Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Venn Diagram of Christmas Traditions

This graphic is from: The Reason Stick: The Venn Diagram of Christmas Traditions.  You can see the original here. I love to celebrate Christmas. When I first started practicing Buddhism, I thought my Christmas celebrations were over. That made me sad. But then I met this nice Nyingmapa who was a Christmas Tree ornament saleswoman. She told me that some of her congregation had berated her for her job, and she told them, "Consider it a Shambhala Bush and get over it!" After that I celebrated with great glee! So Merry Christmas, everyone! And may all suffering CEASE!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Alertos Mexican

How much do I miss eating good Mexican food? You will never know. So there I was, in Anaheim, in a sea of PF Changs and IHoPs and California Pizza Kitchens, and Jack-in- Boxes. So boring. Can you blame me for having Cheerios and milk in my room while watching "Say Yes to  the Dress." Tragic. But then, as I was strolling around the block, I caught sight of Alerto's. It was tucked into a nondescript strip mall. Clean but un-distinguished.

But oh my.

Chile rellanos, refritos, creamy and with the lovely taste --- could it be lard? And handmade four tortillas. It was heaven! If you are ever there, you should definitely check it out. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

More Gifts for Foodies

You know how it is with foodies - because we have everything, or have tasted everything, we are darn hard to buy for! I've got a couple of suggestions for the foodie in your life. This time, it's some of my favorite seasonings and flavorings. Hopefully, some or all of these will be new to you.

Gullah Luv seasoning is my go-to seasoning salt. According to the Gullah Luv website (you can visit here), the Gullah are, "African Americans who live in the lowcountry region of South Carolina and Georgia, which includes both the coastal plain and the Sea Islands. Historically, the Gullah region once extended north to the Cape Fear area on the coast of North Carolina and south to the vicinity of Jacksonville on the coast of Florida. Today the Gullah area is confined to the South Carolina and Georgia lowcountry. The Gullah people are also called Geechee, after the Ogeechee River near Savannah, Georgia. The Gullah are known for preserving more of their African linguistic and cultural heritage than any other African American community in the United States." So, I feel like I'm helping to preserve a little of our ethnic diversity when I buy my $9.95 bottle of yummy Gullah Luv Seasoning salt. It really is a "win-win" kind of a thing.

Black truffles are one of my favorite flavors, but are they expensive! I find that I can add a little of that wonderful earthy flavor to mushroom omelets, pasta dishes, and even just grilled baguette using black truffle salt. But because black truffle is such an expensive and rare commodity, there are a lot of substandard products out there. I've had great success with Fusion Black Truffle salt. You can find it here.

Speaking of black truffles, I'm also a huge fan of black truffle honey. This is honey that has a slice of truffle in it. You may think this is a weird combo, and I guess it is. But take a really strong cheese and add a stripe of truffle honey, and my oh my! You've really got something special. Here is one I have bought on Amazon that you might want to try. Yes, it is pricey, but a little goes a very long way and I'm talking about $15, not $150. So think of it as a rather pricey stocking stuffer.

Your favorite foodie probably knows about Penzey's Spices, but likely hasn't tried them all. I love "Tsardust Memories", a spicy mix of salt, garlic, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg and marjoram. I really love this in butternut squash soup, meatballs, and grilled meats. You can snag a bottle here.  

So, there you go - some stocking stuffer ideas. Next time, I'll share my favorite cookbooks with you. Happy shopping!