Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Noi Sirius chocolate from Iceland

Four years ago this month, Kenny and I took an overnight flight from New York to Reykjavik in Iceland for a 10-day vacation. Because it was August (and not because we checked a weather report), we expected some sunny weather. So we decided to save some money and camp out on a grassy lot behind the city’s youth hostel. We bought our $30 tent at Target and packed two L.L. Bean sleeping bags to stay warm.

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Polish cookies

Polish cookies

In between watching football this weekend – and baking, and using the computer while Kenny watched football in the background – I finally visited H Mart, a grocery store that sells a massive amount of Asian foods, tried some Polish sweets, and devoured a Chinese meal that I actually crave.  They were exciting food experiences all around.  (And I use the word “exciting” with all sincerity.  I truly did feel rush of energy each time.)

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Modern Biscuits (left), Biscuits from the 1700s (right)

Modern Biscuits (left), Biscuits from the 1700s (right)

The last couple of weeks have been a complete whirlwind of writing and travel, which was challenging in a good way (the writing) and fun in a thank-God-for-a-break kind of way (the travel).  But in my downtime, my brain was mush, so much so that I was sure any posts I wrote would be incoherent drivel.  I missed blogging though!  I was hoping to make a fun Thanksgiving dish for this week, like a Thompson’s Turkey.

In The Man Who Ate Everything, Jeffrey Steingarten tries to tackle this challenging, intimidating, and, I’m guessing, ultimately rewarding recipe.  Steingarten says this turkey comes from Morton Thompson, a newspaperman who penned it for a food column in the mid-1930s. 

The recipe is a whopping four pages long, and the bird is stuffed with a wild array of food, spices, and flavorings: an apple, an orange, crushed pineapple, lemon, water chestnuts, Colman’s mustard, caraway seed, celery seed, poppy seed, oregano, a bay leaf, black pepper, mace, parsley, garlic, turmeric, onions, celery, marjoram, savory (“Got me,” I say to anyone wondering what this is), poultry seasoning, bread crumbs, ground veal, and ground pork.

I never loved turkey – am I the only one who finds it dry and bland? – so I don’t actually want to eat Thompson’s Turkey.  But I want to make it simply because the recipe writing is so much fun. 

Continue Reading “America’s Oldest Residential Street and Biscuits from the 1700s”

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The water alongside one of the trails near Deep Creek Lake.

The water alongside one of the trails near Deep Creek Lake.

Last weekend I went to Deep Creek Lake in Western Maryland for the first time.  Deep Creek is a summer and winter vacation town.  But we were there right between seasons, when it’s too cold to use the lake but the snow isn’t yet on the  mountains for skiing.  Deep Creek Lake is close to several states – including Ohio, which I thought was much further away from Maryland – and about 3 1/2 hours from Baltimore.  And it was already snowing there!  Well, flurries anyway.

But before we got to Deep Creek, we stopped in Thurmont, Maryland to break up the drive.  My family used to call the place “the mountains” when I was younger – as in “We’re going to the mountains this weekend” – because of its many hiking opportunities. Thurmont is also home to Camp David, so they close off some of the trails when the President is in town.  Our main stop on this trip was the Catoctin Mountain Orchard retail store:

Catoctin Orchards in Thurmont, Maryland

The Black family opened this store in 1948; now they sell jams, fruit butter, honey, pies, trail mix and candy, and, of course, apples:

Apples in Catoctin Mountain Orchard

Apples in Catoctin Mountain Orchard, MD

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Esquites (Fresh Corn with Lime, Cayenne Pepper, and Cojita Cheese)

I’m normally neutral about corn on its own – which is to say I don’t dislike it or feel immense pleasure when eating it – but there was one time when I really wanted to eat a fresh ear on its cob.

My friend, Augie, was visiting me in New York, and he wanted to go to a restaurant known for its grilled corn with lime and spice. Until I started writing this post, I didn’t remember exactly what was on the corn, or the name of the restaurant for that matter. But I knew that this corn had flavors that made it exciting.

(Note: It was quite easy to find the name of the restaurant with the amazing corn. I only had to search for “grilled corn, New York” to find Café Habana at 17 Prince Street. For the record, their grilled corn is made with lime, chile powder, and cotija cheese.)

I had that grilled corn years ago, so I had completely forgotten about it.  Until last weekend, that is, when I watched Marcela Valladolid make esquites on Mexican Made Easy

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Trail Mix

My favorite road trip food companion

My summer travel writing class is about to end, and it’s leaving me with a terrible urge to travel somewhere, anywhere.  But I’ve also learned that you don’t have to go very far to find interesting places to explore. A road trip, I think, is in order.

Road trips came up in several of the excerpts and books we read for class, and of course, I was always underlining what people ate.  In The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin travels through Aboriginal communities in Australia, and at one point, stops to eat a lunch of biscuits and cheese, olives, a can of sardines, and beer.  (John McPhee also eats sardines in Travels in Georgia. Who knew the tiny fish were a popular road snack?)

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Fractured Prune Donuts, Ocean City, MD

Fractured Prune donuts in Ocean City, Maryland (left to right, bottom to top: carnival, French toast, Reese's Cup, K.C. Sunshine, Ms. Prunella x 2, Lemonade, O.C. Sand x 2, Powdered sugar x 2, Creamsicle)

Other than sauteing, breading, and baking zucchini, yellow squash, and flying saucer squash, I didn’t do much cooking this weekend because I was in Ocean City, Maryland. I did, however, eat my first donuts of the year. To me, summer in Ocean City will always mean donuts.

But not just any donuts.  These are the best donuts ever, and they’re sold in purple and green storefronts called Fractured Prune.

This little shop means more to me than donuts though.  When I was in middle school, I was allowed to cross a huge street to pickup breakfast there.  By myself.    

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