Sunday, 28 August 2011

Just Another Day of Cooking

Today in the village of Granville--and in much of the Midwest, it seemed--the weather was near perfect and incredibly motivating. With road trip/fall type music playing, I took a brisk walk back and forth to church. On my return journey, food found its way to the foreground of my mind (it didn't hurt it was also lunch time) and I conceived the notion of cooking some carbonara. When I got back, I turned on the tv, set it to the Food Network, and pulled up my last go at this simple dish. This time around I used lemon-lime soda instead of white wine and somehow came up with my best attempt to date.

Discover a Taste of the Caribbean for about $1 a Person... and for Another Dollar, Try Some Salted Caramel (/Bacon) Brownies

Unlike past weekends on campus, this particular weekend has started out exceedingly well. Perhaps it has to do with the fact I had absolutely no work obligations to attend to or because I spent the majority of my day cooking... or perhaps it is a bit of both. In any case, I just returned back to my apartment on campus (and with a parking spot during move-in weekend!) from a colleague's housewarming party, having spent many hours prior in the comfort of my kitchen. On Thursday evening, I asked her what type of regional cuisine may be of interest; Friday morning, I got a response back which loosely abbreviated to Caribbean and anything with sweet potatoes. I don't think I felt any more removed from my culinary comfort zone as in the moment I read her response. Alas, if it weren't for challenges such as this, how else can one learn? As I aimlessly searched for what it meant for a dish to be "Caribbean," I was able to find this site which in the end taught me there is no distinct flavour (apart from the use of spices) within this rather larger regional cuisine. And indeed, this is certainly true elsewhere. I continued searching until I found a very well-received and well-rated recipe from the November 1999 issue of Cooking Light hosted on myrecipes.com. In reading the recipe, I noted the use of hot Italian turkey sausage which begged the question of whether or not I should be taking a vegetarian spin on this dish. The answer, as I should have expected, was yes. As a self-proclaimed and apparent carnivore, I must say that cooking vegetarian food is not exactly my forte, but I am certainly up for such a challenge. With a dessert already in mind (which also necessitated a protein subtraction), I tested my culinary and impromptu skills on Caribbean sweet potatoes and black beans served over yellow rice, as well as salted caramel brownies... all for about $2 a person.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Back to Basics (with Jazz Included)

Finally settled into my apartment on campus, I was fortunate last weekend to make it to the Granville Farmers Market located just a few blocks away. I had gone on a dual mission: first, to find initial contacts for a food program I'm organising in relation to our campus theme of migration; and second, to purchase fresh, local, and organic, produce from the area farmers. I wasn't sure what I would find exactly, but I knew I somehow had to feed it into my menu planning for a dinner I had been anticipating the week prior: my former roommate in Paris, Trevor, and his girlfriend, Helena, are on an amazing across-the-country road trip from Pennsylvania to California, and Granville, OH, made it on their list of stops. Both aspiring film makers, they are also wonderful photographers. Following below are the meals I prepared for them but if you'd rather see their great photos first, head over to their blog post here.