“You’re going to make ramen?” she said. The expression on her face made it impossible to hide her surprise.
“I’m going to try,” I said with a laugh, both at her genuine surprise and at the idea that I might actually be successful.
I was looking for kelp granules in a local Asian grocery and this kind woman stocking the shelves was trying to help me locate them. We never found them, but I left the market feeling the confidence that often results from a challenge.
Yes, I would make ramen.
I did make ramen.
I might even go back at some point and tell her about it.
It’s a rare for me to find one holiday recipe that I make over and over every year. I’m not against tradition, it’s just that there are so many candies, cakes, and cookies topping my favorites list that if I made each one, I’d have enough to last us right up until the next holiday season.
So I have to pick and choose.
That has started to change a little bit, though, as we’ve traveled abroad over Christmas and I’ve discovered traditional foods of other countries. It began with Danish Butter Cookies after visiting Copenhagen. I’ve made them a whopping two years in a row and I don’t see them dropping off the list anytime soon.
Since we’ve visited Austria and Germany at Christmas I’ve found a few favorites from there as well. Actually, my love of stollen started way back when I worked in a bakery and we used to make a modified version at the holidays. I’ve been searching for a good recipe ever since, but I end up running out of time to give it a try before the holiday hits.
These sweet and savory holiday party snacks pair well with the 2013 Leaky Lake Cabernet Sauvignon I received from Cultivar Wine.
Tis the season for snacks and appetizers. At least that is what I’ve been telling myself as I’ve snacked my way through breakfast, lunch, and dinner the past week. I try to rotate a carrot or celery stick in every now and then, but who am I kidding.
At this point, it’s best to cast dietary caution to the wind and enjoy some holiday food. And drink a little wine.
I’m not really into the gift giving scene around the holiday season. It’s not that I don’t want to give gifts, but rather how gift giving seems to affect other people this time of year. It seems to be the number one source of holiday stress for most people I talk to — buying the right gift, buying enough gifts, having enough money to buy gifts, having time to ship and give them.
So other than a handful for close friends and a single gift for a family member chosen in a drawing, that about wraps it up for us.
But one thing I have not lost my holiday spirit for are stocking stuffers! The little thoughtful things that show up in your stocking. Or at least they used to in ours.
The holidays always seem like a good time to go all out. Attempting to do just that, this is a go big or go home kind of burger.
In an effort to celebrate the season, I did all I could to infuse as much holiday flavor as possible. Those touches reach everything from the seasoning for the meat to the toppings I piled on top.
Another name for it could be Grass-fed Bacon Burgers with Sautéed Brussels Sprouts, Pickled Onions and Cranberries, and Garlic Parmesan Black Pepper Mayonnaise. See. It’s a little long.
I think Ultimate Holiday Burger suits it pretty well.
If you follow me on social media, you already know what I’m about to tell you.
Now that I look at it, if you read the title of this post, you already know what I’m about to tell you.
Considering that today is my birthday and days like this are meant to be celebrated, I thought I would do so by officially spilling the news.
Any time I get a new ingredient for the kitchen, I always seem to make cookies. Most often chocolate chip cookies.
I think it’s because I want to see how something unfamiliar behaves in something I know well.
Although, saying that cassava flour is unfamiliar isn’t exactly accurate. I became familiar with it when we lived in Brazil. Cassava = mandioca = tapioca.
There we ate farofa, pão de queijo and tapioca com goiabada. All are made with some version of the flour – fine ground, coarse ground, sweet, fermented or sour.
The first time I had sweet rice was when we traveled around Thailand in 2009. By sweet rice, I mean mango sticky rice. By had, I mean I ordered it at just about every location with it on the menu.
That stuff is the best of all dessert worlds in one — fresh mango, nutty, chewy rice and a heavy drizzle of rich sweetened condensed milk. It really broadened my vision of rice for dessert.
To be honest, I’ve never made it at home. That is mainly because I have yet to find a mango in the US that holds a candle to those that we ate in Southeast Asia and Brazil.
It came to mind, though, recently when I started talking with the organizers of the Fresno Food Expo.
I know. I didn’t realize there was a Fresno Food Expo until just this year.
These Dan Dan Noodles are simple to make and full of flavor! It’s one of the many great recipes in the newest Chinese cookbook in my collection!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve resolved to cook more Asian-inspired foods. Southeast Asian, Chinese, Japanese – you name it and I’ve wanted to explore the methods, spices and recipes much more.
I repeatedly fall short of that goal, but every now and then something comes along that helps me out. I get back on track and we have a week or so filled with noodles, fried rice and five spice powder.
I always say that when we lived in Brazil if I’d known what I know now, I would have written a cookbook. I walked away from that 3 years with so many interesting food experiences, and thanks to friends there, a greater knowledge of how to prepare some of our favorite foods.
Other than the jumbo cookbook in Portuguese that I brought back with me, I rarely come across books in English that highlight Brazilian cuisine. So when those rare occasions arise, I jump on the opportunity to get a copy.