The Great Greek Project

My English Composition I: Culinary class was asked to write an essay about a favorite personal recipe.
Here is mine:
The Great Greek Project
I like creating unique recipes that tell a story within themselves, and these Greek tacos do just that. Just so happens, Greek Food is one of my favorite cuisines to eat. This is not a family recipe that was passed down to me, this is simply just a recipe I have perfected through time and experimentation.
The history of this recipe began while hosting an ethnic food night at my house two years ago. I have always had a deep interest in the cultures and traditions of other countries. The theme for this particular night was Greek food. So I began sifting through pages of my Taste of Home Cookbook, in search of finding the perfect Greek recipe. I came across a recipe for Greek tacos that teased my senses enough to urge me to try it out. Let me just say, it was near perfect but needed an extra zing to it.
I began experimenting with different ingredients until I felt the recipe had reached its full potential. The changes made to the recipe we’re subtle yet significant. For instance, I thought a tangy Greek sauce would pair perfectly with these tacos. My imagination began to spin as the process of what ingredients should be added or edited from the recipe. As a cook, you must be knowledgeable about the flavors of many different foods and how they pair with each other. This is where you could say, the recipe evolved.

1 pound of ground beef
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes.
3 teaspoons of Cavender’s Greek Seasoning
1 cup of Greek Yogurt ( plain)
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
1/3 cup of Mayonnaise
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
1/2 cup of minced cucumber
2 cups of whole leaf baby spinach
1 can (10 ounces) ripe olives, minced and drained
1 package (16 oz) of yellow corn tortillas.
1 cup of crumbled feta cheese
1 cup of chopped red onion

The recipe begins by gathering two medium -sized skillets. One of these will be used for the taco meat and the other for frying the taco shells. Begin by browning the hamburger meat over medium heat in skillet until no longer pink; drain. Second, you will stir in the one can of diced tomatoes, minced garlic, and two teaspoons of Greek seasoning. Make sure you bring all these ingredients to a slight boil. Reduce the heat on the stove for 8-10 minutes or until thickened. You can proceed to add the whole leaf baby spinach, as well as the minced black olives to the skillet. Let this cook for 2-3 minutes or until the spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally. You may need to turn the heat on a low simmer to keep the taco meat warm.
You will now need to heat 1/4 cup of vegetable oil over medium in a separate skillet. Add your tortillas, gently flipping them with tongs until golden brown on both sides. Spoon about 1/3 cup of your taco meat into shell and set on paper towel above plate to degrease. Follow this procedure for however many tacos you will be preparing.
Meanwhile, gather ingredients for the sauce which are: one cup of Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup of mayonnaise, 1/2 cup of minced cucumber, one teaspoon of Cavender’s Greek Seasoning, and one teaspoon of lemon juice. Add all of these ingredients together in a small mixing bowl, incorporating them evenly with a large spoon or paddle. You may adjust the sauce by adding or editing to your taste. Spoon about one teaspoon of this mixture into your tacos and enjoy!

Chicken Grandma’s Cooking.

My English Composition I: Culinary class was asked to write about the best cook in the family: Here’s mine.

Natalie Porter
Mr. Gregan
English Composition I: Culinary
24 September 2012
Chicken Grandma’s Cooking
Chicken Grandma was and always will be the cook in the family. Lura Bell Schlesier was her given name but her grandchildren called her chicken grandma. She raised chickens, pigs, and three beautiful gardens. You may ask why we called her this? Chicken and dumplings we’re her signature dish. They we’re savory, rich, and creamy. It continues to be the yardstick, I measure all chicken and dumplings to, even today. My sisters and I would always say to each other that we could smell grandma’s cooking a mile away. The lessons she left behind lit the way for a future generation. She was a rare jewel to all who knew her in so many ways. There was always time to care for others before herself. She painted a picture of what true stewardship means.
There was a unique balance she kept in her kitchen for years. Rules we’re laid out and we’re required to be followed. She didn’t believe in wasting good food. So, whatever she prepared as the meal was eaten. Her kitchen was her sanctuary. A place for the cook to explore the ingredients and create a lasting impression on the guest. Her cooking method was creative yet resourceful in using what was available in the pantry. She wasn’t a fan of sharing the kitchen with someone else. Her belief was: ” The kitchen belonged to the cook and it was the right to have privacy”. As the guest, you we’re always served the meal first. The cook didn’t sit down until everyone was given their food. There was a close attention paid to detail and presentation. A prayer was always said before enjoying the meal. Everyone was welcome at her home whether family, friend, or stranger. She believed that true hospitality is selfless.
Grandma gave us opportunities to learn through her cooking. Every meal at her house was to be enjoyed with a heart full of thankfulness. If your hands weren’t laboring in some way, then your plate was an empty vessel. She taught us that only the happiest of cooks prepare the best meals. We learned that fellowship and family are the best accompaniments to any meal. Last of all, anyone that considers himself to be a good cook, must first learn to be a steward.
Routinely, she made a pie every three days. The ingredients we’re simple: pie crust, fruit preserves, butter and sugar. There is no greater splendor in this world than a fresh, hot, apple pie right from the oven. Breakfast was served every morning, regardless if you we’re hungry or not. This meal consisted of farm-fresh eggs, bacon, sausage links, and biscuits with peppered gravy. Grandma was well-known for her homemade giblet gravy. A southern, hearty, dish she served with dressing or sliced turkey. The main ingredient she used was love and you could taste it in every bite.
Dedication and hard work is what she lived by. She maintained three vegetable gardens every year. Half of the produce was sold to local stores for profit. Pigs and chickens we’re the main source of livestock. Everyday she would feed the animals and tend to the garden. She raised all three of her grandchildren after their mother left. Grandma had to carry the weight in the Schlesier household because Grandpa lacked motivation. If there was something to be mended or fixed, she faithfully tackled the task. Her attitude towards life and it’s many gains and losses was something to be admired. Behind every great cook is a legacy waiting to be told through food. My grandma’s spoke a multitude of love, truth and stewardship.

Finished this semester off. That is until fall comes around..

I took my final test for this semester in Food Production I. I feel a sweet sense of relief and accomplishment. I feel more knowledgeable than going in which count’s right? Here is the research paper I wrote for this class.

THE BIRTHPLACE OF MODERN FOOD 1

The Birthplace of Modern Food
Porter, Natalie K.
Pulaski Technical College THE BIRTHPLACE OF MODERN FOOD 2

As I began researching the place where food truly evolved it began with history, traditions,heritage,diversity,culture and travel. History and it’s many evolving chef’s brought forth new and daring decisions that would later revolutionize the way we create food. The idea of taking a simple recipe and questioning the possibilities.Recipes become edited or decorated with changing.
Tradition is that of something more grounded. Tradition celebrates the enrichment of being apart of something you always will be. Food is something we long for and it unifies us in tradition. The upbringing of where one came from correlates with the food in which one partook in thus heritage plays a big part as well.
All over the world, meals are being prepared yet every meal is diverse. There are numerous recipes and seasonings that have been discovered. Yet, where would they originate if there wasn’t diversity? Many have explored, settled and traded for the cultural flavor captured from regions across the world. Slaves from Africa took their culinary tradition with them to distant lands. Later introducing native foods to their homeland such as okra, black eyed peas, sweet potatoes, watermelon, and sesame seeds (Samuelsson, 3).
Poverty, though common in many regions hasn’t stiffened the flow of food production. Conversely, it’s given a creative outlook of working with what’s available at the given time. Cultivation is the primary source of labor in these poverty stricken areas as many share the same water source( Bourdain, 40). Shared labor is essential during harvest time in preparing for the fundamental needs of those around you.
Culinary Arts has deeply rooted itself within urban cities and farmlands. The city has soaked up business as restaurants open daily. Rural Farm life tends to focus on the development of livestock, fruits, vegetables and show casing their products at local markets. Yet, there is a significant connection between the two. Restaurants are promoting healthier choices and organic farming by purchasing products from local farmers. Farmer’s in turn are making profit to continue thriving, “organically.” Preserving the harvest is also very important in making sure seasonal vegetables last all year long. Many vegetables lose their vitamins as soon as they are harvested unless preserved. This has become a popular choice for many across the world.
Chefs are traveling to grasp the ethnic taste the foreign regions expound ( Samuelsson, 2).
These destinations are vast in color and textural combinations are anything but dull or un sufficed. ( Samuelsson, 1).The meaning of a culture isn’t easily understood. ( Samuelsson, 39). This is where chef’s and foodies alike are forever expanding their palates. We cannot discover without first using our five senses. The visual display of food being prepared, smells painting kitchens with sweet aroma, sounds of gathering around a table in unity, soaking up the tastes the food willingly yields and texture and touch of the meals structure when consuming. A journey that lends itself to new and old. Feeding creativity through researching various outlets such as cookbooks, fresh markets, travel, and experienced resources.Taking chances as well as keeping an open-mind.
Knowledge is gained by observation which will lend itself to those who receive. The architecture, design and customs of specific cultures deepen the meaning of refined cuisine ( Bourdain, 52). THE BIRTHPLACE OF MODERN FOOD 3

Many cultures share a different style of food production than others. While some may cook over an open flame others may use more unconvential methods. This separates not only the style but taste of many cuisines around the world. The kitchens located in the U. S. restaurants carry the necessary cooking utensils and supplies. Whereas, villages located oustide the U.S. find ways of managing and using the resources availabe at a given time. Ironically, though U.S. is rich in supplies more food is wasted than in poverty stricken villages. The people in these villages have learned to be creative in not only preparing meals but using their resources wisely. Many overlooked parts of an animal such as: feet, jaw, nose, ears, head, tail ect. There is no such thing as “good” and “bad” ingredients ( Bourdain, 18 ). The easiest way to learn about a country’s cuisine is through exploring the condiments, relishes, toppings, and spreads that dress up local food ( Samuelsson, 24). Many of these recipes contain a mixture of history and unity. Settlers visiting from other mainlands brought homeland flavors to other regions, intertwining techniques uniquely with the region where they settled.
Many african villages form a paste with cornmeal. ( Samuelsson, 49). It is then formed into an edible spoon used for dipping into stews or sauces. Food is so much more than just taste alone,it’s knowing the meals you grew up on that bring you comfort. Often, atmosphere and chemistry play a big part in showcasing the personality, style, and energy of not only the meal being prepared but the place where it all began.
Many restaurants here in the U.S. serve the appetizer first to the customer. This being the tease before the actual entree is served. An appetizer generally sets the mood for what’s to come. Villages across the world are revolutionizing the way we look at this conception. Generally, what would be served as the starter is prepared as the main course in other countries.
It’s more about sustenance and managing the simple dollar than order of food. This includes vegetables, salads, olives, bread ect..( Samuelsson, 49). In some cases, the same meal is prepared for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Meat is considered an expensive luxury and in certain cultures religion calls for abstaining any for several days. Hearty vegetables are used in place of the meat. Nothing goes to waste and every part of the plant is used. The person preparing the meal uses these vegetables in soups, stews, and sauces. ( Samuellson, 80). Market shopping is done weekly for the entire household which sometimes consist of twenty people or so. Every market has it’s own flair but one thing they have in common is the bargains many find there. ( Samuellson, 91).Whether it be sundried caterpillars, es’cargo, head cheese, blood sausage, roasted tarantula eggs, these are considered a fine delicacy in some regions.
Meats in higher prices are considered dishes of celebration. Just as other parts of the world, meat is the centerpiece of a meal. ( Samuellson, 116). The closing of the meal ends with dessert which is kept light and simple. Typically when you think of dessert it tends to be heavier and rich usually doused with a sauce of some sort. Fruit is served in other regions with a sprinkle of sugar or honey. The dessert is planned around the main course. The heavier the main course the lighter the dessert. If the main course is ligher than a heavier dessert will follow afterwards (Samuelsso,150).
There is something special about gathering people, food and interests. Where there is good conversation, there shall be food. Food yields a richness, depth and truth.
The memories of where we came from and where we’re going. Because, food is more than a substance it’s a story. Work cited

Samellson, Marcus. Discovery of a Continent: Foods, Flavors and Inspirations from Africa. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hobeken, New Jersey. 2007.

Bourdain, Anthony. No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach.
Bloomsbury. New York, New York. 2007.

Ever have one of those weeks?

I realize I haven’t wrote since last Thursday..our internet went Ka-Ploot! This week has been overwhelming for me between trying to keep a clean house, finish school work, run around after my three year old, pay bills and manage to make a homemade meal every night. I never thought I would miss having my internet so much…its useful for recipes, Netflix, schoolwork, research information and of course my beloved blog!