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Meet the Cook: Moopsee


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Say HELLO to Moopsee!

Q. What are your favorite things to cook?

I love baking breads and harder recipes – or perhaps, unique. I tend to set my mind to figuring out how to cook a food and then doing it! I learned how to make bagels better than the average grocery store thanks to Julia Child. I bake a very rustic French bread thanks to Dan Leader — Pain au Levain (can find it on the internet — foodnetwork). I love grinding my own wheat and having that in the bread — makes it so much better. I usually use two types of wheat — basic red winter wheat and white winter wheat. I learned how to make cream puffs years ago because they were so good and so expensive. For a family vacation, my parents were going to drive hours to buy these Dutch Horns pastry things that are filled with pastry cream and whipped real cream. Thus, I learned how to make a good pastry cream and puff pastry horns so they wouldn’t drive 8 hours (no joke) to go to a real Dutch bakery to retrieve the pastries. Same with Napoleans — similar ingredients, so I had those down pretty quickly. I am a very picky eater, so if I set my mind to something that really looks like it will hit my taste buds, I work at it until I master it and am happy and content. Hopefully that explains what I love to cook.

Q. How/when did you learn to cook?

I grew up on a farm, middle child, and a girl. We were the ones to do the “inside” work unless more workers were needed outside ūüėČ Well, inside work was cooking (along with cleaning, sewing, etc). Since it was a dairy farm, we girls were expected to have the table set and meal cooked when Mom and Dad came into the house from the barn. I remember at age 8 standing at the stove for over an hour making crepes. They are one of my father’s favorite foods, so it would take a long time when he decided he wanted them — picture filling up the tummies of 9 people and several were teens! The pile of them would be several inches high. It was the dish — there were no side dishes with it. So, cooking came with being a girl and started early enough that I can’t tell you the first time that I remember “cooking.”

Q. Tell us about some of your cooking triumphs.

I decided that I wanted to conquer puff pastry. I figured that since you can buy it at the store readily, that I should be able to make it. I remember how long it took, as there are many steps of putting it back in the refrigerator to chill again and again. I also made pastry cream that day. I was so filled with anticipation and anxiety hoping it would work. When I finally had it cooked with all those flaky layers, I almost cried with excitement. I had puffed! I carefully pulled the sections apart to insert the pastry cream and put chocolate on top to make a Napolean. I was so elated and excited — I felt like I would burst with my pride of doing something that sooo many cookbooks talked of the terror of it and how hard it was to get it right. I had “done” it! Unfortunately, there was no one around, no friends that cooked — no one. I had no one that understood that wonderful thrill that I was feeling, no one to share my quest and conquer!!

Q. What was your most memorable cooking tragedy?

I had meat simmering and went to a football game. When we got home, phew, the apartment was extremely filled with smoke and the meat was more than burned. That was so horrible — my roommates were ready to kill me. The smoke smell was into everything and the apartment smelled for weeks.

Q. Describe your kitchen. Do you love it, hate it, and why?

I am not the tallest person, so I hate my kitchen. Not much for counter space. Poor work areas. Quite small. When you love to cook, you gotta have space!!! and shelves….

Q. Is your pantry organized and are your kitchen drawers tidy? We need to know.

yes/no — My pantry is fairly organized except when my family does the cooking — nothing seems to go back where they got it from. My kitchen drawers are moderately tidy.

Q. Do you have any favorite family cooking traditions?

In our family, my husband cooks the treats/cookies nowadays. Being diabetic just is so miserable when it comes to treats and wanting to lick fingers and “clean” bowls….

Q. What is the one gadget (or ten) you couldn’t do without in your kitchen?

Oh, I love my steam juicer, kitchen aid strainer, LOTS of cookie sheets (yes, they are gadgety to me), good knife, rubber spatula (good to the last drop), pressure cooker, and timer.

Q. If you had to take one food to a deserted island, what would it be?

That is the hardest question. I’m battling between my very science oriented brain (no refrigerator, some things would melt…) and my lust side (dark chocolate, sweets like cream puffs, pumpkin pies).

Q. What is your go-to comfort food?

Go-to comfort foods for me: grits with salt and butter, dill pickles, and dark European bar chocolate slowly melted on the tongue. MMmmmmm. I’m getting cravings!

Find all of Moopsee’s recipes here.

You can also find Moopsee at Yahoo’s Canning2.

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Posted by on November 27, 2010 | Permalink  

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2 comments | RSS feed for comments of this post

  1. 11-27

    Hi, Moopsee-
    I am also a cream puff junkie. My sympathy that you had no audience for your puff pastry. How sad! I had to fight to get it filled without being eaten. I thought about the desert island question and, like you, practical science fights cravings!

  2. 12-1

    Thanks for your comments, Patrice. Yes, puff pastry is a delight and an evil for me. I don’t make it much because I eat it..and eat it….
    I’m glad you have a great audience for your cooking. Sometimes that is the worst — I finally get something down just right and no one notices or cares!! AAArrgghhh!
    I’m struggling what to make for Christmas….

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