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Archive for August, 2010

Hand of Stephen Collins Foster

1. This is the first full week of school for the YoungAprons. All is well on the going-to-bed, getting-up-early, packing-a-lunch, and homework front. I love the routine of school and I think in many ways they do too. At least for now. We can discuss again in October.

2. Don’t get me wrong, I loved our summer as well. We covered travel, family celebrations, Kentucky history, cookouts, friends over for dinner, meal prep for sick friends, and even a few rounds of golf. Last night the kids and I we were discussing all the things we might be tempted to take for granted in our life. Every single thing I just listed we discussed. The where-with-all, the resources, and the ability to do these activities is nothing short of amazing, at least to me.  When we can look back on the last 10 weeks and realize we’re living modestly, but in a way that many children and adults in our world can scarcely imagine the word humbling comes to mind. I hope everyone’s summer was full of some good times with family and friends.

3. With the school year comes a time to cook and eat dinner earlier. I’m back to my regularly scheduled, weekly grocery shopping trips, stocking up on food for packed lunches and home-cooked suppers filled with lean meats, fresh and frozen vegetables, whole grains, pasta, beans, and salads. I’ll try to keep up with the weekly “What We Ate Last Week”. Someone sent me a direct message on Twitter the other day and said they love “What We Ate Last Week” for its simplicity and the inspiration it provides in menu and meal planning. I’m happy that it does something for those who read it. We eat out, we order pizza, but by and large our evening meals are built around food I cook at home.

4. Maggie the dog is laying in her open-wire crate beside my table. She is snoring. Sound asleep. I guess this is what is called the Dog’s Life. I’m not sure why I’m telling you this, except it’s certainly an arbitrary thought. Even as I re-read and edit this piece, she’s snoring a bit louder than even previously.

5. I helped edit the catalog copy for The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook. The cover art for the book is being finalized. The manuscript has been cut by me to the tune of 100 pages and is now off to the copy editor. This project is yet another thing I could add to our summertime-don’t-take-for-granted list. My hope is that those who buy this cookbook will feel inspired and empowered to cook fresh meals from their kitchen, all year long. We don’t always have to eat local, and we don’t always have to eat everything perfectly fresh. The locavore movement can be too virtuous if we’re not careful. The point, at least to me, is that there is a wide variety of foods to cook and eat and enjoy, some from Kentucky and some not. Some are more complicated to cook, and some are a bit more streamlined. But in the end, and in my opinion, any act of cooking a fresh, homemade meal for those you care about goes a long way into making our world a healthier, more hospitable place.

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Monday – Out to dinner for last night of freedom before school starts Wednesday.

Tuesday – Penne Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce, Mixed Green Salad

Wednesday – Leftovers (from the previous weekend – pork tenderloin, roasted chicken, pasta and sauce. Don’t cook if the refrigerator is full of leftover food. Repurpose it.)

Thursday – Hard Tacos (meat, cheese, tomatoes, greens, salsa), Spiced Yellow Rice Pilaf

Friday – Parish Homecoming. We ate $1.00 hamburgers and brats. Oh, and ice cream and popcorn.

Saturday – Grilled Salmon, Ratatouille, Grilled Corn, Bread and Olive Oil Dip

Sunday – Barbecue dinner at a work picnic

Why I do this?

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So I Lied…

OK, I lied, but not intentionally.
Yesterday I met with my editor, and the marketing department, and the production manager at the University of Kentucky Press. We sat together discussing my cookbook, the marketing plan, the illustrations, the design, the ink colors, etc., etc. We’re all excited about the book and that’s not the part I lied about. I lied about the title. (In my previous blog post.) In an effort to keep the title short, sweet, easy to remember, and of course, marketable, the title of my forthcoming cookbook is:
The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook
I like it. I really like it. So much that I returned back to my house and promptly I registered a few domain names for web pages soon to be under construction. I think the title reflects the seasonal, freshly-cooked Kentucky cooking journey my book proposes.
For the next few weeks I’ll enjoy my time without the manuscript. (The copy editor will soon have the manuscript.) I think I’ll tweak a few recipes, read a few other books (Thomas Merton, Steig Larsson, Julia Cameron, and Rachel Naomi Remen come to mind), shred some papers, and enjoy these last few days of summer before the LittleAprons return to school. We’ve had such a good summer so far: we’re no longer Disney-virgins, we had a Green Family reunion, celebrated my mother’s 75th birthday, went to see the outdoor play “The Stephen Foster Story” in Bardstown, and  just yesterday the LittleApron’s helped Granmom with some chores around her Lexington home (while I met with said publisher) and she took them to Five Guys for burgers (and fries). We have nothing to complain about here.
That’s all for now. I just wanted to give an update. The publication date is May 2011.

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My Kentucky Kitchen Update

Things are rolling along with my cookbook. As you may or may not remember I submitted my manuscript in May. During the course of the past few months my manuscript has been read by two outstanding readers and my editor. I have received their comments and after spending more time with the manuscript than I did with the best male cook I know I submitted my corrected manuscript on Saturday.

The next phase is a thorough copy edit of the manuscript. The copyeditor will  run through the manuscript with a fine tooth comb correcting all my bad grammar, spelling,  punctuation, consistency, and anything else that needs to be fixed before the next stage. BAD grammar. Go sit in the corner. In reality I can’t wait to receive his/her comments back. This is such an important stage and I’m always amazed how much stuff we can fix, cut, shape-up before the book is laid out in designed pages.

The title has been chosen:

My Kentucky Kitchen: 12 Months of Recipes for Fresh Homemade Food

The illustrations are in progress and most of the work at this stage is happening on the dust jacket. This is in preparation for the Fall Catalog that the press publishes every year.

The marketing plan is in the works and I am completing a marketing questionnaire that will guide the marketing department in the best ways to promote and sell my cookbook. This is the part of the book that I am so happy to have a publisher to help me with. I realize I have to do some promotion of my own, but to have a team of people behind this book who want to see it sell and succeed is very exciting.

The final design and layout of the book will happen after copy editing. I’m pretty sure the production schedule will be tight if this goes anything like other cookbooks I’ve worked on. With an open mind and a commitment to the schedule I hope to do everything I can to keep the manuscript and book rolling along so we can meet the May 2011 pub date.

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July In Review

July was a hot month here in Kentucky and here on this blog. I love how the use of the blog changes as the year moves along as evidenced by the favorite recipes over the past 30 days:

Fresh Blackberry Cake

Oven Baked Chex Mix

Mojito (and Blueberry Mojito) Recipe

Well with one exception: Oven Baked Chex Mix. This recipe always receives lots of visitors. Just the other day I had a conversation with my editor about recipes that readers of my book can get from the internet and recipes that my book need provide. Oven Baked Chex Mix, while a favorite of my family, and a favorite of many of you will continue to live only here on this blog and not in my book. My hope is that you’ll visit the blog for certain recipes and conversations with me and then also buy the book for recipes, tips, techniques, and menus for fresh homemade food with a focus on traditional Kentucky ingredients.

One last thing: one of my favorite parts of any of my work is talking to people. Whether I’m doing a food demonstration at a farmers’ market, or passing a tomato over the back fence, so to speak, I enjoy connecting with people through the talk about cooking. That goes for this blog too.

I can tell many visit and use this blog, but I would love to have more conversation. Feel free to comment on any blog post. This comment from yesterday at the bottom of this blog post is my reason for bringing this up. This lady missed her mom and a taste of olive nut spread helped her remember her mom via a recipe. That pretty much sums up what I love about cooking and the kitchen in our homes. Kitchen are a place where we nourish ourselves, and each other, if we take the time. Kitchens are more than just a place to run from, more than just another room to keep clean, and more that just the place that holds the food we assemble in a last ditch effort to get supper fixed before the next activity. A kitchen, and the potential that lives there, is a place to embrace and to use to touch the lives of those we feed in a healthy, nourishing way.

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TweenApron Makes Summertime Spritz Cookies

Sunday – Grilled Hamburgers, Grilled Zucchini and Onions, Orzo Salad

Monday – Chickpea and Vegetable Stir Fry, Rice, Cinnamon Applesauce

Tuesday – Italian Sausage with Rosemary and Onions, Cinnamon Applesauce, Spinach Salad

Wednesday – Grilled Chicken Breasts, Macaroni and Cheese, Fresh Lemon Broccoli

Thursday – Grilled Salmon, Grilled Flat Iron Steak, Green Beans and Tomatoes, Curried Couscous, Mixed Greens, Blackberry Tart with Nut Crust

Friday – Leftovers from Thursday Dinner

Saturday – Picnic for youth lacrosse team

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