Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Foodie Discoveries

Being a chef has its ups and downs, but mostly ups. having good food around me all the time. One downer is when people find out I work in the field, they begin to ask me questions like "What is your specialty”, “Do you watch Top Chef”, and other various topics. Do not get me wrong,I love to talk about food, duh, but I feel like everyone thinks I am a ‘Know It All’; well the secret is out, I am not. I am just a humble cook that gets to do what I love and make a few bucks for it, but I will always be looking for new foodie addictions.

Wanting food knowledge stemmed from a childhood of being bored with what I thought was bland southern cuisine. Before the phrase ‘foodie’ was coined I was always open to trying new foods. After many nights out of eating new cuisines, lots and lots of cookbook reading, traveling, and keeping my ears open made me who I am today. In retrospect another plus of being a chef is; that when you meet others who share your passion and love to talk about food as you get to hear about their adventures…you can still learn about foods and ingredients never presented or tasted to you otherwise.

Culinary school was a way to see if there was something extra needed in success with operating a catering company back in the late 90’s. Owning another business, Image By Design, a hair salon I was beginning to be noticed and began a catering business. Offering me the chance to let me cater their parties, and make flower arrangements like the ones I had in the salon. I soon realized my passion for food.

I think I will go to my grave craving new information about food and wine. My life has not been as busy in the past few months since my baby moved on and out, I closed my café due to the economy (and the fact the health food store went bankrupt). I work out of my office most mornings, cater on weekends, and do restaurant consulting, so I have a lot of time on my hands now. Most chefs I know, or even people in general with families and busy lifestyles do not have time to surf looking for food websites like I have been lately; then I discovered I have been telling many of my extended foodie family about this website I stumbled upon one day in October, 2008. I LOVE IT! Going through each person’s blog and the posts have been great, and is stimulating me to cook at home more. My husband was eating whatever was on the menu for the café or personal chef clients for a long time! (I did cook on Friday or Sunday our movie night) A friend and I were talking about how when it becomes an empty nest the fridge becomes bare and you tend to go out to eat more; then the pounds start to show. Not that we already have put on weight from my cooking period.

In this journey of pouring through each one of your sites have helped me find so many fascinating things I want to try making myself, or my spouse may want to add to our list of places to go. I decided to compile a list of ‘Foods2Try’, and create a word doc. I also email my local foodie friends list once a month to make sure they are informed to (I am obsessed).

So to all you and friends, Thanks for your support and keep the information coming. I love reading your stuff! -an overly friendly and talkative southern chef E

Jujubes, are also called Chinese dates or red dates, or tao tau in Vietnamese, and are very high in Vitamin C. They definitely taste like an apple and have a core like an apple, but to me they are a little crispier than an apple. – Shaved Ice Sundays

Acerola is in the cherry family- Fake Free Foods

Dutch Babies, reminded me of a B&B in the PNW that served them for breakfast with peaches, and I had never had them or heard of them; now I am going to make them, because I cannot get them out of my mind- Byrdie

Cornish Pasties, they sound like meat pies- Sperte

Scrapple, I am not sure I will ever try this, just sounds like Spam and I ate that as a kid, my mother loved it with mayo- PlayWithFood, and many others in the NE.

Pork Roll, my friend here in NJ orders these sandwiches, so I asked my butcher what this was, and he told me it was similar to Scrapple, and a NE thing. I am not sure I am ready for this either; since I am now trying to eat less meat and more veggies. UPDATE: I had posted Pork Steak and was corrected by my NJ friend, she also said "Heartstopper = Pork roll, fried egg and melted cheese on a hard roll", I say, to each his own...

Cardoons are native to the Mediterranean, and belong to the same family as the globe artichoke. They grow as tall as artichokes, and have a similar prickly, multi-leaved head which develops into a purple thistle when mature. However, it is the leaf stalks of cardoon that are eaten, not the heads, and these are cultivated much the same way as celery, blanched underneath to whiten and tenderize them. Only the inner stems and heart are eaten, so the stalks should be trimmed of roots, prickles and leaves."--From The Two Fat Ladies - SoManyCookbooksSoLittleTime

tequilajito, I love trying new drinks- Eatingproject

Korean Foods, I have eaten it in Dallas with an old acquaintance, but did not know what I was eating in my early 20’s; just knew I liked the new adventure! - FatManSeoul’s

Phillipino Foods, I have had a few things, but want to try more- Paoix

Chicken & Waffles, I have to admit I did not find this on the sites, it was on a menu of a restaurant I recently reviewed, Rolly’s American Bistro, and is supposed to be a southern thing, but I never knew anyone that ate it in Texas.

Pupusas, looks like a burrito, but more like a giant steamed dumpling, and can be filled with loroco (check out the site for the definition)- A Cheap & Filling Meal

Giant Banana
, I forgot to write down the persons website this was on, but someone had a picture of this giant banana, and I think came from Brazil? Said it was not too sweet, and had an orangey flesh tone? I promise I will search again and give credit due!

Square Muffin Pan, I am a gadget girl and need one now!- MyWoddenSpoon

Brownie Pan
, that allows all edges to be crispy and gooey- Unfork

Rice Balls (aka Risotto Balls or Arancine-MyCookbookAddiction)- I have actually made these after my husbands brother brought me back an authentic Italian cookbook from one of his travels around the world. My son actually loves making them, although they get bigger and bigger as he rolls (a lazy technique), but we look forward to trying new stuffing’s from MyCookbookAddiction site.

Purple Perilla, or Tia To! Used in Vietnamese cuisine- FoodWishesVideoRecipes

Peanut Butter Mashed Potatoes- Thanks Liz Stambaugh for this unique recipe!

Tuna, well we know there is shishimi grade and white tuna at sushi bars, the tuna steaks we can buy at the grocery store, and don’t forget it in the can! Check out his website for more kinds from Japan- Shizuoka Gourmet

Firefly Vodka (a sweet-tea flavored vodka)- Writing As I Eat

Courgettes, in New Zealand and British English) is a small summer squash-
La Recette du Jour's

Black radish, on the market in France and blogged by- Mindy

Delicata Squash, as discovered and uncovered mystery by- DashOfStash

SippitySup's Flavor Profile- Why you ask, because he is some kind of new thing I discovered that keeps me amused with his food videos...go

Tomato Wine-

Fufu Flour- Daily Spud introduced this to us and I will have to go buy some at my local Asain market and make something...