As many of you know, the show Chopped on the Food Network never ceases to be a source of inspiration for this blog. Last night was no different, albeit for different reasons. The cheftestants were not those who work as restaurant chefs, private chefs, or even culinary instructors. They were those who worked in non-profit organizations preparing food for those we so often call “the least of thee.” One cooked for the Fresh Air Fund and others cooked for various homeless shelters. It was the story of one of the cheftestants who talked about going from being homeless to being able to cook at the shelter that moved me. It reminded me of a time in my own life when I had almost become homeless. His story also moved me because of how they served their clients in the homeless shelter. Their dining facility did not have line that people went through, but was set up like a restaurant with menus and a volunteer staff that served as wait staff. Read More
After having spent most of the day in the kitchen cooking in preparation for our Thanksgiving Open House Pot Luck Dinner, reading about what my Jewish friends were eating in celebration of Hanukah, and all the amazing dishes my friends were making for their Thanksgiving feast this year, it was easy to think about eating. Each year, I tell myself I am only going to make the two things I commit to making, but that is never true. I always find it important to ensure I have made at least one thing that each member of my household, which this year is three, really loves on the table. So for Zoe it was my baked ham (thank you Ina Garten) and my macaroni and cheese. For Sam, it was pumpkin cheesecake, although it could have been anything pumpkin. For me, it was my two cranberry relish and stuffing. For my guests, I am making my twice a year holiday garlic smashed potatoes with mascarpone cheese. Ready to eat yet? LOL Read More
There is this experience in Zen Buddhism called Satori. In its most simplistic terms, it is about seeing the self-nature. While this has traditionally been used to talk about the journey of one’s personal journey to enlightenment, it has also been an important concept for me in terms of my cooking. When I come to appreciate the true nature of the foods with which I am working, it changes the way I experience them sensorally. There is this moment when what I have created looks right, tastes right, smells right and as a whole dish makes sense. Read More
Last week, I wrote about Zoë’s cousin Bruce and his request for lemon drop cookies. To be honest, I have never made them before. I figured they could not be that hard to make, but it was one of the things he remembered about his wife who had passed away. So the morning he was leaving, I woke up early and began making lemon drop cookies and quiche he had requested.
I knew this was exactly what he had wanted this holiday season, so I knew he was going to be excited. What I was not prepared for was the depth of his response. He had no idea I was going to make him two quiche to bring home, along with a myriad of other leftovers from Christmas breakfast and lunch. So that in itself excited him. I am not sure he expected I would actually do this for him. Read More
Have you ever bought something at the grocery store just about every week because for some reason you thought it had to be so difficult and impossible to make at home. This is how I felt about tortillas. I cannot tell you how many tortillas, corn and flour; I have bought or eaten in my life. I have had whole wheat ones, tomato basil, spinach, and white flour ones. I had bought corn ones at the grocery store until a friend turned me on to the corn ones at the local Mexican grocery store.
What do I love about tortillas? What is there not to love? You can stir fry them and throw them in with some eggs, cheese, peppers and other fresh herbs to make migas. You can use them as a wrap to make a breakfast burrito, a sandwich wrap, burritos filled with whatever and let us not forget the amazing quesadilla Read More
When I first was led to foodbuzz.com, I was not sure whether my writing about food would fit. I am not a restaurant reviewer, nor do I spend hours developing recipes. Yet, for me, food is so much more then that. My philosophy of food has changed dramatically over the years. When I was younger, food ranged from something that you had to eat to avoid being punished (my mother could bake, but not cook) to something which amazingly appeared before your eyes at a restaurant and you did not have to do the dishes. Food came from the small markets, the grocery store, and the backyard. My favorite foods were the raspberries that never quite made it from the raspberry patch to my mother’s kitchen and the pickles, pickled tomatoes, and sauerkraut at the pickle king.
There have been times in my life when food was what you ate because you were hungry, but for a good part of my life, food was a source of comfort. Read More
It is amazing the things that you can learn from a single meal. My wife’s favorite dish, which I have been commanded to make weekly, is my cabbage casserole. A dear friend of ours, who is staying with us for a few weeks, loves it as well. The best part about making this casserole, which by the way is not my favorite, is the look on their faces. Sometimes it looks like they are having orgasms in their mouth. I know that look because I have had that experience as well. My guess is that you know that experience as well. You develop an emotional reaction and relationship to this dish that surpasses description. I have several, but one of mine would be a jalapeno bagel with lox and cream cheese. But that is another reflection, back to the cabbage casserole.
Watching them last night as the two of them nearly finished off a casserole that was supposed to serve 6-8 (lol); I had a series of epiphanies. Read More