Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Healthy, Tasty and Inexpensive Meals the Whole Family will Love

It's hard to believe that we're a few days away from the start of the fall season, the weather outside looks and feels like we're just somewhere between July and August.  I love the extended warm days, compensation for a crappy June, but this blog isn't about weather, though the food I'm about to share is perfect for the upcoming fall and winter months.

Stews; I am talking about the ones your mama and grandma used to make. Thick, hearty, stick to your bones kinda stews.  A bowl jammed packed with enough sauce to sop up with a warm piece of fresh bread, colourful vegetables, your favourite protein, and enough fresh herbs to make your mouth water. Now, that is starting to stir a craving within for another bowl of hearty stew.

This stew was actually created on a warm summer day.  I wanted something hearty to eat for dinner, and didn't have beef, but wait, I had some fresh hot Italian sausages, a can of white beans, bok choy, tomatoes, onions, garlic and fresh basil.

There was no need to add any additional stock to this stew; as the flavour from the browning of the sausages with onions and garlic was enough to create a beautifully flavoured sauce. A dash of cayenne, with soft warm whole wheat french bread and a glass of red made this meal complete.

To obtain  flavourful stews without the need to add additional stock; make sure you take the time to brown your meat on medium heat with onions which helps to pull all the flavours together, and caramelize the meat. Add about 1/2 cup of water to the pan when the meat is brown to get all the stuff stuck to the bottom of the pan off before adding your vegetables.

To your enjoyment and health!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Appreciate Food

My enjoyment and appreciation of food continues to expand and this summer I have discovered  there are certain foods I prepare has a greater affect on my mood, weather, and company.  As I continue to be more enlightened not just about the art of cooking good food, I have gained a new respect for cooks of all walks of life and genres. Home cook Christine from the current series of Master Chef hosted by Gordon Ramsay is a prime example.
Christine lost her sight, but has consistently created tasty dishes; the presentation, plating, colours and textures of every dish has been beyond impressive.  She has won against 16 other "home cooks" and is in the finals  to win the title against another contestant.  Her attitude, technique and sense of taste has amazed me.

I have learned that regardless of the simplicity, complexity or cost of creating the dish your heart has to be in it. The finished product has to make an impact therefore it needs heart.  Here are a few points that I have found to be helpful to me in the kitchen.

  • Heart or passion has to be there. You have to be excited about your menu, and ingredients you're going to work with.
  • Vision is another important component of creating an outstanding dish.  You have to see the complete plated meal before your hands get moving.
  • Preparation is the key to a smooth flow in the kitchen.  Being disorganize will not only slow you down but can affect the outcome of your dish the way you've envisioned it.
  • Choose Fresh working with fresh over dry herbs does make a world of difference, so whenever possible   choose fresh.

OK, that's it for today,until next week.

I hope you enjoy and to your health!

TIP of the Week:
Buy fresh herbs when in season, blend and add a bit of salt and olive oil and store in the fridge in air tight glass jars for up to 6 months.