dessert : Oh Fair New Mexico

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by Karen Fayeth

Oh Go On Now

You know what I’m going to say. So, so predictable. But I’m going there anyway.

After what seems like, oh I don’t know, eighty years, the Presidential election is tomorrow.

Finally.

This whole election season has been weird and ugly and I’m pretty much ready for it to be over.

I truly hope that by the end of tomorrow it really is over. No crazy. No ugly. Just a clean, clear winner.

In order for that to happen, everyone needs to vote. Even if your think your vote doesn’t matter, vote anyway.

Hell, it gives you credibility when you want to complain later.

Why not? It’s the hip thing to do and hey, the new voting machines are kind of fun! Whoo!

If you have already cast your vote then you are entitled to one chocolate chip cookie. Buy yourself a good one and enjoy it.

The calories don’t count when you are being a good American citizen.

And if you haven’t voted yet, then go and cast your vote and when you are through, you too are entitled to a calorie free ooey gooey cookie.

Got it? Vote = guilt free chocolate chip cookie.

All right now. You know what to do.****






****This blog post is for entertainment purposes only. Of course really nummy choccy chip cookies have calories but hey, let’s all pretend for a moment that they don’t and just reward ourselves for doing the right thing. Neither the Oh Fair New Mexico blog nor Karen Fayeth can be held liable for any damage to your waistline from the ingestion of really tasty chocolate chip cookies. Votes don’t equal cookies but maybe you can make it so. Just vote, ok? Whether or not you enjoy a cookie afterwards is up to you. Thanks for listening.


Image from Babble.




You Scream, I Do Something Else Entirely — For Ice Cream

It’s a blisteringly hot summer day in Albuquerque and mom has hauled her three monkey children to the swimming pool at the Coronado Club (inside of Kirtland Air Force Base) to cool off and work off some energy.

I’ve swam and swam until all my digits are little prunes and then I swim a little bit more for good measure. Exhausted, I finally drag myself out of the pool to lay on the scalding hot concrete and let the sun dry chlorinated water from my arms and legs.

Mom is out in the grassy area surrounding the pool reading a book or chatting with friends. She always finds a lot of folks she knows at the Coronado Club. She’s been coming here since she was just eighteen.

I find my mom and plop into a lawn chair with my beach towel. Starving, I gulp down a sandwich or some cold fried chicken or whatever fun stuff mom has packed into the ice chest.

As the late afternoon sun begins to cast slanted shadows on the ground, if I’m lucky and have been a good kid, I’ll ask my mom for some money and she’ll agree. Cash in hand, I’ll dash to the food stand and procure a soft serve vanilla or chocolate ice cream in a cone.

I’ll bear the thing proudly, like Lady Liberty and her torch, then I’ll savor every last drippy bite.

Ah, summer and ice cream were made for each other.

However, lately, something dark and insidious rumbles inside of me, irrevocably breaking the summer fun and ice cream connection.

Seems I’ve developed a little ol’ thing called lactose intolerance.




It ain’t right. It’s some cosmic comedy, it has to be. Dairy and I are friends from way back. Ok, I can’t stand fluid milk, but sour cream, all manner of cheese, ice cream and half and half in my coffee are what make walking in this mean old world seem tolerable.

The Good Man marvels still at the vast array of dairy products I have in my fridge. I have a whole drawer devoted to cheese! Well, I used to…

Me? Lactose intolerant? It just isn’t even funny. Not one little bit.

I took my concerns to my doctor who nodded thoughtfully and said, “Well, you know, that happens pretty frequently to people over the age of forty. It’s common as we age.”

Great. That makes me feel ever so much better.

I use Lactaid and it helps some. It is, at best, an imperfect solution.

The only real cure is to stop eating dairy entirely.

Well that ain’t gonna happen.

That said, I have cut waaaaay back. And because the universe has a really excellent sense of humor, I also get rumbly tummy from soy milk, the most common substitute.

So far hemp milk and almond milk are my frontrunners for adding to coffee and having an ice cream-like treat.

They are fine, but just…not the same.

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for almond milk iced dessert” just doesn’t have the same ring.

Because we don’t all scream for that.

*sigh*




Image is, of course, The Scream by Edvard Munch, and is used under Fair Use as the image is considered Public Domain in the United States.

This week’s Theme Thursday is: ice cream



Facing A Fear…Or, Scratch That One Off The List

Most everyone has heard tell of this fruit they have in Southeast Asia that is really stinky. Most people will give you some sort of description of what they think it smells like including rotting flesh, pee and other unpleasant adjectives.

And of course all of these people who think they know a little something, when pressed, will admit they haven’t ever actually tried the thing.

So on a sultry Tuesday night in Singapore while drinking too much in a brew pub in the Boat Quay district, I was chatting with a coworker and native Singaporean.

He was asking me what were the things I wanted to see and try while I was in town.

I ran down a short list. Then he said to me, “so…do you like fruit?”

I grinned. “Yeah…are you talking about….?”

And he nodded.

Plans were made to get this American girl a taste of the stinky one, the King of Fruits, the Durian.

Thursday was the scheduled rendezvous and a group of us loaded up and headed for the Geylang District of Singapore, also sometimes called the Red Light District.

Despite being heavy on the laws and penalties, Singapore does actually allow prostitution. It’s just one of the many dichotomies of that fabulous city that intrigue me.

But I digress.

After a real hard work week, some coworkers and The Good Man and I found ourselves wandering what I could only describe as the old town of Singapore. The ungentrified part of a very gentrified city. I said to The Good Man “I’ve been looking for the soul of Singapore and I think I just found it.”

For among the clean streets and new glass and metal high rise buildings and a western sensibility in an Asian community, the Geylang showed me something different. A little more dirty. A little more dangerous. A lot more fascinating.

Dinner was an outside affair in a honest to goodness alleyway. The waitress told the ladies to watch their purses and anticipation for the meal ran high.

In addition to Durian, my Singaporean friend wanted me to try bullfrog porridge. I said ok.

We started with some Carlsberg beer to up the courage and soon the plates began flowing out of the open air kitchen.

We started with an oyster omelette (which The Good Man pointed out was like a Hangtown Fry without the bacon) and some beautiful sliced venison cooked in soy sauce and green onions.



I had to take a photo just so I could remember



While the chopsticks got to working and we discussed just where in the densely populated Singapore would actual wild deer be found, the main event landed on our table.

In two pots, one containing rice congee and the other chopped up chunks of bullfrog. I took some of the spicy variety and dug in.

Very tasty. Tender and quite mild like a very fresh scallop. No, it didn’t taste like chicken and by the way this is not the first time I’ve eaten frog. The congee gave a nice backer to the spicy frog meat.

As we ate, even more food came out including grilled calamari, stingray (the second time I had this), prawns and a heaping plate of clams.

It was a feast and the company was great, the surroundings gritty (but good) and the weather was about as steamy as you can imagine.

In short, one of the most perfect meals ever in my little life and a memory that will linger with me for years.

After we stuffed ourselves silly then cleaned up with the aid of several tissue packs, it was time to take a walk.

Dessert lay ahead and we were ready.

Across a very busy road and in an open air stand backed only with hanging tarps, we found our destination.

The prickly Durian fruit, piled high, odor filling the air.



I don’t know what the spray painted colors mean



My Singaporean friend went over to the vendor, a guy with a short, sturdy knife in hand, and began speaking in local dialect. He told us later he assured the guy that he wouldn’t pay for the fruit if it was bad, he needed to see inside, they haggled over price, and so on.

A fruit was chosen, the guy hacked it with precision and it was presented to the rest of us who were seated at another plastic table in a Geylang alleyway.




Each of those long strips has three sections to it



First impressions: It doesn’t smell that bad. It probably helped that we were outside and I understand some varieties of Durian smell more than others.

For me, it wasn’t the smell I struggled with, it was the texture. The fruit itself is like a custard inside a thin skin. You grab a section of the fruit (it pulls apart easily as there is a large pit inside each section) and just bite in. First bite my mouth registered “this is not a fruit” because it tasted kind of, well, savory.

But as I chewed and swallowed, on the back of my tongue, I tasted sweetness. The second bite I tried tasted sweet. Not big time sweet, just a nice mellow custardy sweet.

The more I ate, the more I liked it. I found after two sections, I was done. It was strangely satisfying and quite good.

Someone at our table popped up and went over to the vendors and negotiated for a plastic bag full of another fruit, this time the Queen of Fruits, Mangosteen. Less stinky and easier to open, the fruit inside looked like garlic cloves but tasted tangy and sweet. It was an interesting counter balance to the Durian. I understand they are often served together.

After a few sections of Mangosteen and another bit of Durian I was done. Topped up. Full to the gills and supremely satisfied.

What an amazing meal. What an amazing night.

By experiencing truly local food with the guidance of a resident “fixer”, I found the soul of Singapore.

It sang to the soul of me.

We are forever friends.




All photos Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the right hand column of this page. Taken with an iPhone4s and the Camera+ app.



Family Traditions

With the insanity of a more-than-full-time job, and the crush of the holidays, I’m a little sad that I wasn’t able to make a batch of my Blue Ribbon biscochitos this year. (Long time reader Ephraim has agreed to eat extra of his wife’s batch of biscochitos in order to bring balance back to the universe)

I also didn’t get a chance to make sugar cookies.

I didn’t manage to get to that chocolate covered peanut butter ball recipe I wanted to try.

And toffee. This year I was going to make toffee.

I didn’t get any of that done.

Thankfully, one family tradition did manage to squeeze through my kitchen as we near the holiday.

When I was growing up, my mom used to make these fabulous cream cheese mints. I always considered them to be so elegant and classy. Posh, as the Brits would say.

I remember my mom wrapped up a beautiful box of mints and gave them to my kindergarten teacher (who I idolized). She sent my mom a gushing thank you note. For some reason that stuck with me.

Through the magic of the internet, I was able to find myself a set of candy molds that approximated my mom’s collection, and Thursday night I put all else aside and whipped up a batch.

Tasty treats. Family lore.

Happy Christmas Eve to us all!!




This tin was supposed to make its way to work to share. It didn’t make it to work. More for me!



So pretty!!




Photos Copyright 2011, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons on the right column of this page. Photos taken with an iPhone4s and the Hipstamatic app.


Happy Day of Gobbles!!

A Holiday rerun, but the sentiment is all the same:

__________

First published November 25, 2010:


To celebrate the holiday, I present to you a doodle from my marker board at work.

I was on a *really* long conference call. It was boring. I got distracted.




May you and yours have a fabulous, gluttonous day!


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