There comes a time each fall when students all over America rue the day they were conceived (and rue the fact that they thought of their conception). As do the bus drivers. But thankfully, the back-to-school rush is nothing but utter pleasure for the dedicated, intellectually starving eccentric types such as myself who enjoy gorging our grey matter with wonderful information that will most assuredly escape our brains in a few months.
Enough with the self-indulgent introduction – time for the food. My wife Kaitlyn and I have been comfortably settled in our on-campus apartment for less than a week, but the flames are bright and the boiling hot tempura oil is flying (into my face) in the kitchen. Yes, the oil was a bit hot; yes, it exploded, spraying bajillion-degree olive oil into my face; yes, I cussed out the tempura. But then I ate it aggressively and maliciously, which made me feel quite happy, inside and out.
Anyway, I figured I would share some of my recent kitchen exploits from the past three days. Here’s some homemade mac and cheese I casually threw together (note the sarcasm here). I wasn’t super excited about the recipe since the 2 cups of heavy cream that was essentially the sauce caused the dish to maintain a very dense and heavy feel (particularly for early fall). Plus, I used sharp cheddar instead of the requested aged gouda. However, it was creamy and had a tasty albiet rich flavour. Garnished with a little parmesan cracker thing I baked in the oven, fried onions, and basil from our window herb garden (visible in the background).
I also tried my hand at creating risotto for the first time. I resolved to learn this classic, fundamental dish after watching Masterchef contestants flounder during a risotto challange earlier this season. I made my risotto with vegetable stock, arborio rice, olive oil, butter, onion, parmesan cheese, lemon juice and zest, salt, pepper, and a bit of parsley to garnish. I don’t have any photos of that because we ate it all without taking a picture. Plus, it was dark. No natural light = no food photography.
I previously mentioned my tempura attempt, and this is something I should address in full. I have previously created this delicious Japanese dish of fried fresh vegetables (in this case zucchini and onion), but this time I was limited by a small fondue pot and minimal amounts of olive oil. Yes, you’re probably thinking, “This dude displays ludicrous inferiority in the realm of tempura fabrication – who makes tempura in a fondue pot?” and I completely agree with your musings. For my batter I used 1 cup of flour and 7 oz of Pellegrino sparkling water. However, I am beginning to realise that Pellegrino may not contain enough CO2 for a light and crispy batter, so I recommend purchasing some super sparkly seltzer if you want to make a light and crispy tempura.
So that’s all. I just wanted to do a quick post (since it’s been five thousand years since my last one) and show off Kaitlyn’s food photography (once again, click HERE to see more of her work). Happy eating, and for all you college and grad students out there, I promise you’ll get a job someday. The economy isn’t as bad as they say 😉