Confections and confessions

Travel was sometimes a feast! For my camera, at least…I never had room after the main course. Well…almost never. I did eat a chocolate cupcake in Hong Kong, but I didn’t take a picture!

Hopefully this will inspire you to make dessert. Today I am going to make two apple pies from the amazing harvest that awaited us upon our return from worldwide travel.

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St. Regis Bali
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Bali
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St. Regis Bali
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Hotel Icon, Kowloon
Confections-11
Four Seasons Beijing

Confections-29 Confections-27 Confections-26 Confections-25 Confections-24 Confections-22 Confections-21 Confections-20 Confections-19  Confections-17 Confections-16 Confections-15 Confections-14  Confections-12 Confections-10 Confections-9  Confections-7 Confections-6  Confections-4  Confections-2

 

 

Thanksgiving, recap

I wasn’t going to do this because after all, everyone in the U.S. who cooks the traditional fare, cooks basically the same thing on Thanksgiving. But I didn’t see too many other Thanksgiving feast food photos in my reader, so here they are.

Here is the table. After we discovered I had turned off the oven where my husband was baking the stuffing, and it had been off for half an hour, I decided to drink some of the sherry I used for my squash recipe. The wine glass is a gift from my friend and critique partner, so it’s a nice reminder of one of the people in my life for whom I am very thankful.

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All the way back in 2005, Sunset Magazine did a contest for Thanksgiving and put all the recipe winners in their September (I think) issue. I use that magazine every year to make this because my husband and mother in law love it. It’s not super sweet, which they prefer, and it’s quite fluffy and light (though not low-cal).

Sweet potato maple cream cheesecake with a graham cracker and pecan crust
Sweet potato maple cream cheesecake with a graham cracker and pecan crust

That magazine also has a recipe for stuffed kabocha squash. I noticed these squash at the store this year so I decided to go for it. I’m so glad I did. It was fantastic, tho’  the photo’s a tad blurry.

Kabocha squash stuffed with veggies and glazed with a sauce of Worcestershire, soy sauce, sherry, cumin, cayenne and butter and olive oil
Kabocha squash stuffed with veggies and glazed with a sauce of Worcestershire, soy sauce, sherry, cumin, cayenne and butter and olive oil

The turkey was my husband’s masterpiece. It finished a couple hours sooner than we expected, necessitating a bit of an acceleration in the kitchen as I had been using the long afternoon to write a new scene in my work in progress novel. The turkey stayed on the barbie for another hour, on low, gently smoking to a crispy-skinned exterior while retaining a succulent interior (due to being stuffed with quartered oranges):

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He also made the best cranberry-orange relish I’ve ever tasted, with the mushy part being pleasantly sweet from sugar and the best orange crop ever from one of our trees, and contrasting with lots of whole and nearly whole cranberries which burst upon the tongue with freshness and a tangy tartness.

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I am thankful for my health, for my family, for my friends, for having enough to eat, for all the variety of life, and for being a writer. I am also thankful for a new habit I have of thinking about things I like and appreciate for a minute and a half, first thing upon waking every day. This new habit is better than coffee for setting up a joyful day. I recommend it.

I signed a pledge not to shop on Thanksgiving. I am also not going to shop today! So there! I’m going to do my favorite thing: write.

Thanks for visiting, and enjoy the day.

Here are a few people who blogged about Thanksgiving:

http://cookiedoughkatzen.com/2013/11/29/the-holiday-season/

http://followthatleader.com/2013/11/29/being-thankful/

http://chasetheredgrape.com/2013/11/29/crossfit-energise/

21 Food! (and setting) reasons to love Australia

Twas two days before Thanksgiving and the blogger was thinking about FOOD. Shopping and planning for the feast while reminiscing about food in Australia.

We ate lunch at one of the many restaurants by the river in Sydney:

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Near Bondi Beach we enjoyed lunch at a sidewalk cafe:

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P1060371After lunch, you could get a tattoo next door. My friend considered it. I did not. (I didn’t even get pierced ears until I was 30. (About a year ago. 😉 ))

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Looks like I had seafood again.

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In Melbourne, Leanne Cole and I split a basket of blueberry scones here:

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And of course, I had a flat white.

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Leanne then took us through more arcades and streets. At the end we saw DeGraves Street, which is closed to cars, lined by restaurants and filled with tables and heating lamps. We went back that night and had dinner at a tapas bar. We sat at a bench table inside as it was raining a bit, and just people watched. Since we accidentally ordered way too much food (tapas are supposed to be small plates!) we spent a few hours drinking champagne and lingering over the amazing food.

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The next day was epic! Leanne took us along The Great Ocean Road. We stopped for lunch in Lorne:

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where we all ordered the most amazing barramundi:

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I can’t leave out dessert! So here is a picture of a gelateria where we stopped to fortify ourselves with a couple scoops in Watson’s Bay, near Sydney.

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Watson’s Bay is stunning. On one side of this peninsula is the Pacific ocean:

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and on the other side is Sydney harbor:

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Watsons Bay

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Come back in a couple days for pictures of our Thanksgiving feast. In the meantime, enjoy life and bon appetit!

28 (food) reasons to love Manhattan

Welcome to new followers of this blog! Here is a re-post of a popular topic. Loyal readers, thanks for your indulgence as I work up an interesting new series called: “Inside the author’s mind.” And don’t worry, it’s not my mind we will be exploring. My interviewees for this creative-process exploration are a lot more interesting.

Trip dates: 9/15 – 10/13/12

Pushkin Brasserie (near Museum of Modern Art),

D

Add to Pushkin Brasserie ambiance this and a spiked cappuccino and you’ll recover from exhausting museum going:

paul-pain-au-chocolat-450

Share these from Crumbs Bake Shop:

4_cu_blackbottom_cheesecake (1)
Blackbottom cheesecake cupcake

(upper west side, 97th/Columbus.)

cup_Grasshopper
Grasshopper (mint chocolate chip) to die for

“Wine-dark in a shallow lemon sea, pelted with capers, the curl of octopus ($16) looked messy and primeval, as if just plucked from the deep. It is the dish that a Greek restaurant lives or dies by, simple yet exacting. Tenderness should be victory enough. But the octopus at Boukiés had gone a step beyond, the flesh undoing itself, achieving a texture, at its core, close to nectar.” Ligaya Mishan, New York Times 9/21/12

Looked scary, tasted heavenly:

Day 6 GV Boukies 2
Boukies (pronounced Boo KAY is) in Greenwich Village

For less money and a different though not lesser pleasure, a hot pretzel in Central Park:   Day4 Hot Pretzel

Do you love cheese? There’s a name for that.

Day 6 GV Turophilia
Cheese shop in Greenwich Village

Day 6 GV Cheese store

A choice of Schmears (upper west side, Broadway):Day 7 Shmear 2 Day 7 Shmear 3 Day 7 Shmear 4

Oyster bar in Grand Central Station:

Day 18 116 QQ

Spinach and kasha knishes from Yonah Shimmel’s Knishery on East Houston Street (lower east side):

Day 19 002 AA Day 19 005

Pastrami and corned beef sandwiches at Katz’s Deli (near Yonah’s, lower east side):

Day 19 009

Tiny cupcake:

Day 19 013 H
Sugary Sweet Sunshine Bakery

Cappuccino in Tribeca:

Day 19 024

Comfort food at The Eatery after a show (The Phantom of the Opera).

Days 16 012 sesame seed crackers
Sesame seed crackers and champagne
Days 16 018 sweet italian sausage risotto croquettes
Sweet italian sausage risotto croquettes
Days 16 019 grilled camembert
Grilled camembert
Days 16 021 meat loaf ravioli mac and jack
Meat loaf, ravioli and “Mac and Jack” (macaroni and cheese with grilled onions on top)

Days 16 026

Elevation of a bagel:Days 16 Lisas bagel

Peruvian cuisine on the upper west side at Flor De Mayo (Broadway around 98th):

Days 20 21 085 A
Beef stew in a cilantro sauce with potatoes
Days 20 21 088 A
Roasted chicken and plaintains
Flor de Mayo
Aji Gallina Chicken with eggs on a bed of lettuce

Simple repast at The Boathouse (Central Park):Days 20 21 050 A Days 20 21 052 A Days 20 21 053 A

Food! Simple and sophisticated, Paris and Amsterdam

Bread Netherlands where I bought it
Where I bought bread in the Netherlands (street market)

Where you can buy wonderful bread: http://www.stoepje.nl/, and this bread in particular: Nuts Raisins Parade bread.

From the Dutch markets: Nut dark chocolate bark, craisin white chocolate bark, salty licorice (zoute drop), and Nuts Raisins Parade bread:

Nut and fruit chocolate bark, salty licorice (drope) and bread
Bread with shaved cheese
Bread with shaved cheese (sorry, a couple bites are missing from the bread)
Appetizers ready to go out to the deck
Appetizers ready to go out to the Amsterdam houseboat deck

An Indonesian and Tibetan restaurant in Amsterdam, Tashi Deleg, Reviews, Location:

Rijsstaafl
Rijstaffel (“pronounced rice stoffel”), an Indonesian dish, Amsterdam. These mini delicacies are just accompaniment to the main dish.
A little chicken roll
A little chicken roll, Tibetan
Appetizer sauces
Appetizers and sauces
Cheese shop 2
Cheese shop, Amsterdam

Cheese shop

Na Siam, Amsterdam:
Thai restaurant in Amsterdam
Na Siam Thai restaurant in Amsterdam, on Kerkstraat
Thai food
Thai food, spicy beef (on the right) and chicken pad thai (left)
Nia's toast May 9 2013
At the restaurant in the Opera Garnier, Paris

Grey Goose is the house vodka!

Martini
Can life get any better?
Green pea soup cold with cream and goat cheese on toast
Green pea soup (cold) with cream. Sounds odd, but is really, really good. Goat cheese on toast. Sounds good, and it is. Very. That’s a basil leaf on top.

Wine

Tomato jam mozzarella bonito and basil sorbet
Tomato jam, mozzarella, bonito and basil sorbet. Unbelievably good.
Butter at opera
Oh, the French and their butter. Yes, this was excellent.
Rolls
Rolls: fresh, sour, warm enough to melt the butter, delicious.
Deep fried Celeriac
Deep fried celeriac, a side dish to the flank steak
Flank steak
Flank steak on celeriac puree, as tender as filet mignon
Veal
Veal
Dessert menu
We had the souffle. OMG, that’s all I can say.

Maison Robert, near L’Avenue des Champs Elysees:

Cafe

Crepe de Frites Maison Robert
Crepe des Fruites Maison Robert, delicious, but… this crepe and 2 cups of tea, $40 American? Mais non!!

A waffle from a stand in Keukenhoff Gardens (delicious!)

A waffle at Keukenhof Gardens

A simple meal on the deck of 38 L’Avenue de la Bourdenais:

French butter, doux (sweet)
French butter, doux (sweet)
Brie
Brie
First, apply the butter
First, apply the butter.
Then the Brie
Then apply the brie.

Self portrait

All that and a bottle of wine… less than $10. Hint: when in France, buy bread, butter, cheese and wine. They all must be subsidized or something! Then dine at your hotel or apartment.

28 (food) reasons to love Manhattan

Trip dates: 9/15 – 10/13/12

Pushkin Brasserie (near Museum of Modern Art),

D

Add to Pushkin Brasserie ambiance this and a spiked cappuccino and you’ll recover from exhausting museum going:

paul-pain-au-chocolat-450

Share these from Crumbs Bake Shop:

4_cu_blackbottom_cheesecake (1)
Blackbottom cheesecake cupcake

(upper west side, 97th/Columbus.)

cup_Grasshopper
Grasshopper (mint chocolate chip) to die for

“Wine-dark in a shallow lemon sea, pelted with capers, the curl of octopus ($16) looked messy and primeval, as if just plucked from the deep. It is the dish that a Greek restaurant lives or dies by, simple yet exacting. Tenderness should be victory enough. But the octopus at Boukiés had gone a step beyond, the flesh undoing itself, achieving a texture, at its core, close to nectar.” Ligaya Mishan, New York Times 9/21/12

Looked scary, tasted heavenly:

Day 6 GV Boukies 2
Boukies (pronounced Boo KAY is) in Greenwich Village

For less money and a different though not lesser pleasure, a hot pretzel in Central Park:   Day4 Hot Pretzel

Do you love cheese? There’s a name for that.

Day 6 GV Turophilia
Cheese shop in Greenwich Village

Day 6 GV Cheese store

A choice of Schmears (upper west side, Broadway):Day 7 Shmear 2 Day 7 Shmear 3 Day 7 Shmear 4

Oyster bar in Grand Central Station:

Day 18 116 QQ

Spinach and kasha knishes from Yonah Shimmel’s Knishery on East Houston Street (lower east side):

Day 19 002 AA Day 19 005

Pastrami and corned beef sandwiches at Katz’s Deli (near Yonah’s, lower east side):

Day 19 009

Tiny cupcake:

Day 19 013 H
Sugary Sweet Sunshine Bakery

Cappuccino in Tribeca:

Day 19 024

Comfort food at The Eatery after a show (The Phantom of the Opera).

Days 16 012 sesame seed crackers
Sesame seed crackers and champagne
Days 16 018 sweet italian sausage risotto croquettes
Sweet italian sausage risotto croquettes
Days 16 019 grilled camembert
Grilled camembert
Days 16 021 meat loaf ravioli mac and jack
Meat loaf, ravioli and “Mac and Jack” (macaroni and cheese with grilled onions on top)

Days 16 026

Elevation of a bagel:Days 16 Lisas bagel

Peruvian cuisine on the upper west side at Flor De Mayo (Broadway around 98th):

Days 20 21 085 A
Beef stew in a cilantro sauce with potatoes
Days 20 21 088 A
Roasted chicken and plaintains
Flor de Mayo
Aji Gallina Chicken with eggs on a bed of lettuce

Simple repast at The Boathouse (Central Park):Days 20 21 050 A Days 20 21 052 A Days 20 21 053 A

Achilles… toe? 8th day skiing, Squaw Valley

Arrive at 11 AM, park in furthest lot from the lifts:

Getting ready... say goodbye to dog

Temps cold enough to allow snow to act as sign board:

No

Parking

First run, trees on Red Dog. Pep talk to self: It’s okay to be afraid as long as you keep your hands forward.

Tree run

Second run, Siberia. Must pause for photos.

View from Top of Siberia

Top of Siberia

Too cold! Head to Solitude. Ahhh…

Solitude

Solitude

Time for lunch! Greek salad plus tasty brown ale at Fireside Pizza:

Lunch

Back to Solitude for final runs.

Solitude to Headwall Solitude 3

Take transport lift over terrain park. Observe fun being had.

Fun was had by all

Mountain Run, what the crowded parking lot looks like on the slopes:

What the crowded parking looks like on the slopes

Achilles’ weak point was his heal. For me, it’s my toe after too many days pounding bumps:

Scrunched toe

But, no complaints. Don’t want to flunk retirement.

5 ways to flunk retirement

  1. Sit on the couch all day.
  2. Sit on Facebook all day.
  3. Go back to work.
  4. Complain about your old bones (and other body parts).
  5. Complain about frickin anything. (You’re retired. Shut up.)

This morning, bright and early (9:45), we fought our way through morning rush hour

Rush hour

to get on the Funitel at Squaw Valley

GettingCloser

and finally to work.

Work

Of course, we have to have a lunch break. All employees are entitled to that. Excellent fish and chips, stew, and beer at The Auld Dubliner in Squaw Valley:

FishnChips BeefStew