Hello my Foodie Friends!
Guess what today is: Yes, it’s Valentines Day and I know the quickest way to someone’s heart is great cooking. There is nothing more impressive than whipping up a romantic meal for your partner. It is food that creates a home, connections, celebrations, and embraces family and friends. In creating meals, we are creating homes and a nurturing environment. The meals do not have to be fancy or gourmet. It isn’t about how special the recipe is. It is about being conscious of an important part of life and honoring that importance. By elevating the importance of food in our family’s lives, you pass that importance on to them. Families connect around the dinner table, all sharing the meal they know is just for them. They also learn the subtle ways you can say “I love you.” through the daily care of mealtime.
One of our favorite dishes is to make is Eggplant Parmigiana. When my wife Paula was at the end of her due dates for our children, she was always encouraged by the Italian women in the family to eat Italian food to induce her labor. We won’t promise you that by eating Eggplant Parmigiana you are guaranteed to go into labor, but according to some of the old Italian wives tales, it may be just the trick to get your baby’s show on the road. Ironically enough, Paula did eat Eggplant prior to each time she went into labor (early or not). Making Eggplant Parmigiana can be a tedious task of slicing and prepping. Do you have a mandoline hiding in the back of your pantry, just begging to be used? Essentially, you can accomplish much of a mandoline’s work with a steady hand and a sharp knife. However, when slicing up zucchini ribbons, slicing eggplant or shredding brussel sprouts, mandolines cut prep time down significantly and promise consistent, even results. And they’re fun to use; especially when you need to create consistently thick or thin slices for your favorite recipe. At Compliments to the Chef we carry several different brands of mandolines. The OXO Good Grips mandoline is a perfect tool for home chefs. It is a trusty tool through thick and thin (produce). Slice or julienne cucumbers, potatoes and more with a turn of the comfortable dial on the Chef’s Mandoline Slicer. We also carry mandolines by Zyllis and the Asian style Benriner. Each mandoline includes a food holder that protects hands and the stainless steel blade quickly makes even slices. All blades store safely on board and are removable for easy cleaning. With this easy-to-use mandoline, hands and fingers stay away from sharp blades at all times. Most mandolines come with three or four slicing blades beyond the basic blade. These allow you to slice paper thin, a little thicker (think potato chips), thick julienne (think french fries), and thin julienne. If you’re not sure how your blades will slice, invest in a few potatoes and try each setting out. It’s usually a good idea to have a few extra veggies on hand when you’re learning to use your mandoline as well so you can get the hang of the whole process.
At Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store, we have items that can assist with making your Valentine’s Dinner. Finish with something sweet and a goodnight kiss. Show your love through the foods you cook. Stop by Compliments to the Chef located at 33 Railroad Place and let us know how we can help you with your culinary needs. Remember my Foodie Friends; “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” Happy Valentines Day!
John & Paula