I've already told ya'll a bunch, I'm not a cook. Of course, if you follow my blog, you know that I'm referring to me, Elaine Parny, and not Chef Roland. :)
Well, I thought I would at least try to produce something for the wonderful holiday meal our family had, hosted by my brother Scott Jones & his wife, Chrity Calhoun-Miller-Jones. It was a great time had by all and we each contributed, in our own way, to the fine dinner that we had to celebrate the occasion.
Even though I'm not in the kitchen much doesn't mean I don't like to be there. I just wait until no one is around to watch me struggle. I always love to sit down and go through cookbooks and I'm hoping to learn enough someday to do some "food writing". I did select two recipes to attempt for the holiday. One not so healthy but a fun experiment and very flavorful: It was Blackberry Jellies, a very sugary candy made by cooking down blackberries. I'm being very selective as to how much and when I have a little of that! The other recipe is a curried butternut squash soup, and it was a hit! We don't have a food processor at our house, so I simply mashed the heck out of the cooked down squash with a potatoe masher and then whisked the devil out of it until I achieved the consistency I wanted. (I have my own techniques).
Hope your holidays were blessed and memorable.
Now, it's time to look at seed catalogs and dream of that garden we want to get in this year! Remember, heirloom seeds reproduce and are not genetically modified.
Often, fresh nutritional food is spoken of as "fresh from the garden". I want to bring to your attention that there's food in "them there woods". On one of our trips to France, I have a fond memory of going out looking for chestnut trees on the side of the road with my husband, Chef Roland, and his parents. It was a wonderful experience for all of us and a great reason to go for an outing. They are in their late 80's and you could tell they really enjoyed being our guides to a choice spot and that they were able to "pass down" part of their food culture to me, their American daughter-in-law who had never harvested chestnuts in the wild. It was beyond a Kodak moment. After we located and gleened the chestnuts from a quaint country French farm road, we took them home where Chef Roland's mother cooked up a scrumptious chestnut soup for part of our evening meal. That experience beat out anything else France had to offer! Since I've not been diligent to post anything for the holidays, I will make this my contribution because ,really, it's about family and memories. So, I've posted a link for a nice chestnut recipe. Unfortunately, they are a little expensive in the store. However, you can contact the Missouri Department of conservation and purchase a bundle of chestnut trees for a nominal cost and start your own chestnut orchard!!
Merry Christmas & Bon Appetit!
Something I feel like I've known most of my adult life is that eating fresh food from your own garden is simply the best. Unfortunately, that's not how I have lived my life. Convenience, poor habits and temptation have been key factors in my developing unhealthy eating habits. I also believe what others, and myself, have believed to be "good food" has been a misnomer. When I was very young, I thought eating a whole bowl of artificial whipped cream was "eating good", at least until my mother gave me the opportunity to sit down and have the whole bowl to myself. Suffice to say, my concept of "all the whipped cream I could eat" was no longer on my list of "good foods to eat". Personal food culture, which can involve alot of different factors, including our emmotions, usually dictates what our eating habits and good food concepts are going to be. I posted a good 'common sense' article link today that I think gives a down-to-earth assesment of common sense eating.
I soooooooooo apologize for neglecting our blog for so long. Life just keeps getting in the way of things I want and need to get done. That's my excuse....it's the best I have.
I just came across this clip and, SERIOUSLY, it tells the story of WHY France is so well known for their fine cuisine and their outstanding reputation in Food Culture.
We actually visited one of these schools that has a similar program in a small community and it was incredible how the program is managed and the food presented. It takes school lunches and school cafeteria workers to a whole new level!!
Enjoy! Bon Apetit!
I've already admitted to you all that I'm the food/cooking novice in the family. Maybe that's a good thing? You know, they say that "too many cooks spoil the broth" and I know that for sure, I don't want to have to compete with Chef Roland in the kitchen. But, I decided that this year, I'm going to put it on my "list" to start trying my hand at various dishes, with the intention of cooking Christmas Dinner for my family (if any are brave enough to come) next year. I've been reading over some recipes, seeing which ones I'll try first and have found one for my soup and one for my first course that I'm not going to reveal until I know I can succeed. I'll keep you posted as to my progress!
One of the recipes calls for sultanas and when I come across a food word that is new to me, I like to pass that information on to those of you who are Gourmet Beginners, like me. The new word is "sultanas" and even if you know what they are, I think you will find the link I'm using to be informational and entertaining.
I did manage to make a couple of different kinds of cookies for the holiday that I am gifting to others (if I can manage not to eat them all up) and think they are a bit different than the usual fare I see others preparing. I made chocolate shortbread and thumpprint cookies with apricot preserve centers. They are delicious, if I may say so without bragging. They're simple enough and I found the recipes in a magazine.
If you would like to share stories or comments about your christmas cookie experiences this season, please submit them via our blog comment box and I'll be happy to post them. Sometimes the stories are just as good as the cookies, if not better!
Definition of Sultanas: http://www.ochef.com/676.htm
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year & Bon Appetit!
I have profusely admitted that I am not "the cook" of the family. But, since becoming married to Chef Roland, who has made of career out of food preparation and service, I have become enamored with people who are enamored with the love of cooking. When people speak of their cooking/food experiences, it affects their whole demeanor, they radiate, they swoon, they go into a reverie. It's truly a love. I'm jealous but, I am fascinated by their stories.
Today, my parents and I had the pleasure of visiting with a pastor of a local church that we had attended. As he was telling of a recent event at the church where people brought food, he also told us of his wonderful cake that he had contributed. I watched his face and body language as he went into great detail of the construction of the cake, one that replicated the very cake his mother always presented him on his birthday as a young boy growing up. He was in the moment and it was wonderful to watch and listen as he presented his virtual cake to us. Now, I'm inspired to start collecting "love stories" of cooking experiences of friends and family. I would like to invite anyone who visits our site to take this opportunity to share with all of us, your favorite cooking story, the one where you knew you "loved to cook", the funny one that was a blast to create even though it fell short of your hoped for expectations, or the one where you carefully constructed a delectable dish as an act of love for someone special. Feel free to use our comment box and inspire us all to "fall in love" with cooking.
I'll add a few articles to the mix just to give you a little taste:
When Roland and I met, I was one of those people who opened the box or can and warmed up the family meal. After our marriage in 2005, I truely began to appreciate what food is really about, not only that it can taste very good, and be nutritious, but that it can be a celebration of who you are and the people that you share it with.