A year ago today, I was heading to Food Blog Camp and starting a course in Genetics at the alma mater. I went back to school for six months, spent the summer applying, spent the fall freaking out, went to Paris, and now 2011 is over.
The most telling sign that I have no idea about what happened to 2011 is when my day job had some recent major breakdowns. It involved a lot of backtracking and reviewing data. In a discussion, I remarked that one of our molecules was made recently, in June.
Everyone stared at me. Turns out it was June 2010. Wow.
So, this is a new year. I'm hoping it will be a big year. Much is out of my hands, but I have been thinking a lot about this blog. I want this blog to be a chronicle about good food, but it's become somewhat unfocused. When people ask what the blog is about, I hem and haw through the answer. It's always been a little of everything, but I want it to have a little more focus this year.
What it's not:
A regularly updated site with fresh and easy recipes for those short on time. Hell, I'm too short on time, why would I be any good to another busy person?
Focused on recipe development. My day job is essentially recipe development. I love to cook for a lot of the same reasons I love chemistry. However, developing, recording, and repeating methods for reproducible results is not why this blog exists.
About shortcuts. There are many good ones, but I'm not here to talk about making cooking easier.
What it is:
A repository for my inane wit. If you're a regular reader of Meandering Eats, you know I'm sarcastic and silly. I prefer that you are, too.
A place for inspiring photos. Gone are the days of posting ugly photos taken in dim restaurants. If a photo is ugly, I won't post it, even if the subject is ah-may-zing. The photos should tell the stories, not me.
A chronicle of my culinary explorations, whether it's travel, in town, or in my kitchen. The goal is to make Meandering Eats much more of a travel-focused food blog. It will either feature eats found on the road, eats found in San Diego (which is one great place to travel to, y'all), and "traveling" vicariously through dishes I whip up in the kitchen.
I wish I was traveling all of the time, but I do a lot of traveling in my kitchen, instead. Like a recent weekend, with scones and udon. No, not at the same time. And not as a tribute to England.
Scones remind me of Amsterdam. While they're certainly not Dutch, our first meal during our recent stop in Amsterdam was at GreenWoods, an English tea room. The food was simple and delicious, which was perfect for the gloomy days we had in Amsterdam. Plain scones, clotted cream, jam, and a pot of Earl Grey. I'd been thinking of those scones since I returned.
When I saw a simple scone recipe in Saveur's 2012 Top 100 issue, I had to make it. We had everything on hand, but went out looking for clotted cream. Here in my part of San Diego, jarred clotted cream was available in the cheese section of Whole Foods.
The original recipe is here and I made a few changes:
- I halved the recipe exactly, but replaced the milk with 1/2 cup buttermilk and 1/2 cup skim milk.
- Used a pastry cutter instead of my fingers to cut the butter into the dry ingredients.
- The dough was patted into an 8-inch round disk and cut into 8 wedges.
- With the changes, the scones were ready in about 18-20 minutes. Start checking at 15 and take out of the oven when a rich golden brown.
In Amsterdam, we didn't just stick to scones at the English tearoom. We had traditional raw herring from a canalside stand. A chocolate-banana tart from one of Amsterdam's best bakeries, Patisserie Kuyt, and siphon-brewed Yirgacheffe from Two for Joy.
We spent most of our trip in Paris, but traveled to Amsterdam in style via Thalys. Our timing in Amsterdam was a little off because we arrived the weekend of a transit strike, but that turned out to be fortuitous because we rented bikes and rode around town without worrying about dying in a collision with a street car. Still, it had been a while since I'd been on a bike and it doesn't help that I'm in this bright yellow tourist bike. Yet, it was an incredible way to see the city and I don't think I'd even bother with a transit pass next time.