Posts Tagged ‘Foodie’

192l1ncf5l2yqjpgHow odd it is for me, a man raised on southern style cooking, to say ditch the seasoning? Well, this by no means is to say that it’s okay to enjoy the blandness of a mayonnaise “only” potato salad brought in by one of your co-workers. We’ve all been there; right? That will never be okay. Anyway, this is a personal exploratory moment for me to see where it will take me in my home based culinary career.

I’ve made the foray into cooking with only salt and pepper. After getting some great professional advice, I’ve ditched the dry, tinder worthy, bottled seasonings and have gone back to the first two seasonings that I was taught to use. About those other seasonings; let’s admit, some of them could give old sawdust a run for its money, let alone the dehydrating loads of sodium found in some of them.

There’s nothing wrong with using seasonings to flavor your foods, but once you get an appreciation for the natural flavor of foods enhanced with simple salt and pepper, you may be able to pick up what I’m putting down.

Salt.
Iodized. Kosher. Pink Himalayan. There are dozens if not hundreds of different variations of salt products that we consume. I personally am not a fan of hypertension inducing iodized salt however, when used in safe and reasonable amounts it brings out very satisfactory flavors to any dish. I prefer Pink Himalayan Salt; sounds like a mouthful, it will certainly give you a mouthful of flavor and in healthy amounts is healthier than table salt.

More info on different types of Salts:
http://homecooking.about.com/od/spices/a/saltvarieties.htm

Pepper.
Black. Peppercorn. Rainbow Peppercorn. Pepper, in its many variations is known as the ‘Master Spice’, you really can’t go wrong with pepper unless you use too much of it. Pepper adds a sense of exoticism to your meal, a slight bite of heat and the best combination to go with any salt; pepper is as diverse in its flavor scale as it is in its variety.

For the Pepper lovers:
http://whatscookingamerica.net/Information/Pepper.htm

If you are serious about cooking as I am – experiment! Try it out, taste it, see how much flavor you can get out of the foods that you’re preparing. Don’t hide them, highlight them. Read the contents of your Lawry’s Season salt or your Italian Seasoning Mix; try to find and use the real plants that make up those spices to add zest and zeal to your favorite meals.

Enjoy.

CT aka Chef J. Strongbow

I love food, just as much as any other over nourished American but, when it comes to compiling recipes and extreme taste-testing, I figured I’d place a proverbial “couch-in-the-kitchen” and get a little comfort food while being; Comfortable.

From Soul to Thai, my tastes for fine cuisines have kept me up late at night conjuring up dishes on my own or sitting in front of the TV gawking at Food Network and it’s bevy of Master Chefs.

These late nights helped shape me into the home-chef that I am today. Armed with custom cookware, an Iron Chef apron and a desire to satisfy hunger, I am the man! Whether it’s serving up my own craft or improved copies of famous dishes from popular restaurants, I’ve always enjoyed the process of seasoning, cooking, serving and eventually eating great food.

Although my palate for food is long, I have to stop short at a delicacy that is loved by many and a dearly departed treat for yours truly…

Lobster, Crab & Shrimp!

You know the old saying: You don’t know what you’re missing, well, in this case I do. At one time in my life I was able to enjoy these tasty sea creatures but, in my adult years I have developed a literally nauseating allergy to ocean bottom-dwellers.

I can still prepare them if I choose to do so, if there is a calling for my Parmesan Shrimp Alfredo that would certainly be worthy of a return to that side of the kitchen. I’ve even teased the kitchen gods with a lobster chowder recipe that never came to be, due to my allergy. (Yeah that rhymed)

Anyway, enough of water-roaches let me dive deeper into the mindset of a “Foodie.” In my opinion we are complex yet simple lovers of great food.  Some of us can burn in the kitchen, some of us make magic on the grill and some of us just like to eat and don’t have time for preparation, cooking and cleaning. Foodies EAT, plain and simple.

Did I mention my couch-in-the-kitchen comes with pull out trays and cup holders?

Our tastes vary, our menus inexplicably different, yet our common obsession unites us. My Foodie-ism covers all aspects, I like to prep, cook and eat, just about everything that is mouth-worthy, I also like to serve, and that’s where the couch-in-the-kitchen comes in.  Staying planted in the kitchen, nose buried in various cookbooks, I‘ve learned the art of variety and flash when it comes to cooking; seasoning and flavoring I learned from my mother and on my own.

Salt and Pepper and…

Seasoning isn’t really covered in culinary books so, growing up on salty, savory Soul food, combined with bold experimentation, I became the Spice master of my kitchen. Who wants to eat bland food anyways? We eat to enjoy, not be annoyed. I think the second-best to African-American cooking in terms of well-seasoned food are the Italians, followed behind closely by East Indian cuisine.

I keep a stock load of Italian seasoning which consists of: Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme and Marjoram.  Simple yet powerful, when combined with sea salt and cracked pepper, it adds a great Mediterranean flair to any meal, even a traditionally simply salted and peppered American dish like meatloaf or baked chicken, can become a “mangia-mangia” meal.

Home on the Range Oven

Growing up in a single parent home with my mother, some days instead of running around the block or playing basketball, I would pull up a chair to watch her cook. I watched her make miracles every Thanksgiving, flip flawless pancakes, scale fish and dry rub slabs of beef ribs.  I learned to work in the kitchen in a particular order; a clean order and an organized order. I have no shame in being domesticated and picking up her habits; in fact it’s a bonus. It ensures my survival as a Foodie and guarantees I’ll never go hungry and can feed others; if I’m willing to share.

For years, the kitchen was a classroom and home was the school, my mother the teacher and I the student, learning the tricks and taking in the aroma of good food.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner was deliciously served how we liked it, family never went away unsatisfied, legendary dishes still bring back memories of holidays past,  now it’s my duty to continue the same celebrated fare and traditions with my kids.  My journey in the kitchen started early and I’m still going strong thirty some odd years later so it’s never too early or too late to, “Learn to Burn.”

So, to my Foodies out there, eat well and prosper and when life gives you lemons….

Squeeze it on your fish! [Krown]

CT