We love [the idea of] cooking. Well, maybe we should rephrase that. If we're being honest, what we really love is eating. Inspired by The Locavore and 100 Mile Diet, Stephanie even picked up some seasonal cookbooks by Earth to Table and Marie Claire to break in her new kitchen. But we were truely motivated to bring out the Kitchen Aid mixer (we're actually just dreaming we own one) when we came across Daniel Penn's blog.
We met up with Dan and his girlfriend Sam at Bread Bar where he generously gave us some cooking zines he wrote (Sam did the illustrations). We suggest you head over to Lavish & Squalor and pick one up. Dan loves food. And he wants others to share in his enthusiasm. His recipes are simple, straightforward, approachable. They have their fourth zine in the works, this one intended for children. The inspiration for it came to him while studying food science in Denmark. After taking Food Choice and Acceptance, Dan learned about genetic traits, and why people like and dislike certain foods. Better yet he studied how you can manipulate what people like to eat. "Children need to know what their choices are for food" explained Dan, "They need to be involved." After finishing his thesis at McMaster University, he plans to develop an afterschool cooking program for kids, where they can be involved in the whole food preparation process and have their parents join them for dinner. After all, families need to get back into the routine of enjoying a meal together.
Eating locally is important to build sustainable communities. So we were really intrigued when Dan told us about Plan B Organic Farms, a system that links farmers and households by delivering shares of organic and local vegetables and fruits weekly to your door. It's a great concept -- farmers are able to sustain a viable business, and shareholders have access to affordable and fresh organic food. Stephanie and her boyfriend were excited to sign up for a mere $25 a week.
Last night we decided to put our cooking skills to the test. Stephanie and her boyfriend made grilled cheese with fresh pumpkin cranberry bread, cheddar and prosciutto.
Jacklyn's boyfriend is vegetarian, so it can be challenging to find interesting meal ideas. A classic in their house is hummus and pitas. One can of chick peas, two cloves minced garlic, some lemon, pepper, cayenne pepper and cumin. She picks up only canned goods at the grocer and fresh produce for meals at the market. It can be difficult to coordinate shopping trips around the days the market is open but it's definitely worth the planning. Dan's all vegetarian zine The Van Munchies Dans good grub is great for snack and meal ideas.
Dan recommended we try one of his popcorn recipes. Its a must in every of one his zines. So for dessert, Stephanie decided to make cinnamon caramel popcorn from Dan's Good Grub cookbook. The ingredients are simple -- butter, sugar, cinnamon and milk. Sweet and salty, its the perfect snack for watching movies.
For dessert, Jacklyn decided on lactose free vanilla bean frozen yogurt, with fresh raspberries and cramabola starfruit (perfect for mixed drinks or punch bowls).