If I inspired you, I've done my job!

July 26, 2011

Blog must go on!

I have been aloof from the blog, from the Internet altogether. While floating in a pool of hot summer days, fresh local vegetables, long lazy days I sometimes submerge into depths of my own thinking.

I was thinking about my blog. Why did I start blogging? What was my initial idea? What was the ‘hook’?

Popping like soap bubbles, these questions can easily qualify as rhetorical in my own mind, but not this time. Am I losing purpose?

I let myself get even deeper in the thinking process…

A while back I had this message inside my head, sealed in an enveloped, addressed and stamped. Every time I tried to send this letter it would return to the sender’s address or it would be tossed in a junk as an unsolicited mail. I had to find an alternative to the direct mail from one brain to another.

And the message that I want to ‘transmit’ is: do it yourself.

At first, I was going to blog about things around the house that can be made at home in lieu of being purchased in a store. But somehow I got stuck in the kitchen, cooking dinners.

It was inevitable. This is the place where I spend most of my free—and not so free—time. The kitchen is my office, my art studio, and my retreat.

But again, food wasn’t the primary subject I had in mind. I don’t mind writing about food and recipes. I do mind, however, to be called a foodie. In my understanding, foodies are the people, who cook food, eat food, talk food, breathe food—they live food. I’m not one of them. I’m not judging, I wouldn’t dare, it is just not me.

Think of it this way: foodies and their recipes are the Haute Couture of cooking; my recipes—an everyday wearable collection.

So, my recipes are usually call for the same ingredients, and the ingredient list doesn’t include exotic products. My recipes call for simple, local, seasonal, preferably organic, familiar ingredients. Yes, that is exactly the word: familiar. I’m all for trying new things, but I will not build a recipe collection for everyday cooking with something that has to be hauled across the universe to make it to my table.

Allow me to say couple of words on organic food. On one hand I agree wholeheartedly that it is better for you. On the other, I understand that an average family may struggle to afford organic produce since the prices are still polluted with a high markup. That is why I don’t say in my recipes what’s organic what’s not. It’s up to you to decide.

It is great if you can afford but when you can’t, substitute with locally grown produce. A local non-organic apple is more affordable and perhaps even ‘greener’ than an organic one from Argentina. (Unless you live in Argentina, that is)

A word on Vegetarianism: I personally prefer to eat fruits and vegetables any day, but I do occasionally eat and cook with red meats and poultry, which I get from familiar trusted sources.

I stand firmly for eating local and seasonal. I understand this cuts the variety of foods we eat in half, but I believe that the same set of vitamins in Acai berries is found in locally grown blueberries. Acai is for people of Brazil, we are happy with blueberries and other berries that grow naturally in our area.

Eat Local. Eat seasonal. Grow and cook your own food. And Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Repurpose!


But I can’t tell people what to do, I can only do what I believe is right and hope others will get inspired…

I will continue tossing local and seasonal ingredients into wholesome recipes on my blog and add a new theme—repurposing that food packaging and other kitchen ‘waste’ in every day life. (I already have couple of post on this subject)

Show must go on? Blog must go on!

July 01, 2011

Grilled Summer Vegetable Salad

It's July, finally! And it comes with all sorts of fun around here: my garden started to yield first vegetables from the patch, raspberries and blueberries a plenty, crafts in open air, sun, summer rain, and star speckled skies during a backyard campout. A lot to occupy yourself, so why bother with cooking? Especially when there are a lot of fresh produce on the market. Farmers and gardeners with a gentle help of mother nature have invested a lot of labour into each vegetable you by this month from the market. Why work any further?

Yes, I am proposing a vegetable-eating month. And, when possible, raw eating. It might sound hard, but with few knife techniques and a bit of grill heat (plus a great deal of will power), we can indulge in fresh and vitamin packed dishes.

I'll start with grilled vegetable salad. This one is my all time favorite. You can use any seasonal vegetables you have available. Mix and match- mix the vegetables and match the grilling time. Dress the final dish with a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper to taste and viola!

Grilled Vegetable Salad
Serves 4 if main dish, 6 if as a side dish
2 medium zucchini, cut in half longwise
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sectioned
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sectioned
1 large onion, cut in half longwise
2 T spoons vegetable oil
1 dried red chili pepper, crushed
Salt+Pepper to taste
Preheat grill to medium heat
Grill the vegetables, 5 minutes each side
Let cool slightly, enough for you to be able to cut them
Cut grilled vegetables into chunks, arrange in a serving bowl
Drizzle with oil and season

Of course if vegetables alone is not enough for you, you can toss in some pasta, rice or even grilled meat or chicken, cut into strips. I will try to eat meatless this month. We'll see how it goes…