Hello and welcome to All Seasons Cuisine!
I’m Kim, and All Seasons Cuisine is both my personal food blog and Personal Chef Service business. Food and cooking are a huge passions of mine, so much so that I’m working at making a career of them. I am completely self-taught, mostly via cookbooks, Food Network, and cooking magazines like Cook’s Illustrated, but most of all, through practice, repetition and passion.
Years ago I began keeping an online food journal. This was, and still is as I continue the exercise, a spreadsheet recording what dish I cooked on what date and notes on how I would improve it the next time. The journal gave way to this blog which has given way to All Seasons Cuisine Personal Chef Service.
As a personal chef, I prepare and deliver up to 5 meals weekly to my clients, in addition to catering dinner parties, holidays, special events, children’s birthdays and giving cooking lessons upon request. If you would like to inquire about Personal Chef Services for Westchester County, NY and/or Fairfield County, CT, you may contact me at email@example.com.
Seasonal cooking is my mantra. Peak season foods are fresher, taste better, travel less and cost less than when they’re out of season. I try make sure my husband and I (above) really eat each season for what it has to offer.
Many of the recipes here been adapted from cookbooks, magazines or other food blogs, and others are entirely my own. Technically, according to the food blogosphere anyway, if you change a minimum of 3 things about any given recipe you may call it your own. Still, I’ll often cite a recipe as ‘inspired by’ when I need to give credit where it is due. If you would like to post a recipe found here on your own blog (which I hope you will since blogging is all about sharing) all I ask is that you link back directly to the original post. David Lebovitz writes some good-to-know guidelines about recipe attribution here if you want to check those out.
Some notes regarding ingredients and techniques used on this blog:
- Canned tomatoes - I highly recommend an Italian San Marzano variety. The difference in taste is profound.
- Chicken/Beef/Vegetable Broth – The kind that comes in a carton is typically better than the canned stuff. Of course the best stock or broth is homemade and perhaps I’ll post on that soon, but short of that I recommend sticking with the cartons. And if you’re cooking gluten-free, use a gluten-free brand, such as Chicken Basics. If I’ve tagged a recipe as gluten-free and broth is among the ingredients, I’m assuming you know you’ve got to use a gluten-free one.
- Cooking Wine – Purchasing grocery store so-called ‘cooking wine’ is a waste of money and time. Chefs will say any wine that you cook with should be good enough to drink on it’s own.
- Dried Pasta – I love the De Cecco brand as well as artisanal variety’s, of which I’m a huge fan . Barilla is a decent standby if you can’t find your desired shape in De Cecco.
- Salt – I use Morton’s kosher salt and sometimes sea salt, unless I’m baking in which case regular fine salt is best. If I’m using sea salt I will specify, otherwise assume it’s Morton’s coarse kosher salt. I believe in seasoning in layers throughout the cooking process and tasting all the while. Salt is necessary both for flavor and for it’s chemical properties, namely drawing water out of ingredients.
- Salting Pasta Water – I am am FIRM believer in salting pasta cooking water, generously. Italians often say the cooking water should taste like the ocean. While I don’t always go that far, I do know that if you fail to salt your pasta cooking water the pasta will taste like cardboard. Period. In which case, it’s simply not worth the carbs.
- Internal cooking temperatures – there’s a big difference between those ‘USDA recommended’ cooking temperatures and what actually tastes good. I often choose not to go by the USDA recommended temperatures because I do not enjoy my meat well done. For example, the USDA recommends cooking chicken until it registers 170 -180 degrees – which is about as bone-dry as the overcooked thanksgiving turkey I am forced to choke down every other year visiting my in-laws. I’ll say no more on this. I cook my chicken to 165 in the thigh. For pork, I believe USDA recommends 160. I cook mine to about 145 so it’s still slightly pink in the center. Final example – duck, I believe USDA recommends 150. I cook my duck to 125. Note that any item will continue to cook another 5-10 degrees from carry-over heat as it rests, so even though I’m pulling say, my duck at 125, it’ll reach 130-135 by the time I’m eating it. These are my choices and I do a lot of eating and I’ve never been sick. You need to choose for yourself (and be responsible for) the degree to which you want to cook your meat.
Regarding my photography equipment, I’m currently using a Canon Rebel Digital SLR camera received as a gift from my darling husband. I light my plates using a basic lighting set purchased from B&H photo if I’m shooting at night. I’m not a food photography expert, but I am working on it and hope it gets better.
I look forward to reading your comments and if you like the blog, hope you’ll subscribe and share it with friends and family.
Enjoy and Buon Appettio!