Gigi walked into the kitchen and asked me, "Mommy, why are you wearing your kitchen skirt?" She was referring to my apron. A memory flashed of when I tried to work my metaphoric kitchen skirt while pitching a television show at a national cable channel that does a lot of food programming. The series starred Mama Gena cooking up sexy dishes we called Culinary Seductions. They laughed me out of the door after telling me that each morning the corporate offices start their day with prayer. That was before I knew how to cook anything but bake sale items.
Baking has always been my thing because of my amazing grandma Cecil. When we visit her house, our teeth hurt after eating too much eclair pie, pea pickin' cake, and cobbler. Those are the staples, no matter what time of year. Grandma Cecil taught me to make the goods from pie crust to Almond Joy Cake. I needed a little dessert inspiration for a dinner party we are attending this weekend and pulled out a worn, well-loved recipe. The theme is Italian and I chose the Italian Cream Cake card. It may not be authentic but it is one sweet example of grandma's Southern baked goods. Maybe I'll blog about the party next week.
Cooking and baking blogs are everywhere now. Evidently there can't be too many cooks in the kitchen. There was an article in the Washington Post about the modern day phenom of cooking and baking blogs with The Bread Baker's Apprentice, Daring Bakers/Daring Cooks, and The Mixer and others. The article attributes the cooking and baking groups to people wanting to connect to a community of like-minded people. It also mentions the movie "Julie & Julia," which I saw last week on Boovie Night, my book/movie club. It inspired me to do my own cooking vlog (video blog), with the kids helping me prepare maple/cider pork with smashed cauliflower. The video is low-rez but the meal is good enough to serve at a dinner party AND if you have kids, they will eat it because it has syrup. Click on the box after the recipe to see my helpers add an "ash" of cumin and a half teaspoon of "old spice."
Maple & Apple Cider Pork*
1/2 c maple syrup
4 tbsp course mustard
1/4 c apple cider
1/2 tsp all spice
1 tsp cumin
pork loin cut into 1 inch thick or pork chops
preheat oven 350
Combine maple syrup, mustard, cider, onion, all spice, and cumin in saucepan and cook over medium heat, 7-10 minutes, until sauce thickens. Stir occasionally.
Grill pork on stove top, 2-3 minutes until bottom is brown. Flip and smother saucy sauce on each piece of pork. Grill another 2-3 minutes until bottom is brown. Pour more sauce and transfer pork to a baking sheet. Set aside remaining sauce for drizzling when serving.
Cook in oven for appx. 10 minutes.
*(adapted from Rachel Ray)
Steam head of cauliflower
Smash with :
1 cup chicken or veggie stock
1/4 c plain yogurt
2 cloves of minced garlic
pinch of red pepper flakes
Stir and add salt/pepper
* (adapted from Tyler Florence)