I am a messy cook.
Nothing can make you realize this more than spending a day in the kitchen with your mother. Years of experiences, collecting of gadgets and making a kitchen her own are some of the many reasons I am put to shame in my mother's kitchen. I spent a day in the kitchen with my mother, my first real jump back into cooking in quite some time, fixing my Christmas Eve Sweet Potato Casserole (Recipe Here) realizing I have a lot to learn. But while I may still be a slob, the compliments I got on my dish were enough to inspire me back in the kitchen again.
I took a long Christmas break - came to learn the good and bad of indulgence - and returned home Friday actually fond of the quietness that fills my apartment. While I have yet to leap back into work, I have found I have a new recaptured Zen in the kitchen, inspired by my time in my mother's kitchen and a desire to return back to a wholesome routine.
As a result of Christmas break I am now obsessed with using Panko in almost every dish I make (followed by some form of sugar of course). My mother made these amazing Panko/Parmesean coated pork steaks and I was sooo in love with the way it tasted like a wholesome "fried" crispy, juicy piece of meat that I am dead set on finding a perfection in my own kitchen.
|My mother's amazing panko pork - I have a refueled energy for cooking now|
Yesterday I tried it on some thawed frozen shrimp - delicately coating it, sauteing them and sticking them in the oven with my garlic honey coated cauliflower. It was very tasty - although for those shrimp that did not touch any of the oil in the pan it didn't quite stick and retain that moist crispness.
Tonight I tried it with tofu. Still not the same - but I'm definitely onto something.
|Coated Tofu sauteing over olive oil spray|
|The flip side - toasty|
|Finished product - a nice step back into real cooked food in the kitchen again|
I could write several very long entries about Christmas break - indeed it was filled with much to tell. Overall it was exhausting but fun and I feel a renewed energy from seeing so many close friends and family - finally realizing the personal strength I have but seem to only find when I'm in my element. I plan on carrying this through to a life back home that is far less stressful and haphazard than it was before I left on vacation.
Christmas 2011 - The Highlights in Pictures
|I flew through Cincinnati and couldn't resist starting Christmas off with an old classic from childhood! You don't see TCBY anymore, so when I do..just gotta have me some white chocolate mousse|
|First night back with Dad we visited a mexican restaurant we used to go to when we were very little. I probably won't be returning...but the cheese dip brought back some flashbacks!|
|My idea of a good hangover cure back home|
|Fueling up for the nights festivities - chocolate covered espresso beans and coffee|
|A French Appertif from my sister|
|Soon to be Sweet Potato Fries|
|Making Cilantro Quinoa burgers|
|You will become Kale Chips|
|I dare you to find an absent nutrient!|
|The mess from the beginning came together in the end|