Saturday, September 25, 2010

Shout Out to Ecuador

With the thermometer hovering at a nippy 56° today, piping hot comfort food sounded pretty delightful, so I decided to make soup. Inspired by my parents' recent departure to Ecuador, I tried my hand at locro de papas, a traditional potato stew from the Andean region. The last time I investigated traditional Ecuadorian recipes, I discovered my love for llapingachos, so locro had a high standard to live up to. It did not disappoint. The broth was a creamy blend of potatoes, milk and cheese and the layers of flavor included annatto seed, cumin and onion. Topped with fresh avocado and a sprinkle of queso fresco, every bite was a pleasant change of pace for my American palate. As I enjoyed each warm spoonful, I realized my admiration for my parents and their inspiring decision to immerse themselves in a culture unknown to them. Faintly green with envy, I lifted my glass in their honor... Cheers, Mom and Dad! Safe travels.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Crunch Therapy

Project Food Blog has begun and the first challenge is to define ourselves as bloggers and state why we should advance to the next round. As the tag line goes, Diaczun Style is a collection of snippets from the life of a photo stylist. I am not a chef. I am not a cook. I am, however, immersed in a world of food. Whether it's tackling a new ingredient, testing recipes for work, or just playing with my camera, my intent with this blog is to provide anecdotes from my clumsy culinary journey and prove that if I can do it, anyone can do it. Hopefully, it will inspire you to play with your food. Vote how you will, and stop by anytime for equal parts of sweet and sarcastic.

No matter how hard I try, I can't stop football from taking over my living room every Sunday. The way I cope with this torture is to focus my energy on creating the game time snacks. Cooking distracts me from the incessant chattering of the announcers, the Arby's commercials, and the Brett Favre speculations. As the soothing overture of sizzling, mixing, and stirring begins, I slip into a state of mental bliss... forgetting all about touchdowns and timeouts. Today's culinary nirvana resulted in a trio of chips, bursting with flavor. Each one baked in a 350 degree oven until crisp. Red potatoes were coated in olive oil and herbs, apple slices were dusted with cinnamon sugar, and the wild card of the day was baby kale leaves that were soaked in cider vinegar and finished with a healthy dose of salt. (Can you feel your mouth puckering?) It's amazing how little you can hear when you are munching on a handful of crackly, crunchy chips. Coincidence?... I think not.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ginger Apple Spread

Labor Day is here and that can only mean one thing - summer is officially over. Ugh. In the spirit of all things autumn, I decided to fill my house with the nostalgic aroma of cinnamon, ginger, and apples. My intention was to make apple butter but what resulted was more of a rustic apple spread... that's what happens when you wing it and don't really follow a recipe. As long as the end product is delicious, no harm done. I started by simmering 2 honey crisp apples (peeled and diced) in a mixture of water,white wine, and clementine juice. Once softened, I drained the apples and gave them a spin in the food processor with some cinnamon and ginger. The apple mixture went back into the saucepan with a heaping 1/4 C of sugar and simmered down (with frequent stirring) for about an hour until thick and luscious. I coated a hearty slice of beer bread in the warm apple goodness and indulged quietly on my back stoop. Every now and then, you just have to spoil yourself.