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Inside the Fridge Welcomes Chef/Registered Dietitian Jennifer Hood

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Robinsbite: Inside the Fridge Welcomes Chef/Registered Dietitian Jennifer Hood

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Inside the Fridge Welcomes Chef/Registered Dietitian Jennifer Hood

Want to know how a Chef/Registered Dietitian balances her hectic life, her family AND fulfills her dream as a food and nutrition professional one baby step at a time? Keep reading here!

Jennifer Hood, 32, has her Master's in Nutrition, is a Registered Dietitian and is a professionally trained chef, having graduated from the Culinary Institute of American in Hyde Park, NY. Now back in Dallas, TX, her primary job is to feed 4 mouths and 1 tummy daily. She also keeps up with the kids agenda and finds time to fulfill her many commitments as a friend, sister and college instructor.

ITF: Where do you shop for food?
JH: Central Market, Sprouts and Tom Thumb-occasionally Whole Foods

ITF: Do you love food shopping or dread it? Why?
JH: I love it but my eyes are always bigger than my stomach and budget! I am always on "entertaining" mode- even if there isn't anything never know and I don't want to get stuck without options!

ITF: What is the single most important thing on your mind when you are shopping for food?
JH: Variety, quality and unique qualities, either nutritionally or flavorfully.

ITF: How often do you shop?
JH: 2- 3 times a week

ITF: How many do you shop for? Ages?
JH: Myself, 1 husband, 14 month old daughter who loves to eat and a 3 year old son who is 100% tube fed and on a gluten free diet.

ITF: What is your weekly food budget?
JH: Should be $150, but usually $200 + when entertaining

ITF: How many times a week do you eat out? Eat in? Remember there are 21 meals a week (on average).
JH: Eat in most meals-unless Starbucks counts- I stop there about 4 times a week.

ITF: How do you plan your weekly meals? Create a spreadsheet or fly by the seat of your pants?
JH: Usually have a rough idea but I'm always adventurous

ITF: What is the most coveted food in the fridge right now for each member of the household? Why?
JH: My fizzy waters= happy hour, Hubby Chris's pickles= after work delight, Avery's salmon= favorite dinner and Grover's gluten free pretzels= his favorite snack and treat to give the dog!

ITF: What is the oldest item in the fridge right now?
JH: Asian plum sauce- I made Joyce Chen's famous eggrolls over a year ago!

ITF: Do you believe in leftovers?
JH: In theory yes, but I never eat them!

ITF: What convenience product can you not live without?
JH: Bottled water and Carnation Instant Breakfast- it's the base of my son's morning tube feeding and gives him a great start to the day- its also gluten free (except the chocolate malt flavor)

ITF: What brands do you swear by? Why?
JH: Nancy's cottage cheese, Fage Greek style yogurt, Bob's Red Mill, Xyochil chips

ITF: What cooking utensil/piece of equipment/appliance do you live for?

JH: Vita-mix blender! Even though I don't own one (yet)! They can puree the heck out of anything- which is important when making smooth purees for tube feeding. For now I use the most powerful Kitchen Aid processor and then hand grind the puree through a food mill- I know the vita mix would be amazing!

ITF: When you hear the word "homemade" what is the first thing that comes to mind?
JH: Cinnamon rolls- I love the Neiman Marcus recipe which is a monkey dough made with milk and cream cheese frosting!

ITF: What food/s are important when recalling food memories?
JH: Fresh fruit, chocolate chip cookies and beef stroganoff

ITF: How have your cooking/shopping habits changed over the last 10 years?
JH: I'm definitely much more serious about what I buy since that equals what we will eat! I have become very spoiled to fresh, high quality foods. I have made all of my son's tube feeding for over 2 years from Whole Foods that I cook and puree- so I always look for high nutrient density.

ITF: What are your go to food/nutrition/culinary/cooking website, book or cookbook?
JH: I still love The Naked Chef, Gourmet Magazine and The CIA's (Culinary Institute of America) recipe database.

ITF: What was the last meal you cooked from scratch? What was the menu?

JH: A belated father's day dinner at my parents house- it was just the 3 of us which is very rare these days. I over-nighted a whole fresh foie gras from Hudson Valley, NY. They were nice enough to throw in a double duck breast! Using my dad's newest toy, a high powered grill capable of searing at 1600 degrees, I grilled the foie and yes there were serious flames! I served this delicacy on toast points with a fresh fig compote. The duck breast was seared in a cast iron skillet and served with a port reduction sauce and roasted potatoes that were rubbed with duck fat and sea salt. A simple salad with orange segments finished the plate. It was great!!!!!

ITF: What was the last meal you cooked from convenience products? What was the menu?

JH: Marinated chicken breast from Central Market- the southwest marinade has a great kick and tastes wonderful with grilled pineapple.

ITF: If one person could cook for you tonight, who would it be?
JH: Any of the chef instructors from the CIA- they are all fabulous!

ITF: What words of wisdom or advice do you have for other folks who are doing their best every day to fill the fridge?
JH: Follow what restaurants refer to as FIFO (first in, first out)- meaning to utilize what you buy while it's at the peak of its freshness. When you have scraps left over, try something new!


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