Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Potager Cafe

I started my first internship for culinary school by working at Potager Cafe in Arlington. What a cool place. They genuinely care about the people they serve and the food they make. They buy food directly from local farmers and ranchers. They take that food and prepare it such a way that it brings out the flavor without killing the nutrition.

Come by and eat. You'll be glad you did.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I Saw An Angel

First of all, let me tell you I am a sane person. I do not have nor have I ever had a mental disorder that would cause me to make up stuff or see stuff that isn't really there. Just thought you would want to know. Now here is my story:

When I was 16 years old, my family went to Tennessee to visit extended family during the Christmas Break. On one occasion we went and picked up pecans but many had not yet fallen. So being the adventurous sort, I climbed up into the tree and was shaking limbs by stomping them, causing the pecans to fall. I was about 40 feet up when one limb I stomped on here is where it gets interesting.

I started falling and saw white feathers. I landed straddling a branch about 20 feet below and a 1/4 turn around the tree without a scratch and not singing soprano the rest of my life. I remember looking up and seeing the limb I was standing on dangling and wondering what just happened. I climbed down out of the tree and knew something significant happened but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

I never really talked about the experience until about 15 years ago because I thought people would think I was "kookoo for cocoa puffs" if I talked about it. But it was the first time I knew God loved me and cared about me in a tangible way. It made me feel special, that God cared about me enough to not let me die or be horribly injured. I can't explain why I was spared while others were allowed to have gravity take over and splat on the ground. I just know that God saved me that day and I am grateful.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What Every Kitchen Should Have

After cooking at a professional kitchen at school and my own (very well equipped) kitchen at home, I decided to write a list of what gadgets, utensils and equipment kitchens should have in order to cook meals regularly. I cooked in several ill equipped kitchens last year of relatives and if they would just get the basics, cooking would be so much easier and enjoyable. Compare your list to mine and see how you come out.

The MUST HAVES (the minimum):

Four burner cook top (gas preferred) All four should work properly.
Single oven (electric preferred) Double Oven preferred
Stand Mixer (Kitchen Aid is awfully nice)
Microwave oven
Canisters to hold flour and sugar (at least 1/2 gallon)
Automatic dishwasher
Can Opener
2 compartment sink
Two 12 inch saute' pan (Non Stick)
Two Stainless Steel Skillets ( 9" and 12")
2 quart saucepan
1 1/2 quart saucepan
1 quart saucepan
Dutch Oven (1 gallon)
Stock Pot (2 gallon)
2 cookie sheets
2 muffin pans
2 Pyrex glass 2-quart Baking dishes
2 9" X 13" Pyrex glass baking dish
1 9" X 13" Baking pan
2 pie plates (12")
2 12" cooking racks
1 set of measuring cups
1 set of measuring spoons
1 Pyrex measuring cup (1 cup)
1 Pyrex measuring bowl (4 cup)
1 Pyrex measuring bowl (2 quart)
2 mixing bowls
3 2-quart Serving bowls
Roasting pan
Vegetable Peeler
Chef's knife (French knife)
Paring knife
Bread knife
Utility knife (8")
Santoku knife (7")
Butcher knife
Melon Baller
Cook's Fork
4 Spatulas (Use plastic Spatula on nonstick cookware)
2 Rubber Spatulas
2 slotted spoons
2 solid spoons
2 Wire Whips
Cheese Grater
Wire Mesh Skimmer
Bench Scrapper
Pie Server
2 Ladles
Meat Thermometer
Digital scale
Electric Mixer
12 piece table setting (plates, bowls, drinking glasses, forks, knives, steak knives, spoons, saucers)

Food to always have on hand:

All Purpose Flour
White Sugar
Brown Sugar
Bread Crumbs
All the spices (get small containers of less used spices)
Cocoa Powder
Baking Powder
Baking Soda
Cooking Spray
Olive Oil
Vegetable Oil
Fresh Vegetables
Fresh Fruits
Cream Cheese
Red and White Wine (for Cooking)
Canned Tomatoes
Chicken Broth
Beef Broth
Dijon Mustard
Worcestershire Sauce
Hot sauce (Franks or Tabasco)
Parmesan Cheese
Cheddar Cheese
Monterrey Jack Cheese
Cream of Chicken soup
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Spaghetti Sauce
Dried Pasta (Spaghetti, Penne, Farfalle)

Can you think of anything I left out? Anything you can't live without in the kitchen that I left out? Compare what you have in your kitchen to this basic list. How did you come out?