Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Five: What's cookin'? edition

One thing led to another today and I'm barely getting this done before it becomes a Saturday Six! A lengthy discussion with the kiddo about the love I feel for my KitchenAid yesterday while we were baking peach bread prompted this culinary edition of the F5:

1) What is your favorite kitchen appliance?

2) What is a gadget/appliance that you thought was a must-have, but then you haven't actually used?

3) Where do you get the recipes you use to cook? The internet, cookbooks, TV shows, family/friends, none of the above, etc?

4) Are you a "follow the recipe exactly" kind of cook or more of a freelancer?

5) Do you have a favorite or new but exciting recipe? Care to share?

My answers....

1) As I told the kiddo yesterday, my commercial, 5 quart KitchenAid stand mixer is my most beloved appliance. Hubby gave it to me as a Christmas present about 10 years ago as an upgrade for the smaller, 8 cup KitchenAid that we'd gotten as a wedding present. (Mine is actually the cobalt blue that I linked to above - love the color as well!) I seriously cannot fathom baking without my KitchenAid, and I've done many other things - from meatloaf to mashed potatoes - in it as well. I don't have any of the extra attachments beyond the three it came with originally, but that's probably for the best as I can't envision myself, say, grinding my own sausage or what-have-you.

2) There are two such appliances in my house that come readily to mind. The first is the cappuccino maker I gave Hubby as a birthday present back when we were still dating, that he did use for a few months but I don't think has seen the light of day in probably 15 years. The second is a pasta-making set of rollers and presses that seemed way, way cool when I was enthusiastically putting it into my basket at Williams-Sonoma to give to Hubby for Christmas that we've never taken out of the boxes or used once. (I think that was sometime within the last decade or so.)

3) I do have a cupboard full of cookbooks (the cupboard above the stove; too high up for most other things so it became the cookbook/phonebook storage spot) as well as a binder of recipes I've printed off the internet or collected from various sources (our local newspaper has interesting sounding recipes in it at least once or twice a month) or people. If I'm trying to find a recipe for something, though, my first stop these days is the computer, where I'll go either to the Food Network's website to search, especially if it was something I saw on a show, or I'll just type it into Google and see what comes up. This was how I found the peach bread recipe Kiddo and I quite successfully made for the first time yesterday (most of the loaves were presents for her teachers/therapists for the last day of her summer program, we had one loaf left over for ourselves and it is delish). I also have a few recipes that have been in the family for a while that my mom passed down to me, like for my grandmother's fruit cake (made with fresh fruit and more of a pie almost, not the legendary-stuff-of-jokes kind popular at Christmastime).

4) I'm definitely more of a freelancer, given to eyeballing amounts and adding/subtracting at whim, mostly when I'm making something I'm familiar with. I tend to stick closer to the recipe the first time I make something, then freelance once I have the basics down.

5) Here's one for a spinach salad (not my own creation, but I've modified it over the years from the original as the freelancer that I am) that I've made for many a potluck, party, shower or dinner and there is never any left over at the end of the event:

2 bags of baby spinach leaves (variations suggest romaine lettuce or cabbage instead)

1/2 cup sunflower seed kernels (I will use more, probably closer to a full cup)

1/2 cup slivered almonds (again, I use more, probably closer to a full cup)

2 packages of Ramen noodles (I use the chicken flavor but I don't think it matters which kind really)

1/2 cup mandarin oranges, drained (yet again, I use more - I like lots of STUFF in my salads)

1/2 cup craisins (dried cranberries) (ditto here - more is the word!)

1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter

Crumble the Ramen noodles (no seasoning packet, just the noodles) and saute them along with the almonds and sunflower seed kernels in the butter until lightly browned. Drain/pat off excess butter with paper towels. Add to spinach and toss with dressing (below). Once thoroughly tossed, sprinkle oranges and craisins on top. Enjoy!

For the dressing, combine:

1/2 cup oil

1/4 cup vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)

1/2 cup sugar (I actually use a little less, maybe 1/3 cup)

1-2 tablespoons soy sauce (original recipe calls for one, I tend to use closer to two. I also use low-sodium soy sauce, full-strength)

As always, please play along either on your own blog (and let us know here that you have) or in the comments for this post. Hope everyone has a great weekend - I'm off to watch the Olympics!


My name is Andy. said...

Come check out my responses: My Friday Five

Veggie Mom said...

Like the spinach salad recipe--think I'll go get the ingredients and try it out myself tonite! My fave appliance definitely is the blender!

przepisy kulinarne said...

Cool fun. Like me. Thanks.
I like to cook very at home. Greetings from Poland.