tasteofjo bread

Bread-making is so special to me. When you have the finished product- hours and hours and hours later- it’s really satisfying. It is possible that the smell of bread, baking in the oven, releases some feel-good hormones. And I think there’s no debate these days as regards the best food in the world: fresh homemade bread and butter. It’s just hard to beat. It is simplicity itself, yet, the most indulgent thing you could eat.

For the record and in my defense, this is an old picture; I’ve made more interesting bread with a better crumb and texture. I just had to start somewhere. A great tip: never forget the salt. Oh. That would break your heart.

The Things I ate

Sure, I have funny blogging habits, don’t the best bloggers? 😉 maybe not. My explanation for my sixteen month long hiatus, I did count, is boredom with blogging itself and occupation with other things. Excuse me.

Gladly I thought to open my pictures folder. In it I found a few half interesting food snaps. I understand it’s probably annoying to some people when other people take pictures of food at restaurants. I just feel like, can you let me appreciate this edible art I’m about to eat, right? Isn’t good food art? Isn’t averagely good food that looks deceptively good art? It is.

These are some of the things I ate at various places at various times. And yes, TGIF and IHOP and Applebee’s are chain restaurants, and, I didn’t dislike their food. Do salivate.

taste of jo - dinner at fridaystaste of jo food snap 1Thanksgiving Turkey- taste of jo

taste of jo - food snap 2taste of jo - cocktaildinner at fridays- taste of jo

taste of jo - borewors pizzataste of jo - saladtaste of jo - dessert

Oven Roasted Vegetables

toj roasted veggies w avo juice

Possibly, roasting might be the easiest method to cook tasty food. Certainly, some people will whine about roasting meats- how difficult it is. If we are being honest, how difficult is it to put a salt-and-peppered chicken on a roasting pan and letting it cook until golden? It isn’t! Right? Easier, still, is roasting vegetables. This particular combo took all of 10 minutes.

Clues: Clean and pat dry whichever vegetables you want to eat. In a roasting tray, drizzle vegetables with oil, salt and pepper. You may add various other herbs, such as oregano, or even include a few whole garlic cloves. Mix together and roast in a preheated hot oven for a few minutes until done to your liking. I had my oven at its maximum, 250 degrees Celcius.

Bon appetit.

Zucchini Gratin

toj zucchini gratin

Gratinéed zucchini is so tasty. I have done a potato and zucchini gratin which was so good. This one, sans starchy potatoes, may be more appealing to the waist conscious. That aside, i like caramelized foods. Caramelized vegetables produce delicious sugars that result in incredibly pleasurable feelings in the mouth.

Clues: Slice zucchinis, arrange in a baking dish, salting the layers as you go. Pour enough heavy cream to cover the zucchini. You may sprinkle some cheese atop for necessary comfort. Bake at 180 degrees celcius until golden.

Voila. Bon appetit.

Baby Spinach & Grilled Zucchini Salad

toj roasted zucchini n spinach green saladThis salad was the beeswax. It is simple and packed to the bone with flavor: just my type. The baby spinach was my own that I grew on a pot and if I do say so myself, it was and is the best baby spinach I ever set upon my palate. Yes. The difference between truly fresh food and pretend fresh food (supermarket fresh) is mind blowing. Maybe maddening.

I had zucchini overload. My friend Ruthy and I, tired of sad supermarket groceries, went out seeking a market and we discovered a vibrant one. I almost tripped when I saw a woman selling plump zucchini at 10 shillings. I stocked up. So inevitably, stand by for another zucchini bake.

Since it was zucchini which is a heartier vegetable, I changed up the dressing from the usual lemon and olive oil to a mustard based one. The recipe follows.

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Chicken Parmesan w/ Garlic Aioli

toj chicken parmesan

It was a grand time making this dish for dinner last night. Chicken parmesan reminds me of Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. On her show I first saw chicken parm and it stuck in my head. I have since made a few versions of it. This version excludes the cheese altogether. So I guess it should be chicken not parmesan. Parmesan is impossible to find in Nairobi, I find, and when you do find it, it is a bit expensive and stale. And who has the patience for stale, expensive parmesan.

Incidentally, I happened upon an interesting recipe this morning for a vegan parmesan made primarily using cashew nuts. Eek. I would have to try it.

This delicious recipe follows, after the jump.

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Oven Roasted Carrots w/ Feta and Spring Onions

toj roasted carrots w fetsIf you have never roasted carrots in the oven or on a grill, I am here to blow your mind. Here’s one interesting thing about vegetables: cooking them certain ways such as by roasting brings out their sweetness incredibly. Every time I caramelize onions on the stove top I am massively surprised by the abundance of natural sweetness present. A first timer would never believe there was no sugar added. Peas too, would blow your mind.

These carrots were almost too sweet for my non sweet tooth. Therefore I found the addition of feta to be a wonderful one for balance and contrast in flavor. To serve, I had it as a side with a meaty main, though you could easily build on it to come up with a decent, light, hopefully vegetarian meal.

The recipe follows.

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Garlic- Lemon- Shrimp Saute

toj shrimp sauteeI have a food memory that I like to share with everyone and anyone who remotely enjoys food talk. During a family vacation in Malindi years ago, we popped into an Italian restaurant and I couldn’t pronounce a thing on the menu. So I ordered the only familiar item on it: pizza. I wasn’t very adventurous then, ha. Well, my seafood pizza arrived and I smelled it and ate it. To date, it is still the best thing I ever ate. I haven’t been back to Malindi since, so I wonder if I over-romanticized the experience. But it blew my mind! It had shrimp and lobster and calamari and honestly, the fruitiest, freshest olive oil. I still remember the smell of it whenever I use good olive oil.

Making this dish really took me back to Malindi. Though, not even! As you know, I have a great preference for simple meals, light ones, packed with flavor. This shrimp dish is all of that. Living in Nairobi means I have to settle for frozen shrimp, ah, it slightly depresses me. If you can get fresh shrimp, lucky you!

The recipe follows.

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