Saturday, May 22, 2010

What the beef?

Alright, I know my last post wasn’t exactly food, but my blog is about food and “conversation” in the kitchen. That would include Art, Music, Politics and whatever else is discussed alongside food or not.

I’ve gone the ultra boring route of food this month…simple sandwiches, plain ole spaghetti and salads that are not all that intriguing to post to everyone. So, my culinary attempts this month are a bit scarce and I apologize for that. I’ve been a bit more focused on the job hunt, with good activity, however nothing that’s panned out yet. But right now, the month of May is seemingly about art…my art.

Any good follower has seen my last painting and I hope everyone liked what I created. This next painting is something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while now, but never could paint it as I wanted until now. I just somehow found the feeling and it all came together as I saw in my head and dreams for so long.

I haven’t named it yet, but I will tell you that this picture may seem happy, but it ultimately tells the story of a heart falling to the bottom with a protective barrier. I never thought I would have to explain my art in a depressing way, but this picture is a bit special to me right now.

However, even though what I painted is such an emotional thing, it doesn’t mean it can’t be a happy painting to others. As I always say and others may say: “Art is in the eye of the beholder, regardless of the original intent.”

I hope you all like it.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I do other things than just think of food to cook…

I do come from a family of great artistic talents; I unfortunately did not get the professional art bug like my mother, father and younger sister. However, I do have and artistic side which I dabble in every few years. Whether that be sketching, painting and/or wishing I didn’t give away all my jewelry making materials and machines. I am good with my hands and am not afraid to get dirty.

When I was, and went to High School, I was fortunate to be going to a public school that provided an amazing selection of art courses and one of those courses was Jewelry Making. As a teenager, jewelry couldn’t be a better choice for me, especially coming from a family that prided themselves as true artistic people.

So I took the class, and as I remember, the only class I attended 100% of the time I was in HS. I had a great teacher, who put up with my teenage crap, and to my astonishment, still believed in me, even though there was another student who was technically and more imaginative than I ever could be and brought all her ideas to a real product, unlike me (my father, trying to help had to show off with his own designs…I still have them).

I can’t remember the girl’s name, but she could design and bring to life “bugs” in a scale of Jewelry, even though the creations were not wearable, they were amazing and I felt inside, I would never be that driven and creative in the Jewelry World and because of that I doubted everything about my talent. Yet, I was (with strings) considered to attend a prominent school in MA to further my Jewelry making endeavors.

I ignored it all and decided to just work for a living; To prove that I am a Smart, Talented and exceptional person in the “real” working world. I wanted to get my hands on technology that I was denied in HS and move forward and be a success in the working world.

Alright, I’ve blabbed enough about my personal BS and have most definitely made you wonder what the hell this post is about…

Well, I’ve gotten so bored not working, my creative side is finally coming out again…

Here is my most recent painting…If anyone wants to purchase, just comment, I'll get back to you.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Corn & Shrimp Chowder: Completely on the Cheap!

I was sitting on the couch the other day on my computer; it was about 5pm when the local news was starting up. Usually at this time, I end up doing the dishes, as the local station I watch has 3 half hour sessions and each generally triplicates all the top stories that were aired at noon time (remember, I’m still not working). So doing chores for the first session isn’t a huge deal as I can catch up on the next 2 until World News with Diane Sawyer (whom I love as much as seeing/listening to Charlie Gibson and RIP Peter Jennings).
So, my local NYC station I watch does have a “local eats” segment (I think it’s the 5:30-6 show), which I sometimes find interesting. This particular day, it was about a restaurant in I think Brooklyn (wasn’t really paying attention to the area or restaurant for that matter) that makes exceptional Corn Chowder with Shrimp.
So that gave me an idea…and a major craving! ;). Most of my food exploits come from cravings, just so you all know!
Now, I love chowders, all kinds of chowders, but give it to me thick! Like NE Clam Chowder…Thick as Thieves or a Rich and succulent Lobster Bisque! My feelings and cravings for this is either the New Englander in me or the fact that I love dairy and white foods which are not all that healthy if you eat it on a regular basis (which I don’t anymore), but to me this kind of food is my sweet tooth and it is hard to turn away when put in front of me.
I’ve seen and eaten many “Chowda” recipes in my day, TV definitely has given overkill and restaurants are not as authentic as they claim to be. I must admit that Chowder Soups don’t necessarily have to be thick as what I was used to, but to me “Chowda” has to be rich in something and that is still a Dairy Product. Though, I will admit, if you want to trim the dairy, to maintain the richness and even thickness, a starch is necessary in my book, like using potatoes as a thickening agent as well as an overall chunky ingredient with much less dairy.
To get back to the news story I was half paying attention to. The story focused on a Corn/Shrimp Chowder recipe. I haven’t had corn chowder in so long and seeing the soup on TV gave me such a craving. So, I decided I needed to make Corn Chowder with Shrimp!
The killer here is that I don’t have a lot of money these days and even though those will say corn chowder is cheap to make, and it really can be, the bottom line is that you still have to plan to make this recipe, because when you buy the required ingredients, you have a lot left over (ingredients and final product) which may or may not store well for a long period of time, which ends up costing more if you don’t use them in another planned recipe or freeze.
I looked on the internet and found really great recipes for Corn Chowder and found one that I could definitely modify for really cheap eats and still have great taste and NO LEFT OVER INGREDIENTS (well the Half and Half can be used for Coffee)!

So if you have a craving for Corn Chowder with Shrimp, I have a great and cheap recipe for you! It only costs about 5-7 bucks for 4-6 servings (NYC Costs-other USA areas it’s probably even cheaper). If you are single or a college student looking to impress, this is an extreme bargain, as you can freeze 2 -3 servings for about 6 months!

Keep in mind, if you don't want the Shrimp, you can omit it.  This recipe is modified from another, which means, you can modify mine or the original recipe I used as a base.  I encourage everyone, that no recipe is set in stone and that you CAN make it your own and make it work based on any circumstance.  This Post is intended to show those who think they must follow a recipe step by step and think they cannot afford the ingredients that they can make a positively great recipe, on a budget by modification to their means.

So here is the link to the Original Recipe I modified from: Creamy Corn Chowder

Cheap Eats: Corn Chowder-Just the Basics-By Have A Seat
Serves 4 to 6.

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 Medium White onion Chopped Finely
  • 1 pound potatoes (about 3 medium), peeled and diced into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
  • 4 cups Canned Corn (not Creamed Corn), Approx 3-4 – 15oz Cans ( I used 3 cans)
  • 3 bay leaves (Dried) If Fresh 2 bay Leaves
  • Juices/Water from 2 ½ Cans of Canned Corn (keep in mind the juice has salt in it)
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 ½ cups Half and Half
  • ¼ Tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Can “Tiny” Shrimp
  1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion start to soften, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, 2 cans of the corn, bay leafs, and 2 Cups Water.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and keep it at a simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally (Timing really depends on how thick your potato cubes are).
  3. Puree the 3rd can of corn and half and half in a blender or food processor, and then stir it into the soup. Simmer the soup until it thickens slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. Then add Cayenne Pepper to Taste and Canned Tiny Shrimp and simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Remove the bay leafs (optional) and add salt and pepper to taste.