Besides the burn from the ballet barre, my main barre woe involves the fact that today I taught my last class at Barre Co. in Bowling Green, KY. For those of you unfamiliar with barre, check out one of my blog’s first ever posts that explains the ins and outs of barre fitness. It’s the best workout I’ve ever tried, and I’m going to miss the wonderful people I’ve met at the studio.
In three weeks, I will be a college graduate and on my way to the airport to head to East Asia for a month with my girl Logan. This semester has been wild and crazy and scary and overwhelming and sad at times, but I’ve never been at a more grateful place in my life. God is opening my eyes to the blessings, strong-hearted people, and adventures behind, around, and ahead of me. So, if you’re someone with a heart of gold in my life, I say thank you and all good things to you – you know who you are.
Throughout these recent wild times, I haven’t been able to play in the kitchen as often. Boy, has it taken a toll on my soul. Yesterday I picked up my order of fresh spinach, asparagus, and cage free eggs from O’Daniel Farms at the Sky Farmer’s Market. This morn I rolled out of bed, opened Alice Waters‘ The Art of Simple Food, flipped to the asparagus section, and got to cooking.
I love Alice Waters. She’s considered the mother of the organic movement, and cooking in her world famous restaurant, Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, CA would literally be the absolute dream. She’s allll about the simple cooking of very fresh and local foods – the kinds of which you’re able to meet and interact with the growers. Well, I’ve been able to get to know Joe and Debbie O’Daniel, and they sure are special people. The love behind their produce is apparent.
“Let the love of Christ control you and live no longer for yourself but rather for him who died and was raised. Live in that love and war on.” Happy Sunday.
Well, okay. I do; I still need culinary school and baking & pastry courses, but I had my first fun and informal cupcake decorating lesson from my mother last night.
My niece Olive is having her 4th birthday party tonight, and so a cute cake and some cupcakes were in order. My mother decorated the hello kitty cake herself, and I must admit that I’m ridiculously impressed.
We baked carrot cake cupcakes, and used the homemade icing left over from the cake. She taught me a few flower, swirl, and fluffy frosting designs.
We had the best time playing in the kitchen together. I also learned that she made and decorated her own wedding cake. She took a cake decorating class with my Nana beforehand. Um, what? That’s so cool. I don’t know why I haven’t spent more time cooking with her over the years. So much to learn from her.
Then she threw together a pot of chicken veggie soup with lentils, collard greens, diced tomatoes, onion, and black, kidney, pinto, cannellini, and white beans in chicken broth with cumin spice.
Also, it’s beginning to look a lot like Easter around here. Mom picked these from her flower bed this morning, and my twin niece and nephew had their pictures taken with the Easter bunny.
Kelsey is looking real good lately. I wanted to know how – watching what she eats, getting her fitness on, and JUICING. I’ve been a recent fan of smoothies, but I have zero experience with juicing. So, after our midday swim, I went to her house for some juice to find out what it’s all about. The one she made had an orange, a couple of apples, celery, and a few chunks of fresh pineapple. So good.
Well, by the time I pulled into my driveway at the end of the day, I had a Hamilton Beach juicer and lots of fruits and veggies. Oops.
Later that night, my pal Ryan helped me experiment with some combinations while Brenna was our official taster. I don’t have any recipes to give you, because we were basically juicing everything in sight. However, we do have a few oh-so-scientific results:
- oranges, apples, and celery have the most juice
- bananas, apples, and lemons have the most flavor
- broccoli doesn’t really juice all that well
I’m a bit obsessed, so there certainly will be more juicing posts to follow – especially ones including actual recipes.
My girl Logan made a healthy and super tasty looking treat today.
While studying abroad in Trinidad and Tobago, I had the opportunity to get to know my professor’s wife, Mrs. Terri Yip Hoi-Rosa – what a pleasure and blessing. Once she learned about my foodie passion, she kindly channeled my experience with a Trini food ways scope. As a departure gift, she gave me a bag of Trini treats that included a bottle of Paramin ground seasoning. It’s my first day back in the states, and I couldn’t wait to use it.
I threw together a quick dinner of black lentils, my remaining can of cannellini beans from the roasted fennel bean dip, curry spice, ginger powder, garlic salt, and paramin seasoning. I topped with a bit of ground black pepper, red wax gouda cheese, cottage cheese, and sriracha hot sauce. This was a really nice small/large textured and hot/cold bowl of yumminess.
Thank you Dr. Rosa and Mrs. Terri for the delicious kindness.
Now this was my kind of classroom. I learned about foods and spices I’d never seen before and ways to prepare and cook with them. Also, there were just so many beautiful colors.
There were curry, ginger, cayenne, and paprika spices galore.
I have a cabinet stocked with those, but I have never seen geera spice. The kind woman told me it’s a nice meat seasoning. I researched the spice, and it turns out that is it cumin seed called jeera.
The Dasheen plant can be prepared in a variety of ways. The dasheen bush is the closest thing I found to spinavvch. The leaves are very big and oftentimes referred to as elephant ears. They can be used in stews or raw when the leaves are chopped. This is also what is used in callalou. The dasheen root can be sliced and fried, boiled, or stewed. Dasheen can be used to make wine and ice cream, but I unfortunately didn’t have the chance to try any in this form.
Dasheen Bush Leaves (elephant ears):
Chopped dasheen leaves (similar to spinach):
Today at the Chaguanas Market, I saw the raw hot pepper and pimento peppers that give so much spice to the food and sauces here. Look out for the little stout peppers – especially the red ones.
These little green crazy bunches are silk bananas. They would be boiled first before prepared. Our bus driver, Sam, likes them fried and served with salt fish (cod).
Cassava is pictured in the above image in the bottom left corner. Cassava has a consistency and texture similar to potatoes. These are considered ground provisions since they are grown as roots in the ground. They also go by the name blue foods, because some of them have a blueish tint at the core. I have had them in more of a boiled form served with garlic sauce and in a casserole form. My personal favorite was in a casserole form. If I was at home, I would enjoy it boiled with sautéed mushrooms and onions in curry or cumin spice served with a side of mellow black bean salsa over a bed of spinach.
There were a few different foods that I knew I had to try while in Trinidad. Not only were they supposedly delicious, they were traditional dishes.
Doubles. Roti. Callalou.
These were the main ones. Cassava was also included, but I’m going to go more into that on my next produce revolving around my Trini market place times.
Callalou is a very unique dish. It’s key ingredients are dasheen bush, okra, and maggi seasoning. I’ve tried it a couple times, and I like it. It goes really nicely over rice. The texture can become a bit funny at times, and it kind of resembles baby food. I was just happy to see some green and spinach esque food.
Doubles has been my absolute favorite meal so far. It consists of two white flour tortillas (hence the name doubles), curried chick peas, with cheno beni and pepper sauce on top. It’s wrapped in paper and folded into one big tasty mess. Your fingers, hands, and face will be covered in deliciousness. I’m love flavor, but I have a hard time handling heat. This trip has helped; my heat tolerance is increasing – I still recommend order slight pepper not heavy.
This kind lady known as Sam’s Aunt (Sam has been out driver and guide all week) was the one putting the love into this food. They were so good; she even received a few marriage proposals from some of our guys. Spot on, Sam’s Aunt. Spot on.
Roti – the history behind this food nicely complements the course we have been taking while on this trip revolving around African and Indian Diasporas as this food is not solely unique to the Caribbean but also in parts of South Africa and the Mediterranean. It is a flour based tortilla type bread wrap filled with curried meats and vegetables. Mine was curried boneless chicken with bodhi which are thin green beans. I really liked mine.
For more Trini or Caribbean Recipes, check out these links:
On the first day in Tobago, which is where my heart was most light and free, we went to the market place, Fort King George, and then to Jemma’s Seaside Kitchen. It was a really nice restaurant located literally right on the beach. The waves were lapping about 20 yards from our table.
With the breeze, sound of the waves, and the fresh fish, this was my favorite meal in terms of aesthetics.
I ordered curried fish.
Coumba ordered the grilled fish. I tasted it – so good too.
They served it with cassava casserole. This was my favorite dish of the meal. It tasted like hash-brown casserole sans the corn flakes.
They also served the dish with rice and veggies.
To drink, they served Shandy which is a combo of lager and sorrel. It was interesting.