Sunday, September 19, 2010

Foodie Adventures

This past week I've had a spur of creative energy that was reflected and had a positive impact in all areas of my life, from work, to exercise, to going out and meeting new people, to blogging, and finally to cooking.

I still carry on with my cookbook project - at least the culinary portion of it, for the discussions I will have to wait - but to be honest I didn't do much cooking here in Zurich. I mean, I cooked everyday, but just the basic and simple recipes that would allow me to eat a fast and nutritious meal, but I didn't let my creative side express and didn't invent or tweak new recipes. To be fair, I really am not in Zurich that much either, because between traveling for work and for fun and visiting family, my weekends here have been limited - something I want to fix though, because I am really starting to (finally) be comfortable in the city.

Anyway, I had the chance to discover new food places and do some fun grocery shopping in preparation for a cooking weekend. First, last Thursday I visited the Viadukt, a new market and series of stores built in what was a tunnel and an old train station. I had a drink and a bite with my friends from the English Forum, and made the delightful acquaintance with The British Cheese Centre, which I hope will turn into a long-lasting friendship. I love cheese but had no clue about British cheeses, until now. Tasting and buying bio cheddar and goat cheese from Somerset prompted me to write my own recipe for plum chutney, which will be tried at the earliest convenience. I even have all the canning equipment that I brought with me from California, I just have to buy a couple of empty glass jars and then get to work.

Squeezed in between outings with friends, gym, and other pleasant activities, yesterday I went and explored new grocery stores so I could find ingredients to make all my recipes, and also to find inspiration for new ones. Finding ingredients is always an adventure, and my philosophy is that I never completely follow the original recipe, but adapt it based on the availability of ingredients, personal taste, and inspiration. I like to experiment a lot. I was hoping to find clams to make pasta alle vongole, which I like to enrich with cherry tomatoes, but no luck, so I bought mussels instead and we'll see how I can use them. On the other hand, I bought two wonderful, already cleaned octopuses, which are always tricky to find and that I will make  tapas-style, with potatoes and garlic, and serve cold. Finally, I was able to find three different types of mushrooms at a great sales price, so I will turn them into a creamy sauce and eat them with my chicken.

As I was heading home, I finally went to a store right next to me, where I always wanted to go but I never did, Aggarwal. I found rose water, poppy seeds, coconut oil, and other fun stuff. And, best of all, I treated myself to some good, fresh naan...Life is quite good. Now, back to the kitchen!

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