Inspired doctoring.

•January 3, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Being home for a month, I haven’t had to do much cooking, but that’s an extremely fantastic thing sometimes. Inspiration comes in waves when I haven’t cooked or don’t have the opportunity to for a while. Certain things have given me a renewed zest for life, something I haven’t experienced in years, and these past two nights I’ve made something extraordinary out of normal items, yet doctored up a bit.

Last night, my brother wanted some macaroni and cheese. When I get in front of the stove, though, with a can of Campbell’s Cheddar Cheese soup, milk, butter and extra shredded cheese, I simply cannot just throw them together and pour over macaroni. It’s blasphemy. So, I added some sour cream, herb-infused oil & vinegar, smoked paprika, sweet Hungarian paprika, parsley, and Himalayan pink salt (not as fancy as it sounds). Literally, the best cheese sauce ever, but I made a little too much for simple mac and cheese. What was the solution? Bake it! Olive oil, parmesan and bread crumbs on top, in the oven at 375 until golden and bubbly. This makes the sauce soak into the pasta and set up a bit.

Tonight, I made spaghetti. I really can’t just throw a can of sauce in a pot and pour it over pasta. That just will not happen. Ever. I toasted all the spices before adding the sauce. Herb-infused oil & vinegar, sweet Hungarian paprika, herbs de provence, thyme, italian seasoning, ground mustard, onion powder, one bay leaf, Himalayan pink salt, pepper, lime juice, butter, and the smallest pinches of cayenne, nutmeg and cinnamon. I know what you’re thinking, “Cinnamon and nutmeg in spaghetti sauce?!” Yes, cinnamon and nutmeg in spaghetti sauce. They add that comforting warmth you won’t get from anything else. You also get an awesome depth of flavor by using those kinds of spices in uncommon ways. My dad bought two large store brand tomato sauces: roasted garlic and onion as well as mushroom. I used the entire can of garlic and onion, then half the can of mushroom. I didn’t need all the sauce for the pasta to achieve that perfect ratio, but kept it out just in case others wanted more. It was easily the best tomato sauce I’ve ever created. For the spaghetti, I put olive oil and parmesan into the pot after I drained it, then put it back into the pot. The most heavenly aroma came when the hot pasta hit the cheese and oil… then I added the sauce gradually, mixing in little by little to let it soak in and get the great texture. Giada likes to say it’s perfect when the pasta “talks to you.” You’ll know it when you hear it; it’s like music to my ears.


“Hunger is a good cook.”

•December 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Tonight, bored out of my mind, I started browsing through ideas for and pictures of tattoos. Honestly, that isn’t unusual. I want a couple more small ones, but I just haven’t found an idea that has stuck with me. This time, though, I searched for food phrases and food sayings in various languages and found something that struck a chord.

“Hunger is a good cook.”

As far as a source goes, all I could find was that it is proverb, but it did come up in a book of Gaelic sayings. But I digress.

If you haven’t noticed yet, I love food. Love it. It’s so natural for me to feel this way that I can’t imagine what I’d do if anything ever happened that would inhibit my ability to cook. At that, it only makes sense for me to have a tattoo somehow relating to food. I don’t want those ugly cheesy ones of actual food and anything else I’ve thought of now sounds horrible. Even though this may very well change later, I’m thinking that this quote would make an excellent little tattoo. There’s just something about this proverb. I feel like I did when I came up with the idea of my first tattoo, which gives me a little burst of excitement.

Hunger is not only a good cook, hunger is the best cook. Sometimes, I’ll think all day about what I’ll cook for lunch and dinner, and when I go to actually cook, they’ll be some of the best meals I’ve ever created. On the other side, when I’m not really caring about cooking (like this past few weeks… the end of the semester), my meals will be boring, not creative and rather monotonous. This quote just really summarizes cooking for me.

This post is probably just a lot of rambling, but is does have a focus of food… with the tattoo subject in there, too. This just proves (and reinforces my belief) that food is everywhere. It’s the common denominator.

“Food is our common ground, a universal experience.”

-James Beard

UPDATE: When I googled “Hunger is a good cook” right after I wrote this, I couldn’t get many results to come up like I did before. Then I tried “Hunger is the best cook.” MANY more results, but I still like the first one. Both are good. Just wanted to clarify.

The Cookbook of Social Media.

•December 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

For my final creative project in Innovation & Social Media, I have created “The Cookbook of Social Media” for your viewing pleasure. It’s social media concepts from a foodie’s perspective.

I tried to embed the PDF file of it using YUDU, Calameo, Youblisher and Issuu, and none of them would allow me to embed it on here. Incredibly frustrated and annoyed, I tried one last website, Scribd, and it worked!

You have to change the setting from “scroll” to “book,” though. And put it in full-screen mode.

Bon appetit!

Food tattoos?! Heck yes.

•October 14, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Chef’s Blade just introduced me to a world I never thought of. FOOD TATTOOS.

I have one tattoo, and it’s super small on my foot. Ever since I got it, though, I’ve wanted to get more, but the things I’ve thought of haven’t hit the chord with me that a food tattoo has. I’ll be waiting for a while to get anymore because my parents aren’t exactly the biggest supporters… but I express things in different ways than my family. Just a fact.

Back to this tattoo. I CAN’T BELIEVE I NEVER THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE. It excited me so much to see these! I think about food all the time, literally. It’s always on my mind in some way or another, and this sounds fantastic.

I just researched for a few hours, and came up with something I really want to get. There was a photo of someone’s tattoo who had the utensils she couldn’t live without. AH!
For me, a worn in wooden spoon and chef knife! Criss-crossed over each other. Probably on my upper back behind my shoulder, because I want one there. It’s obviously in the first stages… but if I still want it in a year or so, it’s going to happen.

Even though I just want to be a food writer, I still live and breathe food. I honestly can’t express how much I love it. Everything about it. All the time. This tattoo is something I’ll be mulling over, but I’m loving it right now if you couldn’t tell.

We’ll see, but this was a super exciting end to tonight.

Hello, lovely new idea. Let’s spend some time together.

Hello, Canada.

•October 14, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Yesterday, I drove in from Cleveland to NC for fall break until Sunday… and I have to say that I was looking forward to catching up on my Cooking Channel shows more than most things.

Especially Food Jammers and Chuck’s Day Off.

The drive was beautiful due to the leaves changing, and I had great music, but this is just taking the cake, so to speak. I’m pretty positive I have a foodie crush on the three hosts of Food Jammers and Chuck Hughes. Attractive Canadians that cook like nobody’s business? Come on, now.

The shows themselves, though, are amazing… despite what The Washington Post says. In this article, it says that the only shows that “show” us how to cook are the ones that I can’t even stand. It’s absurd. On top of that, they specifically mention Chuck’s Day Off, saying he says his recipes are simple, but then throws around “cheffy terms.” The station was created for “food people!” Sorry, but we love watching chefs and everything they can do. Get over your attitude, please. Thanks.

Rant over. Back to the shows.

Food Jammers is about three super chill Canadian guys basically creating random contraptions to cook whatever they feel like in a different and creative way. That’s the best explanation I can possibly come up with… you need to watch it. I fell in food love from the first episode I saw, and proceeded to have them record while I’m away at school. The show isn’t on DVD, but if it ever is, you best believe that it will be purchased.
I just want to be biffles with them.

Chuck’s Day Off… what can I say? He’s a tattooed, gorgeous, passionate restaurant chef who cooks the most amazing dishes with little effort. To me, there’s just nothing more attractive.
Aside from him, the show is fantastic. It tells his “day off” stories: what he’s cooking when he isn’t working and who he’s cooking it for. Cooking for people isn’t just fun to do… it’s fun to watch as well.
“It’s always time for bacon!”

I. Love. It.
And them.
And him.
Could you tell?

So here I am, sitting on my couch watching TV and completely enthralled by these cooking shows. I just feel the need to express my love of all things food time and time again.
Ahhh… total bliss.

Just some gawking.

•October 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Today, I’m in the library studying… so obviously I’ve been on Facebook. One of my friends posted a link to my wall: foodgawker. Here’s to you, Jenny James. This site is amazing.

Food bloggers from everywhere can come here and post photos of their food and the recipes to go along with them. They want you to come “feast your eyes,” and that’s precisely what I did.

It’s like when I watch Food Network or Cooking Channel and get my ideas. Whenever something looks interesting, new or just delicious, those techniques and ingredients are filed away to some part of my brain for later use. I bring them up later, and make something fantastic. Foodgawker’s like an e-cookbook, kind of. Just seeing the photos gets my creative juices flowing (especially since it’s officially autumn) and increases my need to create new, cold-weather dishes.

Most of the photos on the site are very “fall” which makes me really want to start using more pumpkin, butternut squash and the like. I see Patty Pan squash everytime I go to Bi-Lo, and I want to buy it, but always forget to look up what to do with it. Maybe after fall break I’ll have some new ideas.

I haven’t forgotten about posting recipes with the items I bought from the natural food store, I just haven’t had any brilliant ideas… or a lot of time to think of said brilliant ideas. I can say that the almond butter is fantastic on toast, and the clarified butter is SO GOOD to cook with. Whatever you’d use regular butter for, switch it out. Delish.

Well, I do have two exams on Monday, so I should probably get back to studying. Bleh.

Straying from food a bit… check out this band. Donora.
“I Think I Like You”

“I like, I like it when we’re quiet with one another… what’s the matter with them?”

What did you think?

Apple Tree Natural Foods.

•October 4, 2010 • 1 Comment

Oh. My. Goodness.
Today has literally been the absolute best day I’ve had in a VERY long time. The weather was fantastic; I could see my breath, and I got to wear a scarf. Fall has officially arrived. I get out of class at 11:00, and I needed to run to Target, so I went right after Western Lit.

During the drive, the music on the radio was perfection. Target was fine, but then I remembered the new natural food store in the same little strip! My excitement level went off-the-charts, and when I walked in I almost couldn’t contain myself.

Apple Tree Natural Foods is fairly small, but they have a great selection of cool items ranging from foods to vitamins.

I had to stop myself after looking around and plucking various things from the shelves because I definitely needed to limit myself. I spent about $24, but I was so excited about these buys, that I don’t regret it at all.

Here’s what I got:
-Calbee Snack Salad Snapea Crisps
-MaraNatha Natural Almond Butter, Creamy & Raw
-Purity Farms Organic GHEE Clarified Butter
-Dagoba Organic Chocolate in eclipse (87% cacao)
-Reed’s Original Ginger Brew All Natural Jamaican Style Ginger Ale
-a HUGE bottle of water: Eternal, New Zealand

This post is going to be a precursor to subsequent posts about these products, I think. I’ll include photos and how I’ve used these as well as simply how they taste and what I think of them.

Honestly, I was starving before I went into the store, but when I came back to my apartment, all I had was a piece of toast with half almond butter and half clarified butter and I was satified… after I tried the chocolate, of course.

I was just dancing around the apartment and in my head I’m just over and over saying, “I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF RIGHT NOW, I’M SO HAPPY.”

I’m truly at a loss for words right now to describe some of these items, hence the posts that will be coming up.

…On another note, the cashier and I got to talking and she turned out to be Dr. Daniel Hoffman’s wife. I just went on the England/Scotland trip in May, and he is one of the directors. It was just funny to have that connection… such a small world.

Needless to say, I’ll definitely be going back sometime very soon.

Keep a look out for the other posts!