When looking at my budget and expenses over the last year, one thing became very clear: I spent entirely too much at a certain coffee chain. I don’t like black coffee, but do like lattes made with non-dairy milk. (And cappuccino in Italy and galão in Portugal and café manchado in Spain. But that’s a different post.) Anyway, I bought a low end espresso/latte maker and have zeroed out the chain coffee.
This morning I realized I was out of alt milk, until I remembered the condensed milk in the pantry. Good enough in a pinch, right?
Turns out this is café bombón. Too sweet for my regular morning caffeine but would be a good dessert substitute. And fine until I make it to the grocery store tomorrow. 😁
So I tried making it a second time but with pears instead, and homemade cranberry relish instead of mincemeat. Really like it, would make again. Would also maybe try something more citrus-y. Or with sour cherries.
Twitter told me this morning that today is World Baking Day. So here is my participation bake: Nadiya Hussein’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Pancake Tray Bake. The jelly is jalapeño, which tastes delicious but doesn’t look as pretty as a red jelly would.
Next time, permit more time for wine tasting. Two port caves per day is really my limit, but there are so many, and I won’t have time to try them all. 😍
Also: this fascinated me. Up close, it’s a bunch of mangled car parts stuck on the corner of a building for no apparent reason. A few yards away, it is clearly an Art Installation…maybe one with a message I don’t really get. But still, it’s ingenious.
And then there is this installation across from a hipster-y coffee place. Those are car tires sticking out of or affixed to the building.
I ended up renewing the three nonfiction books I borrowed from the library, and am inching through Frazier’s Travels in Siberia, which is quite interesting and also apropos given the weather recently. (I hate seeing a minus before any temperature reading.) When I dropped off the books I’d finished, I picked up a couple more:
Tristana by Benito Perez Galdos (translated by Margaret Jull Costa)
There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children, Until They Moved Back In by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya (translated by Anna Summers)
I’ve been debating buying Bob McKenzie’s Hockey Confidential…but I won’t let myself until I finish Dryden’s The Game, which still languishes on my Kindle.
In other media news, my current TV favorite is PBS’s The Great British Bake Off, which I only just discovered. It comes across as competitive but much more collegial and pleasant than the competition shows found on the Food Network, and also as a fascinating cross-section of the British population in some ways. I was pleased to see one of my French favorites, kouign amann, as a technical challenge, while also very surprised that none of the bakers had ever heard of or seen/eaten one before.
In advance of foul weather, I made a pot of faux cassoulet using the recipe demonstrated over at Full Fork Ahead. And then I walked down to Poupon to get a small supply of emergency croissants.
The Biochemist and The Chemist came to visit over the holidays, which was lovely. I always appreciate the opportunity to cling and be ridiculous. While we were plotting out what we wanted to do on different days, we wound up arranging things entirely by which restaurants we wanted to try to revisit (important info: Petit Louis is *always* on the itinerary). Which, uh, we don’t really do that, do we?
Except I was planning a weekend roadtrip for March and realized that I was doing exactly the same thing. This event is at this hour in this location, which restaurants are nearby that my colleague from that town recommended.
So apparently *I* do that. And I’m all about the food when traveling.
Unrelated, I had begun to tentatively plan a trip to Istanbul for this year. A friend went last year and came back with wonderful tales and then handed me his guidebook. Well, twist my arm. It was on my bucket list, after all. I’d read a bunch of security/travel blogs and checked out the State Dept warnings site but was feeling generally okay about visiting. Today’s news of a suicide bomber in one of Istanbul’s tourist areas is making me hesitate. It feels wimpy to say that but…I’m not sure what to do right now. Maybe sleep on it and do more research.
A while back I tweeted that I love Cook’s Illustrated magazine. I don’t cook a great deal, especially in the summer, nor am I a foodie, but their magazine is worth cover price and is a bargain via subscription IMO. There are a few recipes that I use semi-regularly, like the perfect chocolate chip cookie, which is included in their new best recipes magazine. And the simplified cassoulet. Someday I may even feel tempted to make the full-on traditional version. Maybe? Probably not. But I *could* do it, using CI as a handy-dandy guide.
More than the straight-forward cooking instructions, I love the narratives included with each recipe, talking about their experimentation and development of the recipe they’ve published or diversion from the standard recipes. And the tests of different brands of various pieces of cooking/kitchen accessories are helpful and informative, too. Someday I’ll need to have one of those thingamabobs in my kitchen, and I’ll know exactly which brand to buy and why it’s either a bargain or worth every penny of the seemingly exorbitant price.
Thinking about food writing reminds me of how much I enjoyed Anthony Capella’s The Wedding Officer and its food. If I could find my copy, I might re-read it…
I’ve driven by Koko Market on Eastern Avenue a hundred times at least, but never paid attention. Stopped at the light today, I realized that the Arabic spelling is a direct transliteration of the words “Koko Market” rather than a translation. I was on the wrong side of the light, so I couldn’t read any of the products that were written in Arabic, but when the light changed and I accelerated, I caught the first word, which I believe was “lehem” meaning meat. Beef or lamb, not chicken.
Must check the hours of operation next time I go by. I’m not sure if it is a market that specializes in Middle Eastern products or what, although I assume that’s likely. I’m kind of surprised by its location, though, because I hadn’t realized there was a significant Arabic population in Dundalk. If asked, I would assume that neighborhood was mostly native Baltimoron (mix of race and ethnicity) with some Latino immigrants.