Thursday, January 1, 2009

Musings of a Rookie Food Blogger

Hmmmm, so many food blogs....what will be my modus operandi? How will I be different? It wouldn't be fun to be a cookie cutter of another foodie blogger. Right?

Well after much thought about it all...I do enjoy cooking personally as well as professionally. I am one of the few people who can experiment with new recipes at work. My students are often willing 'guinea pigs'. Actually they love it. They could care less if I am wanting to try out something new as long as they get to sample it. LOL.

So what will make my blog somewhat different is that when I am doing recipes in my classroom I will not only share the recipe itself but I am never short of funny stories of the PROCESS of which the recipe is made.

Oh the stories I've told to my co-workers, friends and family of what happens in the food lab. Sometimes I don't even want to know what happens when I turn my head to assist another group. Oh if I only had a dollar for every time I see a kid scratch their face, fix their hair, lick their fingers and then take that same hand and grate a block of cheese (for example).

Kids often think I am being selfless when they offer their 'extra' to me and I wave my hand and say "Oh no, save it for later and share with your friends....please keep it for yourself...ENJOY!" Knowing all the while I am not truly certain what they've touched when I wasn't looking. Trust me it's hard enough to watch them to make sure they are measuring correctly or just putting in a TEASPOON and not a TABLESPOON of salt. Do you know how many times I've stopped a child from using a full 1 cup dry measuring cup thinking that was 1 teaspoon? Oh, I'd been a rich woman if I had a dollar for THOSE moments in my 19 years teaching!!!

AND please, YES. I train these kids about measuring cups. The liquid and dry. The differences. Why you don't use a dry for liquid and etc. How to read them, etc. But kids are kids. They are excited to be cooking....they are nervous for their teacher is hovering over them and going to be grading mistakes happen A LOT!!!

So this will be my grainline....the trials and tribulations of our food labs....and when school is not in session or I am being somewhat creative at home....I will write about that as well. Of course I cannot be anywhere near like Pioneer Woman (you rock BTW!!) and take a picture of EVERY addition in a recipe. That would be craziness for me....(Gosh PW, do you have cams every where and have a foot button to take pix when you are chopping? I wouldn't think Marlboro Man is your cameraman for all your culinary whimsies!!! LOL)

Of course I will be 'borrowing' (ok stealing really, kidding) many of your recipes my fellow foodies!! I will be absolutely sure to give 'props' to my mentors. Often times I am always changing and substituting things anyway to make it that works for us.

Speaking of mentors....I am currently a mentor for two people right now. One new teacher (an absolute doll from Romania) and a student named Danny (a girl). I wanted to take the time to recognize her here. Take a moment and look at my new heading picture for my blog. Yes, that is a corner is my kitchen. Food styling is not my forte...LOL... But please look at the apron hanging on the right. That was my Christmas present from her. She handmade me a 'Queen of the Kitchen' apron. I was so touched. Nothing beats a handmade present. Cookies get quickly eaten but aprons last forever!!! LOL I instantly made Danny sign the inside of it and date it. Laughingly I told her she needed to do that for when I am 90 and in the nursing home going over all my teacher memorabilia ....I needed to be reminded WHO made it. So Danny, I love it and it's now being showcased forever on my blog for the world to see.

Lastly, the other thing I will be adding pictures of my adorable yet stubbon 17 year old BW cat named Tricksy. She is living out her golden years so she deserves some special treatment. Of course she could care less she is pictured on the web. She only cares if she gets her 'treats'.

Tonights Menu: Ham and Mushroom Soup (No picture for it was a last minute 'throw together' meal, I will get better at this over time)

1. Saute in pot: Half of an onion, half package of sliced mushrooms (chopped) and some cubed leftover ham until soft and warmed through.
Caution here: If you saute this mixture on too high of heat...all will brown hence making your soup a light brown. If you want your cream soup to be whiter, cook the mixture on a lower heat.
2. I used a Cream of Mushroom soup base (popular in many Amish grocery stores). The container's direction says to use a 1/2 c. of soup base with 2-1/2 cups milk or water. Mix base and cold chosen liquid (I had no milk so I used half and half and water) in separate bowl.
3. Add cold soup base mixture to saute mixture in pot. Heat until thickened.
4. Made two large soup mugs. Served with steamed green beans.

We had ham for dinner last night, ham and egg waffles for breakfast and ham sandwiches for lunch. And now this soup? We are HAMMED out.

Here is some info for you all to use that I copied from Recipe Goldmine on how to use leftover ham:

— Use diced in Denver omelets.
— Ham kebabs. Thread large ham chunks onto skewers, alternating with fresh pineapple chunks and squares of sweet red or green bell pepper. Brush kebabs with butter and grill until browned. Serve with rice and fresh asparagus.
— Julienne and use in a chef's salad.
— Use in scalloped potatoes.
— Use odd-size pieces of the fattier ham parts as a seasoning. Drop a chunk or two into the water when cooking green beans or cabbage for real down-home flavor.
— Pie: Dice ham. Combine in greased casserole with canned or frozen peas and a can of undiluted cream of mushroom soup. Top with mounds of cooked, mashed and seasoned sweet potatoes.
— Scallop: Arrange alternate layers of mashed potatoes, sliced onion and sliced ham in greased casserole; add hot milk to cover. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F until potatoes are done.
— Turnover: Put ham, onion and apple through food chopper; roll pie dough and cut into squares. Place generous spoonful of mixture on each square; fold into triangle and press edges together. Bake and serve hot or cold.
— Casserole: Cut ham in slivers; mix with cooked macaroni and white sauce. Turn into greased casserole; sprinkle with plenty of sharp cheese and buttered bread crumbs. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes.
— Scottish: Mix together ground ham, cold seasoned mashed potatoes and seasoning. Shape into oval cakes and roll in flour. Saute in hot fat until brown on all sides.
— Scramble: Brown the last bits of cooked ham in a small amount of butter or margarine in skillet. Pour in scrambled egg mixture. Scramble as usual over low heat.
— Savory: Saute slivers of cooked ham with a little sliced onion, green pepper and celery until golden. Add canned baked beans. Heat through.
— Pudding: Mix chopped ham, a can of cream-style corn, 2 beaten eggs and bread crumbs. Pour into a greased casserole and bake like a custard. Serve hot with corn muffins.
— Goober: Dice ham, celery, green pepper and apple. Combine with a generous quantity of salted peanuts. Serve as a salad with lettuce and mayonnaise.
— Rabbit: Combine 1 can of tomato soup, 1/2 cup grated cheese and 1/2 cup evaporated milk; stir until smooth. Stir in chopped ham, 2 beaten eggs; cook in double boiler until creamy. Serve between slices of toast.
— Strata: Grease a small casserole and arrange with thin slices of bread, thin slices of cheese, slivered ham in layers. Pour over 1 cup milk, 1 egg and seasonings, beaten together. Bake in moderate 350 degree F oven until puffed and brown.
— Jellied: Dice ham, apple and celery. Prepare lemon-flavored gelatin as directed on package. Chill gelatin until thick; fold in ham mixture. Pour into molds and chill until set. Turn out on lettuce leaves and garnish with walnut halves and mayonnaise.
JennyMac adds - SOUP!!!

THANKS Mommy I'm Hungry! You were my first welcome in the food blogger world. Thanks for making me feel loved and accepted. Wheeeeeee!!!!

Hand over those treats Daddy!


Dana (the Homesteading Housewife) said...

Welcome to food blogging!
Next will come food photography,
Then, cookbook publishing....
hang on to yer hat!
It's a wild ride!

HoneyB said...

Hi Jenni! Welcome to food blogging! Good luck to you...I started blogging only a year ago and I have met so many wonderful food bloggers in the process and enjoy every minute of it! :)