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.

 

 

 

 

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.