Asparagus season! Finally! I have been eyeballing the Tyrian Steak & Asparagus dish for months now, internally drooling and ticking the days off on my calendar, the X marking the beginning of the season. I know, I know, basically everything is available at any given time (if you ignore outrageous prices), but some things, for me, just have to remain a seasonal thing, something to look forward to and revel in once it arrives. Cherries, strawberries, plums, mushrooms… and asparagus. Only once did I make the mistake of giving in to the allure of a box of pretty-in-white asparagus I found some time around christmas. Apart from them having a terrible texture and no flavor, eating asparagus in winter was just plain weird.
I’m always on the lookout for new ingredients to play around with, having an extra eye out for lean and healthy meats. Quite some time ago, ostrich was being marketing’ed all over the place every time the words “health”, “shape” and “alternative for chicken” popped up. Ironically you couldn’t get a hold of the stuff anywhere outside of a ponzy restaurant. Up until about 2 or 3 years ago, after which it became much more common, ostrich steaks sometimes appeared as a highly overpriced rarity during BBQ season, ready marinated and prepped for convenient use. I really, really don’t like approaching a new ingredient if it’s already been messed with, especially if it’s doused in „marinades“ or „sauces“ of questionable origin and flavor that usually come with a ton of don’t-worry-about-its in them, so I ignored these birds for a while.
Like I’ve hinted at in last week’s stock-101, I’ve recently spent a lot of time in the kitchen, refining and educating my soup-skills. One of the soups off the Tyrian menu demanded my attention right away – first and foremost because I’ve always liked it but never actually made it myself and secondly because it fits into springtime perfectly, at least in my opinion: A light and creamy Potato & Leek Soup.
These little balls of happyness are one of my favorite types of chocolates for several reasons. They are really quick to make, they’re actually healthy and they don’t involve too much chocolate. I came up with these a couple of years back, after the christmas holidays. Hubby is a chocoholic, if there’s chocolate in the house, it’s as good as gone already.
A couple of weeks back we decided to taste-test a new Indian place at lunchtime. It was nice enough for a lunch-place in the courthouse district, standard menu, friendly waiters, pushy customers, the usual lunch business. While the dishes we ordered weren’t too bad (although….dousing spinach in coconut milk doesn’t make it a curry, really…), there was something… off, out of place. It took me about two spoonfuls of my something-with-spinach to pinpoint what was bothering me.
Like I mentioned last week, I really enjoy a nice piece of saltwater fish from time to time. In some cases, tuna and salmon for example, I prefer the fish to be raw. What better way to treat oneself when the mood hits, than with a batch of delicious sushi… We have an extraordinary sushi bar nearby, but sadly all the grade-A ingredients and craftsmanship of the resident sushi master are kind of lost on hubby – despite his announcements to try this-and-that next time, his mistrust of water creatures makes him order the teriyaki chicken roll every time. So sometimes I get busy rolling myself to suit both of our tastes without the limitations of a restaurant’s menu. The only thing I can’t get my hands on is sashimi-grade tuna for myself… Oh well.
Sometimes GW2 has a way to poke and prod at my subconscious basic instincts until I give in – the hunter-and-gatherer part of me for example. While I’m not really OCD’ing on achievement collections (my dislike of anything PVP related would make that one hell of an unpleasant experience) I just have to finish things I’ve already started. One wonderful autum morning last year I noticed I was just a few miniatures short of a tier upgrade or a completed tab in all of the miniature collections. Hmm… one or two items short of the finishing line? That would have bugged me to no end until I had taken care of it, so I went Mini-shopping right away to get it out of my system.
One of the culinary drawbacks of living in south-western Germany is the distance to the next best coastline. Whenever I’m struck by the mood for a nice, fresh piece of saltwater fish, I need to mentally prepare myself for ridiculous amounts of quid crossing the counter. Amounts that, most of the time, keep me from dishing up more fish. One of my absolute favorites is Monkfish, or as we more accurately call it over here: Sea Devil.
Every once in a while I get this gnawing need for a really good burger. For some reason the overall quality of burgers in our area, ironically first and foremost in the american-diner style places, has dropped shockingly low, almost to the level of the ever-present franchises. Our favourite Irish Pub offers kick-ass basic burgers, but if we’re in the mood for something more elaborate we simply make them ourselves.