Sunday, March 25, 2012


...another week, another home-page feature on!

The selection of thumbnails of highlights changes weekly, but at least for this week, my parrot photo from Costa Rica (see it in the middle?) is being featured...It's been fun to catch the eye of the editors at that travel magazine website...Below is the full highlight

Last week, another photo, one I took just a couple of weeks ago, 
was highlighted on their homepage as well--
note the bottom middle thumbnail:

...a larger view of this photo-highlight:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Cheerios" get a sweet tan

Since the 1940's, "Cheerios" have graced many an American breakfast table...what's more 'white bread American" than a bowl of Cheerios, right?
Well, lo and behold:
We don't have small children, so I don't often linger in the supermarket cereal aisle--but when I saw this box, I had to get it. They're muy deliciosos...

Culinary multi-culturation continues. Just had to share.

And because I'm a language-teacher, I have to include this little pronunciation lesson: pronounce 'dulce de leche' as 'dool-seh deh leh-cheh'...and NOT 'dol-cheh'...

A few years ago, Starbucks was serving a 'dulce de leche latte' (not that different from the caramel macchiatto), and almost every time I would order it, the server would 'correct' me by repeating my order:
      "Okay, so you want a double 'dul-che' de leche latte?" 
To which I would patiently reply, "Yes, I would like a DOOL-SEH de leche latte." 
     "Okay, a 'dul-che' de leche latte for you, um, what's your first name?"

Please--know how to pronounce what you serve. 
If you're going to charge nigh four bucks for a cup of cofffee,
know the difference between Italian and Spanish, POR FAVOR! PER FAVORE! 
(And no, 'venti' does not mean 'extra large' in Italian.)

No, that wasn't a rant.

Time for a happy taste to take you to a happy place: dulce de leche breakfast cereal--Bon appétit, amigos!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The 'baeckeoffe' works in the 'cocotte-mijoteuse!'...and I'm canyon-committed

So, the recipe I posted last week--my wife wondered if it would work in a slow cooker/crock-pot...
...and it does!

Same ingredients--just layer them in a crock pot and follow your machine's instructions as if you're making a pot roast. You'll end up with more liquid--more of a could use less than the whole bottle of Riesling, if you want less liquid...

We served it to some visiting 'snowbirds'--two couples from Québec spending the winter RVing around California and Arizona--they could definitely say that they'd never had Alsatian-Korean fusion food before, but they said it was 'délicieux'...

And thus, we learned how to say 'slow cooker' in French--I'd never thought about it before; when I lived in France I didn't have a crock-pot, so it had just never occurred to me how to say 'crock-pot'...So. the technical term is 'cocotte-mijoteuse.' ('Mijoter' is the French verb 'to simmer,' by the way.)

Eating such hearty meat-and-potato fare--good fuel for running.
So, speaking of running...this afternoon I went for my usual run in Sabino Canyon(saw a bobcat, incidentally!), loved it as when I got home, I went ahead and signed up--I'm committed now to this year's Sabino Canyon Sunset Run.

Here's the course profile:
I love it! The equivalent of climbing a 50-story building...but it's spread out over a couple of miles, and with glorious desert riparian canyon all around you--it's a balm for the soul...

So, nuestros amigos, nos amis, 
come on down, escape your grey winters,
run this race,
and eat Korean-French meat-and-potatoes with us,

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"Baeckoffe" with kimchi: Alsatian-Korean fusion...and musical rumination on the many Spanishes

"Baeckeoffe"<--"how do you even pronounce that?" you may wonder...
Well, HERE's how you pronounce it.

Now, WHAT is it? It's a slow-cooked meat-and-potatoes dish (cooked in white wine) from the French/German borderland region of Alsace. Recently, I came across Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's recipe for his family's version--it's a fusion twist on a comfort food from his childhood. (You can find it in the cookbook that he and his wife wrote to go along with their PBS series "The Kimchi Chronicles."

French/German meets Korean--right away I knew that I would have to try it!
So, one night last week, with my Korean mother visiting us, I made it for dinner.

The prep took a bit of time, but then once you've chopped and layered, you just leave it in the oven for a couple of hours or so. The fusion of the kimchi, meat, potatoes, and Riesling--a cross-cultural alchemy of deliciousness! Mom and Wife were pleased.

Here's a play-by-play, in case you'd like to try it..
(Merci, Chef Vongerichten!)
Les ingrédients
for "Korean Baeckeoffe:"
 3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
Coarse salt
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
3 green onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cups coarsely chopped sour kimchi
(the kimchi--Korean sauerkraut with a kick--must be 'sour.'
Ask your Korean grocer.)
2 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into chunks with excess fat discarded
(I used a combination of lamb chops and beef chuck roast instead)
1 teaspoon 'gochugaru' (Korean red pepper powder)
1 bottle (750 ml) of white wine (preferably a Riesling, Alsatian if possible)
crusty baguette, or white rice, or both, for serving

While the oven is preheating to 400 degrees Fahrenheit,
put about half of the potatoes in the bottom of a baking dish (that has a lid),
sprinkle with some of the coarse salt,
and then place about half of the carrots, green onions, garlic, onion on top...
 ...and then place about half of the coarsely chopped kimchi on top:
Season the meat with some of the coarse salt and red pepper powder, 
(which looks hot, but it won't be overly fiery)
then arrange it on top of the kimchi.
 Cover the meat with a layer of the remaining potatoes,
carrots, scallions, garlic, and kimchi,
and then for the finishing touch,
pour the Riesling into the baking dish,
just covering the meat and vegetables.
You may or may not, depending on the shape of your baking dish
and the density with which you pack it,
need the entire bottle of wine;
I used it all:
 Cover the dish and bake for 2 1/2 hours at 400 degrees,
checking every now and then to see how the level of liquid is doing.
If it dries out, add a splash more wine or water.
(I didn't need to add much.)
Cook until the vegetables are soft and the meat is tender.
When you take it out of the oven, it will look something like this:
(You'll have enough to serve four to five people.)
Serve hot in soup plates with the liquid;
This "Korean Baeckoffe" is a hearty yet not heavy stew: 

Bon appétit...Guten Appetit..Chahp-soo-seh-yoh!

So, after some fusion,
now for a bit of linguistic confusion...

Have you heard of the newest viral YouTube video?
It's "Que difícil es hablar el español"
For an explanation in English, click here.

For those of you who speak Spanish,
and especially for those of you who have 
lived/traveled in various parts
of el mundo hispanohablante,
you MUST watch this!

And now, directly from the source:

Finalmente, here's the video, as seen on YouTube:

¡Viva la confusión!

Today's gem from the classroom:
"Wait, rabbits don't have eggs?!"
Several students--14 and 15 years old--said that today.
Context: learning vocabulary about rural life and farm animals
in a second-year foreign language class.
The Easter Bunny has left behind a troubling legacy, it seems.
These are the same kids who've said:
"OMG, olives grow on trees?!"
"Turkeys have eggs?! I thought only chickens did!" 

One last thing--an update about last week's posting
and the "Catch" photo competition:
click here.