Gadgets for the home kitchen: Immersion circulators

Last week I wrote about the awesomeness that is ChefSteps, an online cooking instruction site with a focus on “cooking smarter” utilizing modern techniques and kitchen gadgetry. A gadget they highly tout, and one that has garnered more and more attention over the past couple of years has been the immersion circulator.

Up until the recent past, circulators were only available to professional kitchens or the particularly adventurous home cook who had cash flow to burn. That, however, is no longer the case. Companies like Anova, Sansaire, Nomiku, and one of the original pioneers in immersion circulator technology, PolyScience, have made efforts to bring the device in to the home kitchen at a much more affordable price.

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Meatless Monday Recipes: Cool and Creamy Summer Salad courtesy of inSHAPE

Editor’s Note: A hearty well done to Harper, daughter of Kim Watkins of inSHAPE Fitness on coming up with this recipe. Start ’em young! :)

When you walk in your door, and your five-year old daughter has an idea for a recipe, you may think that it’s for cookies or some other sweet treat. How exciting when she points to melon and cucumbers to start a dish!

Continue reading “Meatless Monday Recipes: Cool and Creamy Summer Salad courtesy of inSHAPE”

Learning to cook… with ChefSteps

I need to learn to cook.

Ok. Yes, I do know how to cook, but that isn’t what I meant. I need to learn to cook well. Like, restaurant well. Given my propensity for wanting to eat restaurant quality food on a regular basis, I need to learn to cook fast lest my bank account decide to find a more doting benefactor (“Always take, take, take. Why don’t you GIVE!!”).

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Happiest when I was cooking: An interview with Katie Button of Cúrate in Asheville, NC

A winding road is one that many chefs tread. Schooling, stages, back breaking days on the line, many with a dream of opening and owning their own restaurant.

A winding road is one that many chefs tread. Schooling, stages, back breaking days on the line, many with a dream of opening and owning their own restaurant. The road for Chef Katie Button was most certainly winding, and supremely fascinating, considering that she start off earning a degree in Chemical Engineering from Cornell and a masters degree in Biomedical Engineering. Katie made her way through the kitchens of Jean George in NYC and Jose Andres’s Bazaar in L.A. before working for a time at elBulli in Spain. She opened her first restaurant, Cúrate in Asheville, North Carolina. I recently had the chance to speak with Katie. She told me a bit more about her path to working in a kitchen, her excitement about being a finalist for the 2014 James Beard Award Rising Star Chef of the Year, and her favorite food memory.

Continue reading “Happiest when I was cooking: An interview with Katie Button of Cúrate in Asheville, NC”

Meatless Monday Recipes: Late Summer Stew courtesy of inSHAPE

The summer is over, and the temps are cooling, a perfect recipe for tasty late summer garden stew. We used a bit of everything that we harvested in the last two weeks: corn, tomatoes, onions, carrots, peppers, and parsley. A longer simmer time will make for a better tasting dish, but this recipe can be prepped and enjoyed in less than an hour.

The summer is over, and the temps are cooling, a perfect recipe for tasty late summer garden stew. We used a bit of everything that we harvested in the last two weeks: corn, tomatoes, onions, carrots, peppers, and parsley. A longer simmer time will make for a better tasting dish, but this recipe can be prepped and enjoyed in less than an hour.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, cubed
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper (any color), chopped
  • 2 ears of corn, cooked and sliced off cob
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp celery seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4-6 fresh eggs

Preparation:

In saute pan over high heat, drizzle olive oil and saute onions and garlic. Add tomatoes and 2 cups of water and lower heat to simmer. Add the rest of the veggies except for the corn, then begin to add spices. Once you like the taste, make sure that the heat is as low as possible before adding the corn, cover and simmer slowly for at least 15 minutes. The longer you let it simmer, the more the flavor will develop. 

Preheat your oven to 350-degrees and gently lower the cracked eggs into evenly spaced spots in the pan. Use the shell to create a burrow so that the yolk is as flush with the surface of the stew as possible. Bake for 12-15 minutes and cool for about 5 minutes before serving. Top with additional chopped parsley. 

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Cookbook Giveaway: Smoke & Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen by Edward Lee (COMPLETED)

I believe there are two good indications that you’ve picked up an excellent cookbook; (a) Looking through it makes you hungry even if you just ate, and (b) you end up dog-earing more than half the recipes. This month’s cookbook giveaway (for me at least) easily meets those two criteria.

Congratulations to Eric in Knoxville for winning this month’s giveaway! Thanks to all those that participated and be sure to check in next month for another great cookbook giveaway!

I believe there are two good indications that you’ve picked up an excellent cookbook; (a) Looking through it makes you hungry even if you just ate, and (b) you end up dog-earing more than half the recipes. This month’s cookbook giveaway (for me at least) easily meets those two criteria. Smoke & Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen by Chef Edward Lee is one of the best new cookbooks I’ve picked up, and this month is your chance to add it to your bookshelf!

Amazon.com blurb: Chef Edward Lee’s story and his food could only happen in America. Raised in Brooklyn by a family of Korean immigrants, he eventually settled down in his adopted hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, where he owns the acclaimed restaurant 610 Magnolia. A multiple James Beard Award nominee for his unique patchwork cuisine, Edward creates recipes–filled with pickling, fermenting, frying, curing, and smoking–that reflect the overlapping flavors and techniques that led this Korean-American boy to feel right at home in the South. Dishes like Chicken-Fried Pork Steak with Ramen Crust and Buttermilk Pepper Gravy; Collards and Kimchi; Braised Beef Kalbi with Soft Grits and Scallions; and Miso-Smothered Chicken all share a place on his table. Born with the storytelling gene of a true Southerner, Lee fills his debut cookbook with tales of the restaurant world, New York City, Kentucky, and his time competing on Top Chef, plus more than 130 exceptional recipes for food with Korean roots and Southern soul. 

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO ENTER?

Entries are now closed for this giveaway. 

For your chance to win, you can do any (or all!) of the following:

The more you do, the more chances you have to win! The giveaway will end at 8:00 pm EDT on Thursday, August 15th. The winner will be announced the following day.

Giveaway rules: Winner must be 18 years of age, and have a mailing address in the United States or Canada (sorry everyone else — it’s a postage thing). Once notified, the winner must reply within 12 hours, otherwise the runner-up will be notified. The winner will be announced here, and on Twitter. Make sure you follow @foodiejournal!

 

Cooking with Books: An interview with chef and writer Marnely Rodriguez-Murray

Over a year ago, I set out to learn more about culinary professionals and the culinary world as a whole. An obvious benefit of this work is getting to know people like me; others that not only love food, but enjoy writing about it! Enter: Marnely Rodriguez-Murray from Cooking with Books.

Over a year ago, I set out to learn more about culinary professionals and the culinary world as a whole. An obvious benefit of this work is getting to know people like me; others that not only love food, but enjoy writing about it!

While I’ve had the opportunity to get to know more about many of them, one of my favorite bloggers is Marnely Rodriguez-Murray from Cooking with Books. As an added bonus, Marnely also has the experience of working in a professional kitchen which gives her the hands-on experience in the culinary world that I often wonder about. I had the opportunity to check in with Marnely some time ago; we talked a bit about how she got started cooking, what it’s like living on Martha’s Vineyard, and her personal food memories.

Foodie Journal: When did you realize that you loved food enough that you wanted to make a career out of it?

Marnely Rodriguez-Murray: I grew up in a household where my mom baked every-single-day, from cookies to brownies and so many cakes! Her passion for baking was always in the back of my mind, but I went on to get my BPS in Hotel Management with a concentration in Culinary Arts (more of a savory cook). At the end of my college career, I learned about The CIA in Hyde Park, NY and decided to make the move and do the AOS in Baking and Pastry Arts. So I went from being a cook, to a baker, to present day AM Sous Chef at Vineyard Golf Club.

FJ: Can you talk a little bit about your first experience in a professional kitchen?

MRM: My first experience in a professional kitchen came not even 3 years ago! As a baker, I typically worked in bread shops and chocolate shops, so switching over to be a cook on Martha’s Vineyard 3 years ago was my first “on the line” experience. I fell in love the moment the first ticket came in (and I also fell in love with a fellow cook, my now husband!)

FJ: Cooking isn’t the only thing that occupies your time. You have a great food site, Cooking with Books, and you also do lifestyle and food writing for other sites. What was it that prompted you to start writing?

MRM: Food prompts food blogging, simple as that. We went on a trip to Las Vegas and ate everything and everywhere. Back home, I needed an outlet to share our experiences, food photos, and thoughts. I had been blogging for 5 years before (personal blog), so thought that a food blog was the perfect way to share!

FJ: You live and work on Martha’s Vineyard — is it ever tough living through high- and low-season?

MRM: Working on MV definitely is like living in a fantasy world! We have 6 months off (October to April) to travel and research (meaning we just eat a lot out!) During the season (April to October), we work 13 hour days, 6 days a week and sometimes more, so I have to be really diligent with staying on top of the blog. 

FJ: So everyone that loves food has food memories that they love too. Do you have a favorite?

MRM: Wow, that’s a tough one. Food related memory: visiting a cacao farm in the DR. It’s surreal to see real cacao pods hanging from the trees and the baker in me squealed when I saw them! Another memory, which was a recurring memory since my Mom made this dish on rainy days back home and it is the ultimate comfort food to me. It’s the Dominican version of risotto.

Marnely currently works as AM Sous Chef & Baker at the Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard. You can learn more about her on her phenomenal food blog, Cooking with Books.