Evidence That I Still Cook (and Hugs to Paris)

In the wake of hearts grieving around the world, I have no words — only pictures to prove that I still cook. Sometimes the kitchen is the best place to be to care for loved ones (and yourself), and a satisfying meal at the end of the day — lovingly prepared and shared, is what it’s all about — whether it appears online or not.

During the past year I’ve come to understand life’s disruptions (although certainly not to that extent) and how much “living life” in the present with precious loved ones precludes posting.

If you’re interested in a particular recipe, please ask. (Hover over the photos for descriptions.) Thanks, xo

Praying for Paris,

~ Kim

Sometimes Ya Just Gotta Roll With It (Cantaloupe with Cannoli Cream)

Half the fun of cooking is trying something new, whether it works out or not, right?  (At least that’s my motto.)

“Experiment!” I proclaim from the rooftops.  Or deck…

After cannoli recipes started making the rounds last year, I decided to try canta-loni. :)  (Not to be confused with cantelloni or cannelloni — the cheese and/or meat stuffed noodle version.)

Thus, I set out with my melon ball scooper and an idea… plus a hearty dose of laughter.  Be forewarned… these little suckers are slippery!

Not only did I make the above-pictured version, I also got out the ol’ cheese-slicer-in-lieu-of-a-mandoline and attempted a “cantaloupe cannoli” — wrapping paper-thin melon slices around cannoli cream that tasted so good, there’s no photographic proof of the evidence.  (Ahem.)

I also imagined they’d be spectacular served with a slice of prosciutto and garnished with a slice of… basil?  mint?  cilantro?  (Such are the places my food imagination take me…)

My message is this:  Have fun in your kitchen this summer!

Don’t let your next great idea (and/or quest for the perfect food photo) reign you in… and for Pete’s sake, remember that food blogging isn’t “War and Peace.”

While I highly respect the passion and nutrition and well-being that’s put into everyone’s food, photography, and blog posts (thank you!), bear in mind:  it’s summer.

Have fun!

For a delightful cannoli filling, click here.  (FYI, I left out the cinnamon, allspice, and chocolate chips and substituted mascarpone for half the ricotta, but that’s not to say I won’t try the Alex Guarnaschelli‘s delectable original on a more “serious” day next time.)

For further proof of my kitchen flops (and fun), click here and here.

Then… get creative.  Get eatin’.  And for heaven’s sake, get out there and celebrate summer!

Enjoying experimenting, trial and error, and FUN,

~ Kim

P.S.  I sat on this photo (and idea) for almost a year.  Don’t waste precious time…

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Between Seasons… A Savory Transition

If art imitates life, then food imitates nature… especially when the seasons change.

Cause to celebrate!

Shish kebobs marinated in an earthy balsamic vinaigrette…

Paired with tender-crisp peppers and onions.

Simple and delicious.

(No secret recipe here… just a brief swim in “Newman’s Own” and a spritz of olive oil on the veggies.)

Summer and autumn on a plate.

The best of both.

As the seasons shift, please make it a point…

To savor change.

Enjoying the transition,

~ Kim

Food Photos That Will Never Make The Front Page

Split Personality Pasta.  Hellooooo.  How much butter did I put in the meat sauce?

Sausage and Mushroom Calzone.  Squish…  There’s filling in it.  Really, there is.

Grilled Pork Loin & Balsamic Apples with Plum Whiskey Glaze.  (Note to self: pink glaze = undercooked looking meat.)  But it sure tasted good.

Hawaiian Pizza on the ol’ 9 x 13 cake pan lid.  (And to think I gave away my pizza stone when we moved… whimper.)

Then there’s the dessert that didn’t turn out looking anything like the original recipe.  (To see how it’s really done, click here.)  It was my first attempt at cheesecake and everything went wrong.  I take full responsibility.

The crust stuck.  Of course, it helps to use a spring form pan…  (I compensated by removing what was left of the crumbs.)

The middle fell.  (I compensated by filling it with milk chocolate.)

The topping puddled.  It was 95° outside and close to that in my kitchen.  (I compensated by throwing it in the freezer and cutting it into Art Deco triangles.)

But chocolate melts.  Rapidly.

Oops.

I compensated by eating it. :)

Enjoying one tasty photo flop at a time,

~ Kim

P.S.  The dessert made for an interesting “cartoon,” too…

Chocolate Cheesecake ala Warhol

A Mixture Of Incongruous Elements

Mélange.  In a word, that describes my life… how I cook… and this post.

I love dining alfresco, don’t you?  The best picnics I’ve ever been on have consisted of nothing more than ripe peaches at a fruit stand in Georgia (with juice dribbling down my chin), barbecued ribs “hot-off-the-smoker” in a parking lot in rural Mississippi, freshly squeezed pineapple juice from a food truck in Miami’s industrial district, crab cakes “to go” on a beach in Maryland, white Cheddar cheese curds at a truck stop in Wisconsin, hand-breaded jalapeno “poppers” eaten two steps away from Mexico (and 100° in the shade!), buttermilk biscuits wrapped in a paper napkin for “later,” chocolate-covered cherries (filled with Cabernet) on a stroll through Washington state’s wine country, Chicago-style hotdogs procured from a now-defunct deli next to a steel plant on the South side, coffee and donuts anywhere, and — my favorite — champagne and fresh strawberries in front of a sunset.  (Bologna sandwiches and a candy bar at a roadside rest run a close second.)  Picnics don’t have to be fancy to be fun.

One recent afternoon I pondered the metamorphosis of two grilled pork chops begging to be reinvented (aka leftovers) and my thoughts turned to flavors and textures…  Creamy avocado and succulent pork.  Crisp tortillas with a whisper of cheese.  Coarse sea salt and zesty lime.  Freshly ground pepper offset by an icy Margarita.  Thus, Avocado Tacos became dinner and all of the above became a picnic!

The goblet in the photo has been with me for a long time.  (If it looks like it’s leaning, it is — she’s a little off kilter, like me. :))  I’ve never been one to own a complete set of stemware (or china for that matter), just “one of a kinds” added along the way.  Thankfully, the hubby settled for my meager dowry:  a fishing rod, a tackle box, a piano, and a barrister bookcase.  (And “the goblet.”)  It was high time she had a suitable companion.  Meet the newest member of our stemware misfits…

Though I’m not in the habit of naming inanimate objects, my friend Tammy (proprietor of Steel Daffodils — greatest little gift shop/coffee bar in the whole wide world) giggled when she saw me with that glass in hand (I had an iced mocha in the other…) and promptly recounted a sitcom episode about a woman who referred to her oversized Margarita glass as Big Daddy.  I knew he’d found a home.  And a name.  Laughter has a way of overcoming habits.

Last, but not least, I’d like to share Fish Curry with you, which I spied on Sing For Your Supper Coconut milk.  Curry powder.  Catfish…  A mélange.  But, I was out of Garam Masala, so I had to make a batch.  (You don’t need to go to that extreme — look for it on the spice aisle at your market.)  The aroma of toasted spices is worth the effort if you’re feeling adventurous!

Here’s a peek at the results…

And here’s a peek at the Fish Curry…

Definitely a flavor picnic!

Enjoying life one incongruity at a time,

~ Kim

Cartoon Food

Sometimes ideas — and food photos — don’t make it past the drawing board.  But instead of relegating them to the scrap heap, have fun with them!  Take “Okie Caviar,” for instance.  While I wish it were Beluga and a glass of imported champagne, alas…  What you see are capers and Shiner Bock (imported from Texas!) — sort of a redneck substitute (I admit), but salty and sublime.  And the photo was begging to be seen.  (Love that “cartoon” feature on the photo editor…)

There’s something mainstream and American about this coleslaw photo that appealed to me, especially in “cartoon” mode.  Blame it on my diner days — and quite possibly Alton Brown.  A Patty Melt with a side of slaw gets my vote every time.  (By the way, if you haven’t read Alton’s cookbook/travelogue, “Feasting On Asphalt,” I highly recommend it.)  (His photos are better, too.)  But we have food — and fun — in common!

Then there’s my attempt at color-enhanced cartoons, such as these festive quesadillas — don’t say I didn’t warn your eyeballs!  But, I liked the effect.   Hope you do, too!

Bread pudding with Bourbon Sauce, Take Two Hundred and Fifty Six…  I was having trouble with the sauce oozing that day before I could photograph “the perfect drizzle”… plus, it was neon yellow.  Oh well.  Just had to show you the new plate. :)

The next photo/cartoon requires a brief explanation.  We live on a lake.  We love to fish.  My sister knows this.  Quite frequently she bestows “fish” gifts upon us that delight our hearts.  Fish books.  Fish measuring spoons.  Fish cookie cutters.  We love them!  As a result, I tried to cram as many of them into one picture as I could, but you know the old adage… less is more.  Still, there’s something about this photo that says “lake lovers” all over it.  Welcome to my blog. :)  (By the way, my Savory Cheddar Crackers recipe is posted on Tasty Kitchen if you’re so inclined.)

In a final attempt at “food art,”  the following photo employs “text” within the photo.  I think the caption says it all.  Food is about enjoyment, whether it’s photogenic or not (as long as it tastes good!) and to me, it’s a blessing to prepare meals for the people I love.  How about you?

Enjoying life in cartoon mode,

Kim

Living Large

QUESTION:  What do the following photos have in common, besides the bird’s-eye view?

 

ANSWER:  I GOOFED on all three recipes!  (Living large is a matter of paying attention to the small details, lest you wind up “3 for 3” in kitchen foibles…)

With apologies to Twinks (from Tasty Kitchen), I forgot to chop the pecans before adding them to your sassy but subtle, bourbon-laced Deep South Pecan Pie.  Thankfully, un-chopped pecans are a mistake I can live with…

Re: Giant Double Chocolate Cookies …  Giant? Yes.  Tasty? Very.  Crinkly like Amy’s? (Sing For Your Supper )… No.  Remind me to set the timer…  (AHEM.)  Although I missed the window of opportunity on that batch, all is not lost — the cookie jar is almost empty…

And dear Margaret Murphy Tripp (The Irish Mother)… I’ve been dying to try your luscious-looking Rustic Blackberry Tarts for a month, but I know better than to roll out crusts when the oven’s been blazing for two hours and the outside temp has climbed to 85.  (Note to self:  Pie crusts + volcanic atmosphere do NOT = luscious looking tarts.)  However, the resulting “pie” was luscious tasting, if not rustic-looking!

To me, living large means enjoying everything life throws at you — including those times when you’re on the pitcher’s mound.  My goal in the kitchen is pleasure, not perfection.  How about you?  Got any mishaps to share?

On a positive note, here’s a photo of the Triple Threat Quesadillas I made, without incident.  (shecancook2Thanks, Li’a! :)  Life doesn’t get much larger than that.

Live large and prosper,

Kim