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A lesson learnt

strawberry pockets

Every day that I am engaged with the world of food I learn new lessons. They are usually humbling and always inspiring.

There are times when I meet chefs and food servicers who just blow me away with the breadth and depth of their knowledge as well as their passion. People have moved states and countries in a quest to quite simply put food on their family's table while choosing to stay true to their food calling. And, despite many of them having faced obstacles, they remain optimistic and well grounded in the confidence they have in their skill. It is indeed an aura that radiates positivity. To be in close proximity to such energy is use to bad pun enervating. It is a high that can be nearly addictive with a desire to become as gracious, as giving yet as humble.

Every time I talk to a chef, I walk away with a new respect for the independent food service sector.

I am decidedly avoiding the word 'industry' here because that includes the behemoth corporates not driven by any passion for anything other than keeping their stock price on an uptrend. I say independent because I do not refer to chain restaurants in this category either. When was the last time you say that person flipping burgers or assembling your sandwich do anything but the littlest needed to get their pay check. Heck, most of us simply avoid eye contact with those who make the food because well, what do you talk about?!

But, coming back to the cottage industry of single restaurants and food service providers. It isn't an easy life. The market, especially, in major cities is intensely competitive. To differentiate is half the game. The survive and sustain is an entire another one. What comes of it as learning is that real food is hardly profitable. It is pursued for the pure joy of sharing it.

As I venture out in my own ways into entering this what-looks-from-outside closed community, I find that they are warm, approachable, and, encouraging of each other. More importantly, each encounter for me is a grounding one that reinforces the choices I have. I am in it either for the long haul or not at all. Because this is one area with a long gestation period and one that tests your commitment and desire for fair length of time before it decides to reward with whatever you are seeking. It is kind of like family, which, makes sense given food is at the heart of every family.

sitting for tea

Every time I have a disaster in my kitchen I think about the wisdom. Times, when I ambitiously set about making a concocted recipe with full confidence of its success only to realize that the dish may be bold in flavor but kind of failed on a structural aspect. This happens when I don't fully think through some practical bit in the recipe. This is when I am made aware that food may be art but there is whole lot of common sense on which it rides. Times, when I look the outcome and feel like an idiot. Then, I tell myself, hey it's ok. Even the pros have been trying, failing, learning and succeeding for ages. The idea is continuous learning and there are bound to be bumps along the way. Besides, as long as I didn't poison myself, or you, it is all a bit of laughter and fun :)

This strawberry pockets things that I attempted to make was one of those moments of truth. I completely failed to take into consideration how much water strawberries contain. The effect of baking them as such in a pastry shell without thickeners or anything to absorb the juices was that they shrank significantly and they was huge space between bottom and top crust. Plus, the crust got a bit unevenly soggy from the overflowing juices. It was edible but far from enjoyable.

Oh well! Lesson for next time. When baking with berries, use some sort of topping that settles with the shrinking fruit (like a crumble) or use some thickening agent like flour or starch to bind the fruit and water in an fluid emulsion.

Also, don't be afraid to experiment and enjoy food!

DSC_0561-1

So, that is Friday wisdom, ye all. I don't want to leave you with just that. So below are some links to awesome stuff I found around the web.

Love this

vegetable flatbread

A

curious idea

. But I am not ready to jump wagon yet :)

Vermont passed a

law to mandate GMO labeling

! WOOT! Expectedly, that has led to a lot of

angst and retaliation

from trade associations and the food 'industry'. Yet, hoping more states follow suit.

A different kind of

vegetarian kabob

.

I desperately NEED this

milkshake

!

Awesome

smoothie/juice recipes to start your day

on FOODLY.

Brown butter it out or simple

make delicious ghee

.

This

on a Sunday morning = Bliss!

Also, a couple shameless posts from me -

Check out

my notes on food photography

that I guest wrote on Simone's blog.

Some photos from a

recent cooking class

through FOODLY.

And, finally, reminder that the registration for my

food styling and photography workshop

is open!

Happy Friday and have a great weekend ye all!

I will be back next week with more of my own recipes :)

MADE A RECIPE FROM THE BLOG?

Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK