Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Wrap Up

Well here I am, wrapping up another year. And this, my friends, has been a hell of a year. My personal life has been filled with ups and downs, good and bad. I've gone through enormous life changes, almost all for the better. This was my building block year. I got a lot of things straightened out that should make for happier times moving forward.

The biggest things that happened to me this year:

I ran my first 5K and 10K.

I bought my first ever new car.

I lost two friends way too young.

I had three surgeries.

My heart got broken.

My heart got better.

I learned how to Snowboard.

I became friends with Lindsay, Danny, Dani and Meredith... fantastic additions to my life.

I hugged all my parents without going to England.

I met and passed my goal weight.

I reconnected with Dana.

I became a happy, healthy person.

I cooked. I wrote. I lived.

This year I created a lot of recipes that I am delighted to have in my repertoire. I've learned a lot in the kitchen and I'm really working on building my food legacy in a strong strong way. So with that in mind, here are my personal favorite recipes from this year.

Thanks for being here. Sometimes I feel like I'm writing out into an invisible void, but I know you're out there somewhere.



And next year? Well.... next year is going to be really really interesting. I've got a big project that I'll get to share soon. I can't wait!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Vegetable Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

A long time ago I went to college with a guy named Jeff. We were friendly and I think he might have worked with me on the school newspaper for a while. At some point, we lost touch and then a couple of years later we reconnected for a short time. I don't remember a whole lot about how long we were friends for or why we stopped hanging out. What I do remember is that one time I went to his apartment and he made me stir fry and it was amazing.

That's the weird thing about food. It's such a tie to memory and people. I remember so well Jeff pottering around his tiny kitchen in Atlanta making this dish, splashing in a bit of this and a bit of that. It was the first time I'd ever seen anyone cook with rice wine vinegar. The first time I think I saw anyone cook with snow peas. It was a really delicious meal, the sauce accents the flavor of the peppers really well and the vinegar makes it bright and tangy. The peppers have just a little extra crunch, the mushrooms are sumptuous and rich, and the snow peas are bright, green and fresh.

I made this stir fry a lot more often when I was vegetarian. I still default back to it though, when I'm craving something warm and fresh and tangy. Normally I would make my own peanut sauce, but I've found that store bought is really really good in this dish and has the perfect balance. You can find it in the Asian section in the grocery store.

Vegetable Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

1 Red Bell Pepper, cut into strips
1 Green Bell Pepper, cut into strips
6 White Mushrooms, sliced
1/4 Cup of Snow Peas
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Peanut Sauce

Warm up the olive oil in a large frying pan or a wok if you have one. Make sure it gets nice and hot, then add the peppers. Add half the rice wine vinegar and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms and stir around until the peppers are starting to get a little bit of color on them. You want them to stay a bit crispy. Add the snow peas and the rest of the rice wine vinegar and saute two more minutes. Add the peanut sauce and stir until warmed through.

Serve with rice and build a memory with an old friend. 

Makes 2 servings.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Y'all, that was awesome. Seriously.

In the last two weeks, I have traveled 10, 232 miles. I have been on four airplanes. I have seen pink sand in the Caribbean, Christmas trees in Bryant Park New York, and learned how to Snowboard in Utah.

I've caught up with old friends, hugged my family, missed a play, and gone on my first trip with my boyfriend.

I've had bad lobster, drunk champagne five days in a row, ordered room service, and eaten snow.

I've had a really really lovely vacation. I needed it, and I'm glad I went. I'm rested and ready for whatever comes next.

I have no good food pictures, because honestly I didn't have anything revelatory in the food department (except for some damn good barbecue chicken which I have no evidence of). But I've got some pretty pictures and I thought I'd share a few.

Pink sand in Barbuda. It's pink due to all the little shells. My mother did the hand modeling.

 Sunset, Mamora Beach, Antigua.

Sunset, Shirley Heights, Antigua. Overlooking English Harbor. Amazing barbecue here every Sunday.

The view from my balcony, St James Club, Antigua. Where I would curl up in the afternoon with a book and a cup of coffee.

Bryant Park, New York. A quick stopover to say hi to my friends Danny and Meredith. We walked around and drank Strawberry Hot Chocolate and then I taught Meredith how to knit.

Sunrise, Arizona (possibly Nevada). First trip away with my guy. We left Las Vegas at 6am to go to Brian Head, Utah. 

The view from the top of the mountain in Brian Head. I learned how to Snowboard. I've got a lot more learning to do, but I loved it. We stayed overnight and it was absolutely gorgeous and wonderful.

The whole two weeks have made me ridiculously happy. I'm a lucky girl in that I get to do things like this once in a while.

Did you see my Snickerdoodle recipe over at Whisks and Words? Check it out.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Away I Go

It's our December dark, meaning the Circus is shut down for two weeks. I am running away for the duration.

Have a good week or so. Eat lots of Christmas Cookies.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Hankook Taqueria

I'm well known for my deep love of Asian food. For some reason Asian flavors have always resonated with me more than most other cuisine types. The last time I was back in Atlanta, I was told about a little Korean Taco Place in a really unlikely location that was absolutely to die for. Life changing, it was called. Unforgettable. Perfect. That was some big talk there, and I was extremely skeptical. In the interest of research I figured I would try it.

It's not much to look at inside. There is a counter, and there are seats. It's in an almost shack-like building. They don't serve alcohol (though you can bring your own). My skepticism continued. Then I noticed that it had a fair few awards on the back wall. Fair enough, my interest was aroused.
I ordered Korean Tacos, one fish, one beef. My dining companion ordered the Bibim-bop. Total cost of the meal: $12.

The food arrived in a nice and speedy fashion. I was sad that I hadn't thought to go ahead and pick up a few bottles of beer, as it seemed acceptable to bring your own. Definitely something to bear in mind for next time.

The beef (bul gogi) taco was absolutely divine. The beef was perfectly seasoned and really tender. Korean barbecue really is one of the best tastes. I adored every bite.

The fish taco wasn't bad. The fish had a really nice crispy coating. The hoi sin tartar sauce though left a bit to be desired for me. I couldn't really find the hoi sin part of it. I think if I could have had a do-over, I would have gone for two of the beef tacos instead.

My companions Bibim-bop was absolutely perfect and divine. Everything was well prepared, the egg was perfect, the special sauce was tasty and delicious. It was a great plate.

This restaurant is definitely a find. The food is excellent and you can't beat the price. The location is odd, but it's actually worth the trip for the food. Definitely a great little out of the way place to try if you have a chance.

Hankook Taqueria on Urbanspoon