Thursday, July 7, 2011

National Culinary Arts Month

The month of July is National Culinary Arts Month. This month long celebration is held each July which promotes awareness of professional cooks, chefs and their contributions to the culinary world of excellence. Culinary artists are responsible for skillfully preparing meals that are as pleasing to the palate as to the eye. The world of Culinary Arts not only consists of creating delicious dishes, but also the use of kitchen utensils, tools, and equipment that must be associated with preparation of the recipes.

How it all started was…. I remember when I was a young girl I would always watch my mom prepare and cook dinner. My job was always to set the table, which was quite boring. As I got older I would help my mom prepare the food by peeling the potatoes or fixing the salad, but that wouldn‘t due either. I desperately wanted to be taught how to create such mouth watering dishes. So, then I became more curious about cooking and wanted to seriously learn. That is when my mom began to teach me how to cook certain recipes. My mother and grandmother’s taught me the basic instructions of cooking and baking. They said that baking was a science in which you had to follow the recipe correctly, but with cooking you can be more creative, by adding a little of this or that. They told me that the tools and equipment you need are extremely important to create wonderful and tasty recipes. I received my first cookbook from my mom in 1974. It was the same cookbook that we used at home when I was a young girl. She wrote in it and it said, “Enjoy! Be happy in your kitchen as I am in mine, Love Mom.” For those of you wondering what cookbook it was, “Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook” revised edition 1971. Her copy was from 1948 which was the first printing of the cookbook. As the years went by and I became a wife and mother I learned how to improve my skills by still watching my mom, plus cooking shows and reading recipes in cookbooks. This month is the perfect time to try your hand at cooking! Here are some helpful tips for beginning chefs and the tools that you need.

Buy basic equipment; invest in a good set of sharp knives, sturdy pots and pans and a set of glass baking dishes. You will also need measuring cups and a set of measuring spoons. A food processor and an electric mixer will come in handy as you learn the ins and outs of food preparation. You will also need some wooden spoons, a wire whisk, a few spatulas, a vegetable peeler, a pastry brush, a grater, a cutting board, and a strainer just to name a few. The inventory of tools and equipment are countless, but as you learn to advance in your cooking techniques you can always add to your collection.

Familiarize yourself with cooking terms such as poaching, braising, roasting, grilling, and parboiling. Again these are just some examples that you will need to learn. You can use cookbooks for research and also an online cooking dictionary will help you learn the correct terms to use for your preparation of special dishes.
Don’t be afraid to take advantage of cooking classes being given in your neighborhood such as in schools or libraries. Look at cookbooks; sometimes they supply you with tutorials which are extremely helpful.
But most of all make your cooking and baking experience fun! If you make a mistake, just try again. Every inspiring cook or baker needs assistance, so ask help from your family, friends and even your children. Chopping, cutting and dicing are how they learn. So put on your apron and get out your knife and start chopping to create your next flavorful meal as the master chef of your own kitchen.

My recipe this week is a very sweet and easy “Raspberry and Peach Crisp” It can be served for breakfast, brunch and also for a decadent dessert. This is a favorite in my family. I obtained this recipe from, “The Taste of Home” which you can find online. You can substitute any small fruit if you are not fond of peaches and raspberries. This is a perfect Summer time treat and you can create this in 35 minutes. I also have added a recipe for a refreshing cool drink which is a “Peach Cocktail.” This will be a lovely addition to the Raspberry and Peach Crisp. I hope that you enjoy your new recipes and I’m sure that your taste buds will be dancing.

Raspberry and Peach Crisp

Prep time is 25 minutes
Bake time is 35 minutes
Serves 6 people

5 medium ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
1 cup of fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
1/ 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/ 4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/ 3 cup thawed apple juice concentrate

1/3 cup of all purpose flour
1/3 cup of quick cooking oats
1/3 cup of packed brown sugar
1/ 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon,
1/ 4 cup of cold butter
Vanilla ice cream (optional) 
Combine peaches and raspberries in a greased 2 qt baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger and apple juice concentrate until smooth, drizzle over fruit. In a bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over fruit. Bake, uncovered at 375 ° for 30-35 minutes or until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbly. You can serve this warm and top with vanilla ice cream or serve cold. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, but I guarantee there may not be any leftovers with this exquisite summer treat!!

Peach Cocktail

1 oz. Peachtree Schnapps
1 oz. Vodka
4 oz. Orange Juice

Build in a highball glass with ice and top with soda. Garnish with a slice of peach if in season.

Till next time……..
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1 comment:

  1. Excellent read. I like your style...have a good one!/Nice blog! Keep it up!

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