Saturday, January 29, 2011

Some Quick Truths

- vanilla makes chocolate taste better. Add pure vanilla extract to chocolate cakes, cookies, hot cocoa, etc.

- pure vanilla extract helps teething babies...its scent calms the senses and the GI tract

- clove oil is a substitute for Ambisol

- ground dry mustard (or a tiny bit of wet yellow mustard) makes cheese dishes better (mac-n-cheese, cheese dip, grilled cheese)

- always season every component of a dish separately. It is important to salt and season each part. This will not make the dish overly salty (usually.) This is one thing that professional cooks do that home cooks do not do.

- starch counters salt...add more potatoes, rice, carrots, etc. if your dish is too salty.

- sharp knives do less damage to fingers than dull knives. You should sharpen your knives weekly (I sharpen more often.)
- using canned beans and tomatoes is okay! Life and cooking should be simple. Tomatoes are only amazing when they are grown perfectly in season (so, like two months each year.) For the rest of the year, use canned--yes, even for salsa and crostini/bruschetta. For most bean dishes, canned beans are perfect. I only slow cook beans when making slow-cooked Cuban beans. Otherwise, can opener.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

New Year's Resolution...

take better care of my skin and cook more. Let's keep it simple.

Ok, so here I go again [ellipsis, sigh]

Since the last time I wrote, I had a child, a girl who is very sweet, very lovely, very big and very small at the same time. Now I have very different things to say; new goals to work out, to list, to try on. I like the idea of trying on goals like a pair of jeans. This goal is too small; this goal is too big; this goal is too tight.

With another upcoming job interview, I am again wondering if I want to go back to work. The last interview I had went well. I didn’t get the job but they did throw me a freelance bone. I am freelancing now. That is okay. Still keeps me in sweatpants and a pony tail—there is no glamour, no high heels, no fast-paced office banter. But there is a baby, a sweet baby girl that needs hugs and kisses and play time with her mama (that’s me.)

Maybe not working is a good trade off right now. Every woman I see at the grocery or Target (old and young) tells me to “enjoy” my time with my baby, tells me that it goes by so fast. I find this condescending. I know they mean well; a little advice from another mother. But I do enjoy my baby. How could I not enjoy her? She is hilarious. This time is fleeting an precious. I know this already—thank you for telling me again and again. And yes, you are right, it is going by so fast—so fast that I cannot keep her in tee-shirts, cannot keep her from rolling over, cannot keep her from laughing, and trying to talk, from making new sounds, from smiling at strangers. I still find the true advice a little off-putting. I want to shout “Mind your fucking business! You had your shot. Sorry if you blew it.” Maybe I should see a shrink.

I am making chili. It smells wonderful. Babyface is bouncing in her chair completely amused by Hedgehog and company. Gotta love that old Hedgehog.

Listening to De La Soul Buhloone Mind State.