Monday, September 27, 2010

Crushing Spices - A Great Stress Reliever

A few weeks ago, I bought a mortar & pestle from IKEA (I wished I had a $5000 shopping spree to that store).  I got to use it for the first time tonight.  I crushed some corianders seed, mixed in nutmeg, cinnamon, salt pepper, then rubbed it on sliced pork tenderloin.  I cooked the the pork in a skillet, then sauteed some gala apples and shallots.  Finally, I deglazed the pan with some apple cider and mixed in some chopped sage.  It was really good and reminded that autumn is coming, even if it's still 90 degrees in Florida.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Adult beverages

A double tall rum & coke can help all the annoyances of the week go away. I'm just saying.
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Sunday, September 12, 2010

My Favorite Cooking Tools

After about 10 years of cooking, I've realized that the tools that I use play as a big of a role as the ingredients, the recipes, and my skills.  Here are the ones that I rely on the most, which I used today to make my favorite beef stew recipe:
  • A good Santoku knife.  It's great for chopping a large amount of ingredients, and the indentations on the blade help to prevent food from sticking to it.  
  • A good bench scraper.  This is used to scoop up ingredients (like the onions and carrots in the picture.)  It's also useful for divying up portions of dough.                                                                                                                           
  • A Y-shaped peeler.  This may be just my personal preference, but I think it's a lot easier to peel vegetables with this kind of peeler.                                             
  • A garlic press.  If I have to chop 1 clove of garlic, I'll use a knife, but for 12 cloves, I'll break out the press.  I got mine from The Pampered Chef, and it's easy to use and clean.  
  • Long tongs...mine are 12 inches long which are great when turning meat in hot oil.
  • A flat wooden/bamboo scraper which is ideal for getting all those good flavor bits off the bottom of the pan. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Momentary Lapse of Blogging

I haven't posted any new blogs lately, so I was determined to add one today. 

Things have been really busy.  We took a trip up to NY and Pennsylvania.  It was a lot of rushing around but I got to see my sister, my niece (cutest baby ever!), some good friends, and the in-laws.  As soon as we got back, I started 2 classes at the local college.  These classes are very intense, and cram 16 weeks worth of material into 8 weeks, so I've been doing a lot of reading.  Luckily, I've had some time to do some cooking.

I made a tomato tart last week.  The base as a sheet of puff pastry, coated with a thin layer of sour cream and grainy mustard.  This added great flavor and prevented the crust from getting soggy.  On top of the crust were sauteed cherry tomatoes (which are at season's peak right now) and leeks.  This was baked, and then topped with goat cheese (yum!) and basil. 

I'm going to try to add some more posts this weekend...a neighbor gave me some homemade strawberry jam...I'm going to try to make some cookies with it!