I see a lot written about what it takes to be successful in the nutrition communications & food blogging world - establishing your "brand", SEO optimization, creating an editorial calendar, quality food photography, etc.
You know what's never listed?
An optimally working dishwasher.
Please allow me to suggest, after having lived with one that was sub-par to say the least, this is one of the most fundamental tools in my professional kitchen, personal life and overall path to sanity.
I know that not all homes are equipped with a dishwasher and people make out just fine without them. My thoughts on that? No dishwasher is better than one that works like crap (Seriously folks... this thing was growing stuff college apartments would be afraid of).
The trouble is that when you have a dishwasher you're always tempted to load it up, turn the darn thing on and expect clean dishes.
And then you find yourself at the sink re-washing them and cursing Bosch Appliances. Or at least that's what I've been doing.
And who's to blame?
I wanted to blame Bosch for the longest time. I've tweeted about what crap I thought their dishwashers were.
(Like any of my followers care, but I guess that was my half-hearted approach to feeling like I was doing "something".)
And then I'd turn right back around and load the "piece of crap" right back up, turn it on and the cycle would start over again. Load, wash, curse, hand wash and express my general discontent.
You're familiar with the saying about the definition of insanity, right?
But the appliance gods smiled on me last weekend and broke my washing machine.
Yes, I said broke my washing machine.
How can that be a wonderful twist of fate? Well it landed me with an appliance repairman in my home who was able to tell me the name of the ONLY company in my area that repairs Bosch dishwashers. As it turns out a tiny little soldered connection on the internal control panel of the dishwasher responsible for the part of the dishwasher that heats the water was kaput. Basically, I've been running my dishwasher with tepid water. Ick. What makes it worse is that unlike conventional dishwashers, Bosch don't have heating elements to dry the dishes once they're washed (good for energy efficiency). They rely on a stainless steel lined interior of the washer + super hot water throughout the wash to create this super hot environment whereby the dishes dry just through the steam hitting the cool stainless steel and condensing ... or something sorta like that. (I'm frankly not concerned how my dishwasher works, just that it works.)
A side note:
I had searched & searched to find a Bosch-friendly repairman months ago to no avail. A lesson in SEO for them, perhaps?
Anyway, the washer repairman gave me the name of "Tom" who as of last night had me back in business! Hot, clean, dry dishes were being unloaded at 9pm last night. I've never been so anxious to open up a dishwasher and re-load it.
So what's the moral in this story?
Complaining about your circumstances probably falls on deaf ears and definitely doesn't move you farther along to your goals. Everyone measures success with a different ruler, but you certainly won't reach your goals by thinking about what you want to achieve or worse yet, thinking about what you haven't achieved. You have to be persistent in determining how to get there and keep moving forward. Giving up isn't an option... or else you'll have nothing but dirty dishes to show for your time.
And now, a recipe (because this is after all a food blog, and I'm certain recipes are a crucial part of success for a food blogger).
I adapted this gumbo-inspired dish from a recipe I found on my new favorite online tool - Plan to Eat. I plan to blog about it very soon, but for now let's just say it's quickly becoming another basic tool for success in managing all my shopping & planning for an in-home professional kitchen. Enjoy!
Easy Chicken and Sausage Stew
- 1/2 pound lean smoked sausage, sliced
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups water
- 1 (14.4-ounce) bag frozen pepper stir-fry (I used Birds Eye)
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
- 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
- Shredded Pepper Jack (optional)
Cook sausage in a Dutch oven over medium heat until browned (about 10 minutes). Remove sausage, reserving 1 tablespoon of drippings. Set sausage aside.
Add oil to pan and cook chicken until browned (about 5 minutes on each side). Remove chicken, reserving drippings and oil in pan.
Add flour to pan, and cook, stirring constantly, until roux is caramel colored (about 10 min).
Gradually stir in water; bring to a boil. Add sausage, chicken, frozen vegetables, garlic and Creole seasoning to pan. Simmer, uncovered 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove chicken from stew and shred with two forks. Stir into stew. Top with shredded Pepper Jack cheese, if desired.