[This was supposed to have been published yesterday, but somehow didn't go through? The Go Ahead Honey, It's Gluten-Free! Cream of the Crops: Dairy-Free Delights round-up will be published tomorrow can be seen here!]
I borrowed The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers from the library, prompted by reading The Butcher and the Vegetarian, which I mentioned in my last entry. I didn’t expect it to be such a hefty thing but size and weight aside, I’ve found some really good, simple recipes to make from it. One of the first things I tried out of it was dicing an onion. I’ve been chopping onions almost as long as I’ve been cooking, but never did I come across this technique of dicing an onion until I saw it in The Zuni Cafe Cookbook. I’ve practiced it already more times than I can count, and it’s my new favourite way of chopping up onions – so much so that I want to share it here.
It’s very simple and all it uses are two cuts. In the book’s instructions, it’s suggested that you switch to a chef’s knife for the dicing, but I just used the serrated knife I started with.
Watch the video or follow along with the photos below.
Cut off the ends of an onion, peel it, and slice in half, lengthwise. Don’t core it, as this is what helps keep the onion together.
Neatly slice one half, crosswise. I make my slices almost paper thin but it’s up to you.
After a dozen eggs and four bell peppers, I decided it was time to share this winner. I love eggs in the morning – or any time of day, for that matter. From a previous posting, you may know that I like egg in the basket – it goes by many other names, of course, but they all refer to a piece of bread that has a hole cut out of the centre and with an egg cracked into the hole and fried with the bread. To those not familiar with it, it’s easily mistaken as simply an egg sunny side up on top of a slice of toast but it is not. This was one of my new favourite ways to eat eggs but it’s been replaced with this veggie version. I like it even better than when I had it with the bread, gluten-free or otherwise.
Instead of a slice of bread, a ring of roasted, sweet red bell pepper is used. Pick your colour.
Today I filmed a video, with the help of my brother (whom you’ll all be meeting soon) for how to make the carrot muffins/cupcakes (finally!) and it can be watched below. I’ve also embedded it in the carrot muffins post, following the recipe.
I really wanted to make something, with what I already had on hand and also that didn’t call for that much. I wanted to make something just for the sake of making it, as a kind of escape into an inner zen that is experienced while one goes with the flow of things, being “in the zone”, and having time to oneself.
Last night, as I was doing my usual round of visiting food blogs and seeing if there was anything new since I last checked. I often do read food blogs, sometimes I even come across a new one or two, at night before going to bed (it’s become a habit) but in this particular instance, I realized I wasn’t just checking food blogs: I was looking for comfort in food. As I checked the blogs and looked at beautiful photographs of delicious food, I felt myself wanting to make something, to use my hands. It was too late to make anything, so I waited until today.
When I am in the kitchen and preparing food, if I’m not instructing someone on how to prepare something, such as if my siblings or a sibling is helping me, or if I’m in conversation with others, or when I’m not rushing around, I find a general inner peace as I work with the food; that inner zen. For me, making food has always been an act of love. It’s probably one of the most open ways of showing your affection. I like doing it, I enjoy the process, and I like seeing people take pleasure out of eating their food. But I never considered making food as therapeutic.
Today, I realized and understood that kitchen therapy means finding calm and comfort in the preparation of food.