Saturday, October 1, 2011

Some Awesome Projects for me

I am researching the foods at ball parks, football stadiums and basketball arenas around the USA. Its been a lot of fun and I have found alot of unique items, and alot of trivia as to where and when certain foods were first introduced to these venus. Once I'm done with this research, then I'll be putting together a menu for a sports bar. A friend of mine wants to open one at some point; so I'm doing up a menu for him. And if I'm lucky, when that time comes, I might have the money to invest in it myself. It would be fun for me.

Another project I'm working on is a healthy cookbook, with recipes for foods that I eat on a regular basis. This project is dear to my heart due to the fact that I am losing weight and its been greatly helpful in those goals I've set forth. I have been working on the foods I love to eat, and how to make them healthier for you rather than eating the good old fashioned comfort foods of old all the time.

Another project that I'm working on is the family history cookbook, that I have and need to get done. That project is a true labor of love. When that project is done, I will be giving that to the family. Its being done for my children, siblings, nieces and nephews. Its a dedication to my parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Some recipes from the family and also alot of stories about everyone. This project is taking me a little longer, but it will be well worth it when its done.

Another project I'm working on is a series of menus for various festivals and fairs around my local area. I am also designing a catering trailer and truck that I want to use eventually and have that be my main source of income. I know what I am capable of and what I can do, so this project is the future and its what I will enjoy the most I think of what I want to do. It gets me back into a kitchen creating the things I love the most. My own foods.

This is what passion is and what makes me happiest in life. Working with foods and creating great things for awesome menus and doing something fun in the process.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Turkey Noodle Soup

Home made noodles, so easy and so much fun to make. Only took me about 20 minutes to make them.
The soup itself just awaiting the noodles to be added to it.

Now the finished product. I love to make soups no matter what time of year it is. This time it was something I decided was going to be a good idea since I am working so much and I can make a good sized amount of it.
So lets start with the beginning of it. I started with the basic turkey soup stock. So easy and really doesnt take that much time to make on your part.
Soup stocks are easy and much better than what you buy in the grocery store. I prefer to make my own from any kind of meat I make.
First you take the carcass of the turkey after you have taken the meat off it. Just place it into a large stock pot with all the skins, drippings and fat from the bird your using.
Add water to cover the bird by at least 3-4 inches.
Add the seasonings you want. I added sage and oregano for this stock.
Turn high heat, and bring it to a boil. Allow to boil for about 10 minutes then turn it down and let it simmer on low over night. Making sure you never loose any liquid. Use a tight fitting lid on your stock pot.
In the morning, take it off the heat and strain it into a large bowl or another stock pot. Remove all the bones, meat and skins. toss those out.
Seperate your stock now, you will have a very large amount, freeze half of it AFTER you allow it to cool completely. For a quick cool place it into small shallow containers in the fridge until cooled then freeze it
Place the remainder of the stock you have left out into the stock pot again. Add to this your turkey, celery, onions, carrots, and garlic. season to taste at this point, remembering that you have got all the seasonings from the turkey as it cooked, its drippings, skins and the herbs you put in the stock pot while making the stock itself. Remember to taste the soup as you go. That way its not going to be too salty or not salty enough.
Allow that to simmer for a couple of hours, if you have any left over vegies, drain and add them to the soup at this point.
Making the noodles is next.
Noodles are basic and easy to make. The recipe is simple for the noodles I made.
1 cup flour
1 egg
1 pinch of salt
Now for the noodles I made, I doubled the recipe. I did add water by the tablespoons until I had a workable dough. Very simple and easy. Then I simply used a rolling pin and rolled it out nice and thin. I cut the dough ball into quarters and worked with a small amount of dough at a time. Much easier if you have never done it as well.
Roll out the pasta until its as thin as you can get it or as thin as you want it. Then take a pizza cutter or a sharp knife and begin to cut thin strips. Then cut those thin strips into either half or 1/3s to make the size of noodles you want. Remember that they will get bigger and not be as thin as you think they are.
Once the noodles are done then slowly add them to the soup, but bring the soup back up to a slow rolling boil so that the noodles will be able to cook quickly.
This soup is nice on any day or evening.
The pan I used for it was a large sauce pan and I still had to take some out because it all wouldnt fit in. This recipe that I 've made will easily feed a family of 6.
Enjoy and never forget the passion of food

Monday, August 22, 2011

Soups are awesome

Well, tonight we had turkey so I took the carcass and I am making a soup stock. tomorrow I will be making a turkey noodle soup. I cant wait. This is the kind of thing that is so great and so easy to make. Most people dont undersand just how simple it is to do a soup stock from scratch.
I will post up pictures of it tomorrow and a full recipe. So for now, I'm just tantalizing you with what I'm doing.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Comfort Food

What do we call comfort food and why? What do we call comfort food. For each person, comfort food is based on a few things.

1. Family
what did your family make while you were growing up?
what did they pass down over the generations?

2. Where you live
What foods are native to the area you grew up in?
What foods were cooked by your friends mothers and grandmothers?

3. Personal Likes
What foods do you personally like to eat and/or fix?
How did you come by that personal favorite?

Lets take Family first. Each of us grew up in a very different kind of household from anyone else, other than our own siblings, if we have any. What mom makes is almost always best. We always judge our own version of those family favorites against what we remember from growing up. We also judge it against what our grandmother made for us as well.

For me personally, I grew up in an Italian household, for the most part. We had good old fashioned Italian food when we got together as a family, or the cousins came over. It was always a feast and fun.

My memories of my birthday every year was having my mother make Lasagna for me, since it is still my favorite of all pasta dishes. Ravioli's a close second. Both of which I now make from scratch. That means I make my own pasta for them as well. Something my grandfather taught me how to make when my son was only 4. That was an awesome thing that we shared and my son helped me make them too. It was fun.

I've taken my knowledge of making pasta and increased it by experimenting with adding things to the pasta as well as making new and different fillings for the ravioli's and lasagna. Always a new adventure when I make pasta from scratch.

I make all my own sauces as well, from scratch. I prefer home grown tomatoes over store bought fresh. They taste much better in the sauces. I once had a great olive sauce and then I made a version of my own. That is the BEST sauce ever. Personally, that one is something I add to my spaghetti instead of a maranara, and I never add a meat sauce to my pasta dishes. Instead I will make meatballs and sausgaes on the side and then add them to some sauce in a different pot and place them on the table as a dish to go with the pasta. Basically a side dish.

Next, where you live is very important to this subject. If you live in the south or midwest, your going to be eating alot of fried food, potatoes, mac and cheese, biscuits and gravey. That would be concidered comfort food and traditional to several regions of the country here in the USA. However, if your in Great Britain your idea of comfort food will be very different.

Our friends mothers and grandmothers, whom we got to know when we were growing up, also cooked for us. Traditionally, they would make food that was varied and different from our own family members. I remember being a little girl and going to my mothers best friends parents house. They made the best mexican food. Hence they were mexican, and my mother can cook it like no tomorrow. When I was older, another of my mothers friends was Japanese, she made tempura, something that I thought was the bomb.

Next is Personal. This is what comes from all of our experiences and travels or just a journey to a new restuarant and trying something else. These come from being adventurous. I had one of my sisters turn me onto Indian food. Oh wow, that was so wonderful. Being able to find what you like is a wonderful thing.

I recommend to everyone to explore the food around you. There are some awesome cuisines available to you that would not have been around 100 years ago. Unless you knew someone who was from a particular place in the world or region of the country.

I am so greatful for the travels I've experienced in my life. They have afforded me a wide variety of food exposure. I can honestly say that In almost every cuisine I've tried, I have found at least one thing that I consider comfort food. And I am still searching for more. When I find them, then I learn to make them, and how to change it slightly so its mine. Making something new is always wonderful, and fun. Its a challenge well worth the time and effort.

So please, adventure with an open mind and an empty stomach. Enjoy the Passion of the food around you.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How Food Shapes Us

I remember growing up and being in the kitchen with my mother. I remember asking her about the seasonings and how she did it. I know that she never measured and I wondered how you knew you had enough. She told me that it was about the taste, and what you liked. So for years I worked on it and learned what I liked above all else. When I finally figured that out, it was huge for me. I remember figuring out how to make my own recipes as a result.

One of the very first things I ever made my own was a shrimp and pasta dish. I have since come up with several of those, because Shrimp and Pasta are two of my very favorite things to eat in this world. And they are a great combination.

Another thing that I enjoy making is lamb. For me lamb is the absolute best thing ever. I worked hard to make lamb tasty and appealing to many people. I have family members who didn't like it. However, one time I made it and it was wonderful. I fed it to this cousin of mine. After he finished i asked him if he liked it. He said it was awesome, he loved it. By this time I was laughing so hard at him, and he didn't understand. I finally told him why, when i told him that he had just eaten lamb and loved it; he no longer had an excuse to say he didn't like lamb any longer. It was simply about how it was prepared. He had to grudgingly agree, but let me know in no uncertain terms that in the future he would ask me first what was for dinner before eating it.

Seasoning and flavor is truly what makes the food. Never let anyone else tell you otherwise. there are ingredients that are less than flavorful that we have eaten in different cuisines and on first try, i failed to make them taste good. Tofu is the one that stumped me the longest. However, now I have several different things that I make with it and several ways to use it. I love my tofu to be lightly fried up. i will season it simply, and then fry it in a wonderful olive oil so its browned on all sides. I love tofu just by itself, but its great in soups, salads and as a main dish with rice. I have used it in shakes and i have had it in a dessert. Its versatile and simple.

I'm a meat eater and I wont give it up, but I do love to eat vegan and vegetarian dishes as well. They are wonderful, healthy and filling without being over filling. For me its no different than eating a vegetable dish with my meal. I have found that I have had several friends, over the years, who were vegetarian or even vegan. As a cook and someone who loves to entertain, I like to make sure that I have a variety of dishes sitting there if I'm having guests over. that way no one feels slighted over not having a selection to eat with their meal as well.

People find what it is that they love, and they tend to eat those things and fix them. I love my pasta, rice and seafood. Not to mention vegetables and meat. I just love food. One of my sisters once told me that I could make anything taste gourmet. That made my heart sing, because I had lost touch with food for a while, due to circumstances in my life. But now, I am finding what it is that I want to do and what i want to make again. The passion is back.

I hope that we can get more people to come and see and watch what I post. I will be posting up some pictures and recipes soon along with a challenge to go with it. I hope to show you some awesome recipes and great food you can enjoy and try at home.

thanks for being here and checking me out.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Something new to come

I have been considering something I have wanted to do and I'm putting things together to do a special challenge that I hope will be fun and bring in others to join me and tell me what they have done with it or something similar.

Expect something with Sweet Treats as the theme.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Food is our Friend not our Enemy

LOL wow what a title huh? caught ya.

Ok well even that being said, its a true statement. Food is our friend if WE choose to use it properly.

Food as our friend.

Wow this is so huge its not funny. Food is our friend, IF we allow it to be. Eating food as fresh as possible is essential to this. Eating vegetables that are canned is not what I call healthy. Eating them fresh or even flash frozen is better. I prefer to eat my vegetables, based on what is seasonal. They are much better for you. If you go to a farmers market your going to find what is out at that time. Fruits and Vegetables, need to be eaten in a seasonal fashion. I know that I'm not going to eat Pumpkins in the spring time. They dont ripen then. They are an autumn and winter food. You can keep them in a root cellar, or basement, or just at a lower temperature without freezing them, and they will keep for a long time. When your squashes and tubers begin to go bad, thats when you set them aside as 'seed' for the planting in the spring time. Always a good idea to keep things like that and use them to grow, if you have the ability to do such.

If your not sure what fruits and vegetables are seasonal, get a farmers almanac, go to gardening sites, look up what it is that you should be growing and when they harvest. You also want to know how many harvests they will have and for how long. Eating in this fashion is much better for you and much healthier too.

Meats were traditionally eaten in the fall and winter. The way things were done in the days of old were really simple. They raised their herds all year and they would butcher when they needed fresh meat. But when winter was setting in, they would do a harvest festival and have huge feasts. The animals would be culled down to how many could be kept in the barn/house. The meat would be preserved in what ever fashion they used at that time, and the rest of the animals would be kept for rest of winter. Slowly, through the winter, as food was becoming more and more scarce for them, they would kill an animal and eat it over the winter. Eventually leaving them with only maybe 2 or 4 animals to replenish their herds over the next year.

Food is meant to be eaten seasonally for the best response from your body and for your health.

Now the beauty of growing your own foods, is that you can preserve it use it all year. Make no mistake though, our ancient ancestors did they same thing. They preserved their food as well for winter and had a great supply, the only reason the animals were butchered in the winter was that their food was running out and the animals food was running out. But preservation in the winter is not what they did. They ate meat primarily in the winter time and all of their other preserved foods as well.

Food that is bad for you. Well, for some this is a no brainer, but others tend to not understand it as easily, due to their own upbringings.

Fried foods, fatty foods, breads-white bread imparticular is bad for you.

You have to remember that these foods turn to sugar in your body and produce BAD fat cells. Once you gain a fat cell, you cannot, I repeat, You CANNOT LOSE that fat cell. It will be with you for the rest of your life. The only thing you can do is reduce it by flushing your system of all the toxins that are in it.

It is important to note, that if a product tells you that it can get rid of a fat cell, it is a lie. Please, please, do not listen. Make sure that your learning about the truth of these things. You need to know how the body works and what can really be done for you

Losing weight comes from diet and exercise. If a product tells you that you can lose the weight without exercise, its a scam for your money. Most people, need both, diet and exercise, some dont. But the vast majority of people do need it and its a good thing to do and get into the habit of doing. For your own health. For your heart, for your life.