Butter Poached Salmon

Have you ever stopped to listen? Listen to the sounds of the world around you? Sitting outside I find myself appreciating the different songs of the birds, and taking comfort at night in the rhythmic inhale/exhale of my sleeping baby girl.  I hear the traffic outside amidst the gusty thrusts of the year’s first thunderstorm pelting rain against our apartment building, or down at the lake shore I take in the serenity of the water lapping against the docks swaying the boats to and fro, whilst a few seagulls (yes, this land-locked nation appears to have seagulls) call off in the distance.  If I think really hard, I can almost hear the sun trying to be noticed from behind the wall of fog that sits like a gatekeeper over the lake, keeping summer at bay just a little longer.

In my kitchen, I hear the sizzling of sliced garlic hitting the hot pan in a bit of butter, and then the shtshtshshh of salmon filets being added, its skin crackling at the thought of having to become bedfellows with a vegetable like garlic.  As my husband poaches the filets, spooning a little hot butter over top, the sizzling comes in waves, crashing against the shore each time that butter finds the pan once more.  The pot on the stove comes to a roaring boil signaling that it’s time to blanch the broccoli, and finally the salmon has quieted down letting its rich aroma permeate the room, the smells and sounds of preparation become a pair of sirens tempting us to give the meal a taste.

How often do we say, “dinner sounds good,” as a generic approval of what we will eat? Have you ever thought of what dinner actually sounds like?  While my vision hasn’t been too awesome lately as each blink of the eye comes with searing pain, when I can I’ve been taking the opportunity to close them slowly, and take in the world with my other senses.  I think we all know how to associate smell with food, but how often do you listen to your food? Maybe its song tells a story as much as its fashionable (or sometimes even garish) looks.

I think we often forget of the richness and vibrancy of the world of sound compared to that seen with our eyes, especially when it comes to food.  But food does sing.  It sings when it’s getting chopped, as it cooks, as it crunches between our teeth.  And if you listen carefully, you will notice that it carries a rhythm and possibly even a tune, that is always enriching our world and our perception of it.

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Five Years

by Jenn on March 17, 2013

in Featured Posts,Photography

Matterhorn view from Riffelberg

Five years.

For over half a decade I have dedicated a little space of internet for my ramblings about food, I can’t believe it! Who knew when I started that I would still be blogging five years later?? I think it’s a lot of fun to look back and see the transformations I’ve made since I posted my “best salad ever“.  In a way, this space not only documents the food I’ve cooked, but also my life experiences – moving to a new country, starting a family, seeing some gorgeous sights, making friends, and enjoying life gluten free.

Last weekend was such an experience, a day with some friends who happen to share a similar passion as me, gathered high up in view of the majestic Matterhorn.  And while I’m not posting a recipe, these sort of images are just as much fun for me to create as food – so for my five year blogiversary, let’s take a little stroll through the mountains, shall we?

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A very green carbonara

I am not going to write about the weather.  Ever since I have become cognizant of my own weather ramblings as I introduce blog posts, I have noticed I am far from alone in this habit.  Who needs small talk on a personal blog? Not here, I know you all didn’t come to hear me babble about the sun shining (or not as the case may be…)!

Boxed gluten free pasta can be hard to use sometimes – you want to make your favorite pasta dishes, substituting in GF pasta, but it just doesn’t come out the same.  In our home, the dish we struggle with is carbonara.  Every time we add in egg to our GF pasta to make the classic Italian dish, it just doesn’t coat and mix into the pasta the way it should.  I’ve finally decided to stop forcing something that clearly isn’t working out, and to instead embrace something new.  And voilà, our new pasta favorite, avocado carbonara came to be!

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Grapefruit Salad

I love eating grapefruits in the winter, I think they are just one of the prettiest fruits.  Maybe it’s the ruby red – the way it entices and sparkles in the light, or simply the anticipation of that tart juicy flavor just waiting to be scooped up and tasted.  While I have had more time to think about food photography than actually do food photography lately (thanks, injured eye), I have spent considerable time wondering why such foods are so beautiful to us, and what makes food beautiful, in general.

Why are we as a culture so obsessed with photos of food and documenting our food? Dennis Dutton explained the ideal Pleistocene landscape as inherently beautiful to our tastes in his Darwinian theory of beauty (the link goes to a really cool TED talk) – essentially we find beautiful the things that would be safe and reassuring to our prehistoric selves.  He describes scenes of grasslands with trees, water nearby, paths to follow, maybe animals and other people too.  But I have to wonder, if food is not also inherently attractive on that prehistoric level as well – if a little tended garden (probably a foreign element to our nomadic ancestors), or a pot on a fire of a hearty stew wafting into the air would have ruined the beauty of such a landscape?  (ok, maybe a pot of stew brewing away would have been a bit ambitious for our pleistocene ancestors, but this is just a thought experiment….).

Grapefruit Salad

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Valentine’s Temptations

by Jenn on February 13, 2013

in Gluten Free,Tastes

valentines

I’m not one for much sappy romantic love, never really have been.  But my husband? He writes me poems, it’s so sweet and endearing.  He wrote me poems on our wedding day, and sometimes I’ll wake up to find a little note that he composed professing his love for me.

Me? I request that we open up our bottle of Batard-Montrachet, and cozy up together with some homemade dinner (I seriously don’t even know what I’m going to make yet – roast chicken perhaps?) watching tv while baby girl babbles along telling the world stories about who knows what with her entire vocal repertoire of some five syllables.  Maybe I’ll make another batch of hot chocolate for dessert, or maybe I’ll get ambitious and go for a little chocolate soufflé.  All I know is, there will be chocolate, because that’s how I say, “I love you forveer.”

Are you up for some ideas of a few Valentine’s temptations? ;)

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quinoa salad

Let’s talk about quinoa.

Quinoa is a gluten free miracle “grain” and nutritional superfood that has garnered much attention lately – recently society has pretty much moved on from asking how to pronounce it (keen-wa or keen-oh-a?) to instead asking how to actually cook it.  Everywhere I look I see people singing its praises as we happily pay for a box of the pseudocereal’s protein packed seeds to use in place of more traditional grains that are off limits to gluten free folk.  Personally, I’ve never been a total convert.  I don’t mind quinoa, and think it’s very well suited to certain types of dishes, but I don’t jump up and down shouting from the rooftops about how amazing it is.  All the acclaim for its health benefits keep me buying it (just like I buy carrots and kale even though I despise them), hoping one day I’ll find that dish that lets me truly fall in love.

But quinoa’s story is more complex than it may at first seem.  Quinoa, a plant more closely related to beets and spinach than wheat, originates in the Andes mountains of South America – Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Argentina, and Chile.  Due to its long history as an integral part of the Andean food culture, deemed the “mother grain” by the Inca, today it is considered one of the “ancient grains” (other gluten free ancient grains include amaranth, millet, buckwheat, sorghum, chia and teff, even though not all these are technically grains, but some are also seeds like quinoa).  Quinoa outlived the Incan empire and survived the Spanish conquistadors, and today is an important crop for several populations in the Andes, where it stayed relatively unknown to the rest of the world until quite recently.

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