Poolville Country Store, NY

As mentioned many times before, going to school in upstate New York leaves much to be desired in terms of culinary experiences. On the one hand, I save a considerable amount of money. On the other hand, it’s easy to see how students can subsist on Ramen noodles.

However, I got a chance to visit the Poolville Country Store, a bed and breakfast that serves way more than just breakfast. As a birthday treat, my parents came to visit and took me to this quaint spot for lunch. They specialize in locally-sourced foods, and most of the menu items were vegetarian or pescetarian, both plusses in my book. (Although, it does make one wonder how you get fresh “local” seafood when you are hundreds of miles from the ocean.)

We were first served a few squares of blueberry crumb cake. Buttery, rich goodness.

Unsure of whether or not it was lunch time or breakfast time, I settled on savory tastes despite my two cups of coffee and this blueberry treat. We ordered polenta fries, smothered in gorgonzola cheese on a bed of mixed greens. Salty but so fabulous, this dish makes me want to experiment more with polenta. The shrimp and vegetable rolls were also fabulous, with a smattering of wasabi aioli that was flavorful. My only complaint was that the menu spelled “shrimp” incorrectly.My caesar salad was standard, though the (single) anchovy on top was appreciated. It’s unfortunate there weren’t more anchovies to really bring out the flavor. I had a large bowlful of lobster bisque which was delicious, though salty. Lastly, a taste of this crab cake made our meal complete. Moist, tasty rounds of crab served with lemon aioli were fantastic. All in all, a pleasant, filling, delicious experience…particularly for upstate New York.

 

Advertisements

Corn Chowder

If you have ever tried to photograph soup, you will know that it is hard to make it look appealing. It usually looks like a bowl of mush, or a bowl of a solid color. No glamour, that’s for sure.

But just because a food may not look great in a photograph doesn’t mean it’s not delicious. 

Here’s a recipe for Corn Chowder, which doesn’t involve cream but instead skim milk. I froze it, stupidly, and the leftovers were not good. So if you try this soup out, plan on either eating it in one sitting, or refrigerating for a few days.

Corn Chowder

2 tbs butter

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1 red pepper, seeds removed, diced

3 tbs minced poblano pepper

2 Yukon Gold potatoes

2 cups vegetable broth

2 cups frozen or canned sweet corn

1/3 C All-Purpose flour

3 1/2 C skim milk

1/2 tsp dried thyme

salt and pepper

In a large pot, heat butter at medium heat. Add onion and garlic, cook for 2-3 minutes. Add celery, carrot, peppers, and potatoes. Add vegetable broth and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. In a medium bowl, whisk flour and milk. Pour into soup pot and stir. Add corn, thyme, salt and pepper. Let soup simmer for 20-30 minutes on stove.

A Success Story

Sitting around the Thanksgiving dinner table, my cousin and I were trying to discern whether or not a particular food was a yam or a sweet potato. And this is the moment when I realized I will never ever be the next Betty Crocker. Of course, the delicious food we were eating was neither of our guesses. It was butternut squash. Everyone at this point should be shaking their head at me and saying “Duh.” Thanksgiving and butternut squash go together like Christmas and candy canes. Apparently not in my mind, though.

This moment immediately reminded me of the time in second grade when I tried to bake peanut butter cookies with my father. They looked perfect, with a fork-made criss-cross on top. Just a few minutes after I put the cookies in the oven, the kitchen filled with plumes of jet black smoke. It turns out that our oven was broken and so the cookies started burning. But as a seven year-old, I correlated smoke to fire and so I ran out of the house screaming at the top of my lungs that the house was on fire. It was not.

The following day, I took the solid, black, burnt cookies into school for show and tell. I guess I was proud of my failure, or about my seemingly scary experience in the kitchen.

And so, it is true that I’m not always cooking up delicious things in the kitchen. It’s also true that I still can’t tell the difference between butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and yams. This may discredit my cooking abilities, I realize.

However, there is one success story that recently happened in my kitchen. After a hefty dinner on Thanksgiving Day, I decided to make something light: Roasted Tomato Basil Soup. Click here for the recipe:

http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/roasted-tomato-basil-soup/#more-11845 

My initial thoughts were: I have never roasted anything, this is a good opportunity to fail again. My second thoughts were: if I fail, at least it won’t be the first time. Roasting the tomatoes was perhaps the easiest cooking preparation I have done, and the soup came out spectacularly, much to my disbelief. My parents equally enjoyed the soup. The leftovers are perfect for freezing, as well as continued detoxing after holiday dinners.

The stove that takes an hour to boil a cup of water: Adventures in Sydney

I started my Australian study abroad experience a few weeks ago at the University of Sydney. Despite the outlandish prices, crap kitchen (with no oven and burners that take an hour to boil half a cup of water), and the shortage of black beans, I have still managed to eat well.

I can see now why it is so easy to fall into the traps of college eating habits. Why cook after a long day of classes when you can eat Ramen or a frozen dinner or get greasy take-out? I’m not ashamed of enjoying finger-licking-good spring rolls or mac and cheese from a box, but cooking gives me more appreciation for my food and what I put into my body.

I recently made a Green Curry Noodle Soup, which instantly cleared my sinuses and helped fight off the cold that I felt creeping up on me. This is a perfect light meal that packs lots of iron, antioxidants and vitamins into a simple soup. I added more noodles than necessary because…

I like noodles? And I needed something more than just soup in my stomach if I was eating it for dinner.

 

Green Curry Noodle Soup

3 cups vegetable broth

1 tsp Green Thai Curry Paste (or to your preference)

4 oz. Vermicelli noodles

1 cup of spinach

1 cup broccoli, cut into flowerets

Chopped basil

Soy Sauce

 

Cook noodles according to package directions.

In large pot, bring broth to a simmer and add green curry paste. Allow paste to dissolve by stirring. Add a few drops of soy sauce. Drain the noodles and place into the broth. Stir. Add broccoli. Stir and simmer for 1 minute. Add spinach, stir until wilted. Remove from heat and sprinkle with basil.