Monday, December 25, 2006

Swedish Eve

New Years and Christmas Eve dinners in my family are typically a meal of tasty snacks. This year was no exception. Mom and Dad even brought the candle set that propels 3 angels around a set of two bells... a happy memory from childhood. We had the traditional Swede-treats for Christmas Eve dinner... and then some. No limpa or lutfisk this time, but we had plenty to eat:
1. Smoked salmon
2. Pickled herring
3. Potato sausage
4. Lingonberries (actually cranberries)
5. German potato salad
6. Shrimp
7. Wasa crackers
8. Roasted potatoes
9. Tortilla pizzas
10. Stuffed mushrooms
11. Seaweed salad
12. Sourdough rolls from Schlabachs
13. Many different cheeses
14. Corn salsa and tortilla chips
15. Roasted chestnuts
And we didn't have room for dessert:
1. Schlabach's fudge pie
2. Jennifer's pie (see food quiz below)
3. Pizzelles (Joe's favorite cookie)
4. Almond cigars (made yesterday)
5. Cookies, chocolate

Joe inspects the dinging angel candles for the first time. It was dinging a little awkwardly that night. Nan always had her set out for holiday meals, so it was cool that my parents brought theirs. Below, I hold up a perfectly intact chestnut. Apparently Italian chestnuts are the way to go.. the other kind is just kind of mealy and bland. Ours were rich and sweet.

Cow Christmas

I've been sick the last few days, but thanks to Advil and a lot of multi vitamins, I was able to spend Saturday with my parents and Joe in Nashville. The John Cowan Band was at the Station Inn, which was decked out in Christmas decorations and serving free cookies. We were seated directly to the left of the band, so that's why our pictures aren't that great.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Food Quiz #8 and #9

It's been a long time since I've done a quiz... but because I have an abundance of interesting foods in my house, I figured I'd do a double quiz to make up for lost time.

#8: A chewy Asian snack from the sea...

Can you guess what this is?

#9: A Kentucky-style Christmas treat from Jennifer P. Brown (No guessing if you work at the New Era)

Can you name this pie?

Snack showcase #1

A new favorite

If you or someone you know lives near a Trader Joe's, I highly recommend these Tandoori Masala Pappadums. It's sort of the Indian version of BBQ potato chips. The flavor of these chickpea crisps is sweet and spicy. They are the perfect thing to curb the pain and emptiness of a growling stomach.

Almost gone... but rest assured, Mom Tilsch brought me another bag this weekend.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Priscilla's wedding

I had a wonderful (but exceedingly brief) weekend in Chicago, where we celebrated Priscilla and Chris's wedding.

"Forgetting the things which are behind and stretching forward to the things which are before. I pursue toward the goal, for the prize to which God in Christ Jesus has called me upward..."

Monday, December 11, 2006

Winter snacking

Yes! Veggie Chips!
In this long overdue post...I want to focus on two things.
1) snacks
2) people who give me snacks, and particularly, people who go out of their way to buy and send me snacks I can't get in western Kentucky.

This motherload of Asian munchies comes to me all the way from Darnestown, Md. where my good friend, fellow animal lover and favorite dessert maker, Lily, lives.

Growing up with weekend trips to Chinatown made me no stranger to Chinese snacks-- like shrimp chips and Botan rice paper-wrapped candies. Then living with a Taiwanese roommate in college got me hooked on dried squid, deep fried broad beans and wasabi peas (which, I recently noticed are actually not peas at all, but garbanzo beans masquerading around in an ungodly amount of green food coloring.) Next, a year in SoCal introduced me to the likes of Ranch 99, an Asian megamarket. Mango gummies and Taro jelly cups were standard fare in my house there. But all those Asian snacking opportunities couldn't compare to living in Taiwan, where many of these snacks originate.

One of my favorite parts of Taiwanese culture is the little bowls of snacks and plates of fresh cut fruit produced by any good host or hostess after dinner. On most Friday nights, Joe and I would walk ten minutes to another couple's apartment for our small group meeting. Sister Luan Seong always had the best snacks. :) An evening at the Seongs could involve mango, papaya, guava, wax apple or even durian, if they were able to smuggle one on the plane from Malaysia, their home country. There might be some egg jam and biscuits. Or some watermelon seeds. Or some dainty little cookies from a local bakery. Ahh... those were the days.

Well, whenever Joe and I hosted the small group, we made good and sure that we had the munchies. We also had plenty of origami boxes on hand for spitting out seeds or shells or rinds. I'd like to say we continue the custom today, but we really don't have people over as much as we used to in Taiwan, or in Champaign--where we lived last, and where I met Lily.

Let's take another look at those snacks up close:
It helps the taste buds immensly when candy is packaged in an "attractive small bag"
Though incredibly tempting, I'm going to rip into these AFTER Priscilla's wedding...(Read: AFTER I need to fit into a little red dress.)

This was indeed a happy present, but credit goes to Lily.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Gnocci, made in Italy

AP article caught my eye. Apparently some of the folks who produce foods that are Italiano autentico are not flattered by copycats.

Having lived 2 1/2 years of my life in a city where restauranteurs didn't know the difference between Italian and Mexican food and thought a sign reading "Food fresh from the Franchland" (i.e. France) would woo westerner's business... I'm thinking it would be impossible to regulate what goes on labels in Asia.

I'm going to finish this post soon... more later.