a famous quote by Julia Child goes: “If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.” and whenever i’ve heard the term ‘vegan’, the foodie inside me cringes. what kind of meaningful life can one live without the goodness of cheese, eggs, butter, milk, etc?
now, i’m one of those dreamers (read: delusionally optimistic) – watching hours of Cupcake Wars show, where contestants have to make 1000 cupcakes in under 2 hours – and think that i, too, can do this, at least part of it. the winner of a particular episode had vegan recipes and the judges were GUSHING over how those were the best cupcakes ever. Bring it, i decided. The challenge was on – can a vegan cupcake blow my mind on the truths I hold about baking?!
Oh jello shots, i’m trying to help rectify the very bad reputation that you’ve inherited from being a favorite at college parties… you don’t have to be a cheap way to get drunk (anymore)… i think we can be good friends at a classier, more grown-up type of party, n’est-ce pas?
winters in Montreals are darn cold… after the holidays, it seems like endless stretch of cold dark days to count down until first signs of spring..
before it gets warm, one of the great treats to look forward to every year was going to ‘cabane à sucre’ – literally means cabin of sugar, its when the maple sap starts flowing – collected and boiled into maple syrup – we’d take day trips to the cabane à sucre to feast – ham, bacon, sausage, eggs, pancakes etc. As a kid, the best part is when they would pour syrup on a clean bed of snow and you can take a lollipop stick and roll your own maple syrup candy on the end…
after a decade of mild california winters, i’d begin to miss the little maple syrup candies. while on holiday in Germany, i’d walked into a little tea shop and saw this intriguing jar of ‘punsch kandis‘ – a jar of rock candy soaked in spiced rum syrup. sounds like a great idea – a spoonful of rum syrup, spices, rock candy in hot tea… yum. So i decided to make my own… and turn my place, temporarily at least, into my own maison à sucre chez Amy.
eventually, one can’t ignore the pumpkin/squash season.. with Halloween knocking on the door, not only ghouls and ghosts, but pumpkins and squashes have come out to play…
i don’t ever recall having much pumpkin in chinese cooking growing up… sure we have gourds of many kinds, mainly mom would put it in soup, or stir fry with some meat. but i hadn’t had pumpkin pie, or pumpkin soup, or butternut squash anything, until the recent years. i’m dallying on a love affair with butternut squash (that’s for another blog post) – but i have also uncover a ‘like’ for things pumpkin. the only thing i struggle with, is that with the acceptance of pumpkin season, i’m also accepting that the inevitability of winter is near.
as ‘naan’ is to ‘bread’ – if we were to do word associations.
i’d long ago just followed the Starbucks terminology and order ‘chai tea’. how silly do i feel knowing that all along, i’d been ordering ‘tea tea’. i’m sure every Indian friend of mine has been secretly laughing at this inside joke whenever we’d go get coffee/tea. they also told me that yes, they giggle when in a restaurant someone asks for ‘naan bread’. guilty, so there i’ve been, asking for ‘bread bread’.
failure is inspiring. if that isn’t an existing quote, it should be.
the main reason i took a gnocchi making class was because the only time i was stupid/brave enough to attempt it at home, it turned out to be utterly rubbery gluey dense texture. i’d order gnocchi at a restaurant and it’s all soft, fluffy pillows of flavor. seeing gnocchi on the menu was a constant reminder of a challenge failed. humbled once too many times, it’s finally a chance to ‘putting right which once went wrong’ (to quote Quantum Leap).
i’d identified early on in the class why my first at-home attempt failed – gnocchi is a cross between ‘cooking’ and ‘baking’. Typically ‘Cooks’ are artists who like to experiment, alter the recipe a lot, you can compensate for adding too much or too little of something and still save the dish. ‘Bakers’ follow precise recipes as lab technicians do, with delicate, careful procedures, perfecting the art that is at the mercy of chemistry yet repeated with a finesse that shows mastery of control.
i’m a Cook at heart. when the gnocchi teacher liken the texture to ‘pie dough’, i had a sinking feeling that maybe gnocchi might not be ‘my thing’.