Category Archives: food

World baking day

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.

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Note to self

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.

(Where I had a pastry and a latte. Yum.)

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Checking in

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.


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Apparently I’m all about the food

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.

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Interrupting the irregularly scheduled programming

After admiring the prize-winning produce at the state fair, like these peppers


I knew I would likely go overboard at the farmers’ market. And I did. But aren’t the tomatoes pretty? Yum.


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Cook’s Illustrated magazine

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…

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Menu items

Had dinner at Zaytinya last night. Review at my regular LJ. Cool thing? On the regular menu, the items are listed in English and in Arabic script. Enjoyed sounding the words out.

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Koko Market on Eastern

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.


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Avos & chocolate chips

I have such mixed feelings about Whole Foods. On one hand, it is the closest upscale grocery near my home; on the other, passages from Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma echo in my mind as I shop there — how healthy and organic is what I’m buying? Would I be better off finding a local farm that is committed to sustainable agriculture? Probably, but when I searched online, the closest one was 20+ miles away and limited hours for the public to peruse and purchase their produce.

This morning I decided I wanted an avocado and one of the Belgian waffles from the bakery department, and a Brown Cow cream top yoghurt. Yep, lots of fat in that breakfast. And I forgot the cardinal rule: don’t grocery shop when hungry. I returned home with an odd mix of purchases, including a minicake that I didn’t need; cherries; fruit salad; sweet potato chips; and more. But the tastiest purchase: chocolate tortilla chips. The ingredients are natural — no chemical names I can’t pronounce. And they have a dark chocolate taste. Went well with the avo and banana for breakfast.

On the avo note, I ate a sandwich last week that was average but transformed to excellent by the combination of avo and bacon. Not a combo I’ve tried before. The salt and crisp of the bacon plus the buttery fruit-vegetable along with crisp romaine and sliced turkey breast? Delicious.

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Lots of things going on

I received an email from one of my college Russian profs — my favorite instructor, Alla Aleksandrovna Bluykher — is retiring, and I’m invited to her retirement celebration. Alla specifically asked for me, which is flattering (it’s been 10 years!) and a bit guilt-inducing (since I’ve let my Russian lapse so badly). But I’m off to Red Square at the Belvedere one evening this week to celebrate her 25 years of teaching Russian to bumbling English speakers.

The Jerusalem Fund is offering a workshop on the art of Arabic calligraphy later this month. I just signed up, along with a couple of my classmates.

And I’m back from Cleveland, where I went to attend “trAnsfoRmaTionS,” a conference on Arts Education. According to Drew Carey, Cleveland Rocks! I’m not sure I would go that far, but the conference was excellent.

Food note: had most excellent meat loaf at Pickwick & Frolic’s, a restaurant near the hotel that seems to have a history as some sort of burlesque venue. The meat load was angus beef mixed with chorizo. Mmmm. Accompanied by garlic mashed and a glorious corn pudding.

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