3.30.2014

Globus Department Store in Lausanne

The Globus department store in Lausanne has a splendid grocery section on the lower level. We're talking cheeses you dream of, fresh squeezed juice combinations like orange-pineapple-basil, a vast selection of interesting produce (including the famous chasselas grapes), and a freezer section well-stocked with Movenpick ice cream. It's pretty hard to to complain when you're in these walls.  
Just outside the store is the Brezelkonig pretzel stand. On my trip, I made several meals out of this "snack." The pretzel dough was soft and chewy, studded with flecks of salt, and slathered with Swiss butter on the inside. I found the grison (air-dried beef) pretzel to be the best, though the other fillings were delicious as well.
I was blown away by the quality of the candy here. Not only were these picture-perfect confections gorgeous, but they tasted every bit as good, with hints of rose and the finest sugar dusted on top.

You shouldn't leave Lausanne without stopping here first- many of the foods would make great gifts for friends back home. (I might even suggest attempting to smuggle their cheeses past customs. But don't say who told you to do it.)

3.16.2014

Scenes from Paris

Some scenes from my trip to Paris last October:

Paris wouldn't be Paris without a protest at Bastille.

3.08.2014

Prima Bistro in Langley


Washington state is home to many quaint island communities including Whidbey Island. One of my oldest and dearest friends used to live there and farm for a living. Visits to her often included lunch at our favorite cafe on the island: Prima Bistro. The restaurant is situated on the second floor of the building and we would always sit at the window table, for a beautiful view of the sound. (You might be lucky and get to see a grey whale as we did last time!)
 Creamy burrata and tapenade with fresh bread
Prima burger
Panna cotta
A grey whale!

Prima Bistro on Urbanspoon

3.02.2014

A Wedding in Maine

My childhood memories of summer visits to Maine often include mosquito bite souvenirs, dips in the frigid waters of the Atlantic, and playing late-night capture-the-flag. I hadn't been back to the beautiful state for ages, but last August, I attended my cousin's wedding at the Barn at Flanagan Farm in Buxton, ME. The ceremony took place in the magical woods under a canopy my cousins and uncle had constructed out of driftwood. Before arriving to the ceremony, everyone walked through the sun-dotted woods and got a drink (delicious gin cocktails which helped keep my vicious cold at bay) before heading to the seating area. The ceremony was short and sweet (just like I like it) and after taking photos, we all headed back to the barn area for cocktail hour.
There was a gorgeous spread of cheeses, meats, dips, crackers, and other finger food, while servers came around with other appetizers. 
As night began to fall, we moved into the barn for dinner and enjoyed amazing lobster pasta (caught by the groom's uncle!) and other dishes.
In true Maine fashion, the wedding cake featured blueberries and we were all given jars of the fruit to take home.
The lovely evening concluded with a sparkler send-off for the bride and groom. Congratulations!

3.01.2014

Squash on Toast Recipe (from ABC Kitchen)

It took one viewing of Mark Bittman's video with Jean-Georges Vongerichten to know the next thing I wanted to make in the kitchen- squash on toast. Imagine this: pan-toasted rustic bread slathered with a layer of fresh ricotta (I love this California brand, Bellwether Farms) and topped with a butternut squash-caramelized onion mixture. Finally, a dash of fresh mint is sprinkled on top. It was probably the best thing on toast I have ever eaten. In fact, my dinner last night consisted of this toast and red wine. 

I followed the recipe pretty much to a T (I think it tastes great with butternut squash) but I might even add more onions next time. The caramelization makes them deliciously sweet but they break down in the process, so a bit more wouldn't have hurt. It's the first time I've truly caramelized onions (it took about 30 minutes overall) and I used apple cider vinegar and maple syrup a friend brought from Canada. 

As Bittman mentions, the mint on top takes the dish to another level. Somehow, the sweet and tangy onions, the smooth squash, and creamy ricotta all come together with the herb.

video
Caramelizing onions (patience required!)