Saturday, December 18, 2010

A reflection on Everyday Food, Fresh Flavor Fast

I spent the majority of this year devoting our meals around the cookbook Everyday Food, Fresh Flavor Fast. That meant a commitment to searching out and buying ingredients and countless hours in the kitchen. Then another 10 - 15 minutes blogging all about it. All that time spent was a lot of fun. I learned so much about cooking, I'll carry this knowledge with me for the rest of my life. I also became a whole lot more diversified in my food experiences and palate. After trying 250 recipes in 9 months, I probably should give a bit of a reflection on the experience.

To start, one thing I never anticipated was to have Owen go from a breastfed baby to eating right along with us! It was so exciting to see that his first bites were healthy, freshly prepared & delicious food I made for him right from scratch. I always felt really happy that I had control over what he was eating and confident that it was the best food options for him.

We now find ourselves eating more locally farmed produce and meat than we ever have before. I learned all about what is seasonally available. It feels like a much better way to live.

I honestly can't praise this book enough. Now that it's all over I've spent quite a long time reflecting on how well planned it is. This book has it all - every type of meat, a variety of seafood and the best ways of cooking them. It has a great selection of vegetables and the most flavourful and simple ways to prepare them. There are interesting challenges which are fool-proof enough that once complete, you feel very accomplished. You get a huge cross section of culinary techniques so you really *do* learn to cook just about anything a home cook would need to know. I honestly couldn't make a suggestion as to how to improve this book. I feel as though there isn't anything missing, OK, maybe a recipe that includes bananas! But it really is a cookbook for everyone - any age or any ability, there is something in here to please everyone with minimal effort, time and cost and maximum flavour!

The absolute must try recipes in this book are:
Jam-Filled French Toast
Peach-Strawberry Smoothie (only when farm fresh peaches available)
Barley and Corn Risotto
Cheddar Corn Spoon Bread
Manhattan Fish Chowder
Sweet Potato Wedges
Leg of Lamb with Lemon Orzo
Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Leeks
Penne Alla Norma
Lemon Ricotta Tart
Both Chocolate Cakes - Flourless and Glazed
Mexican Wedding Cakes
Creamy Lemon Squares

The journey is over. I'm back to work and am now revisiting many of our favourite recipes and making them so much quicker after understanding how to prepare them. What's been really neat about this experience is going back on many of the recipes that I made 7-8 months ago and seeing Owen enjoy them for the first time. He's loved the Chicken & Dumplings, Quick Navy Bean Stew, Chicken Milanese, Asian Salmon Patties with Chinese Noodles w/ Sesame Dressing, Tex Mex Turkey and Bean Chili, Chicken, Edamame and Noodle Stir-Fry and Pasta with Peas and Ricotta. Cooking through this book has modified and diversified how we eat to a way I always wanted and can now achieve.

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