Tuesday, March 27, 2012

California Cookin'

Ode to the woman who showed me from the beginning...
Teaching me that cooking brings the family together, it can be learned and tampered with, played with, and empowering. I'm not talking about super woman, relax. I'm talking about my mom.
mother's day 2010
Healthful cooking is something living in California agrees with. It is nearly impossibly not to a find farmer's market around the corner  unless you're a block head and really don't care. The fresh produce and seasonal fruits, are something we take pride in. Cooking with these ingredients becomes natural and essential. Avocado? yes please. Kale? most certainly. Tomatoes? I thought you would never ask!
California Cuisine truly is a special one.
I had the luxury, yes I say luxury, of living at home in Santa Barbara after college for a year. I love my family and all that comes with them...delicious family meals and exposure to great wines ("just a sip" my dad would tease). I used to watch from afar in awe as my mom would graciously run the kitchen with such ownership. I would sit at the bar stool sipping my wine reading through the books she would be effortlessly cooking recipes from. Glance here, glance there. Her dishes came out fresh, clean, and a creation of mixed cultures. Doing her Californian take on Italian, French, and Mediterranean cooking. Eventually I learned my course and adapted my role as her sous chef. Because everyone knows, you need a sous chef who knows whats up, nobody likes a person in their kitchen who has no clue what's going on. I began to adapt and realized how her delectable dishes taught me the joy of eating health-ful food. I felt vibrant, replenished, energized, and satisfied after her dinners. I began to appreciate the vegetables, the natural herbs from the garden, and fresh fish picked up from the market, creating the whole balanced meal but with such vitality. These dishes really came to life when they were set at our table: "Cheers, Buon Appetito".

Clearly this time spent at home bit me with the chef bug since I have been addicted ever since. It was a real eye-opening experience into the true-life of home cooking. No, she is not a professional or tv chef, but she's my mom, so it's always good.

So I will leave you with some parting motherly advice:
  • Be sure to set your mis-en-place together before you begin cooking. Read through the recipe and be sure to know what lies ahead and ingredients are in place
  • Learn one recipe, do it over and over, until you can play with and its yours, own it! 
  • A little wine goes a long way..or a lot of wine ;)
  • Fresh, fresh, fresh! 
  • Cook with confidence
  • Recipes can be a lot easier than they look, but shh!

summer fiesta 2010: chicken tomatilla fajitas
  • OH, and when in doubt, throw it out! Okay that was mine, but seriously bad milk is no bueno 

homemade pizza night winter 2010

                                                                            Thanks again mom. Cheers, buon appetito!

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