Monday, April 20, 2009

Caked by Chai

Photo by The Food Librarian.

The Food Librarian's recent foray into baking Sky-High Cakes using Chai Black Tea inspired me to do the same. Her three-inch stack rendition, above. As much as I'm a tea connoisseur, I'd never really thought about incorporating tea into cakes. (Can someone tell me why tea cakes don't actually...contain...tea?)

Oh how I love Chai Tea. I like mine spicy (as I enjoy most things). While I don't mind a cup of Yogi Chai Black or Peet's Masala Chai, nothing beats home-style Punjabi Chai. I had it once in Arlington, Mass. and it was the epitome of Chai-ness. Stash Chai Spice is great for making at home.

I declare Chai Cake as my next experiment!

Masticating Ramen

Photo by toyohara.

Peeped this over at Treehugger and was delighted to find that my dear friend ramen was featured in the slide show, entitled "9 Iconic Foods from 5,000 Miles Away or More." Something about spicy seafood and beef noodles warms me up right away, especially on a blustery, rainy, biting cold day like today. So you may not be overjoyed with the MSG content, but no one said you had to eat it every day. Dieters will rave in shock at this admission, but when I'm craving a late-night snack, Shin Ramyun hits the spot. it.

My other friends, Ceylon tea, and Thai Jasmine Rice, were also featured.

Yesterday while masticating a Mandarin Oriental Chicken Salad at Wendy's, I was reminded why I only eat salads as a side dish and not as the main course. Way to skimp on carbs, Wendy's. What? Not even a slice of bread to go with that? While your leaves certainly are fresh and crunchy, I can't imagine eating this as a reoccurring entree. It's deprivation, I tell you.

Such are the thoughts from a non-herbivore.

Durian - Friend or Fowl?

Photo by Pleasure Palate.

In the Asian world, much ado has been made about durian. Some gripe that one whiff of its smelly, "pungent" odor causes immediate lack of appetite. Others rave that its complex, creamy sweet flavor and smooth texture hit the spot. Whom to trust?

I think it's all a matter of upbringing. Most Westerners can't stomach the strong scent of durian because they have not acquired a taste for it. Durian is one of the familiar fresh fruits offered in Indonesia and Cambodia. Cambodians, in general, like their food to be a medley of sweet, bitter, sour and salty. They adopted Thailand's fermented fish paste (pra hoc), India's curry, France's long bread (baguette) and China's stir-frying.

Tropical fruit is indigenous to Cambodia, and durian is no exception. Along with mango, lychee and a host of other aromatic fruits you've probably drank in the form of bubble tea. But I bet you haven't tried a durian bubble tea. Wait - does that even exist?

Unfortunately, New York isn't exactly known as a hotbed for Cambodian restaurants. Brooklyn-based Cambodian Cuisine closed its doors in early 2008. And Kampuchea Restaurant has received lackluster reviews, deriving from its bland, non-traditionally authentic Cambodian fare. Ah, well. I guess that means another Los Angeles trip is in the works. Pleasure Palate has successfully whet my appetite for (yes) durian.

Happy chomping!

Rip Van Twinkle

Image by Yuriko Yoshida.

This dog is my hero.

And don't you think he has a strong resemblance to Rip Van Winkle? I wonder if dogs really do look like their owners. I wouldn't be surprised...