Mixed Masala tagged me for the You Are What You Eat meme a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, the tag must have been intercepted by Canada Post because I totally missed it; I found a mention on her very beautiful site last week when I was snooping about.
And before someone pipes up with "I thought you said you weren't doing memes anymore"--you're sorta right: I'm only doing food-related memes (when my sched allows).
Narrowing down my favourite food selections to a mere 10 is much harder than I thought. Do I pick 10 foods I love to prepare? What about 10 ingredients that lure me to a menu selection? How about 10 things I'd miss most if they were suddenly absent from the planet? Then of course, there are the 10 things made with chocolate that make me melt.
Oi...decisions, decisions. No matter which way I tried to do it, I had trouble narrowing down my selections to less than 15. I know this isn't my ultimate, laminated top 10, but it does incorporate elements from the above factors. The great thing about this meme is that the answers will change over time...ask me this question in a couple of years, and I might give you a different list.
In alpha order:
Streaky, back, peameal, pancetta, tofu (yes, I like tofu), bacon adds a wonderfully salty smokeyness to foods and sauces. And, of course, I'm totally convinced that a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich on a toasted cheese bagel (topped with lettuce, onions and chillis) is probably the most glorious sandwich known to mankind.
Baked Fruit desserts:
By this I don't mean those pies made with tinned, goopy fillings. Ripe, fruit with a sprinkling of brown sugar, baked in a hot oven...mmmm. Pictured left is my blueberry-peach tarte.
Those of you who know me in RL know am part mouse. Cheeses--those "edible" oil products available in those weird little plastic envelopes DON'T count--are absolutely amazing. The number of varieties and flavours must be in the thousands. I don't have a favourite cheese, but if I spy blue veining, like the Stilton pictured to the left, I will probably make a bee-line directly towards it. And yes, I ate that piece after I took it's picture.
In one of my many list iterations, I noted pannacotta, flan, properly prepared cheesecake and premium ice cream. The common element was that totally amazing mouthfeel that rich and creamy desserts possess. I'm currently in the eight month of my pannacotta obsession and have just tried making my first one (pictured left).
I know a lot of people dislike lamb's flavour, but I love it. I love the way the Greeks prepare it, I love the way the English make it, and I love Indian lamb curries. Chances are if I see it on a menu, that's what I'll have for supper. I'm lucky in that one of my favourite lunch haunts does an amazing lamb burger with chevre and mint sauce. What you see to the left is tomorrow's supper: lambchops.
The Fussy Eater and I are often in fork wars in at the dinner table, as we spear each other's fungi. I knew someone who didn't like mushrooms, but then, he only had those little white buttony things. Oyster mushrooms, cremini (pictured left), shitaki...yummy, yummy, yummy.
I'll eat every olive, but I prefer the mild, olivey flavour of what my preferred gourmet grocer calls "Portuguese olives" to kalamata and other offerings. They aren't as salty, nor are they as acrid as many other brined or cured fruit. I also love their abyss-like blackness. I usually have a small container of them in the fridge for the occasional nibble, but I'll also use them in sauces, pizza and with chicken and fish.
Roasted or grilled veg:
When I first discovered roasted veg I wondered why more people and restaurants didn't do it around here. Most places still boil veg within an inch of their lives--not a tasty side dish. For me, a simple dish of roasted veg is the best home-made supper I can make when I'm stressed and busy. Pictured left is my version of oven-roasted ratatouille.
Basically, if it lives in the water, I'll eat it (except for salmon--I love it, but I've developed an intolerance for it). Poached, baked, fried, in soup or steamed--it's absolutely delicious. I'll also happily gobble sushi and sashimi (spicey tuna roll is probably my favourite). Pictured left is today's lunch: crabcakes. Mmmm....
No, I didn't succumb to all those Popeye cartoons when I was little. A spinach salad with pears and blue cheese, spanikopita, spinach sauteed with bacon, garlic and onions, spinach curry and even creamed spinach are wonderful options for this very healthy green. A Florentine-anything catches my attention, especially Eggs Florentine for brunch.
Okay...those are my top 10, but there are three others that deserve a special mention. I call them three things I can't live without:
Their versatility and nutritional value are underestimated by many. Baked, boiled, fried, poached, scrambled, made into fritattas, omelettes and quiches, incorporated into sauces and batters...I try and keep two to three dozen eggs on hand. Last year I was forced into a vegan diet (so the foods wouldn't interfere with my sinus meds); I missed eggs the most.
Herbs and spices.
What you see here is what I call my holy trinity: onions, garlic and chilli peppers. They go into almost every savoury dish I make. Herbs and spices make foods so wonderful. Swap one herb for another and you have a totally differently-tasting dish.
Okay...not quite. Pictured left are my favourite offerings from my favourite local chocolatier. The snail-shaped one is garlic and the one that looks like a leaf is red pepper jelly. Both (of course) are enrobed in dark chocolate.
Now...to pass this meme on. I've seen it on a few blogs, so if I've tagged someone who's already done it, I apologize:
Greg at Frankly Phobic
Ivonne at Cream Puffs in Venice
Jenny at de Arte Coquinaria
Strawberry at Scream for Sour Cream Timbits
Tania at Candied Quince
Of course if anyone else wants to do this meme, please do and let me know--would love to know what your list is :)
Timmys count: 16 coffees; 1 free coffee