"Gimme the girl that's beautiful, without a trace of makeup of on,
Barefoot in the kitchen, singing her favorite song.
Dancing around like a fool, starring in her own little show,
Gimme the girl the rest of the world, ain't lucky enough to know."
~Joe Nichols, Gimme That Girl

...not saying that this is me,
but Nichols sure nailed it when
he wrote the barefoot in the
kitchen line!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lunchtime!

   Do you remember that greene mood that appeared on Monday?  In which my attire took on some unusually greenish hues?  Well, the greene mood is definitely back . . . this time, in food form.  I truly didn't plan this on purpose; I promise you.  But after coming back from my morning job, I went into our wet, lush, wild garden and I found that the greene urge was overwhelming.  Stuffing pods of peas into my right pocket, and chives into the left, I knew what I had to do.
   "Mum, can I make lunch today?"
   "Sure, hunney."
   Brassica greens?  Yes.  Oooo . . . carrots!  Grab the spade, and wiggle those orange brilliants out of the earth.  (I actually forgot about those? ! )  Bright green basil, pinched off at the secondary apical meristem sent me into heaven.  I could already see the pesto.
   Next choice: polenta, quinoa, or rice?  Well, it's not too hard to figure that one out.  Polenta takes far too long, and I was short on time.  Quinoa . . . I'd have a male mutiny on my hands.  Rice.  Quick, easy, and nutritious.
   Oldest Sister entered the kitchen as I started my lunch expedition.  "Can I help you?"
   Barefoot Girl:  "Um, I'm kinda similar to a mad scientist right now.  I know that I am doing something; I'm just not sure what that is.  So, I really can't assign you anything, because I don't even know what I'm supposed to be making.  Thanks for the offer, though."
   With a little help from John Denver, enormous amounts of brainstorming, and trying so darned hard to think like my creative friend Melody when it came to pairing flavors, I managed to get to that point where you yell "Lunch is ready.  Come and get it."  (Or not.)
   This is what I made.  It's really simple, but it filled me with such joy.  I had seen nearly half of it come from our garden, into the kitchen, and I was so ready to watch my family eat.  (However, I realized that it might creep them out if I just sat there and stared as they cautiously brought forkfuls to their mouths.  So I grabbed a plate, too, and carefully stole sneak peaks at the First Bites.  Nobody choked, spat it out, or frisbeed their plates at me.  Success!)



Fresh from the garden.                                           


                                          I used our mandolin!  It worked so well.  These
                                          slices would have been torture without it.


                                          Even Lulabelle liked my lunch!  She ate the ribs
                                          of the brassica greens!


                                          A plateful of food!


                                          The carrot salad.  I used a light lemon-apple
                                          dressing so as not to drown out the delicate carrot
                                          flavor.  Aren't the lemon zests and peas kinda cute?


                                          Sauteed onions and brassica greens with dill and
                                          goat cheese.


                                          White Lundberg rice with basil pesto and pine nuts.



   It was rather straight foward and simple, but for those who enjoy light, noticeable salad dressings, try blending one apple with the juice of one small lemon and 2-3 tbsp. sunflower oil.  Strain the pulpy mixture through a very fine mesh colander, until you have a white, milky juice.  Drizzle this over any salad.  It's delicious and only slightly nippy.
   Hopefully this was inspiring/enjoyable.  I'm a foodie at this point, so I could talk about food for ages, and be happy.  But after all, that's why I started a cooking blog.
   Smiles,
The Barefoot Girl

   

 
  
  

Monday, June 24, 2013

Of Many, Many Things...

   Today there were grey skies, and fine droplets of water descending to the thirsty ground.  In fact, it was so very grey, I overslept . . . big no-no since I had a commitment at 6:40 . . . which was basically when I woke up (or re-awoke- are you familiar with the "just five more minutes in bed" mentality?)  That sorted itself all out.  A cheesy start to an absolutely satisfying day.
   So that I might share my satisfactory/exciting day with you in an organized manner, I had best list each highlight in numerical order.  That way, my very random thoughts won't trip over each other in their hurry to figure in this post.

1.  I had a sandwich (with Brie! ) for breakfast . . . have to do sandwiches more often in the morning.
2.  Two very special somethings have now been added to my - - - collection.  (The last picture tells all.)  If you didn't know this already, I love vintage Pyrex  =)
3.  Mum made salsa with lotsa cilantro at lunch!  Cilantro is one of my favorite herbs.  Interesting fact: cilantro is the only herb with the ability to remove toxic heavy metals from the body.
4.  I made 40 scones today, all in our tiny toaster oven!  Ta-da!  Ok . . . they're roundish sconelets . . . or sconeletti?, that make a good breakfast, coffee break pastry, or gift for a good friend.  Still, it took about five batches worth, and time well spent.
5.  Some very dear friends sent an unexpected package in the mail to Abby and I . . . we love you L+H!  Thank-you bunches for our sea-shell necklaces!  We can't wait for a sunny day, so that we can wear them!


   Scone Recipe

½ c whole milk
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
3 Tbs cane sugar
Flavorful additions of your choice, to taste (I used the combinations of chocolate and prunes; ginger, lemon zest, and poppy seeds; dried apricot and pecans; craisins and pistachios.)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  (Um, feel this one out with your own oven.  I set ours (mind you, a tiny toaster oven,) at 350, and it cooked those scones pretty darned well.  Use discernment when setting your temp.)

Beat together the milk and the egg and then set aside. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Rub the butter into the flour mixture, working until you have no lumps bigger than a pea. Add the sugar and whatever additions you choose, and stir or toss to mix. Pour the wet ingredients into the dries, reserving just a tad of the milk-egg mixture to use as a glaze. Bring dough together gently with a wooden spoon.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead it no more than 12 times. [Apparently, twelve is the magic number here; surpass it at your own risk.] Pat dough into a round approximately ½-inch thick, and cut into 8 or 12 wedges. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, glaze wedges with half-n-half or heavy cream (I skipped this bit . . . it's just a matter of glossy or non-glossy scones.)

Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack.

   So here are some pictures...due to grey skies, the house has poor lighting, and due to poor lighting, I moved outside with a few of the pictures.  Blah-blah.  Oh, and please forgive me for those crazy green hole-toed knee highs.  It was cold  =)  And I was truly in a greene mood, just to spite the grey day.


                                          All of the sconelets/sconeletti.

                                         Lemon, ginger, poppy seed.

                                         Gluten free craisin and pistachio.

                                         Chocolate and prune.

                                         Apricot and pecan.

                                         My new Pyrex mugs!!!

                                          Our beautiful sea-shell necklaces, made with love =)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sunday Morning= Waffles!

     Yes!  Abby and I woke up on a Sunday morning...and made a really interesting breakfast without even mentioning oatmeal.  (That would have ruined the beauty of the morning.  That word is outlawed on mornings when Abby is in the kitchen.)  However, we had an excuse to make this particular breakfast.  It was Fathers Day...and Papa had to be spoiled.  *cough*  Only slightly.
   We decided, after some opinionated deliberations, to make nutty wheat waffles.  Rewind.  I declared that we were going to cook nutty wheat waffles.  Abby had other suggestions, but being the sister with one year up on Abby, I insisted that my extra year of life had provided me with the knowledge of Papa's appreciation when it comes to hearty foods.  Vs. plain waffles.  Or (shudder) chocolate waffles.  Thank goodness we were out of chocolate chips.  And that Papa gets his fill of chocolate in the form of ice cream...
   I used walnuts in these homemade rarities.  Second Oldest Sister and Bro-In-Law gave our family a waffle maker as a Christmas present a year or two ago, and on extremely special days, we pull it out and heat it up.  Here are some pictures of our collective efforts...and a recipe to boot.  To my readers who do not own a waffle maker, I hope this isn't making you sigh...







   Nutty Wheat Waffles

3 cups unbleached pastry flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 cups whole milk or buttermilk (we used the buttermilk)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup finely chopped nuts of your choice

1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, first dry, then wet, whisking until well-blended and wet.  Let batter sit for five minutes before cooking.
2. Preheat your waffle iron.
3. Pour 2 cups, or a sufficient amount of batter, onto the waffle iron.  Allow it to cook according to directions with the waffle maker.  Remove the cooked waffles, and repeat the process until the batter is all used up.  Top as desired.

   Obviously, we had homemade whipped cream, pure maple syrup, blueberries, and strawberries.  But lemon curd, rosemary honey butter, or rose petal syrup are all lovely and delicious additions to a wafflian meal.
   To my Papa: I love you.  You taught me to respect God and other people.  You also taught me how to paint, pour concrete, cut shingles, and dig fence post holes.  You are still trying to get me believe that Brussels sprouts are nasty, and that PBJ sandwiches are the superior method to complete every meal, but I don't think that we'll ever see eye to eye there.  You are the best papa God could ever have chosen for your kiddos, and I am so glad that we have you in our lives.  Gives us an excuse to make waffles =)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Soba Noodle Salad






   After my oldest brother told me that he genuinely enjoyed a thrown-together soba noodle salad that was the product of desperation and zilch creativity, I was taken back.  Sure, it tasted good.  I think.  I was running out the door at the time, desperately trying to remember if I had turned off the bathroom lights.  Anyways...
   With the visit of my sister and nephew this week,  Oldest Brother suggested the re-creation of a spontaneous salad that almost never was.  Last night, at 10 pm, I made it, and it still tasted refreshing.  I think that some shaved carrots would be an excellent addition to the dish.  There was a lack of dominant color, unless you count in the green...  Oh, and sesame seeds.  Black sesame seeds.  Darn.  I need to make this again...  So much for late night cooking.
   Here's the recipe.  I want to try using some coconut aminos next time.  Mum is quite allergic to soy, and so we avoid all soy products, hence no soy sauce.  However, a dear and kind friend told me about coconut aminos...thank-you, hunney!!! 

   Soba Salad...Make A Twist On It :)

1 package of soba noodles (I used Eden Foods from Whole Foods)
1-2 tbsp. sunflower oil

1/4 cup fresh peas
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped chives
 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, plucked from the stems
1 cup diced cooked chicken breast
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt- or to taste.  I'm stingy when it comes to telling people how to salt things.
2 tbsp. sunflower oil

   Prepare your soba noodles, following the instructions given on the package.  After draining and rinsing the noodles, drizzle the sunflower oil over them.  Set aside to cool.
   Work on chopping up your other ingredients at this point.  Oh, and decide if you want to add some more color...like I said, shaved carrots would be a good addition.  Fresh ground black pepper has the best flavor- try to grind it on the spot.  Never purchase pre-ground.  Please...
   After the noodles have cooled, spread them in a pyrex glass dish- a 9"x9" should work.  Sprinkle on all of your toppings, saving the seasonings for last.  After powdering the salad with the amount of salt you and your blood pressure will appreciate, and some of that fresh-ground black pepper, go ahead and add that sunflower oil over the top.  Cover with plastic wrap, and allow the dish to chill in the fridge for at least four-five hours, or overnight.
   When you are ready to consume the salad, it's ok to toss it.  Don't do this near a human, or you might hear the remark, "Um, lunch is on me..."  Ok.  Yes.  I'm a nerd.  Toss your salad, or leave it as is.  That's if you don't have "I'm-gonna-scoop-off-the-toppings" people around.
  
   Thank-you, Older Brother, for telling me when the food tastes really good to you, and for not telling me what you actually are thinking when it tastes absolutely terrible.  Thank-you soba noodle salad, for being full of cilantro.  I love you...both.
   Smiles,
The Barefoot Girl

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sunday Mornings= Stress & The Coolest Breakfast Ever





    Sunday mornings are always busy, as we are getting ready for church and cooking food for the shared meal afterwards.  I don't care for Sundays anymore...Fridays?  They're awesome.  Good food and a movie after that.  But Sunday is a whole different game.
   Normally, a Sunday breakfast is toasted cereal with rice or almond milk.  Occasionally oatmeal scores, but if we're lucky, we get out the toaster before the parents' heat up the oatmeal water.  So, on this particular (and unusually cold,) Sunday morning, I woke up early, and selfishly created a breakfast all for Miss Me.
   This was my meal- absolutely lavish, and so darned delicious.  Yes, the flavors were unconventional for a breakfast, but believe me when I say that adventurousness pays off.
   Here's the recipe, with a few decent photos.

   Chevre and Zucchini Salad

1 large zucchini, washed and quartered, then sliced
1/4 cup goat chevre
handful of dried cranberries
1/4 cup goat yoghurt
12-15 micro radishes, or 10-12 paper-thin slices of easter egg radishes

   Cook the zucchini in a small amount of water, and drain when done.  Heap on a plate, and crumble the chevre over it.  Sprinkle on a moderate amount of sea salt if desired.  Either dot the plate with the goat yoghurt, or drizzle it.  Add the craisins in a small pile on top- be decorative if you have the time.  Top with either the radish slices, or micro radishes.  Serve with either a cold chai, or a warm glass of rice milk.






   This last picture is of some chai-like ginger tea that I blended up.  I want to make some authentic chai soon, because my eldest brother likes it.  Anyways, the simple blend of flavors with the goat cheese, goat yoghurt, dried cranberries, and zucchini was shockingly good.  Perfect for a cold morning. 
   Smiles,
The Barefoot Girl

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Pizza In a Convection Oven...

Yep.  Our old oven died, and we have not replaced it yet.  I don't miss it.  Honestly.  Our whole family has become more creative, cooking stove-top and toaster oven food- from scratch.  No such thing as frozen food, unless it's a whole, unprocessed item with minimal ingredients.  Anyways, Abby literally wailed when the oven keeled over and breathed it's last. 
"Noooo.....  We can't live without pizza.  I can't live without pizza."
So, I determined that we would have pizza.  And darned good ones at that.  None of the cheesy, goopy, dough-puck imitations.  Real deal with eye appeal and flavor.  So, on a warm Sunday evening, the Barefoot Girl went into the kitchen (without her shoes...) and she made three pizzas. 
Here they are!



This is the not-so-scary pizza, with normal-ish toppings, and a slightly chewy crust.  Mushrooms, onions, sharp cheddar, parmigiano reggiano, chiffonade basil, and chicken artichoke sausage.




 And next up we have the man-pleasing pizza.  Lotsa sausage of the aforesaid variety, mushrooms, onions, sun dried tomato, and loads of cheddar cheese.  Hefty, but not so elegant...






This was my personal favorite.  Light and crusty with a flavor-impact.  Creamy aged chevre, shallots, anchovies, parmigiano reggiano, and chopped basil added after cooking.







You see, my readers, the impossible is possible with a tiny toaster oven.  Abby is happy, and the rest of the family is as well.  I do hope that I shall be able to post at least once a week...maybe Mondays, possibly Sundays, or Wednesdays.  Until then, I will still be in the kitchen as often as possible. 
Next time...there ought to be a recipe...
Smiles,
The Barefoot Girl

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Welcome And A Promise

   Food has been three things to me.  Comforting.  Nutritious.  Alluring.
Comforting was when I was a little girl.  Nutrition when I was in my early teens, a diet-crazy health-nerd, who knew everything about the nastiest foods on earth, and how to grow whatever I wanted on my own land.  Alluring when I discovered the world of chefs, and food as a mysterious art.  I knew that I wanted to learn more, see more, and most definitely eat more.
   My Mum's business has allowed me to meet numerous chefs, and enter their individually unique kitchens.  My brother entered culinary school, as did my aunt.  It was a world that had started to draw my family in a delicious direction.
   However, I was a promised nutritionist.  That was my goal.  Or was it?  I began to question whether my destiny lay in food as a healing power, or food as a journey through kitchens and cuisines I had never experienced before.  I knew what food could do to people, but I had no iota of what people could accomplish with food.  
   I am ready to learn how to cook, and cook well.  Until I slip into my brother's boots, and enter the culinary school that he did, I still want to putter in my family's kitchen.  I love making rich, rustic, hearty, simplistic foods that taste wonderful and look appealing.  
   Here at Barefoot In the Kitchen, I intend to chronicle my epicurean aspirations.  And failures.  There is so much that I haven't told you yet, my readers, but that is a part of the story.  A story must not be read all at once.  My goals, my dreams, and my as-of-yet uncooked meals are within the future.  Travel there with me.