Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's Been Too Long!

I feel as though I have abandoned my child at the side of the road. For years I have wanted to be a food writer and just when I started to get an audience for my writing, I drop you all!
Well it is not as though I don't have a reason. (Double negative?)
And what could be the reason?
Work. Yes, work. This whole working thing is kicking my tush! You know, the whole, two days on two days off! It is the worst.

I know. I must be joking.
But I hate to say it: I'm not. I am done after two days. It is silly. It is ridiculous. But after eight hours on my feet, I start to glaze over. My knuckles ache from gripping on to my knife all day. My back and shoulders hurt from being hunched over my table constantly. I have athlete's foot because my feet spend hours in my soggy, sweaty Crocs. The kitchen smell has reentered my life (imagine the smell of vomit, yup, that's it). I come home reeking of it.

And this is not exciting work. What I do is not like what you see on TV. I am talking cutting melons, Romaine lettuce, slicing tomatoes....And not just a few. I cut three different kinds of melons, ten of each...the process alone dulls my newly sharpen knife. Not just two or three Romaine heads, but try twenty or thirty. My father still doesn't understand how exhaustive this work is. He sees my Mother and I, laughing and smiling when we cook together- a far cry from working in an all male, Spanish speaking kitchen, cooking for 400 people with time restraints, egos and yelling Chefs and Sous Chefs.

But luckily for me, I am beginning to train in the front of the house which means I spend most of my day interacting with the clients. Yes, the students of Soka Uni, yup making smoothies, and coffee drinks....have I ever mentioned I have two degrees? So it could be easily said that I may be just a tiny bit, underemployed. Oh, but my friends, I am not complaining, merely stating the obvious. In this day and age, I am THRILLED with my job. But I love it. The students are super friendly and easy to joke with. My superiors are fun and approachable. Plus, less time in the kitchen = less vomit smell. And, I don't even break out in a sweat!

This isn't really where I imagined myself at 30. But, I realized tonight, what I pictured doesn't matter any more. Because it doesn't exist. I am here and I have to make the most of it. It doesn't matter where I am now, but where I am going. And I can finally say, I am moving forward. This is not something I could have said six months ago. With that said, enough about me, let's talk food!

Okay, I hope that this was worth the weeks that have gone by. Probably not, but it was a surprising discovery for me.

As I have written before, I try and make things on the "healthier side". Which isn't really fun, but, go with me here. I love mayo. I love to dip my fries in mayo. I would dip most foods in mayo if given the choice, because it is delicious. With that said, do you think this gal would even eat Light mayo? NO! My thought is, if I am going to eat mayo, I am going all the way.
I want to eat every single calorie and gram of fat that is in that gob of decadence!
Well, I was quite surprised when one day at work I tried to recreate my mother's well loved potato salad with Kraft Light Mayo....I didn't notice a difference. Yes it was mixed with potatoes, Dijon mustard, radishes, red onions, cucumbers and hard boiled eggs but I didn't really notice a flavor or texture change.
So, once again, I come before you and I say I am converted! I was wrong, just about homemade mayo, just about shopping at farmer's markets and yet another, the old Light mayo. So give it a try, see how it goes and let me know what you think!
And I have been told by a dear friend, that I need to revisit Shrimp Scampi...seeing that he gave it to me as an "assignment" I will comply and come to you tomorrow with a new improved Scampi recipe with lots of butter and good stuff! I wish you all well!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lima Beans

Hello my friends. Yes I took a few days off, but I am back.
So Suz and I were remembering what a brat I was as a child. She recalled, with a scowl on her face, the Halloween I refused to wear a costume to kindergarten. And what do you think I did when I arrived to find all the other students dressed up, ready for the Halloween parade? I started crying because I was the only one sans a costume. Then there was the time when it was pony riding day, and while all the other kids couldn't wait for their turn on the pony, I refused to get on it. We have pictures of me that day, dressed in an adorable cowgirl outfit, on top of the pony, with a pout on my face. I wasn't going to enjoy it just because my Mom wanted me too!
These bratty memories also take me back to the dinner table. My Mother wanted us to be good eaters (to my detriment many porky years later, I love almost everything!) and try at least one bite of everything on our plates. Even if I did decide that I liked broccoli, I wouldn't let Her know that. Like any child I didn't want to fill up with meat loaf and mashed potatoes, I wanted dessert!
And this brings me to one food that to this day I refuse to eat. Now, it is not so much trying to defy my Mother. But instead because I don't enjoy eating it, hence not worth the calories: Succotash. Yup, corn and lima beans. I love corn, but limas? They are mealy and make my mouth dry. Ick!
But then, we came across Lima bean puree....oh my, this is good stuff. You know why? Three words: garlic, butter and cream,three things that make almost anything better. I recently made this for a dinner party and the responses were the same as how I felt, I hate lima beans but love this puree! So even if you are a skeptic, give it a try and let me know if this recipe changes your mind about lima beans.
Simmer 1 pound bag of frozen lima beans with 1 cup chicken broth (or enough to cover), minced garlic, with a lid and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. In a food processor or using an immersion blender, puree limas with cooking liquid, garlic, butter and heavy cream until smooth. Puree less for a rougher, more rustic texture, or if you want it super smooth push puree through a sieve. Season with salt, pepper and adjust texture with more chicken broth or cream.
This recipe can be made a few days ahead (making it a great choice for a dinner party). When you reheat it, you may need to thin it with more heavy cream. Now, are lima beans your new favorite?