Wednesday, June 9, 2010

To Egg or Not to Egg?

It probably doesn't come as much of a surprise to anyone reading this whatsoever, but as a long-time foodie and aspiring food blogger, I love the movie Julie and Julia. It contains everything I adore in movies -- talented actors, beautiful scenery, and (of course) plenty of porn-like shots of delicious things to eat. Naturally, I also relate very strongly to the main character for a number of reasons.

Like the real-life food blogger and author Julie Powell the movie is based on, I grew up watching and appreciating the culinary genius that is Julia Child. I still have incredibly fond memories of sitting around on Saturday mornings with my mother waiting for the cooking shows on PBS to start. Julia was one of our very favorites and she played a huge part in the development of my own love of food and cooking. She showed me how absolutely possible it is for anyone to cook even difficult dishes and more importantly? She did it with a smile on her face and an honest passion that was a real treat to watch. Those Saturday mornings were a motif in my life and I still have the most wonderful memories of them even years later.

However, Julie Powell and I have more than our mutual worship of the late, great Mrs. Child in common. We also both drop the occasional f-bomb when we blog and are major food lovers who consider ourselves to be writers. We're both rather sassy and have the ever so slight tendency to throw a mini-tantrum when something doesn't quite go our way as well. Nevertheless, when I re-watched this movie for the millionth time over the weekend with Seth, I was reminded of yet one more commonality we share.

Like the movie version of Ms. Powell, I've never eaten an egg. I'm sure there's a strong possibility that I've tried them as a child, but as an adult? Absolutely not. I'm terrified of the idea of them. The sulfur smell I associate with eggs really turns me off, as does the worry that the texture will instantly send my stomach into horrifying revolt.

However, there is something about eggs that appeals to me and makes me a little ashamed of this aversion to them. They're lovely to look upon with their pristine whites and sunflower-yellow yolks. Despite not being an egg-eater myself, I always notice other food bloggers' pictures of the egg dishes they cook and feel almost envious of the way they can appreciate those dishes in a way I myself cannot -- through the actual experience of tasting them.

Julie Powell as played by Amy Adams in Julie and Julia inspired me the other day when she tried her first egg. She inspired me to commit to giving eggs another shot and to see if my egg-hating is mostly all in my head, which I strongly suspect that it is. No, I haven't done it yet... but I'm gonna! I'm going to blog about the experience, too. Mark my words! In many ways, I admire and look up to Julie Powell in the same way Julie looked up to Julia, so... if Julie can do it, I've decided that so can I.

Eventually, I plan on working my way up to trying and appreciating dishes like this incredible-looking Croque Madame sandwich I originally saw on Kiss My Spatula -- my ultimate goal in egg appreciation. Does that lovely yellow yolk really taste like cheese sauce like movie-Julie says? I'm dying to find out.

However, I plan on starting with baby steps and working my way up to that. I can't just go all hardcore and eat a runny yolk with no prior training! After all, we're talking about a lifetime fear of eggs here. I figure that some simple, cheesy scrambled eggs like the ones I make for Seth sometimes would be a good place to start. He's promised to hold my hand while I take the plunge. If all goes well, I'll up the stakes to omelets and take it from there. Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Grilled Turkey Burgers and Chicken Spinach Sausages

Montana weather is nothing if not fickle, especially this time of year. That said, we haven't really been able to go out for our barbecues as often. Yesterday was rather nice though, so we took advantage of the apparent break the rain gods were taking in order to grill up some chicken sausages and such that we bought for that purpose a while ago.

The sausages are from this wonderful line called Bistro Sensations that I get at Wal-Mart of all places. I have no clue if it's a special brand only associated with Wal-Mart or not. I've done my research on it and haven't come up with much information beyond the fact that every food blogger who has tried and reviewed these sausages seems to have also purchased them at Wal-Mart, hence my assumption. These were the "Spinach with Mozzarella" variety, but let me tell you that at this point I've tried a number of the other Bistro Sensations flavors as well and none of them have been anything short of amazing. 

I've also been having a bit of a love affair with feta lately. Feta is one of those things that never really appealed to me when I was younger. I guess I used to think it was strong, weird, and scary based on the fact that it comes from goats and not cows. However, as I've gotten older and my palette has become more adventurous, I've also become more open to trying new things. Lately, I've been enamored of feta on pretty much all of my pizzas. This time I decided to see how it pairs with my new favorite line of sausages, so I picked up a little container of Athenos garlic herb feta on the way to our favorite grilling spot. 

We also had some seasoned turkey burgers on hand, so I thought "what the hell" and wound up throwing some feta on those as well at some point. Then I put a slice of the American Cheese we usually use for our burgers on top of that to keep all the tasty, Greek, cheesy goodness where it belonged. The burgers were seasoned further with a few drops of that wonderful smoky chipotle tabasco sauce that McIlhenny has out now. If you've never tried that before, it's fantastic and I firmly believe that it should be part of everyone's grilling repertoire.

The results were pretty darned tasty. The juiciness of the already very flavorful grilled sausages was really given that little something extra by the addition of the feta. We were starving, so we decided to double up on the burgers and add fresh romaine leaves for a little extra crunch and freshness. I'm not much of a condiment eater, so I tend to avoid mustards, ketchups and the like for the most part, but Seth ate his sausage with a little spicy mustard added and assures me it was awesome.

I realize that most people would probably either go for the feta or the American cheese, as it sounds like a little bit of a mismatch. It honestly worked really well though and I would totally do it again. I would even go so far as to say that that was among the best burgers I've ever eaten in my entire life. There was literally nothing missing from it as far as my personal tastes are concerned. Not ridiculously high in calories either. I'm thrilled beyond belief that I have leftovers just waiting to be enjoyed later on!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

And the Prodigal Food Blogger Returns...

This is really my second go-around at this particular blog, as some of you may realize if you still have it saved as part of a follow list. I started it several years ago because I wanted a place to talk about my love of all things culinary, as well as to share my many food-related thoughts and experiences. However, not long after I'd done it, my life began to flow in a different direction, especially professionally.

It wasn't long before my web presence started to adapt itself in order to better fit my actual life. A lot of the social networking accounts and blogs I used to run began to fall by the wayside as I ran out of immediate uses for them. Unfortunately this was one of them, which makes me really sad, because I loved so many things about food blogging.

For those of you who don't know me from a hole in the ground, I'm Shannon. However, I also go by the nickname "Cat", hence the oh so witty title of this blog. Professionally speaking, I'm a full-time freelance writer and artist. Personally speaking, I'm a lot of things including a long-time food lover and wanna-be chef. I still remember falling in love with food and cooking through the Saturday morning cooking shows on PBS years and years ago as a kid. Naturally, it makes me incredibly happy that cooking, cooking shows, and food blogging are becoming such a huge thing these days. I feel like the rest of the world finally gets what I always liked about those things!

That said, I'm happy to say that I'm now officially reopening my own food blog and taking it in a slightly new direction. Now that I've become a full-time writer, I have certain areas of expertise that I specialize in. One of them is food. Wine is another. I plan on posting some of my own articles on topics related to both from time to time. However, I also very much want to include personal recipes, restaurant experiences, and even reviews of cooking related media I stumble across from time to time.

I'm definitely excited to see where the relaunching of my food blog takes me and I'm looking forward to making contact with some of the rest of you out there in the blogosphere as well. Stay tuned! I think this is going to be lots of fun.