I haven’t been cooking much lately. We’ve gone to dinner at friends’ homes, and out to various local restaurants, and we’ve eaten great food, but nothing I can claim as my own. It’s not going to get better very soon, either, because tonight we’re having our holiday dinner for the bed and breakfast staff at Castle Hill Cafe, and tomorrow is Justin’s staff party at Lucy’s Boatyard. So maybe, just maybe, on Wednesday, I’ll have some homemade food to share with you.
For the moment, Tanvi has tagged me for a Ten Favorite Foods meme, so here we go!
Poco-Cocoa’s Ten Favorite Foods
(If she really, really had to choose only ten)
1. Chocolate. Ohmyga, chocolate. I prefer dark chocolate, but I won’t turn down milk chocolate. Actually, the only chocolate I will turn down is something fruity like chocolate-dipped oranges, or lavender or rose or fruity-flavored chocolate, or those cheap holiday chocolates in Santa or Easter egg shapes. Those aren’t worth the time it takes to chew them to this choco-snob. When it comes time to order desserts at restaurants, mine has to have chocolate. I’ll eat some apple crisp or blueberry pie, but I always feel like something’s missing. Oh, chocolate. In fact, I’m snacking on a Magic Blondie that my pal Leti made for me, studded with dried cherries, coconut, and…chocolate chips.
2. Cheese. This makes any attempts at veganism quite difficult. I often go through stages of veganistic thinking, hating the idea of factory farming and cows with mastitis and pus in the milk and all that junk. But oh, cheese! Melted brie with chutney at East Side Cafe, or sharp Parmesan cheese on plain angel hair pasta, or colby-Jack cheese in a homemade quesadilla, or wonderful mozzarella on a perfectly made pizza. I’ve definitely reduced the amount I’m eating at home, but I am easily swayed by cheesy restaurant dishes.
3. Pasta. My favorite kind would have to be angel hair pasta, cooked al dente and mixed with a bit of butter and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. I love how the tiny texture of angel hair pops in your mouth. Pasta in casseroles, soups, or just topped with a tasty sauce can be the perfect meal for me.
4.Pizza. Oh, the wonders of a well-made pizza pie! My current fave pizza place is Rounders, a cute little pizzeria within walking distance from our home (yes, it’s a very dangerous situation). Their crust is thin (but not too thin), crispy, and smothered in a gorgeous red sauce and delicous mozzarella. I’m pretty picky about my pizza. A lot of people in Austin prefer Austin’s Pizza, but I think their mozzarella is just not good quality cheese. And as for toppings? Just cheese, please.
5. Tomatoes. Fresh, juicy, ripe summertime tomatoes sprinkled with a little salt. Tomatoes sauteed with a bit of olive oil and garlic. Marinara sauce. Canned diced tomatoes in a sopa. Sliced tomatoes on a sandwich. Sun-dried tomatoes in hummus, or a pesto. I love tomatoes.
6. Iced water. Do beverages count? You can offer me any amount of alcohol (yuck), any tea, any lemonade, any soda (ick), and I would choose iced water. It’s the only thing that quenches my thirst. It doesn’t add any weird flavors to your meal, it’s cold and clear and smooth, it feels perfectly natural in your mouth, and hey, it’s free!
7. Cookies. I think my love for cookies has been amplified by my daily cookie-baking at the bed and breakfast. There’s just nothing like a warm, homemade, chewy cookie. Especially if it’s chocolate chip. I’m pretty picky about cookies that I haven’t made, though. If they’re crunchy, no thanks. I can usually handle a warmed brownie from a cafe, though I’d much prefer my own, straight from the oven, still hot and falling apart.
8. Beans. I love the texture of beans. I love how each type tastes so different. I love them straight from the pot, or in a soup, or mixed with veggies, or mashed and rolled into a taco. I’d say my favorite would be black beans, followed by pinto beans, chickpeas, then the huge variety of white beans, and kidney beans…oh, I guess they’re all fairly fabulous.
9. Avocados. I can eat a whole one at dinner. They’re so smooth and creamy, and if you pick a good one, the flavor is just amazing. I eat them with anything that’s Mexican-inspired…sopas, quesadillas, tacos, beans…and I love them on sandwiches or mashed into guacamole. Being the snob that I am, though, I am wary of avocados at restaurants. I’ve had many a bowl of guacamole that had just one bad avocado mixed in (bleh), or a sandwich with a less-than-wonderful avocado sliced into it. Man, I’m picky.
10. Peanut butter. Peter Pan peanut butter, to be exact. My friend Lindsay has tried (unsuccessfully) to encourage me to switch to natural peanut butter. I think I grew up on Peter Pan. It’s comforting. It’s sweet and salty and creamy. It’s perfect straight from the jar on a large spoon, or spread onto a honeycrisp apple or celery sticks or whole wheat bread. It’s delicious in the blender with chocolate soymilk and a frozen banana. It’s decadent spread over a bit of good dark chocolate. It’s tasty spread over a toasted waffle, or in a flourless cookie.
It’s hard to weed out all the wonderful foods out there into a concise list of ten favorites. But there you go.