Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Here's my three books I created about all the things I love like cooking, gardening and art. One day in Hawaii I watched a program that was all about the problem of Ice in Hawaii. It told the story of how this drug was ruining the lives of so many people. One person had said that she had forgotten how to dream. At that moment I said, I have got to create something that will help people remember how to dream. I have so much happiness and enthusiasm for life, that kind of overflows in creativity. I can't stop myself. Unless I'm having a bad day of course. We all have had those days and on one of those days when I was feeling down, I asked myself "What would I tell someone else who was feeling that way?" I'd say, try to do something for others. #RAOK (Random acts of Kindness). Just see @Iconic88 on Twitter. No really, I'd suggest things like "How about cooking something special." For me, even on a not so great day, I can cheer myself up by getting into the kitchen. It is therapeutic to start smashing garlic, mincing onions, washing fresh vegetables and dreaming up a meal spontaneously from the pantry and fridge. Once the aromatics get going I forget about my cares and let myself get creative. I try... to keep my pantry stocked with plenty of ingredients necessary to make anything from Pastas, grains, lentils, beans and rices and all the essentials like olive oil, vinegars, spices, as well as fresh herbs from the garden and citrus like limes and lemons are a must.
It is wonderful to create soups from scratch. I always start with a little oil, 2 tbsp. in large pot with a few crushed cloves of garlic followed by slivered onions and simmer them with chopped celery until translucent. Then I add chopped carrots or whatever vegetable is available, sweet potatoes, sliced yams, lots of mushrooms, tomatoes, (canned or fresh), and add about 4-6 cups of water. I let this come to a boil then turn it down to simmer the flavors. I usually add a can of vegetable broth or tomato sauce to kick up the flavor and I begin to season with salt and pepper, fresh herbs like thyme or sage & others like a pinch of allspice, nutmeg, dried sweet basil or maybe a curry flavor. If I'm doing a bean soup, I definitely add cumin and indian spices such as ginger, cardamon, cinnamon, fenugreek, or a garam masala. The kitchen is now a fragrant wonderful place to be. I re-season as I go and after about an hour of simmering I taste and adjust the seasonings. Fresh greens are added about ten minutes before serving. A touch of butter, salt & pepper, fresh green onions or chives, cilantro can finish it off. I have recently learned how to make the most wonderful Vietnames Pho. (beef broth) It is so good. I will post the recipe soon along with a video to show you how to make it. Have a wonderful day and try something new like a vegetable soup, chicken soup, Thai lemongrass soup, or Portuguese Bean soup. All these are in my book Amaryllis of Hawaii Loves To Cook "Recipes for Life" available at Hope to see you there! Aloha, Marilyn

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