Saturday, June 6, 2009

Are You A Chef?

The other night I was talking to someone about TwinYolks, and they asked what it was about.  I replied with the basics:  "local food, cooking, recipes, my life, etc."  The next question, was, "Are you a chef?"  To which, of course, I laughed and replied, "No, not at all."  

And from that point on it was a little awkward, and it seemed apparent that I'd lost some "credibility", if I ever had any in the first place.  

Yet the more I think about how not being a chef caused a slight contretemps in conversation, the more I feel compelled to explain why I am insistent on repeating the great moral of Ratatouille and repeat with fervency that, with this food, "anyone can cook."  

You can cook.  I know you can.  Could it be possible that you don't have the best, freshest, highest quality ingredients?  Do you squirt your lemon out of a bottle or do you squeeze it from an actual lemon?  Little things like that make a big difference.  (Not to mention: How can lemon juice possibly stay fresh for years?)   

My "Person of the Week" (or, in my opinion, year), Michael Pollan, with his gift of clarity explains it this way:

"When you eat from the farmers' market, you automatically eat food that is in season, which is usually when it is most nutritious.  Eating in season also tends to diversify your diet - because you can't buy strawberries or broccoli or potatoes twelve months of the year, you'll find yourselfexperimenting with other foods when they come to market... Whether it is rutabaga or an unfamiliar winter squash, the CSA box's contents invariably send you to your cookbook to figure out what in the world to do with them.  Cooking is one of the most important health consequences of buying food from local farmers; for one thing, when you cook at home you seldom find yourself reaching for the ethoxylated diglycerides or high-fructose corn syrup. "

Go out to the nearest Farmers Market and buy a unfamiliar vegetable and figure out what to do with it.  The end result might surprise you, and re-infuse you with kitchen confidence.  What are you waiting for?  Anyone can cook.

(Well, maybe not anyone, but that is a huge cucumber.)

Above tomato/bread recipe is so delicious, and so easy it's not even a recipe.  Get a farm fresh tomato, slice over sourdough, drizzle with olive oil (and/or balsamic vinaigrette), salt and a few sprigs of basil. If you prefer, add a bit of your favorite cheese (we like goat).  Roast lightly in the oven and devour.

And have a wonderful weekend...if you find anything interesting at your local farmer's market I'd love to hear about it!


Chantal said...

I like to cook. And in the past 2 years, I take the time to try new vegetables. Some I like and some, not so much. I admit, I like trying new vegetables and exotic fruits. I love papaya. As for the local freshness, well the season is short but I love when the tomatoes, peaches arrive plump and juicy and so tasty and perfumed. Wow! All the local vegetables and fruits are beautiful. Thank you for your great post. I think we are all chefs, in our own way. If ever somebody ask me if I'm a chef? Why not, in my own kitchen I am.

Patty said...

I definitely looked up a lot of recipes for chard and kale when we were getting a food box for a while. Now that we grow our own (mostly), I can choose to grow what I know we'll like. But chard is so easy to grow, that I still look for recipes for it. It's good with pasta and in omelets.

Sometimes I need new recipes when we have too much of a good thing. This spring we have had more rain and cool weather than usual, so we have lots and lots of great lettuce! I am not really tired of salad, but you can't cook or preserve lettuce. Now we are getting plenty of good green beans (as well as lettuce and chard), so we just alternate: green beans, chard, lettuce, green beans, chard, lettuce.

I am looking forward a few years to having our own fruits too: blueberries, strawberries, maybe peaches and apples. I have been told many times that you can't grow them without spraying, so we'll see.

kim said...

Ahhhh I LOVE it! You're a chef in my book, Annie. The ground beef w/ salad in a homemade tortilla is now in John's top 5. And those "Best of Pancakes"...I am a pancake snob, and those really are the best I've ever had. Keep those ideas and recipes coming mmmkay.

Rachel said...

The beauty of this blog is that you don't have to be one of the top 5 chefs in the world to create an impressive meal! It's much harder to buy local, cheap** produce and put something delicious together. WAY more impressive than someone with a team of choppers,dicers, garnishers behind her doing all of the dirty work. Don't be discouraged! Lovin' the blog.
Keep inspiring me to get my lazy ass to the kitchen and feed my husband!

Bunny said...

Annie, I love reading your posts! You verbalize my sentiments about food exactly. It's neat to see a glimpse into your life. Keep blogging. You're great at it.

A.Kelley said...

Thank you all, ladies! Each of your comments are wonderful. Keep it up I love hearing from you... I've got my chef hat on now, for sure!

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