Saturday, May 12, 2007

The story of my blog, and then Cauliflower with Bacon & Mushrooms

Since today I'm posting a recipe that came from another blogger, I thought I'd explain a bit about how I got to doing this blog in the first place. Sometime last Fall I read an article in a magazine that listed the URL addresses for about 4-5 food blogs. I'd never heard of a blog before that. I took a look at them and found I was reading their entire blogs, sometimes years in the past. I was fascinated. Mesmerized. Greedy for more. Hooked on more and more blogs. Nearly every food blog has a list of other food blogs that those bloggers read (sometimes called a "blog roll"), and I quickly began looking at all of those too. Then I heard about Google Reader and decided to give that a try. Once you have a Google account you access the Reader and as you find blogs you want to read (the blogs have an RSS feed, it's called) you simply add them to a subscription within Google Reader. Then I added the Google Reader to my Favorites so it's only two clicks away and I now have a list of all the blogs I frequent. I don't have to go to each individual blog site. New postings show up within Reader when they've been updated. They're viewable in a shortened version, usually, and if I want to see the full read, then I click on to see the actual website itself. Otherwise, I read the blog from the Reader.

As I read the stories other people wrote, I was intrigued, but kept talking myself out of being a blogger. It looked like it would take too much time. Writing stories every day??? How could I fit that into my busy schedule? And doing photos all the time? Whoa! Yes, I have a digital camera, but I don't have photos of most of my recipe collection (which now numbers over 400). Most of the bloggers use a free blog service (like this one at blogspot, another is typepad). The only limitation is whatever the provider allows in html conversion. I know nothing-zippo-nada about writing computer language (htm and html) which is actually how these stories get into the ether so you can view it. I type into a limited word processing kind of window, and I can add photos and links, make something bold or italic, but that's about all I can do. My words and photos get converted into html and somehow, magically, when I click the button called "publish" it appears on the website. One of my watercolors graces the top of the blog, and I can add elements, they are called, like my list of books I'm reading. Then I created a place on FileDen, which is a file repository web site for my recipes in pdf format. Anybody can upload files to FileDen (free), so I output the recipe from within my MasterCook recipe program (more on that on another post) and print it to a pdf file, then upload it to Fileden. The link is available, so I paste that into the blogspot cell and when you click on the recipe title, you get my pdf file from my recipe collection.

So six months have gone by since I began following the long list of bloggers I read, and suddenly one day I decided I wanted to do this too. I've always wanted to write, but never found a niche that was right for me. I don't have the creative bent to actually write fiction, but explaining cooking, or telling stories about our travels and food, etc. would be a cinch. I just hope I won't become too long winded and you folks out there get bored reading my stuff.

I'm working on perhaps having my own domain, not using one of these free blog services, but it may require more of a learning curve than I'm willing to do. I'm working on it. If I change, I'll post a message to that effect, but it won't be for awhile. I'm trying to learn Expression Web, the sequel to Front Page, to create my own complete web page. It's not easy for this old brain, but I'm trying.

Only one other thing: at the bottom of every post there is a little line that contains the date and time I posted it, but also there is a COMMENTS section. That's a place for you to add something. Any of you who would like to comment, I'd be very appreciative. Otherwise I have no clue whether my posts are even being read. I've subscribed to a free service (Feedburner) that is supposed to give me stats on my readers, but I don't believe it's working correctly. But I do know that several people have subscribed (oh, thank you!) and I hope to be worthy of your reading time.

So, now on to today's recipe. One of the early bloggers in bloggerdom, I suspect, is Kalyn's Kitchen. Kalyn Denny lives in Salt Lake City and is an avid advocate of the South Beach diet, which works for her. Her recipes are usually low on carbs, and she uses a lot of vegetables, which I like. I've been trying to incorporate more vegetables into our diet. We eat them every day anyway, but now I'm often making two vegetables and a protein with no carbs except those contained in the natural vegetables themselves. Since Dave is a Type 1 diabetic and has been for nearly 60 years (yes, really), he needs to watch carbs - at least count them carefully to calculate how much insulin to take at each meal - and it doesn't hurt me a bit to reduce carbs either.

Now don't get me wrong. I really, really like vegetables. But cauliflower wasn't up there on my yes-list at all. So, until this and one other recipe, cauliflower wasn't one of the vegetables I prepared very often. Steamed, plain cauliflower is not something I'd ever order. I eat it because I know I should, but not usually with much interest. So when I read Kalyn's recipe for the vegetable with bacon and mushrooms, I thought ah-ha. I like mushrooms. Bacon is something I like a lot too, and have found that even half of a slice of bacon can impart tons of flavor. I buy lean, thick sliced bacon without sulfates (Niman Ranch is probably the best, available at Trader Joe's and I also buy some from Whole Foods that's without additives). Normally I buy a package, use a slice or two, then roll up each remaining bacon slice and freeze them individually on a cookie sheet, then pile them into a Ziploc bag to pop back in the freezer. It takes no time at all to defrost a slice of bacon.

As I prepare this dish (I've made it innumerable times in the last 6 months) I have a very hard time keeping my fingers out of the pan. As the cauliflower begins to brown, I just have to test it often - you know - to find out if it's the correct texture of done-ness, right? This is best eaten just after making it. Although I have reheated it, it gets a bit soggy. So, try to make just enough for the one meal. I also have added garlic to this and enjoyed it too.

Cauliflower with Bacon & Mushrooms
Recipe: Kalyn's Kitchen (blog), but originally from "Vegetable Love"
Here's Kalyn's writeup:
Servings: 6

4 slices bacon, thick sliced, chopped (I usually use 2 slices)
1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets or bite-sized pieces
8 ounces mushrooms, halved, then cut into slices
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup parsley, chopped (I use Italian)
Salt & pepper to taste

In a large sauté pan add the bacon and cook until quite crisp and remove to a paper towel to drain. Pour out most of the bacon grease, but do not wipe out the pan. Add the prepared cauliflower and mushrooms and cook over very high heat (important), stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes. Add the pre-chopped onions and cook about 2 more minutes, or until the vegies seem nearly done and are starting to brown a bit. This is when you need to test the cauliflower for tenderness, knowing you're going to cook it for another 2-3 minutes :) Add the bacon and parsley and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes more. Taste again - he-he - for tenderness . . . Add about 1/4 cup water, then scrape the pan to get any browned bits off and cook until the water has evaporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve piping hot.

To print just the recipe, click on the title at the top.

1 comment:

Kalyn said...

How fun! I love hearing how you got bitten by the blogging bug, and if I had anything to do with it, I'm very happy. Actually I've only been blogging two years; there are people who've been at it much longer than me. It's quite addicting isn't it? Glad you love this recipe, it's such a good one.