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Cooking Is Love Made Visible...

You know how when you move stuff around, one or two things always seem to get lost?  Well, In the last 15 or so years, I've been through many computers, laptops, phones, removable hard drives, etc... and in moving stuff in between upgrades, I myself have lost some music, phone numbers, folders, files, recipes, etc...  Except for this one folder in particular.  No matter what new device I'm on, there's one folder that even though I haven't opened it for years and years, it always seems to follow me around like a lost little puppy dog... That folder is labeled, "Recipes From 2000's"

"Recipes From 2000's" contains all of the recipes I came up with early in my career when I got some of my first Chef positions.  The reason I haven't opened this folder for years is because as I have evolved a lot over the course of the years, I kind of feel like anything in that is in that folder I'm going to look at as elementary.... That all changed this morning.  As I was looking around my laptop for recipes and inspiration, instead of skipping right over that folder like I have for years, my eyes stopped on "Recipes From 2000's" and the little voice in my head said, "open it" ... So I did.  Much to my dismay, the gems I had long forgotten about in there weren't as bad as I thought!  Not only were they not bad, as I sit here and cogitate my career, I am inspired to go back to my roots and cook some of these recipes.  Now that I think about them, I remember them well.  And  what I extra love about them is how they were plated and how they were reflective of my plating style, at the time, in my early years of cooking.  Plating is very important.  Remember your eyes eat first!  I remember peeping out of the little tiny window on the kitchen door and seeing the look of exasperation on people's faces when the plate of food, that I designed, was set gently in front of them.  That was all I needed - that's where the fire that burned my passion came from! That one look.  It only lasts for about 3 seconds, but if you do it right, you can get that 3 seconds in slow motion, and it'll send tingles down your spine.  Also, that look, from a diner's perspective, sets the precedent for the meal.  Think about it, when a plate at a restaurant is set in front of you, have you not already made an evaluation on how it is going to taste based on how it looks?  If you say no, think again! 

Ok, Ok, Ok. I know what you're thinking... What does the reason you went to work everyday have to do with me cooking at home?  How does this all apply to the home cook?  Well -

Just remember, it doesn't always end when the cooking stops. After all of the measuring spoons are in the sink, and the recipes are put away... you wipe the sweat off your brow and you look around the kitchen while sniffing the air a bit; for you know that as soon as the timers go off, where you're standing is all about to change. In all corners of the house you can separately hear the rustling of different family members, all entertaining themselves independently... there's no more "family room". I grew up with a family room, I know they still make houses with family rooms... why don't we use family rooms anymore? Why do we feel we all have to watch Netflix in private? Anyway..

All paths are about to cross in just a few minutes when you yell, "Dinner's Ready!" And your house momentarily transforms into Pamploma, Spain, as the the running of the bulls to be the first in line to the kitchen begins. Now, here's where you can take that one extra special step and really put your love for your family or friends in a visual form (Not that there's anything wrong with throwing a large spoon or ladle into a bit pot, and watching people attack it like vultures - food is carnal and just unapologetically massacring a big pot of chili just somehow makes it taste better). Food and gratitude are two words that are a classic combination. Again, humans are the only mammals that take the hunger of others into consideration. I've never given someone a plate and had it met with disdain. Most the contrary! Cooking for someone is the quickest way to their heart. But did you know that you can up that experience just by taking one extra little step? ... by plating it for the person that is about to eat it. Remember, the eyes eat first, and you can create an extra special experience for someone by putting your own, last and final touch on the plate (just remember to wipe off the fingerprints).

Going back to "Recipes From 2000's" for a minute.  This weeks recipes are complete entree assemblies from that folder. All of the recipes contain different colors, textural elements, and techniques, but HERE'S WHERE I CALL YOU OUT...  I do not have pictures for them, so I challenge you to make and plate  them for your friends and family, using your own creative touch, and either post them to my Instagram, Gather's Instagram, or Gather's Facebook Page.  Because I would really love to see your artistic flare when it comes to plating!  And, and - I'll make a carousel of the pictures to put with the recipes on my website!

Now here's where I would probably go on a whole thing about plating, and over think it, and write too much... Well - that's kind of true.  I did do that, but Its not here.  Its here.. on the brand new page, Dry Storage: Guides For The Home Cook.  Go check it out!  I'll be adding a new guide once a month.. it'll pacify my need to write lengthy posts, but you won't have to sift through pages and pages of information to get to recipes if you don't want to.

I hope you enjoy this weeks recipes.  They are definitely early 2000's.  Plate them up and post pics!!!  We can't wait to see your creations!!!