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Showing posts from January, 2012

Farro - no, not the Egyptian King, the grain....

From Wikipedia: There is much confusion or disagreement about exactly what farro is. Emmer, spelt, and einkorn are called farro in Italy, sometimes (but not always) distinguished as farro medio,farro grande, and farro piccolo, respectively. Regional differences in what is grown locally and eaten as farro, as well as similarities between the three grains, may explain the confusion. Barley and farro may be used interchangeably because of their similar characteristics. Spelt is much more commonly grown in Germany and Switzerland and, though called dinkel there, is eaten and used in much the same way, and might therefore be considered farro. Common wheat may also be prepared and eaten much like farro, in which form it is often referred to as wheatberries.

So, we had farro for dinner last night and, according to the paragraph above, there isn't even a really good definition of what it is! I can tell you though, prepared this way, it was delicious. Cyn put the recipe together and aske…

Five "favorite" beers?

A while back, I wrote a post about the five best restaurant meals I'd ever had. It wasn't easy to cut the field to five since I've been fortunate enough to have had many great restaurant meals over the years. The other day, a friend and I were talking about the great selection of beers that are widely available these days and he asked me what my favorite beer was.

I'm rarely speechless, but in this case I stuttered, stammered and started spitting our various names along the lines of "well, there's xxxx, but wait, I can't forget yyyy, oh jeez, then there is zzzz." This went on for a while until I finally admitted that there wasn't a singular answer. As I noted in the restaurant post, sometimes it's the time, the place, the company and in this case, the food you're eating at the time that makes a beer memorable. My friend convinced me to try to define the five best beers I've ever had and do my best to recall the "when and where&quo…

Amsterdam

In about 10 days I'll be traveling to Amsterdam for business. Although I've been there several times before, it will be the first time since I started writing this blog. I'm looking forward to the food since my expereinces there have always been good in the past. I arrive on a Sunday which means I'll have my first Meatless Monday overseas! Should be interesting.

That first night, I already know where I will be eating. It's a (mostly) European, British based restaurant chain called Wagamama. They specialize in Pan-Asian food in a fun and friendly atmosphere. I just love their menu. I'm hoping to have enough content from there for a future blog post.

Until I get back, here are a few pictures from previous trips to Amsterdam.




Now, about those potato pancakes....

Last week, an unexpected trip to the vet derailed our plans for potato pancakes on Meatless Monday. For those following along, Cooper is doing great. The antibiotics have beaten back the Lyme disease and he is running around like normal.Since I didn't quite get over not getting them last week, Cynthia agreed to make the potato pancakes this week. However, as she often does, she took a traditional preparation and added her own touches.

Typically, potato pancakes are pretty straight forward - shredded potatoes, diced onion, eggs and flour to bind them together. Tonight we wanted to "veg them up a bit". We started by shedding a really big russet potato on the largest side of a box grater. The shredded potatoes were triple rinsed in cold water to remove as much starch as possible. 1/2 of a large sweet potato was shredded the same way and added to the rinsed russet. Finally, two medium carrots were shredded the same way. Separately, the following were diced: red onion, green …

Sometimes it just isn't meant to be....

This Meatless Monday dinner was supposed to be potato pancakes with homemade applesauce and sour cream. I was really looking forward to it but it will have to wait. Those of you that have been following along know we have two cocker spaniels, Cooper and Jack.

Cooper has lyme disease (actually, most dogs test positive for it) which occasionally flares up. It typically manifests itself as soreness in his hind legs to the point that he is hesitant to walk on them. The good news is that it is completely treatable and the medication works quickly.

Well, today, out of the blue, he started exhibiting the symptoms. Cynthia called me at work and told me she  needed to travel the nearly one hour to our Vet for the pills and get him started on them right away. Long story short, by the time we each got home, it just seemed easier to go out and let someone else make dinner. A salad and baked ziti filled the meatless requirement but I'm holding out for the potato pancakes soon.

P.S. Cooper is do…

Kimchi and Gumbo?

This year for Christmas, Cynthia and I gave each other a gift that will last all year. We "promised" that on the first Saturday of each month we would go out to eat at a place we had never been before. It's not that we don't eat out, but like a lot of people, we have our favorite places and tend to frequent them. This gift will make us work a little harder at finding new, and hopefully, interesting spots. Based on our experience last night, we're off to a good start.

Mokomandy (apparently for Modern Korean by Mandy) is an interesting creation that, as their website says, "is a casual fine-dining restaurant based upon the marriage of a Cajun woman to a Korean-American man". The food is clearly the product of both cultures but isn't, in any way, an attempt to create a fusion of the two.

The first impression was good, we were greeted warmly and our reservation got us seated right away. The atmosphere is fun, family friendly and a bit loud. If you're…

So you say you don't like okra....

...well, you might want to consider the dish we had this week on Meatless Monday.

One of the second tier goals of committing to a full year of Meatless Mondays was for me to expand my horizons, particularly as they relate to vegetables. Don't get me wrong, I'm not really a picky eater. In fact, having worked for the Japanese for more than a decade and traveling to Japan frequently, I know that I have experienced my share of, shall we say, non-traditional fare.

In the vegetable world, there are stars, there are bit players and then there are those that are misunderstood. I'm thinking that okra is in that last category. I suspect most people think of it as a "southern vegetable", and it isn't popular in large areas of the country. I never saw it growing up in NJ and, now that I live in VA, I'm not sure it's any more popular here. Sure, I've had okra here and there over the years, in Cajun dishes mostly. I've also had it battered and deep fried. …

Happy New Year!

The other night, like so many others, we celebrated the end of another year and the beginning of the new one. For me, 2011 was really good and I have every reason to believe that 2012 can be even better. I wish the same for all of you.
There are many ways to celebrate New Year's Eve. Our particular choice, more years than not, is based on a tradition that comes from my wife's family. We stay home, enjoy a variety of food and drink and try to make it to midnight. Some years we do, others we don't.
I've asked Cynthia to guest write the rest of this blog entry since she brought the tradition that we now enjoy together.
I have not always been a ‘good eater.’  But I come by it honestly, my Dad was a white man.  And when I say white man, I mean he liked his food white. Or in varying shades of beige and brown.  Breast of chicken, mashed potatoes and a piece of Wonder Bread.  That was my Connecticut Yankee Dad’s idea of a great meal before he met and married my Ukrainian and…