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Eating in Singapore

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(Above: Zhen Zhen chicken porridge, and popiah)

It was an episode of The Layover that finally convinced us to start our Asia travels with a few days in Singapore.  Friends of mine from grad school lived there and though I’d spent years drooling over their food photos, it was watching Anthony Bourdain stuff himself with hawker food that really sealed the deal.

We planned most of our time there around food, visiting hawker centers in Little India and Chinatown, trying Malay food and teh tarik (frothy tea with condensed milk) in Kampong Glam with friends, and sampling bits of this and that as we walked around town, like ice cream and the infamous durian.

Our experience was so delicious that, on our long return layover, we paid to store our luggage at the airport and rushed back into town eager to sample more.  Despite all that we still felt like we barely scraped the surface of what Singapore had to offer and we can’t wait to visit again.

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(Above: Durian, and coconut ice cream)

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(Above: Kopi with condensed milk, and cockles with fried kway teow mee)

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(Above: Steamed dumpling with unknown contents, and pork rice dumpling)

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(Above: Teowchew fried dumpling, and soya chicken rice)

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(Above: Oyster omelette, and more chicken rice!)

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(Above: Sugar cane juice, and nasi goreng with the best naan)

Welcome summer!

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My current ambition for the summer is to spend as much time as possible enjoying the warm weather with a glass of rose and a little cheese.  I’m just as happy to pick out something simple for us to share, as I am throwing together an assorted cheese platter to enjoy with friends.  What are your favorite summer treats?

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Naked cake

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A naked cake with raspberries and mint to celebrate someone special’s birthday.

 

Urban pig roast

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A glorious night of food in the Petworth neighborhood of DC.  This porker roasted in a wooden box for the better part of a day, and by the end of the night, our friends reported that the hungry masses had only left about 3lbs of meat to go into the freezer.  Can all our friends just do this every weekend?  Pretty please?

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Peppermint bark time!

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I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth, but over the last few years I fallen in love with peppermint bark as a holiday treat.  The simplicity of the ingredients let’s me focus on using really good quality chocolate which is great for flavor and keeps the sweetness factor in check.  However, I’ve found that the real magic is adding rice krispies to the white chocolate layer.  It creates a subtle crunch that gives this holiday treat a special something, and everyone who tries them always remarks about how much they love the crunch.  We have multiple family holiday gatherings next week and I’m planning to make a few batches to share.

Here is a link to the original recipe over at Shutterbean and here is the more in depth write-up I did about peppermint bark last year.

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Another lovely Thanksgiving

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Another lovely Thanksgiving spent in New Jersey, this time with 100% more cute baby nieces.  All the cuteness plus a lot of desserts and visiting with friends and family made for a wonderful holiday weekend!  Hope yours was great, too!.

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Happy Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving!  I’m taking today and tomorrow to relax and spend time with family and friends in New Jersey and New York.  Hope you have a wonderful day filled with food, loved ones, and lots of pie!

A couple of fun memories from this time last year:

Beaujolais Nouveau Day Celebration

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There’s probably no holiday I look forward to more than Beaujolais Nouveau Day.  It’s my favorite excuse to gather all my friends for a night of cheap wine and expensive cheese, and this year’s celebration was one of the best.  All told, I think we managed to cram fourteen cheeses, eighteen wine bottles, and more than twenty friends into our tiny apartment.  It was a cozy, laughter-filled night, and I still feel so warm and fuzzy from spending a wonderful night with such good people.

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Drink up baby, stay up all night

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Yay for the weekend and upcoming holidays!  We’re kicking off the season of celebration tonight with our annual (day after) Beaujolais Nouveau Day party.  Cheap wine and lots of cheese are my idea of a perfect night, and I definitely look forward to this one all year long.  Here are a few photos from past celebrations.  While its a great night for cheap wine, I tend to get a little carried away with the cheeses.

  • Photos from last year’s Beaujolais Nouveau Party 2013
  • A selection of cheeses from our party in 2012
  • The first Beaujolais party back when I still had roommates back in 2009

Hope you have a great weekend!

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Here are a few links to some awesome art and photography projects to get you through your Friday.

  • Stories of debt and identity told through photographs [The Debt Project]
  • Teen Ballerinas improv in NY [via Noisey]
  • Photos of starry skies set against familiar darkened cities [via Wired]
  • Just some lovely photos of a gooey Camembert [via David Lebovitz]

Monday cheese

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Creamy blues and earthy burrata on a chilly afternoon in the Big Meadows at Shenandoah National Park.

Cider and donuts

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What is your favorite part of fall?  As much as I love red leaves, crisp temperatures, and beautiful pumpkins, there’s nothing I look forward to quite as much as hot apple cider and fresh apple cider donuts.

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Caramel apple

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Homestead Farm, Poolesville, MD. October 2014.

Stop and smell the cheeses

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Can we all just pause for a moment to remember how great cheese is?  Especially when it is ripe and oozy, and ready to expire.  Mmmmm.  Okay, back to work.

A jar of summer

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Over the years we’ve had fun teaching ourselves to preserve our favorite summer foods with a little help from Youtube and my grandmother’s Ball Blue Book.  We’ve canned peaches, jammed and jellied strawberries and cherries, and had fun pickling cucumbers and red onions.  However much fun, canning can also be a lot of work, and over the last couple of summer seasons, we decided that biggest pay-off came from canning tomatoes.

There is nothing as wonderful to me as a summer tomato, and canning means that even in darkest winter, when all the tomatoes in the grocery store are mealy and flavorless, we’re able to open up a bright, delicious jar of summer.  We usually set aside a Saturday, order a bushel of seconds from our regular farmer, and roll up our sleeves.

Last year we were caught up in so much summer travel that we decided to skip canning, and as winter wore on and on (and on and on), we grew sadder and sadder that we hadn’t made the time to put up our usual jars.  That was a mistake we didn’t plan to make again, so on one of the only weekends we spent at home this summer, we spent the whole day blanching and peeling and boiling and sealing.  This year, a friend who wanted to learn came and pitched in.  We wore him out, but in the end we are ready to take on the winter armed with 24 jars full of summer goodness (and 12 for our friend).

Do you ever can your favorite summer foods?

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The Clam Box

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Traveling to Massachusetts in the summer means fried clams and onion rings, and for the Mister, no place place sings their siren song sweeter than the Clam Box in Ipswich, Massachusetts.  As a teenagers, he and his brother had jobs as onion boys (onion ring makers), and even now, whenever we visit someone working in the kitchen recognizes him.

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Al fresco every night

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Rooftop picnic

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Summer’s not quite gone yet and on a recent lazy Saturday afternoon, we decided to take advantage of the remaining warm weather by having a romantic rooftop picnic.  I picked up baguettes, a bottle of rosé, and a couple of cheeses from on my way back from ballet class, and the Mister cut up ripe peaches and heirloom tomatoes from the farmers market.  We toted all of it up to our building’s roof deck, and spent a few hours picnicking and enjoying the breeze and the sunset, and a little quiet time together.

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Dinner at the Tornado Room

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A few shots from an amazing dinner at the Tornado Room Steakhouse. Fantastic food and an oh-so-cool setting to celebrate the love of two dear friends.  We felt so lucky to be included.

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Eating well in Madison

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To be honest, most of the hype we’d heard about Madison over the years was about food.  The amazing restaurants, the sprawling farmer’s market, and, most exciting of all, the cheese curds.  We got off our plane with big ideas about the food scene, and Madison did not disappoint.  Here’s a short list of some of the fantastic places we managed to experience.

  • Forequarter – New American.  Great cocktails and incredible charcuterie board.  Bonus – they catered the wedding we attended, so we got to enjoy them twice.
  • Graze – New American.  If you want the BiBimBop just get the BiBimBop.  You’ll regret if you don’t.
  • The Tipsy Cow – Very good bar food.  Fried avocado tacos and cheese curds made my day.
  • The Old Fashioned – American/bar food.  I went here twice late at night.  The cheese curds were great both times.
  • Francisco’s Cantina – Mexican.  Chorizo tacos and cold horchata hit the spot late in the evening.
  • Tornado Steakhouse – Steakhouse (obvs.)  We got to try this one as invitees to the rehearsal dinner.  Great steaks, great cocktails. AMAZING ambiance.  This place was so so cool.
  • Fromagination – Artisinal cheese shop.  We stopped here to put together a picnic before the symphony on the public square.  We tried a nice variety of ripe french cheeses and sharp Wisconsin cheese, plus grapes and flaky baguettes.
  • Madison Farmers Market – Saturdays.  One of the biggest farmers markets I’ve ever been to, it spreads around the entire capital square with food cars overflowing onto nearby streets.  Walk around until you find the spicy cheesy, pull-apart bread.  Buy it hot, eat it right away.

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It’s Friday, I’m in love

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Hooray for the weekend!  Our summer of almost non-stop traveling has finally come to an end and we’ll be spending more time at home until late-September.  It’s been an amazing time, full of friends, food and adventure, and I have lots of photos to share over the coming weeks.

In the meantime, I’m hoping to catch a few naps, have some cuddle time with my guy, and savor the late-summer offerings at my local farmers market.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Adrift on a sea of cheese

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One of the loveliest parts of staying in a house with a bunch of friends is making meals and eating together.  We all took turns making breakfast and dinner, and most importantly of all, cocktail hour.  Being in Vermont, those of us that hosted cocktail hours over the course of the weekend took our responsibilities as providers of cheese very seriously.  We scoured specialty shops, farm stands, and farmers markets, looking for the finest cheeses Vermont had to offer.

The Mister and I hosted on the final evening of our stay, and the weather was fine enough that we could all sit outside.  He made lemon smashes (a lemon, mint and bourbon cocktail) on demand, and we all sat around enjoying the evening light, swatting at black flies, and hoping the night and the cheese would never end.

*Note:  I put this post together for Angie’s Fiesta Friday, which is always a nice way to end the week!  Cheese is my favorite part of any party.

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