cooking, friends, friendship, garden, recipe

friends share zucchini

When we were young, my mother would constantly remind us to choose our friends wisely.   “If you hang around sailors, you are going to swear like a sailor”.

cracker jacksOnce a month, our parents would go out to dinner.  The babysitter would give us each a box of Cracker Jack’s.   The boy on the box was the only sailor I really “knew”. He had a dog and gave away a surprise.  He didn’t seem that harmful.

Enter a new friend I made a few years back.  She is Greek.  Thus my curiosity in Greek cooking and dishes and customs has increased 10 fold.

Is it any wonder that lately I am drawn to Greek recipes like a dog to a dripping ice cream cone?

I made so many Greek Green Beans last year, even I got a bit tired of that dish.  For a time, I added Spanakopita to the lineup. Awww, my love affair with Filo Dough is alive and well, people.

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A couple of days ago, a neighbor graciously shared some zucchini with us.  Goodness, it’s that season of an over abundance of that vegetable.  Everyone is “blessing” anyone they know or don’t know with that vegetable.   I will admit to not planting any in my garden.  I had a sneaky suspicion that someone would have an extra one or two they would share.

You know?…………it’s been ages since I rustled up some Zucchini Fritters.  Sounds really lovely for a nice summer dinner.  Slice up some cucumbers and tomatoes and onions………we were off and running.

I went to look up my recipe……….wait, what’s this?

Greek Zucchini Fritters?  Yes, please!

20170810_123041-1_resized_1Google can most certainly help you with a recipe.

Would you like two 20170810_182808-1_resized_2secret tricks to beautiful fritters?

Shred the zucchini, salt with some Rosemary salt and let it drain for a couple of hours. Then squeeze out all the moisture you can.  Go heavy on the dill.  No, add a bit more.  Okay, a touch more.  Ha, that’s about right.  Wait, maybe another sprig or two.  Geesh, you already have the cutting board & knife out on the counter.

You will need:

2-pound large zucchini, trimmed and grated (I used the fetafood processor), Rosemary salt, fresh ground pepper,  2 eggs, 1/2 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs, dill, mint, parsley ( you know I went heavy on the dill), 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 cup breadcrumbs or more if necessary, 1 cup of beautiful Feta (the really good stuff, with extra zip/tang, spend the money, go to the deli, I’m telling you, it’s worth it)

No, I didn’t deep fry those beauties.  I used a griddle and got them nice and crispy. So alongside those crispy edges and a warm, tender center, I served a luscious creamy tzatziki sauce, which is the combination we are all looking to create.

The very next time you come home and someone has “graciously” dumped 2 or 3 zucchini’s on your door step…………..instead of the “well, I guess I could bake some zucchini bread” which will never get finished…………………. Might I gently suggest a tasty alternative?

I offer up to you……………..TA-DA…….Glorious Greek Zucchini Fritters.

So easy, so flavorful, crispy outside, moist, “meaty” delicious inside.
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Oh, and in the choosing friends wisely department?

I chose wisely.

Chat soon.

 

 

cooking, haPPY, healing, health, wellness

life of the party, hello parsley

Parsley.

Yesterday, I shared a picture of one of my herb gardens.  A friend asked, “what on earth are you going to do with all that Parsley?  I answered, ” We are going to eat it.

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You know, that itty bitty piece of sad green on your dinner plate?  That’s parsley.

Hello!  Nice to meet you.

When you went to aGerman Schnitzel with garnish restaurant in the 90’s more often than not you got your meal presented with a flourish.  As a last minute garnish, one cherry tomato or slice of lemon was getting friendly with the 1 inch or smaller piece of limp looking parsley.

Last night, I took a picture of just how much parsley I eat every single day.  I put a pen in the picture for scale.   We pick it fresh and it is put into my daily juice routine.  Beyond daily juice, I also pick and cook with as much as I can.

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The under celebrated herb called Parsley (Latin:  Petroselinum) is filled to overflowing with beneficial nutrients, essential oils, and antioxidants – to the point that it’s often called a superfood.  Along side freshening both you and your dogs’ breath, parsley helps with inflammation, acid reflux & arthritis, this marvelous herb can clean out your liver, kidneys, and gallbladder.

Popeye would have been twice as strong had he known that Parsley has TWICE the iron as Spinach!

Dr. Mercola gently reminds us, eating parsley is an excellent way to detoxify our systems of harmful compounds like mercury.

Do you want strong bones?  If you want to be impressed by parsley, take a look at its vitamin K content – a whopping 574% of the daily recommended value.  This is BIG news, friends!

Parley’s vitamin C content is 3 times more than in oranges, and the vitamin A augments the carotenes lutein and zeaxanthin, helping to prevent eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration.

Dr. Axe is a smarty pants and here is what he has to say about parsley and the “c” word:

Parsley contains unique elements in its oil known as volatile oil components — myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene. These powerful oil components benefit the body’s immune system and help fight cancer-formation, in particular, slowing tumor growth, neutralizing oxidative stress and fighting off carcinogens from harming the body. (7)

Parsley is sometimes called a “chemoprotective” plant because it helps protect DNA from damage, stops cell mutation and helps induce apoptosis, or the death of harmful cells. One of Parsley’s beneficial compounds called apigenin has been found to “inhibit progestin-dependent synthesis of human breast cancer cells, significantly delaying the development of, and decreasing the incidence and multiplicity of mammary tumors”, according to research done in 2013 by the American Association of Cancer. 

There are several good sources (those sources are at your finger tips, people) to learn oodles and oodles more about the glorious plant called Parsley.

Time to add some life to your party!   Tonight when you cook those stunning fresh green beans, toss in a handful of parsley.  Tomorrow when you make a gorgeous vegetable soup, again, toss in some beautiful green.  That Shrimp & Grits you are going to serve?  Freshly chopped parsley will add a little somethin’ somethin’.  That ice cream sundae?  Just toss on…….ha, I was just checking to see if you were paying attention.

Here’s to our health and wellness!

ps.  The home school mom came out in me today. haha  Now,  I want us all to do a watercolor painting or chalk drawings of parsley.  I want my chef helper to pick, wash & chop parsley for dinner tonight.  Let’s use parsley in a sentence……

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

 

cooking, food review, friends, friendship, pure goodness, sewing, Uncategorized

Guest Author, Chef Natalie

It gives me much happiness to introduce to you,  my guest author, Chef Natalie.20161220_131129_resized_1

I wrote about our adventures in a previous post.   https://sundayschildfullofgrace.wordpress.com/2016/08/03/5-star-soup-10-star-chef/

Housekeeping:  Because my guest is under 18 years of age, I have asked  and was granted permission of her parents to share some pictures.  

I am delighted to share this post with you my kind hearted & charming readers.

Please leave a positive, uplifting comment, send my guest Good Karma and by all means please share this post on your blog or on Social Media.  Thank you, kindly.  I appreciate your kind feedback and I know for sure, she will.

I have this funny feeling, we are all in on the ground floor of ……. something pretty special. 

Please welcome my friend, Chef Natalie!

Hi, my name is Natalie and I’m 10 years old and I love to cook. I started cooking with my mom when I was 3. I love helping my mom cook and I love seeing people like my food.

I spent the best day ever at Miss. Daleens house. We started the day by making a delicious 20161220_090844_resizedsmoothie. It was a banana, strawberry, spinach, lime juice, chia seeds and coconut smoothie. I got to crack open a coconut with a hammer and a coco jack. we used the meat scraper to get all of the meat. The tools that we used to open the coconut were so much safer than using a knife and a hammer which did not work out for me before. I had to get 3 stiches! Oww! Once we were not hangry any more we made palmiers. p.s hangry means your so hungry that your grumpy. The palmiers are like a light fluffy 20161220_105041-1_resized_1crossont covered in sugar. They were my favorite cookie of all because they were sweet but not too sweet. They were super easy but looked like you spent hours on them.

Next we made the dough for Daleens Famous molasses cookies. While that was chillin we tried facon!  Its coconut, tamari, liquid smoke and maple syrup. It tasted surprisingly like bacon. After that the dough was chilled so we scooped it into marble size balls. We baked them for 14 minutes. Once all those were finished we moved onto the pizelles which tasted wonderful.

20161220_124152_resizedPizelles are like a flat pretty waffle cone. But it was not a cone. They can be flat or you can wrap them around a wooden cone shaped mold but you have to wrap it around when it comes out of the burning hot pizzelle iron. It was really hot. I think I20161220_125817_resized_1 burnt of 3 layers of my skin! Even though it hurt, in the end it was all worth it. For my family I filled them with ice-cream and put whipped cream on top. We loved them. You can also fill with ricotta and powdered sugar mix. For a fancy vibe you can add whipped cream on top. They 20161220_131653-1_resizedwere delicious and beautiful.

 

Ok time for a break, Im getting hangry again. Lets have lunch. For lunch we made vegetable bisque and cheese crackers by putting parmesan on a baking tray with parchment paper and baked it at 350 for 15 minutes. The soup and the cheese crackers together were fenomenal. We laughed talked and had a good time. We

talked about presentation for our food and how important it is because people eat with their eyes first. Also you need to put some of the ingredients in your food on top so if 20161220_115822_resized_1people are allergic to something they can see it on top and know they cant eat it. You have to be careful of allergies when your cooking for other people. Ask them ahead of time if they have any allergies and stay away from those things. For example nuts are a very common allergy

Back to work.

First we did the dishes and cleaned up. Into the sewing room to make the last thing, pot holders. We made a practice one and then made my mom two. They were so 20161220_144736_resized_2easy to make. It was good for my first time using a real sewing 20161220_155827_resized_1machine. Its cool to see how it works. Miss Daleen taught me a little bit about the parts. Its important to iron so you have clean

 

sewing lines and it looks more professional. Later when my mom came home I gave the pot holders to her for an early Christmas present. She loved them so much

All in all it was a great day hangin out with my best pal Miss Daleen. Hope we can do it again soon.

 

cooking, friends, friendship, garden, Uncategorized

5 star soup, 10 star chef

Ah, the soup. The flavors were spot on.  You could taste layer upon layer of flavor building.  It started with a well crafted vegetarian broth.  A sprig or two of rosemary, a couple stems of thyme and a few choice pieces of parsley, all freshly picked from the garden, added to the broth to simmer in the background for another hour or so.

Once the flavors developed in the broth & herbs removed, gorgeous chunks of zucchini, garlic and onion were added.  The heat was gently brought up to a simmer.  The vegetables were allowed to play together, absorb and share their glorious flavors.   As soon as the onion and zucchini were easy to pierce with a fork…. out came the immersion blender.  The chef did it on slow and took her time.  She made sure all the timber was blended well.  Next,  3 heaping spoonfuls of lush sour cream was added.  The immersion blender reappeared and was once again instrumental in producing a creamy soup, almost silky in texture.  You could see the steam rising. 20160802_122906-1_resized

The bowls were heated before the chef used a ladle to gently ease the subtle green colored liquid silk into each.

20160802_123013-1_resizedThe garnish was quickly, yet thoughtfully applied.  Grated Parmesan, freshly snipped chives, fresh, stunning green pea shoots,  a couple of garden fresh picked peas, a chive flower and a generous amount of fresh cracked pepper. 20160802_122833-1_resized

The offered bowl of soup was a feast for the eyes.

That first bite.  Eyes closed, the warm, creamy liquid did a slow dance in our mouths just a moment before it slid down our throats.  I just barely caught the slight salt of the cheese garnish and the bite of the fresh pepper.  The mingling of savory delights was a symphony of flavors any restaurateur would be more than proud to offer to their guests.

Well done.  5 star good.

Yes, that good.

A simple, elegant lunch, however I thought I could going on eating that delicious offering all afternoon. I knew I would remember that meal for some time.

Oh, did I mention the creator’s name?  I am proud to say my friend, Chef Natalie, age 10.

You read that correctly.  AGE 10.

Because of her parents, she is respectful, smart, thoughtful, curious and a hard worker. She is over the moon enthusiastic and eager to learn, as much as she can, as fast as she can.

20160802_094355-1_resizedI had the privilege of spending the day with her.  Somehow, just by working side by side, she elevates the game.  You bring your A game, because, well, quite honestly, she is watching your every move.

She is serious.  Oh sure, she has an infectious laugh, is quick-witted and asks purposeful questions.  Don’t for one moment, let your guard down and causally  think this is child’s play.  This is the real deal.  She listened to and wanted to learn how to use a Coco-Jack to open a young coconut.  She was listening to every single safety rule about how to use the immersion blender.  She was already comfortable with the Blend-Tec, food processor and Kitchen-Aid.

We tied our hair back, we put on fresh aprons, we wore closed toe shoes, we washed our hands again and again and again.  We tasted and then flipped the spoon around and used the handle to taste again.  We went through a drawer full of spoons and I folded 11 freshly laundered kitchen towels this morning.  We worked the day through. 20160802_121402-1_resized

She made a meal for her family. Eyes on the prize.  Serving her brother, Dad and Mom a meal she could be proud of.  She never once lost focus.  She is fierce and determined.  She served them an appetizer, a soup course, the main meal and a dessert to finish.

The day began for us with glorious smoothies using fresh young coconut and the water, strawberries, mango, spinach and lime.  Chefs need to be well nourished so they can concentrate on cooking well for others.

The days’ list unfolded like this:

Smoothies

Zucchini Soup

Chihuly Salad

Pot Stickers

Molasses Cookies

She picked & gathered green beans, tomatoes, radishes, herbs and a fresh egg. She learned about and started a batch of sprouts in the kitchen.

It was a full day of learning, giggling & oodles of fun.  It was the good kind of tired.  You know?  So tired from cooking all day, yet somehow re-energized with pure joy and enthusiasm to serve the meal to your family.

I was the sous chef.  I helped and washed dishes. I scrubbed carrots, beets and a pear.  I washed bok choy & spinach.   I sent pictures to mom and dad throughout the day. I got out fresh kitchen towels, different tools, appliances and kept things moving along our time line.

When she says “I made pot stickers”.  She really means, she chopped the ingredients, made the savory filling, learned to make dumplings and took 46 home to her family.  The chefs in the kitchen each got to cook and sample one.  Oh, be still my heart.  Lush, moist filling inside a plump, perfectly steamed dumpling wrapper. Oh yeah, she made pot stickers and a lovely sauce to serve alongside.

*Housekeeping note:  Because my friend is under 18, I asked for and received permission from her parents to share these pictures.

I wanted to write this post as sort of a thank you to my friend.  I loved spending the day together.  The day flew by and I can’t remember smiling as much as I did.    Then I got to thinking.  I wanted to share this because, it’s what many of us are looking for.

You know when we (grown up adults) all sigh and complain that we are not sure what our mission is, or what our calling is?

Maybe, just maybe our calling is to be the “sous chef”?  Maybe, our mission is to lift someone else up and help them stretch up on their tippy toes, while they stand on a kitchen stool to reach their potential?

May you be a “victim of Grace” as I was.  While washing dishes and gently reminding a young chef to keep their fingers curled under while using a mighty big knife…….may you be gobsmacked by the Grace and Goodness of a young person who is looking to you.

In this together friends, all covered and splattered with grace.

Bon Appetit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cooking, friendship, haPPY, Uncategorized

one smart cookie

This blog post is to celebrate my friend, Natalie.

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Natalie is a pre-teen, her “Happy Place” is the kitchen. She is all over becoming a chef.

I love her spirit, her smarts and her willingness to learn. She has the best laugh that goes right along with her sense of humor.  When you meet N, it’s her smile that wins you over. Right away you notice she is a bit short in stature however, amazingly head and shoulders above the crowd.  (between you and me?  She IS going to become a chef, I just know it.)

Good gravy, when I was 11, I had excellent table manners and could properly thank anyone who brought me food.  My sisters nor I, were even allowed in the kitchen.  Apparently, “the stove was HOT”?

My young friend has amazing kitchen talent with skills to back that up.  We are not talking about “making” rice krispie treats and toast here folks.  She makes a Cilantro Lime Rice that will make you swoon, bakes, cooks up science experiments, operates a juicer like a pro and the list goes on and on.

N shared a wonderful scone recipe with me, so I am sharing this recipe (blog post) with her.  We trade recipes.  Sometimes we text (she uses her mom’s phone). Sometimes I send a recipe via  e-mail or snail mail.  This time, I thought I would shout it to the world that I know a smarty pants girl who has already found her calling.

I love that N is fascinated with cooking, baking and creating.  Her willingness and interest to do the research, the prep work, the serving, as well as the clean up, are evident with the final product.   I adore that she isn’t shy about asking food questions and then listens to the answers. You can actually feel her excitement towards learning about cooking.  Heck, she went as Giada for Halloween one year!  Now that is passion!

When you watch her serve a homemade treat to her dad, mom or brother…. you notice that she already “get’s it”.  By making quality food, N figured out that she can show love and respect to her family.  She figured out in short order,  in her own home, how sincerely good food nurtures both mind and body.

Yesterday, I made these really good, seriously good, moist Strawberry Granola Bars (vegan).  While baking, the aroma had my mouth-watering and I thought instantly, oh, I have got to share this one with Natalie.

strawberry granola bars, veganI found the recipe on http://wonkywonderful.com/strawberry-oatmeal-vegan-breakfast-bars/   A great food blogger is like a window to the world.  Thank heavens they share so much.

So between you and me girlfriend…. Very simple and straightforward recipe.  I will make again.  I switched the oatmeal and used gluten-free oats.  I used parchment in place of foil. I replaced the flour with Better Batter Flour mix which is gluten free,  I used my own homemade strawberry jam and it calls for Almond Butter or Cashew Butter… this is where you will use Cashew Butter for your family’s allergy.

Cooking tip of the day:  My girl Gabi is a real live chef.  She wears shoes in the kitchen.  No, not flip-flops, not cute gladiator sandals, real shoes like sneakers or clogs.  While I know you are very careful while cooking and baking, accidents happen to everyone.  Hot liquid spilled on your tootsies or a knife dropped could spell trouble for your cute toes.  Observe any accomplished chef and look at their feet.  Yes, shoes.  enough said.

Every chef worth their weight in salt (a world of beautiful and amazing salts filled with minerals await you), feels giddy that moment you offer up delicious food that feeds both body & soul.

This recipe is one of those good ones, with excellent ingredients to produce a final product worthy of sharing.  Put this recipe in the column of such high quality and wonderful flavor, not a person will ask if it is vegan.

Make food so good, so flavorful, no one will put a label on it.  Your mission should be to cook and bake sustainable, high quality, tasty food that friends will just say, may I please have seconds?

The color is stunning.  The flavor combination is spot on.  That first bite into the moist bar will lead to another bite.

So, I raise my Strawberry Oatmeal Bar to you my friend!  Cheers!  Yum!

Here’s to you and your calling!chalkboard cooking

It is a pleasure to watch your dream unfold right before you.

A tip of the hat to your wonderful parents for raising such a kind & smart cookie. Parents who are giving you such a strong foundation of love and support that you have the freedom to explore who you are, what you want to be.

Natalie, my friend,  keep studying,  a smart chef is always a very good thing.  You have before you the ability to heal the world through nutrition.  Yes, my friend food heals, but you already know that.  Just for a moment, use your imagination and think…. how many people will I be able to feed and heal in my lifetime?  The number will surprise you.  Thousands upon thousands of people will be Bathed in Grace by your skill and fed by your hands.

Stay curious & creative….yes, we can taste the love in food prepared by a chef who embraces what they do.   And for heaven sake…….keep asking questions and trying new things.

You got this girlfriend.

Bon Appetit

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.  Virginia Woolf

ps.   I feel the need for Asian food.  We have to get together to make pot stickers, soon!

*****Housekeeping note:  Because my friend is under 18 years old, I asked for and received permission from her parents to post a picture of her.

 

 

 

 

food review, Uncategorized

honor food

Today, I have a treat for you, yes you,  my super terrific, wonderful readers.  I have a guest author.  (Between you and me, I gave him an A+ and a Gold Star sticker.)

It is my pleasure to introduce to you our oldest son, Dustin.  His gifts, talents, palpable energy and generous spirit make me puff up a bit when I type his name.

My “kids” never, ever cease to astound me.  When your adult children end up being humans that you (and others) would love to go to a long lunch and end up talking for 2 hours, you get this sneaky suspicion that you did something right.

I have a favor to ask, if you like today’s post or have something to add in the way of conversation, PLEASE share.   Please leave a comment. Please share on social media.  Please share with your friends.   Please add to this conversation.  It is a topic near and dear to our hearts.

We would love for this topic to be the springboard for conversation around your dinner table tonight.

 

Honoring the ingredients and the guests

 

I am not a chef.  My wife is a chef.  She has spent countless hours in schools and kitchens and classrooms perfecting her art.  She is a master in the kitchen and gives back to the epicurean world by empowering countless classes of students as a culinary arts professor at a community college in a rough part of town.  She inspires healthy eating, or creative cooking, or passions hidden deep down inside of people.  Some of these passions have been repressed by years on food stamp programs or eating unhealthy, cheap food.  The gift she selflessly gives away every day is amazing.

My mom is a food writer and aficionado of not only healthy eating and living, but of ingredients.  She has a wealth and breadth of knowledge about so many foods and ingredients, herbs and spices that it boggles my mind.

So with all of this in mind, it’s humbling beyond belief when someone tells me, of all people, they liked the food I cooked for them.  It’s an even more powerful statement when I’m told that some humble, meager dish is one of the best things this person has ever eaten.  It’s truly a one of a kind experience to know I honored the ingredient and the guest.

Let me back up.

I’m son #1.  Call me Dustin… yeah that’s a good internet name.  Dustin….  I’ve known the author of this blog for almost 34 years now and am finally brave enough to submit a piece of work as a guest author.  I have been interested in food as long as I can remember but that interest has changed significantly in recent years as I have evolved from a creature of habit to one of exploration and expectation.

I have only informal culinary training but have passion for good food that transcends almost any other passion in my life.  I love ingredients.  I love food.  There are so few things I don’t like it’s incredible and yet I’ve only tried a tiny portion of the number of tasty things out there!

Currently, I’m taking steps to lift my pop up restaurant off the ground (shameless plug incoming) find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/prixfixemobile   Creating a pop up has taught me a few things about people and ingredients and I’d like to share them with you.IMG_3695

First, you bought too many daikon radishes.  Yep, that’s something I’d like to pass on.  You bought too many and now you’re stuck.  They smell terrible, they are taking up a lot of room in your fridge and quite frankly, you made the one thing you were going to make with them and now you are stymied.

You have to be aware that this is your golden ticket to do one of two things.  Create something amazing or let it rot.  When we started out, I spent WAY too much of our precious few dollars making sure we had enough food.  Never mind that we are serving 4-7 course meals, I damn well wanted to make sure everyone had full portions of everything.  I think we needed maybe two cups of daikon pickles for a Vietnamese dish we were doing and I bought three HUGE daikons.  By the time we finished eating those things I was sick of daikon.  That’s a sad thing actually.

I LOVE daikon and I should have used the opportunity to dial up 1 of a 100000 different recipes out there to honor my ingredient and try to push its boundaries.  Honor the farmer, the trucker, the buyer, the seller and the hundred people along the way that brought that daikon to your fridge!   Try to only grab enough for what you need, but if you wind up with too much, EXPLORE!  Use the opportunities presented to you for good and expand your universe!

Next, people will eat bugs if you cook them right.  It’s true.  We served a very traditional Mexican dish at one of our dinners called Chapulines.  For those that don’t know, its grasshoppers roasted and spiced with chili.  We made tacos out of them and they were excellent actually.  Point of order here, I didn’t want to eat them, cook them or serve them, however my partner vetoed me.

He took the time as we are both apt to do, to research the bejeezus out of preparation methods, reliable, ethical and sustainable sources for the bugs, and how to best present the final dish.  In short we took the time to get to know more about grasshoppers as food than I ever cared to.  The end result of serving grasshopper tacos to 18 people dressed to the nines and expecting anything but grasshoppers, was only one of the 18 tacos coming back uneaten.  IMG_3670

There is a craft to honoring your ingredient by knowing it.  The more you know the better you can honor it.  Anyone can eat a bug because it’s a gross out extreme type thing to do.  Honoring the ingredient lets you serve a room full of people carefully crafted works of art that no one is afraid to try.

Lastly, (for now) whether you are cooking or eating, trust that the person you are connecting with over food has your best interest in mind.

This may come off a little rant-y, however even with my limited experience behind the stove, I’m already really, really tired of special requests.  If you choose to go to a seafood dinner and you have a shellfish allergy, trust that you’ve made a bad choice and are not honoring the chef or their ingredients.

Immerse yourself in the experience that is eating food that someone else prepared.  You can sense, feel and taste their culture, their influences and their art when you let go and just eat what the chef made for you.  Give ten chefs ten pieces of tuna and tell them to sear it and serve it, chances are you’ll get ten distinctly different pieces of fish, each honoring the guest by having had love, time, experience, effort and personal touches poured into them.  If you know you don’t like one particular thing, don’t order it!  If you still want whatever it is, then just pick out the part you don’t like!

By the way Millennials, I’m looking at you.  You’re not special, just eat it.  You’ll like it.  Taste buds change.  If you don’t like it, at least you can say you tried it, and move on.  No one wants to make you something special just because you freak out at your beans touching your pork chop which by the way also touches your salad which you specifically ordered without tomatoes because thinking about tomatoes makes you itchy but you can tell there were tomatoes near your plate because while not itchy.. well….,  you have a small rash over there near your butterfly tattoo….  I’ll show you butter flying… at your head….!

Conversely, if you are cooking and you chose to use pre-tubed garlic, get out!  Who doesn’t have time to chop garlic?!?!  Your guests can dump boxed pasta into water and pour some jarred tomato product over it, but can they craft a quick marinara from scratch?  It takes seconds to learn, minutes to cook and years to perfect, but it honors the guest you brought to your table.  Don’t take short cuts when the better way takes mere moments more.IMG_3451

In conclusion, find ways to honor your guests.  Find ways to honor your ingredients more and find ways to up your food game.  It’s a short life, do you want the last thing you ate to be a yellow sponge cake filled with processed HFC “crème” or a Chioggia Beet salad with first press olive oil, cracked tellicherry pepper and French feta cheese?

Live well, eat better and raise a glass once in a while!!!!!

 

 

cooking, great marriage secrets, Uncategorized

meatball Monday

Social media and I have this love/hate thing going on.  While I am not comfortable with the lack of etiquette, rough & tumble comments, and don’t get me started on the “like” button…………..I do love using social media to share pictures of food and recipes as well as harvest recipes from others.

Every once in a while, I love to share a snap shot of something I have cooked that is just waiting, waiting, waiting to be devoured by Mr. Right.  Hey, nothing wrong with giving him a little preview of freshly baked cookies or a savory dinner all prepped and waiting just for him!

The goal is to make him feel lucky that he is headed home.  Home to perfectly behaved children, a spotless house and freshly applied lipstick on the wife.  WAIT, that was the 1950’s!

By the time he comes through that door,  I do try to have the table set and the meal prepped.  While the house isn’t always spotless,  when I hear the garage door opening, I make a dash for the bathroom and quickly tie up my hair and slap on some lipstick.

Monday night’s dinner was worth coming home to.  The aroma of savory garlic and sesame oil was swirling about.  The hint of ginger in the air made your mouth water with anticipation of a great meal.

I searched for and found natural, no chemical, fresh ground turkey.  While we do not make it a habit to eat meat, (I can’t remember the last time I bought meat to create a dinner with) this recipe was one that I wanted to try.

20160111_131544-1Asian Meatballs .  While somebody thinks I am to loosey goosey with my stars, we both agreed 5 Stars was the right amount.

1/4 cup panko

1 egg

1 Tablespoon ginger

1 clove garlic (HAHAHAHA, I used 12)

salt

1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

4 scallions thinly sliced

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 1/4 pounds ground turkey

Mix together and form 12, 1/4 cup size meatballs. Seemed rather large to me, so I made 18 meatballs.   Bake in a pre-heated 500* oven for 17 minutes.

Sauce (ends up as a lovely aromatic Ponzu sauce):  2 Tablespoons soy sauce (I used tamari), 1 Tablespoon sesame oil, juice of one lime, 1 Tablespoon water, 1 minced garlic clove………Whisk

When meatballs are done, drizzle them evenly with a  Tablespoon of the sauce.  Garnish with scallions and the remainder of your sauce is for dipping. 20160111_181710-1

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While these were savory, flavorful, moist and cooked perfectly the equal star of the show was the spiral zucchini noodles.  I sliced another dozen cloves of garlic and used some lovely Olive oil we purchased from a farm in California.  (Lucero Olive Oils are simply a game changer.)  I simmered the garlic for a couple minutes then turned off the heat.  I let it set until I was ready at the last minute to heat the noodles for about 4 minutes.  Right before plating, I tossed in some chili flakes and about 1/2 cup of just toasted walnut halves. 
Mr. Right had seconds and as of right now we have 8 meat balls left over.  Thinking tonight I will somehow creatively work my magic with some bok choy and other veggies and snuggle some brown rice right up next to them and devour the last of the meatballs.
Okay, maybe I don’t hate social media.  By embracing and using technology in a way that makes me comfortable, sharing a snapshot of a meal being prepared, or a dessert just bake…..I like thinking of the photograph as the amuse bouche of a lovely meal just about to happen.