Saturday, October 27, 2012

What's it about the hyphen anyhow?

I am an old school, command line geeky kind of girl. Back in the day when choosing my blog name and finding the domain to match I was hoping for, but it was not available. Then I was torn, do I change the name (which I decided I loved) or add hyphens? is easy to read with the hyphen but hard to remember when you tell someone the URL, spaces between the words would be just so readable, but just not workable. In technical parlance, it is about character strings on the server and how a space separates the arguments or the syntax of the command. Something like diagramming a sentence into actions, operatives and variables.

The domain became available this summer, so I bought it. Then came the intense discussion with my darling son whether to move my site over to the new domain, remain on Blogger or do a complete change to WordPress. And truth be known, I have been two-timing this original site. Taking time to learn about the architecture, options and design and putting my new posts there as I get a feel for the environment. There is lots to learn, but I do want you to see some of the preliminary work and of course the posts you've been missing out on here.  I have also been updating Facebook with images and links along the way. In time I will be transitioning all the posts and have a redirect to make sure no matter which URL you type in or have bookmarked you can find me.  Do you like the new little Robin on the logo?

Table Hopping -- Alma Cocina, Atlanta

I'll take the heat -- Cantaloupe-Harbanero Gazpacho

Salmon with Compound Butter and Chives 

Shades of White (Popovers)

Pepperjack Cornbread Muffins

Autumn Peaches - An orchard of one

Sesame Honey Sable Fish

Joy of Bread (Pane Pugliese)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Divided Attention

I know it's been ages since I've posted here. So much going on, making transitions, changes and general distractedness.  I have setup a new Facebook page for posting snippets and photos . Let me know if you "Like" it !  I have been cooking, writing and photosnapping and until I get a chance to tell you more, here's a sample of what I've been up to since my last post.

While shopping my son and I took in a cooking demo at Queen Anne's Farmers Market, Seattle with Chef Becky Selengut, author of Good Fish, an NPR-notable cookbook on Pacific Coast sustainable seafood

Seared Albacore and Farmer's Market Ratatouille

Becky Selengut

Behaving like a recipe detective, I finally achieve success in recreating an incredible 
Andalusian style Gazpacho first tasted at Alma Cocina, Atlanta.

Cantaloupe-Harbanero Gazpacho

On the home front a special weeknight dinner 
of fresh Coho Salmon baked with compound butter and chives.

Baked Coho Salmon with Compound Butter and Chives

Cross rib roast braised with Shiitake Mushrooms and served with mashed parsnips. 
Gravy so deeply beefy rich, wine infused and complex my darling dear asked me, "Why?" 
"Why what?" I replied.
"Why can't we have this every night?"

Can pot roast be elegant? Yes it can!

The fall quarter begins next week and distractions will be thrown into hyperdrive. 
But don't worry, food will be served.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Street Food, Spicy Tunisian Chicken Kebabs

Something wonderful happens when we eat food on a stick.

It is my last day in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia and the smallest country in northern Africa. Tunisia sits on the coast of the Mediterranean with influences of the Ottoman, Christians, Arabs and French. I have done my sight seeing. Visited the Unesco World Heritage sites, the Mediana with the narrow streets that create cooling shade from the African sun, the Zaytouna Mosque and the different medina markets (souqs) which are  organized into different commercial areas. Today is mine as I return to the Central Market.

It is nearly September and the morning temperatures are a comfortable 73 degrees as I slip on my gauze skirt and top, knowing that the heat will climb into the nineties before the day is done.  Grabbing my market bag, camera and purse I walk through the hotel's iron gates and heading down the few blocks of the Avenue de France and toward Rue Charles de Gualle. Finally turning on to Avenue de Paris. The sun is bright against the white stucco walls and the wailing traffic. But today is mine as I am determined to bring home the taste of Tunisa. The peppers, harissa and spice that epitomizes the cuisine of this North African country. 

The covered market looms large in front of me as I enter the arched pathway.  A market that dates from the nineteenth century, colorful, resplendant with an incredible selection of cheeses, fresh bread, spices--especially peppers and harissa, olives and pickles.  The space is abuzz with merchants selling fresh produce, fish and wares while locals make their daily purchases. An old market that dates back in history, this was named Fondouk El Ghalla, the Central Market, known as the largest food and vegetable market in Tunisia. Not only am I shopping for spices. I know I will want a last chance to savour the market foods, kebabs, and scented waters with dark rose or blossom petals, so similar to agua fresca with flowers. Leaving room for a dessert of my favorite Baklawa, layers of thin pastry interspersed with ground pine nuts, almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios.

Perhaps I will have time to visit the Souz el-Berka to find a gold bangle as a treasure from my visit. From a dark past this market specializes in the goldsmiths trade. We shall see what can be found and negotiated.

After a day at the market, rest and quiet back at the hotel. The fan spinning rhythmlically as it cools. A leisurely nap and lie-in before my darling one and I head to the marina. One last grilled fish, sunset, and a toast to Northern Africa.

Or so I would have imagined.

A celebration of adventure in far-a-way places, foreign cuisines and cultures. A musing until made real. A part of Street Foods Monthly Mingle.

Tunisian Spicy Chicken Kebabs
Serves 4-6
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes

1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
½ cup Peppedew Peppers
¼ cup Peppadew Pepper Juice from Jar
½ cup Raisins
¼ teaspoon ground Cayenne Pepper
¼ cup Olive Oil
¼ cup Pomegranate Molasses
4-5 Boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1” chunks

Place all marinade ingredients in food processor blender and puree until smooth.
Pour ½ of the marinade over cut up chicken thighs, turn and rub all over.  Marinate for at least 30 minutes or longer (up to overnight.) Reserve other half of marinade for dipping. Soak your bamboo skewers in water while the meat is marinading. This will help prevent burning on the grill.

After marinating chicken, place on bamboo or metal skewers. Grill over high heat until done about 5 minutes per side. Serve with couscous or rice and for a special treat and heat add harissa on the side for dipping.

A little adventure, a little spice. What are you waiting for ?
Inspiration: Susan Feniger's Street Food

 A virtual potluck since 2006 from Meeta K. Wolff What's for Lunch Honey? and an August theme from Zizi's Adventures. 

And, as luck would have it, my friend Jeanne at is having a Braai (South Aftrican Grilling over hot coals) contest and this is my entry. See Braai, the Beloved Country for all the information.