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How to Cook Every Single Whole Grain

It has been a while since I have posted, but I wanted to share this article I read that answers a basic question - how to cook grains. I know it can be a little scary, trying new things, but actually grains are like rice in that it is grain + water + time. This article tells you how much time for each, and how to get more variety in the healthy, whole grain area of your life, all in one spot. Thanks Sam! 

AMARANTH
Bring 3 cups water to a boil over high heat. Add 1 cup amaranth, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed.

Sharp Knives and Hard Steel

I recently had the chance to attend the USPCA conference in Texas, which in itself is a great opportunity to connect with fellow chefs from across the country and sharpen my skills with lectures and demonstrations from experts.
One of the classes I attended was a knife sharpening class. Dominique of Star Knife Sharpening in San Antonio was our local knife expert and shared with us different types of knives and the proper techniques and angles needed to maintain a great edge. After all a sharp knife is a safe knife and works best when properly sharpened.

Fennel Frenzy

Lately, I find I am reaching for fennel bulbs more and more. What is fennel you ask? Fennel is part of the celery family - evident in the tall stalks at the top of the bulb - that flowers with delicate yellow flowers, has medicinal and culinary uses, and bears the fennel seed which is what makes Italian sausage taste like it does.

The bulb can be eaten raw or cooked, adds a very light anise (licorice) taste to foods and crunch to salads. It is also the one of three herbs used in making Absinthe.
Fennel shows up in Mediterranean dishes (finnochio), Middle Eastern dishes, and even some German salads.

Potato, Potahto

With the holiday season, mashed potatoes often take a front row at our dinner table (or perhaps yours are latkes). Which potato is best for making the perfect dish?  Well first, did you know there are over 100 varieties of potatoes in the US? But the good news is they fall into 7 general catagories.

Milder, creamier flavors:

Yellow (Yukon Gold) - Waxy, smooth and velvety - the ideal potato for a mashed. Also good for grilling or salads. Yellow creamy color makes it easy to spot.

Red (Bliss or New) - great in soups and stews or roasted.

China Box Pig

Collaboration is a great thing - we all get so much more done this way, and the sense of community, partnership and family will always outweigh pride. What is she talking about you ask?

Well for me, working with my fellow chefs has been a great experience. From parties, to charity events (Rosie's Place and Maynard Food Pantry) or just an extra hand when I was injured - I love working with my colleagues.

This summer I have a new collaboration with a fellow chef I have done numerous parties with.

One Handed Chef

It has been three weeks since I have cooked anything. I'm a chef-a holic.

No, actually I am recovering from carpal tunnel surgery which has meant no cooking, typing in very small doses and certainly no heavy lifting. This week (week 3) I am starting to test things a little. I peeled a carrot and was so proud. I cut an onion yesterday and thought that was great. I made cupcakes with the help of my food processor today too. Woo hoo! Yeah, not the same.

How have I survived you ask? My husband has stepped up and has helped me (well actually I merely told him what to do and he did all the work) make some great dinners.

March cooking

I am sorry to tell you that cooking was a bit boring this week....a Brussels sprout and anchovy pasta recipe off the back of the pasta box sounded good. Must admit though - it needed garlic! Anchovies, blanched Brussels sprouts and shallots tossed with olive oil and fettuccine - easy, pretty, and could stand a few toasted walnuts too. Or is that just me?

A fava bean mulligatawny soup from my Daily Soup cook book was delicious with garam masala, coriander, cumin, cayenne, cardamom, tomatoes, coconut milk and fava beans replacing the lentils.

Cooking Chef's Style - sauteeing through the masses

Another week, another set of recipes. This week we were very happy with our selections overall. A simplespice rubfrom Gourmet really added a lot of flavor to shrimp. The bay leaf was a nice touch to this coriander heavy dusting - which would be great on pork and chicken too.  The recipe makes a lot - so have a spare jar handy to store the rest, or cut recipe in half. Or more.....

We ate this withBrussels sproutssauteed with soy chorizo (original recipe called for ham) - delicious and better with age.

Continuing Cooking Trials

Back on track a bit this week - some really good recipes for my clients, including a beautiful pear and almond tart and deliciousscallop burgersscented with ginger and cilantro......
But this isn't about my clients....for once (I mean that in the best way - I take good care of my clients). This is about what the chef ate. Or is it? 

Well in our house this week, we had Halibut with an apple cider sauce fromWilliams Sonoma's Savoring Spain and Portugal Cookbook.

Yellow Onion and garlic are sauteed in butter, thickened with a little flour and a softened dried chile is added.

No soup for you?

Cold weather always make me think of soup. Soup always makes me think of Seinfeld. Seinfeld turns me to my soup cookbook based on the real soup nazi. But seriously, a hot bowl of soup on a very cold day or night is so satisfying.

Soup comes in many "flavors". From thin consommes to hearty chilis and stews, vegetable to beef, bean and nut or cheese and chowders. Regardless of your favorite, here is a quick run down of the types of soups to choose from.

Consomme- crystal clear broths often served to start a meal.
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How to Cook Every Single Whole Grain
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Sharp Knives and Hard Steel
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