Tag Archives: cooking

Mmmm, cook for me

You know who I want to cook for me? Canadian chef Michael Smith. I never heard of him until the last year when I’ve turned on the TV and flipped around (or rather pressed) the channels and occasionally came across his show “Chef at Home” where he is cooking in his (very nice) house. That kitchen!! Be still my covetous, hungry heart. He has this pantry stocked with glass jars filled with every kind of seasoning or extra you might want. There are always fresh ingredients in his refrigerator. He never opens something up, sniffs, and says, “What was THAT?” before tossing it in the garbage.

He talks about food and cooking while he works and makes it all sound so accessible. I can cook but I don’t want to go to a lot of trouble. He, on the other hand, always makes a proper meal with several sides AND a dessert. In the shows I’ve seen he is usually cooking for his wife and little son, Gabe. (Gabe eats the food happily and doesn’t throw tantrums or spit it out although editing might have a hand in that.) The food looks wonderful and did I say I love the way he talks about it? He’s practically giddy over the dishes (just like I’d be).

It isn’t that I want to be on a DATE with Michael Smith while he cooks for me (it’s not like that); I just want him to cook for me.

I only noticed last week that the shows I’ve been watching are from 2005! So when I googled him now to see who he is and look him up on Facebook, I was surprised to see this guy with a graying beard. But then, 11 years have passed. It threw me off though not unlike when I was a kid and watched Shirley Temple films – I was really surprised to learn she was this older lady named “Shirley Temple Black.”

I would not have guessed Smith was Canadian; he’s got a Seattle kind of vibe about him or maybe California (although the house and grounds looked vaguely like New England to me). He reminds me, in looks and demeanor of the character John Corbett played on Northern Exposure, the laid-back DJ guy, although Smith isn’t so laid back as that. Anyway, apparently he’s quite famous. So I don’t think he will cook for me.

Michael

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Easy Squash & Red Pepper Soup

The rule of thumb for vegetables is that the deepest, richest colors – dark green, deep red, bright orange – are the most nutritious. I used two, squash and red peppers, to make this easy, no-cook, delicious soup.

I only recently discovered that squash is sold frozen, which is great if you don’t have time, space, or inclination to buy and cook your own. Here’s the ingredients I used:
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I used these canned peppers but you could buy fresh ones and cook them too.

I used these canned peppers but you could buy fresh ones and cook them too.

I cut up half an onion and a clove of garlic and sautéed them in a bit of oil.

I cut up half an onion and a clove of garlic and sautéed them in a bit of oil.

I put a cup of water in the blender, added the defrosted squash, 5 rinsed red peppers, and the sauteed onions & garlic, and blended till smooth. I heated a cup of the soup in the microwave to eat. That’s it! So good.

Look how gorgeous that color is.

Look how gorgeous that color is.

A Healthy Microwave Brownie (anyone can make – really!)

Recently I saw a recipe for a microwave brownie on a a blog. It had a lot more sugar & oil than I use in my diet and baking, but it gave me the idea to experiment with making a healthier version that I’d still actually want to eat. If you’re used to typical brownies, this much less sweet version will be an adjustment, but if you’re like me and don’t want or have a lot of sugar or sweets in your diet, this brownie is a treat.

The ingredients are all typically found in the baking aisle of the grocery store:
Whole wheat flour
Canola oil
Cocoa powder
Cinnamon
(Sugar)

It’s not essential to buy the specific brands pictured. I use Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa but the regular cocoa is fine too.
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You’ll need a (microwave-safe) small bowl or a cup, and a spoon. I use an oversize mug.
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And a quarter cup water.
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Mix together in the bowl or cup:
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
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Stir in till smooth:
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon canola oil
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Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
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I like to eat mine right out of the cup, but here’s how it looks on a plate.
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Close-up.
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An even healthier version, pictured below, can be made by omitting the Canola oil and/or cutting back on the cocoa powder to 1 or 2 teaspoons.
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“War Time Fish Cookery” (1943 style)

This is the second of three old pamphlets I found at a used book sale. The first one is here. This government publication by the Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Conservation Bulletin 27, is copyrighted 1943 and originally cost 10 cents. The font on “Wartime” makes it appear like war is fun. You just have to have the right attitude… why, and some fish!

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The opening page has a more official, governmental look to it.

The opening page has a more official, governmental look to it.

The booklet is mostly composed of recipes but opens with basic information.

There's something about these illustrations, maybe it's the fish's expression...

There’s something about these illustrations, maybe it’s the fish’s expression…

The buying advice at the bottom is - yikes! - 70 years old but it's still the same as what you'd read today. How often does THAT happen, especially with food?

The buying advice at the bottom is – yikes! – 70 years old but it’s still the same as what you’d read today. How often does THAT happen, especially with food?

Look at all these types of “fish most commonly found in the market.”

Butterfish? Rosefish? Scup??

Butterfish? Rosefish? Scup??

Tautog? Tomcod? Sheepshead?? (Clearly I don't know my fish...)

Tautog? Tomcod? Sheepshead?? (Clearly I don’t know my fish…)