that's forking good

adventures in a culinary neophyte's kitchen

Archive for the ‘notes’ Category

dust off, rust off

Posted by culinaryneophyte on May 3, 2017

I don’t even want to do the math for how long it’s been since my last post; the amount of cringing that would elicit would leave me in severe physical pain. There have been so many times over the last few [busy] years when I would say, “Once I get through X, I’ll have more time, and I’ll start writing and posting again.” And, of course, I would get through that X, and another X would be on the horizon. For so long, writing and food were at the top of my priority list, and while I’m still cooking up a storm (and sharing my adventures on Instagram, @thejerc), the writing — my first love — stopped being a priority. The sadness over that causes me more pain than that aforementioned cringing.

Two of the biggest Xs on the horizon over the last 18 months were my wedding and my honeymoon. When the wedding ended, I thought, “What did I do with my life before I planned my wedding?” But, fortunately, we had delayed our honeymoon until the Christmas craziness subsided, giving me the opportunity to pour myself into my next project: planning the trip of a lifetime to Italy. Now, after the perfect winter wedding and a gourmand’s dream tour through Venice, Florence/Tuscany and Rome, I’m left thinking, “Now what?”

I’m a lifelong over committer, so it’s not like I actually have loads of free time (or any, really), but I think it’s time I elevate writing back to its rightful place on my priority list. When I worked for the newspaper, artful writing was built into every day. Now? Not so much, and that makes me sadder than arriving at Newark International Airport after 10 days of drinking espresso and eating gelato on a daily basis. But even just writing this post has been a surprisingly cathartic experience, and I finally feel like I’m ready to say “I’m back, baby!” and actually mean it this time.

…And at least if I fall flat on this promise, you’ll have this beautiful picture of salted caramel gelato to look at for the next 12-18 months.

Florence Gelato 2017

 

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Hello Fresh: We’ve got a first timer here

Posted by culinaryneophyte on September 9, 2015

Hello Fresh salmon ingredientsI am now obsessed with Hello Fresh, the weekly food box delivery service. My first order arrived last night, and I couldn’t wait to get cooking. This is the first time I’ve used a service like this, and I was super impressed. The Hello Fresh website was easy to use, and the meal selections were available a few weeks in advance, allowing me to order based on my tastes and my schedule. The giant box showed up on my doorstep on time, full of ice packs and fresh ingredients. Also, props to the the packaging designers, because everything was straight up adorable. (The soy sauce packets were little fish!)

I chose to make the fish meal first, assuming it would not stay fresh in my fridge as long as the others. (You can obviously freeze the ingredients upon receipt if your original cooking plans go awry.) I think I’ve come a long way in my culinary pursuits over the years, and I’ve cranked out some pretty good food (alongside some very sad, traumatic missteps), but the end result of this box was as close to “restaurant” as I’ve come. The fish was cooked to perfection with a nice crispy skin, and it paired nicely with the earthy beets. (Not to mention purple is my favorite color — and rarely present in my meals — so I got some food nerd fun plating the beets and the red onions.) I was a big fan of the “salsa” of beets, red onion, fresh dill and horseradish, and the side of farro added a nutty crunch.

Hello Fresh pan-seard salmon beets herbed salsa

Because I spend hours scanning circulars, scrolling through Pinterest and writing meal plans in my ladybug notebook, I wasn’t sure a meal delivery service like this would be “my thing,” but I really enjoyed this experience. Financially, it equates to a week of groceries for meals of this quality, but it also cuts down on waste. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lifted an unidentifiable baggie of vegetables from my crisper drawer, and thought, “Well there goes $3…” or let a $6-jar of something grow mold because I broke the seal to use 2 tablespoons of whatever it contained and let it sit on my refrigerator door for two years.) The weekly menu-selection process allows you to be adventurous, opting for dishes and/or ingredients you wouldn’t otherwise pick. It also makes a great date night activity that your culinarily challenged significant other pretty much can’t screw up.

If you are interested in trying out Hello Fresh, let me know and I can send you an invite email that will get you $40 off your first box (which means you’re getting six meals for $20-something — it’s a steal!), or use my referral code 7Y9WGA.

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chocolate-covered strawberry paleo pancakes

Posted by culinaryneophyte on January 19, 2015

Thank you to Mrs. Thinsters for featuring my breakfast on their social media channel!

paleo chocolate-covered strawberry pancakes with Mrs. Thinsters brownie batter cookie thin crumbs.

chocolate-covered strawberry pancakes with Mrs. Thinsters brownie batter cookie crumbs.

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tbt: Mike’s Pastry

Posted by culinaryneophyte on November 13, 2014

mikes pastry cannoliDoing the Throwback Thursday thing to my visit to Mike’s Pastry in Boston.

I never go anywhere, so I pretend my business trips are vacations and hit every local famous food place I can in between work obligations. Obviously, I got some chowdah (I learned during my Fenway tour that “r” is a foreign concept there) and a lobstah roll, which was my favorite meal of the week, but a friend insisted I get a cannoli from Mike’s Pastry in the North End — a place known for its Italian food. Italian food and sweets are not my go-to food picks, but man, this lived up to the hype. And the flavor selection was impressive, I brought home a string-wrapped pastry box for my dad, complete with Oreo, peanut butter and pistachio. I tried to work in a “Godfather” reference when I dropped them off, but failed. I think he appreciated it anyway.

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welcome, 2014!

Posted by culinaryneophyte on January 2, 2014

In the past, I’ve done a year-in-review post just before New Year’s Eve, recalling my favorite posts throughout the year. Sadly, this year was very light on posts, and if I made a Top 10 of 2013, it would basically contain every post I wrote this year, because I’m not sure I got that deep into double digits.

This would make sense if I hadn’t spent much time in the kitchen, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. (My Instagram can back that up. I pretty much only take pictures of food.) It’s just been a matter of time… well, I guess more a matter of priority. If something is important to you, you’ll make time for it. Writing fell by the wayside in 2013, and that breaks my little writer heart. I miss crafting posts and sharing my food fun with you. This blog was such a big part of my life, and I want it to be a priority again. I haven’t been big on New Year’s resolutions the last few years, but maybe a New Year’s aspiration?

2014 sparkler

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sexual tonic herb?

Posted by culinaryneophyte on October 13, 2013

A little love for your Sunday here… goji love! High in protein, fiber and vitamin C, this superfood has powerful antioxidant properties to boost your immune system. Oh, and the package says they are “among the most revered sexual tonic herbs.” Yowzaaaa

IMG_0367

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