Roy Cokenour reviews his wife’s cooking
By Roy Cokenour
with Notes by Mary Cokenour
As many are aware, my wife Mary writes a food column for our local paper, The San Juan Record; and also has her own food blog, Food Adventures of a Comfort Cook. She has often reviewed restaurants, other food related businesses, products and gadgets.
I am, of course, her main guinea pig for food experiments worked up in Mary’s lab, aka kitchen.
So, is it any wonder that I believe it is time for someone to review her culinary skills? …and here I go.
First sampled was the tortellini salad. Diced purple onions, homemade balsamic dressing transported me immediately to the Grecian Islands. The dish beckoned me to float in the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, making me eager to taste the skewers of chicken, peppers and mushrooms.
Laying a half skewer portion onto Naan bread, Feta cheese added which infused its rich flavor into the grilled meat and vegetables. A golden light fell upon me, a warm wind torn at my clothes, as if I was inside a culinary whirlwind.
The flavor of the marinaded chicken and grilled vegetables were caught in a net of soft, warm, unleavened bread. I was in food heaven!
And then, I partook of the German Bratwurst.
Okay. Mary makes an awesome Bratwurst. Cooked perfectly on the grill, sauteed onions and peppers, and a touch of spicy mustard, on a toasted bun. Perfecto!! But when she said German Style Bratwurst I was immediately intrigued. I was unprepared for this divine culinary experience however.
Glistening on a toasted bun, sauteed onions and peppers draped over the crisp, split skin of the sausage. Nostrils flaring!
What was that enticing scent!?! Something smoky, sweet, and a subtle hint of savory spices.
I took my first bite. The already split skin of the sausage snapped and I felt the drums of ancient Germanic tribes’ pulse through me. The flavor thrummed in my mouth and I heard the voice of my ancestors calling. “Come warrior! Eat, drink and be merry!”
The texture and flavor washed over me and the gates of Valhalla opened. The sauteed onions and peppers combined with the perfectly grilled Bratwurst, lifting me up on wings of ecstasy.
A chorus of deep Viking voices welcomed me. “SKALL!”, they cried, and I felt myself surrounded by my brethren. My lovely wife, my Hearth Maiden, smiled at me and I saw the Valkyrie in her raise an axe in victory.
I was smitten! My will shattered! No other sausage can compare. I slumped at the table, defeated, yet wildly exhilarated.
First off, thanks to my loving husband for this ecstatic review of my cooking and grilling.
Besides the Smoked German Brand Sausage, there was also Old-Fashioned Frankfurters. These were purchased at Blue Mountain Foods, and a product of
Hill’s Premium Meats (Hill Meat Company) of Pendleton, Oregon. Family owned and operated; this company has been providing quality meat products since 1947.
The frozen tortellini, Feta cheese, Naan bread, chicken tenderloins, mini-bell peppers, whole mushrooms and onions (white and purple) were all purchased at Blue Mountain Foods as well.
Marinade for the chicken tenderloins (18 in count) was one cup olive oil, ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, one heaping tablespoon minced garlic and two teaspoons of Italian herbal mix. In a large, sealable container, place the chicken tenderloins (small white ligament previously removed from each) and pour the marinade over; use a hand to thoroughly coat the chicken with the marinade. Seal container and marinade overnight. Do not marinade the peppers and mushrooms.
For the skewers, alternate bell pepper chunks, mushrooms and tenderloins. Mix up a cup of additional marinade to brush over the vegetables as they grill. The marinade will give some flavor to the peppers and mushrooms, but the overall true flavor, of the vegetables, will come through. I used metal skewers, but if you only have the wooden ones, make sure to soak them, for 30 minutes, in warm water. This will keep them from catching fire, and burning, on the grill. Or, soak them in oil for 5 minutes; food will slide on more easily, and they still will not burn as opposed to being untreated.
Dressing for the tortellini salad is the same as the above marinade, except a ¼ teaspoon of both ground black pepper and salt were added. Mix the dressing in a medium sized bowl. Cook the one-pound bag of frozen tortellini, drain thoroughly and add to the bowl, folding the pasta into the dressing so as to not break apart the delicate filled pasta.
So, there you have it, cooking and grilling at the Cokenour homestead, and a review, by my own husband, of my culinary achievements. Summer time will be grilling time for most households, so consider amping up the menu with Mediterranean style skewers (aka kabobs), and German influenced brats and frankfurters (thicker than the average American hot dog).