Discovering a New Way to Use Cookbooks and Recipes

Two years ago I delved into Tyler Florences’ Inside the Test Kitchen. In it, he had a recipe for Seared Pork Chops with Creamed Kale and Fennel Apricot Salad. This was a tasty dish but left me wanting. One of my issues with this dish was the creamed kale. There was nothing wrong with the recipe, it’s just as a personal thing I have issues with the texture. All in all though this dish was inspirational… and that’s when it hit me: Use recipes as flavor pairing inspirations.  Continue reading

Homemade Tomato Paste, The True Gold of Summer Gardens

I had grown up all my life thinking I knew what a tomato tasted like. You know, those red things in grocery stores. You slice into them, which is tricky in and of its self, and they are kinda light in color and even at times a bit mealy. Maybe they are the smaller oval shaped ones and when you slice them open they are either mostly hallow or the little sack of seeds slips right out. I know now, that these are technically tomatoes but let me tell you. When my husband planned our first garden two years ago we packed it with tomatoes. Little did we know just how abundant these plants would be in out little piece of northern Iowa.  Continue reading

Broccoli and Beef, a Great Combination

I can remember whenever my family when to the local Chinese Restaraunt my dad would always order Broccoli Beef as one of the dishes to share. This worked well as I would eat all the beef and my sister would eat all the broccoli. This dish for me is quite nostalgic. So when I saw a recipe for it pop up in Josh Mcfadden’s Six Seasons I was intrigued. Add to that it was topped with a Capper Raisin vinaigrette which certainly peaked my curiosity. It seems only fitting that this ended up being the post on my Dads birthday… Continue reading

Cauliflower I Would Eat Every Day

A while back I got a cookbook called Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables. Part of what had prompted getting this book was my husbands loving but repetitive “we need to eat more vegetables”. What you need to know was that I was cooking with lots of vegetables but they often weren’t the star of the show. So when Joshua McFadden put out this well structured cookbook with new and interesting vegetable recipes I was intrigued. Now, having done a few recipes from this book I am absolutely hooked.

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Mediterranean Chicken with Zucchini and Mushrooms

Expanding your skills can lead to new and more interesting dishes and meals for the family. Three years ago I thought of myself as an OK cook and a pretty decent baker. Recipes didn’t scare me off and I was willing to try anything. So when I saw a recipe in Fine Cooking Magazine (issue 91) for this dish I was intrigued. It was ok but I wasn’t a fan of how any of it was cooked. The original recipe called for red perl onions, mushrooms with the stems trimmed off, and zucchini cut into half inch moon pieces. The chicken it called for was a whole chicken cut into eight pieces and other than making a sauce and a glaze the whole thing baked in the oven.  Continue reading

Sous Vide Cod with Beluga Lentils, Squid Ink, and a Seared Side Salad

I should warn you now you are going to be reading a lot of future posts about sous vide. This may seem like some many modernist cuisine technique that you’re not interested in but you’d be surprised to learn that this cooking technique will not only wow everyone you cook for but ensures perfect results every time. If that’s not enough of a pitch I have one more. If you have ever used a crockpot or a pressure cooker to make cooking easier sous vide is just as easy if not even easier.  Continue reading

Peaches ‘n’ Cream Cake

When we think of cake we think of the classics. There’s plain or vanilla cake, there’s chocolate, there’s spice cakes, there’s carrot cake, there’s even red velvet cake but why stop there. Once you find a good cake recipe why not flavor it with whatever tickles your fancy? Well I am doing just that. To start however I need to back up and tell you, if you have been baking cakes from scratch, most likely you’re doing it all wrong. I know, I know… that’s a bold statement but I have learned a few secrets and it as totally changed my cake baking experience!  Continue reading

Learning to Love Vegetables All Over Again…

In an effort to eat healthier without “dieting” my husband and I have been talking a lot about vegetables. Now, anyone who knows me will tell you I don’t like vegetables. Well, here’s the funny thing, I have learned and I continue to learn it’s not that I don’t like them it’s that I don’t like how they are prepared most of the time. That’s actually true about most food. I love food. I love variety. I love marveling at the produce department imagining all the things I can make. That said I don’t cook many stand alone or vegetable focused main dishes. I don’t even make a ton of vegetable side dishes. There’s nothing I despise more than a pile of steamed veggies. This left me feeling frustrated and lost. Until now… Continue reading