Monday, September 5, 2011

Singapore and More

Any hopes I had of writing weekly this year have been dashed!  Since last writing, I've been traveling in several additional foreign countries - France, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia!  As you can imagine I've eaten my way through each country - experiencing everything from the finest scallop terrine in France to fabulous Indian dishes and Hainenese chicken rice in Singapore to fish curry soups in Malaysia to roti prata with curry in Indonesia.  Yum, yum, yum!

In Singapore I had the wonderful experience of not "just" visiting markets - I was able to purchase groceries and then go to Wendy's condo to experiment!  Yes....Wendy and family live in Singapore now!
Our favorite was fresh lotus root that I cooked and used in salads - splendid!  But a close second was the weird looking tuber that I cooked, following the directions of a local Chinese lady, that tasted like artichoke hearts!  What a wonderful surprise.....although it was a strange lavender color!  I cooked other vegetables that the local Chinese ladies put in my basket at the wet market - as they explained that these were seasonal and I needed to buy them now!!!  What fun!!!

The above picture was taken at a restaurant in Bintan, an island of Indonesia.  Yes, it's a regular pancake, but it is served with a vanilla sauce - a simple cream anglaise.  What a simple idea for a yummy change!  Try it at your next brunch.  Neat idea for a sauce on a fruit-filled crepe, too!

The next post will be a food you WON'T be trying at home - roti prata with curry!  You'll want to go to Bintan to try it!

Enjoy the saucy vanilla cream anglaise idea!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Irish Food - WOW - You gotta try it!

The Ireland trip was great. Nine days was not enough....we did lots of cool stuff, saw beautiful scenery, were immersed with Irish music and history, drove on the wrong side of the road (!), met terrific people, and had enjoyable meals - often with Guinness!

Speaking of food....I was in a grocery store in Clifton (on the west coast of Ireland) and picked up some recipe handouts as I love to do. Guess what - the creator of the recipes was none other than my cooking instructor in Orlando - Chef Kevin Dundon! He gets around!

Foodie highlights -Cork: Touring the English Market and the Butter Museum; Clifton: Sampling smoked fish at the Connemara Smokehouse and making and sampling Poteen Cake at Dan O'Hara's Homestead; everywhere: enjoying fabulous soups, fish and chips, mushy peas, cottage pie, cheeses, Irish butter, smoked salmon, wonderful scones, and even banoffee!

Pictured above is the typical Irish breakfast consisting of eggs, bacon (more like ham), sausages, black pudding and white pudding. Garnish with a baked tomato - serve with yummy breads and, of course, Irish butter!

Monday, March 14, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Cooking Class

Cooking class today at Raglan Road Restaurant at Disney's Pleasure Island......
What a treat!

I'm planning a trip to Ireland later this spring, so to get it the mood......I went to get a taste of Ireland right here in Orlando.

Pictured here is a new book by Chef Kevin Dundon - added to 2 earlier books in his reperatoir. Recipes in the class were taken from his books, including a moist and tasty brown soda bread, leek and potato soup, spring greens salad with poached pears, sauteed cod with vegetables and and a selection of yummy desserts!

Emphasis was on fresh ingredients - from freshly caught seafood to fresh vegetables and fruits.

Everything tasted great and I can't wait to go to Ireland!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mole' Sauces in Oaxaca, Mexico

Mole' Sauces you can love -

If you've ever had Mexican food with a REALLY good were probably enjoying a mole' sauce.

I remember eating one such sauce at El Abuelito in Jackson Hole, WY...thinking of that sauce makes my mouth water!!

Here is another shot of the breakfast offerings that were in the "hole in the wall" restaurant that I wrote about last time.

In an earlier blog, I wrote about the different colors and flavors of mole' sauces - literally ground concoctions. I didn't taste all of these, but these sauces are what makes the food sing!

I recently made 2 mole' sauces in my kitchen. One was green (mole verde) with tomatillos, green tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapenos, white beans and about a dozen other ingredients!

The other was a Coloradito Mole', a dark red color, with garlic, onion, tomatoes, oregano, chilies, raisins, almonds, Mexican chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and another dozen ingredients.

The process of making these sauces may be lengthy, but the product is worth it. When making a mole', cook up a large batch and freeze the extra in small containers. What a treat to have mole' sauces ready to add to something as simple as a sauteed chicken breast.....or on a grilled pork chop or with pulled pork....Or, for the vegetarians.....stirred into boiled beans and served in a heated corn tortilla!

Excuse me while I go get a mole' out of the freezer!

Breakfast with the Oaxacans

A Best Breakfast Oaxaca!!

Oaxaca has wonderful breakfast restaurants with tasty native foods - from sauteed squash blossoms to guacamole. These eateries are safe bets, you can order from an English menu, and you may even get what you thought you ordered! (Now, that's another story!)
I like to follow the locals to see where they eat! And, they do like to eat interesting breakfasts - try tacos topped with crumbly cheese and fried grasshoppers!! I have pics of that....although I found some other choices, too!

I found our best breakfast in Oaxaca by following locals (and my nose) through a sliver of an opening off a side street! Boy - was I excited by the foods I saw! I trooped back to the villa, rallied my travel mates and we were off to breakfast. To be honest, they were straggling along, not so sure of my "hole in the wall" choice!

The place was filling with one spoke English and despite the fact that I speak no Spanish, I became the designated order placer!!

Easy....I ordered by pointing to foods that were on the plates of the other patrons. Then, I watched as our order was filled. In the adjacent courtyard, masa from a huge pan of dough was pressed into tortillas, then cooked on a wood-fired comal. When the tortillas were done, they were passed through a window into the kitchen of the restaurant! Talk about fresh!!!

Next I added toppings from the choices as shown in the photo. Paula had a black bean filling, Steve had a squash dish with red mole' and I had green beans with egg. Like - great! I could eat breakfast there every day!

A few simple, fresh ingredients, well- prepared, cooked with the perfect herbs, spices and love.....little fat, no sugar nor preservatives.....just "real" food! Yum.

Oaxaca, Mexico - yummmmmmm!!!

Hello again -
Wow - It's been 3 months since my trip to Oaxaca and I can still "feel" the trip! As in, a good way!

If you are thinking of going south, love food, want to meet great people with a proud heritage, appreciate fine crafts, easy access to loads of cultural events, and nonstop fun ...get your ticket to Oaxaca. authentic as it gets, was available from our first step in the city. Can you imagine me....the consummate food safety/cleanliness advocate....eating street food within an hour of our landing? Yes, I was eating tamales taken from a bucket on the street of Oaxaca at 10 p.m. on a Saturday night - oh, well, seize the moment!

The photo shows the remnants of our late night snack! It became our breakfast the next morning....along with some wonderful bakery items!

The streetside vendor had four kinds of tamales in his bucket and, of course, I asked for one of each! Masa and herbs, masa with chicken and mole', one with beans, one with masa and red pepper....all terrific!

At Seasons of the Heart cooking school we would learn more about the seven moles' of Oaxaca - from nearly black in color to red to yellow to green. Each made with different ingredients - the two darker ones flavored with the addition of Mexican chocolate - all with different chilies, fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and spices!

I've made two mole' sauces (mole' meaning ground concoction) in my own kitchen - they met with rave reviews!

If you want a wonderful cookbook loaded with authentic recipes and great stories of the people and customs of Oaxaca, get a copy of Seasons of my Heart by Susana Trilling. I'm not letting my copy out of my sight! :)

Til later -