Spicing up the kitchen

I ran out of cayenne pepper about a month ago. Yes, you read that right. I was cayenne-less for a month and that’s the longest our kitchen has gone without one of our favorite spices. Ever since I discovered the wonders of cayenne and the subtle kick it adds to every dish, I have kept the kitchen stocked with it. But I forgot to check my pantry and found myself shaking an empty bottle one day.

No problem, I thought. I would go to the store and get more.

But when I got to the store, guess what? They were out of cayenne! The little row labeled ‘cayenne pepper’ was empty. I figured that the store ran out of stock since it’s a pretty common and popular spice so I decided to check back the next week. Again, the row was empty so I waited patiently for the next week. By the third week, I asked the store clerk if they were going to restock it. She said she didn’t know.

Finally, after a whole month of waiting and realizing that it might not get restocked for whatever strange reason, I decided to go for cayenne’s neighbor, California chili pepper instead. So far, it has been a good substitute but you can bet I’ll be snagging as many bottles of cayenne pepper as I can when they get restocked!

A weekend of baking

I was baking some bread in the kitchen when I heard thunder. What? Thunder? It’s been weeks since we had rain over here so naturally I was surprised. The rain usually comes in quiet until you hear it pattering against windows. I rushed over to the window to see for myself. And there it was! Huge raindrops starting to form on the pavement!

While waiting for my homemade bread to rise, I watched a bunch of Youtube videos on Mediterranean cooking on my phone and received a text from my friend about Musicians Friend ultimate support. My timer went off and I went to check on the bread. Needless to say, it was beautiful! Even more so when it was out of the oven!

I just couldn’t help but make two more loaves of bread the next day. It was just too delicious and the weather was perfect!

Yes, you can have your cake, and eat it too

Yes, you can have your cake, and eat it too

And so there was the afternoon when we actually made a trip to the bakery for some pastries and a slice of cake. Not on purpose, of course. We were on our way back from lunch and the bakery was just one tiny fattening U-turn away. Convenient, ain’t it?

And of course, this smallish bakery is just about the most happening place for people eager to have a finger in every pie, so to speak. There’s such a big selection of desserts they’d be crazy not to. Want to have a finger in every pie, that is. So we got our fingers ready too. To point at what we wanted.

Because the desserts aren’t displayed with those little name cards we’re so used to seeing. These pastries and cakes have no names because well, the regulars who frequent the place already know the names like the backs of their hands. Not us though. Frankly desserts aren’t that high up on our to-do list.

So let’s see. We had the Blueberry Danish, Cinnamon Roll, Bear Claw and Nicoise Cake. And the verdict: They were all really delicious.

Yes, you can have your cake, and eat it too

The cake was creamy, way too creamy. But hey, what’s a little cream? Because you can always count on your New Year’s resolution to get you back into shape, right?

People on planes

After weeks of rain and cold winds, it’s nice to step outside and find that the sun is out and shining brightly! I like that the weather is getting warmer so I don’t have to think about struggling with big coats and layering.

It seemed like a pleasant day to call up my good old friend and ask her how she was doing after her recent trip to Australia. She said she met a guy on the plane back home who wouldn’t stop talking about how he bought
bose soundtrue around ear at Guitar Center for his two nephews. The only time he stopped talking, she told me, was to get a cup of noodles. Then he was back to talking again. I can’t imagine how that must’ve been like for her!

Mid-winter froyo

Mid-winter froyo

Ouch, it’s cold. As in freezin’! It’s too cold to blog (anyone got a better excuse?) and it’s been raining heavily except that heavily in California means you can walk outside in a hoodie and not get wet. And when it rains, it’s actually not as cold except when the wind blows.

Some pretty gusty winds out there, the kind that flips your poor umbrella over the minute you get it open. When the wind blows, you shake the loose strands of hair off your face and toss your head back to catch more of it. Refreshing takes on a whole new meaning.

So we get to the front of Yogurtland and the sign says we’re 7 minutes early. We’re the only ones standing marching on the spot (brrr!) outside waiting for it to open! Well, at least we’re not standing in the blazing sun!

Frozen yogurt, here we come! And this time, I got my own cup, yay! (unlike the last time).

Mid-winter froyo

Had the Alphonso Mango Tart, Cheesecake and Sumatra Coffee Blend. Tossed in 2 little pretzels and called it a topping. Coupled with the intense shivering, this is really an awesome combination.

Stepping back out smacking my lips after this delicious frozen yogurt w-was q-quite th-th-the ch-challenge! The wind wasn’t letting up so the only thing left to do was pull my hoodie in closer, toss my head back and do the hustle. Woo-hooooo!!

 

Keep calm and snack on!

Keep calm and snack on!

What do you do when lunch is a distant 2 hours away and your tummy’s doing drum solos every other minute? Answer: Keep calm and snack on!! Man, do we need snacks around here? The cold and the rain and just being indoors has made me a monster snacker. Barely am I done eating breakfast when I’m on the prowl for food again. If you’re in the same boat, keep calm and snack on like I’ve been doing.

Smoked salmon on a water cracker. A snack with a posh twist.

Keep calm and snack on!

Weirdly shaped chicken curry puffs. You can tell these are homemade. No one sells puffs shaped like the sails on a yacht. Unless they’re making them for a nautical-themed party?

Keep calm and snack on!

Kettle chips and guacamole. Yup,we made enough guac to feed an army and no one’s complaining!

Keep calm and snack on!

Reflecting on 2016

Reflecting on 2016

Okay, so I started writing that obligatory end of year post that tries to capture, in a single post, everything that’s gone on in an entire year, but I didn’t finish it. Frankly, it’s harder to write than most years. 2016 was meh, at least that’s how I feel right now.

I’ll say though that yesterday was a beautiful winter’s day outside, the kind of scene you read about in novels – gray, foggy, rainy and trees now devoid of leaves – and so cold I had to keep my hands wrapped around the electric kettle. Gorgeous weather…

… and enjoying baguette slices gently toasted with homemade garlic butter and a bowl of piping hot homemade tomato soup. Aaah!

But the show post must go on. In keeping with the tradition of past reflection posts, I’m going to throw a bunch of completely random recap of our food adventures out there.

Cooking firsts

It’s again been a year of kitchen explorations with lots of cooking, lots of baking, lots of eating. What’s exciting is the bevy of budding chefs working alongside me in the kitchen churning out lots of creative ideas and new favorites. Our joint successes this year include:

New food loves

2016 was, in many ways – grilled, braised, pre-seasoned – the Year of the Pork Rib for us. It’s also been the year we ate a lot of fish #happy and too many desserts and snacks #notproud. Happy New Year!

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