Parmigiano Reggiano Garlic Custards

Parmesan Custards

A moment of sheer panic hit me when I started walking down that long corridor from the plane to the terminal. It knocked me backward into the padded fabric wall and I stood motionless for a few moments.

Was this a mistake? Will she hate me? Am I a fool to think it would even be possible to bond with my daughter 28 years after placing her for adoption?

But the long anticipated moment had come. I was determined to not let Fear become the enemy of Restoration. I summoned my courage, picked up my suddenly heavy feet and focussed on just putting one in front of the other for what seemed like miles to the end of the walkway.

At the end of this corridor my beautiful baby daughter, now all grown up, hugged me and instantly 28 years of regret and self doubt melted away with that one hug. Those first steps in 1999 in my Journey of a Thousand Miles shook me, but each step since then has been lighter. And tastier.

You see, my birth daughter Anne and I reunited and discovered one mutual love: good food. We soon began making up for lost time by spending time in the kitchen. Lots of time. Late at night and early morning hour time. We laughed and cried. We ate. We shared our culinary lives – traditions, recipes, favorite foods, and our love of cooking.

We began this blog as a way of making that sharing permanent despite hundreds of miles that are now between us geographically. We are in each other’s kitchens these days mostly only cyberspacially. But our love and connection through food has remained strong.

When we started this blog, my palate was unrefined and uneducated. Anne was the first vegetarian I knew and she opened many culinary doors and windows for me, and I have tried to do that for her. Our palates have evolved together. Anne taught me the virtues of vegetarian cooking. I shared with her dishes rich with tradition. And along the way our palates have progressed together.

I have loved my culinary awakening. When I met Anne, the parmesan in the cardboard green cylinder was all that I used. But then, she and I were introduced to concepts like umami for the first time together. My palate now can appreciate the richness, the depth of flavor, the hint of nuttiness in a bite of The Good Stuff, a.k.a. Parmigiano Reggiano. And now, when it really matters in a dish, I wouldn’t use anything but Parmigiano Reggiano. Quality has replaced quantity as the new master in my kitchen.

With this post, we are happily joining the Whole Foods Market Guinness world record attempt because this King of Cheeses has been a part of our journey. 

Parmigiano Reggiano First and Forever!

— posted by Donna

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Summer Vegetable Custards Recipe


Summer Vegetable Custards

Custard is the ultimate comfort food, wouldn’t you agree?

Some grandmothers used to ladle hot milk into egg mixture before baking the custards, creating the lightest, fluffiest textures that were creamy at the same time. I never knew the secret to those custards until now: HOT MILK spooned in a little at a time.

There is something about the hot milk mixture that gives the custards a unique texture: creamy, yet light and almost, well – words fail me here – fluffy at the same time. And no need to use cream – milk will do – yet another bonus: lower fat!

You whisk the hot milk into your custards very slowly, just a very small drizzle while whisking constantly. You can add any veggies you like. This time of year, I like zucchini, red bell peppers and green onions. A flavor match made in heaven. Just saute them first to soften and remove much of their moisture, and you will have the yummiest savory custards you have ever tasted.


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Avocado Challenge: Avocado Coconut Milk Custards with Toasted Spiced Hazelnuts

Custards 500

I love a good culinary challenge – especially one involving a delicious ingredient like avocados. The Challenge by the Avocados from Mexico folks, including anthropologist/chef Rick Bayless, is to try avocados in a new type of cuisine (ie., not Mexican), and cilantro is forbidden as an ingredient.  An avocado adventure – I’m definitely game.

I have been working on this recipe for about a year – trying various combinations of eggs and different liquids. I won’t bore you with the more than 25 (NO, I am NOT making that up!) failed or marginal versions, but share with you here only my final and favorite version: Avocados and Coconut Milk – truly smooth and luscious.

This recipe uses avocados in two novel ways – 1) with Asian ingredients, and 2) by cooking them. I know, I know. People don’t generally cook avocados, although battered and deep fried avocados are all the rage with some folks. But, trust me – this gentle, low-heat, water-bath method is perfect for that yummy creamy green flesh. It turns out that avocados make delicious custards.

Move over, Guacamole. It’s time for a new avocado classic!

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