Site Player

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What's Cooking: A Review

With so many cook books, websites, magazines, and blogs, one does not want for recipes and inspirations. Through trial and error, I've discovered a few trusted sources and some that I wouldn't recommend to my worst enemy. That said, I want my knowledge base to be diverse, so I will continue to seek out great recipes. Please be assured that I am not stingy! I will share the websites that have great recipes and review books that I have picked up from the library. Have a book or site that you want me to visit or review? Please let me know.

What makes a source good to me? Simply put, the recipe should be accessible. This means that the ingredients must be obtained easily and are reasonably priced. This also means that the reader does not need a plethora of professional materials, such as a standing mixer or a food processor. While I understand that equipment such as these are common in many home cooks and chefs alike, I want to be mindful that some cooks do not have the means to possess them and use blenders and a hand mixer instead. I want the result to be the same, if not supremely similar. Further, the instructions should be clear and photos are always helpful, but not required.

With those factors firmly in place, I offer my first review.

First up, Cake Love: How to Bake Cakes from Scratch

Cake Love is a bakery in the DMV area, known for it's fantastic cupcakes. Since I was a fan of these confections, I excited to see the cook book at the library.

While, I was impressed with the photos, recipe ingenuity and general thoroughness with instructions, these recipes failed to meet my accessibility rule. Many of the recipes required equipment and ingredients such as a food scale, crunch feet, vanilla powder and potato starch.

That said, I do like the instructional nature of this cook book; it almost reminds me of a text book.

Final verdict: I can't say that I would recommend purchasing this book to add to your forever book collection. I would suggest, however, to seek this book out at your local library and review it. I'm sure that you'll find something that tickles your fancy. And if you are in the area, please be sure to visit Cake Love!

Recipe to try: Chocolate Butter Cake

Post on the go!

I downloaded the blogger app for my phone. In addition to allowing me to post on the fly, i'll also be able to post the pictures on my phone of all of the food that I've been hoarding. Those posts will be coming soon, but first, here is the meow of foodies meow: please meet Senior Mouserkins.  He is the inspiration to find the cat treat for the finicky eater.

Until later, take care!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving: A Play List

As we prepare our Thanksgiving meal, including clean up, it is good to have some music that will soothe or energize you, depending on your need. Here are a few of my recommendations:

                                        The Makings of You by Gladys Knight and the Pips

                                  Be Thankful (For What You've Got) by William de Vaughn
                                                         Gratitude by Paul McCartney
                                            I Could Not Ask For More by Sara Evans
                                                     Thank You by Led Zepplin

What would you add? What did you listen to?

Thanksgiving: The Superbowl for Foodies

I'm told that Thanksgiving is the Superbowl for foodies. I agree. For foodies, Thanksgiving is the opportunity to wield creativity, create tradition and reign supreme. Growing up, Thanksgiving was my Grandmother's holiday. She prepared the meal at her home, where she offered crudite platters, had assigned seats, and would roast a second meat such as goose or venison; everything had to be perfect. She would allow my mother to contribute one dish-something that the "children" would eat, but was beneath her culinary skills, such as macaroni and cheese. By the time I entered college, my grandmother allowed me to host Thanksgiving dinner, because she was getting up in age and it became too much for her. She also wanted to ensure that I would be able to follow her traditions. I did, for two years. Then, I wanted to get experimental. I wanted to create a Jamaican-themed Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, I shared my plot with my older brother. That usurper decided to claim Thanksgiving for himself, claiming that it would be too difficult to travel with his then four children to my house, so he decided he would host and equitably split the cooking duties between us. Truthfully, he just wanted to ensure that the main dishes would be traditional. If I wanted to slip in an exotic side dish, so be it, but he was not having me experiment with the beloved turkey. They were cowards. I don't usually tolerate cowards, so the heckling or armchair quarterbacking tradition began. Ok, really it began with my grandmother overseeing me, but I like to blame this on my brother.

Two years ago, my grandmother passed away...a week before Thanksgiving and then the summer before last, my father, her son, passed away. As a true consequence of these losses, our holidays haven't been the same. It seems that we haven't even been in the mood to plan a holiday. I try to rally and carry on the traditions, but it is hard. This year, on Tuesday, my brother and I decided that we were going to take control of Thanksgiving and create some normalcy; so we cooked. The menu consisted of:

Smoked Turkey
Sage Roasted Turkey Parts
Grilled Baby Asparagus
Onion Roasted Spice Mashed Potatoes
Smoky Macaroni and Cheese
Cornbread Stuffing Souffle
Green Beans
Collard Greens with Smoked Ham Hocks
Candied Sweets
Sweet Potato Pie
Sour Cream Pound Cake
Spiced Apple Cider

Everything turned out beautifully and I think that we would have at least made it to the championship game with this menu, if we didn't make it to the Superbowl. That said, I'm thankful for my family; thankful that we had an abundance of food to eat and thankful to you for reading this post.