The Quest For Flavor In A Healthy Kitchen - The Cookin' Fool Blog at - 157202

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The Quest for Flavor in a Healthy Kitchen 
Feb. 13, 2010 7:37 am 
Updated: Mar. 17, 2010 6:16 am

The Way to Their Hearts

     I have discovered the way to their hearts.  Well okay, when I say “discovered”, I guess I mean finally discovered.  And just for myself, not for everybody.  It was kind of like “discovering” a breathtaking view in another part of the country.  Just because I finally got there, explored it, and found it fascinating, doesn’t mean it magically appeared on the map upon my arrival.  I have finally discovered the way to the hearts of my loved ones.  Aside from the healthy communication of speech needed to maintain any relationship, I’ve found that the preparation of food, at least for me, bridges the gap that my words cannot.  Even the gap that my words sometimes make wider. 
     At 37 years old, newly married and with a bouncing baby boy, our little family moved from Huntington Beach, CA, to beautiful northern AZ.  It was a welcome change from the seemingly endless hustle and bustle.   For myself, being born and raised in farm country in New England , I was able to relax again.  I have learned that I am not a city girl.  My husband, although he had always lived in Southern CA, was also able to breathe at last.
     Well, so many changes in such a short period of time can wreak havoc on any relationship.  Then, add to that a later-in-life beginning to the married-with-a-family life, there’s a pretty solid guarantee of rocky roads ahead.   We were no exception.  Instead of leaning on one another for the moral support we both so badly needed, we reverted to the self-preservation attitude we’d had for so many years as singles.  The sweet, loving words and tones we’d used to communicate in the beginning, turned bitter, with little to no comfort or kindness behind them.
     Busy adjusting to our new surroundings (and life!), we grew further and further apart.  I focused on motherhood and settling our new home.  My husband spent most of his time learning his new job and battling the landscaping elements of the high desert.  It was more than a year before we were on friendly speaking terms again, and we have God, hard work and cooking to thank.
     I’ve heard before that if you start smiling, even though you don’t feel like it, the good feelings that normally accompany that expression, will soon follow.  Cooking always made us smile.  The creative, therapeutic and often ritualistic preparation of food, bridged a gap in my marriage that words could not.  From that delicious bridge, came the inspiration for this blog.

     Food may not be the answer to all of our relationship problems, but when paired with loving preparation and a smile, it can be the icing on your cake of life.
     In honor of our happier, more loving marriage, I decided to put some extra care into this years' Valentines Day dinner.  As Paul and I are still going strong on our Atkins Blood Sugar Control Program, I wasn't sure I would be able to make a dinner that seemed like a treat without stepping off the healthy path we've been walking.  I'm down 12 pounds, he's lost 15, and we both feel better than ever!  Since we've decided to make a lifestyle change with Atkins rather than calling it a "diet", it has made "cheating" a thing of the past.
     I decided to roast the goose we've had in the freezer since late last summer.  One of two that we'd raised, and we ruined the first one with the bright idea of deep frying it.  Without going in to detail, I'll just tell you; it was inedible.  YuckO.
    By the time I'd planned our 4 course meal around everything we could have, the end result was:  Roasted Goose with Port Wine Black Cherry Sauce, a fresh garden salad with cherry tomatoes and my Agave/Ginger Vinaigrette, Spicy Red Chard, and for dessert, fresh sliced strawberries (they were enormous!) topped with homemade whipped cream (tinted pink with strawberry juice).  I'd planned on taking pictures of each step, but forgot all about it.  I only got as far as assembling the ingredients for the sauce.  Oh well, I'll try to remember next time.
     I cooked the goose and prepared the sauce according to my recipe I'd submitted.  By the way, I was shocked that AR accepted the recipe for editing only a couple hours after I submitted it, then published it within 2 weeks.  Wow!  Anyway, here's the recipe link if you're interested...  For the Red Chard, I simply rinsed it, heated up some olive oil infused with hot pepper (also in my Recipe Box), and cooked it covered over medium low heat for about 10 minutes or so.  The meal was beautiful, with different shades of red throughout, rich and above all, very, VERY healthy!  Everything, including dessert & 2 glasses of Pinot Noir, came in at about 18 net carbs.
     Quest fulfilled again!  Explosive flavor in our Healthy Kitchen..:-)  I hope you have a healthy and delicious Valentines Day as well.
Cherries bathing in port wine
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The Stuffing
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Port Wine Black Cherry ingredients
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Feb. 13, 2010 7:58 am
Not sure why the text is so messed up..should I email AR??
Feb. 13, 2010 8:58 am
sounds yummy
Feb. 13, 2010 9:45 am
I am always encouraged by your blog and motivated to cook something besides the same old thing. Thanks. I needed to be reminded that I can make a special Valentine's meal without sugar!
Feb. 13, 2010 10:25 am
katylou, I'm glad it could be some inspiration. Like I've said over and over, AR has been an incredible inspiration to me too!
Feb. 13, 2010 10:50 am
Sounds like you are building a solid relationship with Paul and loving it! Good food is an enormous plus! Using your imagination to make both better is a wonderful way to go!
Feb. 24, 2010 8:14 am
This is a beautifully written blog. It's a good reminder that being a wife is every bit as importa
Feb. 24, 2010 8:16 am
important as being a good mom. (Sorry, got cut off somehow!)
Feb. 24, 2010 7:37 pm
Oh thank you CP. It took a bit for me to get that. My husband and I were both in this sort of self-preservation mode. I'm so glad we didn't just give up. We were so angry at eachother for a while.
Feb. 24, 2010 9:53 pm
"Not sure why the text is so messed up..." In looking at the HTML source code it looks like a ton of formatting is going on. I don't have a blog here so I'm unfamiliar with what tools they give you. I'd suggest typing up your text in some other program like Notepad and then when you're finished copy/paste it here into this blog software. That said, I wanted to suggest concord grape juice as one of my favorite flavors to introduce. A very small amount can both flavor and sweeten something and in a reduction can bring an intensity that you won't find with other methods. Also, I find that lemon, lime and orange peel is a sometimes-overlooked way of adding flavor.
Feb. 25, 2010 5:47 am
Michael, thank you! I have tried lemon and orange zest but not lime yet. I will definitely pick up some concord grape juice, I've never used that before. I've been trying to add more reductions. Also, I'll take your advice on the copy/pasting. Thank you again for your input!
Mar. 16, 2010 6:48 pm
I stopped in to say "hi" and to tell you that your name here is what my husband started calling me once the AR bug bit deep. Lovely blog. Rocky times come and go, the staying powers (and Power) you mentioned will surely bring you through.
Mar. 17, 2010 6:16 am
Thank you Hezzy_tant_Cook! It's seems like Cookin' Fool is a pretty common description of us AR addicts these days..:)
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Krystal Johnson

Home Town
West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, USA

Member Since
Nov. 2009

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Grilling & BBQ, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Low Carb, Healthy, Quick & Easy

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About Me
I am a SAHM. My love of cooking has blossomed in the last 4 years or so. Now I have the bug, and can't seem to get enough of it. I am a Cookin' Fool..:-)
My favorite things to cook
I'm finding I love to cook dinner items the most; slow cooking, sauteing, stir frying, occasional casseroles, soups and stews, etc. Also, Diabetes runs in my family, so I'm always on the look out for new diabetic friendly recipes, or adapting existing ones with low carb/sugar ingredients. Xylitol has become my blood-sugar friendly sweetener of choice, because it isn't a fake sugar. But I will also use raw agave syrup and Splenda blends.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My sister puts on a big Christmas Eve party every year and I have adopted the tradition for my own home earlier in the month of December. Traditional dishes include; spiral ham, stuffed shells, Auntie El's cocktail meatballs, Heather's chocolate rum cake, Bananas Foster Bread, Irish Cream bread, Oreo trifle...and the list goes on.
My cooking triumphs
My Auntie Hola's Salsa Bread (my great niece, Kaylen, calls me by this name) I have come up with some delicious dishes on my own, but never thought I'd have the cooking skills to make my own bread from scratch. Let alone my own recipe! It's the kind of flavor that makes your eyes roll back in your head with delight when you bite into a freshly baked, buttered slice. Mmmmmmmmmmm..:-)
My cooking tragedies
There are too many to list. But that's how we learn, right?
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