Sunday, November 8, 2009

Report from Mike Tilley on Kitchen Reorganization

We finally had our first "field trip" with Anne-Marie to the Farmers Market and it so happened that Chef Reto Biaggi went with us at the same time! We got to meet him while going through the Market with Anne-Marie and it was a fun and learning experience to visit the local vegetable and meat vendors. We got to sample at some booths and if time was available, we got to hear a little about the operations they run. I can tell you that there is a common denominator among all of the vegetable and meat producers and it is one of pride and enjoyment in what they do. What I mean is that when something is put out for sale, it is done with the confidence that it looks good, tastes good and is produced locally with the "old-timey" methods that the big producers can't and could not do in mass. And let me tell you, it is worth a little extra price for what you come home with...I mean I was excited about what each item was going to taste like!

We ended up with some sausage, hamburger, apples, lettuce,cucumbers,onions, garlic, field peas and a few of the prettiest whole turnips I've ever seen ( they were complete with the turnip attached to the greens...large and shiney turnips and the greens were dark green ). I grew up not wanting to eat those but these were just beautiful and immediately appetizing! I think all of us brought some of those home.

After the visit to the Market, we all went back to our house so Reto could go through our kitchen equipment and then do a preparation of something for us. He was OK with most of our cookware and suggested we get rid of some items that take up space and are never or rarely used. We found that some of his main items in the kitchen he likes to use are: a 12" skillet,a sharp Chef's knife and a large enough bamboo cutting board. We have the knife but went out later to get the skillet to be equipped. We still need to get a larger cutting board ( bamboo of course).

Reto sharpened our knife and then showed us proper and safe cutting procedures on the turnips he was going to prepare for us. He peeled and cubed them, let us do some of the same and then put a small amount of water, sprinkle of sugar, pepper and salt on the cubes and placed them in a skillet on medium heat. While that was going, he cut and mashed some fresh garlic, diced onion and bacon and put them in the large cooking pot on medium heat. Those items sauteed for a while and when ready, the washed greens were placed in the pot to cook down. When these two dishes were done, we snacked on them and all loved it!! In fact the house smelled so good from that for a few hours to remind us of how good and fortunate it is for our family to be involved in this project.

Well, sorry for the long ramble, but it seems to me that our family is excited and aware more and more about eating better. In fact, when I laid down with Cameron for him to go to sleep Sunday night, I asked what his favorite thing of the weekend was and he said : "Saturday morning shopping and cooking with the chef". I said " He's a pretty fancy cooker" and then Cameron followed with "You got that right". I surely did.

As we like to say in this business: Eat Well and Be Well !!
Mike Tilley

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