Monday, January 11, 2010

My 2009 in food

Every blog has to have lists. I'm catching up here.
This is the list of top ten things that happened to me food-wise in 2009.

1. Farmers Market. I have been a fan for a long time. This year I really got into a habit of going to the Farmers Market twice a week, if only to get out of the corporate environment (the office lunch break coincides with the last hour of the market, when all prices go down). As a result, about 95% of the fresh produce that I buy comes form the market. Even R., who would eat anything, recognizes the superior flavor of fruits and vegetables that were just picked this morning.

I still go to the grocery store for rice and toilette paper.

2. Gadget: charcoal smoker. I've been smoking fish, beef, pork ribs, and bacon. Sausages are next.

3. Curing meats. I have overcame my distrust of sodium nitrite and nitrate (I grew up with the nitrate scare; we used to peel 1/2 inch off our potatoes. Other scares included the Bermuda Triangle and the UFOs). Curing meats for flavor, storage, and smoking.

4. Food styling classes (Food Styling 101 and Everyday Food Styling) were completely enjoyable, and they changed my attitude. I want to be a food stylist when I grow up.

5. Food writing class didn't exactly make me a writer, but it removed some of the block; it also taught me that no recipe is much better than a bad recipe. And it was a lot of fun with good friends.

6. I got a new, serious camera for food photography, and am learning to set up the light. I also got an external flash as a birthday gift and I will be learning to use it in 2010.

7. The Maui and Molokai trip in August was rich in seafood experiences, restaurants, grilling on the beach, and all. I still owe my blog a detailed post.

I also tasted a coffee berry for the first time, and found it inexpectedly sweet and juicy. And I learned to love macadamia nuts: the texture I detested before comes from roasting them in peanut oil, for preservation. When dry-roasted, they are absolutely delicious.

8. New food and ingredients for 2009:
- persimmons (I ignored them for years thinking that they are too tannic; then a neighbor introduced me to Fuyu persimmons. I am beginning to mourn the passing of the persimmon season as much as I did figs)
- cavolo nero
- rapini
- pea shoots
- macadamia nuts
- More-Than-Gourmet demi-glace
- piopini and matsutake mushrooms
- almond meal

9. Learned to make:
- polenta
- duck confit
- bbq ribs
- steam vegetables in a microwave (Thanks, R.!)
- bacon

The second season of home-cured olives resulted in a huge over-production; I am still dealing with it.

10. Gadget: wine aerator. We first saw it used by a wine associate in Buena Vista vinery tasting room in Sonoma, where we went on one of the rainy days during the Christmas holidays. So I count it as 2009. I actually got mine in the first minutes of 2010, when I was allowed to open the gift box that my dear friends put under the tree with my name on it.

Instead of decaunting the wine for an hour, you just pour it through the chrystal filter that fluffs it up and mixes it with the air. This softens the tannis immediately.

And this foodie's New Year resolution?
Smoked sausages.


Anonymous said...


amarillo said...

Ксанч, ты что ли?