A few years ago, Melissa and I picked up a book that contained foods from around the world. 1001 foods that a group of "leading international critics" suggest that you try before you die. We decided to take on this challenge. We aren't always actively able to try and accomplish this task but we have decided that it is now time to start again. I decided about a year ago to share this adventure with you. This doesn't mean that all of my posts are going to be related to this goal that we have set. I'm just saying that there will be a random post based on the 1001 foods.
Today, we decided to try some pretty simple things. In fact, these are two things that you can purchase yourself and try. Tonight, we tried cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. Now, before you go on your little soapbox and preach to me that these two things aren't very exotic, you have to understand that the foods in this book come from all around the world. What might be common/regular to us might be exotic to someone living in another country. In fact, there are a lot of things that I will be trying that you will roll your eyes at. There are some foods that I will just take a bite out of, like bittermelon, but things such as the two tonight, I will be creating a dish that has those two ingredients in it. It will be something that honors the original flavors, but amps them up a little.
I made manicotti for dinner tonight. It was rich and amazing with my homemade marinara. I was trying to find something that would complement the decadent food so I decided to make a nice, fresh salad. I used cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onions. I added a little Italian dressing for acid and mixed it all together. I felt like this allowed for all of the flavors to represent themselves as well as work together to create a harmonious dish. The cucumber brought a fresh and sweet taste to the salad. The tomatoes brought a rich, deep flavor that paired nicely with the cucumbers. The onion brought the zest or spark. I've never been a fan of eating onions by themselves, but when they are added to a something I feel they bring the energy that it needs. I added the dressing to round the dish out. It added a little bit of the "Italian" flair I was trying to accomplish this evening.
I baked a simple wheat bread to accompany the meal tonight. I have always wanted to create my own bread/roll recipe and today I accomplished that task. I was worried that it wasn't going to turn out because the only guidance I followed was 5 to 3. This meant that whatever I put in it, it needed to be five parts flour and three parts liquid. It wasn't until the bread was baking in the oven that I knew that I got something right. The beautiful smell that filled my apartment was intoxicating. It was a smell of sweet honey. I could almost taste the gorgeous creation as it was doing it's thing in the oven. It filled my soulless heart with warmth. I began to salivate and wanted the bread to be done right away so that I could sink my teeth into it. I can't wait to see where this recipe will take me. After it was complete, I stood there listening to it. I had finally created a bread recipe that I could be proud of. I was listening for a certain sound to occur as the bread cooled. If you are quiet and listen intently, you can hear the bread "sing" or crack as it is cooling. I put my ear as far down as to not touch the bread with my gross ear, but to still be able to hear it, and heard my new creation "sing" with joy.
What did you guys have for dinner? I hope it was as good as mine.