Sunday, July 3, 2011

Gigi Dishes on Dishes

Home cooking is very important to me and my husband. Because we are veggie and we know that most restaurants do not source ingredients carefully enough to guarantee vegetarians a meal in good conscience, I prepare most of our meals myself in the kitchen next to the music studio. I love to cook while listening to music and I have some signature dishes which I am sharing with you tonight.

The Spiners are very environmentally aware as our tweetership knows. We try to be as green as possible - nothing to do with the green-eyed monster and everything to do with loving the planet and treating Mother Earth as she deserves to be treated: with respect and due consideration. We light candles for a romantic meal and I even hand wash our dishes to save energy.

My husband has the most gorgeous hands in creation - I probably should not mention this because now all his groupies are going to notice that again and start freaking out about it and wanting his hands on their bodies too (which he won’t do - they can carry on dreaming and as we always say, there is no profit in destroying anyone’s fantasies) but, it is a fact. He wants to help me with the dishes but I hide them from him because I just can’t bear to see those sexy hands of his in dish water. Call me a tradishionalist if you wish - that is just how I am: to me, dishes are not for superheroes and even though it is superheroic of my husband to insist on helping out, it is my habit to close the kitchen door discreetly after a romantic meal, and to sneak back into it in the early hours of the morning when I am sure he is soundly asleep. You never know, he might be pretending to be asleep too, but it works for us - he lets me be a control freak about certain things without officially noticing that I am one. I have always been a night owl, and dishes are a great way to get drowsy. He is the only man who has never scolded me about keeping musician time. He knows I do the oddest things at the oddest hours and it makes me happy to be like that because that is just how I am. He lets me be myself and that is one of the great reasons why I love him so much, other than the fact that he is the sexiest husband in the Universe.

My signature first course is my tomato corn chowder which I, after much agonizing, have decided to share with our loyal tweetership, fans and friends. As for my enemies, this is not the kind of soup you can slap together in a few minutes or pretend to serve by opening a can, and besides, they prefer junk food, so I do not believe there is any danger that they will try to copy my soup. Besides, if they do, it would be a good thing because they might actually manage to find someone of their own to eat with, thereby leaving me and my husband in peace. If they could actually learn to put a decent meal together, their chances of finding the man of their own dreams instead of dreaming in perpetuity about my man, would increase exponentially.

The tomato corn chowder is originally from the Sunset Vegetarian recipe book - Gigi always gives credit where credit is due - and I have adapted it slightly over the years. I have it memorized and it has been my signature soup since my student days. This soup is very nutritious and satisfying even by itself, especially with home-baked bread (yes, I do that too) and as a first course when I combine it with my other signature dish, the aubergine parmigiana, even meat eaters who do not usually look twice at an eggplant have said that they did not miss the meat course at all. The ingredients are in season for the summer right up to harvest time so they can be sourced locally and of course it stands to reason that I buy organic.

The tomato corn chowder and all my other soups are made with a French vegetable stock. The secret of the soup is that the flavours from the stock double up with the tiny cubes of fresh hand-cut veggies and corn kernels - I do not use cans or frozen corn unless I am in a really big hurry.

First of all, I will share with you the stock which forms the basis of the soup, and then the soup recipe itself, followed by the main course and side salad for my festive meal. The stock alone takes about three hours to prepare as there is a lot of cutting and chopping involved, and then it cooks for about two hours to extract all the flavours and nutrients, so this is the kind of meal you could spend a whole weekend preparing while chatting to your lover and doing the food prep together - yes, that part is allowed for the handsome hands to do, but I am even happier if he just holds my back and breathes on my shoulder.

The stock and the soup both benefit from being kept overnight as this gives an opportunity for the flavours to blend magnificently and for the soup to become even tastier. I usually make a huge pot of this soup and it makes for many tasty lunches to share with our helpers at the studio as well. Yes, when you work for us, we feed you home-cooked food. Some have been known to love working on these musical adventures so much that they have refused to go home at the end of the business day and I have to reassure them that there will be more work - and more soup - the following day. We know this is totally not how it’s done here, but a) it works for us and b) who says we are here? We are everywhere and always with you.

- DJ Gigi


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