Experiments with food

While perusing the science blogosphere this past couple of months, I’ve noticed quite a few posts on food/cooking. As Biochem Belle notes on her blog Tasty Experiments, it seems we as scientists have a strong attachment to our kitchens. After all, the kitchen is just another laboratory, and is much more forgiving than the one at work. So while food is on my mind (I’m still basking in the glory of a wonderful Bavarian-spiced pork tenderloin served with potato hash and spinach that hubby and I made for dinner last night), I thought I’d share some of my favorite foodie finds. Feel free to add to the list…I’m always looking for new ideas!

1. Penzey’s Spices: Visiting our local Penzey’s store has become one of mine and hubby’s favorite monthly activities (right after we get our paychecks). It’s so much fun to wander the store, sneaking whiffs of the various spice blends. We always walk out with a new recipe idea, after which we hit our favorite wine boutique for some wine tasting/pairing suggestions and head home to cook! While several retail stores are cropping up around the country, Penzey’s is still predominantly a mail-order service. So don’t despair if a store hasn’t shown up yet in your neighborhood.

2. Curry!! I grew up in the South and will always have a soft spot for Southern-fried anything. But one of the benefits of being a scientist is the interaction with people and cuisine from all over the world. Lately, I’ve been on a Thai and Indian food kick, and I’ve learned that curry is one of the easiest things to make at home. All you need is a small can of curry paste and a can of coconut milk (both available at Asian supermarkets, if not in your neighborhood grocery store). If you really want to get serious, you can find recipes all over the internet for homemade curry pastes. ***BTW, if anybody knows a good source for tamarind or Thai basil, please share!***

3. Farmer’s Markets: Not just in tents anymore, indoor farmers markets are becoming increasingly popular. And with good reason – you can get some absolutely amazing prices on produce at these stores. Hubby and I consistently walk out of our favorite local market with two or three bags of fruit and veggies, having spent only a few dollars. Additionally, these stores generally only sell locally-grown produce, so you’re helping the environment as well as your pocketbook.

4. Costco: Okay, so most people already know about warehouse clubs, and they’re not necessarily a foodie thing. But hubby and I are buried in student loan and credit card debt (downside of our educated brains), and we’re constantly looking for ways to save money while still enjoying good food. The meat section at Costco is great for this. We get so much more bang for our buck than buying meat at the grocery store. While a local butcher certainly has the best cuts (we go this route for special meals), the quality at Costco is plenty high and perfect for everyday meals. I would definitely suggest investing in a chest freezer to store your protein finds.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’m off to figure out what to cook tonight…we just picked up some avocado oil yesterday, and I’m in need of a recipe!

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One thought on “Experiments with food

  1. ooooo… LOVE Penzys! I use the baking spice in place of pretty much anything that requires cinnamon or nutmeg. It is so much more flavorful!

    Plus they have such great prices on real extracts. Love them!

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