Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Day 36

What I ate today. . .
The usual tea, a hard-boiled egg, 1/2 c. steel-cut oatmeal; two slices wheat toast made into garlic bread with margarine and garlic salt, 1-1/2 c. leftover sausage pasta with vegetables; iced espresso with sweetener and 1/2 c. milk; polenta scoop plus 4 carrot halves; about 1/2 c. taco dip leftover from superbowl party with a handful of chips and black tea with milk, a slice of cake followed shortly after.

I’ve been reading, naturally, and stumbled across this book about going back to basics. Very simple food, simple recipes, sort-of like naked food. It’s called “Unplugged Kitchen: A Return to the Simple, Authentic Joys of Cooking” by Viana La Place. I’m going to buy it from Barnes and Noble, hopefully today, using my merry Christmas gift cards. Anyway, the author talks about using fresh, local ingredients and how when you’re serving someone home food it gets a better response than the impressive-looking dishes that taste sort-of confused because of all the weird ingredients. I think that’s true. I’m going to try some of the things she talks about, simple things like using sweet butter rather than salted, and see whether it makes a difference. I usually simplify my recipes anyway, but this made it a little more clear why I like to do so. It feels homey and comforting to be eating food you can recognize.

Anyway, nothing too fancy about today. I made polenta using this rough-cut meal I purchased at Vitamin Cottage. It didn’t take long to cook, but it made the polenta a strange texture that I didn’t appreciate, especially since I was making creamy polenta with parmesan and mushrooms. But it was still okay, not great. I also roasted carrots sprinkled with rosemary, salt and pepper and then basted them in a little brown sugar and honey. Those were far, far superior to the polenta.

Last night I had an orientation meeting at Share Our Strength, which is a division of Frontline. The part is a volunteer position being a chef’s assistant for a series of six courses where they teach unfortunate families how to budget and cook nutritious meals. The class I’ll be starting with is for mothers, but they also have classes for teens, middle schoolers, a teen and parent combo, pregnant teens, people living with HIV/AIDS, and classes in Spanish (which I will not be helping with). I’m excited because I’m starting off as assistant and as soon as I’m comfortable I’ll be doing the chef position. Thrilling, really, to think of getting to teach people how to cook when it’s what you love. I’ll be able to choose recipes and plan meals, and each students gets a bag of groceries to take home so they can replicate what they learn that day. The last class, everyone gets to graduate and we have a potluck. It sounds amazing. Anyway, that starts next week, so I may be commenting on it more.

Workouts. . .
15 min. calisthenics and stretching in front of the television.

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