked me for doing the project. I thanked him for coming up with so many delicious recipes and opening my eyes to the virtues of cream and real rich chicken broth. And I thanked him for the ingredients. It was one of the cooler moments in my life and I have avoided writing about it because I don’t really know how to convey what I was feeling.

It wasn’t until we got home an unpacked the bag of ingredients that I realized I hadn’t thanked Cynthia and Mitch enough. Our grocery bill was smaller last week than it has been since the project began and I made some great recipes with all of it. Melanie already told you about the BBQ Shrimp in Honey Chipoltle sauce. Included in my haul was a half-gallon of the heaviest cream on the market. I didn’t even know they sold cream by the half-gallon. With the cream I made crème brûlée, Manohmin porridge, Tomoto Bisque, and a Red Pepper Alfredo Sauce. I used the oranges to make Orange infused olive oil. I made Pineapple-Jalapeno Salsa , Charred Salmon, and Lemon Rice Pilaf. All with ingredients from Mitch and Cynthia. I am planning on the Truffle Hollandaise sauce this week and I can only imagine how delicious it will be.

Thank You Cynthia. Thank you Mitch. Thank You Hell’s Kitchen.

Recipe #121: Orange Oil (It is Lemon oil in the cookbook, but my friend Mitch told me I could use oranges.)

Recipe #122: Pineapple-Jalapeno Salsa

Damn Cool Behind the Scenes thing I learned about the cookbook: Mitch used a “food” scale to write many of the recipes until he realized that people would never go for that and he rewrote them using volume measurements.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 20, 2011 12:08 pm

    Very nice people! Everyone that regularly reads your blog wants to go to Hell’s Kitchen. If I ever get to that part of the country, I want to visit the restaurant. It’s great advertising for them, especially since you’re such a good writer!

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