I woke up this morning to realize that yesterday was National Pick a Blueberry Day and so not surprisingly, today is National Blueberry Muffin day. While I like blueberries, they take fourth place in my list of berry favorites (raspberry, blackberry, strawberry and then blueberry. Yet my favorite way to eat them has always been in muffins.
What I have found fascinating about blueberries is the various spiritual and medicinal uses and meanings. For example, blueberries contain anthocyanin, which is good for eyesight and they contain significant quantities of both antibacterial and antiviral compounds and have a reputation in northern Europe of fighting infections. They may also help protect against heart disease. Native Americans believed that the five-pointed start on the top of the berry was a sign that they were sent by the Great Spirit to feed children and never allow them to go hungry.
Making the perfect muffin is fairly simple, it just calls for one to be patient and nor rush the process. For example, it is best to combine all the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ones in another. Before combining them, most baker sources I went to suggested you make a well in the dry ingredients, similar to what you do when making fresh pasta, and slowly add the wet ingredients Read more
Over the last few months, I have had to make major changes in the way I eat and therefore the way I cook. Initially, I felt a little overwhelmed at the growing list of foods that I could no longer eat and for the first time in my life, cooking seemed stressful. It was then that I had to return to my basics and go back to some of the basic lessons that I had learned across my lifetime. One being that cooking is like meditation. When I stop, relax, and focus on being at one in the moment and with the ingredients, my creativity would kick in and the answers to what and how to prepare would flow like a river. 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
The word that has been “stirring” around in my brain the last few days has been just that “stirring.” It was hit home for me over the past few days as I have listened to culinary judges’ comment on various aspects of stirring, including how often, with what, and when. I had never quite thought about how complex the simple process of stirring actually is. Ultimately, I found a vide titled “Stirring Conclusions” by Peter Hertzman which offered me so much information about stirring. Some of the things I knew, but some I was not aware. One of the points he made was that many people stir only because the recipe tells them to and don’t think about the reasoning behind it. For example, he suggested that there are three reasons to stir: [a] to create a homogenous mixture; [b] to evenly disperse temperature; and [c] To alter the viscosity of a liquid (thicker or thinner).
As I thought about this, I wondered how many of us do things just because Read more
When I think back on my life, I cannot remember a time when I was not cooking something. I remember as a little girl my mother would sit me on the floor with a pot of water and a spoon and tell me to stir. It kept me busy, but instilled in me a comfort in the kitchen. As I grew older, she would let me experiment more and more. The funny thing is that while my mother could out bake me on any day, I by all family accounts am the much better cook. To this day, my brother and I still laugh about my mother’s dry turkey, meat that was either still mooing or shoe leather and spaghetti sauce made with ketchup, water, and cream cheese. So I think I began cooking for my family because I could not stand my mother’s cookingJ. When my mother cooked the old time Jewish foods like kasha, kugel, knishes, blintzes, and the list goes on, they were awesome and we fought for the last bite. But the rest of the time, well let’s say my brothers and I were glad we had a dog. Read more