On Monday, I had the fabulous opportunity to attend the Boston Food Bloggers Launch Party at the Gallows in Boston's South End. One of my goals in 2011 is to expand my circle and get to know others who share a love for being in the kitchen and food in general. This was clearly the perfect event to do so. I am not going to lie, this was my first meet up and I attended by myself, so I was really, really nervous. I never had to be the "new kid" at school growing up, but I imagine that the anxiety I had before attending would probably be on par with how those strange new kids felt walking into new middle and high schools. Luckily, I ran into Liz, a co-worker of mine, in line and she blessedly took me under her wing for the night to introduce me to new people! We also ran into Summer and her husband. It was fun getting to know your professional colleagues in a new light! It was also great to meet some of the fabulous ladies behind so many of the blogs I read.
Being the ice cream crack fanatic that I am, I was happy to see SoCo Creamery at the event. I obviously helped myself to the Espresso Cookie - which was hands down some of the better ice cream I have had lately.
And yesterday, Chef German Lam came into the agency to talk to a group of us about clean eating. I've made a similar comparison in the past - pretend each of us is a sports car. Our performance depends on what sort of fuel you put into it. (I happen to be a Audi: classy, sleek, practical. Not a flashy Porsche, nor a ho-hum KIA. Who doesn't want to drive an Audi?) Therefore, if I want to run in optimal performance, I need to put higher octanee fuel into my engine. Right?
So what does that mean? It means eating as cleanly as I can. I try to stay away from processed foods. Most of my grocery store shopping is done in the produce section. Many clean living supporters would say that that means eating organically as well. I am starting to toe the line on organic foods. I have been reading a bunch about sustainable fishing and the way in which meat is raised and about how much chemicals are in our food. However, I live alone and I am on a budget, so therefore I have to find a balance. Much of what German talked to us about reinforces the motto I have come to adopt into my life over the last six months. If you prepare your own food, you have the choice of what goes into it.
German has a bunch of food from Whole Foods on display and he challenged a couple of us to come up to the front and create our own dish. So much of cooking is finding inspiration. Unlike baking, which usually requires precise measurements in order to have the chemistry of the ingredients work, cooking is so flexible. Recipes are merely guidelines, not something that is strict and unyielding. I am finding myself getting more and more confident in the kitchen. I can sub out ingredients. I understand what the burn points are for oil and how that affects my food/cooking. I am starting to get a sense of what each herb and spice brings to a dish. I am becoming much much more confident in the kitchen, in only a matter of about six months.
Now remember. I used to make Salmon, glazed in a store bought teriyaki with a side of Parmesan cous cous. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, except now I can make glazes on my own and more tasty side dishes.
Of course, this one raised her hand to go up front and chef up a creation. I took a bit of arugula, watercress and topped it with roasted yellow peppers, zucchini, tomatoes and a bit of mushrooms. Topped that with a bit of pine nuts, crumbled feta, edamame, some grape seed oil and a few tears of mint. I. Love. Mint. It just takes a dish to the next level. This was so easy, really tasty and incredibly healthy fuel for you body. Again, I came up with this on the fly. Cooking doesn't have to follow a recipe. It can be just following your gut about what you think will taste great together. Part of that comes from understanding food.
|Couldn't help myself. Just dug in.|