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
PARMIGIANO REGGIANO CUSTARDS with Toasted Spiced Hazelnut Garnish
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup 2 per cent milk
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
6 large eggs
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper sauce
For hazelnut garnish:
1 cup diced hazelnuts
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Blend in blender until smooth the garlic, 1 tablespoon of oil, eggs, Parmesan cheese, salt and cayenne pepper sauce, about 30 seconds. Take top off blender and slowly pour in the milk.
Using remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, generously oil six small ramekins (12 ounce capacity is perfect) and place them in a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Pour hot water into baking dish, halfway up sides of ramekins. Pour custard mixture from blender through a fine mesh strainer, and then pour the strained custard into ramekins.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until custards are almost set in centers. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature on counter top.
Increase oven heat to 350 degrees.
Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. While still hot, toss with oil. Mix together the cumin, brown sugar, paprika and salt, and then toss this mix with the hazelnuts. Let cool to room temperature.
Slide a knife around inside edges of ramekins to loosen custards. Serve each custard in center of a salad plate and spoon nuts around outside as a garnish.
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