Calling all taste-testers!!
Ever since I can remember my world has revolved around the kitchen. In the house I grew up in, it was where we gathered. Primarily because that's where my mother always was, either making food or serving it. She was always baking up something for a friend in need or whatever charity or blood mobile was going on. People knew her by her hospitality and beautiful meals that she served.
I grew up with this delicious food as my everyday fare, so little did I know when I got into the real world what a blessing I had been given... and also a curse. I say this for several reasons but just to start, growing up on a farm with livestock meant we had freezers full of beef and pork, but not just any meat, but really good quality low-fat lean meat. And the garden and orchard always produced enough to fill the pantry with a years' worth of applesauce, pears, peaches, tomato sauce in as many ways as you could find to can it. Our neighbors provided my mother with concord grapes which she made juice concentrates with. My dad's frequent stops at "His Buddies" would supply our freezer with jellies and jams from Michigan blueberries and Georgia peaches. I had no idea how good I had it. So here I was in the real world, living in a house in Champaign with 11 girls and sharing one shelf of the fridge with 3 others and I realized what a gift I had been given growing up with good wholesome food.
All of that being said, I have since learned what it takes to have good quality food to start with and what real food tastes like. However, as I begin this journey of opening a cafe, I realize that my palette is different from your palette. What I think is the perfect dish, may be mediocre to you. I really only discovered this after spending the whole day in the kitchen trying to perfect a blueberry custard pie. My dad has purchased 10 pounds of fresh blueberries from his buddy in Ottawa, IL and I was taking extra liberties with different recipes to find just the right one. At the end of the day I had a lot of custard left, so trying not to waste it I mixed in some rasberries and filled a souffle dish with the mixture and put it in the oven. When it cooled down enough to try, I thought I had hit the jackpot! The rasberries had risen to the top and the light and fluffy custard set up perfectly! To me, it was the perfect dish, a little creamy, a little tangy, just the right amount of sweetness. I was so excited. So I shared it with my husband.
He tried it and told me that it tasted like eggs with raspberries on it.
He is a very honest man and didn't try to hurt my feelings, but I wanted an honest answer and that is what I got. What I realized out of that was that something that I enjoy, may not be what everyone else enjoys. And I am not going to fill my menu with everything that I like and expect everyone to just enjoy "Katrina's Favorite Foods".
Lemon Creme Scones
So many types of scones, so few taste testers.
So begins more recipe trials and taste-testing among friends and family. My most recent trials have been scones. I was not super comfortable with scones until I picked up on a few secrets about the butter. I don't even know who to credit, but someone told me about freezing the butter and then grating it into the flour mixture and that has been my greatest gift in my scone making trials! So far, my favorite have been the lemon cream scones. But more taste testing awaits!
What to do with Tomatillos?
What do you do with 10,000 tomatillos? These things self-seeded from a free plant that I got last year at the farmers market. So when life gives you tomatillos, make Salsa Verde!! One thing I appreciate from my father is how he never wasted one thing that came out of the garden. He would cut around the worm holes and the ugly parts and then feed the stems and scraps to the cattle. He was very thankful for the produce that came out of the garden and it has driven me to do the same.