Saturday, July 17, 2010

Kitchen Adventures & food ramblings

I love baking. My summers seem to be full of pretzels & bagels. Last summer I made pretzels as "rewards for awesomeness" for the people in my circle who showed extreme levels of awesomeness. I loved it when I was invited to an afternoon tea... all I could think about was all the fun things I could make. I ended up making crumpets and scones. I think those girls are lovely for having an afternoon tea. I guess they must have pretzels coming their way.
I recently was asked to give a presentation entitled "peek-a-boo vegetables". I enjoyed hiding vegetables and making other yummy vegetable dishes like tempura. I like to make homemade ravioli. I also occasionally enjoy making cheese... I have a love affair with cheese. Someday I hope to be a cheese connoisseur. The different flavors it can have and the textures, the experience of making it feels so organic to me. My college roommate, Jen, is the one who got me interested in cooking. She showed me how to make cheese and she threw "bread parties" where she would invite a bunch of people over and they would bring flour and we would make an enormous pile of dough stretching over 2 tables with 5 people kneading it at least, then people in the kitchen making more to add. Once the dough had risen sufficient, people would grab pieces, run back to their apartments and bake pizzas, cinnamon rolls, bread sticks, pretzels, etc... and meet again to feast. Jen grew up in South Korea and so she had a flare for Korean cuisine. She threw a "Chusok" party which she described as a Korean thanksgiving party. My (then future husband) Nathan decided to hang out at our apartment a lot after that party.
I am currently planning on making a Lithuanian meal. I am half Lithuanian and I have barely tasted of their food. It's a very sad story. My Grandfather passed away when my dad was 7 and my grandmother passed when I was almost 5. She left a great legacy for me and people tell me that she was quite the cook. She made recipes for Betty Crocker, she organized a cookbook for the international society at Pittsburgh University, She made sausages and zepplini (meat stuffed potato dumplings), eggplant Parmesan, and of course, many other things... but these are the ones I am discovering. I made eggplant Parmesan and fell in love with it (I know, it's Italian, not Lithuanian. But who cares, it's amazing.) It's crispy, cheesy, creamy, it makes you snuggle your seat it is intensely delicious (The dessert of main courses). I'm preparing to make Lithuanian Sausages, Rye bread, cold beet soup, and rhubarb cake as my Lithuanian dinner... it will soon be followed by a zepplini dinner. I found the most lovely thing, it's my grandmother's recipe ledger. I made some of her recipes, the butterscotch shortbread, the bride's delight cookies, but the thing is, the recipes are written in old language, so it says things like very fast oven, fast oven, slow oven, and uses weird measurements like a "tumblerful" of eggs. I love making food that my Grandmother made, I imagine cooking with her. It deepens my love for her and my bond with her. Food is but a part of her amazing legacy.
Another exciting adventure coming up is Baked Alaska. I found a Thai flavored Baked Alaska recipe and I almost fell out of my seat. I love Thai food, to me they are the Kings of cuisine. Every time I think about making Thai food it makes me want to be a better gardener. Fresh food is essential to Thai cooking. I dream of being great at Thai dishes & making them regularly for my family. I love coconut. The more I learn about coconut the more I love it. The only other place in nature that the fats in coconuts are found is in human breast milk. I made a fabulously complicated coconut cake for My baby's first birthday party. I think I loved making it more than I loved eating it, but that can be said for most things. The party loved that cake.
Well, I have pretzels ready to boil and bake, so I had better get back to them. I'll post about my adventures as they happen. I love baking!

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