Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Semi-homemade blogging..

Unlike chefs who have their own restaurant, I like to make thing at home instead of buy them.  Why spend the money on bread, donuts or even a plate of perfectly cooked steak and potatoes when you can do it yourself?  I tend to want to justify my passion for cooking by wanting to create good things for my family and friends.  However, also being a father, I understand that after I am finished with my job and come home at 6:30pm that I don't have the most of time in order to prepare something great for my family.  While short cuts seem like a great idea, more often than not they are but still don't count as much.  For example: I could tell people that I made my own pot roast, with gravy, steamed vegetables and fresh noodles.  To the average person, unless they taste it, they will only understand that I could have heated up an already prepared pot roast, threw some veggies into a steamer-bag and then boiled some water for the noodles.  For a time when I want this dish to taste fantastic, I would do my own meat, steam my own veggies the long way and even make my own noodles.

This past Sunday I woke up with my 4 year old as my wife and the 2& 1/2 year old continued to sleep.  I was craving doughnuts already and when I looked over and saw the package for her dry coffee creamer, I had an idea.  It was Vanilla Caramel flavored and I thought how cool it would be to make vanilla donuts with a caramel sauce.  Well, like many others around town, since the original doughnut shop in town closed, like so many other local joints, the grocery store's baking department has taken over. Even in this town, the local grocery store's bakery department has their own doughnuts and Krispie Kreme.  The issue with either one is that it is chalk full of calories and fat and has more ingredients than their should be in a doughnut.  While the doughnuts I make are baked, I also try to make them better tasting that those store bought ones.

Did you know that flour has a smell? Packaged all-purpose white flour has a distinct smell to it as does whole wheat flour.  They smell good, on their own.  Most people don't know that flour has a smell and most adults have never touched or seen flour, other than second hand.  More and more things are made outside of the home and then brought home that people have seemed to forget what home-made is. I know that in this day and age, when sometimes both parents have to work, coming home from long hours and then cooking doesn't seem ideal to either one.  The solution is to buy something already made.  I know that in some cases, Sandra Lee's show is a big hit as it appeals to these hard working people who don't want to spend an hour cooking after spending 8 hours working.  But as I said above, sometimes the extra time and effort is worth it.

This is my kitchen and I currently had 6 things cooking at once.
In the hour that I had on Sunday night, I prepared whole kitchen worth of food, to all come together to form just 3 dishes.  Everything was done by hand and the true nature of semi-homemade.  I believe that some current cooking shows think that semi-homemade cooking is making pot roast from store bought and cooked pot roast, a can of gravy and a box of instant mashed potatoes.

Here we had freshly made pizza dough, being mixed and ready in my bread machine, a large pot of boiling water and noodles, some sausage cooking in a small skillet, some meat sauce being prepared in my sauce pan, some tomato sauce in a small pot, some finger sized potatoes in the steamer and some beef, beer and sauerkraut in the crockpot.  The pizza dough and sauce were made from scratch.  The sausage was store bought and so was the cheese, finished, it was a nice sausage pizza for the kids.
Sausage pizza, anyone?
The pasta was finished and cooled off and went well with the bolognese sauce, which was homemade; the pasta was store bought.
bolognese sauce

There were potatoes in the steamer, since they go well with anything.

The last thing was in the Crockpot.  We had marinated some beef pieces in beer 24 hours before and poured that beef in the Crockpot with some dark lager and some sauerkraut.  We left it on low and cooked it for about 11 hours.  It looks so yummy.

I think overall, if you plan on making anything at home that is semi-homemade, please do something or make some part of it.  Don't get lazy and not do any part of it, like certain cooking shows would like you to be.

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