27 March 2006

cooking with Karma

When my daughter was a young girl, she was always picking up unique little dishes in glass, porcelain, metal and wood. Karma said she was saving them for when she had her own cooking show. I have never been able to look at a tiny dish without considering whether Karma might like to have it. As a working mom, Karma doesn’t have as much time for cooking shows, or even cooking for that matter. Fortunately her husband is a dab hand in the kitchen and they are able to share some of the fun of that process together.

In recent years with both of us working, Jimmy and I shared the load (I cooked, he did the washing up) and we found ourselves going for easily cooked simple but tasty menus. Concern for health meant meals were based around boneless, skinless cuts of poultry and fish with the occasional bit of lean beef. These added flavour and texture to our rotating schedule of pasta, rice and potatoes cooked in their skins and lots of fresh fruit and veg. It has been ten months since I have been able to work. At first I didn’t feel well enough to be creative in the kitchen, but when my sick leave finally ran out, I had to reconsider food purchases in light of my hugely reduced budget. Last year we had to replace our rusted out cooker (with no working oven or grill) with a ceramic topped halogen stove. This meant replacing old pots and pans and learning to cook in new ways. Formerly depending heavily on a wok, two saucepans and a microwave steamer, now I was beginning to find uses for baking sheets, Pyrex casseroles and a better array of pots and pans.

Karma and Greg recently sent us a new food processor—a terrific addition to the kitchen and what a saver of personal energy! I have been enjoying the process of re-engineering recipes to make most effective use of the food processor. My latest accomplishment was a shortcrust pastry for an apple pie. I measured all of the ingredients by weight right into the main container of my food processor after zeroing out its own weight on my kitchen scale. In just a few pulses the fat was thoroughly cut in without melting. I added the ice water drop by drop until I had a perfectly blended ball of pie dough with nothing left on the sides or blades. This can be wrapped in cling film and stored in the refrigerator.

This crust ended up as four individual lattice crust pies filled with sliced bramley apples sautéed in a bit of butter, with a sprinkle of cinnamon, a handful of golden brown sugar and a couple of spoonfuls of honey. I hardly ever use recipes unless proportions are critical. Yum.


Tom Saunders said...

I'm hungry now! Time for breakfast.

McKenna said...

This makes so much sense!

Along those same lines, I have found a good use for a previously unused coffee bean grinder. Chopping nuts. The grinder is smaller than the processor (and therefore easier to clean) and whirls nuts into tiny fragments in no time at all. Pine nuts can be reduced to a fine paste in about 8 seconds in the coffee bean grinder.

Once a grinder is used for coffee beans, I doubt I'd use it for nuts. Unless the recipe is for both nuts and coffee.

Carrie Berry said...

Hi guys. Breakfast is long over, Tom. You are going to have to start rising earlier. Linda, the coffee grinder is great for nuts. It's easy enough to wipe out the coffee oils, being careful not to slice your fingers. You can use it for nutmeg and other whole spices.