giving it a try: the food blog thing

Well, after much use of Instagram and Facebook for sharing my food photos, I have decided to try this food blog thing. Thank goodness for free web page design platforms and the filters on Instagram. Please bear with any quirks in the website while I figure this out...

A little bit about my approach to cooking: I love the idea of a home-cooked meal. I love when you know what is in your food, and that feeling of accomplishment you get after throwing together ingredients that come out as one cohesive dish.

Now, mind you, sometimes this "throwing together" of ingredients is just that; it is looking in the fridge, figuring out what you have in there, and then considering the best way to prepare. I always have on hand a few key ingredients and devices to make spontaneous cooking more manageable.

First, high-quality olive oil. The good stuff. Not the clear, slightly green-colored stuff. It's worth spending a few dollars on this - trust me. Olive oil, or any oil that you use as the basis of your dish, will infuse flavor into all the ingredients and you shouldn't skimp.

Second, sharp knives. I have taken a knife skills class and the key takeaway was the fact that you don't need expensive knives - you just need sharp ones. You should sharpen your knives at least once a month to help them retain their edge. If you need to press really hard to cut something, or you feel yourself sawing back and forth to get through a vegetable, it's time to break out the sharpener. With sharp knives, the preparation of all the ingredients will be much less intimidating, painful and time-consuming. You may even have fun mincing garlic or chopping an onion!

Third and final (for this first blog post at least), a mandoline. In the vein of making food preparation easier, the mandoline is the most fabulous device. Once I got over my fear of the super-sharp blades, it has become my most favorite toy. We have the Benriner Super Mandoline, which is under $75 and a terrific investment for the home chef. You can whip through potatoes, onions, and cucumbers, for starters, creating the most beautiful, thinly-sliced rings that you can throw into the fryer, the oven, or a salad bowl.

I think that's all for now - on to plan tonight's dinner. I am thrilled to try this food blog thing and to bring you more recipes very soon. I hope that these recipes inspire you and demystify the cooking experience. It's all about having fun and tasting as you go!