Wednesday, March 2, 2016

January & February 2016: The Bucket List Continues

January was another month that was busy, this time because the final course of my degree began.  I did manage to check one item off of my bucket list this past January however.  Of all my food bucket lists, the items from the 30 foods to cook before 30 are the most pressing as I have less than 2 years until I turn 30. Yikes! I had 17 items left on this list, and when I checked off salad dressing it came down to 16.  I had purchased some kale in an attempt to eat healthier and did not love it.  I decided to ask some advice and was told that kale can handle a lot of balsamic vinegar very well, among other things.  I found a quick salad dressing recipe that was made by shaking ingredients together in a mason jar.  My dressings main components were balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and Dijon mustard.  I was surprised at how simple it was to make a dressing! I do not know why so many people buy dressing at the store when you can make something yourself that is so much better in flavor and freshness than what is sold. If you have never made dressing, please give it a shot.
Photo by Poison Megz

I have also since made a healthier version of Green Goddess that was as simple as a few pulses in the food processor.  Next up, I want to attempt a healthier blue cheese dressing as it is my favorite and an indulgence I have been missing.

February was set to be a busy month as well, with school still in session and a convention weekend in Atlanta.  I adore when my partner is booked at an event that is in a major city, because it means the food delivery options become higher quality and of a wider variety.  Atlanta always delivers on this.  I had been looking forward to enjoying a delivery smoothie for breakfast each morning, but that business had closed in the 2 years since I had visited.  Thankfully,this opened up my budget to indulge in delivery sushi from a well-reviewed restaurant.  This restaurant also allowed me to check  two foods off of my bucket list. 

First up is Escargot.
Photo by Poison Megz

The escargot was part of a French themed sushi roll.  Also pictured is white tuna and sea urchin with quail egg.  The escargot was not bad, but I was more impartial to it than anything.  I think I will enjoy it more if I am ever able to prepare it myself.  It is on my 44 French Meals list, which I aim to cook, but I have yet to find a place where I can acquire snails to cook.

The next food I was able to try while in Atlanta is natto.  
Photo by Poison Megz

Natto is fermented soybeans.  It is sticky, stringy, funky, and I loved it.  It's strong flavor was perfect wrapped in sushi rice and nori.  I am a big fan of fermented foods.  I love the unique flavor that they have and they have tons of health benefits.  I had heard natto is pretty nasty stuff, but I did not feel that way at all.  I wished I had ordered more actually.  It is not something I will be able to get easily in Seymour, but Amazon does carry a dried version that I may try. 

Later that month, I was able to bring the 30 before 30 food list down to 15 items thanks to my friend Meggy sending me an invite to try Blue Apron for free.  The box I got included a recipe for Spicy Orange Chicken Wings w/ Shitake-Sesame Rice.
Photo by Poison Megz

I have to admit I am normally a boneless wing girl, I tend to prefer white meat.  These were awesome though.  I really enjoyed the Blue Apron box, but have not been able to afford another.  The cost is not bad for the food and recipes that you get, but as I had not currently been working while in school it is not in my budget.

Last, and definitely the best, I was able to order and enjoy The Winnimere Cheese from Jasper Hill.  
Photo by Poison Megz

In amazing moment of serendipity this cheese I have lusted after for nearly 3 years, since it won Best of Show at the American Cheese Society's 2013 competition, went on sale for half price on the same day that I received my tax refund.  I finally had my chance! This is a raw milk cheese with a washed rind that is wrapped in spruce.  It is actual cheese nirvana, maybe even just regular nirvana.  It is best enjoyed at room temperature as it becomes luxuriously rich and creamy.  The perfect texture to schmear all over some warm, crusty bread or just lick off of the cheese spreader.  I also enjoyed some Iberico Ham with my first round of this cheese.  The cheese really does not need a meat with it though, as it has its own smokey and meaty flavor to it.  You also get woodsy notes from that spruce wrapping.  All of this combines in to the best cheese I have ever eaten.  I am not an expert, but I am a big cheese fan.  If you love cheese, you absolutely must try this.  It is a bit pricey, but if you share it with a friend or two it becomes more affordable.  Although, once you peel back that rind and take your first bite I doubt you will want to share it. 

So, as usual, my life is food, food, and more food.  That is really when I am happiest though, when there is great food and I am with the people I love.

I have very high hopes for this bucket list mission in March, as I know at least one very important item will be checked off.  Stay tuned to see what that it is!

Until next time, remember to find the decadence in your life and embrace it.  Decadence can be had on any budget!

xoxo
Poison Megz



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