“Wherever you go, go with all of your heart” ~ Confucius
Traveling to Thailand was an ethereal experience. When the opportunity to meet John in Bangkok arose last summer, I jumped at it. I’ve always had a weakness for Thai cuisine and I had long hoped I would have the chance to visit and immerse myself in the magnificent and historic culture.
“Drinking tequila is more about the journey than the destination”
~ Rainbow Rowell
Today is Cinco De Mayo so it only seems fitting that this post relates to the shining qualities surrounding tequila. In my younger days, tequila meant nothing more than party shots and an almost certain headache. Thank goodness I’ve evolved. While shots still have their place, there is a much higher relevance for this fascinating distilled beverage. Continue reading It’s Time For Tequila→
Morning Latte overlooking the sea in Praiano, Italy
Croissants and Cappuccinos at a cafe near the Campo De Fiori in Rome, Italy
Latte and cookies at Rustica in Eden Prairie, MN
The Boone’s Beard Latte at Vicinity Coffee in Mpls
Latte at Barbette Cafe, Mpls
Cappuccino at The Bachelor Farmer Cafe, Mpls
Latte and a cookie at the Hilton Hotel in Pattaya, Thailand
My morning cappuccino at the Hotel Margherita in Praiano, Italy
Cappuccino and Croissant at La Boqueria Mercat in Barcelona, Spain
“Adventure in life is good; consistency in coffee is even better” ~ Justine Chen, North of Beautiful
My search for the perfect cup of coffee knows no bounds. I am ardent and unapologetic regarding my caffeine infatuation. Whether it is our weekend latte treks in the Twin Cities or when traveling abroad, I am always on the hunt for the consummate coffee experience. While the quality of the java holds high significance, it is as much or more about the venue and who I’m getting caffeinated with that matters. Sipping a morning espresso alongside the locals at the Mercado De La Boqueria in Barcelona or slipping into a café near the Campo De Fiori in Rome with John are a couple of my very best café memories. Today I am sharing some of my favorite coffee occasions through photos. Enjoy and please share yours with me, I look forward to seeing your pics and hearing your cafe recommendations. Read on if you would like to learn more about the definition of espresso and the associated terms.
Comfort: The definition of comfort as noted per dictionary.com is to soothe, console or reassure; bring cheer to.
The kitchen is a place of absolute comfort for me and I like to imagine that the dishes I create bring that feeling to others, which is why bread pudding is frequently on the menu at our house. It is my ultimate “comfort food”. There is something about the chunky cubes of brioche, challah or French bread soaked in custard and baked that takes me to a place of instant contentment.
John and I traveled to Thailand last summer and fell in love with the fascinating culture and the stunning food climate. Since that experience I have been craving Thai food regularly. While I do plan to do a lengthy blog post on that trip, today I am writing about a hidden gem of a restaurant that I found tucked away in an unassuming strip mall in Golden Valley. My oldest son and I try to meet for a meal when I am in his neck of the woods . Usually those outings take place in Golden Valley, close to his job.
The desire to try something new for lunch last week had us yelping nearby restaurants. Nong’s Thai Cuisine popped up. The restaurant was close in proximity to our location and the reviews were consistently above average so we gave it a try. My impression: insanely good! The incredible menu made it hard to choose just one dish. I’ve found that a long menu doesn’t always correlate with high quality, favorable food choices but at Nong’s I truly could not decide what to order because there were so many fantastic options. I ended up with the Sukiyaki Soup found on the noodle page. Ingredients included: glass noodles, egg, Napa cabbage, onion, green onion, celery and special sukiyaki sauce. The flavors were addicting. The choices on the spice scale were mild, medium, hot and thai hot. I am a spice girl so I opted for hot and loved it. The portion was extremely generous which I appreciated as I had the remaining soup for lunch the next day. I don’t refer to that as leftovers, I call it: same soup, different day….
So how is it that I have been baking (cakes, cookies, quick breads) and writing recipes for the better part of 25 years and I’ve not had more than one or two attempts at working with yeast breads? I was intimidated, plain and simple. Turns out it’s not that scary. After watching the James Beard Award winning Nancy Silverton’s episode of The Chef’s Table on Netflix I was instantly inspired to dive into the yeast bread game.
Here are a couple of interesting facts regarding the types of yeast to keep in mind before you get started:
Active Dry Yeast – This is a dormant form of yeast. It needs to be rehydrated prior to use. Ideally, the yeast is dissolved in warm water that is approximately 110 degrees F. Tip: a pinch of sugar helps with the activation of the yeast. Look for the yeast/water/sugar mixture to bubble and foam after a few minutes. I used active dry yeast in both of the recipes presented in this blog post.
Instant Yeast: There is no need to dissolve in water prior to use in a recipe. The yeast granules are smaller that those in active dry yeast.
Both varieties of yeast can be frozen in a covered container. The yeast can be used right from the freezer, there is no need to bring it to room temperature prior to incorporating it. I bought the yeast used in my recipes in packets but it is available in bulk at many grocers, big box stores and online at amazon.com.
Maya: “Why are you so in to Pinot? I mean it’s a thing with you.”
Miles: “Uh I don’t know, I don’t know. Um, it’s a hard grape to grow as you know. It’s thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It’s , you know, not a survivor like cabernet, which can grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it’s neglected. No, pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? In fact, it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, only the most patient and nurturing growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand pinots potential can then coax it into its full expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they are just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and…..ancient on the planet.”
~Quoted from Sideways, one of my all time favorite wine themed movies.