When I was younger, I thought of pureed foods as baby foods and food for the elderly. Now I look at them and see them as smooth and luxurious. I have tried making them before but they never look like they do on the cooking shows. Imagine that. LOL. When I see them on cooking shows, they look so smooth and luxurious and I can only imagine how good they taste and feel. As I have been reading about and listening to chefs talk about them, I have been struck by a couple of simple steps which make all the difference.
One is to begin by peelings and/or washing your produce. This made me laugh, as this month the Pampered Chef guest special is your choice of serrated or vegetable peeler. Having a good vegetable and/or serrated peeler can be invaluable. I love serrated peelers for fruits and vegetables with hard to remove skins like kiwi, peaches, tomatoes, mangoes, etc. Having the right tools to begin is important.
The second step I learned is to steam your produce for 12-15 minutes. The best purees are from fruits and vegetables that soften as you cook them. Having a steamer insert for your pot is important. You can cook them without a steamer; however, the steamer makes it easier to get the produce in and out of the water. Read more
I am not sure why I have been mindful that no two people are the same. As you get to know us, you become aware of our personalities, what we like, don’t like, how we behave, what we believe, and so much more about us as human beings. I was struck this week while watching food shows on youtube about how important it is to get to know the food you are cooking with. (Yes, I am a food show junkie).
I am not sure how many times I needed to hear the message before I got it. It started with the judges on Chopped stressing how important it is to taste all the ingredients. That I understood. However, then while watching an episode of MasterChef season 10 for the 3rd time I heard the passion with which Joe Bastianich spoke to a contestant about not making a test sample of a scallop as not all have the same level of sweetness to them. He pointed out those who made test samples and those who did not. Later I was watching Bobby flay make a breakfast omelet and he spoke about jalapenos and not all are equally spicy. He spoke about the importance of testing one to see how spicy it was. Knowing the spice level would help you to know how much to add to the recipe. Read more
A few months ago, we became aware of a new restaurant in our area that delivers. We became excited when we saw they had fried chicken. We decided to try it. I ordered the fried chicken dinner, which came with salad and French fries. After having waited patiently for over an hour for the food to arrive, I learned an important lesson. If it does not taste good, do not eat it. Those who know me understand I am one to look for something positive in every situation. In particular case it was a challenge to do; the delivery was amazingly slow, the soda we ordered for Zoe came with a puncture hole in the bottle and was spraying soda at us. They made no effort to even go back around the corner (1/4 of a mile away) to bring us a new one. Then we opened the food. What can I say, the salad was made with lettuce that was limp and brown, the tomatoes smelled bad, and the onions still had peel on them. It neither looked nor smelled good enough to want to eat it, so it went in the trash. The fries were still partially frozen and unseasoned. The chicken, well, the first bite told me that I did not even need to swallow it. Not only was it overcooked and under seasoned, but also it tasted as if the chicken might not have even been healthy to eat, it tasted that bad. It did not taste good, so I did not eat it. Read more
I remember, when I was still pastoring, asking my congregation a very simple question; when was the last time you had a conversation with a stone? Most of them, and I guess most of you reading this have never done that. My guess is that most of you are also wondering why I would even ask you such a question and what does this have to do with anything spiritual or food. It might not seem as much of a stretch if I asked you how many of you have ever had a conversation with a plant. It might seem even less of a stretch, if I asked how many of you talk to your pets. Those of us who have, or have had, animal members of our family know that there is an exchanging of information with our birds, cats, dogs, or whatever else is living in our home. It is not that they can speak to us, but somehow as we spend time with them and get to know them, we intuitively begin to understand each other through an exchange of energy. Over time, one’s ability to communicate with their pets enhances. We tend to pick up information all the time about what they are feeling and thinking. 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