Tool Time

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While I’m away on my imaginary vacation, I’m leaving the pantry stocked with posts from Exit 51 that would have been part of the Flashback Friday series. The following originally appeared on 6/29/09 at Exit 51.

Tool Time

The kitchen here at Exit 51 is kind of small.  When I say that I’ve stayed in hotels with bathrooms bigger than my kitchen, that’s not an exaggeration.  It took a lot of creative thinking when we renovated to try and balance maximized storage space with everyday functionality.  And even after all that, it’s still a struggle to keep things in check.

Laugh if you like, but I think it is necessary to have three separate pairs of spring loaded tongs. If I had my way, I’d have every conceivable kitchen gadget on the market.  Well, maybe not every one.  But I’d definitely have more.  Because even though gadgets and gizmos won’t make you a better cook, they can certainly make it easier for you to be the best cook you can.

Continue reading “Tool Time”

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Dreamy

image from http://www.istockphoto.com

While I’m away on my imaginary vacation, I’m leaving the pantry stocked with posts from Exit 51 that would have been part of the Flashback Friday series. The following originally appeared on 7/1/09 at Exit 51.

Dreamy

I’ve been looking at a recipe for creamy crab bisque nearly four years.  I figured it was finally time to either test it or get rid of it.  Guess which one I chose? This is the recipe that SFC’s mother makes.  Just say the words cream of crab soup to him and he gets this dreamy, far away look in his eyes.  Kind of like I do when I hear the words bacon or Andy Nelson Barbecue. Continue reading “Dreamy”

Flashback Friday – On Probation

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 7/1/08 at Exit 51.

On Probation

I’ve got a secret, I’m addicted to finding new recipes to try. So far, I haven’t found a program to help me overcome this affliction. Instead, I try to keep it hidden away in folders and binders in dark corners of the house. The problem is that on this information superhighway, there’s no shortage of rest stops that tempt my demons. I have folders stuffed with pages from websites, magazines, and even some newspapers.

To balance this habit, I rarely buy cookbooks. I’m still trying to get through recipes I pulled years ago from Cooking Light, so how can I justify spending money on a book full of recipes I would have to put in the test rotation? At that rate, my folders would overflow like the loaves and fishes. Continue reading “Flashback Friday – On Probation”

On Call

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While I’m away on my imaginary vacation, I’m leaving the pantry stocked with posts from Exit 51 that would have been part of the Flashback Friday series. The following originally appeared on 7/3/09 at Exit 51.

On Call

The moment I picked those berries, the clock started ticking.  One reason the strawberries you buy at the grocery store taste so blah is because they’ve been in suspended animation.  They get cold stored which prolongs their shelf life.  Fresh picked berries, however, have essentially been removed from their life support system.  The morning after harvest, the berries I had set aside from the mega batch of jam were already starting to dry out and wither.  Their once shiny exteriors were flat and dull.  I needed to get these berries into the kitchen stat.  Luckily, the recipe on call that day was Strawberry Frozen Yogurt.  I was asked to assist. Continue reading “On Call”

Berry Good

image from http://www.istockphoto.com

While I’m away on my imaginary vacation, I’m leaving the pantry stocked with posts from Exit 51 that would have been part of the Flashback Friday series. The following originally appeared on 6/19/09 at Exit 51.

Berry Good

The notion of eating fresh relies heavily on eating what’s in season. Those strawberries you see at the market in the dead of winter…not so much in season. But the ones I just picked at Baugher’s Farm? Most definitely so.

What do you think a strawberry is supposed to taste like? After eating so many of the mass produced, genetically enhanced, grocery store giants, I had forgotten the beauty of a fresh strawberry. Right from the plant, it is warm from the morning sun. The skin is vibrant; bright, and shining red and the flesh is firm but gently yielding. Bite into a mega farm berry and you get a little sweet, a lot of bland with the texture of cardboard. Bite into a just picked berry and it’s an explosion of freshness. Sweet and bright all at the same time and then the flesh just sort of melts away in your mouth. Continue reading “Berry Good”

Simplicity

image from http://www.istockphoto.com

While I’m away on my imaginary vacation, I’m leaving the pantry stocked with posts from Exit 51 that would have been part of the Flashback Friday series. The following originally appeared on 7/6/09 at Exit 51.

Simplicity

My friend Merriam-Webster defines simplicity as:

  • the state of being simple, uncomplicated or uncompounded
  • lack of subtlety or penetration
  • freedom from pretense or guile
  • directness of expression
  • restraint in ornamentation

In most things, I would never be associated with any of those definitions.  On my best days, I am anything but simple or uncomplicated.  But when it comes to cooking, I am consistently drawn to recipes that are simple, direct, and even restrained.  Maybe it’s an attempt to bring a small bit of balance into my life.  Or maybe it’s just that I don’t buy into the notion that all good things come at a high price whether that be monetary or otherwise. Continue reading “Simplicity”

Alton Brown’s Ginger Glazed Carrots

image from http://www.istockphoto.com

While I’m away on my imaginary vacation, I’m leaving the pantry stocked with posts from Exit 51 that would have been part of the Flashback Friday series. The following originally appeared on 7/8/09 at Exit 51.

Alton Brown’s Ginger Glazed Carrots

It should come as no surprise that I plan out meals in advance.  When I do my planning, I try use a Garanimals approach.  Remember Garanimals?  The line of children’s clothing, originally from the 70’s, designed to let kids put together coordinated outfits.  From their website:

“The kid-friendly Garanimals mix-and-match separates provide a simple, coordinated system that makes clothes easy to pair and fun to wear. The Garanimals pairing system brings creativity and independence to young children as they select their own clothes and dress themselves. Through these small, successful decisions, children develop early feelings of self-confidence.”

That is so what cooking should be.  Easy, fun, and confidence building.  Which is why I totally think of recipes as separates, that when combined, make a coordinated outfit on the plate. Continue reading “Alton Brown’s Ginger Glazed Carrots”