By Ted Simpson –
Gardening addict and local food aficionado, Caitlin Carrol is the local blogger behind the website, Culinarily Inclined. Carrol launched her blog in January of 2011, after a web savvy friend designed the site for her as a gift.
“He was looking for a way to motivate me to do something different,” she says.
Carrol uses the blog as a push to expand her culinary identity and try new things while sharing her adventures with the world. Her fun and conversational writing style cuts the pretension that can often come through the foodie world, and makes exotic recipes seem much less of a daunting task.
On her blog, Carroll highlights ways to use fresh, local and seasonal foods, with many of her ingredients coming straight from her own back yard.
Carrol prefers to explore the Ottawa Farmers Market in Westboro at Byron Linear Park. “It’s great because everyone actually makes their own food, grows their own food,” she says.
“Last year was my first real garden, I grew tomatoes, herbs and edible flowers,” she says. “This year I planted a 20 x 20 foot garden over at my boyfriend’s, it’s my first time ever growing everything from seed, which was an interesting experience.”
Her passion for local food was sparked after buying her first cookbook for the website. Cooking through Anna Olson’s, Fresh, Carrol started to incorporate seasonal ingredients into meals.
Vegetables are all well and good, but her heart still lies in the sugary, sweet world of confectionery, “I love baking, I love anything with sugar in it,” says Carrol.
Most of Carrol’s recipes come from the small library of cookbooks she has accumulated over the course of her blogging adventure, while a few original creations and family traditions are occasionally thrown into the mix.
Sharing her love of food and lending inspiration to the not-so culinarily inclined is what keeps Carrol so passionate about blogging.
“You do it and you feel so good and it makes you want to do it again,” she says of sending her posts out into the either and seeing positive and thankful feedback from her readers.
One of the refreshing aspects of Culinarily Inclined is Carrol’s ability to be humble when it comes to the occasional culinary disaster. It’s nice to see that it truly does happen to the best of us.
“Once in a while I do post a recipe I totally messed up, because I don’t want my readers to think that everything that comes out of my oven is perfect,” she says. “Don’t get discouraged when you make something and it doesn’t turn out lovely like the picture.”
Enjoy this sample recipe from Caitlin Carrol’s blog.
Balsamic mushrooms on a raft (serves two)
1 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, chopped
6-8 medium/large mushrooms, cut into pieces
1 tbsp good-quality balsamic vinegar
Handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
2 thick slices of ciabatta, or other crusty bread
Good olive oil
Heat up a large frypan to medium high. Add butter and let melt. Sauté garlic for 1 minute, until fragrant but not brown. Add mushrooms to pan stirring occasionally for a few minutes.
Toast bread until well done.
Add fresh parsley, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste to the mushrooms. Stir. Once mushrooms are cooked through, turn off immediately. Stir in a bit more fresh parsley for color.
At this point you can do whatever you want. Pile the mushrooms high on a piece of toast that has been brushed with some good quality olive oil. Skip the olive oil and drizzle the mushroom toast with truffle oil, or skip the oils all together and add crumbled goat cheese or ricotta. It’s all good.