Tuesday, March 31, 2009

return of the raw apple cake :: reaparición de la tarta de manzanas "crudas"

One of my favorite easy cakes... Check out the recipe here.
Una de mis tartas favoritas y fáciles. Haz clic aquí para ver la receta en inglés.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

adventures in Ukrainian cuisine :: aventuras de la cocina ucraniana

When I studied last year in Madrid, I lived with a Ukrainian/Long Island girl. Since Nat and I lived with a family, we weren't able to cook our own food. Therefore, I heard a lot about Ukrainian food, but wasn't able to taste a bite! Over winter break, we headed back to Spain for a few weeks. Since we were flying out of JFK, I spent a few days at her house on either of the trip. These few days were my introduction to (and the source of a budding obsession with) Ukrainian food.

While I was staying at my roommate's house, I enjoyed muliple bowls of borscht, delicious sauteed mushrooms in a silky sour cream sauce, and many servings of "Russian" salad (or Ukrainian salad, if you prefer).

The week after we returned from Spain, I embarked on my own adventures, creating pot after pot of borscht (although my version is quite a bit darker than that of Nat's mom), and numerous bowls of Russian salad. My biggest obsession, however, is the mushroom dish. I cannot get enough of them!


Cuando estudié en Madrid el año pasado, viví con una chica ucraniana que vive en Long Island, en Nueva York. A causa de que vivimos con una familia espa
ñola, no pudimos cocinarnos ningún tipo de comida. Por eso, supe mucho de comida ucraniana, pero no pude saborear ni un bocadito. Pero... durante las vacaciones de Navidad, nos fuimos otra vez a España para pasar un par de semanas. Esta vez, como viajamos por el aeropuerto JFK en Nueva York, pude pasar un par de días en la casa de mi compañera, ambos antes y después de estar en España. Durante esos días me introducieron a (y fueron la obsesión con) comida ucraniana.

Cuando estuve en su casa, tom
é muchos boles de borscht (una sopa famosa de Ucrania y Rusia), un plato delicioso de champiñones (salteados y con una salsa suave de crema agria) y muchos bocados de ensaladilla rusia (o ensaladilla ucraniana, si se quiera).

Durante la semana despues de regresando, empec
é con mis propias aventuras en la cocina, cocinando ollas y ollas de borscht (aunque mi versión parece más oscura que la de la madre de Nat) y haciendo boles innumerables de ensaladilla ucraniana. Sin embargo, mi obsesión principal son los champiñones. Parece que no puedo tomar bastante. =)


Nat's mom's amazing borscht :: Bol de borscht de la madre de Nat

My own borscht :: Mi propia receta de borscht

My own Russian salad :: Mi propia ensaladilla rusia

Friday, March 27, 2009

a new toy :: un juguete nuevo

I realize that it's a bit late to be writing about this, but for my birthday last October, my roommates gave me a gift certificate to Williams-Sonoma. I spent part of my gift on a Primo Milk Frother, a handheld tool that runs on batteries and helps create the perfect latte or mochaccino. It also makes a deliciously frothy hot cocoa (as shown in the photo below).

(It's been a while since my last post, and I apologize. This is my first après-wrist-surgery post, and there are many more to come!)


Me doy cuenta que está un poco tarde para mencionarlo, pero durante el octubre pasado mis compañeras de casa me dieron un vale-regalo de Williams-Sonoma (una tienda americana de productos de la concina y de la casa). Con mi vale-regalo, compré un Primo Milk Frother, un instrumento de mano que funciona con pillas y se ayuda a crear el café latte o mochaccino perfecto. También se ayuda a crear un chocolate de la taza (de estilo americano) delicioso y espumoso (como se puede ver debajo).

(Siento que hace mucho tiempo desde mi
última entrada. Es la primera entrada después de la cirugía de muñeca y hay muchas entradas más que vienen.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Good Food & Good Talk

A few weeks back, a friend and I were in serious need of good dishes and good dishing. We were short on time, so I started with storebought pizza dough, layered on slices of juicy plum tomatoes, chopped (canned) artichoke hearts, caramelized onions, slices of creamy smoked mozzarella, and grated parmesan and kasseri cheeses. I topped the whole thing off with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a few cracks of fresh black pepper.

Here's the pizza before finding it's way to the oven...

The pizza after a few minutes of intense heat...

I served it up with a Greek-style salad of mesclun, tomatoes, cukes, and feta, all dressed in extra virgin olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar, smoked salt, cracked black pepper, and a sprinkling of Herbes de Provence.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Going beyond chocolates & flowers...

Have you ever seen those commercials for Edible Arrangements and wondered if they're really all they're cracked up to be? Let me be the first to tell you, if you're getting one from the Burlington location, they are! I had always wondered what they were like, and I guess at some point I mentioned that while watching their commercial. For Valentine's Day this year, my boy picked me up one of these. The fruit was fresh, perfectly arranged, and overall -- delicious! For a fruithead like me, it really ranks in the top ten gifts.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Where Not to Eat :: Asian Bistro

I don't often make negative references to places that I've been, but something stuck out the other night when I was eating dinner. My boy and I had decided to go out for a dinner date, and we chose Asian Bistro (121 Connor Way, Williston, VT) since we had been wanting to try it out.

Our dinner started out with mixed shrimp and vegetable tempura for $6 (since we are both nuts about tempura). The batter was nicely done and in general, the appetizer portion of the meal was pretty delicious. However, after tasting the rest of the meal, I was a bit mad about the tempura, as it had given us false hope.

I opted for one of the chef's specialties: Crispy Scallops ($13.50). The menu described it as "
scallops with honey glazed walnuts in a crispy crepe w/ spicy onion sauce on the side," but that's not quite what I got. First of all, I think "crispy crepe" is referring to the batter, which was quite raw-tasting and didn't have a hint of salt nor pepper. The spicy onion sauce consisted of about 1.5 cups of sickly-sweet but slightly odd-tasting teriyaki sauce. The scallops did not taste fresh and had an unappetizing mouth feel. After talking with friends and doing a little research, I'm guessing they weren't "scallops" in the first place, but rather some off-tasting shark meat cut into scallop-sized pieces. The honey glazed walnuts were a huge disconnect, and just thrown on top of the "scallops", which were in a greasy taco-salad-type fried tortilla bowl.

My boy also (unfortunately) chose a chef's specialty called Chicken with Honey Walnut ($11.50). It was described as "chicken crisp-sauteed in a tangy white cream sauce and topped with honeyeyed walnuts". Firstly, it was fried, not sauteed, and the batter tasted exactly like every other cheap Chinese restaurant's sweet & sour chicken. This batter was seasoned and without the sauce, the chicken wasn't bad. However, this "cream sauce" was clearly nowhere near cream at any point in it's short life. In the first bite, I was overwhelmed by the taste of mayonaise and my boy pointed out that it also tasted quite a bit like mustard. I don't know what else was in the sauce, but one bite was more than what I needed. Again, there were walnuts on the plate, which made no sense. Maybe they would have been alright with a cream sauce, but there was no cream sauce to be found.

After all, I would rate this meal "pretty terrible". It would have been "awful" were it not for the tempura. And, oddly enough, the honeyed (or "honeyeyed") walnuts, though disconnected from the rest of both plates, were the only enjoyable things on them. However, there are not enough walnuts in the world to make this $40 meal worth it.

As I said before, I don't often write about negative food experiences in detail, but today I spoke with a number of people that had similar experiences. One person visited the restaurant the same night that I did and had both bad food and a rude waitperson. Another person mentioned that they had only eaten there once and would not eat there again, due to the food-borne illness that resulted.

All in all, I will never set food in this establishment again, nor their Winooski location. It ranks in my top five worst Asian food experiences. I would not recommend this restaurant to anyone, friend or foe. Save your money (and your stomach) and go somewhere else.

Oversized Strawberry!

My favorite homework snack lately has been a bowl of juicy green grapes and strawberries. It's the perfect pick-me-up between hours of productions management math problems and hours of business-plan-planning. All was normal until one day when I stumbled upon this gigantic strawberry! I just had to take some photos. Check it out...

My delicious bowl of fruity goodness!

The gigantic strawberry next to a normal strawberry!

And just for size comparison...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Kat's Kolby

Back in July of '08, I made a tiny wheel of mixed milk (sheep & cow) colby cheese. It spent from July to mid-October in a cave, aging away with other cheeses. The result was good -- kind of sharp, a little tangy, and awesome for grating over pasta or adding to baked mac & cheese. I should have made more!
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