Pate à Choux to Profiteroles 101

A letter of gratitude to Jacques Pepin.

finished-single-pate-a-choux-min 300As I embark on teaching a French cuisine course for the first time, I want to say “Thank you, Jacques Pepin.” You are  the teacher of all teachers when it comes to so many things French, including a great pate à choux.

Your recipes always work, and for that I’m eternally grateful. As my Saucy Guy partner always says, “His recipes are foolproof.” They are perfect for me, a self-declared non-baker, who bakes only what she likes to eat and only as part of a practice in the discipline of measurements and mental clarity. Your recipes always give me confidence and calm reassurances at every stage. The final products always look good enough for any local patisserie.

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A Parody of The Cat in the Hat in These Politically and Racially Heated Times

I recently read The Cat in the Hat to my son, Daniel, and found myself thinking that there was some similarity in the absurdity of the story and our political reality that could work to describe the sad political events of late.

Maybe someday soon, I would try to explain this history to my son who is too young to understand. The absurdity of each day’s new information sometimes makes life and our POTUS feel unreal, hence, the more mythical representation in my cartoon drawing.

Part of my job as Mom is to doodle for Daniel’s delight. Since I declined an offer to continue as Associate Dean in order to have more time with Daniel, I have more time for odd, creative expressions. Needless to say, the drawing could use more work.

Gosh, I feel badly that this post isn’t about food; but I recently decided to allow myself some creative freedom in July, and the poem below showed up.

As a mom of a multi-racial child, it is important to me that something different happens in 2020. Share if any part of this tribute to Dr. Seuss (I heard somewhere that he started as a political cartoonist) and a desire for change, resonates.

Lines from The Cat in the Hat are italicized and quoted below as much as possible.

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Filipino Chicken Adobo

Poultry, Recipe | July 2, 2017 | By

chicken-adobo-minIf I were ever tasked with mainstreaming Filipino food into U.S. culture, there would be two foods on that campaign trail that have never failed to please crowds: chicken adobo and lumpia. Chicken adobo is the equivalent to the pot roast of the Philippines and well-worth knowing how to cook.

I’ve shared my mother’s chicken adobo recipe multiple times with friends at parties and on-air, in an old public access cooking show. That being said, I’ll share it again in this blog, because I recently made it for a last-day-of-the-semester, class potluck party. It got great reviews and just confirmed for me that it really is an easy dish to like. In addition, it is very inexpensive for college students and families. It’s easy to make big batches and also easy to freeze, if needed.

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Cornbread for Cornbread Lovers and Haters

Recipe | June 19, 2017 | By

CornbreadNot sure where or how this cornbread recipe came into my hands, but it is the one that please people who love cornbread and people like me who typically dislike it. Use up heavy cream after the holidays with this recipe if you like.

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Campers’ Sweet Potato Quesadillas-Ode to the One Vegetable Daniel Will Eat

Recipe | May 6, 2017 | By

recipe2Hubris. It was the demise of many a Greek subject in mythology and maybe it was ours too when it came to  our son eating vegetables.

When Daniel went in for his nine-month check up, we told his pediatrician, “Daniel will eat anything we put in front of him, bolognese, lamb chops, broccoli, eggplant, sweet potato, anything. We even tried broccoli rabe with him, and he ate it!” 

Daniel’s doctor promptly replied, “Oh, that’ll change. Just wait until he turns one.”

We rejected the words of this harbinger of doom, our very own Cassandra. We were convinced that our son had inherited our palates. And maybe we took too much pride, too much delight, in the way he ate all of the food we cooked for him.

Like clockwork, and as if our pediatrician had cursed us,

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When Simple is All You Need: The Grace of a Well-Cooked Egg (Egg Primer 101)

Daniel making eggsSome say that the numerous pleats of the tall, chef’s toque hat is a nod to the gastronomic wonder of the numerous ways to cook an egg. Even after culinary school, I can neither confirm nor deny whether there are more than a 100 ways to cook an egg. Investigative reports thus far seem inconclusive. See http://www.bonappetit.com/people/chefs/article/why-are-there-100-folds-in-a-chef-s-toque.

I only know that I love a well-cooked egg. It’s beautifully packaged and complete unto itself.

The other day as I sat with a small panel of chef instructors to taste students’ final presentations of their French cuisine menus, a conversation around eggs began. We were tasting exciting dishes such as

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