Saturday, September 29, 2007
I am on the road again. Back to my favorite place.
The Fall season is here! I am so tired of summer dishes. I am looking forward to the fall, where I can enjoy butternut squash soup, braised meats, wild mushrooms, rissottos and ohhhh so much more. Fall is truly my favorite season. The beginning of cold weather, halloween looming in the air, and the cusp of the holiday seasons.
On my trip I took a hike up to Big Sur. If you have never been I suggest that you take the time to go visit. It is simply spectacular, and especially in the fall. The leaves are actually turning in color, and for someone like me who is from the mid west it is a treat on the west coast. (however in Oklahoma we had three colors-light brown, dark brown and ups brown).
I have taken so many pictures of things along the way. I am very excited to upload them and share them all with you. I have taken pictures of paintings, signs, an outdoor restaurant with chairs that sit in the river, fresh seafood, and so much more.
I look forward to writing more, and I will also be posting recipes and Utube clips in the very near future!
Monday, September 24, 2007
Take the poll on your right!
I will give you the answer on the 10th of October!
As many of you guessed, this is an old lobster trap. I found it on the beach after I was taking a walk one sundy afternoon. It was so neat I had to take a picture of it!
Congrats to thise who guessed!
Today is one of my most favorite dishes. I made herbed pork tenderloin with red wine carmalized onions. Simply delicious. You can dress it up or dress it down. Make it for yourself or cook it for others.
I also made Chicken Tenders. I realize that chicken tenders can be a little too much with all of the heavy breading. Why not try making the tenders on the grill with a little bit of seasoning with out any breading. It is a great healthy alternative. You can also find fat free dipping sauces to go with it.
Asparagus, Who doesn't love asparagus and the way it makes you smell.
Have you ever wondered what are the tricks of the trade for buying groceries at the market? After grocery shopping for some of the most paticular clients I have learned how you get the best products. It truly is a skill and you really do have to learn and practice it every time you grocery shop.
When Buying salad greens flip it over and check to see what it looks like on the bottom. If it looks as fresh on the bottom as it does on the top then it will be a good buy. Always check dates on everything that you buy. Typically things that the grocery store wants to move will be in the front, these items are ok, but you will want to make sure you use them that day or the next. If you need something to last longer dig through and grab the one all the way in the back.
As far as proteins, ask the guy at the counter to give you the freshest and newest ones. They again are trying to move their product and will give you what they need to get rid of and not the best quality. You can also use these ideas for premade foods.
Grocery shopping takes time and a little bit of knowledge. With simple techniques you will have the best possible food in your fridge.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Just a quick note for any of you who want to join my Foody-Forum Cooking with Mary discussion group. We will be talking about current events with food, all your favorites and of course there will be help for anyone who has questions. The address is below. Just sign up for a subscription or news letters.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
There are ways to pick out vegetables so that you are getting the absolute best product.
1. How to tell if a vegetable is New or Old?
Typically you should check to see how heavy the vegetable is. When Vegetables get old they become much lighter due to water loss.
2.How can you pick out the best tasting vegetable?
Usually if a vegetables is smaller they will have more flavor.
3.How do you pick out mushrooms?
Make sure the mushrooms are firm and do not indent when you touch them. They should not be wrinkley, and have no moisture.
4.Use all of your senses
Taste-Take a bite if you can, (grapes, small tomatoes, if they offer samples) you don't want to buy something that doesn't taste good.
Smell-Always smell what you are going to buy. It should actually smell like the vegetable. If it doesn't have a smell I wouldn't suggest buying it.
Touch-Make sure that what you are buying is firm and not too mushy (even if it is tomatoes or avocados you don't want it to be too mushy because it won't last long.)
Hear-Ok so obviously you are not going to do this to all vegetables, but you can tap on vegetables, and listen for a nice solid sound. If it sounds hollow then it probably has lost a lot of water.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
When I was three I went to the markets in Oklahoma with my mom and my brother. It was such an amazing time. I was probably no more than two in my memories. As a little girl I remember the smell of roasting peauts. They smelled sweet and delicious. They would hand them to us in a brown paper bag, and when you would get them they would be hot, and salty. That first bite would be perfect, and of course it was perfect because I was no more than three. Anything at that point in your life is perfect, because you haven't experienced much of anything else.
While we were at the market I kept asking my mom for the Pennis meaning "the peanuts". My brother got so embaraced he kept correcting me. "Mary it is Not Pennis it is Peanuts"! Let's be serious I was three. I had no idea what l I was saying. But to my brother at the old age of four at the time it was utterly humiliating.
I took this girl at the market. It reminded me of being a child, and how every smell, taste and fell is double what it is as an adult. How those first few memories of taste, smell, and feel can impact your life exponentially.
All the best,
The end of summer is such a difficult time to cook. It is still very hot, but never the less you need to eat. The entire summer has been nothing but heirloom tomatoes, gazpacho, and grilled meats. You still want to feel like you are cooking with the season, and not advance to squashes, and fall mushrooms. So what do you cook?
One delicious meal that I prepared is a beautiful seared chicken breast with a corn, tomato, red onion salad, and grilled Raddichio. Searing chicken with the skin on is always tricky. The way to do it well is to rinse and dry the chicken, put oil in a pan and place the chicken in the pan. The skin will not shrink as much as it would if you put it directly into a piping hot pan. Then you leave it at medium heat so it doesn't burn the chicken, and just let is do it's thing. You will have really great results.
This dish is a perfect end of the summer treat.
For these and other ideas please subscribe to my blog.
Monday, September 10, 2007
As a Chef I always want to find ways to peak children's interests in food!
This is one of my favorite pictures from the children's book Slightly Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. I give it to everyone under and over the age of 10. So pretty much everyone gets the book.
All the Best, Happy Reading!
Cream Of Mushroom Soup, and Seared Polenta Cake with Gazpacho Salsa and Mache Garnish..
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Sunday Morning is a day of rest. What better way to spend that day of rest but at a market surrounded by crowds and lively activity. Especally when we are at the brink of a new season. There is an alluring smell of juevos rancheros, omeletts and sweet and savory crepes looming in the air. With my ice coffee in hand and my sun glasses on I am ready to face the day. I have so many choices of what fabulous goodies I get to choose from. In the end I go for a savory and delicious french crepe. The best part is as I am hungry and in line waiting anxiously I get to watch the process unfold, but if you are like me as well as eating them I like to make them.
They are wonderful to make at home as well as get them at the market. The trick is that you can make the crepes ahead of time by the bunches and store them away in your freezer so that you can pull them out at a moments notice.
1 cup ap Flour
1/2 cup 2 % milk
1/2 cup water
pinch of salt
and 3 tbsp butter
Whisk together the flour and the eggs, next slowly incorporate the milk. butter and salt. (it is easier to soften the butter)
After all the ingredients are combines let the mix rest for 1/2 an hour. Heat up your crepe pan, and use a non stick spray to prevent the crepes from sticking. Know that the frst one that you make is not going to be as good as the rest. It should be known as a sacrafice crepe! Seperate the finished ones with either wax paper or parchment. The great thing about crepe recipes is that they are good for either sweet or savory crepes. My favorite is chicken and mushroom.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
In life you have to relax and stop to smell what's cookin'!
These pictures are very fun and charisamatic, and almost whimsical.
In cooking you have to slow down and take baby steps, at first it will seem silly and you will feel ridiculous because you may not know what you are doing. But just keep trying. Soon you will accomplish simple things that will make you feel more in control.
When you have guests over for dinner, the more fun you have will allow them to have the most fun. They will feed off of your energy. (Remember this: if things are not going well, your guests will start feeling the same way.
So slow down, build your confidence slowly, and if you mess up, then it is no big deal and pour you and your guest another glass of wine and it will be a night to remember!
Happy Cooking, and if you have any questions you can always ask, I am here to help!
P.S. Don't forget to sign up for my blogs, and answer my surveys!
Sourdough Bread is a gift from the bread gods. There is nothing better than to eat sourdough bread fresh from the oven. In Northern California they make the best bread in the world. When I was a girl I remember on vacation up North in Carmel my mom would come home from the grocery store and I would run in after her in hopes to rip open the bag of groceries... to get a morsel of that crunchy crust and that soft delicious insides. My mouth would water, and I would yearn for more.
As an adult I crave it, but I Crave it differently. For instance with Clam chowder, with Tuna Salad, in a grilled chhese, and I absolutely incorporate it anywhere I can in my cooking. I have traveled all over, andIn my opinion the best place to find it is in Northern California.
Stomping around Carmel is one of my most favorite things in the world. There are so many things to be seen from the water, to the stores, to the weather.
This picture was taken in a boutique candy store where they make candy apples, Salt water taffy, and much much more! Wouldn't we all want to have these sweet treats GUILT FREE!. Thankfully I can take pictures and appreciate the beauty and not have to eat too many. The Rockyroad Apple that we took home to snack on was incredible.
All the Best, Mary