Arm & Hammer to the rescue …

The other day I tried a new recipe, one from a friend. I cooked it in an enamel cast iron dutch oven. To my horror, when it was done cooking and I started to dish it out, I could see that the entire bottom of the pot was pretty thickly-coated with black, burnt, caked-on food. And I do mean the entire bottom.

A kitchen disaster. I could have cried. The pot is new and was expensive.

Gulping, I consulted the booklet that came with the pot. Following the instructions, first I let the pot cool. Plunging a hot pan into cold water can result in cracking or loss of enamel. I then filled it with warm water Continue reading

You learn something every day, even when it comes to cooking

I grew up surrounded by excellent cooks, I’ve always enjoyed cooking and I know my way around a kitchen. I’m not a chef, by any means, but I haven’t had many complaints. I love cookbooks and probably have many more than I need. I love going through them for ideas but tend not to follow the recipes exactly. I’m not a measurer by nature (which is why I don’t bake), and I like to improvise.

Recently, though, that changed. It started when I bought a Le Creuset dutch oven. You may recall I blogged about that not too long ago. Of course, one thing led to another, and the new pot required a new Continue reading

Remembering Gaga …

Not Lady Gaga. My paternal grandmother. Long before I made my entrance into this world, an older cousin of mine struggled with saying “grandmother” when she was first learning to talk. The best she could manage was “Gaga” — and Gaga she remained for all generations to come until she died at 98.

I’m taking this little trip down memory lane because of a pot. No, not the kind you smoke or ingest.

My grandmother was a fabulous cook. All the women on both sides of my family were, but she was kind of unique because she eschewed any and all modern conveniences. As far as she was concerned, good Continue reading

Nero fiddled while Rome burned (in a manner of speaking) …

… except this time it was me who was fiddling — with a blog post — and not paying attention to the frying pan onburned the stove. The All-Clad pan. I was cooking (obviously) and the recipe called for caramelized onions. They turned out fine, you’ll be happy to know.

It was after they were done that I ran into a problem. Because I’m lazy, I usually put some dish soap into the pan I’ve used, add water and put it back on to the stove briefly, just to loosen up all the bits so it’s easier to clean.

That’s what I did this time. It usually just takes a few minutes.

But inspiration struck. I got an idea for my next Huff Post blog. I’d been struggling with the idea all day. I couldn’t take the chance that I’d lose it, while I watched the pan. The heat was turned down very low, and all I wanted to do Continue reading

Got my mojo back …

Well, at least my cooking mojo. It’s so bizarre. I’ve always loved to cook. For as long as I can remember, every month I’d drool my way through the latest issues of Gourmet, Bon Appetit and STIRFRYFine Cooking magazines. I couldn’t pass a cookbook store without stopping, looking and buying. I was addicted to the Food Network on TV.

Which isn’t surprising when you consider I grew up in a family who loved to think about, shop for, prepare, cook and eat food. And share it with countless friends, colleagues and family members. My mother was a fabulous cook — as were my grandmothers and aunts and cousins on both sides.

I loved to have dinner parties and enjoyed thinking about what I’d make as much as the eventual sitting at the table. Truth be told, I may have enjoyed the planning even more. Thumbing through recipes, consulting with my mother and yes, even my father, who was the ultimate shopper of fine foods. The best

Continue reading

Day 280. Food Lovers

A former client of mine has just started a blog here, on WordPress.  It’s called tea & tamarind, and you should check it out.  In all the years we worked together, I cookingnever knew she was a foodie.  I knew she loved to travel, but had no idea there was more to the story.  See, you do learn something new, every day.

So it turns out her latest post is the inspiration behind this story of mine.

Yesterday she talked about how her mother’s life-long love affair with food influenced her.  And how the fact her mother is such a wonderful cook, was responsible for her own interest in cooking.  At the end of her blog she asked, “What’s your favourite food memory with your mother?”

As I thought about what my answer might be, I realized I had far too many memories to leave as a comment on Continue reading