Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Another Adventure

I'm writing this night before setting off on the last big adventure with Home & Away. I'm really going out with a bang here: Tomorrow I fly to Lima, Peru, to see Macchu Pichu and the Sacred Valley. Who gets that in life? Not many. And I choose to leave it all. I quit my job earlier last week to go to culinary school full time in September. It's scary, even scarier writing it. Now it's out there to be judged by all these people. I love cooking. I love writing. I've done the writing; I still want to do the writing. I still will for The Reader.

Talking to friend, I worried today that I might be one of those people who can't be pleased. I hope not. I feel more content with me, myself than ever before. I want to take a crack at it though, the bakery/pastry thing. I want to add to what I already know. More than what I know in my head, I want to add to what I know in my hands. It's scary. I could mess up. I could hate it. I might never get health insurance ever again. But I don't think so. Nothing gets me excited like cooking.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

New Music

I've been working on a new mix of music for at least a month or so. Here it is.

1. We're Going to Be Friends by the White Stripes
2. I Still Remember by Bloc Party
3. California by Rogue Wave
4. Wash Away by Matt Costa
5. Maps by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
6. Islands by the Xx
7. Is This It by the Strokes
8. Too Afraid to Love You by the Black Keys
9. Peach, Plum, Pear by Joanna Newsom

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Outstanding in the Field Iowa

July 27, I had the chance to head to this thing called Outstanding in the Field, which is a farm-to-table meal held in Waukee, Iowa, to cover the event for The Reader. You can check out the full story here, I just had some extra images that I wanted to share.

It is sort of funny to think about people paying to go eat dinner in the middle of July at a farm. People traveled from all over just to attend this meal. There were folks at my table from nearby Des Moines and West Des Moines, Iowa City, and Orange City, Iowa. Then there was me, from Omaha (and a few others who wisely got a hotel and stayed the night), some ladies from South Dakota and people from Minnesota. I drove two hours to eat dinner on a farm, y'all. That's something I'm sure Nebraska farmers would balk at, but there it is and it was really a beautiful event.

The food (four courses plus hors d'oeuvres) all came from local farms and was cooked by a local chef Andrew Meek of Sbrocco. Wine was provided by Calcereous Vineyard in Paso Robles, Calif. Below is the first courses: a salad of tomatoes and melons served with basil and a citrus-honey vinagrette.

Second course was Mediterranean vegetables (zucchini, tomatoes, fennel, eggplant) with roast lamb and bagna cauda. I don't know exactly what it was, maybe the skin, but there was this cripsy, bacon-like meat that I was just making love to on the table. This courses was by far my favorite. The lamb was so tender. I loved the addition of the fennel just slathered in salty olive oil.

Meals were served family style, which was nice because I went alone and made friends with my table, particularly Madison and her mom Marilyn. In this photo, there's a good shot of the rainbow Swiss chard growing in the background.

Marilyn took this photo and emailed it to me that night (very nice!). I like it even though my attention is immediatly drawn to my teeth--holy crap, you can see all my gums. But I'm obviously having such a great time, who cares what I look like.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I suppose it's usually a good thing when I don't have enough time to put up another post. I've probably been keeping myself busy on purpose because my roommate is in and out and my parents are out of town, so it's just me and the dog in the apartment exactly one year after our scary break in. I just don't want to deal with lonely right now, so I'm making myself so busy I can barely think. I never thought I would ever get to this point and especially not after a year, but I'm actually glad the break in happened even though the whole ordeal was awful. Meg and I did end up very lucky in the first place; I doubt I'd be singing the same tune if things had been more traumatic. And I finally learned something about justice and mercy that I don't think I would have.

This time around, I've been having a lot of summer fun with friends cooking, swimming, going to concerts and whatnot. This meal, which I shall title chickpea-bacon slop, was just a bunch of stuff I had lying around that ended up being quite good together. I am quite the lucky genius you know, just tossing a bunch of plump-sweet corn and garbanzo beans in a pan. I wish the things worked out this weel every time I try this. The chili smoked things up a bit for the plain old corn-and-garbanzo combo. And then who could live without bacon and cheese? The choice was obvious.

Chickpea-bacon Slop:
olive oil
lime juice
2 ears of corn
1 15-ounce can chickpeas
1 clove garlic, minced
3 spring onions, chopped
2 teaspoons chili powder
salt and pepper
bunch of fresh cilantro
grated parmesan cheese
bacon, cooked and crumbled

Heat olive oil in a pan until it's warm. Add the garlic and onion and saute for a minutes until they have tanned slightly. Break the corn cobs in half and add them to the pot. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, toss them in as well. Season well with salt, pepper and chili powder, turning the corn so it cooks all the way around. Once the garbanzo beans have split, transfer to a serving bowl. Squeeze the lime juice over the top, sprinkle with parm, chopped cilantro and bacon. Serves two nicely.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Family Dinner

Midway through a droll Tuesday, I got word that a friend was back in town after a month's hiatus from the steamy Nebraska summer. Small dinner plans grew to incorporate seven people and lots of pretty vegetables. I don't think anyone saw these eggplants before they became the brilliant mush that is ratatouille.

I pulled these carrots myself from my mom's garden. I must say, it was intensely gratifying even though I did nothing to care for these miniscule carrots before they went into the pot. I even improvised a tomato-cucumber-feta cheese salad that was by far the best use of backyard cucumbers yet.