October 12, 2012 § 13 Comments
Well dear friends, the distillery, which after a flurry of ad hoc focus group testing with friends who are roughly in our target market and/or have clever things to say about names is now officially named Vikre Distillery, now has a Facebook page. As of yesterday! And you know, if that doesn’t make something real, then what does, really?
In the non-Facebook version of life, also known as reality, the distillery is still very much in the process of becoming extant. But, we’re making a lot of progress and have found all sorts of amazing help, willing ears, editors, math-checkers, connection-makers. Though so far, the number of people who have offered their services as first line taste testers outstrips the numbers of any of these categories by far. Leaves’em in the dust. No contest. (Gee, I wonder why.)
By day, I find myself bopping between meetings and then back to focused data coding. By night I continue to stare pensively at data with a furrowed brow breaking only to fill mason jar upon mason jar with vodka and herbs, trying to come up with our ideal gin blend and aquavit flavor profile, etc. etc.
Joel crunches and recrunches numbers, and perfects powerpoints, and pamphlets, and makes a lot of phone calls. I’m glad I’m not doing that part. I have a weird irrational quasi-fear of calling people.
Some days are awful and I throw up my hands, convinced this was the worst idea in the known history of mankind (worst, no exaggeration) and that it will all be a miserable failure. Other days are bright and happy, full of hope and new connections and small successes and a sense that we can make things happen. These things go like that.
Anyhow, progress, progress, progress. Each little step, on any sort of day, is progress. « Read the rest of this entry »
October 3, 2012 § 18 Comments
I’m convinced that if food knows you’re afraid of it, it will, most of the time, rise (or is it sink?) to meet your expectations, and give you plenty of trouble. This is why, for example, you must be firm while rolling out a pie crust, even as you use a delicate touch, and why souffles are best made after 10 pm, with a generous glass of wine by your side.
I’ve feared a wide variety of foods in my time, but one by one, I have try-tried again, building up my nerve and feel for things, and I’ve eventually conquered most of them. Fried foods, though, have definitely still got my number. I feel a vague internal cowering even now as I think about searing bolts of grease splattering everywhere, and me screaming and running like a peasant in front of a hord of visigoths, trying to get away from the oily conflagration that could, in my mind, easily start out of nowhere in a split second, as soon as there’s more than about 2 Tbs. of hot oil involved.
I’ve never actually had any mishap remotely resembling that (I’m much more liable to shave off my fingertip or set a cake ablaze), but it still scares me. Suffice it to say, I don’t do all that much serious frying.
Even less so because I’ve never had much cause to. I love the results enough to slave away over improving my bread, even my radicchio experience I’m willing to work at, but on the whole I don’t like fried food. I don’t like the taste, so why bother?
I know I’m kind of weird, with this. I know that my general dislike of fried chicken, fried fish, pakoras, tempura, even French fries puts me at odds with most of humanity. It’s not a problem with the fat content or anything, cream being pretty much my favorite food group. I just don’t care much for the flavor. « Read the rest of this entry »
August 19, 2012 § 27 Comments
Was I the one grumping up a storm and hemming and hawing over what to do with the sheer quantity of summer produce around? Me? Well, I take it all back! Every word of it! It never happened. I never said it.
Now I’m like all those guys in all those movies, running after the train as it pulls out of the station, crying, “waaaaaiiit!!!!” Because my true love is on that train. Except, the train is actually summer. And my love? Sweet corn polenta.
In a long line of obsessions, sweet corn polenta is my latest. It has taken over our diet in the last couple of weeks, just as sweet corn season is winding down (sad face). Kimchi tacos are still at the tippy top of my favorite things ever list for the moment, and a most exciting delivery of delicious treats from a friend in Hawaii has skyrocketed passion fruit ginger jam up to join the tacos in first place. (I may become totally open to genetically modified foods if someone can figure out a way to create a passion fruit plant that will generate fruit in northern Minnesota. Anyone?) But, sweet corn polenta is breathing down their necks. « Read the rest of this entry »
August 6, 2012 § 15 Comments
First off, foremost, and before anything else, thank you! Seriously, thank you. Jumping up and down clapping my hands thank you. I’m 8 and I just got the Playmobile Victorian dollhouse set I’ve been coveting all year, thank you. Your enthusiasm, and support, and encouragement for Joel’s and my thoughts and plans mean so very, very much to me, and you will definitely be hearing stories as we get going with our new adventures!
And now, because when I’m overwhelmed with gratitude transitions go completely out the window, without further ado let’s go ahead and talk about breakfast. Or snack. Or breakfast standing in as dinner. Or however you want to serve these popovers. (The first, followed by the second, followed by the third works quite well. I can say from experience.)
Though in the end they became the sauce rather than the apparent centerpiece, it was actually the blueberries that started the wheels turning and rolled me down the path that led eventually to popovers.
I saw them (the blueberries, that is), majestically portly and dusty midnight blue, piled high in their cardboard pints at our tiny neighborhood farmer’s market, and I simply couldn’t resist. The word that comes to mind is peak. Blueberries are at their peak, and they looked it.
The blueberry acquisition was followed, in short order, by a creamy white round of chevre, and I began to form a plan. It was only the vaguest of plans though. It went something like: blueberries and chevre…together. The question of how I most wished to eat them together remained unanswered for a couple of days. « Read the rest of this entry »
July 27, 2012 § 23 Comments
I’ve been meaning to make this corn salad for a ridiculously long time, ever since Joel first told me about the amazing grilled corn he used to eat when he lived in Mexico. As far as I could tell, he couldn’t bring it up often enough, it was that good. And from his description, I believed it was exactly as delicious as he remembered it being.
Elotes is grilled corn smeared with mayonnaise, rolled in crumbled cheese and spices, and spritzed with lime. If you ask me, that hits pretty much all the most important food groups and flavor categories. It sounded like something I wanted to be able to shovel into my mouth by the forkful.
July 24, 2012 § 9 Comments
We are nearing August. The air, thick with fresia, mosquitos, and humidity begs for laziness and simplicity. I can partially oblige.
Simplicity. Simplicity often has such beauty to it. So much can be contained within so little. Like a haiku.
Peaches, golden orbs
Buttermilk, kissed with maple
Blend until frothy. « Read the rest of this entry »
July 20, 2012 § 14 Comments
A while back, I was walking with one of my younger brothers and having a conversation. We were ambling past a variety of food stands and restaurants and the conversation went something like this:
Brother: Oh, they’re using the old sriracha trick. Classic move. Nice. And sriracha mayo, that stuff is so good. I swear, sriracha makes anything delicious.
July 14, 2012 § 17 Comments
We’re back! And more than a little bit woozy in the head with jet lag, one moment feeling perfectly energetic but practically cross-eyed the next. We’re very happy to be reunited with our darling little bundle of fur who, quite adorably, almost went into shock upon seeing us again and spent at least half an hour doing nothing but pressing up against us to lick our hands and knees while making tiny, excited whining noises.
But, otherwise it’s a little hard to be back from such a lovely vacation. While we were in Norway, most evenings we found ourselves bundling up in parkas to stay warm in the late night sun. Back in Boston, we practically can’t go outside until the sun has gone down and the stifling heat begins to dissipate. I have to admit, I prefer the arctic circle version of summer. Here it does smell of sticky, muggy, blossom-filled memories of summer camp nights, though, which I kind of like.
There’s a lot to catch up on. But, I’m reframing my long to-do list as a record of all the neat things I get to do rather than have to do, and by golly, I think it’s actually working to help to keep the no-more-vacation-slump at bay.
A slump that would be easy to slip into, that one, as our trip was quite filled with happy days and nights spent with family and friends. There was plenty of rain but also several endlessly sunny days. There was the ever gorgeous scenery, and of course I got to fill up on all my favorite foods: hotdogs with lefse, skolebrod, boller, waffles, and enough ice cream, berries, and smoked salmon to sate even the most ravenous troll (if only trolls would prefer such things to goats and hapless humans!).
June 15, 2012 § 32 Comments
I have waited for almost a year to get to eat this gratin again. Waiting, waiting, waiting for it to feel reasonable to purchase some summer squash. Finally I cracked because I just couldn’t wait any longer. I wanted my gratin!
I first had it last summer when I was home visiting my parents. It was my mother who suggested making it, and I thought it sounded fine. Though, how exciting could a summer summer squash gratin really be? Zucchini and cheese struck me as tasty, but in no way revolutionary. Just kind of summery comfort food. (Eep! That was in no way intended to be a dig at comfort food! I love comfort food! But you’ve got to admit, it’s not exciting, per se. That’s kind of the whole point.)
June 12, 2012 § 13 Comments
Do you all already love risotto? I feel like most people do. Like it usually comes naturally. I’m pretty sure I’m the odd duck in this one, but for me, well, it took me a while to hit my risotto stride.
When I first heard of risotto back who knows when at this point, I was immediately enticed by it. It looked like the rice version of creamy macaroni and cheese or maybe the rice version of pasta Alfredo. My impression of it was that it was a bowl of super cheesy, creamy rice. And how could that be anything but delightful? Right?
The first time I ever actually tried risotto was at the dinner we went to to celebrate my college graduation. It is a well known fact that a college graduation merits a celebratory dinner at a snazzy Italian restaurant wherein the graduate also gets to choose the wine. At least, I felt it ought to be a well known fact, and made sure our plans reflected this.
I wasn’t actually the one who ordered the risotto. I ordered lobster ravioli because at that time lobster ravioli was my culinary grail. The ultimate in fancy food (I don’t think I’d ever actually had lobster before that, come to think of it. What a dinner of firsts!). It was one of my best friends who came along and who ordered a vegetable risotto (she was being vegetarian at the time, I believe). I was delighted with her choice because it meant I could steal a few forkfuls.