Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Renewed Interest

So, my training for Peace Corps is coming to a close and I cannot wait much longer! I've been away from my/a kitchen for way too long. This summer I've assisted in 2 batches of granola, an order of pumpkin seeds, and a few fixings for a 4th of July barbecue (Armenian khorovats-style). This is less than an afternoon really back in my life on native soil.

But in just over a week, I move to my new site in Berd, Armenia. I'll still be living with a family, but my American site-mates are well versed in my cooking...ahem...prowess, and have promised to lend me kitchens as needed.

I finished Julie and Julia today and have found a renewed sense of vigor and need to be in the kitchen. I've yet to see the movie, which I suspect to be radically different, but found the book to be filled with the right blend of profanity, frankness, Whedonverse references, and <3 of cooking. I have no desire to start with the basics of French cuisine, but I do want to get my kitchen in some order. I'm already signed up to help with Thanksgiving meal.

So, I'm perusing recipes and I think I want to try this as soon as I'm able: Homemade Marshmallow.

Otherwise, Brown sugar and/or Molasses is impossible to track down over here. I'm going to be requiring a great deal to be shipped over. Feeling generous?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Brown Sugar

When I first made this blog, well, it was to be my backup project. I had wanted my own cooking blog for a long time, but was waiting because I had applied for the Peace Corps. There came a very sad day in which I thought I was not going to pass the application process, and in an effort to remain positive, I registered HeBakes.com as a home for my stories about cooking for and by guys. I'll go in the full reasons in a different post soon, but for the time being, I was pleasantly surprised when I was not rejected from the applications process.

But that meant giving up my ability to freely bake. So, my dishes are packed up, my kitchen is rented by another and I'm in Armenia, where I was told no men cook and there is no such thing as brown sugar.

This actually was the hardest thing to come to terms with. Baking was something I did for stress relief, to impress those I wanted to impress, and perhaps to win over those who were not as easily impressed by my awesomeness (my other means was to run, and well, this country wasn't built for runners, either).

And so, I set out on the great quest to find brown sugar! And you know what less than a month and a half in country, and I succeeded. One store in Yerevan (the capital) had brown sugar, though granulated, and I now feel ready to begin both my Peace Corps experience and baking under hardship. What shall I bake? My mom's blonde brownies. I can't think of anything greater that makes me think of home, and it's also something really great to share with American's who might not be enjoying the varied sweets over here.

Pictures and what-not to follow!