FüD and Jack Fruit

27 May

Wow, I wanted to share something with you guys that happened today!  I went to this really awesome place for lunch called  FüD.  (Vegan Organic, but that is a whole ‘nother post.)

So, I had this really awesome ice cream minus the cream.  It is made out of raw cashew nuts and it even had a carob chocolate syrup on top.  It was truly amazing! (If you are wondering I did eat this before I ate my meal:)

I had something called the rainbow wrap.  Basically it was a yummy salad on a nori wrap. (nori wrap is a piece of seaweed; the kind they wrap sushi in.)  So there was a variety of mixed greens, red and yellow bell peppers, sliced cucumber, slices of apple, thinly sliced sweet red onion, topped with pieces of avocado and dried oregano.  Rainbow Wrap is  served with this yummy cashew sauce-dressing stuff.  It was so beautiful to look at and delicious.  It was so good that I forgot to take a picture of it.  DOH!!!  Oh well.

Again, the place is called FüD. (Sustainable, Organic, Local, Food) I think that is what it stands for??  FüD is located at 813 Summit, Downtown Kansas City, Missouri.  You must go there if you enjoy healthy yummy food!

Something else that I would like to share with you that I have discovered at different times of visiting this restaurant is something called Jack Fruit.  Sometimes people call it dragon fruit.  They have several things that they serve it with at FüD.  They make something called Tuna Rahh.  It goes in place of where you would serve meat.  Like in the Tuna Rahh it is the star of a mock tuna fish.  It doesn’t taste like our traditional fruit (however, I haven’t tasted it alone)  It takes on the flavors that you mix it with very well (kind of like tofu)  and the texture is that of tuna fish.  Pretty wild when you are eating it and remembering that it is actually fruit!!

I am not really sure where you can buy Jack Fruit, I am assuming that Whole Foods or Asian Markets might carry it.

When I get the guts to make a recipe with it I will be sure to share it with you.

Health & Nutrition Benefits of Eating Jack-fruit

* Being rich in potassium, Jack-fruit helps in the lowering of the blood pressure.
* The extract of Jack-fruit root is believed to help cure fever as well as diarrhea.
* Jack-fruit contains phyto-nutrients, with health benefits ranging from anti-cancer to anti-hypertensive.
* Jack-fruit root has been found to be beneficial for those suffering from asthma.
* The root of Jack-fruit is said to be good for the treatment of a number of skin problems.
* Jack-fruit has been found to have anti-aging, antioxidant and anti-ulcer properties.

You should see the nutritional values for this stuff, it’s off the charts! Dig in Baby!  (Yes, I always get giddy about good nutrition!  Wait till you see my up and coming web-site!!)

I will post some more pictures the next time I visit their restaurant.  P.S.  It’s brand new, and one of the few places in Kansas City that serve nothing but Vegan Organic Foods.  So if you are a veg head then this is the spot for you.

The owners are really nice and very helpful especially if you are trying to avoid certain things like wheat!

Bon Appetit!

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HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!!

17 Mar

Top O’ The Mornin’ to ya!!


Okay, so yes I have been made fun of for my bright green car.  But hey, on days like this it really comes in handy.  I let the guys in the office next door have it every year on St. Patty’s day.  They have a wall of windows in their office overlooking where we park.

I always try to pull up to work on St. P Day with my bright green car (of course!) a green outfit, talking on my green phone, and anything else I can whip up.

It’s always a lot of fun getting out of my car because I know they are like

WOW, that is green overload.

I used to say that my favorite color was blue and it has been for many years, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized I had a true love for the color green.  Some say I am crazy to have JUST  discovered this.  Well maybe just a little.

It was the fall of 07′ when I purchased my Kiwi Green Honda Element.  It was love at first sight!  I had to have one.  It wasn’t until someone commented to me while giving them the tour of my interesting vehicle.  They said, “Is green your favorite color?”  I was like, “No, why?” I was actually confused why they would ask.

Yes, I was serious!!!  I know, I replayed the conversation that night and thought it sounded funny too.  You know, the fact that I was surprised they asked that.  It really made me laugh too.

I began to think about my color choices with things.  And VOILA, I realized I was truly a green enthusiast.

I had just become conditioned to say that blue was my favorite color.  Hey, why can’t a girl have two favorite colors??

Well, I think I really got honest when I bought the green cell phone, it was just the natural choice.  I also have a favorite green pen at work that someone gave me the other day and sadly a green covered iPod.  Oh well, I know you guys won’t hold it against me.

So that’s my green confession!  I LOVE GREEN! and blue…

So, with this story follows another, secretly I love St. Patrick’s Day!  It’s a great excuse to wear green and to have some fun with friends and even complete strangers.  Plus, there’s always green beer!

Kansas City is dense with Irish people so it has always been a very celebrated event here.  There is always tons of Irish parties, festivals and two parades.  I had a girlfriend when I was young, whose family was Irish and they would have their own St. Patties Parties, it was a Hoot!!  Her grandmother was the biggest party’r of all, they even died their beer green, boat-loads of fun!

When I was in high-school my sister and I would sneak out to of school and go to the parade.  Sometimes we didn’t have to sneak and our mom would just call us in.  It was a blast!  We felt like it was an adventure, we made most of our friends mad that they had to be in school.  One time, we didn’t even make it to the parade on time, we just got lost and drove around until the parade was over.  (I wasn’t driving…)

Unfortunately, it almost always rains on St. Patrick’s Day, which makes for  a soggy parade.

When this would happen, my sister and I would go to Perkins.  That was the place to go after events, still is, I think?

Are you IRISH? And do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?  I have a little Irish in my genes, among other things.

It’s funny sometimes you get people who are like bah humbug. They notice that you are wearing green and question your Irish heritage.  I just laugh.  Just so you know, I don’t care if you are Irish or not, if you want to celebrate, then by all means, GO TO TOWN, I’ll be the one right next to you in GREEN!

HELLO-OH!

9 Mar

HELLO-OH!

Hey guys!  I’m still around here, doin my thang.  Just haven’t really had a whole lot of time to cook or post anything in the last week.  Alright this is the edit to this post:  I have not given up on you.  I took some awesome pictures for this post and haven’t been able to get them off of my sim card.  ARGHHH! So for now you’ll have to read just text, shortly I should have it fixed or have a new camera…Whoo Hoo to the last one.

But I do have a recipe that I wanted to share for potatoes.  I was at the President’s Day Sale at Price Chopper the other week and picked up a 10 lb. bag of russet potatoes for only 99¢.  I was so proud of myself.   I will admit that I did go to that store specifically for the potatoes.  I couldn’t pass up the deal!  I’m a deal junkie, okay not really.

You can feed an army on potatoes!

So I get home and it dawns on me that I have no idea what I am going to do with all these potatoes!!!  I don’t really make anything with potatoes unless it’s mashed, baked or in with a roast.  Even at that we don’t eat a ton of potatoes.

Flipped on PBS and caught the Cooking with Julia & Jacques: Cooking at Home.  Guess what they were cooking… Yep POTATOES!!!  I was so excited!  They had a special name for the two recipes of potatoes that they were doing.  I don’t remember honestly.  But we’ll just call them scalloped.

The recipe was so easy that you don’t really need to use a recipe.  I just took notes in my head and then ran into the kitchen to hurriedly put my own potato dish together.

For this recipe I recommend using a food processor as it makes it very fast and easy.  (I refuse to slice potatoes this thin by hand.)

What you’ll need:

12″ saucepan (oven safe) or something about same size

8 med-large potatoes (doesn’t have to be exact)

1 Quart Stock (Whatever you like)

1 Onion

1-2 Sprigs of Thyme

Salt/Pepper to Taste

First, pre-heat your oven to 350°.  Next, you will want to get your potatoes peeled and then sliced in the food processor. (You could use a mandolin, too)  Slice your onion in the food processor as well.  If doing by hand, you want your slices to be fairly thin so they will cook through in the oven.

Side note:  Do not rinse your potatoes after sliced.  You will need all of the starch to make your sauce into a thick, yummy, bubbly dish.

Put your sliced potatoes and onions in your saucepan and on to the stove top.  Give ’em a gentle toss to distribute.  Add stock, just covering the potatoes.  Salt and Pepper to taste.  Bring mixture to a low boil.  Turn the burner off and tuck your sprig or sprigs of Thyme into the mix.

Toss it into the oven uncovered for about 30 min.  Just check for doneness.  As I said before I made this dish without a recipe.  So, if I can do it, then I know you’ll be able to pull it off.

This is very versatile too, you can sub Rosemary for Thyme or whatever you like.  They also made some similar to this dish but used half milk and half cream and some butter.  You can do whatever you want just use your imagination.

It was a definite husband pleaser, he was impressed at how yummy and full of flavor they were.

EGGIES!

15 Feb

Well, as some of you know already, I have been a little under the weather this last week.  So, I didn’t feel up to making a new dish this week.

However, that doesn’t mean that I slacked on my cooking school lessons.  This week I am learning about eggs.

Okay, okay, I know your initial reaction is probably the same as mine.  Eggs?  Do I really need to learn about eggs.  Eggs are like the first thing that people learn to make as a kid.  You’d think that by the time you are an adult that you would at least have eggs down, right?  WRONG!

Okay, so we’ll all need to put our egg pride behind us and I’ll share some interesting info on eggs that I have been learning.  Believe me I am really surprised at all of the different things that I am learning.

White Eggs, Brown Eggs, Little Eggs, Big Eggs, Blue Eggs, Turkey Leggs.  The color or shape of the egg doesn’t make an egg healthier or less healthier for you.  It depends on the feed that the chickens were given.  I always look for eggs that have been  given Omega-3 and Omega-6.  It is also important to me that they are range free organic eggs.

You’ll notice the yolk will be orange in color rather than yellow.  The nutritional value is much higher than a regular hen that is just fed grain.

Range free means that the hens were allowed to roam the yard and feed on bugs, grass and anything else  they can find.  I’m sure that they are still fed grain as well.

Don’t get me wrong I don’t always buy my eggs like this, sometimes I can be a cheapo and just buy regular white eggs.  For some reason I always had it stuck in my head that brown eggs were healthier.

Boiling Eggs:

Get your pan full of cold water add about 2 tsp of salt per liter of water and then bring it to a boil, turn down to a simmer and with a large spoon add each egg being careful not to crack the shell.

Soft Boiled Eggs: 8 Min.

Med. Boiled Eggs: 10 Min.

Hard Boiled Eggs: 12 Min.

Once your egg timer goes off put your eggs in a bath of cold ice water to stop the cooking or you might end up with grey egg yolks. P.S. Your yolks should remain a bright yellow color.

The best way to enjoy a hard-boiled egg is to slice it open and add pat of butter, salt and a shake of pepper.  Try it… you just might like it too!

Did you know that you can check the freshness of an egg by putting it in a bowl of water?  If it sinks then it is pretty fresh, if the pointy part of the egg floats a little bit then it is less than fresh, and if it floats all together throw the egg away, it’s old.  This is because the shell of an egg can absorb air and moisture which accumulates at the tip of the egg.  Have you ever noticed the air pocket at the top of a hard boiled egg?  This is why the old ones float the older they are the more air it absorbs.  I thought that was interesting.

Oddly enough older eggs make better hard boiled eggs, go figure??

If you find yourself saying, “I forgot whether I boiled this egg or not”; No worries, just spin it!  Yes, just put it on the counter if it spins pretty fast then it’s already been boiled.  If it barely spins then it hasn’t been boiled.  I thought that was pretty cool.

There is lots of other stuff that I will have to share with you another time.

These were some of the basics but in the future I will be learning about:

  • Scrambling Eggs

  • Making Omelets

  • Poaching Eggs

  • Making a Frittata

  • Braising Eggs

  • Pan Frying

SAUCES!!!

8 Feb

Basic Tomato Sauce

I love sauce! Don’t you?  I will confess I am a dipper at heart.  If some kind of sauce or dip is involved I am very happy!

So this last week I have been concentrating on learning the sauce section in the culinary school.  The 5 Mother Sauces. Once you learn these you will be able to make any dinner into a gourmet delight!

On Sunday, I made the basic tomato sauce from the Rouxbe Online Cooking School that I am studying with.   But let me tell you, this was no basic tomato taste.

It turned out fabulous.  Reminded me of your authentic Italian style marinara, but I’m talking authentic!!  It was awesome I was drooling to try it before the sauce was even finished.  I held out though…

It all started with Whole Canned Tomatoes, Tomato Paste, Garlic Cloves, a little Onion and some Olive Oil.  That’s it, that’s all that went into it.

Here’s the recipe:

1/4 Onion
4      Large Cloves Garlic
1/2  Cup Olive Oil
4      Cans 28 oz. Whole Tomatoes
1       Can Tomato Paste 5.5 oz.

The first step is to seed your tomatoes.  (Yes, you are going to take all the seeds out.)  They recommend that you do this with a food mill.  If you do not have one of these things on hand, get a large bowl and a large mesh sieve and you can do it by hand.  Remember to keep the sauce is in the can you will use all of this.

This is how I did it.  The first tomato went fast, I was like this isn’t so bad, until I realized how many whole tomatoes are in a 28 oz. can.  Don’t get me wrong; it is so worth it, but for next time I will be getting a food mill.

Once you seed your tomatoes, (EDIT: I forgot to tell all of you people doing this by hand that you will need to crush your tomatoes afterward, picture marinara sauce.)

You will need to get a large pot heated to about med/low.  A heavy bottomed pot works the best.  While that’s heating go ahead and get the rest of your mise en place*(see note below) ready.  Small dice your onion, emince ( A-MAHN-SAY; to finely slice-not mince) your garlic, measure out your tomato paste and olive oil.

Once your pot is at the right temperature add your olive oil, then add your onion.  Saute them until they are lightly golden, DO NOT OVERCOOK THEM as they can give the sauce a bitter taste.  Same goes for the garlic.  Once the onions are slightly golden throw your garlic in and stir.  Let them cook between 30 sec to a minute.

Tomato Paste and Garlic

Then put your tomato paste in.  Keep mixing the tomato paste in with the onion and garlic, it will still be pretty pasty.  You are looking for the paste to darken a shade in color.
Once this has happened it is time to add your tomatoes and the sauce that came with them.  Bring the whole thing to a simmer and cook uncovered for about an hour.  Keep stirring from time to time to prevent scorching.

This recipe will make 3 Liters of sauce.  I halved the recipe as I didn’t have enough canned tomatoes and it was perfect.  If making the full recipe you can freeze this sauce and it will be great re-heated slowly.

My sauce turned out fabulously, we put it over pasta but there are many many wonderful uses for this sauce as it could also be used as a base in many recipes. (Chicken Parmesan, Lasagna, Pizza etc.)

Tonight I plan on putting over a thin crusted pizza will fresh basil for a snack.  I’m drooling just thinking about it.


I did take some pictures of this process, but realized that I am going to have to hire my talented husband in the future, as I am not gifted in this area, plus it’s hard to take a picture of yourself seeding tomatoes while your up to your ears in tomato juice and seeds.  That would have made a good picture!!  I ‘ll post my not-so-professional pictures later.

I encourage you to try this recipe as it was a LOT of fun to make and reminded me of Cascone’s authentic Italian Marinara.

Almost forgot, after the sauce has finished thickening, you can add a drizzle of olive oil and some torn fresh basil to make it even more yummy.

I am definitely going to make a HUGE batch next time so that I can freeze some for later.  The half batch that I made wasn’t enough for much left overs, it’s almost gone!!

*Mise En Place– This by far has been the most beneficial thing that I have learned in cooking school yet.  Seriously, this french phrase as been the foundation for me to becoming the cook that I desire to be.

Pronounced Meez-Ahn-Plahs (I’m no english teacher, but I get the job done.)

This is a french culinary term meaning to have all your ingredients diced, sliced and on the ready before you start.

EVERYTHING IN IT’S PLACE

Today it is used much more loosely as it means to just gather all your ingredients and having yourself set up for the recipe.

More than a culinary term; it is also a state of mind.

If you are making a dish or recipe that has a lot of ingredients that require prepping you MUST have you mise en place ready.  It is essential to having everything come out right.

Flip on the food channel and watch the chefs cook, they have everything pretty much ready to go.  I always thought that was just TV but there was something to it.

Now I am sure to do this ahead of time with whatever I am cooking and I have an easier time managing a bunch of different things at once.

If I could only paint you a before picture of what I used to look like while preparing a meal.  It wasn’t pretty people!

So when you here me say mise en place, you know what I mean.

Asian Pork Pot Roast!

1 Feb

A Big Hit!!! Secret Ingredient: Star Anise and Szechuan Peppercorns

Yesterday I made Asian Pork Pot Roast with Jasmine Rice and Glazed Carrots.  I was very excited to see how it would come out.  I went out earlier in the day searching for some of the special ingredients (which was so worth it!)

I cooked the Pot Roast for 4 1/2 hours on 200°.  It came out so good that my husband couldn’t stop raving about it.  My husband is a VERY picky eater so to get his approval is really a trophy.  So afterward, he complemented the dinner again.  I was very proud and thankful that I made a dinner that he enjoyed so much.

As we were laying in bed drifting off to sleep, my husband started to talk about he meal AGAIN!  I had to politely tell him to go to sleep, but at that point I realized it was starting to happen.  I was starting to LOVE to cook.  This was one of my goals in this endeavor.

You see it’s like this in anything you do in life.  If you put your heart into something and you really go after it, you will become better at it.  Most things in this life are attainable, some things are easier than others, and some things are more difficult but if you really buckle down and don’t give  up you can do anything you set out to do.

With these little victories that you start accomplishing, little by little they will add up to confidence boosters and your cooking skills will really start to shine.

I have started to realize that I am starting to really love cooking.  I’m sure that you will too!

Here’s a link to the recipe!

Knife Skills: Part 2

27 Jan

Learning to Cut:

  • The Rolling Technique

  • The Pivot Technique

  • The Up & Down Chopping Technique

These are the 3 main types of Cutting Techniques.

The Rolling Technique will be used most often in the kitchen.  So this is the Lesson we will discuss today.  It is quite easy to get the hang of but practice makes perfect.  You will need your Chefs or Sotuku Knife (whichever you prefer) and a big enough cutting board to accommodate your knife.

To start learning about the Rolling Technique you will just be using your knife and cutting board.  With this technique the knife will roll through the food doing the work for you.

The front of the knife will never leave the board as you drag it back towards the food that you cutting.  The back part of the knife is lifted and then pushed forward again.  As you get the hang of it you’ll start to see that you are making a circle; have someone hold up a circular lid next to where your cutting to better demonstrate this for you.

The school recommends mastering this technique with just the knife and board first before you begin working with food.

Tip: Always make sure that you are using the proper size cutting board for the knife and food that you are working with.

Stay tuned, there will be pictures and videos added to better demonstrate each lesson.