Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Well today, we're adding a new component to the site: our Gallery of Cooking Stars!
This is a place for teens & tweens to send us their stuff: short cooking videos (2 minutes or less please) and pictures of themselves making a little magic happen in the kitchen. Silly? Great! Serious? Terrific! We just want to see the kid's real flavor come through.
If we like what we see, we'll add them to our gallery. It's a fun place for them to show their stuff.
And since I'm a mom too, we'll identify the teens & tweens by first name and last initial only. No school name, towns, or last names. We'll keep things super safe.
Send us your child's pics and videos at firstname.lastname@example.org and stay-tuned to Gotta Break Some Eggs!
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
You know all this snow? Well, it's not only messing with you and your home, but it's messing with a lot of small businesses too.
Yesterday, downtown Frederick was like a ghost town. I've never seen it so empty. NO ONE was walking around and indeed, my family was the only one in the entire dining room at Brewer's Alley (had the kids, yo) for lunch.
Here's the thing, you can use this crappy weather to your advantage, in fact: This is YOUR chance to try the awesomeness that is Volt. Ever since Chef Bryan showed his mad skillz on Top Chef, it's tough to get in and, let's be honest here, it's usually a little pricey (not that you're not getting what you pay for, but that's still out of my price range-sorry).
BUT, this is where things get cool, and not for the reason you think:
Per Hilda, co-owner of Volt, today, Wednesday, February 10, 2010, Volt is offering a special "snow-prix" menu in their dining room for just (wait for it, wait for it...) $35. (I'm pretty sure that this is in line with their restaurant week pricing.)
If you don't know, that's pretty major. But here's the cool part:
Since the weather is horrible (at best), and since all of their suppliers have canceled their deliveries (can't blame them, but, darn), and since Volt doesn't freeze anything, Chef Voltaggio is going is going to really show his skills by working just with the ingredients on hand. Cooking, until they run out of food. Talk about a Top Chef challenge!
This is a chance for you to see someone with talent, real talent, work within the confines of his kitchen. No specially-delivered foie gras from a 63-day old goose, no imported blah, blah blah brought in especially for this meal, but really, pantry cooking at its best. Now between you and me, Volt's pantry is probably better stocked than any around, so the food will not only be inventive, but excellent as well.
Seriously, I don't know why you haven't called them already (and you can, at 301-696-VOLT). If you're downtown, you can certainly walk (I have a feeling that snow boots will be acceptable attire), and if not, pull out that 4-wheel drive that you almost never get to use and feel free to park in Volt's side lot. It's all there-plowed & free-just waiting for all of you "snow-prix" customers.
And while you're at it, go ahead and do your best to patronize all of the small businesses you can right now, any way you can. If not today, then tomorrow, or Friday, or Saturday. This storm is more than snow, and it's tough for any business to go a week or two, shut down. Especially right before Valentine's Day. Or really, any day. So stop in to anyone who's open, or check them out online (Cooking class anyone? You can register here!). But whatever you do, just let me know how dinner is!
Tired of all this awful weather we're having here in MD? Me too.
My waistline isn't a fan either, as I have been cooking non-stop since the snow arrived on Friday. And with another 10"-100" (I keed, I keed) coming tonight, it doesn't look like I'm stopping anytime soon.
I've raided the fridge and pantry at The Kitchen Studio to come up with some Snowpocalypse-esque recipes for you to try. And understand this please: These are easy recipes. You should be able to make them with a few ingredients, or at least stuff you have in the fridge. And yes, I know that I probably have more stuff in my fridge than you do. Toughies. (That's what my mom would say :) Here's the first one I've been working on and what can I say? It's my son Ben's favorite. Hey - kid's got good taste!
Creamy Potato-Leek Soup:
- 4 or 5 medium Potatoes (Idaho or Golden, but not red skinned please)peeled and cubed (1" chunks)
- 6 cups (or 8 if you like) of chicken broth/stock
- a bunch or two of leeks (no leeks? to heck with it - just use some sweet onions, like Vidalias), green part removed, white part only
- a few tablespoons of butter (I'd say 1-3, depending on your fat tolerance. I happen to have a high fat tolerance)
- Some heavy cream, or a splash of milk, no more than 1/2 cup
Place a medium soup/stock pot and place over medium heat. Add butter and melt.
Wash your leeks really, really well under running water to get rid of all the grit (Fun leek fact: leeks are grown in sandy soil and often have tons of grit and dirt between their layers. Slice off the dark green part of the leek and discard. The light green part is okey-dokey and just fine to use. Slice the leek from the top down almost all the way to the root, but not quite. Rinse really well. This technique keeps 'em all together). If you're using regular old onions, slice them nice and thin, then proceed as directed. You'll want around a cup or so.
Slice the leeks into 1/4" - 1/2" slices then place in the pot. Stir to coat in the butter (yum!) and let cook, slowly, for about 10 minutes, or until they're nice and tender.
Pour your chicken broth/stock into the pot with the softened leeks, then toss in the peeled and cubed potatoes. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. (Why you ask? When ingredients reach the boiling point, they release their maximum flavor that can't be hit just with simmering them until they're dead. That's why so many recipes say to bring to a boil then reduce the heat right away. Aren't we learning something here today??)
Let simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until potatoes are ten-der. Now comes the fun part...
If you have an immersion blender (also called a stick blender, or at TKS, the Whirling Stick of Death), you can stick it in the pot and start whirling under your soup is smooth. No immersion blender? Just smooth it out in batches with your regular blender, but don't forget to take out that little center piece in the lid and hold the top on with a towel. Blenders just looooooove to blow their tops when they're working with the hot stuff.
Add a splash of cream to enrich it (don't waste your time with skim milk, 'k?), and salt and pepper to perfection. That's it.
Don't have potatoes? Use carrots (mmmmms, carrot soup). Don't have chicken broth? Use veggie. Hate onions & leeks? Well, now I can't help you :) Just try this recipe, or this technique, or whatever you like. Just cook something, and get rid of those boxes of pre-packaged stuff. We're on a mission here.
Stay inside, stay warm, and cook something yummy.