A Lovely Week of Inspirational Cooking

Did you ever realize, when you simply go through the motions of cooking, it just doesn’t taste as good?

Find your inspiration.


(Photo: our Valentine dessert using real colors- soft & sweet strawberry Mochi colored with beet juice, tart & juicy pomegranate seeds and crunchy dried raspberries.)

I find inspiration while shopping for ingredients at a fresh food market like Whole Foods, where their love for good ingredients shines through.  A great cookbook, like The Pollan Family Cookbook, an easy to follow video clip on FoodTube or a great new app like Jamie Oliver’s step by step recipe app with beautiful photos inspires me.  A new ingredient i’ve never tried before inspires me. My fellow volunteer Ambassadors for the Food Revolution Community inspire me.  (Join the fun!)

For you, it may be completely different- maybe you want to adopt some #vegan or #gluten-free meals into your weekly menu at home, or have a family member who needs to omit a particular category of edibles.  Perhaps you just want to eat clean- no fake food- and are investigating what is in the food we eat, #FoodTruth.

Special occasions or events inspire me.  What did you cook this Valentine’s Day?  Or did you and your sweetheart dine out?  I prefer celebrating this holiday at home so i don’t feel like just another couple bobbing around The Red Sea.

This day of love inspired me to search out #realfood colors.

And i found so many!  I am a foodie who LOVES holidays and parties, and these events are heightened by who is at the table and what food were are sharing.

I’m like a kid during the holidays- i celebrate all week or month long!  So, I did some real color cooking the week before #ValentinesDay.  Jennifer Tyler Lee, creator of Crunch a Color and author of The 52 New Foods Challenge, would be so proud.  I tried for the first time ever, red spinach (found later in this post) and incredibly gorgeous spiral pink watermelon radish (mother nature was showing off here) adding color and crunch to our turkey burgers- see it at the bottom?  This tall tower was also stacked with red onion, heart-shaped micro greens and sweet potato slices accompanied with pink hues from Easter radish, purple potatoes and circular red chioggia beets.


For breakfasts in bed this week we enjoyed maple yogurt with purple blackberries, red raspberries and fresh squeezed pink grapefruit juice…


scrambled eggs (mostly whites) with spicy specks of red thanks to chili garlic sauce and cuties drizzled with sweet, local honey on the side.


Now for dinner, on the actual day of love, we began with an amuse bouche of red pear poached in a red wine cinnamon reduction.


Then our salad course of where we tried red spinach for the first time.


We ate New York Strips with Black Truffle Salt in a port chocolate sauce.  Although i wanted to roast rosemary fingerling potatoes, my market didn’t have them.  My kids love potatoes they fondly refer to as “mash,” so i showed them love and made their comfort food favorite- mashed potatoes. (Find more comfort food recipes here.) 


I served it alongside sautéed crimini mushrooms and shallots in pork confit.  I learned a #FoodEducation tip this Feb 14th- pork confit is a fancy word for bacon fat!

But i only got to eat the salad.

After spending the entire day preparing this beautiful #familymeal with heart and soul, dressing a proper table, and placing hot food onto our #familytable with my loved ones seated all around– I had to leave for work!  There were romantic hungry Valentine couples to be taught and fed!  I assist chefs and their cooking students, and tonight, i assisted

until almost midnight.

That is food education dedication.

We taught them how to make an orange and arugula salad with mint chiffonade, scallops, how to mix and thread homemade pasta and prepare it in a light garlic roasted fennel sauce, and… wait for it…wait for it…

the best dessert of my life.

Possibly better than when my husband and i enjoyed this treat over a decade ago during dsc01819springtime in Paris back when we were dating.  (See the date on these two photos?) We ordered these for dessert after witnessing for the first time, the Tour de Eiffel sparkling in all of its glory, dsc01803then ducking into a side street restaurant and flirting with…


Puffy, airy, eggy light dough you can fill up through the bottom, using your piping bag and tip, infusing fresh rose whipped cream and drizzled in dark chocolate ganache.

Happy Valentine’s Day to me!

What a great food memory to have on Valentine’s Day! It made washing dishes all day and night, missing my family, and working especially late- just a bit more satisfying.  And with the night moon high in the sky, i raised the garage door and walked into my home-  to hear the sound of my dog’s tail banging against the walls loud enough to wake the kids.  And a clean kitchen sink.  My husband did all their dishes.

Now THAT is love.

It’s been a lovely week.  So looking ahead, i am now inspired by my taste buds, #sharethelove, and #foodeducation.  I want to share this same dinner menu with my family!  My kids have never had fennel, and i KNOW they are going to love it.  (They eat leeks, so- i think i’ll be good.) I’ll save the dessert for my next special occasion perhaps my birthday later this month?

You can’t just see heaven and then pretend it doesn’t exist!!!

(wink wink)

What inspires you?



This entry was posted in Celebrations, Cookbook, cooking videos, Education, foodie love and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s