Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Food Fives

I saw this great post on a "Food Fives" meme on one of my fave blogs a long while back, and have been meaning to post my own. Well, I finally got around to it. And I'm so glad I did! Taking this trip down culinary lane has really been rewarding. I unearthed some memories I had forgotten, and discovered a few things about myself along the way. Sometimes you totally surprise yourself when you answer questions like this.

Bon appetit....

What were you cooking/baking 10 years ago?

I was 22 and finishing up my last semester of college. I did not cook, really ever at all. I think I made myself toast and cereal, but that was about it. And that was pretty much the scope of what I knew how to cook, too! Wow. Kind of crazy to think about that!

What were you cooking/baking one year ago?

One year ago I was cooking pretty much what and how I cook now, though with fewer whole grains, less quinoa, and probably a little less variety.

And it was a year ago that I had just finished reading Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, and that book really made a big impression on me -- I stopped cooking with any vegetables that were not organic, and searched out the most local, non-factory-farmed beef I could find. As a very happy bonus, it is also grassfed, which is what I really was after, as close to Joel Salatin's amazing Polyface Farms as I could get.

Five snacks you enjoy (in no particular order):

  • Very sharp cheddar cheese with apple
  • Carrot with good-quality, creamy hummus
  • Mini whole wheat bagel with cream cheese, thinly sliced red onion, tomato, salt & pepper
  • Plantain chips
  • Goat cheese and crackers
  • And secretly (I know this is #6), barbecue potato chips. But I think the last time I had those was about a year ago. I honestly don't know when the next time will be. But oh how I love them.

Five recipes you know by heart:

Five culinary luxuries you would indulge in if you were a millionaire:

  • TRUFFLES truffles and more truffles! Both white and black. But they must have been foraged for by a truffle-sniffing piggy with a curly tail. (Pigs' tails curl when they are happy.)
  • And basically the rest is covered by the one dream of owning and living on my and hubby's organic, sustainable, green energy farm (which we have lots of help managing so we can take vacations every so often -- both hired help and the little punks [as the Pioneer Woman calls them] we'll be raising) on which I grow my own organic and seasonal vegetables and raise my own organic, grassfed livestock and poultry.

    Kind of a combination of Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and Joel Salatin's Polyface Farms.

    (And some other animals, too, just for fun and cuz I love 'em. Like goats. I'd love to have enough space to rescue all kinds of dogs, horses, and elephants. Yes, I said elephants.... have you heard of this place? I saw a PBS special about it and seriously I get tears in my eyes when I think about it. But I digress.)

Five foods you love to cook/bake:

  • Filet mignon with madeira pan sauce
  • Simple garlic roasted chicken
  • Mushroom anything with lots of garlic
  • Simple recipes with few ingredients
  • Thanksgiving meal

Five foods you cannot/will not eat:

  • Seafood and fish of any sort
  • Offal (I know, to many, I am missing out big time. Ah well.)
  • Veal
  • Snails
  • Factory-farmed meat of any sort
  • And sadly, I really should limit my sugar and carb intake as much as possible...I am so much healthier and feel so much better overall without those in my diet these days.

Five favorite culinary toys:

Five dishes on your "last meal" menu:

Dude...this is like nearly impossible! But if I have to choose, I guess it would be:

  • Grassfed filets mignon (as many as I could eat) prepared all different ways, with all different kinds of sauces (madeira, blue cheese butter, shallot butter, topped with bacon, peppercorn, asian like the Shaking Beef at The Slanted Door, etc., etc.)
  • The creamiest, velvetiest scalloped potatoes ever made, topped with shaved white truffle
  • Patacones con mojo de ajo (Twice-fried green/unripe plantains with a garlic-olive oil dipping sauce)
  • Browned/sauteed mushrooms of every sort and variety, topping pasta, quinoa, risotto, or similar tasty vehicle
  • Brussells sprouts, made the way I make them, browned with red onions in a balsamic glaze
  • And just one more? Please? The first asparagus of spring
  • Okay that was a lie. I need one more. Potstickers and Sesame Chicken from my favorite Chinese restaurant, Ching Hua.
  • And dessert doesn't count, right? It's its own separate thing. For that I'd need a Rubicon Bakery chocolate cake with fresh organic strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, and apricots on the side.
I totally didn't cheat on that one. I swear.

Five happy food memories:

  • Rice Krispies with milk and sliced banana that my dad (who stayed home with me during the day and then worked at night) made me in the morning while I watched "Sesame Street" when I was small. (You won't believe me, but I can actually remember a dream I had about this cereal with banana in my Cookie Monster bowl when I was 4.)
  • Obleas con arequipe that I had one morning in Villa de Leyva, a very small colonial-era town in the mountains outside of Bogota, Colombia, when I was 5. My parents and I were walking from our hotel to have breakfast down the street, and this man came riding down the cobblestone street on (what was to me at the time) a huge black horse. Being the horsey little girl that I was, I oohed and aahed and he brought me up to sit on the horse! Then my parents and I went across the street and had obleas con arequipe for breakfast. I don't know how to translate other than that obleas are like very thin, crispy, non-eggy crepes, and arequipe is like dulce de leche.
  • The simple but unbelievably delicious lunch of fennel & blood orange salad, homemade tortellini alfredo, and more that my aunt served me and 2 friends when we visited her and her family in Florence, Italy.
  • The "Egg & Bagel" from my college's snack bar (we would get these at any hour of night; I would always add in some onion and Tabasco...makes my mouth water just to think about it).
  • The first meal my husband ever cooked for me: sesame-soy baked chicken with garlic-sauteed spinach and a walnut-sundried tomato pasta. This was on our first Valentine's day together, which also happened to be something like our 4th or 5th date. He had rented "Wild at Heart" for us to watch after dinner, and there were fresh bright red ranunculus on the table. That was a great Valentine's day.
  • The simple but delicious food my husband and I ate throughout our honeymoon in Hawaii (on the Big Island and Kauai), but in particular the food in Kauai (even though we stayed at the most delicious and wonderful 5-star resort on the Big Island and had some great meals there), especially the meals we had at this small restaurant right on the shore of the Hanalei River and at this tiny little hole in the wall called the Mermaids Cafe.
  • Cooking my first Thanksgiving meal this past November.
Okay, that's six, I know. Sue me.

So what about you? I would love to hear yours! Make sure you link to yours in the comments so I can see them!

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