Saturday, January 30, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010


As many of you know, food is my love, actually food is my passion. It comes in so many forms. For the most part,my days are consumed with feeding my family and not always 'Dinner Parties' and 'Cooking Classes'! Recently I was in Minneapolis teaching a class and was making 'Lamb Follain' (Follain is the Irish word for wild or wholesome) During this class a gentleman from the front row commented that my husband must be a lucky man ! Of course,he assumed that my husband was indeed being served this food on a daily basis and this man was ready to leave his wife for me !
Not so fast ! I quckly corrected him,and explained that he doesn't receive this food on a daily basis. My family get 'Shepherds Pie', 'Stews'and of course the infamous Take Out'as I have two very active boys and cannot be in the kitchen all the time.
What they do get however, as an ingredient,is me.

To some this may sound a little trite, but I have never been more serious in my life. When you put yourself 'into' something it is always better.You can just taste it.All that matters to me is that the people eating it enjoy it.
Yesterday morning,I decided to start dinner at 8am because I had a busy day ahead which included reading a book that afternoon (reason for this blog post)collecting the kids from school, basketball practise,conference call with New York oh and did I mention that my husband was out of town, wish the gentleman from the front row could have been with me !

In making my 'Shepherds Pie' yesterday morning, I needed black pepper. I had run out so ,when refilling my mill, I got a little carried away. I purchase my black pepper in bulk as I use it constantly,(even my 12 year old is a pepper mill freak) When emptying the pepper corns into the mill, I spilled many. I decided to look through my hoard of empty jars and look for one that would hold them instead of the utilitarian container it came in. The visual filled me with such pleasure. I tell you this because even the seemingly mundane task of filling a peppermill can be something more for me.I loved to see the array of peppercorns layered in my new jar!Do what you love. When you do what you love,I think you do it well.

So, the book. Yes the book. I am going to New York next week and through a friend I was introduced to a lady by the name of Lauren Braun Costello. This is a lady I have not met ,but I feel like I know her well. She was the owner and Executive Chef of Gotham Caterers in New York, Recipe tester for the 75th anniversary edition of 'Joy Of Cooking',culinary producer,food stylist and so on. Her accolades are many.
Yesterday I picked up and read in it's entirity her book 'Notes On Cooking'
I sat in the coffee shop by myself,watched the world go by and read her book cover to cover .This book does not contain recipes ."Notes on Cooking is an essential primer of immediately useful and utterly relevant guidance that can help anyone become a better cook-without a single recipe" as it says in the inside jacket.
Note #16 was it for me "Don't TRY to be different" I love this and live this. Referring to openeing sentence regarding passion,when you are also doing what you believe you really never need to be'on' so to speak.

Why did I waffle along about my peppermill earlier? As I sat there with my coffee I came to #17 "Embrace The Mundane". Lauren tells us to "not bemoan the pedestrian tasks.Find pleasure in peeling a carrot,steaming rice,searing a steak,prepping,cleaning"
CLEANING,CLEANING??!! When I had finsihed preparing my dinner yesterday,I cleaned my countertops with 'Dettol'. For any Irish people reading this,you will know this trusty cleaner all too well! I find it in the import stores and costs more than a bottle of wine,but gives me huge pleasure! It reminds me of the home I grew up in.Quite literally,I inhale the fresh clean smell as I go,igniting my senses.

Our senses reward us when we allow them to. Lauren's book not only made me realise that it was perfectly ok to be excited about peppercorns and a bottle of Dettol! There are 192 notes in this book, and 16 & 17 did this for me,imagine what they can do for you..............I urge you to reward yourself by reading her book.

Friday, January 8, 2010


This morning,when I opened my email, I received confirmation from ANCHOR HOCKING stating that they had shipped out 3 pallets of product to the 'Safe Horizon' shelter in New York. They have graciously donated 24 sets of Bakeware, 24 sets of Mixing Bowls and 24 sets of glassware. Thank You so much Anchor Hocking. For this cook, I must admit to being more than surprised by the fresh and new updated look to their products. Who knew they had so much to offer. Dont forget to check out their web site.

Another shout out must indeed go to the fabulous Mike Michalowicz aka 'The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur'. I kid you not. Mike has a wonderful web site Mike's down to earth and more importantly, very real look at business is refreshing,funny and oh so honest! Mike has been a frequent guest on CNBC's 'The Big Idea' by Donny Deutsch. Mike has been there and done that. Started a business, struggled ,toiled hard and sold businesses.
He too has agreed to donate to the shelter. He has already shipped 55 Inspirational books to the shelter for each and every women to have. He will also be meeting with the Dreamers in New York and giving each and every one a copy also.
This is beginning to look like Oprah's Favorite things !!!!

Lastly,I want to say "Thank You" to Stephen Redford Sales & Marketing Director at the Hotel Indigo in Chelsea,New York for agreeing to arrange a special rate for us Dreamers. Ladies will be arriving at the hotel on Monday Jan 18th and I'm pretty sure more than 1 or 2 will be meeting in the Rooftop Bar...............

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Well,the countdown is on. 12 more days before the Dreamers meet in New York ! What began as a simple idea has spun into what can only be described as 'Charlottes Web'
Each and every woman, around the country has toiled away in their own area of expertise. In my earlier ramblings I talked about how this group of 'Dreamers' decided to meet in New York. We are now 12 days away from this event. On Tuesday Jan 19th I will be teaching a cooking class in Martha Stewart Omnimedia's building in Chelsea along with Lisa Umansky from Polka Dot Pound Cake
During the cooking class we will be making food that will be served for an 'Afternoon Tea' that afternoon for all 40 Dreamers and for the women from the 'Safe Horizon' shelter in New York.
This afternoon is one that should be filled with promise,inspiration and even a few tears, I should suspect.
Through the Martha Stewart web site 'Dreamers Into Doers'we have all gotten to know each other just a litle bit more.
I know that Terry Grahl, who lives in Michigan,began 'Enchanted Makeovers' ,forsaking her succesful Interior Design business for those that needed a new start.
I know that Peggy Gaffney,my namesake has visited Ireland with a group of nuns and has shared her wonderful memories with me.!I know too that Peggy, who owns Kanine Knits will be speaking at the event talking about her experience , turning a struggle into a profit
Just yesterday, I spoke with Kathy Hamrick in West Virginia. Kathy owns Ms Mollys Appalachian Salsa. We initially spoke, because I will be using her wonderful Salsa & her hot peppered jelly with nice warm fresh Irish Soda Bread. I think it's ok for me to say that we connected on so many more levels. We are both mothers of 2 boys and Kathy has the years of experience that simply left me wanting more. Kathy has had her hardships too. We have both experienced what it is truely like to stay TRUE to your product. So many ways of making it cheaper, or so they tell us!!! If , of course we dont use REAL ingredients. Kathy has experienced personal injury in her own life, leaving her with a disability and a formidable spirit.
Jolene Mack, located in PA runs many businesses including her event planning business and her infamous Bed & Breakfast bungalow 'Quite The Stir' in historic Gettysburg.
Jolene too, has a formidable spirit. Funny how we are all intertwined, or is it?
Just last December, I visited Minneapolis to teach a cooking class in 'Lunds & Byerly's' culinary school. Prior to the class, I had lunch with the fabulous Kim Lampe aka 'The B*A*G Lady'
Kim is connected to Terry in Michigan etc etc etc...AND NOW we are ALL connected.
OK,I surely met my sister ! The secret is out, I discovered that Kim shares the same fettish as me, yes you guessed it we both have this insatiable desire,need & lust for RUBBER !!!!!!!!!! When I was pregnant with my second, I used to wander through the car tire department in Sears just to touch,feel and smell the rubber. Now, how we discovered this about each other, I will surely never know.
This is of course,is just the beginning of the journey. I have a feeling this will evolve even more. There are more Dreamers, many more Dreamers and donors and sponsors,whom I will get to soon. Keep Dreaming people...just keep dreaming.