Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tapas in Spain

I love appetizers. As a child every once in a while we would have "horse doovers". We were just so cosmopolitan.

In Spain it is typically difficult to find a restaurant open before about 8pm. It isn't difficult to find an appetizer to help tide you over or to complete the meal. Just find a tapas bar and dig in. No not a topless bar! Get your mind out of the gutter!
This particular place charges you by the toothpick. You select what you want and pull it's toothpick but save them. At 2 euro a pick each be selective it can add up.
These mushrooms were absolutely wonderful. A much higher class place where each selection came from a menu. The waiter delivered them to the table.
These squid were also so good cooked to perfection. A far cry from my child hood memories of a can of smoked oysters and sardines. A few club crackers. Sliced cheese, summer sausage, and olives were part of that fare. All the same those are great memories.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Georgian Fare In Moscow

So what's the difference between Georgian, Ukrainian, and Russian foods? Well I do have a vague answer. How much truth I'm not certain. These countries are not only geographically near each other but all share some elements. The Georgian fare consists of more Shish kabobs, lots of lamb,  and a bit more tangy and spicy sauces than the Ukrainians or Russians. The Georgian's favor yogurt while the northern cousins go with sour cream. All enjoy fresh vegetables.

They started us out with some fresh veggies. So far more healthy than the bacon wrapped asparagus I wrote about several weeks ago that I ate in the Ukrainian place.
These were stuffed tomatoes which lost some things to translation. They had a rice mixture in them which was OK but nothing too special.
The main dish was made from lamb pieces in a sour cream sauce. It was laced with plenty of garlic and paprika. A very good dish. Now that I think about it the food reminded me of an Armenian restaurant I ate at in Jerusalem. Well I guess it should since the two countries share a boarder.  Enjoy!

May You Have The Luck Of The Irish!

Eat green. It's good for the environment.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Check Out this Asparagus


So there I was looking at my blog and checking for comments and such like that. There was a cool picture which I didn't recognize and then I did it.  Yes, I accidentally clicked on a Pepperidge Farms advertisement. I'm not supposed to click on my own adds but I'm glad I did.  I got so excited about this recipe I went right out to purchase the needed ingredients. 

Start with the Pepperidge Farms puff pastry.  You can find it in the frozen bread section of your grocery.
The puff pastry comes in a two pack and I used just one of them. The recipe calls for herbed cheese spread. I looked around the grocery store but couldn't find it. Never go to the grocery store at 4:30, chaos. It was like a kicked ant hill. Maybe with more patience I would have found it.  (P.S. if you are over 90 years old don't go to the grocery store at 4:30, and if you must don't park your cart in the middle of the isle while you stare at the cheese fridge.)

My answer to no herbed cheese was Neufch√Ętel that I "herbed." up myself. I used Italian spices,  garlic, and some paprika. After mixing it I spread it out on the puff sheet.
I then laid out sheets of deli ham on the cheese bed. The original suggests  Prosciutto ham. I went with the thin deli style ham to cut down on cost and salt.  I'm going to write a blog dedicated to Prosciutto ham soon.  Check back for that one.  Anyway back to the asparagus.

Now cut it into thin strips. I  had 17  stalks of asparagus so I cut it into quarters and then quarters again.

It really was about the right size. Now roll the strips on the stalk.  About a 45 degree angle worked nicely.  I found this technique of laying out the strip and then turning the stalk at a 45 then spiral it up along the counter top.
OK, look at the Pepperidge Farms web site for the recipe and picture.  Theirs were prettier than mine.
A great new snack!  You will be the hit of the party.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Paris is a city known for many things but it is the beautiful former radio antenna now icon of the city which says Paris.
Lit up by night ever since the turn of the century, it simply takes your breath away as it twinkles at the top of the hour.
No trip to Paris is complete without at least one meal. On this particular layover we were to meet at 5:30. I woke up at 6:30....oops. So it was just me to enjoy the ambiance.
Begin with the grape and go from there.
Next the bread and foie de grass. It's very good I just try not to think about it too much. A captain once told me when you eat in a French restaurant don't ask too many questions.
The poulet and frits. The potatoes were excellent. The chicken was ok. You see there was a translation problem. I asked what the chefs special was. He rattled off some stuff and I thought he fish not chicken, misunderstanding poussin poulet, thinking fish. Poulet, meaning chicken. Oh well legs and thighs...
I didn't seem to mind too much!!
I timed it out perfect to catch the tower again. Note the wine seems to be altering the picture. Pretty cool. Perhaps ailiens.  Love Paris!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Comments Made Easier

In an effort to help my readers out I have streamlined the comment process via adjusting my settings tab.  Now you don't have to sign in or any of that nonsense to leave a comment, just make a comment.  It may take a couple of days for it to actually post but it is that easy.  I'd love to hear more of your thoughts.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Egg Plant (Not a Chicken)

Why is an egg plant called an eggplant? I'm sure it has nothing to do with the female function of producing eggs....or a vegetarian version of a chicken...if we break the word down perhaps it is what the rooster does to fertilize the eggs...Well, for some reason it is called an eggplant.

I received inspiration for this dish from a book written in 1944.   200 Dishes For Men To Cook by Arthur H. Deute, times have changed but great ideas are still good. The book has a cute charm which reminds me of my own blog. He often tells little antidotes with the recipe. Often the recipe is pretty sketchy also.  Again I never said my blog was a recipe blog, there are plenty of those out there.

Having said that let's talk about a great way to prepare an Eggplant, loosely based on a recipe from the book.

Take you eggplant and slice it into quarters or thirds depending on your desired serving size. 

Hollow the slices out creating a little bowls.

Chop up the center meat, some mushrooms, garlic, and onion. Then saute the mixture. 

I added some chopped red pepper and a little celery. 

Season it with salt and pepper to taste then put it back into the eggplant bowls. 

Bake away for 30 or 40 minutes and serve. Pretty darn good and a man or woman can cook this one!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

There Is An Irish Pub Everwhere

Neal Armstrong was surprised to find an Irish Pub on the moon but he shouldn't have been. They are everywhere.
Yes this one is in Barcelona.
Cool looking Med Evil look to it. I didn't drink an Irish beer. I had a local chocolate beer which was wonderful. Enjoy St Patrick's day wherever you are!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


A dish which Spain is known for is paella a rice dish cooked in it's own special skillet. It comes in many varieties. Most include seafood but not all. Chicken and sausage is very common. If you are from the south it may remind you of jambalaya a bit. The flavoring is different and the intent with the heavy skillet is to let the rice almost scorch getting a little crunchy on the bottom.
The unique flavor and distinctive color of the dish is obtained with saffron. Unfortunately this isn't my favorite spice but it does give it the distinctive taste and it does pair well with the seafood and chicken.
The best I ever had was on the beach in Valencia. Of course the atmosphere probably helped.
My little friend Sebastian her sort of made made me feel a bit like Ursala after stealing Ariel's voice. I got over it quick enough! Sing Under the Sea for me Sebastian."OK just easy with the fork."

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Beautiful Spanish Seniorita

I was in Spain heading out to meet with my spanish date for the night. This is an international layover, we do out of the ordinary things. This was my date.
Her ex boyfriend had lost a bull fight and she was feeling down. I didnt want to tell her I had a small thing for him too.
Instead I tried to comfort her in her loss.
She was appreciative and we thought we had a special relatioship.
I think I must tell her the truth. Well. I was just using her.
She was after all just a passing morsel on the plate.
Sorry my friends from PETA. It was a good meating. I will always have a thing for her but not in a way she needed it.  Does anyone have a glass of milk to toast my lost friend?

PS if you find this offensive you are too easily offendable but I will say I'm not that sorry and I do appreciate her addition to our society.   .