Clapping On The Down Beat

Just another WordPress.com site

Try It Tuesday August 30, 2016

Filed under: Meal Planning,Step by step — clappingonthedownbeat @ 7:01 AM

Collard Greens.

DSC_0002

Collards are in the cabbage family and is an edible leaf that was also used as an ornamental garden plant (like the popular kale).  I think they are over looked.

Many southern recipes will start with ham hocks and then cooking the collards down.  This is a very delicous dish, but today I am taking an Italian twist.

Start with diced pancetta.  Cook till it is crispy and some of the fat has rendered out.

DSC_0001

See all the bown coloring on the bottom of the pan?  That is called fond- and its all flavor.  The best way to “clean a pan” is to deglaze.  Remove the crispy pancetta and set aside.  Add some chicken stock or broth, about 1 1/2 cups- 2 cups and scrape the bottom of the pan. Let the  stock/broth simmer.

DSC_0004

DSC_0005

Next strip the leaves off the stem of the collards.  I stack the leaves and roll them, then cut into strips.

DSC_0003

Wash the leaves really well.  Then add to the simmering liquid.

DSC_0006Let the pot simmer for 45-60 minutes.  Stir every once in a while just to make sure there is a little liquid in the bottom.  If needed add a little more stock/broth.  When its is all cooked down finish with some chopped garlic, about 3 cloves.  Add garlic at the end so it doesn’t burn.  Cook for about 1 minute till the garlic is fragrant and then add the pancetta back in and a few dashes of red wine vinegar.

DSC_0007

Makes a great side dish with some pasta, or polenta.  If you take a southern route then serve it with cornbread, mac and cheese and some pan fried chicken.  It is an overlooked, delicous and nutritious vegetable.

 

Undivided Attention August 23, 2016

Filed under: Interests,Parenthood,Sharing and Caring,travel — clappingonthedownbeat @ 12:44 PM

Today is the second day of school.  Summer is over.

I think this has been one of out best summers.  It seems as the kids get older, the summer gets easier.  We picked a few camps for them to attend- now it’s more sleep away camps.  We planned some down days, and we planned some adventure days.

I have had a list of places I have wanted to go, but time has always escaped.  However, this year I planned ahead.  We did 2 museum days in Dallas.

IMG_2581   IMG_2585  IMG_2587

Dallas Heritage Village lunch at Angry Dog and then the Frontier Flight Museum

The second trip was inspired by the trip Kate’s girl scout troop made to Austin at the beginning of the summer.  The troop was working on a government badge and we visited the LBJ library, the UT campus, 2 tours of the state capital, Congress bridge bats, swimming, BBQ and lots of fun.  As we toured the LBJ library, I thought what a fun history lesson to connect to Dallas.  SO, I rented the 3 hour long documentary on JFK and we all watched it.  Then we went to Sixth Floor MuseumOld Red Museum and lunch at Klyde Warren Park.

IMG_2725  IMG_2735  IMG_2739

We also went to Turner Falls, OK for hiking and swimming, Waco to the Mammoth National Park Site The Magnolia Market Silos for lunch and Dr. Pepper Museum

DSC08826  DSC08850  IMG_2816  DSC08889

The best part of all these trips is the undivided attention I have from my kids and they have from me.  We have had some of the best conversations, funniest moments and we have no distractions.  There was one teachable moment that really stood out.

We took a trip to Lawton, OK to get a burger.  (yes, its part of my discovering the 5 best burgers in OK)  It was about a 3 hour trip one way.  Meers store and restaurant used to be a mining cabin, but now serves burgers.  It also serves a lot of service men and women due to Ft. Sills located a few miles away.  As we were eating lunch, we noticed a young man dressed in fomal military attire eating with his family.  The kids asked about him, and I told them that he probably came from the base we passed on the way in.  When it came time to checkout, I told our server that we would pick up the service mans bill.  The owner said that they were nervous about having time to eat since he had to be back for graduation ceremony.

For about an hour of the ride home we talked about creating a ripple effect of “doing good” or “paying it forward”.   Small things that we do for one another can have a great impact.  Just recognizing someone, eye contact and a smile, showing appreciation and gratitude can go a long way.  What is your ripple effect?

IMG_2863

 

Judgemental June 5, 2016

Filed under: Multiple Sclerosis — clappingonthedownbeat @ 9:19 PM

This is a tough post to write.

Have you ever parked in a parking lot a noticed a car park in a handicapped spot and then saw someone who didn’t appear handicapped get out?  Did you ever wonder why they had a tag?

I guess I had a stereotype of the typical person who needed a handicapped spot.

And so having a conversation with my neurologist, I was given forms for a handicapped tag.

IMG_2556

Yup.  So now I will be “that person” that I always wondered in the back of my head- “why are they parking there?  Isn’t that for someone who needs it?”

Summers in Texas can get really hot.  My car can heat up and get really hot.  When I get overheated, then I start to feel tingling and numbness in the areas that have nerve damage.

I don’t use it everyday.  I just have it for times when it gets really hot, when I would otherwise have to park a ways away and walk or carry heavy loads far (like for catering jobs, carrying food and equipment…..ect.)

I laugh at myself.  The one who used to have those judemental thoughts, became the subject.

 

An Ending is really a Beginning May 25, 2016

Filed under: Meal Planning,Sharing and Caring — clappingonthedownbeat @ 9:17 PM

IMG_2504

Two weeks ago was graduation.  I actually finished all my course work in Decembe 2015, but they only do a graduation once a year in May.  This had been a long time coming and I decided to go.  I thought it would be fun for the kids to see too.

It was a little bitter sweet.  I think I could have stayed in school and kept taking classes.  But, I got this really cool job as a Chef for Williams Sonoma.  It’s “casual” employment, meaning I get to pick and choose my hours.  I teach cookbook classes, I demo equipment (hello! play time) and I teach techniques classes.  It doesn’t even feel like work.  I get to talk about food and cooking the whole time.  It feels like a square peg in a square hole.

Here’s a few of the fun things I have been doing:

IMG_2514  IMG_2516

This is an easy pan roasted chicken with garlic, thyme, rosemary and olive oil.  After 40 minutes in the oven some bread cubes get tossed in to soak up the juices and to use as croutons for the salad.

IMG_2521

This was for the cookbook club dinner at WS.  It was served with spiralized zucchini noodles, and a power greens salad and quick vinaigrette.

IMG_2517  IMG_2519

For dessert I whipped up a vegan chocolate mousse made from avocado, almond butter, maple syrup, and almond milk.  It was topped with a cashew cream.  I think it was better than the real thing.

Last weekend I taught a technique class on flavors of Mexico.  I cooked Oaxaca black beans, roasted chicken and then made nachos with two fruit salsas.

IMG_2527

IMG_2528  IMG_2529

Tomorrow I am teaching a class for a friend on how to prepare and cook ahead for the week using leftovers.  Then back to WS Friday where I get to demo the infrared smokeless indoor grill.  I’ll be featuring the WS rubs on pork chops, corn on the cob and making a quick beer bread.

If your in the area, come visit me in the Stonebier Mall!

 

Oh Sweet Breakfast. May 15, 2016

Filed under: Interests,Meal Planning,Sharing and Caring,Step by step — clappingonthedownbeat @ 3:36 PM

I  {L O V E}  Breakfast.  French toast, pancakes, bicuits, coffee cakes, egg bakes, croissants, kringles ……

So here is a new breakfast treat, or dessert. Bostock.

First, make frangipane.

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 cup finely ground blanched almonds
1 teaspoon almond extract

Place almonds and sugar in a food processor and pulse till nuts are finley ground.  Then add softened butter, egg and extract.  Pluse till it comes together as a paste.

Slice a loaf of challah or brioche (thick cut soft bread).  You can brush with a vaniall simple syrup (1 cup water + 1 cup sugar + 1 vanilla bean or add 1tsp vanilla extract when cooled- bring to a boil till sugar dissolves then let cool).  Then spread 1 Tsp apricot jam (or your favorite) over the bread.  Then spoon over 2-3 Tbsp frangipane over the jam.  Place bread on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 for 13-16 minutes till top is golden.  Then sprinkle with powedered sugar.

IMG_2486

 

Secret short cuts May 13, 2016

Filed under: Interests,Meal Planning,Organization,Sharing and Caring,Step by step — clappingonthedownbeat @ 2:21 PM

I usually like soup for lunch, but with the weather warming up, sometimes I like a little variety.  Yes, salads are good, but even salads after a while get boring.

How about a Ploughman’s Lunch?

If you like to nibble or snack, this is a great lunch.  It is a English “farmer’s lunch”.  It can consist of hard boiled eggs, cold cuts, bread, crackers, cheese, fruits (fresh or dried), vegetables, dips/spread and nuts.

Starbucks even has some bistro boxes that look like a ploughman’s lunch.

Unknown  IMG_2496

I love Machego cheese, crackers, apples, cashews or almonds, hummus, carrots…..the list goes on.

Here’s a quick trick to hard boiled eggs.  I take a muffin tin, either 6 cup or 12 cup, and place an egg in each one.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Bake the eggs for 30 minutes and then place immediatly into an bowl of ice water.  Let them cool 5-10 minutes and then store in the fridge.

IMG_2497

We also eat a lot of oatmeal.  I buy a 7lb bag of steel cut oats at a time.  I can grind up my own oat flour or eat oatmeal.  Steel cut oats take a long time to cook, so to short cut a breakfast, I bring 3 cups water to boil in a pot in the evening.  When I it boiling I add 1 cup steel cut oats, turn the burner off, and cover the pot.  I let it sit overnight.  In the morning, I add 1/2c. milk and heat up the oatmeal.  It’s creamy and perfect and makes for a hearty fast breakfast.  I have one who likes to stire in peanut butter, one who likes raisins and I like dried fruit and a little granola.

 

 

A Little Reflection. May 9, 2016

Filed under: Interests,Meal Planning,Sharing and Caring — clappingonthedownbeat @ 7:48 PM

I went to a memorial service today.  For a 1 year old.  And even though, it was anticipated, it seemed sudden.

The family frequently posted journals on Caring Bridge, and I always appreciated the honesty, faith and love that they shared through the posts.  It was a way to feel connected.

Knowing that I was teaching yoga today, then my tire light went off in the car, and I rushed home to get the kids after school for the memorial, I had not planned dinner.

Pressure cooker.   We have a love/scared to death relationship.

IMG_2459

It really is fantastic.  It just scares me when the steam starts coming out.  Really.  I stay out of the kitchen till the timer goes off.

IMG_2460

I bought some heirloom Mexican beans when I was in California.  These cooked up beautifully in the pressure cooker with a ham hock and an onion.  They were the size of a kidney bean, the color of a pinto (like a milk chocolate) but really creamy.

And how about a bacoeggcado?  A poached egg, in an avocado wrapped in bacon.  I am still working on getting the bacon to stay on wrapped tightly on the avocado.

IMG_2437

 

 

 

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 31 other followers