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I’ve moved – check out my new site!

9 Aug

After creating Spice Woman Cooks, I decided to change the name and design. Please come visit my redesigned site. I have a whole passel of simple and delicious recipes that will help you show off your newfound skills as a confident home cook.   For example, you can make my own mom’s chicken cutlets  or try my basil sun-dried tomato and goat cheese appetizer . Lots of advice too – like how to find the best tomatoes and even how to use your cooking and baking skills to help your romantic life.

Hope to see you soon.

Regards, Laura a/k/a SpiceWoman a/k/a MotherWouldKnow

PS – Follow me on twitter at @MotherWouldKnow and like me on Facebook too.

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Plan ahead –how much time will you spend on this recipe?

10 Aug

Even if you can fix a recipe, should you take the time to do it? Here’s a lesson that I have to learn over, and over.

We planted a grape vine years ago because it looked nice on our picket fence.

grapevines with grapes

our grapevine - find the grapes if you can

Then lo and behold, grapes appeared this year and I couldn’t resist trying to use them.

grapes from grapevines

our grapes - tiny, seeded, and meant for wine

Instead of doing a reprise of the famous Lucille Ball “recipe” for wine – which is what I should have done, I roasted the grapes.

First mistake – I used a recipe for ripe, seedless red grapes and substituted tiny, seeded red grapes that weren’t all ripe.  When I made recipe before, following it, the result was divine. This time result was weird mush that had seeds throughout.

So – did I give up?  No way. I looked for quick cake recipe, and figured that I would use the grapes (put through sieve, with sugar) as a jam-like filling.  An hour later, I had my cake.

Did the grapes make a luscious filling?  Not quite – second mistake. There wasn’t enough grape filling and it was missing a bit of something. But never fear, I wasn’t done yet.  I added chopped fresh mint, some blueberries, and a few tablespoons of blueberry preserves. By now the salvage operation had taken another half hour and the kitchen was a mess.

Then I split the cake in two and put in the filling. Then I added a glaze on top of the cake. What began as a quick, no fuss, roasted grape adventure ended with a 2-layer filled and iced cake.

Was it worth it?  Time-wise maybe not.  The roasted grape recipe takes 15 minutes to prepare and uses 1 pan. The cake adventure took about 2 hours and used the original pan for the grapes, a cake pan, several bowls and the mixer, and a bunch of extra ingredients.

But I have to admit, that the cake made an unexpected and delightful summer dessert!

cake with grape-blueberry filling

2 hours later, we had cake!

French toast is simple and quick to make

28 Jul

Ever look in the refrigerator on a weekend morning and have that sinking feeling? Don’t despair! If you have bread, milk and eggs, and butter or margarine, you’re ready to make luscious French toast.

french toast ingredients and pan

All four ingredients you need for French toast

The best bread to use is slightly stale without a hard crust. If your bread is super fresh, put it in a toaster oven at 325 degrees for a few minutes to dry it out. If yours has a hard crust, just cut it off. For one person, use 2-3 slices of bread.

Mix two eggs and ¼ cup of milk in a low-sided pan.

Soak the bread in the egg/milk mixture for a few minutes until all or most of the mixture is absorbed into the bread.

No need to be precise on amounts or timing. If your bread soaked up all the egg/milk and it looks like isn’t saturated, be brave – add another egg and a bit of milk.  On the other hand, if your bread is delightfully soaked and there is still mixture left, add another piece of bread – you can always cook and freeze it for later. (Frozen French toast can be reheated just like the frozen stuff you buy that costs a bundle and doesn’t taste nearly as good as the yummy version you’re making.)

Meanwhile, melt about 1/2 tablespoon of butter/margarine for each piece of bread in a frying pan that is big enough to hold all your bread, or do it in batches.

Fry the “soaked” bread slices for a few minutes until golden brown on one side, then turn the bread over to brown the other side. If the butter/margarine has all disappeared before the second side is done, add a bit more.

french toast frying in the pan

yummy french toast is almost done

When the bread is piping hot and brown on both sides – you’re done, and ready to enjoy. I like either syrup or cinnamon and sugar on top of French toast – strawberries or blueberries make great toppings too.

french toast with syrup and strawberries

french toast ready to eat - just minutes after you looked in refrigerator

Why learn to cook for yourself and others?

28 Jul

There’s no question that restaurant chefs cook better than you probably ever will. And cooking takes time, not to mention shopping for food and planning what to make.  Plus, if you’re living alone, why bother cooking when it’s just a hassle? If you live with a significant other or roommates who don’t cook, why be the one who goes to the trouble while others take advantage of your efforts and barely wash the dishes afterwards?

While we’re at it, any other reasons not to cook?  Oh yes, there’s the expense and space required to buy and keep all those kitchen pots, pans and gadgets that TV chefs wield like culinary samurai.

So why bother?

  • How wonderful is it to eat something delicious right out of the oven, in your pajamas if you don’t feel like getting dressed?
  • How nice is it not to have to worry about whether the restaurant will be crowded if you go at a popular time or whether it will be open when you want to eat late at night?
  • Have you noticed how expensive it is to eat out?
  • Aren’t you tired of eating the same thing all the time if you only know a couple of dishes, like that easy pasta dish you learned from your mom years ago or found in a magazine at the doctor’s office?
  • Have you ever had someone marvel at your cooking and beg for recipes, vowing that they have never, ever eaten anything so wonderful?

For food lovers who can’t cook

28 Jul
food friends - happy ingredients waiting to be used in your delicious cooking

you're among friends - food friends

If you love good food, this blog is for you. This blog is really, definitely, and especially for you …

if you haven’t done much cooking up until now, and

if you wish you could bake and cook up a storm – or just make a really good meal, and

if you don’t ask for recipes from your mom or friends because you’re afraid you won’t be able to make the dish as well as they did, and

if you’re not conversant with all the intricacies of kitchen gadgets or knowledgeable about various types of cuisine, and

if you are adventurous by nature, but perhaps a bit intimidated by the foodie bloggers and celebrity chefs, and

if you like to be health conscious but you’re not health-crazed, and

if you can’t afford to eat out as much as you would like or just prefer not to eat out all the time.