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Archive for February, 2010

Several weeks back, I heard about a friend’s husband who was very sick.  I decided that they both needed some good ol’ fashion home-cooked love (also known as “luv”).  What better way to give a little TLC than to channel Mimi’s healing abilities through cooking her famed chicken n’ dumplings.

After Mimi passed this December, Jenny and I split her recipe box down the middle so that we could each make our own efforts at transforming the recipes into digital format as quickly as possible.  Meanwhile, it’s February and I haven’t started – oh, the joys of school!   (more…)

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In trying to save money, our health, and the planet – no pressure, really! – Dan and I are trying to eat out less often and to eat more homemade meals made from whole foods.  I think of this as a direction I’m moving in, rather than a goal to be attained finally or wholly.  It can be really challenging to cook enough in your spare time to eat homemade when you’re home and when you’re not.  It’s a no-brainer that cooking large batches and freezing some is the way to go and I try to do that as often as I can.  For me, the ideal food-for-freezing is: inexpensive; relatively easy to make; nutritious (and can easily serve as a whole meal or a major component of a whole meal); reheats well; and, of course, delicious!  By far the thing I freeze most often are soups and stews and my number-one frozen dish is sort of in that category: Indian-inspired red lentil dal.

If you haven’t ever cooked gorgeous split red lentils, you’re missing out.  First of all, these are so beautiful that they are a pleasure just to have around.   I do not have a pantry and so have my beans, grains, flours, and other bulk dry goods stored in glass canisters on open shelving.  I love having these around just for the visual texture and color they add to my kitchen.  Luckily, they’re delicious too!  You can’t find them in just any old grocery store though – I’ve been to a Publix or Kroger more than once looking for them and left disappointed.  As long as you can find a store with a bulk foods section (like a local co-op or Whole Foods) or an Indian grocery store, you’re set.

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Super bowl-shmuper bowl.  Sorry guys, I hate to break it to you – I am not a big football fan.  In fact, I am not a big sports fan in general.  Right now I am picturing both my brother’s and my sister-in-law’s blood pressure rising, since their wedding date was chosen based on Florida State’s football season last year.

I digress.  I don’t like football,  but I love to socialize – especially if food is involved!  And so, when I got an email from my girlfriends in Denver to attend a Super Bowl party I happily accepted.  My task was to make an appetizer.  Since I knew there would be copious amounts of football-themed/less-than-healthy snacks I decided to make something different.  I googled “healthy super bowl snacks” and found a great looking recipe for kale chips.  I knew it would be a perfect, healthy, salty, crunchy bowl of deliciousness.  And it was!

Kale Chips
Adapted from www.Fitsugar.com

1 large bunch kale (10 to 12 leaves), or you can buy pre-cut kale
1 tablespoon olive oil (no need to over-oil your kale)
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 275°F. Remove stalks and ribs from kale. Rinse and dry leaves. Or if your kale is already cut, just make sure to rinse and dry it.  Use some tongs to toss the leaves in a large bowl with olive oil. Sprinkle leaves with sea salt and ground pepper.  Be careful not to over-salt.  Remember that when you bake these in the oven, they will shrink up, creating less surface area for the salt. Spread the leaves onto a baking sheet.  Make sure that each leaf or piece of a leaf has its own space.  Don’t layer.  You want to give the leaves plenty of room to dry out.

Before: Chopped raw kale

The recipe that I found said to bake these for approximately 30 minutes. I use a convection oven at home and I probably only baked them for 20 minutes.  You don’t want to burn them but you do want to bake them until crisp. Transfer and let cool onto a wire rack, a cooled baking sheet, or paper towels.

After: Baked kale chips

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What’s your story?

I’m sure you often think about what your story is. How did you get to where you are now?  What lead you there?  Who influenced you?  Was it your career, personal life, interests or maybe hardships?

I have been trying to write my own food story in my head.  People ask me and I can’t seem generate a consistent answer.  What was the true starting point?  Where did I learn to love to cook?  Where would I like to end up?

Other than the very obvious influencer in my life, Mimi, I have tried to pinpoint my first memory of consciously pursuing food as an individual.  I can remember watching Julia Child as a youngin’ (I’m going to guess 9-ish) and writing down her recipes in my special “recipes” folder which contained recipes to make for my parents.  If I push the fast forward button, a decade later, I was accepted to culinary school, an endeavor that I ultimately tabled due to some unexpected family affairs. I then convinced myself that business school was the way to go.  This track ultimately steered me toward healthcare, which led me right back to business school here in Boulder.  And after almost finishing this chapter (of school) in my life, I find myself right back where I started – thinking of food.

And lucky for me, I live in a city that some would consider a Foodie Mecca!  Thought not in the same sense as New York City or San Francisco.  Now – don’t get me wrong we have some great places to eat here.  In fact, to digress, two of my favorites have been The Kitchen and Frasca;  a new favorite, where I enjoyed a lovely cooking class on Sunday is L’Atelier.  See pictures below.

Cheese plate at L'Atelier cooking class

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