I love to eat - either my own cooking in my home kitchen (which my husband and I affectionately call "Cafe 749," because our address contains the number 749, hence the name of this blog) or meals at restaurants in our adopted hometown of Manhattan Beach, California, as well as in our travels around the US. In addition to cooking, I enjoy baking, too - cookies, pies, and especially cakes. I also love wine and beer. I frequently take tasting trips to various California wine country destinations, and my husband is a hobbyist homebrewer of craft beers.
My friend Brandy decided to start a food blog in 2013 to chroncile her eating, cooking, baking and drinking around the world A-to-Z (Brandy's blog). Brandy's goal is to work her way through at least 52 of the 196 countries listed in the World Atlas, by either cooking a dish or eating a restaurant meal from the cuisine of each country. Inspired by her enthusiasm for this project, I'm joining her in my own "A-to-Z of Food." I will use this blog to record my culinary experiments and experiences in cuisines from around the world A-to-Z in 2013.
Part of why I was so motivated by Brandy's challenge is that I need a cooking re-boot. I love to cook, and I do it every single day, but over the last few years I have increasingly struggled to come up with a great answer to a question friends ask me all the time - "Cooked anything interesting lately?" Doing this project should ensure that I always have something new to say in response to that.
I also am excited to try lots of different cuisines that normally wouldn't figure into our typical meal planning. My husband has great taste when it comes to food, and definitely knows what he does and doesn't like, but he also trusts me to know his preferences and will eat pretty much anything I put in front of him. We both tend to like "square meals" - a protein, a vegetable, and a starch. I cook a lot of stir frys, burgers and sandwiches, pasta dishes, and chicken braises. We also love red meat and pork, but eat tofu and fish frequently. Because we both like and are willing to try so many things, I'm excited to take familiar ingredients and prepare them in ways that are new to us. I'll also be on the lookout for wines and beers that I can pair with my dishes.
The first country's cuisine I'm planning to cook is Afghanistan. I'm going to be tackling Qorma Lawand, an onion-based casserole dish with yogurt, turmeric, and cilantro. I'll be making mine with chicken, but it can also be made with lamb or beef. I'm looking forward to eating this dish because it's basically a stew of caramelized onions combined with a fragrant chicken curry served over rice - I love all those components. Stay tuned!