Monday, April 15, 2013

Notes from the Chef

Since I kinda-sorta mused on Friday, I think today will be more juicy food-related tidbits.  This will be quite random and so I apologize if your brain seizes in confusion.

* I just bought my first cast iron pans.  I got a buy one-get one and so I got a skillet and square grill pan.  With the exception of their incredible weight as a drawback, so far I love them.  Especially in sizzling the fajitas the other night.  I felt like we had walked into Chilis.  Except for the fact, I had sliced and diced it all myself.  There's something spooky about non-stick pans losing their non-sticky-ness and wondering if we ate it or what...

* Kale.  My granola-crunching, barefoot in the dirt friends have been extolling the virtues of kale.  I have done some reading about it.  It is a super-food to say the least.  So I've been stir-frying it up at least once or twice a week and feeding the Chairman and the MYP.  I made kale chips the other night.  It used up a LOT of kale.  The crunchy salty kale we munched on was tasty.  And healthy.  A win!

* I love using condensed milk in place of cream.  I am learning to use and love plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream.  Cholula hot sauce (the one with the wooden top) goes in anything.

* I got a new delivery of hard red wheat berries.  I know you hobby people quiver over a basket of yarn.  Or a new delivery of card stock and ribbons.  Hats off to you!  For me I get that same 'rush' looking at a hundred+ pounds of grains waiting to be milled and put into the oven.  Last night I tried out this recipe.  I tweaked it a bit by putting some milk in for the water and using more whole wheat flour than they asked.  I also added a couple tablespoons of dough enhancer.  Rave reviews I tell you...

* I made my own dough enhancer a couple days ago.  I used a recipe I found here.  So far it is a winner.

* I thoroughly enjoy cooking for the family but for me the biggest challenge is figuring out what to make.  I try to vary the menu with beef, pork, chicken, fish/seafood, or no meat at all.  That kind of helps me come up with new ideas.  Any other tips out there?

* The older I get, the more I use intuition.  The more I have my own concoctions for putting together pasta, salad dressings, making waffles, etc.  I suppose sometime I should write them down.  But it's hard to put an amount on a dab of this and a dollop of that.

* With the exception of Betty Crocker and a few family recipe books/box, all my cookbooks are in the basement collecting mildew.  I "Google" recipes often.  My main source that I love is  Want a banana bread recipe?  Bam!  Here are 500 to choose from based on ratings.   So here's some recipes I've tried and were a great success.  Note that some are certainly not low in sugar or fat.  But once in awhile...

homemade brownie mix
chocolate chip cookies
boneless wings
chocolate cake  (note:  I used cold brewed coffee for the water)
Noodles and Company pesto cavatappi
hot ham and swiss sandwiches
roast beef in crock pot

There are many others and I hope to post more links in time.  Until then...

this nearly happens on a nightly basis

And I quote:

Fish is the only food that is considered spoiled once it smells like what it is.
Annoying the cook will result in smaller portions.
Old cooks never die.  They just get de-ranged.
There is a lot more juice in grapefruit than meets the eye.
As a child, my family's menu consisted of two choices:  take it or leave it.
It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts when eating a homegrown tomato.
Chili represents your three stages of matter:  solid, liquid, and eventually gas.
An empty belly is the best cook.
Condensed milk is wonderful.  I just don't see how they can get a cow to sit down on those little cans.
You can tell how long a couple has been married by whether they are on their first, second, or third bottle of Tabasco.
A smiling face is half the meal.

Happy cooking!


  1. I love my cast iron skillets. My Mom always used them but not she can't hardly lift them. She has one that her Dad got her Mom the year she was born. I like to use mine for fried chicken and gravies.

  2. Hmmm, I can relate on the older I get the more intuition thing....I have not used Kale yet--I do hear I'm missing out. On my bucket list. Are you talking about plain old "canned milk" (not sweetened condensed) instead of cream?
    Next on my list is a grinder.
    I love learning new things from my blog buddies-
    Thanks for your musings!