Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
RSincere

eG Foodblog: rsincere - DIY cooking school/cooking therapy in WI

Recommended Posts

Ahem. Is this thing on?

I'm it! I have to admit that I'm very nervous about this week. Kris is a tough act to follow.

A little background--I'll try not to bore you all with "too much information," but you might like to know where I'm coming from.

I live in a small town in Wisconsin with my husband Jason and 7-year-old son Daniel. I used to be a court reporter and my family's main provider. A chronic illness has caused some major setbacks, and after a hospitalization in January my healthcare providers told me very bluntly that I needed to hang it up and stay home. That was a kick in the head. I spent a couple months sitting in a recliner, staring dully at Court TV (yeah, I'm real proud of that)...that is, until an acquaintance told me that I reminded him of Rachael Ray (don't ask) and I decided to turn on Food Network and check this chick out.

Now, I had taught myself how to "cook" over the past 10 years, but my "cooking" revolved around Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup recipes with a side of canned corn. I was a vegetarian in the first 8 of these formative cooking years, so that limited me even more. I loved to read cookbooks, but they were all the "Working Mother's 5-Ingredient Recipes" types of cookbooks. I got hooked on Ray's show at first, watching in awe--you mean you're not supposed to chop your vegetables with a steak knife? Why does she put salt and pepper on everything while it's still cooking? What the hell is fennel?

My Food TV watching started to extend to Sara Moulton's show, and others. Over time, it dawned on me that I could learn to cook--I mean, cook with fresh ingredients, cook complicated dishes, cook food that was really, really impressive and not just edible and filling. I could perhaps try out recipes that I used to skip over, recipes that were "too hard" or "too weird." And it might even be good! I might even be good at it! I realized that I may be limited by health and lack of funds, but I have been blessed in a backwards way--with lots of time.

So here I am, several months later. I've been introduced to so many foods: capers, shallots, jalapenos, Kalamata olives, chorizo, fresh herbs, curries, swiss chard, fresh tuna, shrimp, things that you all probably consider very basic, not exotic. I am savoring my novice status, where everything is fresh and exciting to me, and I don't want to become jaded. Jason is enjoying my cooking. He doesn't really get into food like I do, but he'll eat anything--and eat it fast, which is a good trait when my experimentation doesn't turn out so well. Daniel is another story; he has his own menu, and I don't know if I'll get into that with this foodblog.

I went through a period of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants menu planning, but I found that it was very difficult to keep within a budget that way, so I've gone back to selecting a menu. This week I'm going to be making something from one of Madhur Jaffrey's cookbooks, several selections from the new CIA cookbook, and more--I might even roast my first chicken. Each recipe represents something I've never done before or eaten before; I try to plan meals like this whenever possible. You will see where budgetary concerns come into play--especially when you see pictures of my ratty kitchen equipment. I'm acquiring nice things little by little, though, and that's fun too because I'm still at the point where a new Oxo vegetable peeler makes a huge difference. In other words, I'm easily amused!

Hope you all are amused this week as well!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It sounds like you are enjoying this process...and I am sure I will enjoy the reading of it! Madhur Jaffrey is wonderful....and even if the recipe does not turn out perfect for whatever! reason...at least the house will be filled with wonderful aromas!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rachel -

welcome to the foodblog - I'm really looking forward to the coming week. I've enjoyed your warm and funny posts immensely since you've started posting here.

Can't wait!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

gallery_19221_3_1097587328.jpg

I eat breakfast because I take a ton of pills in the morning, and also because I am not that great with my timing when cooking, so lunch can happen anywhere between 11:00 and 1:00, and I don't snack in between.

Chocolate Malt-o-Meal rocks! Sometimes I melt a little peanut butter in it. Today I made it with part water and part whole milk that was getting a little old in the fridge. I always add sugar and salt. :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Rachel, for picking up the gauntlet. I haven't had Malt O Meal in years. I went to college in Northfield, MN, where they make Malt O Meal. Periodically, we would smell stuff from the plant -- when the wind was right -- and after four years of that, most of us swore it off. I'll have to return to it for the cold days ahead.

Assume that your cooking will change some in the coming weeks, as will mine, as summer's bounty turns to fall.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Meant to ask. Given that you live in a small town, how easy is access to a variety of fresh? Figure produce is easy, but the other stuff? Access to a library with a big cookbook selection?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never had Malt-o-Meal so forgive me if my questions sound silly.

Is your glass of diet Coke foaming naturally or is some of that Malt-o-Meal?

Diet Coke and Malt-o-Meal... could you tell us more about this combination? Am I the only one to find this... uhm... different?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm really looking forward to your blog. I've enjoyed watching your interest/love of cooking develop with eG over the last few months.

Gotta love the diet Coke for breakfast.....although mine would've been diet Pepsi :raz:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, Carrot Top, eunny jang, and snowangel for the kind words!

Meant to ask.  Given that you live in a small town, how easy is access to a variety of fresh?  Figure produce is easy, but the other stuff?  Access to a library with a big cookbook selection?

I can get produce at the last minute from Super Walmart, but it actually costs more than the produce at Woodmans in Madison, and I don't think it's as good. For example, the red bell peppers are $1.50 apiece at Walmart compared to $.79 at Woodmans, and the Walmart peppers smell strangely like gasoline or kerosene. If I want anything that's even slightly offbeat, I have to go to Madison. We do have a Farmer's Market on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, so sometimes I go there for great produce and pasture-raised meats. Lately, whenever I have gone there, there has been something going on downtown and the market is cancelled.

I can't get lamb or goat or calves' liver, things like that, around here, unless I arrange in advance with a local farmer. We have a nice meat market in town that buys local cattle/pigs and slaughters them there. They gave Daniel and me a tour of their slaughter area and it was so clean and the workers are well-paid and care about their work, so I buy from them when I can, but they don't always have the cuts I want.

Our library is really small. The good thing is that they are connected to Madison libraries through interlibrary loan, so I am able to order cookbooks that I want to borrow, and a Madison library usually has what I want, and they send it to our library.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome, and don't be afraid to ask or to show things that don't work out. The community is here to help and support you...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've never had Malt-o-Meal so forgive me if my questions sound silly. 

Is your glass of diet Coke foaming naturally or is some of that Malt-o-Meal?

Diet Coke and Malt-o-Meal... could you tell us more about this combination?  Am I the only one to find this... uhm... different?

laksa, as a woman of great refinement and taste, I feel qualified to assure you that diet Coke, in fact, goes with everything.

The foam is because I had only poured about half the can in there, and I was in a hurry and didn't take care to avoid foaming. I am very intrigued by the idea of adding Malt-o-Meal to the diet Coke...hmmm.... :wink:

Honestly, I have a very long entrenched diet Coke habit. It's been my main drink of choice since I was about 14. I have cut down from 96+ oz. a day to two 12-oz. cans a day, but one would have to pry those cans from my cold, dead fingers before I even consider quitting it altogether! It's a real security blanket for me.

This is great--I remember reading your fascinating blog, and I hadn't heard of 90% of the foods you mentioned. Now it's my turn to baffle you! :raz:

Jake, thank you so much. I often feel outclassed in every way when reading and posting on eGullet, so it means so much to me to know that you are out there reading and enjoying. I have no comment on that Pepsi product, however. :raz:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Daniel is another story; he has his own menu, and I don't know if I'll get into that with this foodblog.

Rachel,

I'm looking forward to reading your blog! I hope you do let us know of your son's menu as I have dealt with a picky eater for 16 years now (since the day my son stopped formula and baby food and went onto solids, it has been an adventure). Believe me, one day he will wake up and decide to eat what the rest of the family is chowing down on. While it doesn't seem like it now, you won't be able to shovel the food in front of him fast enough! :raz:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Rachel! I'm very interested in reading your blog this week. I also love to read cookbooks and try new recipes. Is it ok if I ask if you have any dietary restrictions because of your illness. Also how hard is it to basically prepare 2 different menu's for your family?

I'm really against drinking pop so I'm sitting on my hands to keep from scolding you!! :wink: But I think it's really good that you have cut down so much, wow! that is quite a difference!!! Great job

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't count on that excitement and newness to ever really fade. I *still* get excited about a new vegetable peeler or technique I hadn't seen before. It's like Christmas morning when I open a cookbook and start to read, every time. :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Can you please explain what Malt O'Meal is?  I've never heard of it.

I'm soooo glad I'm not the only one. :raz:

Rachel, I blithely bargain on being baffled by your blog. :laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Can you please explain what Malt O'Meal is?  I've never heard of it.

Yes, please.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Malt-o-Meal is a mixture of wheat farina and malted barley that is then flavored with sugar and fortified. The chocolate kind has cocoa in it. I also have maple flavor in my cupboard. They used to have apple cinnamon too, but I haven't seen that in a while. It's basically a hot porridge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

lamb, I will be mentioning Daniel's meals, especially if they coincide with mine. He usually eats cereal with soymilk for breakfast, and he gets free hot lunch at school. So it's not too hard to make him his own dinner, because the things he likes are very easy to prepare. Daniel has been picky since birth--he never would take a bottle, not once. He had nothing but breastmilk, and never from a bottle, until he was 14 months old! I called myself the "all-night breastaurant." He just spit everything else out. He's been that way ever since. He is trying more foods now; he's a lot better than he used to be, but as for him eating everything put in front of him--I'll believe it when I see it! :raz:

ms foodie, don't be too proud of me yet...you see, I switch to diet Sprite in the afternoon! I don't have any dietary restrictions except that sometimes the meds make me nauseous, and I can't drink alcohol. I went through a few weeks where the only thing I could stomach was macaroni salad. :hmmm: I hate macaroni salad now.


Edited by RSincere (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So happy to see you are blogging!! I've been slammed at work, and haven't been keeping up on the blogs so I was surprised and happy to see that you are up. Excellent!

Pop in the morning, are you sure you aren't Southern?? :laugh:

mmmm...roast chicken...one of the great comfort foods!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, Rachel. I look forward to seeing and reading your blog. I can relate to a lot of things you post on the cooking front.

Oh, Malt-O-Meal! I haven't made it in a few years, but I used to make it daily for our handicapped son. I also added peanut butter to the chocolate malt-o-meal for added calories (and flavor) for him. I'd also add lots of butter and jam or jelly to the plain kind. He couldn't talk, but we knew he liked it by the way his tongue would come out for more, more, more. It's good stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Peter, who used to be a picky eater, has become far less picky now that he's been helping in the kitchen...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lunchtime!

gallery_19221_3_1097603308.jpg

"Kofta curry" or meatballs in a curry sauce. I made the meatballs last night so that they could kind of marinate in their own spices. It took me about an hour to make those meatballs. They have grated ginger, garlic, red onion, cilantro, and other spices, and I made them from ground round that was about to expire at the store. The tomatoes are the last fresh tomatoes for me until next year; they are red but don't smell like tomatoes, so I think we're done.

The new thing about this recipe is that I am attempting meatballs for a second time. My first try was porcupine meatballs, and they were extremely greasy with half-cooked rice inside, and they fell apart, inedible.

gallery_19221_3_1097603384.jpg

Here is my mise en place. I timed myself: it took exactly 45 minutes to get this together. :rolleyes: The pot has beef broth in it, which I made by simmering 5 cups of water with several teaspoons of Penzey's beef base. Homemade stock is on my list of things to do, but I need a bigger pot.

gallery_19221_3_1097603440.jpg

Here is the sauce before I added the beef broth and meatballs. I had to add the beef broth and simmer it for 20 min. before adding the meatballs and simmering those for 40 min. I did have simmering issues, so the sauce turned out very soupy...

gallery_19221_3_1097603615.jpg

Here is my lunch! It's a lot of food, isn't it? We eat a huge lunch, but not a lot of different things in one meal. I generally make recipes that serve four; Jason gets the leftovers for his dinner at work, and I scrounge for dinner at home. I was hoping for a thicker sauce. The recipe says what to do if the sauce seizes up and gets too thick, but not what to do if it's too thin. I cranked the heat and boiled it an extra 10 minutes with the lid off, but we got hungry and decided to eat it as is.

I was at a loss as to what to make for a side dish. I wanted to make a Pakistani rice dish, since this is a Pakistani curry, but I thought that the tomato paste and garlic in the rice might be overkill with the tomato sauce and TONS of garlic in the curry. So I made plain basmati rice, which is a favorite for us.

All in all, the flavor was excellent, and I'd definitely make this again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congrats on the blog; you're doing wonderfully. Loved the Malt-o-Meal posts, though I've never eaten any. The chocolate/peanut butter combo sounds great though.

Also, yay on you for being a CCC morning person. (CCC being Cold Carbonated Caffiene....my choice is diet Dr. Pepper.)

Can't wait to see what's next for you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can I ask what the green sauce is, in the small ramekin next to the onion?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By Mullinix18
      I'm thinking about starting a blog featuring the recipes of antoine Carême that I've translated from 1700s French? No English versions of his works exist and his work is hard to find, even though he is the greatest chef who ever lived. After I get through his works I'd add menon, la Varenne, and other hard to find, but historically important masters of French cuisine. 
    • By Duvel
      Prologue:
       
      Originally, we intended to spend this Chinese New Year in Hong Kong. We have travelled a lot last year and will need to attend a wedding already next month in Germany, so I was happy to spend some quiet days at home (and keep the spendings a bit under control as well). As a consequence, we had not booked any flights in the busiest travel time of the year in this region …
       
      But – despite all good intentions – I found myself two weeks ago calling the hotline of my favourite airline in the region, essentially cashing in on three years of extensive business travel and checking where I could get on short notice over CNY on miles. I was expecting a laughter on the other side of the line but this is the one time my status in their loyalty reward program paid out big time: three seats for either Seoul or Kansai International (earliest morning flights, of course). No need to choose, really – Kyoto, here we come !
       

    • By Tara Middleton
      Alright so as of a few months ago, I decided to take an impromptu trip to Europe--mostly unplanned but with several priorities set in mind: find the best food and locate the most game-changing ice cream spots on the grounds of each city I sought out for. One of the greatest, most architecturally unique and divine cities I have visited thus far has gotta be Vienna, Austria. But what in the heck is there to eat over there?! (you might ask). 'Cause I sure as hell didn't know. So, I desperately reached out to a local Viennese friend of mine, who knows and understands my avid passion for all things edible, and she immediately shot back some must-have food dishes. Doing a bit of research beforehand, I knew I had to try the classic "Kasekreiner". Please forgive my German if I spelled that wrong. But no matter how you say it- say it with passion, because passion is just about all I felt when I ate it. Translated: it basically means cheese sausage. Honestly, what is there not to love about those two words. Even if that's not necessarily your go-to, do me a favor and give it a shot. Trust me, you won't regret it. A classic Austrian pork sausage with pockets of melty cheese, stuffed into a crisp French Baguette. No ketchup necessary (...and as an American, that's saying a lot). YUM. Best spot to try out this one-of-a-kind treat?! Bitzinger bei der Albertina – Würstelstand. Now here's a shot of me with my one true love in front of this classic Viennese green-domed building-- Karlskirche. Now, go check it.
       
       

    • By KennethT
      OK, I'm back, by popular demand! hehe....  After being back for 2 days, I'm still struggling with crazy jetlag and exhaustion - so please bear with me!
       
      This year, for our Asian adventure, we went to Bali, which for those who don't know, is one of the islands in Indonesia.  Bali is a very unique place - from its topology, to the people, language, customs, religion and food.  Whereas the majority of people in Indonesia are Muslim, most people in Bali are Balinese Hindu, which from what I understand is a little like Indian Hinduism, but has more ancestor worship.  Religion is very important to many people in Bali - there are temples everywhere, and at least in one area, there are religious processions through the street practically every day - but we'll get to that later.
       
      Bali has some food unique to it among its Indonesian neighbors, but like everywhere, has seen quite a bit of immigration from other Indonesian islands (many from Java, just to the west) who have brought their classic dishes with them.
       
      Basically all Indonesians speak Indonesian, or what they call Bahasa Indonesia, or just Bahasa, which, anyone who has read my prior foodblogs wouldn't be surprised to hear that I learned a little bit just before the trip.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to use any of it, except a couple times which were totally unnecessary.  When speaking with each other, most people in Bali speak Balinese (totally different from bahasa) - many times when I tried using my bahasa, they smiled and replied, and then tried to teach me the same phrase in Balinese!  As time went on, and I used some of the Balinese, I got lots of surprised smiles and laughs - who is this white guy speaking Balinese?!?  Seriously though, tourism has been in Bali for a very long time, so just about everyone we encountered spoke English to some degree.  Some people spoke German as well, as they supposedly get lots of tourists from Germany.  As one of our drivers was telling us, Bali is heavily dependent on tourism as they have no real industry other than agriculture, which doesn't pay nearly as well as tourism does.
       
      While there are beaches all around the island, most of the popular beach areas are in the south of the island, and those areas are the most highly touristed.  We spent very little time in the south as we are not really beach people (we get really bored) and during planning, decided to stay in less touristed areas so we'd have more opportunities for local food... this didn't work out, as you'll see later.
       
      So, it wouldn't be a KennethT foodblog without photos in the Taipei airport and I-Mei Dim Sum, which we called home for about 4 hours before our connection to Bali...
       
      Beef noodle soup:

       
      The interior:

       
      This was the same as always - huge pieces of beef were meltingly tender.  Good bite to the thick chewy noodles.
       
      Xie long bao (soup dumplings) and char siu bao (fluffy barbeque pork buns):

    • By KennethT
      Recently, there was a thread about stir frying over charcoal, which immediately brought to mind memories of eating in Bangkok in July 2013.  At that time, I hadn't gotten into the habit of writing food blogs, and considering that I had some spare time this weekend (a rarity) I figured I would put some of those memories down on paper, so to speak.  Back then, neither my wife nor I were in the habit of taking tons of photos like we do nowadays, but I think I can cobble something together that would be interesting to folks reading it.
       
      In the spirit of memories, I'll first go back to 2006 when my wife and I took our honeymoon to Thailand (Krabi, Bangkok and Chiang Mai), Singapore and Hanoi.  That was our first time to Asia, and to be honest, I was a little nervous about it.  I was worried the language barrier would be too difficult to transcend, or that we'd have no idea where we were going.  So, to help mitigate my slight anxiety, I decided to book some guides for a few of the locations.  Our guides were great, but we realized that they really aren't necessary, and nowadays with internet access so much more prevalent, even less necessary.
       
      Prior to the trip, when emailing with our guide in Bangkok to finalize plans, I mentioned that we wanted to be continuously eating (local food, I thought was implied!)  When we got there, I realized the misunderstanding when she opened her trunk to show us many bags of chips and other snack foods.. whoops...  Anyway, once the misconception was cleared up, she took us to a noodle soup vendor:


      On the right is our guide, Tong, who is now a very famous and highly sought after guide in BKK.... at the time, we were among here first customers.  I had a chicken broth based noodle soup with fish ball, fish cake and pork meatball, and my wife had yen ta fo, which is odd because it is bright pink with seafood.  I have a lime juice, and my wife had a longan juice.
       
      This is what a lot of local food places look like:

       
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×