Cooking in the Tropics

Last year while I was waiting for our Tunisian landlord to get air conditioning installed in our apartment, I did a couple of posts on cooking for hot weather. When we are not having hurricanes and tornados here in Florida, the weather here is also very hot. And unlike Tunisia, where the sweltering wind off the Sahara desert kept things pretty dry even by the coast, Florida is more of a tropical place. In fact, I’m convinced that if we let our lawn go for, say, six months, we’d probably end up with not a knee-high grassy field, but a full-out jungle.… Read more

An Evening in the Philippines

Last night we had the good fortune to be invited to dinner by Estela, a friend of ours who is Filipina. There was a Filipino restaurant we used to eat at occasionally in Utah, but it’s been a long time since we had real Filipino food. Estela is an amazing cook, and she prepared several classic Filipino dishes for us. We started out with two kinds of lumpia, or egg rolls. The first ones were “fresh” (i.e. unfried) lumpia, which are like a very thin, light crepe wrapped around julienne carrots, palm hearts, and curly lettuce.

Fresh lumpia usually have peanuts in them, but Estela’s were peanut-free, so my enjoyment of them was multiplied by all the peanut-laced lumpia that I had drooled over in the Philippines and been unable to eat.… Read more

The Three Billy Goats Gruff

These are our newest little friends. We recently met them through a passion we share: raw goat milk. We first got hooked on raw milk back when Tony was going to school at B.Y.U. Every week, I would drive with baby Axa out to a farm in Payson to see the gentle jersey cows and pick up a couple of gallons of what could most accurately be described as “liquid flowers.” When we spent a year in Washington State, raw cow milk was unavailable, so we were introduced to the glorious earthy decadence that is raw goat milk. The final piece of the puzzle fell into place when we moved to our little 1-acre “farm” in Fallbrook, and became the delighted owners of two lovely (albeit devious) la mancha goats.… Read more

A Clean Kitchen is a Happy Kitchen

The title of this post was the sign my college roommate posted in the kitchen of our six-person apartment my freshman year. It was made even funnier by the fact that her last name was Kitchen. I adored my roommate, but I’m afraid I was one of the offenders. Between my untidy housekeeping and the fact that I was always coming home at odd hours having forgotten my key, and knocking on our bedroom window to be let in, I was lucky we were such good friends. I guess maybe she figured I would grow up someday.

And maybe I have.… Read more

He Asked Me Out!

I love going on dates. There is nothing better than leaving it all behind to spend a few hours of exclusive, romantic quality time with my favorite person.

When Tony and I met, he was under the impression that a successful date mandatorily had to be ingenious, elaborate, and expensive. Just to give you an idea, our second date was a 12-hour extravaganza involving a trip to San Francisco, a picnic, ultimate frisbee, a walk on the beach, a tour of the Japanese tea garden, and dinner at a Thai restaurant. He had originally planned to take me to a movie as well, but ultimately ran out of time.… Read more

In Grandma’s Kitchen

One of the really lucky things about living at my in-laws’ house is that I am no longer in charge of making dinner. Thus the absence lately of any posts on what I’ve been cooking. ‘Cause I haven’t been!

Well, only a little. I do breakfasts, lunches, and snacks, but hey, that’s by far the easy part, especially since we usually have left-overs from Grammy’s yummy dinners.

The one full-blown meal I’ve made since we got here was butternut squash burritos. My family could eat Mexican food pretty much every day (and we often do when we’re in California). But even though we’re thrilled to be back in a country where it’s actually possible to find black beans, we do sometimes like a change from beans.… Read more

More Cool Recipes for Hot Days

One of my favorite hot weather dishes is hummus. I first became addicted to hummus in Syria, where it was served as an appetizer at every restaurant. In fact, I used to blame hummus for the twenty pounds I gained during my four month study abroad there, but I’ve since admitted that the more likely offender was the copious quantities of baklava I devoured during our lengthy bus rides.

Hummus is one of those felicitously simple combinations that sounds weird (garbanzo beans + tahini [sesame seed paste] + garlic + lemon juice + blender) but is actually delicious. It also has just the right overtones of hip, exotic, and healthy to end up in the salad bar at La Jolla Whole Foods in six different permutations (red pepper, roasted garlic, green herb, etc.).… Read more

Summertime and the cookin’ is easy

Tunisia is pretty hot in the summer. Not as hot as some places, like Death Valley or Arizona or the Arabian desert, but hot enough to want to go to the beach every day. Which fortunately, we can. In fact, remember that one time I blogged about Rambo? I saw him today at the beach, and he was tickled pink that someone had told him they read about him on my blog. So if my blog doesn’t bring me fame, at least it brings fame to Rambo. Which is almost as good, right?

Along with helping us not miss a day at the beach, the warm weather gives me a serious disinclination to make some of the heartier standbys from my cooking repertoire; things like vegetarian baked beans or Jamie Oliver’s beef stew, or slow-cooked Moroccan tagine.… Read more

What’s for Dinner?

When Tony and I were first married, we were happy to find that as fellow Californians exiled in Utah, we shared a passion for Mexican food. What we also shared was a fairly small cooking repertoire. So we ate a lot of burritos. In fact, I think if it had been up to him, we would still be eating burritos every night. After a few weeks of marriage, when I suggested we have something else for dinner, he looked up and said with bewildered dismay, “But I thought you liked burritos.”

Well, I still do like burritos. But I also like variety.… Read more

Italians and their food

As far as I know, all Italians love good food. However, what seems to set Sicilians apart is the sheer quantity of food they love. In Sicily last week, we went to a restaurant in Agrigento, ordered what we thought was a normal meal, and received four plates, each one containing enough pasta to feed our entire family. Tony’s is pictured above. It was tasty, although I just couldn’t shake the feeling that there was a gigantic insect sitting next to his tagliatelle. We also ate gelato four times in the six days we spent there, as well as sundry other sweets.… Read more