Weekend Fit for a Foodie

 

                                                                     Weekend Fit for a Foodie  
                                  
My gleeful selfie-photo at Julia’s house.        My Butternut Squash recipe is at the end of this post.
I’m back from a food-oriented weekend in the Boston, MA area.  I stopped in Cambridge to see where Julia Child lived and cooked.  I was hoping to see a plaque honoring Julia, but there was only a sign discouraging cars from stopping…you can’t stop a foodie from taking photos, including my most gleeful selfie ever.  I later had dinner at Harvest Restaurant, where I had dined many years ago. Before Sara Molton was a TV chef, she used to chef at Harvest and she also in Julia Child’s Cambridge kitchen.

          
Beet, cheese and cranberry appetizer.         Artic Char on black rice with vanilla sauce.
The meal was as good as I remembered, especially the sauces.  My dinner companion and I shared a beet appetizer that was the star of the meal.  I took this photo after we ate half of it.  My entrée was Arctic Char on a bed of black rice entrée: check out those “balls of vanilla sauce” that were a standout element in the dish.  We finished with a trio of homemade ice cream flavors: chocolate, maple and raspberry sorbet.  Ice cream is always a good gluten-free dessert choice.   When dining out, be prepared to ask questions about the gluten-free options.  By the way, the waiter was very attentive to my gluten-free needs.

Soup Anyone!?! My main purpose this weekend, was to attend a cooking class.  And, with all the snow we are getting in New York, I couldn’t have chosen a better topic.  Luckily, the class was sandwiched in between several snow storms!

Challenges of ADD  If you have read my posts, you know that my blog www.countrykitchenchaos.com  focuses on two main topics besides food: gluten-free living and attention deficit disorder (ADD).  My life is framed by these challenges and special gifts, both of which I’ve learned to appreciate.  Yet, I still need ways to manage my time and organizational issues.  My gift enables me to envision a creative marketing plan in no time; but I can have trouble sticking to a daily schedule.  Alas, getting my culinary business, Country Kitchen Center up and running is a challenge.  (Of course, this is true for any new business.)

               
A Demo on cutting onions.                                      Helen and Andrea. It’s fun to be a student.
Cooking Class in Action 
I got to attend a cooking class that is held in a home kitchen. I was excited to see how Helen conducts her classes, as I also use a home-based kitchen for my classes.  I always learn best when someone can model a task. In this case, how to organize and run a cooking class.  Helen had everything set to go and the class flowed smoothly.

She concurrently make three diverse soups.  The soup class a “watch and learn” class in which we followed the myriad steps of preparation, demonstration and taste evaluation.  I’m a hands-on teacher/student, but I could see the value in having students observe and then practice in their own kitchen.  She also did several demonstrations, including one on the use of salt in food dishes.  I liked that demo.

  Bouillabaisse with aioli toast.
The soups included a fish stock based Bouillabaisse.  I brought my own gluten-free bread and Helen was careful to toast my bread separately, and then spread the aioli before touching any gluten bread.  Another soup was a velvety, roasted butternut squash soup, with a pomegranate reduction.

The last soup, made in a pressure cooked was a smokey lentil soup.  All were delicious and beautifully presented.  If you are interested in finding out more about Helen’s cooking classes, check out her website www.helenrennie.com  for her own recipes.  I will give you my own version of a butternut squash soup.  I also roast the vegetables, which caramelizes them and brings out the sweetness.  Helen showed us an easy way to peel the squash, which I will include in the recipe below.

The Take-Away  After the class, Helen graciously sat with me and talked about how she started and built her business.  My conversation with Helen was an example of true networking and hands-on learning.  I thank her for reaching out to a fellow cooking teacher.  She has given me much “food-for-thought” in building my food business – and making soups!  Merci beaucoup.

   Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with sour cream and toasted nuts

Ingredients:
1 medium Butternut squash, peeled and cut into wedges
1 sweet potato, cut in half
2 apple, peeled, cored and cut into quarters
2 onion, peeled and cut into wedges
olive oil for coating vegetables
4 cups broth: vegetable or chicken

optional: 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

For Serving:
sprinkle per serving walnuts or pecans, small pieces toasted
1 teaspoons per serving Sour Cream

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Prep ingredients and coat with olive oil.
Spread out in a single layer on baking tray.
Bake about 30 minutes, until all is nicely browned.
Puree in blender with a little broth until smooth.
Put soup, remaining broth and optional butter in a medium pot. Heat and serve.
Top with a dollop of sour cream and toasted nuts.

Notes:
Butternut squash – cut off top & bottom, peel from end to end, cut peeled flesh in half then cut into thinner pieces (triangles & rectangles)
Apples – cut top & bottom off, use peeler or knife to remove peel, cut into wedges, removing core
Onions – remove brown papery layer, cut into half
Coat all with olive oil  in a large work bowl and lay in 1 layer on tray.
You can use a blender wand, but the soup will not be a smooth if you use a regular blender.

Tips:
This soup can be a first course or a main dish, in which case follow with a salad and cheese course. 

 

                            

Comments and information:  Let me know how you like this winter soup pleaser…Post your soup photo with comments to this blog. www.countrykitchenchaos.com 
For more information about our gluten-free classes, workshops and consultation services go to our website: countrykitchencenter.com    In addition, you can email me at ckc@countrykitchencenter.com
Off-site classes:  We do classes at our kitchen center, as well as at the homes of host-students.  If you are interested in hosting a class, please call or text Andrea at #646-670-7699 to learn about the benefits.

 

 

 

 

As good as it gets, gluten-free buttermilk pancakes!


Country Kitchen Ch
aos focuses on two topics, close to my heart and daily life: Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and gluten intolerance and gluten allergies.  Someone might say it is a lot to deal with, but it has given me challenges that make the best of my life. As a person with ADD, I am always dealing time and organizational issues.  When I cook, I must be organized and specific with my cooking instructions.  If I want to double a recipe, then I write down the new amounts, otherwise I will make a mistake.  Mostly, I write the new amounts in a column, to the right of the one in the cookbook or on a printed computer page and put a 2X above the new amounts. If my eyes are straying to the single batch column, then I place a paper over it.   I doubled this pancake recipe since one batch is not enough for any pancake loving person. You can freeze any extra pancakes and have a tasty fast weekday breakfast.  You certainly won’t get gluten-free pancakes at any fast-food restaurant!

This weekend, I made amazing gluten-free fluffy buttermilk pancakes.  They fit my credo:  as good as regular-gluten food. I had a bottle of my favorite brand, “Kate’s Creamery – Real Buttermilk” and wanted to make a breakfast dish using it.  If you haven’t tried it, do so…it is the best thing to making it yourself!  I tweaked a pancake recipe from 1000 Gluten-Free Cookbook by Carol Fenster.  You can use her sorghum based flour blend or another all-purpose gluten-free flour mix. In either case, keep a gluten-free flour mix on hand for quick breakfasts and other baked recipes.

Here’s my method for making these pancakes, which are sure to be a family favorite.  Mix & blend well the dry ingredients.  In a separate large, liquid measuring cup, mix well the wet ingredients.  I added a little more buttermilk since the batter was too thick, but you may need to adjust it each time you make it.  It should be thick, but still pour slowly from the measure cup. I added two yellow organic, sliced bananas (save the really ripe one for your baked goods).  I also added 1/2 cup small pecans pieces; which increases the protein content. I gave it a spice boost with a bit of cinnamon.  Pancakes give you lots of room to play with your favorite flavor palette.

I mostly cook with cast iron pots & pans.  I have a griddle pan that covers two burners and can cook a small bunch – about 2 to 4 at a time.  Cast iron can over-heat quickly; keep a close eye on the heat level and even your first pancakes will be good ones.  When you make the pancakes, have some butter or oil melted and ready to brush your griddle. I use a silicone brush, one of my favorite tools.  Fill a scant 1/4 cup with batter and slowly pour it onto the hot griddle.  Cook until top side bubbles, then use two metal spatulas to flip the pancake.  Lift with one spatula and keep it from sliding as you turn it.  The second side will brown very quickly.  In no time, you will be enjoying a wonderful, hardy breakfast.  I serve the pancakes with real maple syrup and a touch of sour cream.  I get my syrup from local maple producers, one of the perks of living in upstate New York.  It’s also where I base my gluten-free cooking school, Country Kitchen Center.  Check out my website for details.  If you would like to schedule a class, check out my website: www.countrykitchencenter.com  and/or email me at ckc@countrykitchencenter.com.  I’ll be glad to touch base with you and assist with your gluten-free questions.

Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes
2 cups  all-purpose gluten-free flour blend
1/4 cup  sugar
2 teaspoons  baking powder
1 teaspoon  baking soda
1/2 teaspoon  salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 cup  buttermilk
1/4 cup butter
2  large eggs
2  teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2  bananas, sliced
1/2 cup  pecans, small pieces
Additional butter or oil, melted, for cooking

In a medium mixing bowl, measure & mix the dry ingredients, from flour mix to xanthan gum. In a 4 cup liquid measure cup, whisk wet ingredients until smooth.  Gradually add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.  Gently incorporate the bananas and pecans using a large wooden spoon.  Make sure all the flour is well mixed.  Let stand at least 5 minutes.
Heat griddle, lightly brush with melted butter or oil. Dip greased 1/4 cup into batter, level and quickly pour onto griddle.  When bubbles appear on top side, about 2-3 minutes, use 2 spatulas to turn and cook until bottom is brown, about 1 minute.  Continue until pancakes are done.  Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree oven.

Tips for making pancakes
Have your ingredients all prepped and the workspace ready.
Use cast iron pans and two spatulas for a better technique.
Pre-set your table.  Warm your food plates in a 200 degrees oven and keep cooked pancakes warm too.

 

A plumb of a gluten-free torte!

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Plum torte recipe at the bottom of this post. 
Notice in the close-up that some of the cake is shaped like a valentine.
Too bad, Italian plumbs are not in season around Valentine’s Day.

Country Kitchen Chaos has largely been a blog in name only.  I seldom published my blogs, but I accumulated many unpublished blogs and food photos.  This can be typical behavior for a person with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).  You start something and you don’t finish it.  The “chaos” in my title refers to ADD.  I needed a bigger incentive to blog.  I’ve got that incentive now.  I have launched a business, Country Kitchen Center (CKCtr). It’s a gluten-free culinary center that offers cooking classes, workshops, baking and catering as well as consultation services.  I will be linking my blog to my website www.countrykitchencenter.com   I call them kissing cousin sites.  I also am using my CKC Facebook page to share information.  If you wish to receive information or chat about gluten-free issues, please contact me.

When I moved to the country from New York city, I opened Buttercup Bakery.  I produced home-style baked good and English-style tea events.  I had to close this business when I finally realized I was gluten-intolerant and had to stop eating or baking with gluten flours.  But, I missed baking and I missed eating baked goods. So, I learned to bake with gluten-free flours and grains.  Finally, I was making baked goods that I missed in my gluten life, such as muffins, cookies & bread.  My bench mark for good gluten-free baking is that the products should taste like those made with gluten flours.

OK, here is the recipe for the Plum Torte.  Italian plums are in season in the fall.  So, make sure you keep this recipe until next fall.  They are the type that are shaped like tiny footballs.  I like to call it a cake; but it’s baked in a spring form pan and technically it’s a torte.  I got this recipe over 10 years ago, in the New York Times.  This is the first time I made a gluten-free version. I decided to use a one-to-one flour, as it only called for a small amount of flour and this makes it a quick, go-to recipe.  I think anyone can bake this torte; just be sure to grease the pan well.  The finished torte was so good that I ate two pieces while it was still warm. You couldn’t tell the difference from the wheat flour version! The taste is a perfect balance of a simple home-style cake and the brilliant sweet and tart flavor of the baked plums.  You may find yourself baking this often as it can be prepped and baked quickly. If you make the whipped cream; don’t leave the mixer while it is mixingit  or you can end up with butter.  You will have extra cream, but what’s the downside of that.

You will get 8 slices that will disappear faster thanyou can count to eight!

 

Gluten-Free Plum Torte

Inspired by Marion Burros, The New York Times

Prep time: 25 minutes; Bake time: 40 to 50 minutes

Servings: 8 regular slices or 16 just a slive-size slices

Ingredients

¾ cup granulated sugar

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

Combine:

1 cup gluten-free 1 to 1 flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill)

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

2 eggs, at room temperature, stirred slightly

24 halves pitted purple plums

¼ teaspoon almond extract

2 Tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Coconut Oil or Organic Canola Cooking Spray

Optional:  1 Cup whipped Heavy Cream.

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 9″ spring form pan with coconut oil or cooking spray.

Cream softened butter & sugar in stand mixer. Start on low and increase to medium speed.

Add dry ingredients: 1 to 1 gluten-free flour mix, baking powder, salt.  Add eggs.  Beat until well-combined.

Use a rubber spatula to transfer batter into pan.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, turning pan 1/2 through baking.  Remove and cool.  Serve with dollop of whipped cream.

Note:  This is really an Autumn dish, when plums are in season; but you can prep extra plums and freeze them.

 

 

A new chapter begins for Country Kitchen Chaos.

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Welcome to the cousin of my blog Country Kitchen Chaos.  The “country-cousin” is a gluten-free culinary business and website called Country Kitchen Center.  I will be addressing gluten-free related topics and concerns. I became familiar with all things gluten-free (GF) when I realized that I had a gluten intolerance. I’ve talked to a lot of  GF people who have gone through their own version of discovering that gluten was making them ill. I had had symptoms for a long time, such as blotted belly, fatigue and brain fog; but when I had to retreat to my bed, every afternoon with utter exhaustion, I knew I had to try cutting out gluten.  I stopped eating all gluten products and within a month, I was a changed person.  This helped one problem, but caused another one – I had a growing baking business.  Eventually, I phased out my regular flour baking business, Buttercup Bakery and Culinary Center.  I learned to cook and bake with out using gluten and that was a steep learning curve.  However, how glorious to eat foods such as pancakes, not get brain fog and need a nap!!

Happily, I started a food business suited to my new life-style.  I am using this blog and my Facebook pages: Andrea Skolnick and Country Kitchen Center to communicate and post information until I am able to put my website on-line. You can also use my gmail address until my business email is active on my website.  One major focus of my new endeavor will be teaching students how to live well with a mandatory gluten-free life-style.  And, I’m including their family and friends, who want to be able to accommodate the gluten-free needs of their loved ones.  My CKCenter makes a great transition from selling baked goods to holding hands-on baking and cooking classes.  Classes begin this fall and my schedule is below.  I can’t wait to hear from the big and growing gluten-free community with questions, comments etc.

By the way, I will continue to use CKBlog to post cooking and recipe information.  Stay tuned for one on an Autumn Plum Torte.  It’s one of my favorite desserts and I’ve modified it to being gluten-free.

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                                                            COUNTRY KITCHEN CENTER
“Where you can learn to love your gluten-free life”.

1299 County Rd. 35, PO Box 214, Guilford, NY 13780

amskolnick@gmail.com; #646-670-769

 

                             2016 Fall Schedule – Prices: $95.00 each class*, early-bird discounts available.

Sept. 17, 18*                10:00am – 1:00pm       Homestyle Baking– Big flavor & taste. Make a Gluten-Free mix. Bake Cookies, Cakes, Muffins, Scones.

Sept. 24, 25*                10:00am – 1:00pm      Breakfast Is Back – It’s a new game with gluten-free grains. Batter up for Pancakes, Waffles, Crepes & Muffins. Learn the technique for Egg Frittatas.

Oct. 1, 2*                      10:00am – 1:00pm      Pasta Mamma mia! Demystify GF dried pasta grains. Cook correct sauces with matching pasta shapes.

Oct. 22, 23*                  10:00am – 1:00pm      Pizza, Pizza – Bring happiness back in your life…develop a repertoire of GF Doughs and Toppings.

Oct. 29, 30*                  10:00am – 1:00pm      Halloween Treats – with none of the tricks. Oh my! Candy, Cookies & Cupcakes. Homemade Caramel Apples.

Nov. 5, 6*           10:00am – 1:00pm                Homestyle Baking – Big flavor & taste. Make a Gluten-Free mix. Bake Cookies, Cakes, Muffins, Scones.

Nov. 12, 13, 19, 20* 10:00am – 1:00pm                    Thanksgiving Baking – Let’s Give thanks for GF Baking. Homemade Pies, Fruit Crisps, Tea Breads & Rolls.

Dec. 3, 4, 10, 11*         10:00am – 1:00pm      Holiday Cookie Basket – Fill your own gift basket with classic, seasonal favorites. Decorated Sugar Cookies, Gingerbread Men, Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.
*        Each date is for a separate class.

Lentil, Feta & Pecan Salad or how to organize a tasty salad.

Countrykitchenchaos is about cooking and baking good, simple food. “CKC” is as much about dealing with time and organizational problems. As a person with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), I know how these problems can create chaos and stress in the kitchen. Anyone can learn how to work effectively in the kitchen. I used to be an armchair cook; I read cookbooks and culinary magazines, but I seldom cooked. I was intimidated by the myriad steps in the cooking process.  Learning how to be organized has helped turn me into a relaxed and focused cook.

Are you one of those cooks who never use a written recipe?  You look in the fridge, pantry or – if you are lucky – your own vegetable garden and use what your freshly grown ingredients. I do that sometimes and it is how I come up with my own recipes.  Other times I use recipes. After all, they have been developed and tested (hopefully), and the percentage of success can be quite high! Recipes can help you find inspiration instead of making the same dish over and over again.

I have a huge cookbook collection and will read through the entire book, savoring each recipe and culinary photo.  I also use the internet to search for recipes. If I make it and like it, I save it. But, here’s the rub: have you ever had trouble reading or following a recipe?  Following a recipe can be a daunting process for myself. And, if that recipe is on my iPhone, it’s small and hard to see. I usually can not read a recipe through and memorize all ingredients and steps. If the cooking steps are lumped together in big paragraphs, I might miss a step. I might also confuse the steps, especially in baking. Since baking is a science, such confusion is a big problem!!

So, what do I do when I cook from a recipe. First, I read it through to see if I want to make it.  I imagine the steps and methods required to make it.  If I choose to make it, I annotate the recipe, separate the steps so they are easier to follow. If it’s a baking recipe, I will make a bracket to denote ingredients that are mixed as a sequence of steps. The bracket method also helps me remember the ingredients and steps better. Sometimes, I insert numbers in the directions, when a new step begins. This helps a lot when the directions are lumped together.

I also figure out what kind of equipment I need (including items that are not mentioned in the recipe) and I write them down on my recipe notes page.  The recipe may tell you to use a bowl, but it works better if you know what size bowl you need. I take out the equipment and set it up in my work area. Then I don’t have to look for equipment when I’m in the middle of a step.

Here’s another helpful tip: it’s a must to check and see if I have the ingredients on hand. Keep a place handy for your shopping list.  In these technical days, I like to keep my shopping list in my iPhone. You might even keep an inventory of ingredients on hand, but that’s an entire project, so I tend to keep ingredients grouped by what kind of recipes I use them in.  For example, I group sweet and savory spices separately. I keep my flours together, my grains together, my cheeses together, etc., etc.

Today I am going to share a recipe that I especially like, Lentil Feta Pecan Salad. It is a great combination of ingredients and it is also gluten-free. Yes, I am also gluten intolerant!! I made the lentil salad to take to a retirement party.  When I’m ready to cook, I line up the ingredients in the order I will use them. Did you ever think there was so much to do with getting ready to cook.  But, it takes the pressure off the cooking process when you prep thoroughly. I don’t always take the time and then I regret it. And, much of successful cooking is in the organization and preparation.  Of course, good ingredients are also  a must for the best tasting food.  I’ll be posting more on organization and methods, but let’s get down to the business of cooking.

LENTIL FETA AND PECAN SALAD (inspired by In A Vermont Cookbook, by Amy Lyon & Lynne Andreen)

Serves 10 – 12

Ingredients
1 LB. Package French lentils
4 Quarts water
1 Cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 LB. Feta Cheese
5 Scallions, chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh, flat parsley.
1 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 Cup white wine vinegar
2 Cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper.

Directions
1) Rinse the lentils in a colander.
2) Add the lentils to boiling water and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Pour into the colander and rinse. Let cool.
3) Place the cooled lentils in a serving bowl. Add the pecans, feta cheese and scallions.
4) Make the salad dressing in a small bowl. Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour half the dressing over the lentil mixture. Use a large spoon to mix together. Add the additional dressing as necessary to make it well coated. Garnish with parsley sprigs.IMG_0445

The dog ate my blog!

Blog_GingerTeaRylee photo

I recently started a blog, but I have only posted a few entries. I’ve been reading my blog books, learning how to create a post (that’s what you are reading now), take food photos The tea photo was staged by me and my co-photographer, but the dog photo is a snapshot, taken with my iphone.  I am discovering how to get my posts out into the blogosphere.  My blog, Country Kitchen Chaos is about being efficient when working in the kitchen and cooking; it is equally about dealing with ADD/ADHD and dis-organizational problems. These are two areas in which I have a great deal of knowledge and experience.  However, I also intend to blog about my current life from time to time. OK, so here goes…

THE DOG ATE MY BLOG!

Blog teacher: Where is your next post? It’s been several weeks.

Me: The dog ate my post.

Well, the dog did not actually eat my blog post. But, he might have for all the things in the house that he has eaten: shoes, linens, wood furniture.  What he has done, is to take all my time and attention. Two of the things that I have a hard time dealing with on a good day. Yes, I have continued to bake for my business Buttercup Bakery and Culinary Center. But, doing new things is always a mental battle for me.  And, blogging is a brand new venture that entails plenty of challenges.

Just as I started this blog, I found the rescue dog that I wanted to adopt. It was one month ago. About thesame time I dropped the ball on blogging. My new dog, Rylee is a 14 month old Collie mix. I am been disorganized since Rylee came into my life.   He is as sweet as a dog can be; but he has not had any training. He has the development of a 3 month old puppy. Every day is a battle of trying to control the leash when we take our walks. He is jealous of my two cats and jumps up on me, anytime I give them some attention. Rylee and I take long walks, but he still has “accidents” in the house. I am signed up for training classes, but they can’t come soon enough.

Shortly, after I added Rylee to my furry family, I came down with a wicked case of Bronchitis. Hmmm, could dog owner stress be a reason!! Coughing has become my daily form of exercise.   I’ve been using a tea remedy I learned from someone who lives in the Caribbean Islands. It certainly helps sooth my throat. Try it whenever you have a respiratory ailment or sore throat. I make my tea with local honey; which is said to be better for your immune system.

Ginger Tea with Lemon & Honey

1 tea bag of your choice (I like Twinning’s teas.  i.e. English Breakfast or Earl Grey)
1 t. local honey, or to taste
1 thick slice, peeled fresh ginger
1 wedge lemon, squeezed into tea.

Tips:

Use the back of a spoon to peel the ginger skin.  It works like a dream.

Squeeze the lemon wedge into the tea and discard the rind.  I find that if the rind is left in the tea, it gives it a more bitter taste.

Creating a Blog called Country Kitchen Chaos

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Distracted person’s kitchen

I am so glad to start a blog.  I think that my food blog will be an exciting adventure for you and me.

Country Kitchen Chaos or CKC will help the disorganized cook become an organized and confident in the kitchen.  I know what it is like to have chaos in the kitchen, as I am a person with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). I sometimes – should I say – often, have time management issues and organizational issues that have made it hard for me to enjoy the cooking process.  I used to be an “armchair” cook; I read my way through hundreds of cookbooks and learned so much about technique and methods.  But, when I did cook, I had problems following recipes and creating them.  Now, I have systems that tame the chaos.  I use these systems to work with the recipes, use equipment and ingredients and I have become much more efficient in the kitchen.  The bottom line is that I love to cook and bake and I want to share my experiences and knowledge with you.

I will be publishing not only recipes and photos, but tips and methods for being more empowered in the kitchen.  So, come share my journey. Let me tell you something about my background.  As a child, I didn’t care about food, cooking or eating.  As a teenager, I learned to make eggs, as I felt I could eat them and not have to think about food for a while.  Fortunately, I went to live in Paris when I was 21 years old.  That experience turned me into a passionate foodie.  I can clearly remember the taste sensations from my first meals there.  I started to learn how to cook and I enjoyed everything about the wonderful food, I encountered in the homes and restaurants in France.  I was lucky to cook, side-by-side with Parisian cooks.  However, when I returned to New York City, I found it hard to stay organized as a solo cook. So, my repertoire stayed small.   Some years later, I was came to live in Europe again.  This time, I settled in Florence, Italy and was delighted to discover authentic Tuscan cuisine.  I learned the Italian style of cooking from my Italian friends and brought home a treasure trove of recipes and cooking experiences.  However, once alone in my NYC apartment, my ADD made it hard to be organized and efficient.

Fortunately, I also have had some wonderful professional cooking and baking experiences.  The guidance of culinary professionals helped me shed my “armchair” cooking for real cooking. My blog is called Country Kitchen Chaos.  I was going to call it Chaos in the Kitchen, but the domain name was taken.  Lucky for me my current name was not!  It is very appropriate because I have been living in the country in upstate New York.  I live in a tiny, dairy farm country community.  I do not have a farm, but I am blessed to get so many food products straight from nearby farms.  I think I live a food paradise.  I also have a ow culinary business in which I teach culinary classes, sell baked goods and stage afternoon-style tea events.  I struggle with my ADD issues, but I continually improve and now it is time for me to share with you.

So, let’s get cooking in the kitchen and shed the chaos. I look forward to your feedback.