Wednesday, October 29, 2008

departure gate

This is what my October has looked like. On and off of flights, back and forth to Los Angeles. Lots of work, and lots of play, too. Spent some time in Pacific Palisades, discovered a great little cafe that serves My New Favorite Thing, Ever (tm): a green lemonade. That's lemonade with mint and a shot of spinach juice. I know it sounds weird, but it was amazing.

Also spent some time in the Coachella Valley with David, visiting Joshua Tree and touring the Salton Sea (as much as one can 'tour' a mostly-abandoned, completely desolate mid-desert lake that is barely able to sustain life.) It's been a tough few months since he moved away, so it was wonderful to be able to spend some quality time together.

Now I'm thrust back into life back in Oakland... Off to work, and the real world.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A time for honesty

I'm afraid I have a confession to make.

I'm not a good cook.

I mean, I thought I was. I really did. but now, now... I'm starting to doubt myself. I was raised with excellent cooking role models- I could name every PBS culinary personality, long before the advent of the Food Network. My father was the chef of the family, a titled passed on to him by his younger brother (a Diabetic pastry chef, who refused to abandon the trade.) My grandmother, well... she's inspired me to compile a cookbook, someday. My brother and I were always busy making a myriad of fresh baked cookies. Food was everywhere. And good food, too.

But looking back on some recent eating exploits, it seems that all of the successes have been collaborations. Amazing Monday night dinners with my former housemate and our respective fellows were totally a group effort. That trick of frying up slices of polenta in butter, topping with slices of fresh mozzarella, basil chiffonade and fresh tomatoes? Yet another housemate's recipe. Last week's kick-ass herbs de provence-rubbed roasted pork tenderloin served with wilted arugula and rice pilaf? I was sitting on the couch the whole time.

So it should have come as no surprise last night when my attempt at making something delicious failed. I grabbed pots and pans, wilted some onions, added garlic, toasted the rice, deglazed with white wine and prepared to make an awesome rice pilaf. Chicken stock, lots of salt (but still not enough?) some basil and other herbs. More garlic? No dice. Nothing seemed to do the 'flavor' trick.

So here I am, eating my self-described "rice with yellow" for lunch. It's fine. It has a flavor. But it could be so much more.

On my way to work this morning I caught a bit of and interview with Jacques P├ępin, talking about his new book, More Fast Food My Way. I'll have to podcast the entire interview later, but in the snippet I heard he made some interesting points about food. It's not about The Golden Arches or the Slow Food Movement. 'Fast Food' doesn't have to be a bad thing, it is just food, fast. It can still be from scratch, it can still be delicious, but you don't have to spend your entire weekend preparing one meal.

Of course you still could, and he does. And I might. And I promise to strive for flavor. However, for the rest of this week I think I will stick to baking. That seems to be my true calling, anyhow.

Now, if only I could get my dad to hand over Uncle John's carrot cake recipe, I'd be in business.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

oh, october..

another month, fading quickly. i'm doing quite a bit of traveling this month, so my usual non-blogging tendencies are compounded by just not being around my computer. i am, of course, around my camera still quite a bit.

so, even if i'm not writing about it, rest assured that i am photographing it.