Tuesday, April 03, 2007

It's All About You!

I've decided it's high time I get around to replying to some comments and answering a few of the questions that have been asked around here. So, without further delay...

A while back, Sandi asked if I am a professional chef or baker.
Absolutely not. I have done a little catering work, but I have zero professional training and I have all the bad habits to prove it.
My mom was an enthusiastic and very good self taught cook. I remember watching Julia Child on PBS with her when I was a little, little kid and always begging to be picked up and held on her hip while she stood at the stove cooking so I could see what she was doing.
I strongly believe that you don't need a formal education to be a great cook or understand proper technique.
Anything you need to know can be found in the great, classic cookbooks or by watching the real pros on TV, (who, for the record, seem mostly to have disappeared from the Food Network.) Many of the old episodes of The French Chef are avaliable on DVD which are excellent for learning technique. Once you know the basics and understand the terminology, it's a lot about choosing great recipes and getting in there and doing it and getting some experience.

Guinifer says she would pay me to come to her house and cook.
I would consider that, actually. Providing personal chef services is something I've thought about doing before and something I think I would be good at but it's never gone further than giving the occasional catered-by-me party as a gift to relatives.
I would also love to teach cooking classes at my house someday and I designed my kitchen with that idea in the back of my head. Registration is open :)

Maria says: "I may be an older version of you. I'm 40 something with a hubby and 5 kids. I used to love to cook, (still do sometimes) and like contemporary stuff....
Anyway, just thought I'd comment and tell you that you inspire me to cook, etc."
I can't decide if I think it's greater that I inspire you to cook or that you evidently think I am some kind of 20-something tartlet.

Cori says: "if you ever want to host a MN knitting night at your house, i'd SO be there!!!"
This is not beyond the realm of possibility...having some kind of crafty open house. Back before I lost my mind and built Modern in MN, I really enjoyed hosting a bi-monthly girls knit-and-dine get together night (aka Crafty Chix), and I intend to resurrect this tradition at some point in the near future...

Regarding artichokes, Maryse says she grew up eating them with dijon mustard vinagrette.
I am SO going to try this!! Thanks for the tip, Maryse.

Rachel says "My husband and I talk all the time about the design of our dream house. #1 is always the kitchen. #2 is our motorcycle showroom"
That is exactly how we prioritized our wants as well. Really, it would be hard for me to choose which room I love more. And when I say 'we' I really mean me. Boy would be the first to tell you that if it weren't for me and this crazy, hairbrained house idea, he'd still be living in our 70's rambler over on the redneck prairie. Which is not to say that he loves Modern in MN any less than I do, but it's not something he would have come up with to do.

Regarding candied bacon, Wendy says: "Great googly moogly, that's fabulous. I'm going to have to use that for a drink garnish... for a breakfastini, with maple vodka and coffee something-or-other!"
Holy crap. I TOTALLY MUST try that drink garnish idea because I can't decide if I'm horrified at the idea of a "breakfastini" or if I need one right this minute.

Rascallion says: "I totally love the MooPocket! Wish I had some Moo cards so I could justify buying one from you. You should enter it in the Fred Flare Next Big Thing event. ( http://fredflare.com/customer/nextbigthing_faqs.php )"
First, go get yourself some MOO!
The Fred Flare suggestion is great. I've always wondered what I could enter in that contest. The only issue I see is that I'm making basically like four cents on each one so selling them "wholesale" may be a problem.

Melly suggests Shapewell fusible interfacing as the solution to my handbag making question.
I've never heard of Shapewell. Poking around in the internet a bit, it appears maybe it's an Australian thing? I think I am going to try Vilene if I can't get a hold of the Shapewell.

And today, from Shannon in WI:
"I have been searching your past posts to see if you put your royal icing recipe and how to frost on your blog. Interested in sharing? I just made a HUGE double batch of Easter cut outs with white icing and sprinkles, but after seeing your cookies it would be great to make beautiful cookies like yours!
Thanks for having a great blog to read."
Thanks for reading, Shannon! Great idea about a royal icing tutorial. I'll definitely add that to my to-be-blogged list because it's something I really love to do. In the mean time, I can tell you there's no secret about the icing at all, and every recipe is more or less the same. You can make it with fresh egg whites but, IMO, that's a waste of time because the results aren't better. Instead, I buy meringue powder from a baking supply place and just add water, powdered sugar and a bit of flavoring. Another option instead of fresh egg whites is to make it using powdered whites which are usually available at the grocery store.

So thanks y'all for reading and commenting, because comments really are the best part of blogging!

I'm sorry I've been a bit of a flake lately with posting. I think I've finally got a handle on this MOOPocket business so I'll be back to myself shortly.

Tomorrow is WFDW, and I hope someone is playing along out there. I've chosen this recipe and I can't wait! Trial size food...whooohoooo!!

hey you mentioned me!
Well, profi or not, you are still a huge inspiration to me! I'm not particularly crafty, but I like home renos and cooking is definitely a hobby. I am completely self-taught though; I didn’t learn at all from my mom and I only started learning after I moved to Europe and wanted some types of food from home (Canada) that I couldn’t find at the restaurants here. Currently my bibles are Joy of Cooking, Betty Crocker (the red one) and 2 Austrian cookbooks. I figure since I'm here I may as well perfect a few specialties for when I get home and can’t find them at restaurants there. :-) Anyway, thanks for the reply, and thanks for the great blog!

Oh! And one other thing I wanted to say regarding your cooking-for-other-people idea. I once saw a business idea that I think would be great for you; offer tasty, home-made meals that people pre-order from a catalogue/menu you provide online or through the post, then you deliver the meals and people ("busy professionals") keep them in their freezers until it's time to heat it up for dinner. You could do bi-weekly deliveries or whatever and use the other days to cook. It would target higher-income folks (read: make you a profit) and people could order up to a week's worth of dinners online...
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