I’ve been trying a little bit harder with the cooking, and have had moderate success. Yes, there was the rice dish that I burnt so badly on the bottom that, though the rest of it wasn’t burnt, the whole thing just tasted like smoke. Yikes, it was awful. I need to learn how to cook without my rice cooker, which I think I miss almost as much as my family. But there have been good meals too. As with everything here, it begins with amazing ingredients, as we found yesterday at the Carouge farmer’s market, full of amazing delicacies. *
I had so much fun. Some of the markets around here are strictly produce, consisting of a really broad range of fruits and veggies I did not think grow very locally. But the Carouge market is more of a place for delicacies – with as many food trucks as there were market stalls. I went nuts. Here’s what I brought home with me: a fresh loaf of olive bread, baked in the traveling wood-burning oven, kalamata olives, some soft cheese (Brie based?) rolled with garlic and herbs, a spice blend from Egypt and a jar of cinnamon. The bottle of wine was from a nearby gothic looking shop across from a temple I couldn’t resist. I was over the moon about some of these finds. Cinnamon especially. Cinnamon is impossible to find in superstores, I don’t know why, but it hurt me because I put cinnamon in basically everything. The spice blend too, is something hard to find. I’m used to cooking with garlic chili sauce, something that has been eluding me. But this Egyptian blend, it isn’t the same thing but has a subtle heat that I think will work really well in sauces and such. The cheese I got from a cheese cart that had a vast broader selection than anything I’ve ever found in Canada, including so-called cheese specialty stores.
Going back to these amazing fresh ingredients and how they work out in cooking, my new motto is the simpler is better. This has helped a great deal. The less I fuss with the food, the less I seem to fuck it up. For example: I was cooking for myself the other night as Z was out with his work. I came up with a simple omelette with caramelized onions and goat cheese. The ingredients were basic: an onion cooked in olive oil, eggs from a Swiss farm, whole milk and goat cheese. I caramelized the onions for almost a half hour, but after that it took about five minutes. Ooh, also, the new frying pan I had been forced to buy is actually amazing, and doesn’t stick, and as a result I’m actually able to make things like omelettes that don’t turn into scrambled eggs. Next I’ll try crepes! But here was my dinner:
It was SOOOO good. Even Z, who never really liked eggs before, is enjoying my omelettes. Also, trying to get in on the dessert baking I’m surrounded with, I went with a really easy strawberry shortcake – easy because I used a pre-made sugar tart as the base. I just cooked up some strawberries with honey, then whipped up some cream to go over top. Here I came to a problem that I had never dealt with before: churning butter. I whipped the cream by hand, which takes forever. But once it started to harden, it just kept on going. I was noticing it was becoming clumpy, with a whitish liquid separating from the mass. Curds and whey? I used to whip cream in Canada with an electric beater and I could NEVER get it to that stage. I wonder what it is about Swiss cream that allows that to happen. So here is my strawberry shortcake, topped with fresh maple butter. It was delicious, if a little surprising.
* The top photos is courtesy of my new Instagram account. Yes, I have joined Instagram. You can follow me at lauren.barr82. I will warn you that most of the photos are just ones that I post here, with more pretentious filters.