May 21, 2012

Five Things I'm Scared To Make

Over the weekend, Julie at The Little Kitchen posted a list of five things she's scared to make. She ended the post by calling the rest of us out asking for our feedback on the topic and the list :)

Julie: "Now that I have aired my dirty laundry and told you what I’m scared of trying…is there anything you’re afraid of trying to make at home in your kitchen? Tell me your five things. And if you have ever made any of the five from the above, tell me about it…I want to know all about it."

I'm not going to share her whole list (go read her post!), BUT a few of her items are things I've been dying to try and just too scared to. Let's just say, I give Mario Batali dirty looks through my TV on a regular basis. He makes it look SO.EASY.

Without even thinking twice about it, I commented on her post with my own 'five things I'm scared to make' list. And just in case I didn't bring enough shame to myself there, I'm going to share my list with you guys here.

Note that these were the first five things that came to mind. And they are things that I actually WANT to try making and just haven't had the guts to yet. I am, after all, just an avateur.

1. Bread. Sounds simple enough, and I’ve found some awesome no knead recipes.. But I’m terrified that I’ll make a dense, doughy mess. And I love bread too much to do that to myself.

2. Souffl√©. As cliche as that is, I’ve been hearing about how finicky it is before I even started cooking. So.. No.

3. Yogurt/Cheese. Whether I’m scared or just lazy is debatable.

4. Sausages/Anything requiring me to grind my own meat. Have you read/watched Sweeney Todd??

5. Nut Butter. My boyfriend makes fun of my peanut butter obsession. It's a little disturbing how fast I go through jars of the stuff. I would love to start making my own (my wallet wouldn't mind either), but I don’t like chunky/crunchy nut butters.. and I’m yet to find a food processor (that’s not industrial grade) that gets homemade butter as smooth and creamy as the store bought ones.

I will add one that I hadn't thought of when I was writing my reply: I love pastries and long to make fresh ones at home.. flaky crust is very tricky (seems that way to me, anyway) and, like bread, I really don't want to subject myself to a heavy, dense crust. Luckily, one of my close friends did a pastry course in France so I have a ready supply of √©clairs and croissants. *happy dance*

Your turn! What are you scared to make?? Don't be shy!

I also welcome any tips/tricks/recipes to help me get over my own fears.

While we're on the subject, let me show you what happened the first time I used a piping bag *covers face* 

So I made these key lime tarts a few years back when I just started to get over my fear of baking. Went out and bought a piping bag to start decorating my desserts... and when I was done it looked like a 5 year old made them -_-

May 10, 2012

Avateur Chef's First Anniversary and Lunch in Negril

On April 22, 2011... a hesitant, self-conscious, fumbling home cook and food blog lover decided to chronicle her own cooking episodes. Thus, The Avateur Chef was created. So named as a play on her amateur efforts in the kitchen and her unusually tall stature (like the Na'vi from the movie, Avatar... get it now?).

Those who follow the blog will know that I wasn't always a food lover. I was a finicky child and a picky eater... averse to trying new things. That all changed when I moved abroad for college, got my own kitchen, and attempted to recreate the few things I would eat from back home (Jamaica). It was in that tiny campus kitchen that I discovered I enjoyed cooking. The newfound desire to create dishes forced me to experiment with flavours and foods that were new to me, and I found myself becoming more adventurous (with food, anyway... baby steps.)

It's been over 6 years (and about 20 pounds *sigh*) since I discovered my love for food and cooking, and to this day I'm still learning and trying new things, and sharing the experiences here on The Avateur Chef.

Today though, I'm getting out of the kitchen for a little field trip to Negril. Some friends and I went to try the food at The PushCart Restaurant at The Rockhouse Hotel. The menu at Pushcart is inspired by Jamaican street food, and the restaurant boasts spectacular views of the beach and the gorgeous hotel nextdoor. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the food, and after stuffing ourselves we ventured to Rick's Cafe, a famous spot for cliff-jumping and viewing of the sunset.

Thanks to all you readers for stopping by and for sharing your feedback with me over the past year, I was so nervous about starting this blog that I only told a handful of people about it. I genuinely appreciate all the words of support and encouragement and hope to be sharing many more kitchen adventures with you :)

Here are some photos from my road trip to Negril. I'm still working on my photography skills... I think they've improved, right??

A view of Rockhouse Hotel from the Pushcart restaurant
Enjoying a Red Stripe while waiting for the food.
Ackee Patties - Ackee sauteed with peppers and onions and baked in a flaky pastry.
Jerk Fish Salad - Fresh snapper fillet rubbed with jerk and grilled. Served on top of local greens tossed
with tomatoes, sweet peppers and cucumber slices
Seafood Fritters - Conch, snapper, squid and shrimp folded into a batter and pan fried. Served with spicy relish.

Curry Conch - Fresh conch tenderized then cooked slowly in West Indian Curry with root vegetables.
Served with steamed rice and steamed vegetables.

Steamed Fish - Whole fish steamed with local vegetables, served with bammy and water crackers.

Perfect end to a fabulous day