Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Love This

Christmas is definitely my favorite time of year. There's just so much love around. Love of family and friends, love of religious traditions perhaps, and of course, love of food. It's just so heart-warming. And so good for my soul.

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I've allowed myself to get fully into the Christmas spirit, and I'm loving every minute of it-- especially the cooking. Right now I'm just sitting in my chair, enjoying a mug of homemade vegetable soup, chock-full of aromatic vegetables, homemade noodles, black pepper and other great belly-warming spices, and I even threw in some sweet corn I had in the freezer from this summer. Our little 3-foot tree is up and lit, I can see our outside lights gleaming through the window, Christmas music is playing on the stereo, and the dog is curled up at my feet. This is the life, I'm tellin ya.

And there's more in the works! In a couple of weeks I'm planning to give all of my school friends a break from finals and host my own Christmas dinner a little early here at the apartment. I'm going to make a fabulous beef brisket with portabella mushrooms and cranberries, and who knows what else? Enough Christmas cookies to feed an army, probably.

Anyway, that's all for now. Back to enjoying the Christmas-y mood and this awesome soup!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I need to get better at this.

Alright. I'm a blog slacker. I'm sorry. I don't even have a good excuse, haha, just that I'm lazy. But stuff has been going on in my food life, so I will take the time to update now as I watch the Dems fight it out on CNN (I'm liking Dennis Kucinich right now, though he hasn't a prayer of winning).

About a week and a half ago, we held our second Slow Food on Campus meeting. Everyone gathered at my apartment (though they all got lost first trying to find it), and we shared in some delicious food, including red beans and rice made with local garlic, local onion, and organic beans and rice, made by yours truly, some delicious local beef rump roast with dried porcini gravy, spicy vegetable samosas, local salsa, some sweet and spicy winter squash soup, delicious brownies from BLU, and some other great eats. We also had some great conversation, but we are kind of at an impasse when it comes to officially chartering the group. Our parent organization is asking a lot of us (especially in the funds department) that we cannot come up with out of thin air, and that we are not sure we can ask of our group members when they are only making a cursory commitment to us in the first place since we have no established reputation on campus yet. Arrgh, it's frustrating!

Anyway, that's all I have for now. Hopefully I'll have more after the holidaze...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Long Time Gone!

Sorry for the recent absence, it has been a hectic month! Between homecoming and midterms and papers and working like a madwoman, I've scarcely had time to eat and sleep, let alone update the blog. But things are starting to calm down a little, and I'm starting to enjoy college life again.

Both my roommate and I have been working like fools lately, so I haven't been doing a lot of cooking, just drooling over recipes online and in cookbooks and making big plans, haha.

In other news, though, I've been doing a lot with Slow Food. For those of you who aren't familiar with SF, it's a movement that was started in 1986 in Italy to preserve traditional foodways and to protect things like artisan cheeses and heirloom vegetables from being quashed by the high-speed, fast food lifestyles we've adopted these days. A few weeks ago I attended a potluck dinner/meeting of the Bloomington convivium, of which I am a member, and got to rub elbows with some of Bloomington's coolest foodies while eating some of the best food I've had in a long time. There was a great selection of cheeses, several delicious breads and salads, and some very tasty potatoes, but Daniel Orr of the soon-to-be-opened FARMbloomington made the most fabulous, jaw-dropping lamb I think I have ever had. Granted, I don't have a lot of experience with lamb, but his black vinegar and star anise-marinated lamb with heirloom tomato and mint bbq sauce caused me to renounce my vegetarianism on the spot, haha. It was great food and fellowship, and a fun, food-filled time was had by all.

Today my Slow adventures continued. This afternoon I gathered with several other like-minded foodies at Trulli Flatbread on Kirkwood. About half of our group was made up of IU students, while the other half was comprised of several friendly "grown-ups," eager to help us with our undertaking. And what, exactly, was our undertaking? Why to start a Slow Food On Campus group, of course! We shared some delicious flatbreads (my favorite being bacon, potato, and leek) and talked about how we wanted to proceed. We share a lot of interests with a group that already exists on campus, Students For Sustainable Food, so we may combine with them for events and meetings. But for now we are just focusing on getting enough student members to officially charter the on campus group with the parent organization, register as an official student group with IU, draft a constitution, elect officers, etc. We're planning on meeting to accomplish most of this on November 8th (anyone interested is welcome to attend, but we won't really be publicizing the meeting). Then the next step is to utilize all of our resources and open the group to the campus at large and have a big, informational meeting. Then, if interest is high enough, we hope to host a big event on campus sometime in the Spring. That's what we worked out today; if you want more information or are interested in participating, please, by all means, contact me and I will get you more information!

Anyway, that's all I have for now. It's way past my bed time ;).

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Grilling Adventures

As many may know, I've been a vegetarian for about 2 years now, but recently I've been letting humanely-raised chicken back into my life (I'm weak, what can I say?). Well I've found this great Amish chicken at Bloomingfoods, and I just adore it. It's what chicken is supposed to taste like, you know? Anyway, I should also tell you that I never really learned how to grill, because in my family it's kind of a man thing, and I just never bothered to learn. Anyway, my uncle is here in Bloomington this week and he offered today to buy me a grill as a belated birthday present, and I obliged. I had to get a little 18" tailgate-style grill because I am not allowed to have the real deal at my apartment, but, as usual, I work with what I've got. So I set the grill up (quite a feat, if I do say so myself), got it going, and threw the chicken on there. I marinated it beforehand in some Italian dressing for a little while (it makes the chicken juicier and gives it a little more flavor). It turned out deliciously. I served it with some salad and it was a perfect late summer dinner. And so ended my first experience with grilling. It went well and I'm excited to try some vegetables on there.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Farm Bill Funny

Here's a funny but informative video on the Farm Bill that I came across today:


Lost Time

I apologize for the lack of updates here lately, I've been super busy and I had no idea anyone was actually reading this, but as it turns out people are reading, which makes me happy :). I don't have much that's new and terribly interesting to write about but I did pick up some wonderful veggies at the farmer's market the other day and made a delicious meal of them.

The last time I got to the market was a couple of weeks ago, but my parents were with me so I got more food than I normally would since, of course, they were paying. I bought sweet corn, green beans, new potatoes, and pears, among a few other things. Dinner that night was a-mazing. We had simply steamed corn and green beans, the latter sprinkled with a little lemon juice and sea salt-- delicious. The potatoes I boiled and hand-mashed with some Applewood smoked bacon, green onion, and fresh minced garlic. They were wonderful. The pears we have been munching on for the last couple of weeks and they still taste juicy and delicious. And that's about all I have to relate for now!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Smoked Mozzarella Madness

Apologies in advance for not having a photo of my cheesy creations, but this all happened last week before my apartment had an internet connection, and my camera was still in the menagerie of boxes that filled my apartment until about Thursday.

Anyway, on Monday I went grocery shopping for the first time since moving into my new digs. I bought a membership to the Bloomingfoods Co-op (Bloomington's source for all foods local and organic or otherwise remarkable), and nearly set my debit card ablaze with the amount of money I spent there. Of course organic and local food is almost alway more expensive, plus I had to buy all the basics: sugar, flour, rice, pasta, baking soda, and what have you. So my roommate and I were perusing the cheese section (cue drooling here; I am a cheese fiend), and I threw some smoked mozzarella into my cart on a whim. Actually, I didn't even realize it was smoked, I just saw the part of the label that said "Mozzarella" and figured I'd make pizza this week or something. Well the next night I was making mac n cheese (come on, even food snobs know it tastes good), and my cheese sauce was looking a little weak, so I grated some of the mozz into it and took a taste and nearly hit the floor because it was SO GOOD. The smokiness was just right in combination with the pasta and existing weak cheese sauce. And I thought, "man, this is some good cheese, I'm going to have to try it in some more stuff." So I did. This was the week of smoked mozzarella cheese. We had it in eggs with garlic and parsley (so delicious we had it more than once), we had it grated into another pasta sauce (yum!) and we finished it off (oh so sadly too) sliced on Breton wheat crackers with some great wine as a prelude to a housewarming dinner I hosted. What a wonderful cheese experience :).

This story ends sadly, however. When I returned to the grocery later in the week to purchase some more of this dairy delight, I couldn't find it anywhere! Alas, I will keep looking, but until then, back to plain old mozz it is, I guess.

It Starts

So this is my blog. To begin, I thought I'd tell you a little bit about me. My name is Sara, and I am a sophomore at Indiana University majoring in Dietetics. I just moved out of the dorms and into my own apartment (with a kitchen, finally), and in just the single, solitary week I've been living there, I've already had some crazy food adventures. I was inspired to blog them by Christine Barbour, a professor I had last year for the class "Politics of Food." She has a truly wonderful food blog that I read religiously. You can find it here. Nothing that I write will probably ever come close to the caliber of what she writes, but I work with what I've got, which is decent writing skills, and old digital camera, and a proverbial taste for food adventure. So I guess we'll see what happens!