What's this? Drop cloths, ladders, and drywall dust on every surface of my house? Wait, where am I in all this...
Ah - there I am!
I've been seeing a lot of red-white-and-blue desserts lately. Berry tarts made to look like the flag, apple pies, try-color cakes, and other patriotic what-not. Sadly, I will not be contributing to the festivities. No big parties, no family barbeques, no great celebrations. Instead, I'll be focusing on my own independence. My independence from clutter, that is.
Living conditions have been a little sub-par, of late... besides plain-old messy, the paint is scuffed, the drywall is cracked, and for the past decade the already-very-old-carpet-which-has spent-most-of-its-life-with-pets has been treated as an all-needed drop cloth to life, under the assumption that it will get torn out and replaced any day now. Well, that day is, finally, now. With new floors on their way, I'm sanding, spackling, painting, and fixing all the nicks, dings, and boo-boos this house has accumulated over the past twenty years. While I'm at it I'm cleaning, reorganizing, and refurbishing as much as I can. I'd love to show you some more photos, but for now I'll leave the chaos up to your imagination.
This means war!
Besides this little undertaking, it's officially-too-hot-to-cook degrees outside, and the forecast doesn't look like it'll be changing any time soon. Fear not, as I will be sharing new recipes soon enough - but for now, I'll leave you all with this.
The other day, while playing a round of officially-too-hot-to-be-playing-disc-golf disc golf, The Boyfriend began asking me random interview questions. Here is some of the Q and A:
The Boyfriend: What is the biggest thing you've learned in cooking in the past year?
Me: That's a really tricky question. I've learned a lot of things - about cooking, about baking, about all kinds of stuff - but I think more than any one 'big' thing, I've learned a lot of very little things that make a big difference. I guess if you were to ask me what I would say to someone looking for cooking tips, I'd say the biggest piece of advice I could offer would be to use the best, freshest ingredients possible. That will always make a tremendous difference in your finished product, no matter what your skill level.
The Boyfriend: So you're saying people need to know something about shopping, to buy better ingredients?
Me: Not necessarily. For instance, if you're looking for fresh meat or seafood, you can always ask the person working the counter. Ask them what's fresh, what's of the best quality - or, if you have a specific use in mind, tell them what you're planning and ask what the best cut might be. They aren't just there to hand you your food. When it comes to produce, if you're buying something you aren't familiar with you can always look online for how to tell when it's at its peak. And when in doubt, buying local or organic will help to guarantee a fresher, more seasonal product.
The Boyfriend: What are your cooking goals, or plans, for the next year?
Me: I suppose I'm interested in honing my baking skills. While I enjoy cooking, I really want to better understand how cake and pastry works, and get a better feel for creating my own desserts.
The Boyfriend: Is there a specific thing you want to try, but haven't yet?
Me: I think Beignets are right at the top of the list, as soon as the weather cools down enough to fry.
Note to the readers - The Boyfriend loves beignets!
The Boyfriend: Well, I'm certainly glad we had this little interview!
If you're interested in a more official interview with yours truly, check out my recent feature at The Back Burner: Featured Foodie Interview
Meanwhile, I'll be taking a quick break from all the renovating to kick back, eat some water melon, and re-read the good ol' Declaration of Independence. What better way to celebrate?