pic of roasted gypsy pepper dip

Roasted Gypsy Pepper and Walnut Dip

The sweet, tapered, and thin-walled gypsy pepper is a delightful ingredient alternative to bell peppers in many recipes.  Smaller in size and sweeter in taste, the gypsy pepper has a softer skin and more flavor than the bell pepper.  Gypsy peppers can be eaten raw, stuffed and grilled, or fried in some oil.  We received two pounds of these peppers in our community supported agriculture box last week.  I wanted to prepare them in a different and fun way for our recent dinner party and decided on a roasted gypsy pepper and walnut dip.  It was delicious, with just the right amount of smoky sweetness from the peppers and nuttiness from the walnuts, and was subtly accented with cumin and cayenne pepper.  Served simply with some pita and cut up vegetables, this dip made for a nice snack while my friends and I chatted before dinner.

Continue reading

View from Round Top 1

Tahoe-cation 2014 // Part 2

Ngan made it to the top of a mountain!  Yes, she did.  This is part 2 of my Tahoe trip, the final day we spent hiking during our hiatus away from suburban life.  With each trip to Tahoe, I reach new and different heights.  I work out hard and often, but taking on mother nature adds new dimensions to the concept of working out.  Still, here I am, fully recovered from tense muscles and an inexplicably huge and painful swelling of my arm that almost sent me to the hospital.  Don’t worry, I called California’s poison control center and was given steps to reduce my large skin reaction to what was probably a spider bite.  I’m fine, really, and I’m pleased I had this summer adventure.

Continue reading

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith // Book Review

pic of the book jacket

Robert Galbraith, as many readers know by now, is a pseudonym used by none other than J.K. Rowling, famed author of the Harry Potter series.  Having never read any Rowling before this past year, I only know Rowling’s voice as that of Robert Galbraith, author of the Cormoran Strike crime novels.  This, I think, has allowed me to enjoy the novels without the expectations of otherworldly genius demanded of Rowling for each Harry Potter release.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading The Cuckoo’s Calling and the latest in the series, The Silkworm, both highly entertaining and engrossing British detective novels dense with details and social commentary.

Continue reading

pic of banana tapioca pudding

Banana Tapioca Pudding (Che Chuoi Chung)

Banana tapioca pudding (che chuoi chung) is a sweet Vietnamese treat generally made at home, but may also be purchased in some restaurants.  My childhood is replete with memories of this pudding.  The glossy tapioca pearls, the richness of the coconut milk, and the meaty pieces of bananas all make this pudding a simple and exceptionally enjoyable snack throughout the day.  While my friends were eating chocolate cake and ice cream for dessert, I was eating a bowl of this flavorful pudding.  I never felt like I was missing out on sweets when I had a bowl of this in my hand.

Continue reading

Year of No Sugar by Eve O. Schaub // Book Review

pic of YONSbookcoverMy harshest criticism of Year of No Sugar by Eve O. Schaub must be stated at the outset: the title of this memoir is a lie.  I was baffled by Schaub’s claims of a “year of no sugar” when this book would have been more appropriately titled “Year of No Added Fructose, Except On Vacation, During Holidays, and Once a Month, and oh, Don’t Forget My Exceptions for Wine or Diet Soda.”  I guess that title would not have been as pithy or sensational as “Year of No Sugar” is.

Continue reading

pic of details fo pasta bowl

In My Kitchen // July 2014

This is the first In My Kitchen post for me.  I was invited by Selma of Selma’s Table last month to join with many wonderful bloggers in this monthly forum hosted by Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.  Thank you to Selma for the invite and to Celia for hosting.  Here is a glimpse at the new gadgets and happenings in my kitchen this month:

Continue reading

pic of Emigrant Lake

Tahoe-cation 2014 // Part 1

I can blame time and circumstances for conspiring to keep me from WordPress, emails, and the internet in general, but in truth, I should thank them for forcing me to step back and smell the wildflowers.  I didn’t mean to be off WP for the last couple of weeks (my apologies for not answering your comments promptly), but as schedules changed and the wilderness beckoned, I simply stepped back and gave my eyes a rest from the screen and the pressures of life.  It was truly magnificent to trade the hum of electronics for the stillness of nature, even if only for a short period of time.

Continue reading

pic of soup and salad

Japanese Inspired Soup and Salad // W is for Wakame

The wonderful bloggers participating in this month’s food challenge and I are using wakame (dried seaweed) as our challenge ingredient.  I often have wakame in seaweed salads and in soups in Japanese restaurants, but have never cooked with it.  After my husband very generously tracked down a couple of packages of wakame for me, I went to work incorporating the ingredient into a Japanese inspired soup and salad.

Continue reading