Tag Archives: cooking

Homemade

I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ll say it again…my culinary skills have come a very long way since I married hubby in 1998.

I do not have to spend much time, now, in the kitchen thanks to the culinary talents of hubby and my mother-in-law. They are amazing. I mean, this past Friday, my mother-in-law made some amazing carnitas for a dinner party we had. The women at the party were praising my cooking skills, and I told them clearly, “I did not cook one thing at this party, nor did I help set-up. I walked in with some of the other guests.

Yes, a totally true story. I had to work late on Friday, and the party started at 5:30pm. I got home around 5:45pm and walked into our good smelling house right along with our guests.

Back to my culinary skills…

I’m still working on improving my baking skills. I like to try easy, medium, and difficult recipes. I mainly try out the medium and difficult ones if I can call on hubby or my mother-in-law if I get stuck.

If I’m in the kitchen baking anything, I consider it homemade because I’m making it at home. If it’s made from a box, kinda from scratch, or totally from scratch – I call it homemade (or home baked). Is it wrong to think that way?

I ask because my mother-in-law is very specific about her cooking and baking. When she makes something, she’s always clear about whether it is her recipe or someone else’s. We never ask, but she makes sure we know the source of the cooking inspiration or guidance.

Last week she made some chocolate chip cookies. I wanted to dive into them before we ate dinner. (The only reason I didn’t is because the kids were standing right there, and I didn’t want to get scolded by the four-year-old.) I told my mother-in-law the cookies looked scrumptious.

She quickly responded, “Oh, they are from a package.”

Me, “Oh? Well, you baked them fresh for us, so thanks!”

Mother-in-law, “Well, if I had more time, I would have made something homemade. Maybe next week.”

I’m not complaining, either way, about homemade, fresh-baked, scratch-baked…or whatever other category you want to add. I was just thrilled something yummy was baked for us.

Since my mother-in-law is an artist, I wonder if that prompts her to give the proper classification for recipes and homemade treats. Or, could it be generational? Could this practice of stating the origin of a dish or recipe come from back-in-the-day when women had their special recipes that were kept secret so they could show off their culinary talent?

I didn’t spend any time analyzing or with my mother-in-law. The topic went into my I wonder what that’s about box that I keep for our multigenerational interactions. 

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My culinary life: before marriage & after marriage

A friend posted this link a few days ago and I about fell over laughing.

Yup, that flow chart explains my cooking life prior to meeting my husband.

I think back to my single life in Chicago and I chuckle about how far I’ve come as far as cooking – well, domesticity in general. My skills were very underdeveloped in those areas and I was in no hurry to cultivate them.

I knew how to cook and I owned cooked books. I loved reading magazines about food and cooking,  but I didn’t enjoy the actual art and task of cooking. It seemed like too much work and production for one person. I had to go to a bunch of stores to get a bunch of ingredients. The storeclerks didn’t seem too helpful when I was wondering what cream of tartar was (probably because I was pronouncing it *tar – tar*). And then the cooking tools – there were just too many to have in order to prepare the dishes I saw in the cookbooks.

I mentally gave up. Cooking became low on my creativity list and crafting was super high.

Then my future hubby showed up in 1996 and came to my apartment for a visit even though we’d know each other since 1993. He was horrified to see I only had two pots and a fairly empty frig. Leftover pizza, cheese, and frozen corn were the staples. Yup, totally pitiful.

When he came for his next visit, after I grudgingly agreed we were officially dating, he showed up with his own pots and pans, and bags of groceries. The even crazier and funny part about this was 1) he had driven from Iowa to Chicago, 2) he was still an undergraduate, and 3) I was a “grown-up” with my own apartment, job and life.

[Yes, take a moment to shake your head and crack up.]

Anyway…we cooked together and he made sure we prepared extra food so I could freeze it and have  decent meals when he went back to Iowa – meals that were more substantial than eating a bag of frozen corn for dinner.

As we continued our courtship, we prepared more meals together, I learned more about cooking, and then I was hooked creating in the kitchen.

Now with me living with hubby and my mother-in-law, the opportunities for my culinary skills to advance are endless. They are both patient teachers and they make cooking exciting and fun.

If I want to try out a recipe on my own, I’m given the space to do that. If the dish comes out less than pleasing, the feedback is supportive and direct. Then I’m encouraged to try again.

If I want to try out a recipe and feel like cooking as a pair or a group – no problem – hubby and my mother-in-law are more than willing.

When I get a little more time, maybe I’ll construct a new flow chart that describes how far I’ve come in my culinary life. Until then, you may want to try out this bread pudding with rum sauce recipe my mother-in-law just made. No, I didn’t help make it, but I definitely helped eat it.

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From Martha Stewart

Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce

INGREDIENTS

Makes 8 servings.

FOR THE PUDDING

1/4 cup raisins

2 tablespoons dark rum

12 slices white bread, preferably slightly stale (about 1/2 pound)

1 cup milk

1 cup coconut milk

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

FOR THE SAUCE

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/3 cup water

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

1/4 cup dark rum

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9 x 13 x 2-inch ovenproof baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the raisins and rum and set aside.

Remove the crusts from the bread. In a blender or food processor, blend the crusts into bread crumbs. Set aside 3 tablespoons and reserve the rest for another use. Cube the bread and put the pieces into a large bowl. Pour the milk and coconut milk over the bread. Set aside to saturate completely.

In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour it over the bread along with the raisins and rum. Stir the mixture until well blended. Pour it into the baking dish and sprinkle the 3 tablespoons of bread crumbs over the top. Bake for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, water, butter, and rum. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil gently until thickened, about 10 minutes. Pour a little over each portion when serving.

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Kanesha talks with Chef Clifford Rome {WVON 1690 AM}

As I’ve mentioned before, multigenerational living comes with a lot of perks.

Crafting and cooking are always at the top of our list.

Check out my radio chat with Chef Clifford Rome and Rashanah on WVON 1690 AM.

 

This is the lime-infused coconut pound cake Rashanah mentioned in the interview. No calories at all – ok, there are, but who’s counting?

The recipe for this cake can be found in:

PoundCakeRecipe

 

My mother-in-law made flan the other night and in my opinion, she makes the BEST flan I’ve ever tasted. She added some fresh peaches to it – since peaches are in season.

Hubby made some marinated chicken kabobs the other weekend and we all devoured them. He marinated the chicken in fresh lemon juice and prime-rib rub from the Savory Spice Shop.

Everyone in our multigenerational household has a “couture” apron – designed and  sewn by my mother-in-law.

Here I am, in my apron (sans pearls), making sugar cookies for girls’ night out. I used a cookie cutter shaped like a martini glass.

My 11-year-old, the aspiring pastry chef, was in the kitchen baking up something delectable. She has a matching head scarf to go with her apron.

My mother-in-law wanted a new t-shirt and so she whipped one up for herself. She also made the beads for her necklace.

 


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