grits: oatmeal of the south.

grits: oatmeal of the south.

Bahhh, two bacon spinach salads, one crustless quiche and an All-American breakfast later, and what do we have? MORE bacon in my fridge. Sigh.

I’ve been sick of ingredients before, but it’s usually because I’m bored with it. Not because it’s delicious and unhealthy as hell. So what’s a girl who likes to cook for her boy to do?

Well, I reckon she makes him some grits with bacon.

Grits are easy shmeazy. I didn’t actually have them growing up, despite being a Texas child. I can only guess that’s because I’m a displaced Iowan, or at least my parents are. But thanks to a late night adventure at Waffle House that led to an order of cheesy grits (aka a small bowl of grits with a slice of American cheese on top) to accompany my chocolate-chip waffle, I became a fan of the stuff.

First I fell into the quick fix – one-serving packets of instant grits, that is – and ate them simply, with a quick zap in the microwave, a little butter and a dash of salt and pepper, before heading to class. Nothing special, just a means for appeasing a whiny stomach.

Then I met Mr. Joshua White. With family deeply rooted in the heart of New Orleans, where the grits flow mightily, he is no stranger to grits. (Though his preference for grits with barbecue sauce and hard-boiled eggs remains in question.)

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gnocchi in sage-browned butter sauce (with warm spinach salad).

gnocchi in sage-browned butter sauce (with warm spinach salad).

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, right? How convenient.

Last Wednesday was Josh’s birthday, the big 2-3. Since he had a bio chem test the next day (real cool, prof), we postponed the raging and commenced the celebrating with a low-key with a dinner at my casa. For inspiration, I did some searching on Chow.com and found my muse in a “How to Make Gnocchi” video that suggested a simple browned butter sauce infused with sage, which sounded amazing and became a perfect opportunity to use the newest addition to my balcony herb garden. Bring on the gnocchi gnight!

We made gnocchi a while back with a homemade red sauce chock-full of zesty veggies, and Josh has been hooked on the little potato pasta ever since.

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away we go…

away we go…

It’s truly absurd how long I’ve put this off. I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve outlined a post in my head, jotted down notes in my handy dandy notebook, and even sat down to type without actually posting a thing. Somehow, when it’s come to putting finger to key, I’ve managed to spend hours tinkering with display type and themes, phrasing the perfect title, twittering about blogging, perusing countless Facebook albums… until, voila! Momentum obliterated. Recently, it donned on me that the whole blogging thing is eerily reminiscent of the whole exercising thing. When you’re out of practice, climbing back into a routine is no piece of cake. Mmm, cake.

ANYWAY, the point is, you’ve just got to dig in, so without anything specific in my brain, this time, I’m determined to get something, anything on here. Why so serious, you ask?  Chill out, you say?  Okay, yes, I am in fact aware that this is just a freakin’ WordPress blog. But as a freelance writer and editor who aspires to one day be somebody in the world of magazines, food conversations, and travel writings (not to mention make some cash in the process), I am sorely out of practice. So practice I shall…

I like food. I find that most people do, so that doesn’t sound like an outstanding fact. However, I’ve also found that most people are much less eager to test their food limits. (And I’m not talking how many hot dogs I can cram down my throat in 10 minutes.) Given the opportunity, I will eat just about anything. That doesn’t mean I don’t have preferences and standards, but unlike my favorite male counterpart, I perked at the idea of trying fish ball soup. Why that sounds good, I couldn’t tell you. I leap at the chance to try new food genres, from Ethiopian to Turkish to Peruvian Chinese (see Flor de Mayo in Manhattan).

I also love cooking. While some people would much rather be summoned when it’s time to stuff their faces, I’m all about playing in the kitchen. It’s soothing on so many levels. In a world that’s so go go go, it’s the simple things in life, like preparing a tasty meal and enjoying it with a special somebody, that make it worth muddling through the chaos.

Beyond getting to feed my creative needs (and my tummy), I get off on the challenge both of recreating a recipe and mangling it successfully. Missing three supposedly key ingredients? No problem for Jenna, master of substitution. Then, of course there’s the battle against time, the problem-solving behind making the most of every resource lurking in the fridge with an expiration date. Blast, you spinach leaves! Slimy already?! I was going to throw you in this soup!

And while I develop a knack for which flavors and textures work together best, I plan to share some of my findings… maybe even post some recipes. (That will, however, require that I start measuring ingredients.)

Of course, even the best of cooks likes to be fed by someone else on occasion, so I will, of course, also be dishing about great dining finds in the city. And I welcome any and all feedback, reviews, and suggestions on any and all mumblings or otherwise. After all, sharing is caring. And fooding is most certainly all about sharing.

Until next time…

Cheers!