Thursday, August 30, 2012

A day late, but an AMAZING What I have been reading Wednesday

I apologize that I have fallen behind, yet once again.  It may be a day late, but I am very excited about this "What I Have been reading Wednesday."  I have been reading Ratio, by Michael Ruhlman.  I have to disclose that I love anything by Michael Ruhlman, I love his writing style, and I love his mission to make sense of cooking for the common person.  He really does try to take the mystery out of cooking and make is accessible for us all.

So I have to admit I will be buying lots of copies of this book, they will be Christmas presents, my new go to bridal shower gift, and really practical for every one who wants to be more efficient and confident in the kitchen.  The concept behind the book is to "crack" the codes of culinary ratios, so that they can be used into everyday cooking.  So many people tell me that they hate to cook because they get overwhelmed by the recipes, I can completely understand that emotion.  Sometimes I see a recipe that has dozens of crazy ingredients and complex measurements, and I can't help but wonder, are we over complicating things?  In our quest to be amazing chef & domestic goddesses have we just caused undue stress and work on ourselves.  I would tend to think so. 

Ruhlman teaches in this book that ratios are what allows a person to have literally thousands of possible recipes unlocked to them, all stored in their mind.  Take bread for instance, the basic recipe for bread is 5 parts flour, 3 parts water (plus yeast and salt).  The ratio really is that simple, say you want to make an artisan bread with additional flavorings, then add some garlic, rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, you choose.  The ratio stays the same 5 parts flour, 3 parts water (plus yeast and salt).  With each ratio you are given dozens of modifications that you can make, adding in flavors if you wish, but really the possibilities are limitless. 

I think it is already obvious that I love the book, but what I love is that somehow Ruhlman is able to share his knowledge with everyone else, and have it make complete sense.  He instills confidence in even the most basic of home cooks.  Definitely buy this book, you will be glad that you did!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Artichoke Goodness


I love artichokes I always have.  My dad particularly liked artichokes and I remember him when we were younger fixing artichokes for us and he taught us how to eat them, and boy were they good!  I always have fond memories regarding artichokes, and I have had them numerous different ways.  However as we all know artichokes can be very pricey in the stores.  Right now at my local wal-mart they are 2.99 for some rather sickly looking artichokes, so I was thrilled to get these beauties.  

I belong to a produce co-op in my neighborhood which  I love, every week we are able to get some amazing produce at amazing deals, so its always exciting to see what I will get with this weeks produce basket.  This week I got numerous different things, but the highlight was large, beautiful, earthy green artichokes!  I was so excited.  It was my birthday this week, and these made for the perfect birthday treat for me!  I do however wish my parents would have been there to share them with me, because I know they would have LOVED them, however I guess that's what happens when you live in different states.   There are tons of different recipes for how to prepare artichokes, the following is my favorite way thus far, it is simple, but absolutely delicious!

Roasted Artichokes

Ingredients:

  • 4 whole large artichokes
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled, kept as individual cloves
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt & pepper to taste

Preparation:

Rub a few drops of olive oil on foil and place an artichoke stem side down. Stick a clove of garlic into the center and push down an inch or so into the bottom of the artichoke. Sprinkle over 1/4 tsp of salt. Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over the top.  Squeezing the half lemon over the top of the artichoke.  Gather up the corners of the foil and press together on top to tightly seal the artichoke (like a chocolate kiss).

Place in a roasting pan and bake at 425 degrees F. for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Let rest for 20 minutes before unwrapping and serving..