I've missed a few weeks of FFOF, but I wanted to jump back in. This is a fun meme - thanks to Val at Fun, Crafts, and Recipes for hosting!
#1. Name your biggest cooking influence. Definitely my mom! And thru her, my grandma who was a farm wife with a very simple approach to cooking.
#2. What is your ultimate comfort food? My mom's potato dumplings. There isn't a recipe that she follows - it's in her head. And every time I try to write it down from memory, I leave something out. If I try to make dumplings myself, I inevitably have to call her ask for help!
It's similar to this recipe that I found on Yahoo Answers: (We leave out the nutmeg, then finish them by sauteing with butter and onions and melting American Cheese on top. Also, we don't work the dough, we just drop them by spoonfuls into boiling water.)
900 g (2 lb) potatoes
300 g (10 1/2 oz) white flour
A pinch of nutmeg
Cook the potatoes in plenty of salted water or steam them; peel and press them through a sieve while still hot (or you could use a mouli legumes).Mix them with the flour, the egg, a pinch of salt and a pinch of nutmeg on a lightly floured work surface. Work the dough at length.If there is too much flour in the dough, the dumplings will be hard. If you put too much potato, they will disintegrate in the saucepan. The doses in this recipe are indicative, seeing that the balance depends on the "flouriness" of the potatoes, their absorbency capacity and the quality of the flour used.Let the dough rest for a quarter of an hour. Then roll it into long fingers and divide them into cylinders about an inch long.Dust lightly with flour and, with your thumb, press them gently, one by one, along the back of a grater or a fork.Arrange them on lightly floured dishes without putting one on another one.Cook in plenty of salted boiling water. They are cooked as soon as they float to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon.Dress them at once as you wish.
#3. Name one must have tool that you think every kitchen should have. A crockpot. They're not just for keeping your food warm! Yes, you can COOK food in your crockpot!
#4. Share a time saving tip. Because I have a 13 month old woddler (baby-toddler) and the fact that I love to bake cookies, I often make bar cookies. It saves on the time of scooping the dough onto the cookie sheet and shuffling multiple cookie sheets in and out of the oven. I love making oatmeal bar cookies - almost like a chewy granola bar!
Happy 4th of July everyone!