Monday, February 22, 2010

Let's see how the mom's do it!

Ahh, the mom's. The nurturers. The one's who feed us, teach us how to eat, how to cook & how to live. So many of my associations to food are connected in some way to my mom. Or to my mom's mom. Or to someone else's mom. Even in these surveys, it's great how many people reference their mothers or grandmothers as their inspiration, or the best cooks they know. So I thought it would be interesting to see how things are for them versus the singles, or even the professionals I talked with. And for the record, a mom can be single, a professional, an artist etc... all in one, but for the sake of this survey I talked with women who's full time job is their families.

1. How many meals do you cook per day?
J: 1/day
K: 3 meals/2 snacks
R: 2/day
A: I don't cook, I reheat!

2. How many people are you responsible for feeding per day?
J: 4
K: 5-8
R: 4+
A: 4

3. What is your weekly grocery bill?
J: $100
K: $150-$200
R: $250
A: $ 150

4. How often do you eat out?
J: 2x/month
K: 1x/month
R: 2x/week
A: 3x/month

5. What is your signature dish?
J: Stew
K: Baked chicken legs with rice & corn
R: Lasagna
A: Salad

6. Can food be sexy? If so, which foods?
J: Yes. Crab
K: Sure, if it's not made by me! NOT meatballs. Food is sexy if it's presented colorfully & artistically
R: Yes! Sushi - it's fun & playful. Finger foods, strawberries
A: Yes. Drinks that sound sexy. To me, if it's edible, it's sexy

7. How often do you make dessert?
J: 1x/month
K: We do a couple of handfuls of Jelly Bellies or candy
R: 3x/year
A: I open a package every day

8. What's your best kid-friendly dish?
J: Teriyaki chicken
K: "Poor Man's Dish": ground turkey & cream soup over rice
R: Costco organic chicken nuggets
A: Salami

9. What would you order at a swanky restaurant?
J: Crab or steak & lobster
K: Ohh! Steak!
R: Antipasto
A: Salad

10. What's your favorite beverage?
J: Margarita or sugar free Rock Star
K: Mojito or Snoqualamie Riesling
R: Fruit of the Gods (Barossa Valley Reds)
A: Diet coke or sangria

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Where the Singles at?!?

Alright part two of the food interviews: SINGLES! I've gotta say these people shocked me the most. My oldest child is almost 11, and even though I am no longer married, I don't feel like I'm single, per say, because I have 3 kids - my schedule and my life is a little different, (but, for the survey, single meant unmarried, without kids - some were dating). when I think about the single life, I think of young, free people who have all of life to live. I think of dates and romance, and cocktails, breakfast in bed, eating out.... But alas, these people need help! And I must say, the guys I talked to had it going on a bit more than the girls! ??

For these answers, I will put a (g) for girls, (b) for boys...

1. Where's your favorite date night spot?

B(b): Duc's restaurant
J(g): Bucca di Beppo

2. What's the most romantic meal you've ever eaten?

B(b): In Alaska, a restaurant on top of a ski resort
J(g): It was at the Mt. Hamilton Lodge, CA

3. What's your favorite cocktail?

B(b): Pear Press with lemon
J(g): Any of the martini's at Lulu's Chocolate Bar in Savanna, GA

4. How often do you cook?

B(b): Every day, at least 2x
J(g): Does microwaving count? How about pouring cereal into a bowl?

5. When is the last time you had breakfast in bed?

B(b): Yesterday
J(g): When I was sick as a child

6. Can food be sexy? If so, what foods?

B(b): Yes! Crab, steak, shrimp, salad, eggs benedict, salmon, sushi with chopsticks
J(g): Duh! Yes!! Chocolate, strawberries. Anything covered in chocolate, even a human!

7. How often do you eat out?

B(b): 1-2x/week
J(g): Most days of the week.

8. What are your dinner plans tonight?

B(b): Wait till the kitchen feeds me. ("B" is a bartender)
J(g): To finish my Subway sandwich from lunch... probably in the car on the way home!

9. How much coffee do you drink?

B(b): 1-2 cups/month. 5-6 espresso/month
J(g): 1 cup a week - I drink soda for my caffiene

10. What's your favorite meal of the day?

B(b): Lunch
J(g): Lunch

Survey Says.....

Obviously, I love food. Eating, cooking, reading about food. But I also love to talk about food. I love how food connects us. I love that when people are sick or have just had a baby, people rally together and bring over meals. What else makes you feel so nurtured and taken care of? I love special occasions that call for "special" food. Fancy stuff, exotic food, pretty little piled up appetizer things. I love un-fancy comfort foods. I love date-night foods, kid food, restaurant food, ethnic food. Ok, you get it.

But I realize, that as much as food is the one thing that can connect us all, everyone has their own food life. What's comfort to one person, the next person may loathe. What's sexy food to one, may be repulsive to another. While some people cook three meals a day at home, some can't remember the last time they cooked.

I have recently become fascinated by interviewing different demographics of people to find out just what's going on in their respective food worlds. I have different lists of questions that I have used to interrogate: Children, Moms, Singles, Restraunteurs, Artists, Professionals, Mountain Bikers, Teachers, and even Random People on the Street. I must say that some of my assumptions were blown! I have also been really entertained to see other people's passion for the food they love. Or hate!

So, my plan here is to share some of these findings with you over the next weeks, but I also would love to hear your answers to the questions too!! Even if you don't belong to that particular demographic, just let us know which one you are. Leave a comment and give us your perspective!

I'll start you off with the Questionaire for kids, along with a few of the answers marked by their initials. This is one of my favorites because of how different kids and grown ups see food. When's the last time YOU thought of a food that was fun to eat because it's like a slinky? Do YOU still think of cooking as magic? Have you ever wished for more of Sponge Bob's Crabby Patties?! Here's a little of what they love, hate, and want more of...

1. What is the messiest thing you've ever eaten?

MG: A big sandwich
MR: Homemade spam musubi
MC: A really big burger
S: Spaghetti
A: Ice cream

2. What is the gross-est thing you've ever eaten?

MG: Fish
MR: Mushrooms
S: Carrots
A: Vegatables

3. Why don't kids like spicy food?

MG: Because it's just not their type
MR: because you get thirsty & have to pee
MC: I do!
S: Because they get after burn on their lips
A: Because it spices your tongue

4. What do you wish your mom would make more often?

MG: Spam Musubi
MR: Garlic Bread
MC: Burgers
S: Sushi
A: Crabby Patties

5. Do you like to cook? Why?

MG: Yeah, because it's kind of like magic & you get to eat
MR: I love to cook because you get to make whatever you want & do your own creations and it's fun to cut
MC: Yes because I like knowing that once I sit down, I know I made this
S: Yes, because you make your own food the way you want it
A: Yes, but I don't know how to cook anything

6. Tell me something that is fun to eat.

MG: Curly fries - it's like a slinky
MR: Jello - you can play with it
MC: Messy sandwiches
A: Taffy

7. What is your favorite thing to drink?

MG: Water or juice
MR: Juice
MC: Water or Soda
S: Root Beer
A: Strawberry milk

8. What is your favorite dessert?

MG: Banana split or vanilla ice cream with berries
MR: Ice cream
MC: Ice cream
S: Brownies
A: Milkshake

9. If you could eat one thing every day what would it be?

MG: Fruits & veggies
MR: Fruits
MC: Meat
S: Sushi
A: Chicken bones

10. What is your favorite vegetable?

MG: Carrots
MR: Cucumbers
MC: Cucumber

11. What is a food you hate?

MG: Mushrooms
MC: Anchovies
S: Carrots

SO there you have it, from the mouths of babes! Now let's hear from you!!!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Strange things invade my kitchen....

My mom is a saint. When I was a kid we hiked up to lakes in the mountains where my step dad would fish for trout. We went on ski trips in the winter & spent summers water skiing on the lake. She went nuts at Christmas with lights and decorations and food, food, food. My parents had a meat market when I was little and then a restaurant from the time I was in 7th grade till just about 10 years ago. When she was at work, she would leave me a little treasure hunt that led to a treat, for when I got home from school.

Now that I have kids of my own, she is the Grandma of the Universe. I have pictures of her rolling down hills with my kids. She plays hide & go seek, takes them for sleep-overs at her house etc, etc... But she also pulls out some pretty evil tricks. Like leaving a bag of lollipops, or one time a train whistle. Seriously? She's trying to get even with me for what a pain I was. She always shows up with treats for the kids and of course, they love it. But I have to watch her. Like yesterday for example. I caught her before she left her house on her way over because I needed to borrow her meat thermometer. A small warning bell rang in my head when she asked if I had any chocolate chips. What the? It was focaccia making day - no chocolate chips needed. So about an hour before I'm supposed to be feeding my people dinner, she busts out these crazy, colored marshmellows to make 'smores with the kids! Of course, my kids were in heaven. I furrowed my brow in suspicion of blue food and let her do her thing.

But I had to admit, they looked pretty festive & fun and I was left to just shake my head and watch my kids blissfully covered in sticky goo. I can only hope for the day where I get to do the same things with my children's children. When I get to be the delightfully evil grandma!

Dough Mishaps

So you know the saying, "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade", right? Well, I have been experiencing something similar with my multiple dough mishaps in my bread making mania. I suppose it would go something like, "When your dough doesn't rise and is a strange, heavy ball - make crackers, cinnamon breadsticks or an onion & gorgonzola flat bread."

I got a message from a dear friend & reader last night saying, "did you really make that bread?" And of course I said, "what? you think it was stunt bread?!" I nevah!! So before you all start thinking I have more super powers than I do, I shall confess, that my first attempt at foccacia ended up in the trash. My second attempt would have probably followed in it's footsteps, but my waste-not-want-not mother wouldn't allow it. So we came up with the improv above. And they were really good!

And while we're in the confessional here, I still have my favorite saucepan soaking on the stove due to a recent scorching... Of um, oatmeal. Yes, I burned oatmeal the other day. How do you even DO that? Well, I can.

So we're all on even ground here. If at first you burn down the kitchen, try, try again!!

But for the record, on the THIRD try with the same recipe, I finally produced a beautiful batch of foccacia!
Ahhh, happy endings...............

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Savory Crepes

I got a block of swiss cheese a while ago and got a hankering for some savory crepes. These are so great and EASY! And it's one of those things where you can drag out whatever random leftovers are in the fridge and voila! I had some leftover roasted chicken, spinach, onions, tomatoes & swiss cheese.

Here's a good crepe batter recipe from Alton Brown. I figured he would be the man for the job since he's Mr. Food Scientist.

Savory Crepes:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped herbs, spinach, or sun-dried tomatoes
  • Butter, for coating the pan

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients (excepting the butter for coating the pan) and pulse for 10 seconds. Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for 1 hour. This allows the bubbles to subside so the crepes will be less likely to tear during cooking. The batter will keep for up to 48 hours.

Heat a small non-stick pan. Add butter to coat. Pour 1 ounce of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to the cutting board. Lay them out flat so they can cool. Continue until all batter is gone.

I had some leftover roasted chicken, spinach, onions, tomatoes & swiss cheese. It was great for a late breakfast!

Pear Tart

I recently watched the movie "Chocolate" and discovered a delicious little secret. Add a little bit of cayenne pepper or some sort of chili pepper to your next chocolate concoction and just watch what happens! I made this chocolate pear tart the other night it was super easy and had just enough zip to make some magic happen hem!

I made a sugar dough pastry crust (Some recipe I found on Food Network). Roll it into a rectangle and scrunch up the edges. Then melt some baking chocolate with some heavy cream and then add a bit of butter at the end. Shhh no one needs to know about the butter! I have some hot red peppers going crazy in the garden, so I chopped one up a bit and threw it in the food processor with the chocolate and a bit of cinnamon.

Slice some pears and place them on the tart crust. Then pour the chocolate around them and drizzle a bit over the tops. Bake at 350 till crust is golden. Works great for breakfast too!!!