Tuesday, March 24, 2009

About Me

Hmm, I always find it odd writing about myself, perhaps because memories of applying for college scholarships come flooding back to me! Thankfully though, this is not a scholarship, and I do not have to worry about "impressing unpretentiously" in every sentence, so here goes!

I'm originally from the under-appreciated state of South Dakota, went to college in Iowa, and am now married to a man who is just "wow." I am terribly blessed to call him my husband. My passion for cooking has really developed since I have been married. In the past, I enjoyed making forays into the kitchen once in awhile when I came home from college, but now that I have my own kitchen and my own man to feed, I can't get enough of it! I have always been creative, dreaming up designs of apparel, homes, furniture, and even picking up the paintbrush every now and then, and so when I got a job as a scientific research assistant, I greatly needed a creative outlet, and that outlet has become cooking.

I love to experiment and try new things! My husband jokes that he'll never get to eat the same thing twice because I'm always curious about some other new recipe, even if what I make elicits an "mmmm" of utter delight on first bite. That is what keeps cooking so interesting to me, there's always something new, something scrumptiously good just waiting to be discovered! I enjoy taking fresh ingredients and preparing them so that their flavors shine and are not muted by cumbersome "extras," but are instead enhanced by complimentary, harmonizing ingredients.

Besides cooking and perusing recipes, I enjoy reading a good book, doing almost anything outside where I can enjoy God's glorious creation, playing tennis, talking with my Heavenly Father and reading His Word, going to the farmer's market, eating fruit (particularly strawberries and d'Anjou pears), seeing family and friends, and spending time with my wonderful husband, no matter what we're doing . . . except maybe taxes. ;)

I hope you enjoy my blog!



Did you take the photo of the fruit for your title?
Yes I did!

Why did you chose fruit for your title photo?
Well, when I created this blog I knew I wanted a picture as part of my title, and I knew it needed to be something to do with the kitchen. Since our apartment kitchen isn't exactly a thing of beauty, food was the next best thing. Luckily, on the night I started the blog I had a colorful variety of fruit in the fridge, which I chose simply because it was what I had at the time, it was colorful, and my favorite food group is fruit! My husband will tell you that when I am down and glum, a great piece of fruit can almost instantly send my spirits soaring.

What is your cooking philosophy?
Hmm, I don't know about "philosophy" per se, but I do have some factors that shape my cooking. My mother is very health conscious and raised me to be the same way. Thus, I'll often trim the amount of butter in recipes or replace it all together with olive oil (when cooking), I always replace sour cream with plain yogurt (cooking or baking), and I try to find sneaky ways to fill my cravings but without all the extra junk, like using toasted wheat tortillas for pizza crusts when I need a quick pizza--less calories, less fat, cheaper than store bought crusts, it's quick, and I like the crunch. I win! Another major shaper of my "culinary style" is our budget! With Scott still in school making no income, but only loans we'll need to pay back, I unfortunately won't be cooking with expensive meats like some beef cuts, lamb, fresh seafood, or a wide variety of good cheeses. So I would say my cooking philosophy is this: make it healthy, inexpensive, (but do have occasional splurges both in health and expense because we deserve a treat every now and then) use fresh produce, and finish it off with something sweet, to appease my sweet-tooth!

Do you have any advice or guidelines when cooking?
  • Do not be afraid to experiment
  • Do not be afraid to change recipes according your needs and likes/dislikes
  • Know your tastes and trust yourself, by accomplishing this you'll be able to alter recipes accordingly, or only use them as a rough guideline, and create a meal that you love. For example, if you find the combination of bacon and sauteed mushrooms called for in a recipe too heavy then take out the bacon (with no worries!) and substitute in some tang with sun-dried tomatoes, or freshness with lemon, thyme, and a touch of oregano. It's simple, know yourself!
  • Always be excited about what you're cooking. If you are, you will enjoy the process more, you will give more attention and care to the food, and your result will be better. I once had a guest that wanted french toast for breakfast but in my heart of hearts I wanted to make pancakes, needless to say the french toast turned out less than spectacular.
  • Love your ingredients--use fresh whenever applicable or possible
  • Have fun, and don't be afraid to mess-up, or make a mess for that matter ;)
May I contact you? How can I?
Yes! I'd love to hear from you, you may email me at expeditionsinthekitchen@gmail.com

Why did you start this blog?
Well, mostly because I don't know what I am going to do for an occupation July 2010 and beyond. Scott and I will be moving for his residency then and I am completely lost as to what I should do. More schooling? Another job? I do know that I would love it if my future involved cooking or just food in general. Dream jobs for me would be a food editor in a magazine or perhaps owning my own "gourmet cafe" that would serve breakfast and lunch, close at 4:00pm and have an art gallery attached to it. Nice dreams right? So to see if I am serious about food I started this blog and if I write and update regularly, then it must not be a craze, but a real, true love of mine that I'm willing to work hard for to pursue my dreams.  Time will tell!