It took me awhile to come up with a Memorial Day menu. Nowadays, my mind tends to wander off aimlessly more often than not, and I have found that sleep deprivation affects my creativity. With summer just around the corner however, and with the local stores brimming with new crop fresh produce, I had extra incentives to work on this menu, and as I developed it I felt inspired and energized. I also experienced a great satisfaction seeing my family enjoy these dishes, which I intend to make again this coming weekend.
I have always wanted to know more about spices and the art of combining them to create the perfect flavors. When we lived in England I used to love the cooking shows which featured Chef Atul Kochhar. A twice Michelin starred chef renowned for his modern take on Indian cuisine, he is also what I would call “a spice genius.” Every time I watched Atul’s shows I was amazed with his artistry. To Atul, nothing was random: every ingredient had a reason to be there, and every added spice was discussed in a way which made perfect sense to the uninitiated, such as myself.
As a new mom with a part-time job, I have found these past few months difficult. I’m always exhausted and lack the energy to do anything meaningful besides attending to my baby. These days, food to me means sandwiches and sometimes pizza – and today I am going to write about the latter. I have called this “chaotic pizza” because it looks just like me nowadays: disheveled, all over the place and totally chaotic. The look of this pizza may not win any awards, but I’m not too concerned about it. I just think the pizza tastes great! 🙂
I stumbled upon an interesting discovery at the specialty cheese section the other day: sun-dried tomato cheese! I love both cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. However, I have never never tried them together as part of one product, and I was very curious to see how this cheese would taste like.
I am a self-confessed cheeseaholic – as you know, I use cheese in lots of dishes, both sweet and savory, and cheese is a main ingredient in all of my panini. Meanwhile, my use of sun-dried tomatoes in oil has been rather limited so far – I mainly put them on top of homemade pizza, so there’s definitely room for improvement and experimentation in this regard.
I made this sandwich the other day and we loved it! The combination of mild mortadella and spicy pepper jack worked great, and the sliced cucumber gave the sandwich a nice fresh bite. You know how much I love roasted peppers, so I just *had* to put some in this sandwich. The roasted pepper added a smoky, delicious flavor and a brilliant red color, both of which made the sandwich complete.
As I enter the third trimester of my pregnancy, things are getting rather complicated and difficult to handle both at work and at home: my back hurts, leg cramps are “killing” me, I’m not as fast as I used to be, and I get tired easily. Cooking looks more and more like a chore, and I find it difficult to focus. After a busy day at work, I lack the energy to do even the simplest tasks, and lying on the sofa is my idea of bliss. I need all the help I can get, especially when it comes to cooking.
Thankfully, Hamilton Beach have recently contacted me and have given me the chance to test their Set ‘N Forget 6 quart programmable slow cooker. This opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time! I tested the slow cooker for a good few weeks, and now I’m hooked. 🙂
I am always on the lookout for new recipe ideas to get me inspired and excited to try out new things. I must admit I do need inspiration in the kitchen – I have been very busy lately, and as such I have often cooked the same recipes over and over again, and found myself stuck in a rut. Fall is upon us and we can find an amazing abundance of fresh produce at the local markets. Still, what good is this if you just don’t have the time to experiment with flavors and to create new recipes? As you can see, I am a little frustrated with how things have been on the cooking front lately 🙂
Thankfully, my enthusiasm for experimenting came back recently, when Red Gold Tomatoes contacted me and asked me to test out their new slow cooker recipes, which have been devised to make fall cooking easy and more flavorful than ever. Red Gold is also hosting a competition on their Facebook page, where you can win one of two slow cookers every day. They are giving away 44 slow cookers over the next 3 weeks!