Monday, August 4, 2014

summer refresher

Howdy! I am doing the first in a little refresher series we've decided to host - time and experience changes us as people and as cooks. We hope you enjoy reflecting with us on where we are now in our culinary adventures!

- Take a picture of the front of your fridge. What's on it and why?

People I love, to make me happy. 

- Three things you learned in the kitchen in the last year.

Gluten-free bread is at best edible. It's basically not worth my time to do on a regular basis.

- If you have a decent budget for a small dinner party, where do you turn for food inspiration?

Jamie Oliver! I might also peruse my pinterest food board.

Or, I'll go to Atwater or JT market and see what looks or smells good! Today I fawned over this beautiful, $40 bottle of olive oil:

A stone rainbow jar, for pete's sake!! It must be good - packaging doesn't lie!! If anybody's started shopping for my Christmas or anniversary present yet, this was at Les Douceurs du Marché, thank you very much. (Wood is apparently the traditional  European gift theme for the fifth - olive oil comes from olive trees - close enough, yes?)

- Have you discovered a new favourite cook book lately? Restaurant? Ingredient?

Book: I am still using and enjoying Practical Paleo a lot! I'm looking forward to revisiting Arepera on me & Tony's vacation in a couple of weeks. Ingredient-wise I am really into cassava, ginger beer, using whole vanilla bean instead of extract (I seem to run out of extract all the time, but I have a full jar of beans, so I add a cut half to anything that I am pureeing in the food processor when it has enough liquid to make it really smooth, it's lovely), plantains of course, and corn.

- What were your favourite things that you've eaten in the last week?

You can't really see so well what's on the plates, but this is me with the "baby plates" from when Julia, Sam & I had lunch last week - the avacado, mango & sweet pepper salad Sam made was AMAZING.

Here's the full table laid out - the salad is in the silver bowl on the left.

Another really delicious thing the other day was roast chicken with leftover bacon-wrapped dates stuffed under the breast skin. I highly recommend it, though I realize that leftover bacon-wrapped dates are probably exceedingly scarce; it is only by a strange set of circumstances that we had such a thing.

- What do you listen to when cooking?

Weezer, Audrey Assad, Fleet Foxes, Bob Marley, Cold War Kids, Mumford & Sons, and Modest Mouse have been on rotation in the last week, which is typical. Sometimes I like to blast a piece that I studied in my music course this summer - Un Bel Die from Madame Butterfly just bursts forth, it's amazing, it's like jumping off a cliff (she starts precisely on pitch with no accompaniment). Listen to it, you'll see what I mean!

- What are your favourite smells in the kitchen right now?

Raspberries, peaches, vanilla syrup; garlic, cheese, mint, basil.

- What has frustrated you in your food & cooking life in the last year?

Bread has been very frustrating. I have a few recipes that work decently, but I still find myself resenting how badly it fails if I try to just do things intuitively the way I could with wheat flour. I never needed to measure anything with wheat flour loaves, that freedom and sensuality was amazing. It's still hard to accept that those days are over. Last week I was preparing a salad that had gala apples and marble cheddar and I had the most intense desire for a toasted sesame bagel with butter, cheddar and apple. I hate that I can't just act on that impulsively and whip together some dough and make it happen just like that anymore.

- What do you want to get into or explore in the coming year?

I want to stay on top of washing and drying dishes!! I want to eat a lot of fish. I want to try to figure out how to buy avocados and figure out when they are perfectly ripe. Maybe make some bagels.

- Write a haiku about one of the following: a kitchen fail, a kitchen win, the last time somebody cooked for you, eating outside, or dining with friends.

dough rising with oil
running over the sides, slow;
songbirds changing shifts

and another:

dream home: large garden,
quiet bed, and a kitchen
drenched in morning light

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