Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Music’s Gonna Get You Through: Now Featured on PBS

Yes I've been gone for a while, but I've been busy. I miss having delicious foods to write about.
I miss my crafting experiments.

But... I have been doing a few fun things. For one thing, I've been singing again, which has been amazing.

For another, I've been working a ton. And while that might not sound like fun, when it leads to something like this:

Our documentary The Music's Gonna Get You Through is airing nationally on public television. It's super exciting!! I started working on this film in 2003, it's so cool to see how far it's come.

I hope you get a chance to watch the film if it's playing near you!
(If not, email me for info on how to get it)

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Very Strange Fruit Indeed

One of the most fascinating things I've run into EVER was something Anna's mother had made. She keeps jars of fruit in a sugar syrup, a variety of them... The first day, we had a sugared apricot. That took me back to my childhood: I used to love the super sweet apricots and their syrup.

The second day, Anna said it was some type of citrus. When I bit into it, I discovered it was bergamot rind. That was fascinating! I've never eaten bergamot before but know the flavour from Earl Grey tea and other flavoured things.

The last one was more perplexing. Anna asked me to guess what it was.

From a distance, the syrup in the jar was very dark reddish. I initially guessed prune.

But that wasn't it. Then Anna dared me to guess. Game on, I said. I didn't say anything for a while, as I examined the shape.

Finally, "It looks like a walnut." Anna threw her hands up in disgust (I'd gotten it right)
So I bit into it.

Now that's just crazy: it's the entire walnut, from the outer skin, through the shell, all way way in. And it's all soft, like a fruit. The flavour was only very faintly nutty, very sweet and intensely spiced (there were cloves stuck into it.) My understanding is that the walnuts are preserved and candied when they are still green.

Delicious, and quite unexpected.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Breakfast in Lefkosia

I've been in Lefkosia (Cyprus) one full day now, and after my second breakfast, I've had a revelation: I love the breakfast here! Actually, all of my meals have been lovely so far, but the breakfast was the one that strayed furthest from my norm.

We sit at the table where a wide variety of bowls and plates hold an assortment of foods: a big bowl of fresh fruit, some sliced toasted bread, some butter, some jam... So far pretty standard. Somewhere near the bowl of fruit lurks a plate of whole tomatoes - I suppose that's not that odd... it is a fruit after all. A bowl of black olives, a bowl of green olives drizzled with lemon juice, olive olive and dried coriander - delicious! And then several cheeses.

It's not that strange, it's just not at all the way I usually eat breakfast. At home in the US, I'm more of a hot cereal or eggs girl, at home in Tunisia, I'm strictly coffee, baguette and perhaps a croissant (very rarely a ftira). Here, I take a whole tomato, slice it up, spoon some of the olives onto my plate, and then, best discovery of all, attack my cheese of choice: the dry aged halloumi.

In the US, I've only ever had fresh halloumi, sliced, grilled, fried... any number of ways. Dry halloumi is soooo much better. It's got that crumbly salty goodness of an aged parmesan. The saltiness of the cheese is wonderful with the fresh juicy tomato. Add to the bite a green olive and it's heaven. (I am not generally prejudiced in my black vs. green olive choices, but the additions to the green ones make them utter perfection.)

Sadly no photos yet, but I'll work on that, I promise.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Omnivore's 100

I recently heard of the Omnivore's 100 through Chocolate and Zucchini and was intrigued. The idea is that these are 100 foods that Very Good Taste (a British food blog)'s author, Andrew Wheeler, thinks every good omnivore should try at least once. So I've gone through and bolded everything I have tried and crossed out what I don't think I'll ever try.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses  *  Unsure, though I think I have
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream  
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar *  like the cognac, can't do the cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear  (for some reason, not a fan)
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal  (but not at all recently...blech)
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV  (my favourite beers are!)
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads  YUM!
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis  - haven't had this yet but hear it's very similar to a Tunisian dish called Osbane...
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill     (Sorry - not interested.)
76. Baijiu  but not since I was a teenager, oddly enough.
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.*  Unsure... I've had some fantastic tasting menus at amazing places but don't really keep track of Michelin stars.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse  but don't really want to have any ever again.
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa  - no clue what the rose part means... Being a good Tunisian, I've had tons of harissa in my lifetime though.
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

So that's 13 Nos (of which 2 are nevers), and 2 unsures... That's not too bad.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

New Camera and Little Weeknight Dinner!

It's so much fun to play with a new toy and cook a yummy dinner all at the same time! I'm finally getting the hang (a bit) of the white balance though not as much of the focus with this lens I'm using... Still working on it.

But, without further ado, here's tonight's dinner:
I made a chicken tagine, with preserved lemons and green olives from the lovely Arabesque cookbook by Claudia Roden. It was a great excuse to finally use the gorgeous Le Creuset tagine that we got as a wedding present months ago.

The next two recipes, the side dishes, both came from my CSA's newsletter - submitted by different members of the CSA.

This is a delicious dish using Tokyo turnips (which seem to be smaller, more delicate turnips, about the size of radishes) called Easy Turnips with Cilantro and Lemon. The dish is very easy: quarter the turnips then brown them in some butter. After a bit, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of broth and let them simmer until tender.

Before serving, squeeze 1/2 a lemon and sprinkle two tablespoons of cilantro and salt & pepper.
Most delicious turnips I've had!

The Wilted Arugula Salad with Sauteed Green Garlic and Apples - utterly shocking! I've had apples in my salad before but not really sautéed apples and certainly not apples sautéed in Balsamic. I chopped one green garlic stalk and then sautéed it in some olive oil, then added a thinly sliced apple and sautéed it another minute. I poured in a healthy dollop of balsamic vinegar, lowered the heat and let the apple absorb the vinegar and cook a bit.

In a bowl, I assembled the cleaned arugula, then poured the apple mixture on top. I finished off the salad with walnuts and crumbled goat cheese. It was wonderful - the apple's sweet & tartness contrasted the bitter greens and creamy cheese.

The dinner was delicious and a great way to break in the new camera.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Little Projects

Before I can move on to bigger and more fun projects, I'm starting small with little sewing modification deals. Every year, I've been attending* the Portland Marathon in Oregon.

Now Portland is a fantastic city to run in - very well supported, nicely organized, fun music along the way... However, the one place where they consistently fail is in the finisher's jerseys. Inevitably, they're boxy, shapeless men's cut shirts. So I've decided to modify one of mine to have it fit a bit better. I took a picture of one of my unfinished ones, to show you how bad it was.

Note the mock turtleneck, the baggy sleeves and the lack of waistline:
And now, here's my new and improved version (sorry, it's a different colour):

Exciting, no? OK, not really, but have no fear... I have much more exciting sewing projects to show off. Coming very soon!

*I say "attending" because while I've run the race several times now, I've also been injured a couple of times, and only run half or so to support my friend Laura.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Happy New Year!!!

Sorry I haven't been around in forever, but hey, I've got some good news!!! I'm just about to buy this camera and promise to practice using it frequently and share the awesome results with you...

This should include some information about all of my newest projects, including sewing, fitness, chocolate & coffee and of course, cooking. I'll be in touch soon!