Beyond Black & White http://www.beyondblackwhite.com Chronicles, Musings and Debates about Interracial & Intercultural Relationships Thu, 19 Apr 2018 05:08:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 How To Become A Superb Cook http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/how-to-become-a-superb-cook/ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/how-to-become-a-superb-cook/#respond Fri, 09 Mar 2018 04:55:28 +0000 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/?p=43979 If you happen to love good food but lack the culinary skills to whip up a tasty meal from scratch, you’re dependent on others, either people in your family who have a knack for cooking well or to restaurants that serve exquisite food. Often enough, this strategy works well enough. Family and friends who love to cook appreciate […]

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If you happen to love good food but lack the culinary skills to whip up a tasty meal from scratch, you’re dependent on others, either people in your family who have a knack for cooking well or to restaurants that serve exquisite food. Often enough, this strategy works well enough. Family and friends who love to cook appreciate someone who delights in their latest culinary experiments. And, of course, restaurants are always happy to have your business.  

However, there are those times when you might hanker to learn how to cook well. For instance, if you love Braised Country Style Pork Ribs, but your gourmet spouse has no interest in learning how to make it and restaurants in your neighborhood don’t serve it, then you just have to do without. 

Sure, you can do just fine by learning some simple skills, like how to transform your bland and boring coffee into something exquisite by learning how to add just the right amount of vanilla coffee syrup, but what about if you wanted to transform yourself from someone who is clueless in the kitchen to a maestro? Imagine your family’s surprise when they walk into the kitchen to see you displaying knife skills and stirring up delectable soups and sauces. Imagine their shock to see you roasting and braising, grilling and frying. And imagine their delight to see you baking bread from scratch and making mouth-watering desserts and pastries.

If you find the idea of becoming a superb cook tantalizing, here are three suggestions on how to source your own magic in the kitchen: 

1. Take an online cooking class.

The nice thing about an online cooking class is that it’s both affordable and convenient. For a one-time payment of less than $100you can have someone walk you through almost everything you could learn if they were standing in your kitchen with you. Through the use of printable shopping lists, pdf prep and recipe guides, and explainer videos, you will be given expert tutoring. Some courses, like the Masterclass series, even offer you the chance to have a world-famous chef virtually mentor you.  In addition, there is usually a social media group which you can join to chat with the instructor and fellow students on some of the finer points of cooking.

Depending on the type of class you take online, you will learn how to shop at the grocery store for the freshest ingredients, how to dice and slice and chop your fresh produce like a pro once you get home, and how to add just the right blend of spices to your delicious meal as it sizzles in the frying pan.  

2. Find a local cooking class. 

If an online cooking class doesn’t appeal to you because you prefer a more immersive experience, then you also have the option of taking a local cooking class where you can get someone to give you hands-on instructions and help you figure out everything from what cookware to buy to how to adjust cooking temperatures. 

You might imagine that finding a local cooking class would be as simple as doing a Google search. Unfortunately, you will often find expensive classes that offer you a comprehensive culinary arts education. Unless you happen to be lucky, you might not find website for weekend culinary warriors wanting to join a live class. And even if you do, they may not be budget-friendly options. Where you live, of course, will make a huge difference. If you live in a large city like Los Angeles or Denver or New York, you might be able to find something. However, what if you live in a small town?  

In a small town or rural area, some places that you might find classes include local high schools that offer adult education classes in the evenings, local community colleges, and local houses of worship, like churches and synagogues. Sometimes, too, classes are offered by gourmet stores and local restaurants. If none of these suggestions are fruitful, consider browsing through the yellow pages and local newspapers and publications. Finally, there is always word of mouth Ask your neighborhood grocer if they know about anyone who is teaching cooking classes.  

3. Teach yourself how to cook.

Finally, you can always teach yourself basic cooking skills, learning through DVDs, YouTube videos, cookbooks, blog posts, and experimentation. You will probably make inedible food in the beginning when you mess up on the texture or the taste, but, in the fullness of time, you’ll learn from your mistakes. This, of course, is the hardest of the three options because you won’t always know how to choose the best cookbooks or how to follow along with an instructional video.

In truth, learning how to cook well isn’t magic, it’s science.  Cooking is a learnable skill and there is no reason why you can’t get good at it at any age. 

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Four Ways to Start Living Well http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/four-ways-start-living-well/ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/four-ways-start-living-well/#comments Thu, 26 Oct 2017 21:55:55 +0000 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/?p=43444 Living a healthy lifestyle really does matter. It keeps your body physically fit, your mind mentally sharp and can help you live a better quality of life for longer. Fortunately, anyone can turn their lives around. By introducing a well-balanced diet, regular exercise, sufficient amounts of sleep and ending bad habits you can start to feel […]

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Living a healthy lifestyle really does matter. It keeps your body physically fit, your mind mentally sharp and can help you live a better quality of life for longer. Fortunately, anyone can turn their lives around. By introducing a well-balanced diet, regular exercise, sufficient amounts of sleep and ending bad habits you can start to feel good.

The many benefits of a good night’s rest

A lack of sleep, less than 6 hours per night, doesn’t just leave behind physical signs such as bags and dark circles under the eyes, it also affects your brain and body. This can increase stress levels and create false hunger, cause mood swings like irritability, and a loss of focus. When you get the proper amount of rest, between 7 and 8 hours nightly, you wake up alert and refreshed, things you learned the day before are processed and you can even feel creative. If you have trouble falling asleep, try avoiding late night alcoholic beverages, caffeine, and heavy foods. It may also be something as simple to fix as your mattress. If it’s older than 6 or 7 years, replacing it might help you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. There are many reputable companies that offer a wide range to suit nearly anyone’s needs. Shop around and look for a mattress sale on the brand you like and then replace your old one.

Eat a well-balanced diet

With time being of the essence for many people, fast food seems to be the new norm. Unfortunately, these processed, quick fried indulgences a few times a week can cause serious health issues down the road, along with weight gain. Luckily, there are ways to slowly move away from that lifestyle and get back to good-for-you fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and healthy fats. Take advantage of your freezer and crock pot and pre-cook and then freeze healthy meals. Go through your closets and refrigerator and remove soda, meals in a can, and unhealthy snacks. You’ll find that if you start slow and remove just a few things weekly that offer no health benefits, you’ll crave the junk less and enjoy the good stuff more. Plus, as an added bonus, you’ll start to lose the weight you never thought you could.

 

Importance of staying physically fit

Not everyone gets a rush from going to the gym to work out. In fact, more dread it. Exercise is a key component in achieving a healthy existence. When you get your blood pumping and your body sweating you are removing fat and replacing it with muscle. Your body needs muscles to support you. Exercise also helps you to lose weight faster and keep it off and it de-stresses the mind replacing it with happy thoughts long after the workout. If you don’t like to go to the gym, then don’t. There are many other ways to get in shape. You can take long bike rides, speed walk or jog, swim or sign up for dance classes a few times a week. The important thing is to do something you like so that you stick with it.

Disposing of bad habits

Some bad habits are just annoying to others, but many are life-threatening to you. Smoking, abusing alcohol and taking pills you don’t need are all bad habits that can end your life prematurely. The good news is that you can quit anyone of them with assistance from family and friends. You do these things to fill the void, feel good or to fit in. Instead, find a hobby. Write, paint, bowl, do gardening, anything that makes you happy. If you find that you can’t quit on your own, there are rehab centers that can help you.

Life, for the most part, is what you make of it. If you eat good foods, get plenty of rest and exercise, and eliminate your bad habits, you’ll look good, feel good, and enjoy a better quality of life.

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Farewell to ‘Chef Bob’ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/farewell-chef-bob/ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/farewell-chef-bob/#comments Wed, 11 Oct 2017 04:35:49 +0000 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/?p=43383 It is with a heavy heart I have to inform the Beyond Black & White family that much-loved member, Bob Wendorf (aka ‘Chef Bob’) passed away last Tuesday. Bob used to post his favorite recipes and cooking tips after working as a chef. He discovered this blog after the death of his wife, Shirley, who […]

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It is with a heavy heart I have to inform the Beyond Black & White family that much-loved member, Bob Wendorf (aka ‘Chef Bob’) passed away last Tuesday.

Bob used to post his favorite recipes and cooking tips after working as a chef. He discovered this blog after the death of his wife, Shirley, who was African American.

My fondest memory of him? We would do Skype calls on occasion and he’d have his cat crawling all over him and a cigarette smoldering. I’d chide him about it, but he loved his coffee, cigarettes, friends and food. My life is richer because he was in it, even if just at the twilight of his life.

Bob recently overcame a bout with cancer, but other health problems persisted. We’re so sorry to see you go, but you’re reunited with the love of your life, my friend.

Let’s take a moment to send some prayers up.

RIP Chef Bob!

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My Low Carb Indulgence… http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/low-carb-indulgence/ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/low-carb-indulgence/#comments Mon, 01 May 2017 13:58:51 +0000 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/?p=42511 …and it was delicious. Grass-fed beef, nitrate-free hickory smoked bacon, some cheese, all wrapped up in a Swiss chard from the garden. Now of course I can’t eat like this every day, but… Yum.

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…and it was delicious. Grass-fed beef, nitrate-free hickory smoked bacon, some cheese, all wrapped up in a Swiss chard from the garden.

Now of course I can’t eat like this every day, but…

Yum.

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A Surprising Reason to Grow Garlic http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/surprising-reason-grow-garlic/ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/surprising-reason-grow-garlic/#comments Tue, 25 Apr 2017 03:42:25 +0000 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/?p=42469 Last fall, I decided to grow garlic and shallots in my garden beds. After all, I’d had some good success with growing onions, which was a delicious addition to my homemade spaghetti sauce. I was fascinated at the prospect of how one singular clove could grow into a round, whole, bulb. Little did I know […]

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Last fall, I decided to grow garlic and shallots in my garden beds. After all, I’d had some good success with growing onions, which was a delicious addition to my homemade spaghetti sauce. I was fascinated at the prospect of how one singular clove could grow into a round, whole, bulb. Little did I know that growing the “stinking rose” has some unexpected health and gardening benefits. The smell deters pests, and it turns out there’s some ingredients that assist in deterring everything from cancer, heart disease and even diabetes.

After I found out last week that my sugar levels were in the pre-diabetic stage, I decided to get even more serious about how I can stave off the disease that cost my grandmother one of her legs, and had gradually run down the vitality of my mother. New research suggests that the compounds in aid in lowering blood sugar levels. While we’re at it, the sulphur contained in garlic has anti-cancer properties and can lower blood pressure and reduce heart disease.

I can’t tell you how COOL it was to harvest these. You can eat them right out of the ground, but it’s best to cure them by allowing them to dry out for about two weeks in an airy, non-humid site away from direct sunlight. I had two bulbs ready so I braided the leaves so I could hang them out in the kitchen where I dry my other herbs. Makes it look rustic, huh? Chloe was complaining about the strong garlic smell on the first day but it’s dissipated a bit and is now pretty undetectable unless you come right up to it and sniff.

 

This is what the cloves look like undried. As they dry they will yellow a bit and the white skin you see will dry to the papery outer layer you’re used to seeing at the grocery store.

Aside from the garlic, take a look at what else is growing so far. Here’s full list:

Tomatoes
Garlic
Onions
Shallots
Basil
Oregano
Zucchini
Strawberries
Blackberries
Blueberries
Lemon
Celery
Eggplant
Apple
Potatoes
Romaine lettuce
Peaches*
Kumquats
Grapes
Swiss chard
Carrots
Sweet peppers
Rosemary
Mint
Sage
Chamomile
Lemongrass
Parsley
Cabbage
Artichoke
Chives

Yeah; it’s a lot.

https://youtu.be/hyrWKBlmIqs

Make sure you follow me on Instagram for all my latest gardening, health and beauty posts!

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Cauliflower “Bread,” a Game Changer For Gluten Free and Paleo People http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/cauliflower-bread-game-changer-gluten-free-paleo-people/ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/cauliflower-bread-game-changer-gluten-free-paleo-people/#comments Thu, 16 Mar 2017 03:59:50 +0000 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/?p=42266 I’ve been (mostly) living a gluten free, paleo-type diet for years now, and I will never look back. Yes; bread is delicious, but wheat wreaks havoc on people at risk for diabetes and tend to store fat in their abdomen. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t miss the occasional quick-to-make sandwich or pizza. While […]

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I’ve been (mostly) living a gluten free, paleo-type diet for years now, and I will never look back. Yes; bread is delicious, but wheat wreaks havoc on people at risk for diabetes and tend to store fat in their abdomen. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t miss the occasional quick-to-make sandwich or pizza. While the flute-free and paleo market has made some strides in offering different options, but rice flour or other options can create the kinds of blood sugar spikes I try to avoid. But dammit, I still want a sandwich. And some pizza.

So imagine my delight when I saw wraps made of cauliflower in the tofu section at my local specialty market.

“A delicious bread substitute made with fresh cauliflower, parmesan cheese, clean label cottage cheese, egg whites and sunflower lecithin. Naturally gluten free, low carb, low calorie, no flour, no nuts and no soy. No artificial ingredients. 1 serving of vegetables in each piece. Simply delicious!”

“Delicious pizza crust made from fresh cauliflower, parmesan cheese, clean label cottage cheese, eggs, basil, oregano, garlic and sunflower lecithin. Naturally gluten-free, low carb, low calorie, no flour, no nuts and no soy. No artificial ingredients. 2 servings of vegetables in each piece. Naturally delicious!”

I made a pizza today with the pizza crust, and it was absolutely delicious. I followed the directions, using the toaster over and putting the crust directly on the rack so it would crisp. It came apart somewhat, and it wasn’t perfect, but it was totally enjoyable. The funny thing, it doesn’t even taste like cauliflower. It kind of tastes what it’s supposed to imitate–bread.

The crust was a little over browned because I forgot I was cooking it for a while doing homemaker stuff. I love that it only has 5 grams of carbs, so no fear of blood sugar overload. The 9 grams of protein is also a plus, because it will keep you full longer and help with muscle recovery if you’re working out.

So what do you think? Will you try Outer Aisle?

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