Thursday, September 5, 2013

become a food blogger (part 1)

[Sorry I missed a day, there have been some exciting developments in my life which may even turn into a future #30til30 post. I'll make it up to you with not one but TWO posts tonight!]

I have lived alone for 18 months now, and I've learned a lot about myself in that time. For example, my belief that having more space would allow me to keep my space neat and clean. False. It's like I start shedding when I walk in the door, leaving a path of clothes, shoes, bags, and keys in my wake.

Something else I've learned about myself is that I love to show and tell the food I make. I am that obnoxious instagrammer posting a steady stream of market produce, baked goods, and cocktails. I call my mom and tell her about what I made for dinner (sometimes as I'm eating it). So why haven't I ever started a blog to share the love publicly? Laziness, mostly. Fear that no one will read it, or I'll be unoriginal and boring, or I'll run out of things to write about. But I waste a lot of time re-watching tv shows and reading the Internet. So after this while #30til30 thing is over I'm going to keep the blogging thing going, but focus on food.

To start things off, here's a recipe I made for The Bitten Word's #covertocover2013. It's a baby step toward food blogging, but it's a start!

Strozzapreti with spinach and preserved lemon

I was really excited about my assigned dish for this challenge. Greens and pasta is a go-to weeknight meal for me. It's carb-heavy enough to feel comforting, but the greens keep things healthy and lighter. This seemed like a classed-up version of my staple.

Finally having a reason to buy preserved lemons was also exciting, as I've seen them called for in recipes before, but it never seemed worth seeking out a sort of hard-to-find ingredient. But this is a special occasion, so I made the journey to the Whole Foods olive bar and stocked up. Maybe having a few extras in the fridge will be the motivation to go back and try some of those other recipes.

Although I had no trouble finding the preserved lemons, the strozzapreti proved more difficult. Whole Foods had a disappointing selection of fresh pastas, so I had to settle for fresh linguine. And on the topic of ingredient-swapping, I had some Swiss chard from the farmer's market that I swapped for the spinach.

Wine is for the chef, not the recipe.
Unlike my usual greens and pasta combo, this had a bit of prep work. The panko crumbs in toasted in butter, garlic, and red pepper was a delicious topping, and definitely worth the couple extra minutes.

The rest of the dish came together pretty easily. I tried not to be too disturbed by the amount of butter, but it was a heftier amount than I'm used to using.

So, here's where things started to go downhill for me. When I added the pasta to the greens and butter everything seemed . . . dry. I've gotten in the habit of adding some of the pasta cooking water to this kind of dish. I checked the recipe again and there was nothing about adding any liquid other than the lemon juice and all that butter. I ended up splashing in a bit of pasta water to loosen things up. But it didn't resemble the glossy picture from the magazine. Was this because I wasn't using the right pasta?

In the end, with the buttery breadcrumbs on top, it was a tasty dish. But was it worth all that butter and the extra steps? I don't think so.

This is a terrible picture. Must improve food photography.
Sorry, fancy-pants recipe. I'll stick with my on-the-fly approach to greens and pasta from now on. But I'll keep the preserved lemon, and the buttery breadcrumbs!

Special preview: Next week I'm taking a class called "Spice Up Your Writing With Culinary History" so I'll be posting a recap of the class and, I hope, another food post.

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