Monday, November 10, 2008

experimenting with light, future contemplations

First off, the blog is not dead! I just tend to be inundated with work. But I have been cooking, just not too much worthy of taking a picture of. I did like the below shots however, and experimented with different lighting for them.

seared zucchini braised in tomato, garlic, and spices, then topped with fresh torn basil and garlic-yogurt sauce

The basil was most definitely not a traditional Afghan addition. The herb is not totally unheard of in Afghanistan, though it is typically consumed as a herbal medicine. It actually makes a very tasty addition to this dish, one I really enjoyed.

Also - a recent PFI run yielded my first foray into the world of olive oils (previously just grocery/costco stuff)...I settled on a reasonably priced, but still delicious one: Partanna. Definitely recommend it if you like a fruity olive oil flavor! $13.75/L at PFI. I did a blind taste test on myself, and the difference between Partanna, grocery store Extra Virgin, and "regular" non extra virgin was profound. The Partanna just doesn't taste refined, as cliche and obvious as that may seem. That's the best way to describe the difference between the extra virgins. The "regular" had very little flavor at all. Good for cooking, but not for dipping.

In other news, I'm currently hatching a rough plan for a travel proposal for the Bonderman scholarship that (somehow!) weaves together both my culinary passion and my desire to learn about and do humanitarian work in the future. My chances are slim, but $20,000 to travel for 8 months is an irresistible opportunity!

Also, a possible long-term reconciliation of my disjointed passions in life - spend my life doing development work, traveling all over the developing world, learning cooking from as many natives as possible along the way (on the side) then retiring early and opening a restaurant with all that I'd learned! (And donate all - if I make any - profits to NGOs)

It's just a thought.

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