Spring 2017 Catalyst Cooks update

Hi Catalyst Cooks present and future,

As you can tell my primary love, as it turns out, is not blogging.  That is ok!  I’d rather be breaking in my new kitchen (check it out from start to finish on pinterest), starting my garden, or my favorite thing: teaching! 

In my cooking classes I find myself talking about a couple topics so often that I figured they warranted a blog post so I can refer folks to them here.  A couple are oldie-but-goodie-already-blogged posts, and a couple are things I have not written about before. 

On that note, over time my philosophy about food and cooking has evolved (as has what I find important to teach and how I do that).  I am doing more and more “Cooking without a Recipe” classes which enable you to shop with the freedom of not needing a list, use the food you have before it hits the compost bin, and use recipes as inspiration rather than worrying about missing an ingredient or two.  It’s helped me reduce my cooking time and food costs by half at our house- ask me if you want to know more or take a class! 

The best entree into Cooking without a Recipe is starting with SOUP- here is the link to the 2011 blog post that outlines the five steps to a great soup – take the guide and fill in the blanks with your own food combinations and spices.

Knife Skills is another basic that has helped me a great deal in my cooking practice.  It cut my prep time so much that I now teach the class to others – to the tune of 20+ times a year.  We review knife selection, care, and proper use/technique.  I always give a shout out to my favorite place to shop and get my knives sharpened: EverSharp in Northeast Minneapolis (near East Hennepin and Taft).  It’s worth paying a couple bucks to get your knives sharpened, and while waiting why not dream a little bit and try out a couple knives for a future purchase?  Any store worth its salt will let you get your hands on a good knife before you buy it.

I am a big fan of a good deal, and nothing beats Ikea if you want high quality cookware at a great price.  Once you choose your chef’s knife and you are honing your technique, you’ll need the right cutting board to get the most out of your new skills.  My favorite is the <$20 large Lamplig cutting board.  (Ikea’s chef’s knives aren’t bad either.)  And to take care of your wooden kitchen butcher block and cutting boards, you can make an antimicrobial spray that is all-natural for daily cleaning and ensure the life of your board by oiling it once in awhile with food-grade mineral oil or beeswax.

Those of you who have been in my classes know I’m a fan of having a few great tools and essential cookware items (rather than a specialized tool for every kitchen task).  My pastry bench knives get a ton of use in my kitchen and I highly recommend that all of you food preppers out there get at least one.

I’ll end with a big thing… if you build your kitchen skills over time and grow to love it as much as I do, then someday you might find your kitchen needs something between a makeover and an overhaul.  If you do, I am passionate about translating how you cook to kitchen design and have done everything from a gut-to-the studs kitchen remodel on a $10k budget to my own bump out and kitchen reinvention.  I’d love to help you combine your dreams, budget and space into a cook’s kitchen, email me to learn more! 

Make food happen, Catalyst Cooks out there!

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