Around this time of year, I start thinking of my favorite foods. There are plenty, but there are two desserts that I associate with Thanksgiving and Christmas. One of them is a dried apple cake. This type of cake has been passed down from generation to generation in my family. My grandmother taught her three daughters, but my mother is the only one who continued the tradition. While I helped her, I haven’t made it on my own. I am afraid that if I had it around, I would eat the whole thing in a couple of days. In a bit of a role reversal my brother has served it at least three times during the holidays to his family. One day I will make it because it is on my bucket list. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘Cooking’
I’ll be the first to admit that I have periods in which I eat an incredibly unhealthy diet. But on a day to day basis, I try to focus on including as many nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables as possible to my diet. Recently, I’ve become obsessed with the wonders of greens. Now I’m not talking about lettuce. I’m talking about those old-fashioned, newly fashionable greens such as kale, Swiss chard, and turnip greens.
For most of my adult life a crock pot has been a staple in my kitchen. My current version is starting to show its age and I’ll be replacing it at some point over the next few weeks. Until recently, however, I’ve always thought of a crock pot as something to use in the late fall and winter.
A few weeks ago, a friend commented that she was making a roast in her crock pot. I was shocked, and asked, “Why are you using a crock pot in the summer?” Her response, “I use a crock pot a lot in the summer, because it doesn’t heat up the kitchen like the oven or stove do.”
For most of this hot summer my evening meal of choice has been anything cold. I’ve eaten salads in every variety possible. I’ve also done a few cold soups. I’ve had various combinations of cheese and fruit and/or veggie plates. And some nights I’ve just had Greek yogurt piled with fruit and a few nuts. But finally this past week my stomach — and taste buds — started to rebel. At last, the longing for warm food returned.
My parents dropped by on Saturday, and left behind mountains of fruit. More specifically, about three pounds of blackberries, about seven pounds of mirabelles, and an unknown quantity of pears. The thing is, my parents know a great number of people with large garden, lots of trees and far more fruit than they can deal with. Which they pass on to friends. And so my mother makes pies and jams and compotes as much as she can, and hands the rest of the fruit on to others, preferably her children. (more…)
Seems like we’re on a bit of a summer food binge here at AAR. A few days ago Jean talked about a new salad recipe she’d tried (mango salad that sounds divine) using fish sauce. A few weeks ago, I was all about summer cherries. Well, my summer food obsession hasn’t waned. This morning I woke up thinking about fresh corn on the cob.
Corn on the cob is definitely a comfort food for me, reminding me of summers growing up. My mother would make corn on the cob for us several times a week while corn was in season. As kids, we would stick our little yellow plastic corn cobs in the ends of the corn, slather the cob with butter, dump on way too much salt, and be in heaven.
I like to think of myself as fairly adventurous in both cooking and eating. With the exception of making yeast breads (too many failures to count), I’m willing to try making just about anything. And vegetables? I’ve yet to meet one that I don’t like, if not love.
All that aside, somehow, the mighty fennel completely slipped under my radar. Not only had I never purchased or prepared fennel, I’ve never even eaten it (unless some chef slipped it into a dish without my knowledge). It’s not that I was unaware of fennel, I just didn’t know how to prepare it.
I’ll admit it, I’ve had a long love affair with kitchen gadgets. Let me set eyes on an infomercial for the latest “must have” gadget, and, well, I must have it! Fortunately, procrastination, laziness, and my bank account have stopped me from calling in and buying the gadgets I see on TV. But let a friend mention a spectacular gadget to me, or have a chef on a TV food show demonstrate something new, and I hit the stores looking for it.
Many of these wonder gadgets have been tossed out over the years, for not being quite as wondrous as hoped. But right now, I’m still feeling the love for two inexpensive gadgets (under $10). One is at least eight years old, and the other is just a month old. (more…)
Over the years, I’ve developed confidence in my ability to cook just about anything except bread. I regularly search for different recipes online, but also don’t hesitate to come up with my own creations.
My first kitchen experiment occurred when I was about 10 years old, and was trying to earn some kind of Girl Scout cooking badge. One of the requirements was that you had to make your own recipe. I decided to make pepper meatballs. I have no idea where I came up with this one, but my mother — trusting soul that she was — left me to it.
I recently came across an interesting article by Mark Bittman that appeared in the New York Times back in December. It advocates eating “real food,” rather than convenience or restaurant food. According to Bittman, everyone should be able to do three things: a chopped salad, a stir-fry, and a basic lentils and rice recipe. Bittman suggests that by learning to cook just these three things, we can begin to end our reliance on processed and fast foods. In the bargain, he suggests that we’ll save money, eat more healthy foods, and reduce our carbon footprint.
I found Bittman’s article quite interesting, and consistent with many things I do already. I rarely eat out, and no longer rely on convenience foods. Gone are the years when I ate Lean Cuisines every night for dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t completely given up convenience products, but I do use them less than I used to. However, I approach things in a slightly different way than Bittman suggests. (more…)