Sunday, November 18, 2012

Steel Skills

On Thursday night I took a knife-skills workshop.  I've always wanted to take one, since my husband likes to poke fun at me because I used to only chop with a steak knife.  I'll be honest, I was pretty apprehensive of anything bigger!  As time went on Brian helped me get more comfortable with chef's knives but I still could use some more skills.

The workshop was 90 minutes long and was part demonstration, part hands-on.  I learned how to hold a knife so that it is an extension of your arm and isn't has hard on your hands.  I learned the proper way to dice  peppers and onions, and how to cut an onion with a little less crying.  (NO crying isn't an option for me.)  I also learned the correct way to cut up avocados and mangoes, two foods that I love but avoid because of the messy prep.  No more!

There were six people in the workshop including me, and together we chopped and made a tomato salsa and a guacamole with mangoes.  Delicious!  I came home with a big grin and a little leftover guac, and was thrilled to tell Brian how much I loved it!  He's taken a class there before, and now we want to do a Couples Night sometime.

Tomorrow night I'm making soup.  And I can't wait to chop all the hand!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Mac N Cheese Success!

5.  perfect macaroni and cheese from scratch

Finally, a success story!  Years of separating sauces, general gloppiness and all-around YUCK, I've finally made a decent baked macaroni and cheese.  The recipe was from Cooking Light, part of their 25th anniversary issue.  I know I know, light mac n cheese sounds like a drag.  But it wasn't!  It had parmesan, sharp cheddar, fontina and yep, Velveeta cheese product in it.  I think the secret is making sure the cheese is shredded fine, and the continuous whisking.  The garlic cracker crumbs baked on top weren't bad either.  This was so good, I had a second helping and was thrilled to have tons of leftovers.

Sadly, the kiddos wouldn't touch it.  So next time I make this (and there WILL be a next time) I'm going to trick them by leaving an empty box of Kraft on the counter. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Taste of Morocco

Last Sunday's Dinner:  Moroccan chicken.  In a tagine.

What's a tagine?  Glad you asked.  It's a ceramic slow-cooker.  Or maybe it's not ceramic, maybe it's clay.  One thing I can tell you is that it needed to be soaked for 24 hours before cooking.  The only thing we had in the house big enough to soak it was a cooler.  But hey, it worked!  You put it directly on your stove top and let it do its thing.  It was actually quite cool.

I've never really given Middle Eastern food a chance.  It feels good to try something just a little bit different.  Some of the spices were familiar, some not.  Turmeric, for one, I don't know if I'd ever eaten turmeric before.  But everything was delicious:  chicken, quinoa and carrots.  I'd definitely like to try other variations.