07 April 2008

Tag! I choose to be it this time!

Since I am attempting to get back in the swing of blogging, I figured I would opt to do the meme's that my sister recently posted on her blog. Like L, I am not going to tag anyone to play - just consider yourself invited to play if you want. Make sure you let me know you are playing so I can come check your responses out. Unfortunately, I did not get as much cooking done this weekend as I would have liked. The weather was too gorgeous to stay inside and cook. I did grill hamburgers with my parents on Sunday - they were awesome. I think grilled food tastes significantly better when you can eat it outside! I did buy some flank steak, so I swear I am going to make some tacos this week...
But for today - get outside and enjoy that sunshine (well if you are in Columbus - otherwise I am not sure what to tell you :))!

Kitchen Meme

What three kitchen items do you use the most often?
Wüsthof Santoku Knife
Silicone Spatulas
KitchenAid Mixer

What kitchen gadget do you wish you had?
I am not sure if this counts, but I really wish I had a laptop that I could bring into the kitchen with me for easy reference. It is amazing how much the internet impacts my cooking, and I hate running back and forth between the kitchen and living room (where my computer lives).

What kitchen gadget do you never use/wish you hadn't spent the money for?
I desperately wanted a juicer for the longest time - I finally got one and while I am happy I have it, I definitely don't use it often enough. I do think that someday when I work a little less and have children, it will be a wonderful appliance to have around. You just can't beat homemade popsicles!

What is your favorite cookbook? (Link if you can!)
I don't really cook from cookbooks these days. I love reading and owning cookbooks, but it is more like a library of reference books now. However, I will never forget my first two cookbooks - one was Mexican (half the book was written in English, half in Spanish - I was completely enamored with the bilingual aspect of the book) and the other was Spanish. Both were incredibly basic books, but they expanded my horizons and encouraged me to get in the kitchen. From those books, I learned to make Sopapillas at home for my family. My parents totally encouraged me to deep fry and figure out how to do it safely. I was so excited the first time I made a Tortilla Española from the Spanish cookbook that reminded me of the first meal I had in Madrid, Spain as a wide-eyed 12 year old girl.

Who is your cooking inspiration?
Most importantly, my mom. I have grown to appreciate different cuisines from those I grew up eating, but without her encouragement I never would have started tinkering in the kitchen. I will never forget very carefully copying our family's treasured gingersnap recipe onto a piece of paper, so I could systematically check off each ingredient as I added it to my mom's KitchenAid. She was always available to help me, but she mostly believed I would be fine and let me have free reign in the kitchen - an invaluable gift that has given me incredible confidence in my own kitchen today. Otherwise it is my sister who has continued to expand my culinary horizons and challenge me where food is concerned. She has taught me to enjoy Vietnamese, Indian, Korean, Thai and countless other cuisines that I am not sure I would have been brave enough to try on my own. She also puts up with my overly sensitive olfactory system without giving me too much grief.

What are three recipes that you use all the time?
I don't really follow set recipes very often - but these are the dishes I make most often-
1. Chicken Chili Verde style stew
2. Hummus/Bean Dip
3. Family Gingersnaps

Can you share a cooking secret?
Have confidence in yourself and don't forget to season as you go. I rarely salt my food because I taste as I prepare it.

What is your greatest cleaning secret?
I have to clean as I go. I cannot stand cooking in a messy kitchen! I find it so much easier to put a measuring cup in the dishwasher right away than unloading a full sink of dirty dishes.

What is your favorite thing to clean?
Do I count?! I love showers :)

What is your least favorite thing to clean?
Floors!!! I hate sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, any of it. Yuck!

What is your most embarrassing housekeeping moment?
One time I was hosting a party, and I wanted to impress a guest I had invited so I decided I needed to paint my entire first floor a new color. Thankfully a wonderful friend of mine helped me get it done in time for the party - the guest never showed up. Oh well, at least I have a gorgeous cayenne-colored family room now!

Who do you tag to do this next?
Anyone who wants to play! Let me know you did it, and I will check it out!

Alphabet Soup Tag

Here is what you do. Use the 1st letter of your middle name to answer each of the following questions. They have to be real places, names, things…nothing made up! Try to use different answers if the person you took this from had the same 1st initial.You CAN’T use your name for the boy/girl name question.

1. Middle name letter: C
2. Famous artist/band/musician: the Cure
3. 4-letter word: Crap (I think this covers both requirements :))
4. U.S state: Connecticut (where I may live someday!)
5. Boy name: Chris (my brother!)
6. Girl name: Chrissy (my brother's sister in law who reads my blog! :))
7. Animal: Cow (have I mentioned that my parents are going to be hosting a neighbor's 4H project- which means there will be an adorable calf for me to visit at my parents' house!?!?!)
8. Something in the kitchen: Cheese... mmm
9. Reason for being late? Caught in traffic.
10. Body Part? Cabeza
11. Drink? Cranberry Juice
12. Something you shout: Crap on a Cracker!
13. Something you eat? Cheese with Cornichon and Crackers!
14. A movie you've seen? Casablanca