Travel

Homemade Yogurt and a Cultural Experience

Posted in Breakfast, Dessert, Food, Lunch, Recipe, Travel, Vegetarian on April 7th, 2011 by Audrey – 7 Comments

It was a rough winter here in the northeastern US of A. We had snow up to our brains, cold blasting out our ears, and ice-encrusted souls. In the city, we fought for parking spots with pickaxes and guardian garbage cans, and the good people of rural New England chuckled around their woodstoves as they watched coverage of our sorry marooned souls. By and by, April arrived, but spring in these parts, as many-a gentle reader may know, is similarly no bloody joke. My compatriots in the North Country are still chinking frost and snow off their windshields in the morning, and recently endured days of post-April Fool’s Day snow. Jack Frost, does your cruelty know no limits? Here in Boston, the snowbanks have disappeared and the green blades of crocuses are poking timidly through the rotted autumn leaves. Soon we’ll be blessed with mud and biting insects. Ah, sweet poetry of spring.

And yet, there is good to be reaped from this cursed season, this ellipsis of winter. One of the magical products of northeastern springtime: the much-hallowed maple syrup. When the days get warm and the nights stay chilly, the sugar maples start sending the sap up through their tree veins, and enterprising folk hammer their taps into maple trunks, collect this sweet tree water, and transform it into liquid gold. Despite spending my childhood in New England, I had never actually taken part in this process, so DG and I jumped at an invitation from our friends in northern Vermont, Julie and Ben, to join their family for a weekend, take part in the gathering, and learn how the magic happens. They promised a genuine old-school Vermont maple-sugaring experience, complete with bucket-hauling, draft horses, a sugar shack, and meals cooked on a woodstove — with one caveat. read more »

In Which I Move Across the Country and Make Salmon Cakes

Posted in Dinner, Fish, Food, Main Dish, Recipe, Travel on September 27th, 2010 by Audrey – 3 Comments

saucyHearken, kind reader, and travel with me back to August 25, the date when I originally penned this post and recipe, but for obvious reasons, am only now put-together enough to bring live.

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As it stands now, Can Do Kitchen has no kitchen at all. I packed up my little horseshoe of a cook-space back in Portland, loaded it all into a trailer, hopped in a big red truck with DG and the kitty, and hauled it across This Great Nation. Discoveries of the journey include: Utah is beautiful! You can get a decent bagel in Laramie, Wyoming. Nebraska? Actually sort of hilly. Delicious BBQ joint on Main Street, Wyanet, Illinois. Everywhere you look: corn, corn, corn. Endless rolling acres of corn. read more »

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp and Sultry Savannah

Posted in Dessert, Food, Recipe, Sweets, Travel, Vegetarian on June 22nd, 2010 by Audrey – 1 Comment

Strawberry RhubarbSummer has been hesitant in arriving here in the Pacific Northwest. We’ve been blessed (eh?) with a wet spring, and it seems to be lingering, though as I write today the sun is just beginning to fade on this, the longest day of the year. Yeah yeah, I’ll probably be glad sometime in August that we got a nice, moist start to the dry season (yes, Portland has a dry season), but my drowned shell peas and slug-savaged bush beans in the garden do not have that kind of perspective. Innocent victims. Fortunately for our vitamin D-starved souls (and complexions), DG and I were lucky enough to have a chance to escape the chilly spring weather a few weeks ago with a quick jaunt to sultry Savannah, Georgia, where we got in a good dose of sunshine, humidity, and southern cooking. We had a native host who introduced us to family and friends, and showed us the sights and the hidden secrets – we even saw an alligator! Just walking around like he owned the place! Amazing. I’ve included a few culinary highlights of the trip at the end of this post. read more »

Seattle and Cake

Posted in Dessert, Food, Recipe, Travel, Vegan, Vegetarian on May 25th, 2010 by Audrey – 6 Comments

Space NeedleAs much as I love my home city of Portland, I’ve pretty much always got a chronic case of wanderlust, and so there’s nothing like a couple days out of town to shake off the dust of routine and get me feeling fresh and happy to be home again once the trip is through. This past week, DG and I hightailed it up to Seattle, where we had the chance to reconnect with some great friends, as well as take advantage of some of the city’s excellent eats and drinks. (I’ve spotlighted some of our best finds at the bottom of this post. Check it out!)

We had the great good fortune of being able to be temporary lords of the manor (and cat-sitters) at a friend’s house up there while they were in the land down under. The chief benefit of this arrangement, aside from the palatial setting (compared to our one-bedroom apartment), was that we were able to entertain a big group of friends and host a pot luck dinner – I didn’t feel quite up to the task of cooking for everyone in someone else’s kitchen, but wanted to get everyone together for good times on our own turf. Luckily, with this crowd, I knew would be a stomach-pleasing endeavor, and indeed it was. read more »

Where in the World is Can Do Kitchen?

Posted in Business, Food, Travel on May 25th, 2010 by Audrey – 1 Comment

Cuban Mix Sandwich

This is not a peach. It is an incredibly delicious Cuban Mix Sandwich with fried plantains and cafe con leche that I had in Key West.

I have a very distinct memory of sitting at my kitchen table in the wee fourth-floor apartment I shared with my roommate in Aix-en-Provence, France. Our tall windows were thrown open and I could see into a kitchen in the building across the narrow street. A warm breeze ruffled the dish towel flung over the oven handle. In my hand: a white peach, fresh from the market milling around in the place below my window. My first white peach, so ripe it nearly burst from my touch. I sat alone there in the kitchen, bit into the fruit, and savored every ray of sunshine in its flesh. So sweet and unresisting to my bite, the juice ran down my elbows and onto the table. It was bliss.

Moments like these are snapshots from my life when food has shaped an experience and enriched my sense of time and place. I have relished many, many culinary moments in my travels, whether it be a tearing into a mysterious purple mangosteen in a back alleyway in Thailand or slurping matzo ball soup in a New York deli, and I want to start sharing these moments with you, dear reader. I’m going to weave these tales into upcoming posts, along with photos and links. Check in from time to time to witness my tasty travels, and when you visit the same places I do, you can try some of my discoveries, and share your own recommendations with me!

It is my hope that you will live vicariously through these posts, but also take notice of your own singular taste-sensation moments. These are inspirations for what we can create in our own kitchens, as well as opportunities to tune into the tastes that we’re experiencing and link them to past tastes, memories, likes, dislikes, and desires – feedback that informs every cooking decision we make. The more taste experiences our tongues and minds have, the richer our palates, and our ability to build from this base.

I grant you your culinary passports, friends. Hop aboard, and let your tongue be your guide!