Mozzarella and Prosciutto Pinwheels.
Caramelized Onion, Walnut, Pear and Blue Cheese Tart
Penne Pasta with Italian Sausage, smashed Peas and fresh Basil
Three months... three months of new dinners each and every day = three months of many persuasive words shared with my offspring that what they are about to try may be new, but it is in fact super yummy. Sometimes it was a bit of lie, I suppose, as we all know when you make something the first time it rarely turns out perfect. But on the other hand I am quite impressed with them too, as they have tried many a food I can hardly convince some adult friends to taste. Learning comes by doing though, so doing I will do! If anything I am feeling quite confident to try a new technique or level of difficulty when cooking. It does surprise me a little that I seem to have figured out the direction I would like to call my niche, one of millions of possibilities, much sooner than anticipated. I will continue to get the hang of others as well, since they can often merge into another, as I finish my study books - albeit sooner than later. I am drawn to the world of the Mediterranean and Italian Peasant Food, and as I learn the basics, I would like to spin this with a slight sophistication, in presentation. Peasant food hardly deserves this lowly title, the food is fresh and made by hand, which to me brings out the cooks passion which then results in a beautiful meal. I have written over and over about the rustic beauty of food. I believe that as long as you have a good knife, a thick cutting board and a decent saute pan, you are all set to create culinary excellence. So if in doing we figure these things out, why do we all too often not even try? Here are a few things I have discovered a long the way:
-Menu writing is key.
-Wear an apron! It makes a statement and puts other distractions out of mind.
-Measure, weigh and prep all ingredients, mise en place, after reading all instructions, before beginning to cook.
-Keep the cutlery and utensil drawers open while cooking, for quick access to tools.
-Keep a journal close by to document your own recipes, successes or variations of recipes.
-Decide early on in the day what to make for dinner, or even the day before.
-Designate one cutting board for onions and the like.
-Always keep salad components in the fridge, as this compliments and brings to a new level any meal, from basic to splendid. It could even be the meal all on it's own, within just a few short minutes.
-Find new sources of protein, and create hearty meals. The meat won't be missed!
-Discover the aromatic world of fresh herbs and cheeses. Forget about cheddar for a little while!
-Enjoy candle light and a nice wine with dinner on a Wednesday. Even if it's spaghetti and meatballs. (With salad!)
-Have no fear in expecting kids to eat their veggies. We expect them to stop at red lights when crossing the road, too.
-Make your own salad dressing, and so keep them good for you - three parts olive oil to one part balsamic vinegar, a little salt and pepper, and finely chopped shallots - seriously, how simple is that?!
-And lastly, cooking and eating is often not so much about the food, but about connecting with those around us.