Sunday, July 17, 2011

Twenty-First Word: Appetite

appetite: c.1300, "craving for food," from Anglo-Fr. appetit, O.Fr. apetit (13c.) "appetite, desire, eagerness," from L. appetitus "appetite," lit. "desire toward," from appetitus, pp. of appetere"to long for, desire; strive for, grasp at,"

This blog is dedicated to my culinary lifestyle guru Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, chef and host of the inspiring show River Cottage. Haha, this picture captures Hugh in more ways than you could know :)

Lunch today was a tribute to Hugh:

pan fried mackerel (a sustainable species) stuffed with bread crumbs, parmesan, and chopped wet garlic stalks (wet garlic is what it is when you pull it out of the ground before you dry it). We pan fried the left-over stuffing so it got crispy and sprinkled it on the fish.

pasta salad with rocket (arugula), crumbled feta, broad beans (same as fava, I think), and the chopped bulb of the wet garlic, drizzled with olive oil and a dash of cracked black pepper.

oh my goodness. Talk about summer in your mouth. And for dessert I made gooseberry cheesecake in a glass with strawberries and raspberries on top (here, lots of people make cheesecake that sets in the fridge which you don't have to bake because there are no eggs in it).

All of the produce and the fish were from our farmer's market. Everyone should try mackerel. It was amazing. I don't know if you can get it fresh in the US, though. It's one of the most sustainable fish you can eat. I wish I could make this meal for all my loved ones.

That was last Saturday's lunch. This Saturday (yesterday) was rosemary-stuffed mackerel with asparagus. It's not only local seafood we've been trying. We also really like mutton after having made delicious mutton kebabs for our cookout in the meadows a few weeks ago. I actually like it better than lamb!

As another tribute to Hugh, Alex and I have become urban foragers. Don't worry, there's no illegal trespassing involved. Greyfriar's Church near us has planted several community herb gardens and we visited today. They were madly overflowing with fresh herbs that begged to be picked. We nibbled on their delicious wild strawberries while we sniffed out the different herbs. Here is our yield from today's forage:

These pix are also on facebook but I'll label them again anyways. From top to bottom, left to right: chamomile, tri-colored sage, spearmint, lemon verbena, oregano, thyme, variegated thyme, peppermint, and ginger mint. I think I'm gonna make some great tea :)

I hope we can find delicious things like mackerel and mutton back home or some new interesting thing we haven't tried before. Honestly though, if you want to enhance your culinary repertoire, you must travel to another country. I didn't think any of my tastes would change or any culinary adventures would come my way (besides haggis) in Scotland, the land of meat and potatoes. I was so wrong. When you have an amazing farmer's market, half of which is devoted to consciously raised and caught meat it's easy. You just have to be daring enough to try!

Hugh has taught us that you don't have to be a vegetarian to be serious about animal welfare. His holistic approach to meat (breeding, raising, butchering, and using the whole animal: a process from start to finish) gives animals the respect they deserve for providing us with their meat. I haven't tried brains or headcheese, but haggis is made of some offal things (teehee) that don't actually taste too bad. I enjoy supporting the local farmers who come to Edinburgh every Saturday with their goods. The meat is so much better than the stuff in the grocery store and I know I am supporting their efforts to produce humanely-raised and eco-friendly food. I'm really going to miss all the meats and fish local to Scotland so with my four farmer's markets left until I leave, I'll be eating as much mackerel, mutton, turkey mince, and venison as I can!

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