Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Welcome to Good Eatin With Lynne!!

Hi there.
For years I've been spending a lot of time, energy and calories cooking, watching others cook, eating at great restaurants, watching the Food Network and Channel 2 cooking shows ad nauseum—basically enjoying everything there is about food. It's gotten to the point where people are always asking me where to go to eat, how to cook certain things, etc. Not that I'm an expert by any stretch of the imagination. I'm just an enthusiast. Some might say a little over enthusiastic. But what can I say? I grew up in a house where food was king. My mother is one of the best cooks in the world. She takes it to an artform with not a lick of training, just sheer talent, experience and love. I hope to become half the cook and baker that she is. I have definitely inherited her love of food and desire to feed folks and gather them around the table for fun and lively conversation. My goal with this blog is to actually provide valuable information about cooking and dining out. I hope you'll find it informative and entertertaining.

To start, I'd like to share my experience over the holidays. Each year, my mother Bea (pictured above) makes Portuguese Sweetbread (don't get scared - it's actual bread not calves brains or anything). She learned this recipe from her mother who was born in the Azores (island off the coast of Portugal). With that same dough she also makes Malasadas which are light, airy doughnut-like confections (but so much better) which are deep fried and placed in an old school lunch bag with sugar and shaken. Nothing is more pure and delightful than a bite into one of those babies. Anywho, I'm getting lost in my food memories. Why I bring this up is that, in all the years my mother has been making this, there is not one photograph, video clip, nothing that captures the two-day loving process Bea goes through to create this wonderful food for our family. And there is so much to it than just making bread. There's lore and love. So, I decided to video tape it. In fact, I've made it with the intent to send it to Martha Stewart. I know what a fan of baking Martha is. If she doesn't love this recipe, I'll know she's a fraud. If you're interested in viewing the "How to Make Sweet Bread" video, you can download it here - the file name is "BeaSweetBread.mov". This film personifies "food is love."

Over the holidays, I also had my first experience making chocolate truffles. I saw a recipe in Gourmet magazine for Gingerbread Truffles and thought, hmm, never made chocolates before let alone truffles but why not, these sound amazing. Well they were but man was it a battle. I actually think there is something wrong with the recipe because there is a part of the process where you have to put the chocolate in the refrigerator after you've mixed in all the ingredients. You're "supposed" to be able to take it out and with a melon baller, make the trufffles. Well, the chocolate was hard as a rock. I was sweating forming these damn truffles but I was like, I spent way too much time and money on these ingredients. I WILL make this work. And I did. But it was hilarious. I had to very carefully consider who would actually receive these truffles. It would have to be folks who would actually appreciate them. Luckily most of the people I know do like good food. Turns out, however, that the people I sent them to did not realize I had made them until I told them. I mean what kind of LOSER would send out chocolates in a box with a personalized label and NOT make them. Apparently they are out there. My friend, Mary Beth knew however and e-mailed me immediately to tell me she had eaten the entire box upon opening. I would say that means they are a success. I plan on e-maining Gourmet and questioning them about the recipe. It's up on epicurious.com. If someone who's an expert with working with chocolate wants to look at the recipe and tell me what you think is wrong, I would be thrilled. I think maybe leaving it in the refrigerator for 6 hours as it states is just too damned long. See what you think. In the meantime, I'll try to get some answers to this oh-so-important issue from Gourmet.

Another recipe of note I recently made and highly recommend is called "Bobotie" - basically a South African version of meatloaf. It's in the January issue of Gourmet (I do get recipes from other places believe it or not). As an aside, my policy will be to only provide recipes from Gourmet or Bon Appetit once they are up on epicurious. But I will tell you the magazine issue in case you want to pick it up before then. They usually wait a month or so before posting their recipes. Back to the meatloaf - this is a recipe you MUST try. It's meatloaf alright but SO MUCH tastier. It has granny smith apple, slivered almonds, grated lemon - definitely takes the standard to another level. If you get the magazine, it's on page 82. Try it! Youl'll love it. It's one of those recipes that's even better when you reheat it.

Don't want to scare you away with too much info too soon so I'll let you ponder this first posting and leave other topics for next time. Hope you enjoy.


Blogger mini-me said...

your mom is adorable! and man..i want some of those breads. re the truffles...I've always dreamed of doing something like that to send out to friends and family .... but it's so much work and I haven't gotten down to doing it just yet ..one day one day :D

11:38 PM  

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