Tag Archives: Kitchen

39

30 May

LEARN TO COOK

 My friend Kate announced to me a few months ago that she had an amazing chicken curry dish to teach me before I turned 30- she even called it “Curry before 30″…isn’t she clever? I thought so. Well, such as life it took us months to actually make it happen. In her defense, she did just get married and all and in my defense I drove across the country, so we’ve been a little busy.

 I have known Kate since kindergarten!! Yes, kindergarten. I still can’t believe I have people in my life today that I have known since I was five years old (and I really still like them too, honest!) It’s such a sweet and comforting feeling to know somebody for most of your life. We have so many memories together…play-dates, sleepovers, ballet classes, the craziness of Jr. High…first boyfriends, tears, triumphs and we even have France. When we were 13 Kate came with me to the south of France for a few weeks to visit my grandparents. It was one of the best memories form my childhood. I think we only argued once. We skipped through olive orchards, got crushes on French boys, ate nutella crepes by the truck load and pretended to practice our French. My grandfather Matt named us the “Dupli-Kate’s” and my grandmother Cass made us amazing French toast every morning.

I have always known Kate to be an extremely smart, funny, creative, honest and direct soul. For all those reasons I have always been a fan of hers (alright maybe the time she got a better role in our ballet recital I felt differently, but other than that I am a fan). Sadly, after high school graduation we lost touch. But then, viola!, with the power of facebook and this crazy blog, she’s back in my life and I could not be happier about it. Her funny sense of humor has become even funnier (borderline raunchy) over the years and her direct and honest attitude towards life is refreshing- she’s just fun to be with.

What’s that, you say? Why aren’t I talking about curry? Sorry, I got a little sidetracked but I wanted you to know the back story. So, back to curry before 20 (a typo I have decided to let stay- wishful thinking maybe?)- last week Kate invited me over to her house and we made curry, drank wine and laughed a lot.

My first lesson about curry…it’s a bit of a needy dish. It does not like to be left alone for too long and wants constant attention (again, I am reminded of my early 20’s). But don’t be scared off, all your hard work will pay off in the end…in a very delicious way.

We spent 2 hours adding ingredients or, as Kate called it, “layering” and stirring the pot of goodies. The aroma that filled the kitchen was amazing but the dish was even better. It was spicy, sweet, tender and comforting.  I was in curry heaven.

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Recipe and finished dish up next!

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Day 12, Part 2: Arriving in Montgomery, Alabama

14 May

ROAD TRIP

Day 12, Part 2

Alabama the beautiful, the world of B & B’s and black hole beds

After spending the morning at Graceland we hit the road to drive to our next destination…Alabama!

On our drive from Memphis to Montgomery we had two goals- eat lunch at The Whistle Stop Cafe (restaurant from one of my favorite movies Fried Green Tomatoes) and stop for peaches at Durbin farms, where there are supposed to be amazing peaches.

Sadly, one of these goals did not happen.

We spent hours, (yes hours) driving around Birmingham, Alabama in search of The Whistle Stop Cafe. It was maddening. My only explanation for this is that our iPhone’s have a funny sense of humor because the GPS systems took us on quite a wild goose chase. If I were to try to find the silver lining in the situation I would say at least I got to see Birmingham, but in the moment I was starving, irritated and hot. It’s just so frustrating to be lost in a foreign city!

When we finally found it…it was closed. Hysterical, right?

 After the disappointment of The Whistle Stop Cafe, we decided to just skip lunch and continue on our way to the famous peach stand where Rachel proceeded to get peaches and I got peanut butter ice cream (did I mention that I am eating my way across America?? I can’t seem to be stopped).

This was not the most nutritious meal, but both were lovely and helped turn around our moods. After the peach stand stop, we proceeded to The Smith Byrd House, our adorable new home for the night. When I was researching places to stay in Montgomery, I came across this B&B and knew it was where I wanted to stay. There was something so very sweet about the look of it and its innkeepers, Beth and David. After reaching out to them about possibly staying with them I received a welcoming note back saying they would love to have us and I felt like I already had friends in Montgomery!

I have to be honest about something though- I have never actually stayed at B&B before and I was worried I wasn’t going to like it. The scene from the movie, “Flirting With Disaster”, where Ben Stiller’s character goes on and on about why he hates B&B’s, kept replaying in my head.

….

– Oh I hate B & B’s.

– Why do you hate B&B’s?

– Well, first of all, there’s no privacy and you have to make chitchat…with the boring old lady who runs the place.

– That’s kind of the fun, isn’t it?

– and there’s always the little cat…you have to pretend like you like the cat.

…..

This scene always made me laugh and now it was making me a little worried.

When we  arrived at The Smith Bryd House, it was after dark and we were both in need of a bed. As we got out of the car, Dave, the innkeeper, greeted us warmly with a big smile and offered to help us with our bags…and he seemed totally normal! PHEW. He brought us into the house and the first thing I noticed was it smelled like chocolate chip cookies and cinnamon and spice. I love when a house smells like a bakery. It makes me feel all cozy and warm. He showed us to our room and it was perfect- a big cushy bed, a clawfoot tub and clean towels.  After 11 nights in hotel beds it was so nice to be in a home. I felt cozy and taken care of- like I was staying with family.

After saying our hello’s and chatting for a bit Rachel and I excused ourselves to get some sleep. The bed at the Smith Bryd house was the best bed of the trip… hands down. It was like sleeping in a cloud. A cloud that caused me to over-sleep and almost miss the amazing breakfast they made for us. We were greeted by a gorgeous table (with enviable china on it) and a big breakfast of fruit, eggs and bacon and oh, homemade scones accompanied by lemon curd and clotted cream (Beth’s Specialty).

We spent the morning chatting with them about life, Montgomery and scone recipes while eating our  breakfast. If this is what the world of B&B’s is like than I may be a B&B kinda girl after all…

Thank you Beth and David for making our night in Montgomery so special!!

(bottom three pictures by One Part Gypsy)

Our day in Montgomery up next!!

….

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87

12 Apr

ROAD TRIP!!

So sorry for the very late post! It’s been an interesting day for sure- I blame it all on the lack of sleep and coffee.

Here’s a snap shot from our adventure today…cactuses are pretty awesome in Tucson!

Regular posts start tomorrow

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110

20 Mar

LEARN TO COOK : JEWISH APPLE CAKE

What I am about to share with you is hands down the MOST delicious dessert I have ever been in contact with. I dream of this cake. I lurve this cake. I have a sneaking suspicion that what makes this cake so special is the fact you put orange juice in it! That and the pounds of sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon you pour into the batter (just turn your head when adding all the good stuff and you can pretend you didn’t know). My Aunt Michelle first introduced it to me 8 months ago when she served it for dessert at her house. For this, I owe her my first-born. Kidding. I’m not really going to give her my first-born for a cake, but I did think about it.

My aunt Michelle is the most generous, loving and kind person I know.  She is the bed-rock in our family. She has always shown up when her family has needed her and I’m not sure how we would survive without her. She spent months back east (away from her life ) taking care of her sister Debbie (my aunt) when she was dying. She did the same when my Grandfather Tilly was ill and needed her. I don’t know how she does it. She is constantly teaching me what it means to be selfless.

I still feel bad about the time she came to pick me up at kindergarten and I looked at her with a major attitude and said, “I don’t take kindly to strangers”. I totally knew who she was and to this day still don’t know why I said that to her! She did not deserve such treatment!

On top of all her lovely qualities as a human being, she can also bake! Sadly, I didn’t learn this until I started 365 til 30 because  I wasn’t that concerned with who could cook or bake unless their name was Whole Foods. I have been surprised to learn that I have a lot of good cooks in my life!

Since eating this cake, for the first time I’ve hounded Michelle to invite me over so she could teach me how to make it and I finally succeeded! Even Brian, who is not a cake kinda guy, loved it. I brought a huge batch home but trashed it the next morning when I realized where it was headed for me- having cake for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert is never a good idea. I had to be stopped.

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Ingredients:

6 cups of peeled thinly sliced granny smith apples (about 3 large apples)/ 1 1/2 cups, plus 5 tablespoons of granulated sugar divided/ 4 teaspoons of cinnamon/ 3 cups of all-purpose flour/ 1 tablespoon of baking powder/ 1/2 teaspoon of salt/ 4 eggs/ 1/2 cup of light brown sugar/ 1 cup of vegetable oil/ 1/2 cup of orange juice/ 2 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 and grease, sugar and flour a ten inch bundt pan/ combine apple slices with 5 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon set aside/ combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside/ beat eggs with remaining sugar and brown sugar, add vegetable oil, orange juice and vanilla extract and beat well/ gradually blend in flour mixture and mix well/ Pour one-third of the mixture into pan and top with half the apple slices/ pour in batter and top with the rest of the apple slices/ top with remaining batter. make sure all the apple slices are covered/ bake 55 to 60 minutes until the top turns golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean/ let it cool ten minutes

124

6 Mar

LEARN TO COOK: CHICKEN & DUMPLINGS

Teacher : My Mom-Mom aka my Grandmother

Dish: Chicken & Dumplings

My Mom Mom has been making this famous dish of hers for the last 50 years! Can you believe that?? She’s been making chicken and dumplings for fifty years! I think it’s safe to say she’s perfected her recipe at this point. She started making chicken & dumplings many moons ago back in Delaware to feed her large family (one husband and six children to be exact) because it was cheap, easy to make and the results fed a lot of people. Considering I will probably never have six children (I think I would have had to start by now), I will make it for dinner parties instead!!

The dish is so yummy…imagine the best chicken noodle soup you have ever had and then times it by 100- the “melt in your mouth dumplings” are heaven and the chicken is so moist. Making the dumplings was so much easier than I thought it would be! Mom Mom gave me a quick lesson about how to handle the dough and passed the baton to me but stood by to oversee my work- I think she was pleased with the results.

 My Mom Mom is such an incredible lady- she’s smart, lively, funny and opinionated. She loves her family and at 89 has raised six children (3 boys & 3 girls), has six grandchildren (5 boys and me) and one great-grandchild (who happens to be the cutest little lady you may ever meet). She likes to call people “cute as a button” and the way it rolls off her tongue you can’t help but smile. When we were cooking it hit me how thankful I was for this experience. It’s only recently that she moved from Delaware (her home for over 85 years) to Los Angeles and I have had the joy of seeing her more often…lucky me!
This cooking lesson will be up there as one of my top favorite memories from the year because learning how to cook from people I love isn’t just about the food. I love the conversation, I love to hear the stories, I love the laughter and I love the warmth. I also love that my Dad used to eat this dish when he was a little boy and to think that I will make it for my children one day warms my heart (as cliché as that may sound!).
During our afternoon I was also struck by how thankful I am for 365 til 30. It has brought so much joy and brought me closer to everyone in my life. As funny as this may sound, it’s brought my life to life! I cherish these moments with the people I love and learning their favorite dishes has become one of the best parts of 365 til 30.

 The best take away from the evening other than a full belly was the hand-written recipe she wrote for me. I’m a sucker for hand written recipes…especially one that was signed with this…

For my one and only darling Granddaughter, Kate

Mom Mom with Love. 

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RECIPE

thoroughly wash organic chicken and place in roasting pan with chopped celery and onion/ Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours/to prepare dumpling mix add 2 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 3/4 cup warm water/ roll out on lightly floured surface/ drop in one inch pieces and cook for 7 minutes.

128

2 Mar

20 things that have been making me happy recently…

1. 365 til 30

2. my hot pink nails

3. when Brian wakes me up in the morning with a kiss

4. cooking with my grandmother

5. iced coffee

6. conversations with Chantal even though she’s far away.

7. fun meetings

8. this note from the universe

The presumption, Kate, at all times and under all circumstances, should always be that you are good enough, worthy enough, and lovable enough. And that you are exactly the right kind of person, in the right place, at the right time. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have been instilled with such dreams in the first place. 
Love you, The Universe

9. cooking a Mexican feast with Taline

10. celebrating Brian’s birth

11. eating chocolate cake for breakfast

12. researching hotels for the road trip

13. this Rumi poem

THE GUEST HOUSE

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

14. a hysterical date night with my little brother.

15. the smell of jasmine

16. writing post 129

17. long slumbers 4 nights in a row

18. clear focus

19. babies giggles

20. sessions with Maggi

What’s been making you guys happy recently??

130

29 Feb

LEARN HOW TO COOK : MEXICAN FEAST

Teacher : My lovely friend Taline

Dish: Mexican Feast

Location: Taline’s Casa

When I started 365 til 30 I thought learning how to cook was going to be the most challenging goal to accomplish this year but boy, was I wrong because I am really starting to LOVE cooking. This is coming from a woman who couldn’t scramble eggs 7 months ago (true story). I also thought that the tango was going to be my easiest goal to master and boy, was I wrong again because, simply put, the tango and I have issues.

My last cooking lesson was such a treat! Learning how to make a Mexican Feast from one of my best girlfriends proved to be a hysterical, fun and delicious experience….so what it took us 3 hours, a bottle of champagne and ski goggles to finish cooking the meal!!! On the menu : roasted pepper salsa, guacamole, skirt steak, refried beans and queso fundito with chorizo. Queso fundito with chorizo literally translates into melted cheese with spicy sausage…I mean, how can you go wrong with that??

The minute I arrived at Taline’s house she handed me that special pink apron with ruffles you see in the picture above and asked me if I was ready to cook. In that moment, I knew she meant business and I decided not to put up a fight about the pink apron. She then proceeded to tell me that she was teaching five dishes. In that moment, I knew that I shouldn’t have come hungry because it was going to be a while before my belly was seeing that Mexican food. Then she told me that she had done a menu test run the night before with her mother (who is from Mexico) to make sure she was on her game and in that moment I knew the wait was going to be worth it.

It was a hysterical three hours spent in the kitchen that culminated in us wearing ski goggles to cut the onions. We both happen to be terribly sensitive to those little bastards so Taline came up with the idea of cutting them with ski goggles on. Brilliant, huh??? I mean truly brilliant. Bravo Taline…bravo. She also happens to be the most gracious teacher…even sending me this text after I left-

“It was so nice having you over and you cooked quite the feast tonight with the coolest calm…you are super zen in the kitchen. xoxo”

She let me take all the credit but I could not have done it without her!

When we finally sat down to eat our Mexican feast, I wasn’t even sure I was hungry anymore. That was until I took my first bite of queso fundido with chorizo and almost died- it tasted like heaven.

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Recipe’s coming!