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Bring out your inner chef

Updated: March 23, 2011 01:22 PM EDT
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  • RecipesMore>>

  • Spicy Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce, 8/27/14

    Spicy Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce, 8/27/14

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 11:49 AM EDT2014-08-27 15:49:39 GMT
    Gary DukeAlley Oops4 tomatoes, chopped2 tablespoon olive oil1/2 onion, sliced thinlysalt, black pepper, crushed red pepper and garlic to taste4 eggsfresh mozzarella cheese, cubedparmesan cheesefresh basilbread slices1. In a sauce pan, cook the onions in the olive oil for a few minutes, add the tomatoes and seasoning to mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, simmer for an additional 15 or 20 minutes.2. Uncover sauce and gentle crack the eggs evenly around your tomato sauce. Place ...More >>
    Gary DukeAlley Oops4 tomatoes, chopped2 tablespoon olive oil1/2 onion, sliced thinlysalt, black pepper, crushed red pepper and garlic to taste4 eggsfresh mozzarella cheese, cubedparmesan cheesefresh basilbread slices1. In a sauce pan, cook the onions in the olive oil for a few minutes, add the tomatoes and seasoning to mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, simmer for an additional 15 or 20 minutes.2. Uncover sauce and gentle crack the eggs evenly around your tomato sauce. Place ...More >>
  • Summer Shrimp Salad, 8/25/14

    Summer Shrimp Salad, 8/25/14

    Monday, August 25 2014 8:49 AM EDT2014-08-25 12:49:13 GMT
    Capi PeckTrio'sServes 41 1/4 lbs. large Gulf shrimp in the shell2 ears corn on the cobs, steamed, grilled or roasted/ kernels removedFor the dressing:2 cloves garlic, smashed1 1/2 t. cumin1 t. paprika1/2 t. cayenne pepper1/2 c. lime juice1c. olive oil1/2 c. cilantro leavessalt to tasteCombine all dressing ingredients in bowl or jar. Whisk or shake well to combine. Set aside.2 Haas avocados, sliced1/2 c. cilantro leaves8 cups arugula or other greens of your choice?1 half Vidalia or sweet onion...More >>
    Capi PeckTrio'sServes 41 1/4 lbs. large Gulf shrimp in the shell2 ears corn on the cobs, steamed, grilled or roasted/ kernels removedFor the dressing:2 cloves garlic, smashed1 1/2 t. cumin1 t. paprika1/2 t. cayenne pepper1/2 c. lime juice1c. olive oil1/2 c. cilantro leavessalt to tasteCombine all dressing ingredients in bowl or jar. Whisk or shake well to combine. Set aside.2 Haas avocados, sliced1/2 c. cilantro leaves8 cups arugula or other greens of your choice?1 half Vidalia or sweet onion...More >>
  • Tuscan Grilled Chicken Pasta, 8/22/14

    Tuscan Grilled Chicken Pasta, 8/22/14

    Friday, August 22 2014 12:20 PM EDT2014-08-22 16:20:29 GMT
    Brandon DouglasServes 4· ½ cup grilled Chicken· 5 slices Salami· ½ cup sliced Grape tomato· ½ cup Spinach rough chop· 2 cups uncooked small pasta shells, orzo or macaroni· 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced· ¼ cup olive Oil or butter· 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese· 2 tablespoons fresh basil chiffonade· 1/4 teaspoon salt· 1/8 teaspoon fresh cracked pepperDirections1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, saute garlic in olive oil. Remove from the heat. Drain pa...More >>
    Brandon DouglasServes 4· ½ cup grilled Chicken· 5 slices Salami· ½ cup sliced Grape tomato· ½ cup Spinach rough chop· 2 cups uncooked small pasta shells, orzo or macaroni· 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced· ¼ cup olive Oil or butter· 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese· 2 tablespoons fresh basil chiffonade· 1/4 teaspoon salt· 1/8 teaspoon fresh cracked pepperDirections1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, saute garlic in olive oil. Remove from the heat. Drain pa...More >>

By Louise Tutelian
From Ideas That Spark 

Here's some food for thought: If you're cooking for everyone else all the time, take yourself off the back burner for a minute and think about pleasing yourself when you cook.

These fun ideas will help you love what you make and make what you love.


Find your roots

Rediscover a legacy family recipe or a dish that reminds you of where you come from. It might be red beans and rice, crab cakes or thick minestrone.

"My father made a mean turkey soup," says Karen Kiefer, creator of Spread the Bread, a grassroots organization that donates home-baked bread to those in need. "It tastes delicious, and it makes the house and my heart feel warm all over."


Learn something new

Take a cooking class, either for a particular cuisine, such as food from Tuscany, or a food category, like seafood or desserts. The class might be for one evening (often held through a high school continuing education program, community college or a restaurant on a weeknight), a weekend or even for an entire week (usually held at a culinary school).


Take the challenge

Give yourself a mini "Top Chef" challenge. It might be attempting to make a flaky, buttery croissant or a dish that calls for an ingredient you've never used, suggests Alejandra Ramos, author of the nationally recognized food blog Always Order Dessert.


Accessorize

Buy fun plates and/or serving dishes. Go for the heavier paper ones or inexpensive yet high-style versions from Target or IKEA.


Steal from the best

Study restaurant menus, and if you love a dish, ask what the main ingredients are. At home, take a shot at recreating it, suggests Lynn Epstein, co-creator of the Mama Says Web site and recipe collection.


Cook with the masses

Join the online cooking group The Daring Kitchen. Each month, curious cooks challenge each other to make the same recipe.

With 2,000 members all over the world, it might be anything from stuffed grape leaves to a Mexican chorizo noodle bowl. One member even serves as tech support, in case you run into a snafu.


Get blogged down

Read a food blog -- or two. There are thousands out there. For a laugh-out-loud lift while you're cooking, don't miss the one called Bad Home Cooking. Recent post: a defense of serving dinners like canned soup and a roll to your kids.


Get organized

Set up a dinner club as you would a book club. Find three or four friends or couples to host on a rotating basis. The host sets the theme.

Joyce Smith of Santa Monica, Calif., hosted an Oscars dinner where guests were asked to bring a dish linked to a favorite nominee.


Forget the rest of ‘em!

Once a week or once a month, cook a meal that's for you, with only dishes that you love. (If the kids don't like it, let them eat cereal!)

It could be steamed artichoke and pasta primavera with crusty basil and garlic bread, or broiled tuna, corn on the cob and fresh asparagus. Then pour yourself a glass of wine or mix up a cranberry spritzer and toast the chef.


Louise Tutelian
has written for many national publications, including Parenting, Working Mother and Good Housekeeping. She is also a frequent contributor to The New York Times.

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