Chef Hat kitchen stadium quotidian home

Have you ever visited kitchen stadium?

“Invisible men of culinary skills: These are the Iron Chefs!”

….These words echo as I enjoy dinner with a glass of white wine…

If I were to savour the delights of any one of these men who meet the challenge in kitchen stadium I think I’d be keen to try the food of Chef Sakai. Admittedly my favourite part is the English overdubbed commentary on a show otherwise in Japanese. It makes for some particularly hilarious overly dramatic moments when the tragedy of failed soufflé is lamented or the inability of a challenger to overcome the reputation of the resident iron chefs.

But what I love most about this gem of a program is that. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. No wait, it does, it’s just that the English commentary certainly doesn’t…

Julia Dreyfus was a guest judge on an episode I saw recently. Humorously, rather than have her own voice, they overdubbed her English with the same voice that normally overdubs the very young Japanese actress who usually sits in that hallowed seat!

Sometimes I am surprised just how much the aesthetics of iron chef aren’t to my taste in terms of presentation, but I am often inspired by the variety of the visuals, the use of a range of serving dishes and sizes of plates and serving methods. It is inspiring to make the most of what you have at hand!

But beyond all of this window dressing, I love the challenge presented by a mystery ingredient and building entire menus around one key ingredient. It definitely fits in with my desire to cook with locally sourced and in season ingredients – especially produce!

Beyond the wonders of kitchen stadium, we have taken to watching all that the cornucopia of Netflix has to offer – “Fed Up,” No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain, the Mind of a chef, the Kings of Pastry, Somm, documentaries about Michelin Stars and Noma and all the wonderful delights of Tokyo and Sushi!

All of this in the midst of my periodic sufferings of painful and unpleasant symptoms and downright irritating joint pain, fatigue, lack of energy, and well….being a rusty moose. After further testing, and consultation with my Doctor, RM and I will be taking the additional step of making our house a Gluten free zone. I’m incredibly fortunate to have such a loving and supportive partner in life to help seek wellness! It is certainly something that will impact not just me, but my friends, family and our future, if we have any, children.

As I have started to do, I will continue to share resources, recipes and anything that might help others who need to take care of their bodies in a similar way. I’m not a medical professional, so you really need to check these things out for yourself!

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The challenge of sourcing fresh produce in Eastern New Mexico is daunting. The cornucopia of produce available is Australia is striking in comparison. As are the options for gluten free alternatives for carbohydrates, and cooking flours. But gladly, Eastern New Mexico has seen the growth of bountiful baskets, a coop which supplies baskets of fresh fruit and vegetables each week. This will be our opportunity to save money in our food budget and enjoy our own kitchen stadium type challenge as we are faced with a surprise basket each week or two!

If you are in the USA, I encourage you to check out whether you have a bountifulbaskets.org location or a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) property nearby.

With bountiful baskets, the challenge begins with the task of trying to make sure you secure one of the limited number of baskets on offer. They sell out fast. Alarms on iPads, phones and another other device to hand have been known to be necessary to get in before they are all gone. Of course, when it doesn’t happen we have another location within a 20 min drive and that becomes the fallback plan! I’ve also found that my local neighbourhood has been a great place to find others who are interested in splitting some of the bulk goods made available some weeks. Oh, and this has been my primary resource for produce for canning purposes! There are so many posts coming your way about canning that you should hold onto your hats!

Heirloom tomatoes. Kitchen Stadium Copyright: Anna Rabe Photography

One thing that you should be prepared for is how Bountiful Baskets is definitely a lucky dip. To enjoy Bountiful Baskets or any kind of CSA (or even just shopping seasonally), it is important to have an adventurous attitude! Dare I say, you really must be willing to try everything, or find a neighbour to swap items with. But there’s something really fun about figuring out how to use some of the amazing vegetables and fruit we wouldn’t otherwise be able to find here! In the last few weeks, we have see: figs, fennel, leeks, apple pears, pluots, lychees, papaya, among many other more usual vegetables and fruit.

As we approach our future, especially food and its often brutal ramifications for me, we are grateful for the basic skills our families have imparted to us: we can both cook fairly well and with a focus on taste and variety. I am looking forward to learning more knife skills. I am eager to learn more about foods that will be healing for my body, and will help me keep a lid on my own genetic predispositions! I love food, and the last thing I need (or anyone does) is to feel down about all that I cannot have! Life is so much more when one is grateful for all that is good rather than feeling deprived!

Listening. Observing. Participating. Writing. Photographing. Reflecting.

Listening. Observing. Participating. Writing. Photographing. Reflecting.

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Anna Blanch_Gill Gamble_blog

Anna Blanch Rabe is an Australian-born writer and photographer.  She is proudly Team Rabe. Recently married, she and her husband love to cook together using fresh ingredients. More recipes can be found at Food: Nourish.  You can follow her adventure on Not A Pedestrian Life, or Facebook.  Quotidian Home is a place of comfort from which to show hospitality, of joining with friends for food, fun, laughter, and tears.

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Anna Blanch Rabe
anna@annablanchrabe.com
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