Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!!!!

Off to see what Matheus got in his trick or treat bag!
The "twix" is evil, I already downed 3 of those fun size ones (it's the only junky chocolate/candy bar I like) and we still have some leftover candy... I said that if another kid stops by he or she will get a bonus of a whole bowl of candy!
Hope you had just as much fun as we are having here!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Notes on Cooking

The title caught my attention on the new books' section of the library so I got this book home to peruse. It was such an easy, simple, and quite educational, read that I decided to share here in the blog.
Notes on Cooking is a basically a collection of cooking tips that the chef Lauren Braun Costello put together from her experience in the kitchen over the years. It is comprised by 217 short tips divided into chapters with themes that range from equipments, how to understand the recipe, how to prepare yourself and your ingredients, to tips on how to work with meat, pork or seafood.
They are all basic tips, ideas, and comments from the chef, and the vast majority I already follow in my daily cooking life - such as "read the entire recipe before making it, then read it again", "always wash your produce", "add fresh herbs at the end", "always taste before you serve the food", and so on.
However, there are many other notes that I really enjoyed reading and that was nice to have reinforced in my culinary mind.
My favorite chapter was the one about "Temperature", which had some interesting notes which I haven't realized were all that crucial. This was a great tip in my opinion:

" Never jump food more than one temperature state at a time: there are four functional temperature states 1)frozen, 2)cold, 3)room temperature, 4)warm or hot.
When you move food from one state to another, don't skip over a temperature state... only one state change at a time. Jumping a state disrupts or destroys the vital process of moisture concentration and reintegration within the ingredients as its temperatures changes. Place a sealed, warm lasagna in a cold fridge, and where does all that heat and moisture go? It collects on the top of your lovely lasagna, now no longer so lovely."

Two others I liked were:

"Use a cold pan for butter: heat the pan and butter simultaneously. Butter added to a hot pan burns on contact due to its dairy content"
"Use a hot pan for oil: add oil directly to an already hot pan; in a matter of seconds, it becomes hot enough to cook your food, but not yet hot enough to smoke."

I am not getting anything from reviewing this book, I just thought it was a good read and decided to pass it along. Very informational book, filled with culinary notes, something that we as everyday cooks can never get enough!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I love those little seeds, they look like little jewels and are so intensely flavored. My grandma had a pomegranate tree on her backyard so every time I crack one of these open I am taken back to my childhood when we used to open the pomegranate and sit on the backyard sucking the juice and spiting seeds on the grass. Oh, and yes, mom would make me change into an old shirt when I wanted to eat pomegranates, she always said that pomegranate stains never came out of out clothes.
I don't have a particular recipe for using this fruit though. Since my early years my favorite thing is to eat the seeds by themselves. Today I also enjoy them sprinkled on spinach salad, it is quite yummy too.
Now, if you get pomegranate juice then it's another thing. My favorite thing to do with that? Pomegranate Sangria - red wine, pomegranate juice, triple sec, agave nectar to taste, sliced oranges, and crushed min leaves - delicious summer drink!
But since it is getting cold around here I will stick with the fresh pomegranate seeds for this time of the year.
Excuse me but I have to find a old shirt I don't mind staining now! ;o)