new work meet the maker

Food Discovery

I have recently made some great food discoveries. Not ground-breaking discoveries, just everyday-thrill kind of kitchen discoveries. Sometimes it’s the little things. Or maybe it’s always just the little things?

Do you know the website 100 Days of Real Food? I stumbled upon that last month and find it to be a great resource. I’m loving the school lunch round up posts, as well as the 100 Days on a Budget series, but the greatest discovery was “the popcorn trick.” My god. I’ve been going about it all wrong. I have always made my popcorn “from scratch,” meaning, I cook the kernels in a pot with oil, just like my father always did growing up. But this. Well, this changes everything. The easiest, most obvious microwave popcorn evah. Check it out.

Another discovery? Rubbing garlic on toast. I may be pushing the definition of the word discovery here, but it has changed my breakfast life. I am not a fan of typical breakfast foods, and usually prefer dinner leftovers in the morning. I’ll take savory over sweet even at 6am. The fact that I have 30 garden-grown garlic bulbs drying in the basement makes this all the more perfect.

garlic rubbed toast

Speaking of the garden, I put in 4 broccoli plants and 4 cauliflower plants this spring only to discover that, in fact, that are all broccoli. Hmm. I guess the labels at the garden store must have gotten switched up. I was looking forward to having home-grown cauliflower for the first time, but an abundance of broccoli is never a bad thing.

And driving home the point that I am not an expert in the gardening department, is my bright idea to grow my string beans up the lattice at the edge of the garden, so they wouldn’t use up so much space. Those vines grew up and up, and now that the beans are ready to be picked, they are too high to reach. It’s nothing a girl on her dad’s shoulders can’t handle, but there is a cluster of gigantic beans on the garage roof that must be dealt with soon. Those things are starting to look more like cucumbers.

string beans, garden

We also discovered concord grapes growing outside of the library, and earlier in the summer, we found blackberries at the soccer field, blueberries at a local hiking spot, and wild garlic at the bank. Hurray for foraged goodies.

For my birthday (way back in June) I received Joy the Baker’s cookbook from my mother. Holy indulgence! The front cover says it’s a “celebration in butter and sugar,” and I’d say that’s pretty accurate. But Joy does include a few healthy recipes, like the kale, spinach, banana, peanut butter smoothie. It’s so good, my girls will even drink it. (To be fair, they will drink green smoothies, but never with gusto, like they did this one.)

There’s nothing like a new food discovery–a recipe, a gadget, a new method of cooking, a new ingredient–to renew my enthusiasm in the kitchen. Now that we’re back in the routine of school, homework, and soccer practice, I have a few new tricks up my sleeve to keep things from getting bland too soon.

Have you made any food discoveries lately?


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16 responses to “Food Discovery”

  1. Jiffy

    I was listening to America’s Test Kitchen this weekend and they mentioned freezing peeled garlic cloves (whole). When you’re ready to use them, defrost for a couple minutes – and the integrity of the garlic is a bit compromised, making it MUCH easier to mince AND added benefit is no large chunks of garlic (especially on garlic bread). I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before!

  2. Heather Thyne

    Hey Amy! I’ve made a lot of discoveries on gardening and food this year.

    1) Don’t plant watermelon. It is a space hog. It took over a full 8×8 bed, and parts of 2 others plus spreading out under half of the clothesline area. And it is not a very productive plant space/production wise. I got only two and one half melons from all this space! I had thought to use the harvest for smoothies since neither your uncle or I am a watermelon fan, but really, it is not worth the space it used up.

    2) Plant cantelope. It was very productive. Nearly as much of a space hog as watermelon, but much more productive. I harvested 9 cantelopes and 2 more were victims of the local bunny population.

    3) I LOVE fruit smoothies (but can’t imagine green ones, sorry–don’t like the V8 fruit & veggie juices either). Cantelope is an EXCELLENT substitute for bananas. I had been using bananas as a filler fruit, my smoothie recipe consists of whirring up in the blender or using a stick blender with the following: a filler fruit (‘lope slices or banana), a few berries (blue, straw, cherry, raspberries, etc) from the freezer, about 1/4 cup any flavor or vanilla lo-fat yogurt, about 1 to 1.5 cup ice cubes (or crushed ice if using a stick blender), any type of juice (citrus, cranberry, blend, etc). I have one nearly every day as a substitute for lunch or breakfast. SO…all that extra cantelope I have (which I am not a big fan of as an edible fruit by itself), has been cubed up and frozen for future use in smoothies. I enjoy the different twist of the melon taste, and it’s a creamy fruit that’s quite a good substitute for the banana!

    4) I MUST bite the bullet and somehow, as cheaply as possible, get more concrete reinforcing wire to serve as my tomato cages. My BetterBoy variety and the Roma pear variety have taken over at least half or more of their 8×8 planting beds. They are smothering my beans, pepper and parsley. At HD, the current price for a roll of this is $105, and will make about five or six cages. MUCH more expensive than it was in 1999, when I bought some last (which we got rid of when we moved, as no garden was initially planned for the new house in PA).

    Which leads us to number 5…

    5) PLAN. And check your results, and revise the plan. Next year, all herbs will be in their own special bed, probably NOT in with the veggies but as a decorative element of my foundation planting, I’ve got just the space in mind for them. Beans will be far away from the tomatoes and the cukes and melons will get better support than the large wire dog-crate sides and repurposed election yard sign supports that I used this year! And I’ll be able (since the garden is now established) to plant (and protect from the bunnies) an early spring crop of lettuce, spinach, snow peas, etc.

  3. Dana Barbieri

    Hi Amy. I LOVE rubbing garlic on french bread hot from the oven. I then brush on EVOO. I learned this of course from Rachael Ray but it is so good and EASY. My son often requests it.

  4. Cindy

    I just discovered the “popcorn trick” yesterday!!! Why didn’t we think of that before? Also loving the school lunch roundup – yesterday gave H a frozen fruit smoothie (with spinach hidden in it, hehe), rolled up ham with a cheese stick & heart-shaped piece of bread (home-made lunchable style). K got a flower shaped sandwich, wedge of cheese & watermelon. And also discovered the same freezing-peeled-garlic-trick as Jiffy – brilliant!
    And I LOVE that you found wild garlic at the bank!

  5. anne

    What great ideas! I just started freezing cherry tomatoes. I got the idea from a Trader Joe’s frozen pizza and then read about freezing tomatoes on Organic Gardening’s website, proving that I wasn’t crazy! I always have too many to eat and now I have a bunch in the freezer for when my garden stops producing.

  6. Francesca

    I’m not a fan of typical (sweet) breakfast foods either, and love bread and olive paste for breakfast!
    PS We call toasted bread, garlic (rubbed), olive oil, and sometimes other toppings (chopped tomatoes, grilled peppers etc) “bruschetta” – a classic italian hors d’oeuvres.

  7. ella @ lifeologia

    Wow girl, someone’s got the green thumb going 😉
    Love all your goodies… kind of got me hungry LOL
    wish I could have a bigger yard and more sunshine for a nicer harvest over here… so there’s not much pointers I can give you. Maybe just that I’m happy with herbs planted in pots… when they overhang they don’t get dirty in the soil 😉
    Love the garlic rubbing trick 😉 and all the other tips sound real good (still need to check them out).
    And broccoli overload! Yes, awesome 😉

    What I’ve done recently is freeze mint leaves & blueberries or lemon in ice cube trays with water – and they are just a great quick way to jazz up a glass of water – and get some added nutrition ;D


  8. Angela

    Thanks for the link to the food website. I am glad to hear your garden is growing well despite the broccoli surprise. How on earth did you get your garlic to grow? I fear mine just perished except one.


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