Week 4, take 2: Less Bark, More Bite.

It’s not love at first sight.

That moment when you lay your eyes on the perfect jewel. It’s ruby red and smooth underneath the pads of your fingers. Marvelous.

A simply marvelous greenhouse tomato, full and firm in the palm of your hands.

It’s not quite lust when you notice it. But you can’t tear your eyes away from the creamy whiteness of it, wrapped tight in its bindings, begging to be freed, to deliver to you the unadulterated taste of fresh mozzarella cheese. 

Yes, it’s fun to mess around with flavor profiles, have a fling here, toss around with this there. But when the chefs you see on television emphasize the sheer magic that is fresh, untampered ingredients, they’re definitely onto something.

 

A shame, though, that the industrialized world is making them hard to find. And yes, they do come at a premium. 

In spite of inconveniences, sometimes only they can do the job. If you set it up right and showcase the flavors of the ingredients, you get something even better than a dish with a name that is a whole sentence within itself, with half the words being unpronounceable. 

Image

 

D’you see that? That is some beautiful shit right there – plump greenhouse tomatoes and mozzarella, sprinkled with some salt and pepper and dried herbs, drizzled with olive oil, and finished with some basil. Great eaten just like that. 

ImageFor shits and giggles, I put them, along with some pesto, onto some paleo pizza crust made with cauliflower, almond meal, and an egg to bind it all together. Er, at least it was supposed to be shits and giggles, but Christ almighty was making it labor intensive, trying to squeeze out the water from the cauliflower.

Worth it? Debatable, knowing that sometimes the parts of the sum is better than the sum of the parts. 

Advertisements

Week 4: “Weakness, thy name is…”

…a two letter word that starts with an ‘m’ and ends with an ‘e’.

I think I’m in trouble because these lemon poppy seed muffins have gotten me hook, line, and sinker back into the world of baking like regular people do, with (whole, because we don’t do anything BUT in any household of mine) wheat flour, sugar, and butter. 

ImageI tried, honest I tried, I tried so hard to soften the fall: instead of sugar, I used organic coconut palm sugar (which costs just a nice a penny as it is a low-glycemic sugar substitute), cut the fat by subbing half of it out with applesauce, used vegan butter…!

Also, culinary firsts– my laziness to go to the store and pick up some eggs caused me to find egg alternatives. So, I gave the ole flax and water recipe a spin, and I was pleasantly surprised by how well it turned out!

But in the end, I was fated to be doomed, to be deathly in love with these muffins.

I’m not sure what about it makes my brain light up more– the carbs in it, or the sugar. I guess when it comes down it, they’re both pretty much the same. And they’re unavoidable, and so, so fucking delicious. 

In other news, I wish I had gotten a picture of breakfast, but took advantage of the fact that my circadian rhythm has now set itself to waking up about nine or so to go to the SFC Farmers’ Market in downtown Austin to grab some breakfast! Pretty excited to get my hands on some Tacodeli. Good lord the tastiness that they wrap up in a tortilla. Filled up on Buddha’s Brew kombucha, and made a stop at Cake and Spoon to see what their famous quiche is all about and picked up a treat or two. 

Blowing twenty dollars at the Farmers’ Market was actually quite tame. 

(First-world, I-love-food-a-little-too-much, I-think-I’m-getting-a-little-more-Austinite problems.)

Week 2 and 3: Cat(ch)sup

Two weekends of cooking have passed since my last post, but this will be a lightning post, partly because I can’t quite remember what I have to say about the pictures that I saved of what I made.

It goes without saying that I have long finished the food featured in these posts. At least, I think I did. I sure hope so. Surprise food is nice, but not the kind that has been sitting in the back of your fridge, and the only reason why it’s a surprise is because you forgot about it…

Without further ado:

Week 2:

Photo Jun 29, 7 54 59 PM          Photo Jul 07, 8 50 06 PM

I don’t recall a lot of cooking, but I do recall baking a lot of blueberry-related things, as apparent from the pictures. I think it had something to do with organic blueberries being on sale at Central Market, and they were the tastiest gems! I had made some blueberry tart-bars, I guess you could say, using a graham cracker recipe from here, which has yet to fail me in producing crunchy, scrumptious graham crackers that I spike with a little flax for added nutritional value. As for the blueberry jam-topping, it was just a little something I whipped by heating blueberries, honey, zest and juice of a lemon, and some orange juice I found in the fridge. The blueberry-citrus mixture was definitely better than the parts of the sum.

As for the cheesecake…After the “cheesecake” fiasco, I rolled up my sleeves and tackled it with a greek yogurt cheesecake recipe, mixed in with some fresh blueberries. A little disappointed I can’t find the recipe I used, but I remember taking a few liberties with it. The result was a rich, dense, extremely creamy greek yogurt cheesecake that I found to be quite tart, but not untasty. To mellow it down, I had it with blueberry and strawberry-rhubarb jam, and I think it’s safe to say that I would definitely do it again. In fact, I’d do both of these recipes again.

Week 3:

Photo Jul 07, 8 50 20 PM        Photo Jul 07, 8 52 21 PM

The theme of this week might have been “Getting My Veggies On.”

What originally was supposed to start out as Thai curry with green beans and chicken somehow escalated into something else that had fish sauce, black bean garlic sauce, and sweet potato noodles (granted, the noodles were part of the original plan). It was good, though– good enough to eat for two weeks straight. Note to self: I have got to stop cooking enough for a family of four.

When I first went to 24 Diner on what turned out to be the best July 4th I’ve had in, I don’t know, ever, I fell head over heels in love with the side of summer squash and zucchini that came with my burger. Which is kind of strange, to love the side a little more than the burger itself, which was, don’t get me wrong, capital-A amazing in its own right. But it was fresh (local and organic!), and beautifully seasoned, the perfect texture, not too mushy but still gives in to a light chew. I might have tried to make something like it, I sauteed some summer squash and zucchini with red bell pepper and grape tomato with some shallots I found in the fridge. Threw in some rosemary for some aroma (a good call, if I do say so myself), but it was a little lacking in taste. Still, a great way to incorporate some veg into my week.

(Non-food related) Revelations in Front of the Pantry: The Domino Effect

There’s something tragic in it, the way you can painstakingingly, meticulously, hold-your-breath-don’t-breathe-don’t-you-dare-even-unclench-your-jaw-ingly plan and set yourself up, piece by piece. Square by square. Dot by dot. And the moment– the moment you think you can retract your finger and pull your hand away, one little wobble and tip begins the fall. 

You watch your work fall, and fall, and fall. Piece by piece. Square by square.

It doesn’t take further than the fifth tile– maybe not even– for you to helplessly sink into that feeling of giving up. It’s futile to fight it. Just like how it’s futile to stop the blocks by falling. 

I’ll be honest, the Domino Effect can be applied to a great deal of aspects in my life right now. Take for one, this blog. Three weeks, no update. What, three entries in, and you’re about ready to throw in the towel, self? Let the blog rot in an abandoned little corner of the internet, along with countless others, sitting there and doing nothing but take up a URL name?

Not like that’s anything new.

You know what else, the Effect can sometimes accompany the Struggle Bus, spewing and chugging out of its exhaust pipes, a lovely little fanfare and a death knell for occupants of the Struggle Bus. To illustrate, I’ve got clothes everywhere in my room, I have yet to start packing to move out, I can’t be arsed enough to care about my Physics class and consequently am trailing a little behind (just a little!). Thumbing through my calendar, the weeks ahead only look like they’re going to get even worse.

The Struggle Bus is around the corner, and it doesn’t stop for anybody. Especially not lazy-asses like me.

On a food-related note, last Sunday, I fucking binged on the most unhealthy shit I have ever put into my body in a long while. I was torn between berating myself, rationalizing whatever the hell I was putting into my mouth (yoooo this barely even counts as food more than chemically altered salt, sugar, and the worst kinds of fats ever), and trying to decide if it was worth ever doing it. Motherfucking pizza, and ice cream, and cookies, and popcorn chicken, and ranch, and Christ Almighty, things I don’t even want to remember. For some reason, it was hard to stop. Even worse, it wasn’t even that great! And even though the worst of it was on Sunday, that whole weekend was full of me wrecking my body. With a morbid, sardonic scoff, I even thought I was going to keep myself on the straight-line in order to get myself for Hawaii, where then I could really seek out the good stuff, stuff that I wouldn’t be able to get, or would only be able to get of mediocre quality, here in Texas.

I felt so awful about it, I ran that night, and fasted for a whole twenty-four hours later. I feel better now, but I thought it was kind of curious how I felt gross not only because I was browbeating myself, but physically, my body felt something nasty. Lethargy, sleepiness, a slight headache…the Itis? Maybe, but calling it that seems almost affectionate with a touch of humor, and there’s really nothing funny about stuff you shove down your piehole literally jacking you up. 

So here I am, staring at the pieces, the shambolic remains of what I had built up.

But you know sometimes, when you rewind video tapes (back when they existed), things just seemed so different backwards? New paradigms and perspectives arise. Or remember how creepy it was to sometimes play a song backwards and hear an entirely different message? 

(Okay, now scratch out creepy, and replace it with inspiring. That’s what I’m trying to aim for, here.)

Life isn’t as easy to rewind, in fact it’s downright impossible. But that’s not the point; the point is to get the hell off those laurels, off the whole crying over things spilled spiel, and instead, I’m going to look upon the hope that I had as I was starting, and start picking up the pieces now before it’s too late. And who knows what I may find– a new, fresher idea, a better plan– and it’s only going to happen if I start up again.

So that’s what I’m going to do.

Starting with this here food-blog pet project of mine.