Saturday, December 15, 2012

Valencia Spain on A Summer Day

 It is mid December and it is perfect shorts and t-shirt weather for me here in Texas, but I know for many of you it is winter and cold.  I hadn't posted anything for a while so I found this draft that I never got around to posting.  Hope you enjoy the beach and the thought of summer days...

Located on the Costa De Sol, or coast of the sun it is a favorite beach town for Europeans.

We met in the afternoon on the beach to enjoy the sand and surf. A nice beach chair under an umbrella was perfect to soak it all in. It is all such a relaxing laid back atmosphere. Yes it is warm but with the breeze blowing in off the Med. Sea it isn't so bad.
Beach side sangria and tapas. Yummy and fun!

Good to the end. PS. That was broiled calamari squid. Yea looks a little odd but was so good!!!! It kind of looks like a rubber band and if overcooked it will have the texture of one, but when cooked correctly it is so succulent floating in garlic butter.  The Spaniards do a good job with their sea food. Audios

Monday, November 26, 2012

Italian Ravioli Kale Soup

Most people don't associate Italy with cold weather but in the north you have those wonderful snow covered alps. The food is also a bit different. When you come in from a day of skiing nothing is better than a hearty bowl of soup and a crusty loaf of bread.

This dish can be made from scratch making your own Raviolis (that will be it's own blog at some point but not now) while cooking down some chicken broth. Another quicker solution is to use some canned broth and grocery store raviolis which you will find in the refrigerated section. You can do cheese ones but I prefer the sausage ones.
The heart of the dish is fresh kale. After washing it cut out the heavy stem and discard that.  Take the green leaves and cut it up. Boil them in the chicken broth.  I put in some chopped onion and garlic. Tinker with it until it tastes yummy and the kale is cooked tender. Now you can add the pasta and cook until they are tender and hot. Don't overcook the pasta or they will start falling apart. This is a great soup and so simple.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

No Party is Complete Without A Police Visit and Every Holiday Needs A Fire!

Holidays are a fun time for enjoying family and friends. Relaxing and reminiscing about all the past good times and even dreaming of the future ones. Decorations and seasonal music and the sweet aroma of A FIRE!!!!
We started a new tradition at thanksgiving and that is the burnt offering of food.
The truth is we don't always pray for just the meal but we offer a burnt offering unto the Lord.  Not a bad idea to also pray for our safety as things get hectic around the holidays what with company and all. Have you noticed alot of those stupidest videos where people do dumb stuff are shot with a Christmas tree in the background?

This actually occured last year but the sentements are still the same.  Be careful as you cook for the hollidays!!!!

It's good to keep in mind even the best chefs will make mistakes.  I always like to keep a box of baking soda handy to dowse the occasional oven fife

It's also a good idea to have brilo pads available!!!!   Please don't attempt this trick in your own kitchen.                        (No don't do it someone elses either!)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Potato Chips

When I was a little kid we pretty much had plain potato chips with either ridges or not. Then a little later on there were also sour cream and onion or bar-b-Que. aside from potato chips there were Fritos and Cheetos.

Doritos came on the market making snacking even have more variety. First came the plain ones and then they expanded into the nacho flavor. Now they make many variations of which I eat little.

I remember back in 1985, I experienced my first kettle fried jalapeno potato chip. It was love at first bite, I was addicted. They are so good. Now you can find several brands of these little treasures.

Well of course one of the joys of traveling the world is going to the grocery stores and looking at the differences. The chip isle is one of my favorite places to check out.
Here you can really see marketing differences. Take Lays brand for instance, a US company, but different products for different countries. My latest favorite flavor (well aside from the jalepeno flavor) is the balsamic vinegar carmalized onion. Wow are they good!!! Not marketed in the US but I found them in Belgium. Can't wait to go back. Too bad they get crushed in a suitcase.

A couple of years back I was really into the mushroom flavored chips. I found these in Kiev Ukraine. Sorry we longer fly there and haven't seen them since.

Whether you are a chip conasour or just a couch potato don't be afraid to branch out and try a new flavor. That is something to be said for our modern world. Variety.

The grand Platz in Brussels. Just a couple of blocks from here not only can you get Belgium Waffles, Belgium chocolate, but also Lays potato chips!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Coffin Bar

So I've been to Brussels many times and I've heard of the "coffin" bar but had just never made my way to it. But since Halloween was approaching I figured now was the time.

Yes the name of the place is Le Cercueil, and it is located right off the Grand Platz.

This isn't just a Halloween sort of decorating thing but a year round event.

The table is a glass covered coffin.

I had heard it was expensive which was true. I heard it was cheesy which was also true. I heard you could get a great beer in a skull mug. Also so true.

My thoughts are you should check it out but don't plan a trip to Brussels just to see it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dublin and "The Bleeding Horse" Public House

Ireland much like the British are not known for their fine cuisine. Nice people yes, but I don't bid trips to Ireland to enjoy the meal.

On a recent visit to the emerald isle I went to the Bleeding Horse. I just had to! Yes you can bet I had a pint of Guiness, after all it is made there.
Looking at the menu it was a toss up for the mixed grill or a hearty roast beef casserole dish. The grill won out in the end. It was really good, or I was just very hungry.
The pub is really quite interesting, it was established in 1649. It was built or added to creating little quaint sections, a large bar, an upstairs with more little nooks and crannies. It was built centuries ago at a major cross roads now in the middle of town. The name has several reported origins but at one time they used to bleed horses ears as a remedy for the staggers. There was a farrier at the Inn located here who did this for the local's horses. Of coarse we bled people in the past too in efforts to cure them. They say George Washington was down a few pints when he passed. There is another possibility of the name's origin, during a battle in 1649 reportedly a wounded horse fled the battle and rested at this location.  Who knows

Next time you're in Dublin stop in for a pint and a warm fire, or if you aren't going to Dublin anytime too soon you can visit the web site below:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Museo Del Jamon

We headed towards the Plaza Del Sol in search of the Museo Del Jamon. (OK, so my spell checker thinks you don't know it is the Museum of Ham...) After feeling as though I'd been violated in many ways by an overly crowded sub way car, I was relieved to surface into fresh air. Rush hour in a crowded, shoving, sweaty, mass of humanity trying to escape the work place is not too much fun. But at last I was free gasping for air!

And what should I surface into but a mob of protesters upset by threats of austerity. Well someone's got to pay for it and for now let it be the Germans. Don't even suggest cutting the benefits! Anyway they were protesting peacefully to the the delight of the police.
After watching the parade it was time to continue our quest. Yes, the quest in the fashion of med evil crusaders, we were looking for the holy grail of ham and beer, Museo Del Jamon.

As I've commented at other times I find the Spaniard's love for dry cured hams fascinating. The other day I heard of a place in Madrid which specialized in these hams. The Museo del Jamon or translated, The Museum of Ham. Located between the Plaza Del Sol and Plaza Mayor, it is a fun place and an excellent value.

I apologies for the picture quality but it was a bit dark. Not really a museum at all but a bar restaurant deli, serving ham in many different forms. It is very difficult to see but there are literally hundreds of pig legs drying on the walls of the building.

The best part of this place is the price. Wow what a great value! The beers are €0.70 or roughly a buck.

I figured the cheap beer was a come on to get you to buy expensive ham. Not the case at all. I ate a house specialty meal which is also very typical Spanish.

Ham served with fried eggs, French fries, croquet's, salad, and even soup!!! Too much for one person at € 7.30.

Great food and drink for the price!!!!  Go to Spain quickly before it is Germany or our economy is equally devastated...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Easy Chicken Florentine Ala Chef Beau

I'm a huge fan of Sam's Club rotisserie chickens. They are big, tasty and such a great bargain. You can get these pre cooked chickens at any grocery deli and you can do so much with them.

If you want a low calorie dinner that is quick and easy just check this idea out. Start with some cooked chicken.

Place the required amount of chicken in your dish. Then in a skillet take some garlic and basil, maybe some onion and saute it adding some frozen, or fresh spinach to it, if you have to canned. Cook it until you and it are happy or hungry.

Now mix in some grated Parmesan cheese. The next step is to cover your chicken with the spinach.

Now place a piece of cheese on top. What kind? What is in the refrigerator??? I would suggest provolone, mozzarella, or in my case Gouda.

Put it in the microwave for a few moments, perhaps splash it with pepper to taste.

Dress it with tomatoes and serve it with garlic bread, a Caesar salad and presto dinner!!!!! So good. Ciao!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Spanish Picture Of A Truth

I know you're probably going to laugh at my stupidity, ignorance, or more accurately my naivety. Once again enjoying an evening of tapas in Madrid we stopped into a trendy outdoor place with misters cooling the hot dry air. The menu was colorful with many bright photos of food. I enjoy the picture menus in foreign countries because often you have no idea what an item is, and a picture can speak a thousand words or even more when your language skills are lacking.

OK, so we see some fresh guacamole and chips, everyone around us are speaking Spanish (in Texas 80% or more Spanish speakers are of Mexican descent) so it is only natural to not question the picture or the product.

But...but...almost butt...

You've got to be kidding!!!

Really??? The picture???? Where was that??? Kind of like when people look at my 16 year old picture of when I was hired at Delta that appears on  my ID. Then they start giggling before erupting in belly laughs. OK so some things have changed in 16 years. Back then I had a state of the art pager. A mobile phone was nearly the size of a shoe box. Computers, well computers were as big and slow as dinosaurs. Big slow ones...

Back to the the thought of that icky stuff which comes in cans and jars not resembling anything on the label comes to mind....the chips were good.

Yes, I should have known better being a seasoned road foodie, but it wasn't just me we were all fooled by the allure of the pretty little picture! It just wasn't right.

So next up was an order of the grilled veggies. Cute little shish-kabobs all lined up on a plate.....again this looked great in it's picture.  Well the picture was made somewhere in fantasy land. (kind of like a model or movie star, more paint than perfection. Hello Hollywood!!!

(Read in a sultry Catherine Hepborn voice please...) "Hummm, lovely. I'll take a dozen darling...Thank you..."

But the picture again was a bit deceptive....

OK, I'll give them the point that there was a semblance of a row. Not quite as neat but kind of lined up. Not marine precision. More like kindergarten water fountain lines, fluid in motion trying not to get out of synch but not really knowing how to synch.

Bottom line they tasted great! Marinated in some sort of teriyaki kind of Asian fusion Spanish Mexican.... No, they were yummy.

The final tasting was a shrimp dish. It was a little fishy but my cat Lizzy would have loved them. I ate them with mucho gusto. Meow!!!!

One more picture to add to this saga...this one was taken in a grocery store in Stkholm.

If you ask the store clerk where to find The liquid green slimy stuff resembling guacamole, and the yellow chemicals bearing the name of Cheese stuff he'll probably send you to the "Taco" isle.....Now I'm sure I would know better than to buy "taco" food in Sweden. Duh, the vikings got around but never to Texas,....I dont think. (reference the rune stones in Oklahoma) Stick to prickled/semi-rotten fish!!! They know how to do that!!!!

Bottom line a picture can often lie!!! Be smart!!!