Honey, I’m Home!

Well I’m back from my trip and I have made a few delicious things, but I’m not quite in the swing enough to upload the pictures and post anything new for you.  Sorry!  To hold you over, here’s a neat post on Tasty Kitchen about homemade ingredients.  I eat this stuff up!  (Wow, that was actually an unintentional pun.  Bad…)  I get so much satisfaction from making something that I could more easily just buy at the store.  Is that twisted?  I just like knowing how things work and knowing exactly what I’m putting in my belly.

I love making homemade pasta and tomato sauce as a start, but I had to get really resourceful when I was studying abroad in Italy during my Junior year of college because I had a heck of a time finding ingredients for cooking and baking.  As the resident chef in my little apartment, I wanted to make a pancake breakfast for my roommates, but buttermilk was nowhere to be found!  And don’t think for a second that we would be able to find Bisquick!

We also developed an unhealthy obsession with hummus but we didn’t have a blender, so every couple of days one of us would open up a can of chickpeas and meticulously mash them with a fork adding in plenty of good Italian olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and some seasonings.  One of its many uses is pictured above; open-faced sandwiches of hummus, breaded grilled eggplant, cucumber, and tomato.

Actually, in Italy it felt like with cooking and experimenting, I just couldn’t go wrong.  (See pictures for evidence.)  Maybe it was the uber-fresh ingredients that I found daily at the many alimentari which I browsed on my walk home from classes.  Maybe it was the amazing encouragement of my roommates.  I don’t know…

This summer I hope to try some pickling, especially with fun things like onions and grapes!  Now that I’ve taken a little walk down memory lane, was there ever a time you found yourself in an ingredient “pickle” and had to DIY?

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