Finally, to the cooking part of my cooking trip! We headed to a small town called Spongano the morning after our welcome dinner in Lecce. This is where the castle was located. Some people may call this a manor house, but call it what you want. There were like 20 bedrooms and bathrooms and an awesome pool and a garden filled with all sorts of fruit trees… I’d call that a castle. (Also, thanks to my mom, the host of the trip, for most of these photos! I was too preoccupied to take pictures most of the week. If you think you would like to go on this trip next time she takes people, check out her site here!)
The GoodWill near my house recently had a half off sale. I know that seems ridiculous since everything is already priced so low, but it mean shopping time for me! It was like Christmas going through their kitchen section. There were so many cute accessories and dishes for my food photos. I came out with multiple textured mats, plates, bowls, silverware and more all for only $14! This picture shows a few of my new accessories. I love the textures in this photo even though the colors are a bit off.
Have you ever had your freezer melt and lose all of your food? Well, this almost just happened to me. I had all of my proteins in the basement freezer, including a bag of salmon, a bag of shrimp, a bag of mahi mahi, a 3 lb tri-tip, 2 strip steaks, 1 pack of bacon and 6 chicken breasts. While cooking dinner last week, my roommate came upstairs with a bag of dripping, melted, rotten bananas in her hand saying, “You might not want to eat anything in that freezer down there….” Of course, I immediately panicked. Luckily, the door hadn’t been open long enough to melt all of the proteins; I only lost the pack of bacon and two strip steaks. Now all of my proteins have a new home in my mini fridge freezer.
One thing I love about summertime is the Farmer’s Market. During my last visit to the farmers market, I got these delicious heirloom tomatoes and Palisade Peaches (some of the best peaches in Colorado!). I knew I had to make something delicious with them. If you have never eaten an heirloom tomato, I highly suggest that you get on it! They are so delicious and not to mention super cool looking! I love just looking at all the different heirloom tomatoes in the bunch.
Working in a fine dining restaurant has been amazing. In only a month, I have already learned so many things that I never knew before. I have learned how to shuck oysters, how to make an immulsion, seasoning techniques, flavor concepts, how to prepare mussels and much more. After watching all of the mussels that go out to guests at SALT, I really began to crave them. I went home a little bit ago to have dinner with my family and ended up spending the entire day learning about and working on my food photography with my mom (aren’t I lucky to have a mom who can show me that!?).
When I first heard green chile and coconut in the same recipe, I was immediately intrigued. I couldn’t decide if the combination would be delicious or disgusting. There was only one way to find out. While all of my roommates hung out in the basement eating take-out and some delicious Lemon-Artichoke Hummus to avoid the heat of cooking in our boiling house, I was sweating in the kitchen.
Since most of my new roommates are vegetarians, I had to provide another option along with the beef for my Foodbuzz 24×24 party. For them I chose to do tequila-lime marinated shrimp for kebabs. Shrimp only need to marinate for about 20 minutes, if you marinate them too long the acid in the marinade will begin to cook the shrimp.
Since I first began blogging about food, I have enjoyed following one blogger named Alyssa over at Constructive Deconstruction. Many of her posts are deconstructed dishes recreated in the most amazing ways. I was constantly in awe of her ideas and got inspiration from her from day to day. I always tried to think of ways that I could deconstruct something, but it just never really clicked in my head; until this. I am sure I am not the first to think of this because this is such a simple deconstruction, but I am excited about it because I have never really been good at them.
This spring I worked at Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage for a few months before heading to Africa. After being in restaurants for so long, this job seemed unbearably slow at times. In order to pass the time, I would read through all of the cooking magazines at the registers for recipe ideas; probably not what I was supposed to be doing in my down time, but nobody ever said anything. Over these few months I accumulated a giant stack of torn out magazine pages and recipe notes. I am still trying to work my way through them without adding too much to the stack.
I just realized that most of my fish recipes are for Mahi Mahi, but pretty much any white fish can be substituted for most of my recipes that use Mahi Mahi. I personally just use Mahi Mahi because I live in the mountains in the middle of Colorado and don’t have a very large seafood selection. Those of you who live on the coast are very lucky! While I was living in New Zealand last summer, I loved going to the farmer’s market every Sunday and buying fresh fish off the fishing boats.