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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

weekday dinner for....whoever shows up

Who says weeknights have to be boring?
The menu for the night:

Steak with a sweet red wine shallot sauce
Arugula salad
Balsamic roasted cauliflower
Abundant red wine
Good company

This was a meal planed at the last minute. At 5pm on a weekday I sent out an email to a few friends saying essentially "hey, who wants to come over for dinner...in an hour and a half?" Not having time to wait for responses, I headed out to the grocery store.

Balsamic Roasted Cauliflower

Food is so deeply linked to memory. I cannot think about anything as simple as asparagus without remembering all the times my parents have served a side of roasted or grilled asparagus throughout my childhood. I was exposed to so many vegetables by my parents, roasted root vegetables, sauteed leeks, grilled eggplant and zucchini...but never cauliflower. My mother can't eat it, so I suppose that is a good excuse. I first ate cauliflower at a restaurant in the Berkshires last year. My boyfriend ordered it off the menu, causing the waitress to raise her eyebrow. What came changed my perception of cauliflower. What once was a boring, colorless cousin to broccoli when roasted became a caramelized savory treat that neither of us could stop eating.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Whole wheat pesto bread (and why sometimes it's ok to cheat)

I wish I were a person who made my own bread. I have toyed with the thought, certainly. When I moved to North Adams, a small town in the Northern Berkshires, the first thing I did after partially unpacking my kitchen was to bake up several loaves of beer & mustard bread (a recipe I will have to post here soon) to bring to my neighbors and new landlord. Luckily I had been gifted a used bread machine by my father as a sort of house warming gift (READ: he wanted an excuse to upgrade himself to a nicer bread machine, and I'd always loved the idea of having one myself. Everybody wins). So as I unpacked and started to settle in to my new home, bread was being kneaded, and allowed to rest and rise in the kitchen without my having to do much of anything.

A new day, a new blog?

Last night, after indulging in my impulsive urge to cook a nice dinner on a rainy Monday night, I sat in my kitchen drinking a glass of (cheap) wine with 2 of my roommates, our bellies filled with the outcome of my night's endeavor (steak with a sweet red wine shallot sauce, balsamic roasted cauliflower and peppery arugula salad- post soon to come!). I mused on my desire to be as cool as all those food bloggers whose pages I follow daily. Oh, how I wish I was! I would love to post my variations on recipes, complete with witty commentary about my cooking process, and gorgeous photos that make a person want to run out to the grocery store RIGHT AT THAT MOMENT because they MUST make that winter squash. Unfortunately, I know very little about cooking. Until 2 years ago I had done almost no cooking, and felt very little interest in it. I had picky tastes and a number of food restrictions (couldn't stand seafood, couldn't eat dairy products...) and while I wanted to consider myself a foodie, and a good at home cook, the truth was my best dishes started out frozen in plastic packaging from Trader Joe's.

So, this is my mission: I will be just as cool as those witty, thoughtful and tasteful food bloggers I follow, because I will start my own food blog. Practice makes perfect, right? So what better way to get there than to dive right in and start practicing? I am planning to make a nice (blog-worthy) meal once a week to share with friends (hint to local friends- call me if you want in) and document the process and outcome. As I am also growing more interested in baking, I will aim to produce one baked good a week to blog as well.


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