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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Friday, February 27, 2015

Nankhatai, Pokhara and the Gurkha Honor Code

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...At this time of year, the Silver Fox and I begin to winnow our list of potential holiday destinations. Our choices this year are more constrained because safety considerations have to be factored into the final decision. Friends, still in foreign service, have advised us to avoid Indonesia, Russia and Egypt. Remaining on the list are various possibilities that include an extended tour of European cities, an Alpine trek, a safari in Tanzania and, at the top of both our lists, Antarctica, which we would both do in a New York minute if we can massage the finances needed for the journey. Bob would also like to revisit Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet. These countries have a charm all their own and they are hard to forget. Pokhara, in Nepal, is, and I suspect will remain one of my favorite places on earth. Most Himalayan treks and climbs begin here and the town is surrounded by mountains of aching beauty. It is also the area from which the Gurkhas come and many of them return here to retire. It goes without saying that the crime rate in Pokhara is quite low. Gurkhas have been part of the British Army for almost 200 years, and the bravery and prowess of these Nepalese warriors has never been questioned. They have a strict code of honor and believe "it is better to die than be a coward." A retired colonel who hiked with us shared his belief that all warriors carry within them an expiration date. Rather than try to change that a Gurkha is trained to be ready for it. We were in Pokhara for the Hindu feast of Diwali which celebrates the victory of light over darkness and we able to sample all the special foods associated with the holiday. The cookie I'm featuring tonight is an eggless shortbread that is a Diwali favorite. The cookies are delicious and easy to make. Here is the recipe.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Apple Streusel Coffee Cake

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...We are several weeks shy of one year in our new home. While we love the new place, it's about 1500 square feet smaller than the house on the hill, so it has become especially important for us to keep an eye on objects and determine if they are worth the space they occupy. Nowhere is that more important than in the kitchen, and at this time of year, my personal challenge is to work through the contents of my freezer and pantry before things pass their sell date or are impossibly freezer burned. I always find something that surprises me, and this year, while turning the pantry, I found three 1-quart jars of apple pie filling that I had put-by two years ago. For reasons that escape me now, I decided to bring them with us when we moved last year. I could have used them to make apple pie, but I wanted to do something a little different, so I went searching for some new recipes that used prepared pie filling. The recipe I'm featuring tonight was develop by Nancy Dynes and I found it on her blog, Tattered Treasures. I know that those of you who have a sweet tooth will enjoy this coffee cake, but I must warn the rest of you that it is sweet. I used one-third the glaze that was suggested in the recipe and that was plenty for our taste. The cake is simple to make and the use of canned/jarred pie filling makes quick work of it preparation. I do hope you will try this. It is a nice brunch cake to serve to family and good friends and it is lovely when served warm. Here is how it's made.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fresh Strawberry Scones

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Let's start with the high cost of bragging. Several days ago, I waxed poetic about the glorious weather we were experiencing in the Pacific Northwest. I knew it wouldn't last, but when the magnolia trees came into bloom, I thought there was a possibility that Mother Nature might take us from winter into spring without allowing winter to take an extra bow. Silly me! Frost warnings were issued last night and things got pretty hairy before the sun rose this morning. I was up at first light and was greeted by a landscape that was covered with hoar frost. As visibility got better, I could see the buds on our magnolia tree had frozen, and if we have blooms on the tree this year,  it will be nothing short of a miracle. The pansies, however, were troopers and and by noon they were holding their heads high. Someday, I'll write an ode to pansies, but that won't be today and when I do, I promise to spare you my poetry. The irritating part of all this was that by early afternoon it was warm enough to picnic. Go figure.

The springlike weather we've had, also led me to buy strawberries when I made my last "to market, to market..." run. I do this every year, and despite the fact I know these early berries taste like cardboard, I keep trying. They don't have a lot of flavor, so I usually end up using them in cakes or pastry where their lack of flavor and sweetness can be disguised. I've wanted to try the recipe I'm featuring tonight for a while now. I already have a wonderful recipe for strawberry scones, but this one is so much easier to make, that I thought it was time to give it a try. I'm glad I did. If you have a sweet tooth proceed directly to the nearest exit. I am not a sweet lover and even I thought the scones should be sweeter. The next time I make these I'll make it a point to make a powdered sugar glaze to drizzle over the scones before serving. I will, however, make these again for the same reason I tried them. They are quite easy to make and that forgives a lot of things. Here is the recipe.


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