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    French Terrine

    Member since Nov 2010

    Chef #2382068

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    About Me

    I stay out in left field most of the time, but I have learned it is pretty crowded out here.  I grew up in Texas, but I have lived in the Pacific Northwest for over 20 years now.  To say that cooking is a passion would be a bit of an understatement.  Cooking is about MORE than flavors and outcomes.  There is just such joy in the process of cooking...selecting ingredients and comparing them, the prep work, the measuring, the methods, the mixing, the aromas, and textures.  Then there is the communion that comes together over a meal.  Love happens over a meal, families and friends unite, communities come together at potlucks, picnics, and soup kitchens.  And to think that these rituals in communion have been going on since the beginning of time.  Sometimes I study poems, and to me, cooking is like a poem you can taste, savor, create and re-create.  

    Besides, cooking, I also enjoy hiking, working out, and traveling.  I sing, or rather make joyful noises in a high end Schola choir at the Cathedral in Seattle.  I get to blend my very mediocre voice with some of the best vocal talent in the area.  

    Professionally, I have been a Registered Nurse for over 25 years.  Some years ago, I was a part of a rather unique clinical environment at the county hospital in Seattle, working with families who had immigrated here from other countries.  Through this experience, I learned about Ethiopean, Chinese, Japanese, Vitenamese, and Cambodian cuisine.  Since then, I have learned to appreciate Eastern European cuisine, as well as Middle Eastern, Korean, and Phillipino.  According to the last census that was taken in 2010, there are more languages, other than English, spoken in one particular zip code in Seattle than any other place in the U.S.  The thriving melting pot culture here brings an array of exotic spices to local ethnic markets, making it possible to create most any type of cuisine.  

    I began posting to this site during a spell of being unemployed.  It was a great diversion from worrying.  Although the recipes I post are as unique as the almost half million others on this site, it is really fun writing out a recipe that you have made your very own.  What is more is that behind these recipes are some very kind people--people like Muffin Goddess, who was willing to take the time to prepare my recipes, photograph them and give me 5 STARS!! I am finally finally employed again, but I am hoping to pay the kindness forward.     

    Ohhh, I forgot to have children. 

    As I stated, sometimes I study poems.  I learned about Osso Bucco through a poem by Billy Collins, a former poet laureate.  Whenever, I prepare Osso Buco, it is a special occasion.  So I either have a guest read the poem aloud or I read the poem to my guests.  Here it is below:  

                           Osso Buco

                           Billy Collins 

    I love the sound of the bone against the plate
    and the fortress-like look of it
    lying before me in a moat of risotto,
    the meat soft as the leg of an angel
    who has lived a purely airborne existence.
    And best of all, the secret marrow,
    the invaded privacy of the animal
    prized out with a knife and swallowed down
    with cold, exhilarating wine.

    I am swaying now in the hour after dinner,
    a citizen tilted back on his chair,
    a creature with a full stomach--
    something you don't hear much about in poetry,
    that sanctuary of hunger and deprivation.
    you know: the driving rain, the boots by the door,
    small birds searching for berries in winter.

    But tonight, the lion of contentment
    has placed a warm heavy paw on my chest,
    and I can only close my eyes and listen
    to the drums of woe throbbing in the distance
    and the sound of my wife's laughter
    on the telephone in the next room,
    the woman who cooked the savory osso buco,
    who pointed to show the butcher the ones she wanted.
    She who talks to her faraway friend
    while I linger here at the table
    with a hot, companionable cup of tea,
    feeling like one of the friendly natives,
    a reliable guide, maybe even the chief's favorite son.

    Somewhere, a man is crawling up a rocky hillside
    on bleeding knees and palms, an Irish penitent
    carrying the stone of the world in his stomach;
    and elsewhere people of all nations stare
    at one another across a long, empty table.

    But here, the candles give off their warm glow,
    the same light that Shakespeare and Izaac Walton wrote by,
    the light that lit and shadowed the faces of history.
    Only now it plays on the blue plates,
    the crumpled napkins, the crossed knife and fork.

    In a while, one of us will go up to bed
    and the other will follow.
    Then we will slip below the surface of the night
    into miles of water, drifting down and down
    to the dark, soundless bottom
    until the weight of dreams pulls us lower still,
    below the shale and layered rock,
    beneath the strata of hunger and pleasure,
    into the broken bones of the earth itself,
    into the marrow of the only place we know.

    Favorite Foods

    I am pretty much a bone-in kinda gal, as I think there is just more flavor. I prefer to buy a whole organic chicken and cut it up verses buying chicken parts.  Whenever possible I prefer to fillet a whole fish, rather than buy fish fillets.  Now a huge, honkin' fish, sorry, I have to leave the filleting to the professionals with those.

    I love braising meats, veal shanks, lamb shanks, ox tail, short ribs. They are all prepared pretty much the same way, served over risotto and topped with a gremolata. 

    I became interested in Moroccan food after discovering the spice blend, Ras el Hanout, which played a significant part in a Food & Wine recipe for Moussaka.  I enjoy making tagines, once again braising meat, and various types of couscous.  But after getting Paula Wolfert's cookbook on Moroccan cooking, I realized that my Moroccan preparations, although always very good, are not as complicated as what she does.  

    I also love to do creative things with fish, am always on the lookout for a new terrine, or that perfect appetizer to wow the foodie crowd.  

    My favorite restaurant?  Huh?  Unless it is a very high-end place that is too expensive, I prefer my own cooking....mostly.  However, I love a good French restaurant.  Then there's a little family owned Mexican restaurant that I really like.  Being from Texas, finding good Mexican food in the Pacific Northwest is a bit of a challenge.  So mostly it is prepared at home.  

    Ohhh, sometimes my cooking doesn't turn out, like the time I made a hazelnut chocolate torte and forgot to add the chocolate. But that time we just put a chocolate ganache on top of the torte and still enjoyed it.  Recently, I prepared my favorite dessert, Pear Tart.  Well, it was situated on a pizza pan and then fit snugly in a box that was buckled in with the seat belt in the back seat of my car.  Then while taking it into my friend's condo building and fiddling with keys, the tart slid off the tray it had been carried on and fell on the concrete ground, completely ruined.  Since it was the day after the Sandyhook school shooting, I put it all into perspective.  But since we had to clean it up anyway, we just scooped it onto the tray.  My friends were all in agreement that it would still taste the same, even though it didn't look as pretty as it had.  So we ate it anyway, telling ourselves we were strengthening our immune systems.  It was probably the best tasting dessert I have ever made.  

    The main thing is that you always cook for those you love.  That is what Jacques Pepin says, and I will drink to that.  

    Don't forget to always save your duck fat. 

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