Monday, June 20, 2011

UPDATE (a real one)

So far I've pretty much failed at blogging, but hopefully I'll redeem myself over the next few weeks.

I'll start with Friday. On Friday we visited a Rouge de Près cow farm (that's the type of cow). They are a typic cow from this region that is very large (with large bones), very vocal, but pretty sweet. They didn't like the camera man much though, but granted, he is pretty creepy.
The farmer was also really nice and answered all of our questions. He was young, but his family had been farming there with these cows for generations so he knew a lot about them.

We also went to a salt marsh up north where they harvested sea salt. It was the most interesting visit so far, but it was windy, cold, and rainy so I didn't get to take pictures. I never knew how complex harvesting sea salt was, although, they did everything by hand there, and the salt tastes really good because of it. It takes three weeks for salt from the ocean to get concentrated enough for it to be harvested. It goes from something like 3 grams of salt per liter in the sea water to 270 grams per liter before it crystallizes either on the floor of the pan or the top of the water.

We visited a cheese factory too! The tour itself was kind of lame because they apprently don't make much cheese on Fridays, but the tasting afterwards was delicious. Two cheeses tied for my favorite, one was called Secret of the Convent and it was fairly mature and slightly funky, but soooo good by itself. The second was a cheese they made up there, a very young cow milk cheese that was still very soft. It tasted a lot like goat cheese, which I love. Anyways, here is a picture of the spread, but it was dark in there so it's not very good.

We also tried some fresh raw (unpasteurized) milk. I have never really liked milk, especially when drinking it plain, but this was super smooth and not at all off-putting. I drank a lot of it...

After a whole bunch of tours and many lectures I had a nice relaxing weekend. It included: A super weird movie called Tree of Life that I kind of want to recommend just for the wtf moment in the middle when there is a random scene of a sympathetic dinosaur, a trip to the farmers market with a really large fish market and live chickens and ducks for sale,

a picnic by the fountain and dinner with my friend Aimee, and a nice long bike ride out to the lake.

Also, here is a random picture of a glass from my host family's house. They love the Simpsons and I love how cute this glass is. :D

Thursday, June 9, 2011

France in 7 minutes

I have 7 minutes in the computer lab to post some pics so please forgive any typos because french keyboards are super confusing.

Let's see if I can figure this out.

I'm pretty sure most of the pics on my camera are of plants, especially after going to TERRA BOTANICA. It's a gigantic botanical garden and it was amazing.

This is a passion vine that me and my friend Megan are obsessed with. They had them there in all different colors and some had weird fruits on them.

We also went to some dreamy castles ad now I'm headed to some organic farms and I'm out of time and I hate the stupid M key. Urgh.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Off to Angers

So if you didn't know, I'm traveling to France in 3 days. I'll be staying in Paris for the first night, then visiting Versailles, Tours, and various castles. For the next month I'll be living in Angers with a host family (my host mom sounds really sweet) and learning about French culture, language, history, agriculture as well as the regional food products in the Loire valley (wine, cheese, bread, salt, etc.).

Chateau Angers!!!

My days will pretty much go like this: French class from 8-9, one or two classes before lunch, and then company visits or exploration in the afternoons. I'm pretty excited about visiting a salt production cooperative, and wine and mushroom caves.

During the second month I will be living and working on a French organic vineyard learning about viticulture. Unfortunately, from research I have done, I won't be there for harvest but I may still learn a little about making wine. Luckily I'm much more interested in the grapes than the alcohol. :D The vineyard is called Clos Mélaric and is about an hour away from Angers, 20 minutes from Saumur, and 3 hours from Paris.
These are the owners of the vineyard and their little daughter. It will be so neat to live/work with such young, passionate people!

After my stint at le clos, I will be rendezvousing in Paris with my SISTER!!!! We will be staying in a youth hostel, drinking espressos in cute little cafes and talking girl talk. I haven't seen my sister in about 9 months so I'm super excited!!!! Exclamations galore!!!!!

Reason for more exclamation marks: after my time in France I will be spending a week in California to hang with old friends, go to the beach with Augie Beeman and visiting my big brother Matt!!!

I'm hoping to update this as I go along in the computer lab at school during the first month, but I don't know quite what to expect during the second. Hopefully I'll have access to a computer, but if not I enjoy sending snail mail (way too much.)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Vegetables Galore!

As a busy college student I don't always have time to make meals, especially healthy ones. I find it really hard to get in 5 servings of vegetables a day. This all started with my love of putting pumpkin in my oatmeal. It's so delicious! So I figured, hey! That's a serving of veggies! Unfortunately, pumpkin is rather expensive and sometimes hard to come by. So I decided to make a blend of pumpkin plus some other veggies and fruit for my morning oatmeal.

I decided on:
1 large can pumpkin
1 sweet potato
4 carrots
1 1/2 apples
(I "accidentally" ate a half of one of the apples...)

I peeled at chopped the s. potatoes and carrots up into similar sized pieces and then boiled them until very soft. At the same time I peeled and diced the apple and put them in a pot, turned the heat to medium, covered them, and let them stew till very soft. Then I threw it all in my mini-food processor (multiple times). I canned it all and put it in the freezer (except for one to start eating now).

It turned out very good. The apples and carrots made it nice and naturally sweet, which is perfect for in the morning.

THEN I got to thinking... what about other veggies?! (I get way to excited about veggies...) I'd already made an orange veggie sauce, I should make other colors! So I made a green (boiled spinach and peas and roasted broccoli) and red (sauteed red bell pepper, stewed tomatoes and roasted beets). The green is really good in omelets or with rice (barley, quinoa, etc.) It's kind of like a broccoli pesto. The red is the scariest pasta sauce you'll ever see--it's a stain monster. I had a lot of fun with it though, my hands were completely pink! It's very sweet so I imagine it would taste really good with pork or anything with basil. It kind of reminds me of cranberry sauce, but I think that's just because of the vibrant pink color...

Here's a pic of the final product:

If anything, the vibrant colors will make me happy while eating. :D

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My New Kitchen!

Today I painted my kitchen.


Now I want to paint the rest of my walls either a very light green or yellow. Something very calm.

Well, that's pretty much all I have to say today.

Oh! Everybody should read The Passage by Justin Cronin. It's so good. So good that I was afraid to turn the lights off last night. Scary scary. :D

Friday, July 9, 2010

Okay, so it's been a while...

But I'm back!

This summer I've been doing a lot of delicious cooking from cuisines all around the world. Caribbean, Cuban, Chinese, Japanese, French... it's all been amazing so far!

Today I made.... some sort of Americanized Asian cuisine. Anonymous but delicious. It was a Creamy Curry, Tofu & Veggie Pot Pie. Seeing as I have a limit on my pans it was more like one mini-pot pie and one normal pie.

Anyways. It was super easy (it used puff pastry instead of normal pie dough). I normally don't like pot pies because they are always chicken and the chicken in store bought pot pies always grossed me out... but I figured I'd try making one with tofu because that couldn't ever be gross meat, and I've been using coconut milk a lot lately.

So here's how it turned out. I had a shortage of puff pastry so the crust isn't the most beautiful, but oh well. It tasted delightful.

Before eating:

During eating:

After eating:


I made Porcupine meatballs the other day after a long run. I was so hungry by the time I finished that I just threw them on my plate. This is their story:

Nice, huh?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mini-Apple Pies

I wanted to bake something late last night, but I didn't have any eggs. I did have my tupperwear of basic baking supplies and 2 stolen apples (from the dining hall.)
So I whipped up a half batch of pie crust and let it refrigerate over night, and then in the morning I chopped up some apples really small (they are very small pies) and threw in some sugar and pumpkin pie spice.
I baked them at 350 for about 37 minutes, and voila! The cutest little pies you've ever seen.

I particularly liked the lattice tops and the one with 5 vents because it looked like an apple when cut in half horizontally. I gave it to my coworker Jeff during Biotech class after we had talked about me making them in work the day before. He said that he couldn't believe I actually made them and how amazing they were. Then he was speachless for a few minutes while he ate it. That always makes you feel good.

You should try making these! They are sooooo good!
P.S. There are raisins in the pie as well, which turned out good, but I think it would be even better with golden raisins. Unfortunately, golden raisins cost more gold.