Last week was all moving and unpacking and shopping and starting classes (talk about craziness!), and so I haven’t so much as touched my blog in the interim (I didn’t even touch my poor camera until today).
South Bend is all right. It’s not as much of a culinary wasteland as I was expecting. True, the one Chinese market is TINY, but at least it is well-stocked, and the grocery stores are, if not necessarily as well-stocked, not any worse than Safeway. (Gourmet ingredients like fresh cheese come at a hefty price, though, as my two poor roommates, both of whom are from Europe, have discovered).
My kitchen, though not yet fully-stocked, is slowly getting there. I think I was spoiled by my summer apartment, where my housemates owned what seemed like triplicates of every basic kitchen utensil and had cupboards and drawers stuffed full of baking supplies and spices. We (my two housemates and I) are getting along with less here, but we’re making do. (We’re still in need of things like a microwave and mixing bowls – I used saucepans to mix my batter today when I was baking – but so far, we’ve not been doing badly at all).
This morning, I went to the Farmer’s Market with a bunch of others from my program. Despite all of my baleful predictions of lack of fresh produce, South Bend has actually turned out to be pretty well-supplied with locally-grown vegetables and fruit, and even big-box stores like Meijer, it appears, stock some produce from Michigan farmers (we’re right near the border).
I bought a hunk of smoked Gouda cheese (since my roommates have been famished for good cheese), a chocolate croissant (which I consumed immediately), some beautiful oyster mushrooms (I plan to saute them in some butter and garlic for dinner some night this week), and a spearmint plant (it’s currently sitting on my back patio; let’s hope I don’t accidentally kill it). Why the mint plant? Well, I figure that the two herbs that are absolutely no use when dried are fresh mint and fresh cilantro. I can’t for the life of me imagine putting dried mint in a yogurt sauce or a pitcher of iced tea (I know that packaged mint tea is made with dried mint, but it doesn’t taste the same!), and I have never, ever seen dried cilantro. (That’s my next project – a cilantro plant). I’m going to inaugurate the mint tomorrow by making some of my mom’s home-brewed mint iced tea for an early birthday party that I’m hosting.
Some eye-candy from today:
More photos on my picasa set.