Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Working on My Food Styling

I have been putting together the newsletter for Alchemy of the Hearth with the executive chef, Arleen. It is coming together so well! I really enjoy this kind of thing, and I think I always have. I used to make magazines with my cousin Ashley when I was younger, and then was on the yearbook in HS, and lead the yearbook for three years at my Elem. teaching job.

Anyhow, many of the pictures of food are mine, and it has been one of my goals to become really good at food photography. I have been reading some tips, and took some pics of what I was cooking today. Unfortunately, the stromboli didn't get photographed before we cut into it - it was pretty nice looking!






Monday, November 2, 2009

Metting Martha Stewart





My mom, little 1yr old and I went to Costco to meet Martha Stewart a few weeks ago. The line wrapped and winded around the building, but everyone was in good spirits. We got there around 2 and by 3 she was supposed to start signing. Martha started a little early and the line moved along.

All of a sudden a woman, later I found out she was the book publisher, came up to us and said that Martha wanted all the people with babies to come to the front of the line! I acutally didn't really want to drag the baby there in the first place, but boy did it ever work out. We were brought to the front of the line, around the back of Martha.



She was giving an interview with a local magazine while we were standing there. Honestly, it was the first time I was really sorta speechless and flustered a bit by a celeb. She was really beautiful in person - I can only hope that I can make enough money to buy some creams or something to look like her when I am 68! Wow. Anyways, she signed all our books and was really amazing. I feel so lucky to have met her!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Popover a New Page



Oh, it has been a while since I have been here...the blog is a little dusty! I am finally in a little chunk of time fit for writing and a few lovely friends requested the recipe for my popovers, so here we go.

First a little update on my cooking school adventure!So Arleen, the owner and executive chef, finally got her own place and it will be up and running as of next week. The schedule looks so great - I can't wait to actually start teaching and taking classes myself (hello cinnamon rolls!). She allowed us to observe her teaching at the adult school in Rancho Bernardo, and a couple of other instructors and I took her up on it. It was a chocolate for beginner class that included a tutorial on all things chocolate, a tasting that covered about 12 different chocolates from white to milk to all the percentages up to 100% chocolate, and finally the practical where the students learned and made truffles and chocolate covered strawberries.

All I can say is, this woman is a pro - she is the wo-man, and believe me, I a picky, picky person when it comes to teachers. I feel like I have found my sensei a la Karate Kid or something. She will be teaching the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child early next year - now that will be a cool challenge. I love having someone great to learn from.

So anyway, let's get to those popovers. I have been reading the Ratio book by Michael Ruhlman as I discussed in an earlier post, and came accross his discussion on popovers. Here is what got me:

"They're just too cool. THis slack batter of flour, egg, and milk goes into a little cup into a very hot oven and a half hour later, poof!, a transformation as dramatic as popcorn."

It sounded fun and easy enough, so I went ahead with it. Unfortunaly (or maybe not?) all I had were my giant muffin tins, so what I came up with in the end were super large popovers. I so wish I had a popover pan, but regular muffin tins work just fine. So here is the payoff...watch them grow in the oven - it really is amazing. When you finally get into one, make sure it is still warm and get ready to have one of those involuntary eye closing moments. Yeah. They are that good. The outside is all crisp, but the inside is the yin to the outside yang - all creamy and custar-esque.

Some suggetions from the author paraphrased: put the pan in the oven for 5 minutes before you put the batter in, and don't add anything to the base recipe for flavor. Instead, wait until they are almost done to sprinkle cheese on to melt for the last minute or so; serve with hot diced apple sauted in butter and brown sugar, or just top with sweet butter and honey The recipe for Basic (but Amazing) Popovers from the Ratio book follows. It makes 4-8 popovers:

16 oz milk
4 large eggs
8 oz flour (two scant cups)
About 2 tsp salt to taste
1 stick of butter melted or 4 oz canola oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Combine milk and eggs and whist until they're uniformly compbinged. Add the flour and salt and stir until combined. Allow the batter to sit for a half an hour or longer for the flour to bloom or hydrate.

Put the pan in to preheat 5-10 minutes while the oven heats

Remove the pan from the oven; put a couple of teaspoons of butter in each cup of the popover pan (or muffin pan). Fill each cup with batter an bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees F., and continue to bake until done, 20-30 minutes longer.

Serve straight from the oven with preserves, jams or simply some good honey and butter.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Not so Beautiful Disaster


This is a peach and blueberry (not sure what to call it...hmmm) flat pie. It was a lovely looking disaster. I had a few apples in the fridge, so I thought I would make a tart or something with them. Not pictured is the apple tart...it didn't have much of a chance.

So the bad: the recipe called for Granny Smith apples. I had some lovely peaches, and a few 'past their prime' apples. I went with the peaches, but peaches have a lot more liquid than the apples and they aren't afraid to show it. Liquid squelched out of those peaches at an alarming rate, and the sugar in them along with the butter and sugar on top of the peaches, mingled into a caramelized, then blotchy burned, mess. Some traveled under the crust and ruined the outer rim, which was a complete shame, since the crust was lovely. It resembled a thin layer of crispy croissant dough, and if those peaches hadn't ruined it, I think I may have eaten way more of it than necessary.

Other things that went wrong: the peaches were not sweet, even with the sugar added, creating a sour, unpleasing overall flavor, especially when getting some of that after burn flavor mingled with it. Yuck. Oh, and then as I was putting the camera away, my two year old decided to take a cookie cutter to it and make some pretty designs. The flat pie was utterly disfigured and abused. What a mess.



The apple edition was not any better. At all. Mostly because I used apples that were pretty much over the hill, so to speak. The moisture was all but a memory in those old gals, and it really showed in the final product. I think Tex, our dog, really enjoyed it though. But seeing as he enjoys eating my kids sidewalk chalk, he isn't really a discerning critic in any manor.

So, there it is. I can't stand it when I make these kind of cullinary mistakes, yet there are many lessons one learns in doing something (or many things) wrong. Case in point - don't use peaches in a flat pie. Ever.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Of Ratios I Speak...

There seems to be less and less time to write lately, and more messes to clean! Needless to say, I wish those two were reversed, a la Willy Wonka...

Here are a few pictures of what I have been baking lately:Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Muffins, and Honey-Wheat Pecan Bread:





Now for an update on my cooking school project:

Things have stalled as of a few days before the giant Open House for the school was planned. The owner of the lease basically tried to swipe the owner of the school's business and wanted to charge outragous rent, so the owner, let's call her Darleen, didn't negotiate, and said, "See Ya!" I think it is kinda amazing since she had worked so amazingly hard to gather such a great group of chefs, planned the schedule, put out tons of marketing and advertising, and so on. In other words, you just don't mess with this lady. She is working on finding another place for the school, so things have stalled for now, but I am hoping they will pick up by the fall.

I took the ServSafe class yesterday which certifies me to be a food manager in any commercial kitchen. I will know the results of the test in about 10 days. There was tons of info, but most consisted of all the ways people preparing your food can make you deathly ill, or worse. Then there was talk of parasites, roaches, and rats...how some fish make you cough up worms...then since the class took place at Denny's, we had to order lunch there. Really the last thing I wanted was a lunch from Denny's after that. So I had the least objectionable meal I could think of...pancakes. They were ok, but I actually had a stomach ache that afternoon. Call me a food snob...go ahead, I deserve it.

So here is the latest thing I am excited about:


This is a book I heard about on the radio program, The Splendid Table. I am looking forward to learning the Ratios of recipes, and memorizing them. Maybe someday I will get good enough to try out for The Next Food Network Star :) Ok, that is a big Maybe!

It is so interesting to me that just knowing a ratio, with a little technique, can make you a great cook or baker. I have been having some flattening out with my chocolate chip cookies lately, and that is soooooooo depressing since I finally felt I had gotten over that whole chocolate chip cookie thing. Actually, my cookies took second place at the fair this year, out of 160 cookies entered this year, which is not too shabby.

So I figured out that I just needed to let them cool on the pan and that did the trick. Back to their beautiful, fat, puffy selves. Sheesh. It is just the simple things that can be so hard sometimes. So, hence the Ratio book...I am hoping to gleen a few gems to improve my techniques and skills, and more than anything else, be able to cook and bake without recipes.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A New Adventure


Today has already been quite a day! I have been in cooking overdrive preparing for my new gig at the cooking school. Today is the orientation, and we will meet each other, get all the information on the open house, kitchen rules, etc. I have to admit, after reading the other chef's bio's I am a bit intimidated...words sprinkled in there like "worked with James Beard award winning chef so-and-so" wow, and how about Micheline Star restaurants on some of those bios...all I can hope is that I am there in that group for a reason!

This morning I made really great blueberry muffins from the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook - totally reccomend. I wanted to use my new giant muffin tins that I got second hand from the cake store in San Marcos for only 7$ each! Love them! Then I am making a cake for our friends for pick up on Saturday...they picked Red Velvet Cake...well, I wasn't as successful with that adventure. I will have to make it over, which SUCKS since I have such little time. Then I made some excellent honey-wheat bread with pecans...sooooooo good. I made that recipe up myself so I guess I can be happy about that success.

Wish me luck today!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lotsa Writing!


I haven't posted much lately, probably because I have had to do a lot of writing in the non-blog world. I had to write a "funny" curriculum vitae for Alex's grad party (trying to keep up with the comedy duo of Watters and Hamrick), and the Obituary and eulogy for grandpa's funeral (for those who haven't heard, he passed away last Wednesday, unfortunately for us). Throw in about a zillion to do lists...Content for my new site...emails galore! So I think some of that stressful stuff is behind us, and hopefully just onto creating and growing all of our little businesses, including my Little Sweets Bakery :).

Friday, May 8, 2009

That old feeling...

I am taking the next step in making myself a little business out of my treats by picking a name, getting business cards and stickers, getting a web address, and with Alex's big help, creating a website that is really beautiful. He is working on it right now as a matter of fact. The name of my company is Little Sweets Bakery, www.littlesweetsbakery.com is the URL, the motto is "Life is Sweet" and the logo is the cutest part (a mint bird on an orange and yellow swirl/flower background). He will say "Sweet Sweet" :). It is hard to think about getting customers, what to make, where to find time to concentrate on creating these items...hmmm. Oh well - if you don't try, you will never know. I look at it as a start, I will just have to keep working and improving.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Last Cake, Class 1: The Wilton Rose


Ah the Wilton Rose...the finale of class one. Honestly, those are pretty hard little suckers to make! With some practice and effort, they got easier, but yeah, still tough. The instructor made the middle rose, and I made the rest. All in all, it was a worth while experience, and I signed up for the second class. While the teacher is not exactly top caliber, I did learn some good tips from her, and really, the whole thing is a nice excuse to spend two uninterrupted hours practicing my cake decorating skills (try that at home with two lil' ones...not happening.). Not to mention it is a killer deal at only $22.50 for a month's worth of classes.

So since I have not posted any recipes lately, I wanted to share a cool shortcut for making boxed cakes taste more like homemade. It is an interesting thing that many people prefer the taste and consistency of boxed cakes to homemade. My friend's sister-in-law sells her cakes to friends and made almost a $200 profit on a couple of cakes because she uses boxed mixes. No one ever asks if they are homemade, and she is getting quite a bit of business. I have to be honest, I am a bit of a cake snob...I totally prefer a great homemade cake to the shadow box-mix cake.

Whateva, gotta love how totally simple it is to make a box cake...I forgot how quick it was. So here ya go:

1 box mix, either yellow or chocolate
4 eggs
1 cup of buttermilk instead of water
Retain the measurement for the oil listed on the box (I use canola)

This week my class 2 starts up...hopefully no quasi-objectionable clowns...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Numero Due


    
                                                                         
Here is cake number 2 from my cake decorating class. We learned how to make the clown as a technique in pressure control...I guess creepy clowns are not the most popular cake decor, but Matteo sure loved it! He kept singing happy birthday to the clown on the cake. So, who knows, maybe the little ones these days aren't freaked out by clowns...they haven't seen the movie It yet.




Clowns don't freak me out, but I do think they are a little strange. Why are they quasi-bald? Why do they look like they have been drinking too much? Why are these middle-aged, alcoholic-looking, bald dudes with bad clothes kid magnets? To those who have an aversion to clowns, I apologize - feel free to be appalled...to clown fans, call me - I can make you a cake.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Cake #1

I have started taking cake decorating classes this past month - it is the first non-kid related thing I have done in the past three and a half years. I get to go one night a week and concentrate on completing something without any interruptions...funny how things (like alone time) become more appreciated when circumstances change. 

I feel sorta horrible and guilty for spending this time out ... but only for a few minutes. It is important to do things we want to do when we can actually do them. I think that is one lesson grandpa's ordeal has reinforced in me. Love and appreciate your partner, your kids, your health, every moment they are yours. Part of being healthy is being happy, so I say, why not? I signed up for this class, and the following course in May, and signed up at the local gym. I am running, rowing, and sweating - it feels great. I want to work up to a marathon in the next few years...or maybe a half-marathon...

So here is the cake from last night. It is super basic, but even though I have some experience with decorating cakes, I think it is great to learn from the ground up and really cover all the bases. So a cool trick I got from the teacher is to make shapes by putting down a cookie cutter, then piping a line around the indention, and after, just put the star tip on and go to town until it is done. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sad Times




My grandpa is sick - a few months to live sick, and the last few days have been tough. I wanted to just express something about how amazing he is, how I feel about him...so in the vein of this blog theme, I will do it through food. Ironically, his appetite has nearly disappeared and he no longer enjoys or wants food anymore. But I can think of so many foods, grandpa specific, that will always remind me of him and how much he has influenced my life. Here's to you, A.P. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------


Eggs - first from stories of your chicken ranch - how my mom sorted the eggs, saved the farm, and later, each Easter, dying hard boiled ones until they became that strange brown color

Bold and fragrant boxes of oranges for me every week - to savor two each morning, and the sweet smell of orange blossoms in the air by the old green shed when the 10 am sun warms the nectar

Crisp summer corn on the cob and marshmallows slightly charred at the "beach" parties in your front yard

Chocolate covered raisins in a little plastic container on your apartment dining room table...I used to grab a handful every visit, a guaranteed regular treat - now my two year old son looks forward to doing the same - he won't understand why the chocolate raisins won't be there anymore

The two of us laughing because we were always the first to be in line for the food spread - like those two cartoon crows, "No, no, I insist, after you!," you - always the first to start eating, the last to finish

Strange cheramoia fruit, 7-up, Jello with bananas, microwaved zucchini, toast with applesauce, Lucky Charms on top of a healthy cereal to sweeten it up, spicy gingersnaps, avocados green and ripe

The finisher of orphan food left on family members plates, fan of buffets like Hometown 'Cafe' as you called it, and Souplantation, generous, healthy, sweet-toothed but restrained in a way I will always admire...

Always grateful, always frugal, the only one who ever said the prayer over the food

In these foods, each and every time we meet, my mind will travel to you, to your memory, to the greatness of such a humble, helpful, incredible man - my grandpa A.P. Sowby.  


Friday, March 20, 2009

Getting Back in the Game

Cooking, for me at least, is such an organic experience. What ever mood I am in, or what ever is going on in my life is reflected in the quality, taste, and essence of what I am making. I could have the best intentions of making something perfectly, but if my heart or mind isn't really there, boy you can sure tell. Most of the time, when that happens, I mostly just want to eat that item, rather than make it. Of course I wouldn't mind more days without cookies, pound cake, breads, etc., sitting around tempting me to eat them...little sirens. 

So now with my husband's masters over, and the house back to our little family of four, I am finding, pardon this next line in advance, the joy of cooking again. Yes, back in the game, and hoping to be able to write more on my blog too. The first paragraph above was actually completed without any child whatsoever in the vicinity...this paragraph I have little seven-month old trying to type too. 

Of course, half or more, of the fun of cooking and baking is trying new things, finding new favorites and experimenting. One day this week I made a mini-meatball soup, which, believe it or not, was a Rachel Ray recipe. Sorry, not really a fan, but the soup turned out pretty well. I think the pasta was a little too much as it sopped up a ton of the actual soup as it sat, and just turned into pasta jelly. Not too pretty after an hour or so.                                                                                                                                                                                        
Companion to the soup, I made Rancho La Puerta Whole Wheat Bread. I bought a bag of Bob's Red Mill whole wheat flour for my mother-in-law, but we didn't use it, so I needed to find something to do with it. This bread called for only wheat flour which is unusual. I think it was off a bit in the recipe because I had to incorporate at least another cup of flour to make it hold together, but overall, it is quite a nice, healthy, very whole wheat bread. My two year old tried it out of the oven, and said, "yucky," but today, with it toasty and butter-covered, it got a much better review. He actually thought it was a hamburger at first because of the color.  I like it toasted in a big hunk, slathered with good peanut butter. Our seven month old thinks it is pretty good too. Here is the bread recipe link: http://orangette.blogspot.com/2005/02/on-spandex-mothers-genius-and-whole.html 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

When you are not looking...

It always happens when you finally give up looking - when you accept the fact that you will never have that thing you always wanted and longed for, it miraculously finds you. Not to be too overly dramatic, but honestly, I thought I was doomed to never, ever make a decent chocolate chip cookie. The recipe I have been searching for has found me at last, and in it I have found my inner chocolate chip cookie goddess. No joke. These cookies are that good. 

I made the dough about 4pm, and was planning on waiting the required 36 hours. Then I wrote the previous post, and couldn't help myself. I HAD to make just a couple...just to see... So at 8pm I put a batch and my hopes into the oven and waited. Even after just four hours of "resting" they were truly superior. Over the next day or so I made several bakings from that batch and they only got better. I loved that I could just bake up a few at night after dinner to have with tea. Who doesn't love the smell of warm cookies baking in the evening? 

One thing I learned is to not crowd the cookies. Mine were made from a small ice cream scoop, and weighed less than 2 oz. I was able to cook only 8 at a time. I also adjusted the time to 13 minutes - they were a light carmel brown, and after they cooled kept a little chewy-ness to balance the cripish corners. 

So, needless to say, I have been eating my fair share of chocolate chip cookies lately. Unfortunaly, they didn't last long enough to photograph...maybe next time. I will add the link to the recipe here: http://orangette.blogspot.com/2008/07/bold-statement.html

Let me know how they come out for you! 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Nemesis

The nemesis of my baking world is the ever innocent chocolate chip cookie. Seriously, I feel like the crazy guy from Caddy Shack chasing the gopher...why can't I get it? Shouldn't it be so simple? Well, not for me. I have the worst track record with those suckers - most of the time they just spread out like a dog on its back waiting for a tummy rub. Dog, cute. Spready cookies, depressing. 

Once I saw a cookie bake off show on TV, and this special education teacher from San Diego won the top prize for his traditional chocolate chip cookie. I followed the recipe to a tee, and actually had success with it...once. After that, the same dang recipe has failed me each time I try to recapture cookie glory. 

OK, what is the point of this whole chippy diatribe? I am trying again. I am trying again to make a decent traditional chocolate chip cookie without any crutches like oatmeal or shortening. Reaching out to that cookie bad boy, hoping not to get disappointed again...hmmm

So this recipe is from another blogger site, and she got it from the New York Times food section. It has to "mature" for at least 36 hours. The make or break chocolate chip cookie dough is "resting" in my fridge, waiting for the big show day after tomorrow. Here's to you Don Quixote (or maybe more appropriately to Bill Murray) and to the impossible dream! 

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Blob...AKA, It's ALIVE!...AKA Foccacia



My latest every other day cooking pal is foccacia. It is funny how foods, breads especially, can come to life - like a little lovely pet...that you eat...um, well ok, anyways....My brain is fried from too much reading and thinking on subjects that are completly BORING! My mind wants to be so many other places...wanting to do so many other things. So, in the spirt of other-worldly-ness I present to you my special, amazing, beautiful foccacia recipe. The billowy dough, the air pockets and bubbles, crispy corners and salty olive oil crust...let's just get it over with. I am in love with this bread. I hope it finds a place in your kitchen hearts. 

Foccacia 
2 1/4 lbs Flour - about 7 cups
3 1/2 cups warm water 
1 tsp. active dry yeast
2 tablespoons coarse salt
olive oil
coarse salt

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the flour, yeast and warm water. Let sit covered with a dish towel in a warm place until tripled in size and bubbly - about 2 hours. 

2. Add the salt and attach the bowl to the mixer. Let mix us the dough hook for about 3-5 minutes on low speed, the raise the speed to medium and mix about 15 seconds more. 

3. Transfer the dough to a very big bowl - it will be wet, slack and sticky. Let rise another 1 hour. 

4. Take a rubber spatula and mix up the dough by hand about a minute or so, just to deflate. Let rise another hour. Meanwhile prepare a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper.  

5. Drop the wet, sticky, bubbly dough onto the prepared sheet and spread it out with the rubber spatula. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Let it sit on the pan unbaked for about 20-30 minutes to get those big bubbles...

6. Drizzle dough with olive oil and course salt to taste. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden. 

7. Immediately slide focaccia onto a wire rack to cool. Slice with pizza wheel or serrated knife. 

Note: If you don't plan on eating it all the day it is baked, cut into pieces and freeze. It will be as good as fresh.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Little Tip...

On Monday we went out to a little French place here in San Marcos for Alex's birthday. We got scallops, fillet minion, mahi mahi, creme brulee...It was actually pretty good which is saying quite a lot from me! I am, uh, how you say...picky. Way too picky about dining out because honestly we eat very well at home, and spend a lot of money on food to do so. So anyway, the tip is that during Christmas I bought a $25 gift certificate to this place for only $2 at www.restaurant.com. I think they usually charge $10, but sometimes $5...anyway, you can go to restaurants all over the country, which is great for traveling. Most of the places are pretty high quality too, so the food should be pretty decent. 

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Biscotti and Marcella


Things have been...um, well...pretty busy lately, but I have been cooking some here and there. My favorite of the week were the almond biscotti for Alex. They are really the perfect biscotti - light and dense at the same time, blanched slivered almonds, almond extract...yeah, he likes him some almonds. 

I have been reading the memoir of Marcella Hazan, the Italian lady who brought "real" Italian food to America in the seventies and eighties. It is amazing that she never intended to be anything more than a science teacher in Italy, and she became this foodie idol. She never even cooked anything until after she was married! It is funny in her books to, she gives off this vibe like, well, they wanted me to write a cookbook, so here it is, but hey, don't ask me to do another one!  She really tells it like it is. I saw her on Martha Stewart and she even treated Martha like "whatever, you are just like everyone else". Gotta love that old Italian gal. Just truly herself in every moment. Something to aspire to. 

So I went back to my cookbook library and when all this crazy stuff at home is over and done, I will start again working on my "Master Class" book by Mrs. Hazan herself. I will never get a chance to work with her in person, so I'll settle for the correspondence class. 

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Here is one of my favorite recipes...

Cranberry Almond Granola

3 cups rolled oats 
1 cup slivered almonds
3/4 cup sweet coconut
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. In a large bowl combine oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar. In a separate bowl combine syrup, oil and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto two cookie sheets. Cook for 20 minutes then switch lower pan to top, top pan to bottom rack. Cook for an additional 20 minutes then switch again. Cook for 10-20 minutes more until golden, then let cool. Transfer to a big bowl or ziplock bag and add the dried cranberries. 

Variation - omit coconut, rough chop 1 cup almonds and 1 cup pecans...chunkier, and really good.

Food...yes.


Inspired by my super-talented crafty cousin and her super-talented crafty friends, I decided that I wanted to start a record of something (aka blog)...but, no matter how much I wish it, I am not in the talented crafty group. So I thought about what it is that I have something to say about...and then it hit me...food. Well not literally, though it is entirely possible with a 5 month old and a 2 year old. Yes, food. 

Mundane? Well, I guess it is in the sense that we eat every day, day in, day out for every day of our natural lives. Yet, there is something magical about food when you get it right. The look of satisfaction on someones face when they really enjoy the creation you have made...that is my art. Just describing a delicious food can make mouths water and experiencing a food masterpiece is a whole body experience. 

The thing I really love about it though is you can never, really ever know everything about it. There is always something to learn, some way to improve, a thousand different recipes for a chocolate cake...

So here is the start of my recorded journey to food mastery. I hesitate a bit at the word mastery, but why not aim high? I want to be a master - the yoda of food. So here we go...and don't worry Owl cook!