Archive for August, 2010

A Little Bit Can Go A Long Way

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

While we haven’t been to any new places to eat lately (still waiting for Pan Pan, Norman!) we have a few tidbits to report on for you amusement and information today.

First of all, let me say that my days of eating whatever I want whenever I want are over. While I have mostly maintained a 50/50 diet, that is half of what I like and half of what is really good for me, I am moving forward into the 80/20 realm, which means only one treat per day and less eating out, unless I can manage more like this next bit; We love George’s Vineyard on Hwy 3, and I have tried just about everything, and it’s all good, but this week I tried the Hawaiian Pizza again. I usually order pizza with a light amount of cheese, but I forgot this time and Man oh Boy oh Girl oh Goodness! It was good. I ordered a small pizza for myself. Usually D and I split one, but I could see that look of the hungry hunter in his eyes and suggested he go ahead and order his usual gyros platter. I promote that because I usually steal some fries with the Greek yoghurt as a dip, or If I have spaghetti, I will put the yoghurt in the sauce. A tablespoon or so, does the trick.

I know I am saying ‘usually’ a lot, well that’s about to change! :)

The tip is that I ate about one third of the small fully cheesed pizza, and packed up the rest for home. The next morning, I nuked the second third of it for 10 seconds and had it for breakfast. The next morning I did the same. So, pizza, yes, full cheese, yes…break the caloric barrier? NO! And it was good as can be with a very light crust, thinly sliced Canadian bacon and nice little chunks of pineapple. I like the very refreshing trend towards lightening up some recipes with citrus. Any citrus. But I wonder if I can contemplate pizza with mango?

My new favorite food recommendation is chutney. People are making chutney from more combinations of food than I can shake a stick at…and some of them sound quite delicious. Apple, cranberry, walnut chutney for example. Or string bean chutney with curry spices. The list is endless. Chutneys can be served with any mild food that takes on other flavors, like chicken, cheese, crackers, potatoes, rice, pasta and so on. So if someone offers you chutney, don’t crinkle up your nose…give it a go. It’s the most flavorful food I have ever tasted.

We got some great salsa from our Farmer’s Market, as well as some of the meatiest tomatoes I have seen in my life. We had some really delicious Yukon Gold potatoes from there last week, which we cut up, throw into a pot, boil them for 15 minutes, let them cool a bit, toss on some oil and vinegar, and drop them in a green salad with hard boiled eggs for lunch or dinner. It’s budget friendly, and tastes awesome.

We broke down and bought homemade bread, and cookies, too…but we didn’t eat them all at once. WHEW! Do check out the Farmer’s Market Real Soon! They have some great deals for you.

Lunch at Bright's

Culinary Throwdown! Men vs. Women Northfield Golf Club

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

As I sit here with my Northfield’s Farmer’s Market beautiful solid red tomato (the color, although the tomato flesh is quite meaty), Greek yogurt and slice of sour dough toast, a rather nice experience in itself, my mind drifts back to last Saturday night and the super gastronomical experience (stuff that’s yummy for your tummy) that has inspired this new blog.

There were maybe forty people seated around a long table, shaped as three sides of a square, so that people could chat and meat and see each other enjoying the offerings. We met several really nice people, we all laughed and had a lot of fun throughout the evening and that in itself is enough for me to write about, but I’ll get into the food here directly for those who want to know.

Two men and two women, associated with the Golf Club and Ole Store, cooked two four course meals based on citrus. We all were to vote on each course, not knowing who had cooked each course, to avoid prejudice. We were served and consumed the men’s creations first. I found those meals to be more daring in that the men used unusual ingredients and newer techniques, as far as I could tell, more subtle flavors. Before I knew who cooked what I had wrongly guessed that the women would have cooked the more subtle tasting second menu food, but at that point I had my one glass of wine for the year, and failed to take into consideration how daring men tend to be. Sorry, ladies. This is a gross generalization and may be why I misjudged so. But I am willing to say I am wrong and I give myself a 3 for that. :)

The women’s offerings were colorful, flavorful, and more traditional food stuffs were used. I was often delighted to the heights of my being at some of the flavors and visuals I was absorbing. So, let me now talk about each course and maybe inspire some of you to get in there and cook!

The women won the vote, but we don’t know by how much. I suspect it was rather close because each side did a great job, and worked very hard to bring us such inventive treats.

First courses were a Lemon Thyme Mediterranean Vegetable Napolean, which was vegetable circles stacked on each other and the next first course was Orange and Beet Salad with beet spheres, baby beet, orange sheet,kumquat,yogurt pudding,micro greens, orange vinaigrette.

Second courses were Orange Tequila Red Snapper with Citrus Mango Relish and Lemon-lime broth and the other second course was Lime Monk Fish, Monk Fish Mousse, Lime Pudding, Banana Pudding, Lemon Couscous, Fries Monkfish and Curry Salt.

Third courses were Chicken A L’Orange served with Citrus Parmesan Polenta and Beet Puree and Green Onion. The other second course was Sous Vide Pork, (cooked for 6 hours), Corn Bread Puree,Grapefruit Segments, Sage Pudding, Caramelized Baby Fennel, Fronds, Grapefruit Caviar.

The fourth courses were a Trio of Citrus; Lemon Meringue Tart, Frozen Key Lime Mousse, Cake and Orange Creme Hot Tottie. The other was Deconstructed Lemon Meringue Pie, Graham Cracker Crumb, Lemon Marshmallow, Meyer Lemon Pudding, Lemon Pudding Dehydrated Lemon Curd.

Now that sounds like a lot of food, and it is quite enough for dinner, but it is a lot of small amounts of many of the ingredients. Just enough for a taste, for a brief but delicious experience. The main, 2nd and 3rd, courses were larger. And while I won’t talk about each menu item, I will give you a two minute tour.

My favorite was the well, as I look again, dang, I loved just about everything on the menu except the pork, which I had to trade off to dh anyway, cuz he does not like fish. I found the pork to be mushy and spongy. No one else around me agreed with me on that however. I also did not like the corn bread puree. I can get moist corn bread anytime without liquifying it. Maybe I’m just old fashioned that way.

I really loved the red snapper, my first time with that, and I’ll order that sometime again. The chicken was super number one. They marinated it in orange soy juice. I don’t digest soy, but I would orange julius the chicken anytime. Orange Julius, you may recall from your mall food days, is orange juice with milk or creme. I made it at home, using a 1 to 1 ratio with whole milk. It’s good for people like me who like orange juice but have problems with it.

The monk fish was good, but, I don’t want to say anything bad about the monk fish, so I’ll shut it down right here.

Both first courses were excellent as were both desserts, especially the creme hot tottie which had Grand Marnier liquor in it, and I consider that cheating because you can’t go wrong with that sort of thing. :) And the lemon marshmallows were brand new to me and the type of thing that brings up all sorts of happy past memories,like puckered lips after tasting your first lemon, and s’mores, pillow fights and pinwheel cookies!

Now, all the other bits and parts were beautifully prepared and displayed. You really have to get to a chef’s special tasting or throw down to get the experience and I recommend it highly. It’s very freeing and makes you look at that tuna sandwich or peanut butter and jelly right out of the jar in a whole new light. Maybe you can try a little jam on the tuna now.

All in all it’s a great evening lasting about three hours. The food, with the four glasses of wine, was $118 for two people, including tip and taxes.

Orange and Beet Salad

Orange and Beet Salad

Bright’s Top Ten Teaching Tips

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Bright’s Top Ten Teaching Tips

1. Always treat each student with respect and honor.

2. Set an environment where the teacher can teach and then the
student has space to learn, discuss, try out, and absorb the lessons.

3. The best learning takes place when a student is hydrated, fed, rested, and free from worry.

3a. Teacher, know your subject well enough to explain it from beginning to end. Start from the beginning. Have a lesson plan or outline even for a simple lesson. What is simple for you may be more difficult for a new comer, so make sure you are being clear and direct. Enthusiasm helps, too.

4. Let the student know how this new knowledge will change their lives and improve their skills.

5. Always ask for, encourage, and wait for questions from the students.

6. Always ask the students questions like, “what do you think?”, “what do you like?”, or “what you would do differently?”

7. Always support and encourage the student who is learning at every stage. Remember, mistakes are part of learning process. Encorage exploration and practice. Many great painters painted the same painting over 100 times before they got it right! (remember every part counts.)

8. Teacher, learn from your students, they have something to add if you will just listen.

9. There is nothing too difficult to learn or to teach, if you remember to take one step, one thought, or one action at a time. Even the world’s greatest masterpieces started with one stroke of the brush.

10. Find simple objects, like a jar of water, a sand box, a hand, to help illustrate a point. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words.

These top 10 tips have worked for me over and over again. There are many ways to teach, and many of you have your own formulas that work for you. Then there are some who don’t feel that they can teach, when in fact we are all teaching somebody something all the time. I guarantee that if you stick to these tips and add your a few of your own, you’ll be a darn good teacher.