22 September 2010

Reminder: Time to Vote!

Just a quick reminder that voting is in full swing for Project Food Blog. You can vote on the left-hand side of the the screen, and on Friday 400 bloggers will be selected to move on to round two. Thanks for voting!

18 September 2010

Project Food Blog #1: Ready, Set, Blog!

So, mesdames et messieurs, here we are. Week One of the long-anticipated Project Food Blog contest. The judges have asked us, for this round, to talk about what defines us as a foodblogger. In other words, who the heck am I? Some of you have been around since this blog's humble beginnings in 2007, when I eagerly moved into my first all-alone apartment as a first year law student in Iowa City. You witnessed my excitement at having an opportunity to do my shopping, pick my meals, and create them without any rules in place. The kitchen was, in those years, a refuge for me. It was a place outside of the strict environment of school, where I could make beautiful, sensuous desserts and messy, spectacular failures without anyone but you, the sympathetic online audience, to judge me.

Others of you are new, here by way of Foodbuzz, and so I believe a proper introduction is in place. My name is Judith. I am 25 years old, and I live in Baltimore, Maryland. I have a busy, hectic life as an administrative assistant for a small non-profit in Washington, DC. Every day I spend about 13 hours working and commuting by train to and from work, so my blog is in a state of transition right now as I learn how to cook in a constantly stressed, barely-there-budget environment. In a way, this contest is a great time for a blog rebirth. I'm not here to impress you with flashy photography (can't afford the camera!) or a gorgeous layout (can't afford Photoshop!) But what I do offer is a blog that comes from the heart. Food and writing are my passions. The other day I admitted to a friend "you know what? I don't think I actually like to cook that much. I like to eat." So this is my space to express a means to an end, and to give other stressed out, overworked and underpaid young people an idea of how to EAT well.

I bring a number of influences to the kitchen. First, I'm a Southerner. Second, I'm a vegetarian. That's right, folks, it's not an oxymoron. I grew up in North Carolina, and spent many years of my childhood and adolescence not eating meat. I went back to vegetarian at age 20, and this Thanksgiving will be the five year mark. I'm also something of a Europhile. I speak French, German, and some Russian and Turkish. I love playing with different cuisines, but northern French cream and butter is where my heart is. When you read my travel diaries, you might wonder what else I did in Europe, other than eat! Those laborious descriptions of every pastry, every cheese plate, were the seeds that ended up blossoming into this blog. It's been a challenge incorporating lactose-intolerance into my cooking, but I'm slowly learning how to be creative in a kitchen where cheese has always been my secret ingredient.

So what you can expect in this contest, and in this blog as a whole, is a mélange of food, creativity, and challenges coming together. I love to try to make downhome Southern food vegetarian. I love mixing different cuisines. And I love coming up with new ways to address the challenges of dietary restrictions and a limited time and budget. These days, I'm switching over from a mentality of scarcity to one of abundance. I may not make a lot of money in most people's terms, but gosh darnit, I know how to stretch it! I hope you enjoy this journey with me, and of course, remember to vote using the widget on the left hand side of your screen. Voting for this round starts September 20th!

17 September 2010

Trader Joe's Quick Breakfast Fix

That raggedy old camera is on me again, but I'm going to go ahead and post this and append the image later because the brilliance of Trader Joe's never fails to astonish me. I love the soy chorizo they sell, which is cheap and very meat-like, but it's really spicy. I mean really spicy. So here's my solution, an original recipe using all Trader Joe's products (and no, I didn't get any compensation for this, I just really like their food):

Vegetarian Breakfast Mash

1 tube Trader Joe's soy chorizo
1/2 jar Trader Joe's eggplant and garlic spread
1 tube Trader Joe's polenta

Mix all the ingredients together well. Microwave until hot. If you want it even less spicy, try adding some frozen corn with butter sauce.