Category: Side Dishes
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.
For those of you who don’t know, I am currently in a small town in Southern Italy called Spongano. I am taking classes at a cooking school in a CASTLE! The weather has been great and the food has been delicious. I will be posting a couple of things about my trip soon, but for now I want to share this delicious gazpacho recipe that I made before I left.
Isn’t it kind of funny how every time a season changes, a year ends, a month ends, school ends or school starts everybody always says “Wow I can’t believe it’s already ____”? It’s not a rare thing for it to seem as though time just flew right past us, yet we always are surprised by it. Instead of being surprised, realize how fast time passes and focus on this moment, these people and these things that you have in your life right now; they will come and go quicker than you may think. I think watching time fly past is a sign that we need to slow down and live today instead of always working for tomorrow.
I was watching a Next Food Network Star rerun the other day and got a good laugh out of Wolfgang Puck bringing one of the contestants back inside the house to show her how to make risotto. I am sure many of you saw this episode too. I was amazed that a person would make it that far on a show like that without knowing how to make risotto! I guess that shows that TV is not always as realistic as we may think. Come to think of it, I also watched a 24 Hour Restaurant Battle where the girl who was going to be the head chef had never even worked in a restaurant before!
Mashed potatoes will never get old to me. As one of the three “vegetables” that I would eat as a kid, I ate them practically every day. At family dinners I would always mash my potatoes, peas and steak together; my mom called it my homemade shepherd’s pie, even though I would never have eaten a shepherd’s pie back then. I also remember the first time I had a double stuffed potato… in LOVE! My brother gave me a potato masher for my birthday, something I have wanted for ages!, so I have been back on my mashed potato game. These days I am interested in finding more unique combinations for my mashed potatoes.
I have stuck to my resolution to bake more bread. I have decided to start with a very easy bread that doesn’t take long to rise or bake- flatbread. I loved eating the flatbreads while working at Noodles and Company, if I had known they were this easy to make I would have made them at home earlier!
Until about two weeks ago I had always bought canned artichokes. My friend Kelcey and I decided to make a delicious vegetarian dish after planting our new garden and wanted fresh veggies for this recipe, so I decided I would buy fresh organic artichokes. Little did I know that trimming an artichoke is no easy task. We completely butchered two organic artichokes and ended up having to purchase canned ones in order to finish the dish. Another downfall to our dish was that we topped the bread with way too much cheese, which kept it from getting crispy and left us with a soggy bread topping… Not the most appealing. So here’s to round two!
I am moving to a new house at the end of the month and it has so many great new things to offer. I have a huge garden. We just planted around 30 different plants, including peppers, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuces, peas and strawberries. We also have about 7 pots of herbs. If things go as planned I will be cooking with my own home-grown veggies all summer long! My new house also has something that many young foodies’ kitchens don’t- counter space! I cannot explain how great it is to finally have room to cook! One thing on my list of things to make in my new kitchen is bread, lots of bread.
This week’s throwback recipe is the only time I have made my own bread, other than the two years I spent working at Subway, which I wouldn’t really call making bread anyway. 😉 This was some of the most delicious bread I have ever had. The recipe gives it a delicious salty kick that makes you want to eat a huge piece all by itself. Plan your day if you are going to make this bread, because it takes a long time to let the dough rise properly. If you have never made your own bread, I encourage you to try this recipe; you won’t be disappointed!
I have recently gotten hooked on a new food addiction- goat cheese. I have always loved cheese, but never had tried goat cheese until a few weeks ago on a boat in Cape Town. Many thanks to the guys who bought the large assortment of cheeses for the party. Many people do not like goat cheese, probably because of the funky kick it has compared to other cheeses. For me, that is what makes me love it! I have given into the prices and decided to suck it up and buy good cheese. It really does make such a difference when you have fresh real cheese.