Sunday, September 19, 2010

Project Food Blog - Challenge 1

I'm really pleased to be invited to participate in Project Food Blog with Foodbuzz!  This is a Food Blogging contest - if I win, then you'll be able to read about my adventures in a weekly feature column on Foodbuzz. This initial entry is to introduce myself to a number of new readers, and let you know why my blog might be a fun one to visit regularly over the next year. I hope you will log in to their site and vote for me :)

My cooking inspiration, like many people, comes from my Mom. Whatever my father brings home from fishing or hunting, she cooks. It doesn't matter if she's never cooked it before - she'll ask someone who has, and just does it. Cooking wasn't my Mom's favorite thing by any means. She just doesn't like it. But it's her fearlessness that inspires me. So I almost always subject my family and friends to new experimental recipes - who has time to do a "practice run"? This is life, and I don't want to practice it. I want to live it! And if it falls apart, I’m sure I have something in the pantry. Perhaps crackers with cream cheese and roasted onion jam? Or a bowl of cashews while I whip up some pasta?

I especially enjoy seasonal, local food. I spent most of my life in the seacoast area of NH. My family home is next door to where my grandfather lived, and my aunt and uncle live kitty corner across the street. Both of my grandfathers were farmers, and we always had a huge garden. I never remember tiring of freshly picked corn and summer squash, or tomato sandwiches and cucumbers every day in the summer. I also find delight in fresh seafood! We'd eat steamed little neck clams my father dug by the peck full, and lobsters we’d caught in our traps. And the flounder, cod or pollock whitefishes we'd catch from the ocean. The smelts we caught ice fishing were cleaned and fried up. We’d lift the bones out of the cooked fish by the tail, and eat them like French fries.  All these things were essentially free to us, as we had the adventure of catching or growing them. We ate seasonally because it was affordable.

When I started working, and had a little disposable income, I started hanging out at cooking stores. Have you ever considered that you would just be a better cook if only you had the gadget of the day? I’ve had those thoughts, and made quite a few purchases. Before moving to Manhattan, I lived in Portsmouth NH for a number of years, and this home was a perfect entertaining home! It was a pretty suburban locale, and a far cry from the rural life I’d had as a child. You can see me here with 4 of my friends all converged in the kitchen! Ha - those were the days :)

Here is a shot of our current apartment. See that little doorway in the left of this picture? It's my kitchen. As you can see, I've had to make a few tweaks in how I cook, what tools I use, and how I pull it all together. I now realize that I don’t need the latest gadgets, thankfully, because there is no room for them! My most important tools are a couple of very sharp knives, cutting boards, and a few pans. Now I chuckle every time some friend or family member bemoans the size of their kitchen, and deems it too small.

So my blog is really about enjoying where you are, and finding ideas all around you. Here I am, in the middle of the city that doesn't sleep! Every week there is a new take out menu for some variety of Asian food slipped under our door, and I can't count the mélange of restaurants just outside! There is so much inspiration which help me to create new culinary delights. I write to keep in touch with many family and friends, and to capture fun times we have here. Sharing successful recipes is so easy when it's all posted online. My eyes are seeing this city in a way locals can’t imagine. These new experiences enliven me, and encourage me to create new, healthy, affordable, local, fresh and flavorful dishes. This is why I would make a fabulous Food Blog Star! We'll be cooking, eating, drinking and otherwise, and I hope you will go to the Foodbuzz site and vote for me! Voting Opens 6AM Pacific Time September 20th through 6PM Pacific Time September 23rd - Just click that cute little widget with my picture on the left hand side. Thanks for your support!!