Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Many Gifts of Trisha Yearwood and Country Cookin'

About six months ago, I came across Trisha Yearwood's show on the Food Network.  I must admit, I was a little nervous and very excited.  I mean, how can someone so talented in such an important genre that is music, with no mention all these years of her cooking prowess, be on the Food Network?  I was excited because I love her.  I've been listening to her music since she debuted when I was in high school.  It's part of my insides, my story, my life.  I was nervous because I didn't want her to let me down.

She's a girl with a voice and a guitar.  That's what I love.

But, can she really cook?  Will she help me find inspiration and a little more of my potential in the kitchen?

It turns out, yes, she can.  And she yes, she has.

A few weeks ago, she said two little words that gave me whiplash: Ribbon Meatloaf.

WHAT is ribbon meatloaf?  Why is it a ribbon?

Then, I thought, "It doesn't matter!  It's meatloaf!  I will make this."

As I watched her make it, my mouth was watering, and everything in me was hungering for this dish.  It seemed so basic, so southern, so charming, I couldn't wait.  And when she pulled it out of the oven, it honestly looked like a fully-bloomed flower!  It was so beautiful.  I was almost sad she didn't invite me to dinner.

I set out on a course of action.  I decided to add some more veggies to it for a little extra color and nutrition, so I bought the frozen veggie soup mix.  I added a little cayenne pepper.  And, I'll admit, I cheated a little.  I bought buttermilk biscuits in a can.  I just didn't want to make them from scratch.  I've learned that shortcuts aren't all bad.  What I learned from this particular experience is that homemade biscuits obviously yield more than a can, because I have a ton of the meatloaf stuffing leftover.  That's okay, I'll buy more biscuits and eat more of this!

I turned Pandora on Trisha Yearwood Radio as I began to prepare.  I thought it was only fitting.

Mine was not as pretty as hers.  It was a little weird-looking flower.  However, it was yummy.  As it baked, the whole house began to smell of bread and meat and comfort.  Home became home, if that makes sense.

Ready to assemble.
I couldn't help but wonder about my musical heroes and their other talents.  I mean, they must all be more than the song on the radio.  We are all more than our best gift.  None of us live in a pigeon-hole.  I am more than a writer.  I am more than my job.  I am more than someone who can cook.

In a time of instant access to everyone and everything, we think we know celebrities on a personal level, when the truth is, like all of us, we only see what they want us to see or what the media portrays.  The truth is always behind closed doors.  As an open society, we are mostly shut and locked from what's real.  It's all perception.  As the food cooked, I pondered these thoughts.  I wish more people would get out and share their other gifts with us.  I am a better person because of music.  I am a better person because of cooking.  And it is wonderful to feel a bond with others in this way.
My weak little ribbon
meatloaf flower.

Trisha Yearwood is giving us a peak into her life outside of who we think she is.  She is granting us access to her southern heritage and upbringing by cooking her life for me and for you.  And that is brave.

Oh the deliciousness!
As the oven timer went off, American Girl, X's and O's was on Pandora.  I couldn't think of a more fitting conclusion to my stream of consciousness.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Dying for Bread

As I've mentioned before, I love The Barefoot Contessa.  Ina Garten is really an inspiration to me.  She has a calm confidence in the kitchen.  Her show brings me so much joy to watch and inspires me to do better, and to do more.  When I need an idea on how to make something, the first thing I always Google is "{fill in the blank food} Barefoot Contessa.

Two weeks ago, some friends were hosting Italian Dinner Night.  My only job was to bring garlic bread.  Seriously.  How easy is that?

When you're me, not so easy.  I have to make things complicated.  Over complicated.  I mean, I cook.  I bake.  I will NOT  just go buy frozen garlic bread and throw it in the microwave.  (Even though the only time I've ever made bread, it imploded and nearly burned the house down...)  I googled, "Garlic Bread Barefoot Contessa.  And came up with this.  Easy enough, right?  Right.

Everything was going swell.  I decided to avoid all the washing of my huge food processor and just used my stick blender to grind down the herbs.  It was working like a charm, until it wasn't.  I put my finger in the chamber to clean it.  I've done this a million times.  Literally, the chamber is so shallow, it is necessary to do this if I'm going to use this device.  However, I'm now rethinking this.  I'm rethinking and considering using a knife or a spoon or ANYTHING other than my finger.  Or perhaps, I should just use a full-size food processor.

All of a sudden.  Within a second.  Everything changed.

There was blood.  Lots and lots of blood.  I mean, LOTS. Of. Blood.

And then the pain came.  My left index finger was so covered in blood, I didn't know if it was even attached anymore.  I was pretty sure it wasn't.  And then it hurt more.  And then I couldn't breathe anymore.  And got dizzy.  I thought for sure that a stick blender was going to be my demise.

I laid on the floor of the kitchen crying, called my parents, and bled out.  No matter how tight the paper towel, it wouldn't clot.  And I'm dying.

I pulled myself up after a while, determined to move forward.  I cannot die from bread.  I cannot die from a stick blender.  I sent out a text and one of my friends volunteered to bring garlic bread to dinner.  Thank god.  I had to shower.

In the end, I have about six cuts on the pad of my finger, three on the top side, and the fingernail is pretty much sliced.  It's super painful, and still healing.

I wasn't hungry when I left the house for dinner.  I was still super nauseous, but I wanted to at least be part of the friendship and fellowship of the evening.  Turns out, that was exactly what the doctor ordered.  I am so fortunate to have friends who are like family, who love me and tease me and care about me no matter what.  My parents were also at the dinner, and that made it all the better.  I ate food - good homemade, real deal Italian food.

The lesson of this day is simply:

All you need is love.

...and a food processor.
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