One of my Pampered Chef Team members always talks to me about the importance of her Community Group at her church. This group meets weekly and serve as a source of support for each other in good times and challenging times. This group ensures that no member of the group ever has to go through anything alone. They celebrate with each other and work with each other to create solutions or to provide support when going through the challenging times. Never does she have to go through anything feeling unsupported or alone.
My son taught me a similar lesson when he first came into my life. He wanted to bake cookies. I was so busy at the time working on my dissertation that I honestly did not want to stop working. However, my time with Nick was also rare. He both wanted me to bake with him, but also wanted to bake like a big boy and do it himself. So I moved my work near the kitchen so we could be together and I could help him when he needed it, but he could also cook like a big boy. It was his first time ever to bake cookies, something his birth mother had never allowed him to do. Each part of the experience was new and exciting. I remember feeling so grateful to be able to witness his joy, although I remember not looking forward to cleaning up the mess he was making. The best part was when he came to see me and I could see all the places he had touched his face, as there was white flour all over his chocolate skin. It is a moment I will remember forever. Read More
Growing up, I can still hear my mother tell me, “Try it, you might like it.” It is one of those lessons I strive to remember even today. I may not have liked something when I was a child, but that does not mean I will not like it now or even 10 years from now. My wife, for example, has not liked zucchini since I met her, for no explainable reason, but that she did not like it. However, a few months ago I made a zucchini and pasta dish that she loved. In fact, she seemed to enjoy it more than anyone else in our household did and has grown to enjoy zucchini since then.
The same is true of restaurants. Read More
For the last two nights, I have been making dinners served on sticks. Last night was chicken and zucchini yakatori. The night before was chicken and tomato pesto skewers. My family loved both of them and they were both put on the “you can make this again” list. At first, I thought this is my first time to cook food on sticks, but then I began to realize it was not my first time to serve food on sticks. Numerous times, I have made popsicles, in which I have inserted a popsicle stick as it froze. I have also used straws and created breakfast skewers with donut holes and chunks of fresh fruit.
Food on sticks is becoming increasingly popular and is one of those things, which exists in every culture around the world. Read More
For the last week, I have been reflecting on what the focus of my blog would be for this week. T words floated into and out of my brain. I thought about tomatoes, tuna, tacos, tenderizer, tomatillos, turnips, thyme, and even tequila. Ultimately, I kept coming back to tortillas. They are a staple in our home and something I often times make by hand. Making corn tortillas is a bit easier, then flour ones, but both are simple to make and much tastier then most of the tortillas you buy in the store. Although there is a wonderful little Mexican store about 20 minutes from me and every other week the truck comes in filled with cheeses, salsas, tortillas, and a diversity of other staples used in the Mexican cuisine.
It is at this little store that I got my tortilla press and learned how to make my own corn tortillas. Although a tortilla press is not necessary, it does help to ensure the flatness and consistency of your tortillas and I recommend one of the heavier cast iron or metal tortilla presses. I always put a Ziploc bag over the top and bottom parts of the press when making them and that makes clean up a breeze. While they can only be used in making corn tortillas, it is still one of the best investments I have made in terms of my kitchen equipment (next to our waffle iron and immersion blender). Read More
There are so many amazing foods that begin with O I could have chosen from this week. There is oat bran, oils, olives, okra, onion rings, onions, oranges, orange juice, omelet, oatmeal, octopus, oysters, orecchiette, and oregano. I could have even gone with some O brands such as Oreo’s or Olive Garden. Any of which would have been interesting, but it was a recent viewing of a commercial for Silk Almond Milk and a conversation with my wife Zoe a few weeks ago about trying turkey pastrami, which reminded me of how often we are not open to new experiences in our lives and in our food. Read More
It was a simple request which inspired this blog. I chose to ask each person present in our house one evening to contribute to the creation of dinner. One person was asked to cook the steaks and burgers. I made a southwestern potato hash and I asked the other two people to create a salad. Sounds simple, right? After all we all know what a salad is. What was interesting was some of the discussion which pursued as they were choosing what kind of salad to make and what to put in the salad. It got me thinking about what exactly is a salad. Is there A definition of what A salad is? Read More
One of the lessons I have learned in the kitchen is that there are no mistakes. Some of the most amazing dishes I have learned to make have come because I “made a mistake.” While someone else might say it was a mistake, I have come to realize everything I do is a part of the journey to a greater level of awareness, understanding, and creativity. The day that I accidentally bought curry paste thinking it might be a good substitute for the curry leaves I could not find anywhere, opened up a whole myriad of opportunities for me. Once I realized they were not substitutable, I began thinking about ways I could use this jar of paste because I certainly did not want to throw it away.
I guess one could look at this situation and say I was seeking solutions to a problem. However, I saw it as a gift, which was going to allow me to experience a wealth of possibilities. Read More