Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cooking style

Tagged for this by Adriane. Seems like a good Mother's Day blog topic. (Okay, I started it on Mother's Day, then got too sleepy to finish.)

1. What's your cooking style?

Home cooking with an experimental twist. I like to play with my recipes, adding and subtracting ingredients. I like to try to recreate meals we've had in restaurants. I learned the basics pretty well from my mom and my grandmothers: how to prepare meat in different ways, good gravy and white sauce, the right techniques for baking, preparing fresh vegetables, homemade salad dressing, etc. I've learned to spice things up, turn that white sauce to a bechamel or make red gravy, and to experiment with the basics I know. I'm a big fan of comfort food, and a lot of what I cook would fall into that category, but I love taking the mac and cheese with Velveeta that I grew up with and changing the flavor with different cheeses and spices. I love making soup, just throwing things into the post and seeing what comes out.

2. What inspires your kitchen?

My mom and my grandmas, the cooking shows I've been addicted to since I started watching Julia Child and the Galloping Gourmet when I was a kid, and the family I have the privilege to feed.

3. What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?

It's a tie:
My stockpot is used almost almost every day for either soup or pasta, but my KitchenAid stand mixer has changed my life. Seriously, baking is so much better with my monster mixer.

4. Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:

Taste while you cook. Taste before salting. Taste taste taste.

5. Biggest challenge in your kitchen:

Time. I just don't have enough time to spend in my kitchen.

6. Biggest indulgence:

Quality ingredients. I spend money on good meat, quality cheeses, good spices, excellent extra-virgin olive oil, farm-fresh eggs. etc. I keep all of the extras in my pantry that I might want: pesto, tapenade, artichoke hearts, olives, roasted red peppers, good vinegar, decent wine. There are very few times that I am willing to sacrifice flavor for price.

7. Dream tool or splurge:

A set of Le Creuset pans. I have one. I love it.

8. What are you cooking this week?

Not much. This is a weird week. The boys are gone for a few days. We have things going on Wednesday and Thursday nights and a garage sale Friday and Saturday. There will not be a lot of cooking. Last week I made portabella mushroom ravioli with a light bechamel sauce, salad and bread for Monday night. On Cinco de Mayo I made beef and chicken tacos. I made clam chowder Wednesday night. On Thursday night I made chicken cacciatore and garlic mashed potatoes. And Friday night I made smoked salmon caesar salads.

9. What cookbook has inspired you the most?

Hmmmmmm. I like to read lots of cookbooks and cooking magazines, but I don't really have any one that has inspired me. I have gotten the most use--by far--out of my Red Plaid Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.

10. What's the most memorable meal you've cooked in this kitchen?

That's hard. There have been so many good meals with good friends and family in this house. I guess the winner will have to be the whole beef tenderloin that I made for Christmas when Nathan and Katie Fischer joined us in 2007. It is the first and only one I have made and it was perfect! We also had twice baked potatoes, salad, bread, and a really good Pinot Noir.

Consider yourself tagged, if you would like to be.


CarrieAnn said...

I found it just a little scary that what my answers would have been matched so closely with so many of yours.

Adriane's mom said...

Next time I'm in town I'm following you home. If you have menus like that every week not only might I follow you, I may just hide in the garage and come after the leftovers!

Jane said...

Some weeks are better than others. :) Summer is the best because everyone is home at night and we have wonderful fresh ingredients. I used to cook with boneless skinless chicken breasts all the time, now I cook with whole chickens. We're almost out of ground beef from our cow, so that doesn't make many appearances right now. There's always pasta at least one night a week.