Category Archives: July 2010

Travel Destinations…

Tasty Fusspots Grocer - London (Kensington), United Kingdom

Hi!  We’re glad you’ve stopped by the Susitna Cafe’ today!  We’re sooo excited to tell you about something new we’ve added to the Susitna Cafe’ Chronicles!

We now have a reference page called “Destinations”.  We’ve organized all of our posts by country, and if the post is written about a location within the U. S., we’ve organized the post by state.  Sooo, this means that if you enjoy food AND TRAVEL, you can now select a “Destinations” location, then select a topic of interest for that location and learn about it.

If you’re thinking about planning a trip, you can get ideas for your trip from the “Destinations” page!  Or, if you’re an armchair traveler, you can read and actively take part in a “Destinations” page trip right in the comfort of your own home!

Waiting for Patachous to Open - Paris (Montmarte), France

We’re excited to share this information with you because we enjoy both food AND TRAVEL, and we often find that the best travel information comes right from our Susitna Cafe’ friends.  In fact, why not leave some comments about your travel experiences on the “Destinations” page and share your knowledge with others at the Cafe’?  Cheers!

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Explore Copenhagen!

Goddag Susitna Cafe’ friends!  Guess what?  I was contacted by our friend George over at  One Travel (offering Cheap Tickets), and he asked me to be a guest blogger!  Ahhh shucks, wasn’t that nice of him?

I had sooo much fun guest blogging about Copenhagen, Denmark.  I’m excited to share our trip details with you.  Hey, how about if you visit my article “Explore Copenhagen” at the One Travel Blog ?  When you’re done, come back and visit us at the Cafe’ so that we can get started baking some dee-li-ciousss Danish bread!

Oh, and by the way, we had a wonderful trip!  Copenhagen is sooo scenic, and there’s so much to do when you stay in a central location like The Stroget.

There is so much tasty food in Copenhagen too!  One of our many foodie finds in Copenhagen is Danish bread mix.  We found this bread mix in all the “Dollar Stores” on The Stroget.  Can you believe it?

It’s sooo wonderfully tasty…real grainy and wholesome!  I found a similar Danish bread mix at Ikea, the Finax brand.  Hooray!  So, if you have an Ikea store nearby, you can bake this bread too.  If not, let me know and I’ll help you find some online.

Now let’s bake some Danish bread Susitna Cafe’ friends!  There are so many variations that can be made with this great bread mix.  Of course, the mix is just fine as is, however today let’s bake Danish fruit bread.  This recipe makes a hefty 2 loaves and is really wonderful served at breakfast toasted with butter, jam or peanut butter!

Susitna Cafe’ Danish Fruitbread

Ingredients

1 package Finax Lingonberry Bread bread mix

2 cups mixed dried fruit (golden raisins and dried cherries or cranberries are good)

extra unbleached organic white flour (about 1/4 cup) for dusting

Let’s Make Bread

Set aside approximately 2 ounces of the bread mix for dusting.  Pour the remaining bread mix into a large bowl.  Add the two (2) yeast packets and stir to combine.  Add the dried fruit to the mix in the bowl.

Add 20 ounces of water at 105 degrees Fahrenheit into the bowl.  Stir to combine.  Dust your breadboard or countertop with the 2 ounces of bread mix that you had set aside previously.  Work the dough for 10 minutes.  Add a little of the unbleached organic white flour if your dough is sticky.

Leave the dough to rise on your breadboard or countertop under a soft kitchen towel or pastry cloth for approximately 30 minutes.

Knead the dough and shape it into two (2) loaves.  Place the loaves on a baking tray and allow to rise for approximately 30 minutes under a soft kitchen towel or pastry cloth.

Brush the loaves lightly with water.  Next, cut slits on top of the loaves with a knife.  Now bake the loaves on the bottom rack of your oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 to 40 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped.

Allow bread to cool some before slicing.  Smile and pat yourself on the back for your masterful Danish breadmaking skills 😮

Cook’s Note:  Try some variations such as adding some chopped pecans or walnuts to the bread mix alone or in combination with dried fruit…sooo dee-li-ciousss!  Note that this bread, without dried fruit and/or nuts, is also tasty as crostini…very yummy with Susitna Cafe’ Smoked Salmon Logs.

Traveler’s Note:  Traveling to Copenhagen?  Be sure to visit One Travel for travel deals and read “Explore-Copenhagen” for fun ideas on places to stay and visit.

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Eclectic Houston – “Little India”

Houston, TX USA…this city never ceases to amaze me…it’s sooo international…it’s sooo eclectic…it’s sooo tasty!

The Mahatma Ghandi District

Hi!  Welcome to the Susitna Cafe’!  We’re sooo glad you’ve stopped by for a visit.  Today we’re talking about one of Houston’s many ethnic enclaves, the “Mahatma Ghandi District”.  The ” Ghandi District” or “Little India” comprises the area around Hillcroft Avenue, Harwin Drive, Fondren Road and Westpark Drive.

Map of Mahatma Ghandi District, Houston, TX

Little India is identified streetside in Houston by temple-shaped street signs.

Photo Courtesty of Wikipedia.Org

There are more than 76,000 people of Indian descent who live in the Houston area.  Therefore, residents and visitors alike have the opportunity to enjoy the diversity offered amongst the Houston Indian community.  One of these opportunities is the ethnic enclave of Little India.

So, the Susitna Cafe’ hit the road and embraced what Little India has to offer, and we did so on a very hot India-like day in July.  In fact, our car thermometer read 109 degrees Fahrenheit!  Lucky for us, we did so amongst friends!

We ventured forth with approximately 30 adventurous members of the Houston Chowhounds group on “A Big Tour of Little India” led by Shubhra Ramineni, cookbook author of “Entice with Spice”.

Our first stop was Shri Balaji Bhavan, a family run restaurant specializing in southern Indian vegetarian food.  As soon as we entered the restaurant, I knew it had to be good!

The exotic aromas in the restaurant filled the air with all kinds of wonderful tasty possibilities…and a peek into the kitchen window revealed some very busy ladies cooking…

and smiling…

Of course, happy cooks means happy food and happy food means tasty lunch!  Ohhhh, the decision on what to order was very difficult…dosas?  samosas?  curry?  Oh my!

Thank goodness that Grace, our friend and official taste tester at the Susitna Cafe’ Chronicles, was along and ready to order–afterall Grace “was hungry!”  So, order we did!

Soon enough, along came an assortment of dosas, green coconut chutney and pigeon pea soup…

The dosas were sooo beautiful…i just had to take a peek inside…

The food all smelled sooo delicious.  So, we all had to Chow!

All the tasty bits were Chow Hounded in an instant…

Shri Balaji Bhavan on Urbanspoon

After laughing, talking, and eating….together, Shubhra led us to our next stop, Laxmi Sarees…

This was a place where we could all try on some beautiful Indian clothing…

So we did and, as you know, sometimes the clothing fits…

While at other times, it doesn’t…

Well, since the shoes didn’t fit, we didn’t wear them (ha-ha!), so Shubhra led us to our next stop, India Grocers…

Oooh,  i really like grocery stores!  Shubhra gave us a tour of the store and we learned all about Indian food and various tasty ingredients.  We even stocked-up on some yummy spices…

and veggies…

Once loaded with all of our goodies, Shubhra led us to our final stop, Bombay Sweets…

another delicious stop where we enjoyed an assortment of Indian pastries…

and some relaxation…

Bombay Sweets & Pure Vegetarian on Urbanspoon

We all had such a nice time!  We hope you’ll discover and enjoy a little of India too!  Or, at least join us at the Cafe’ for some tasty bits…

Okra with Onions

(adapted from Shubhra’s recipe in the India Herald article “Entice with Spice”)

Ingredients

1 pound fresh okra, cut into 1/4″ pieces and prepared

2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil*

lemon juice from 1/2 lemon

1 small onion, sliced thick*

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

cilantro, chopped for garnish

* Our preference at the Susitna Cafe’ is to use olive oil (vs. vegetable oil) and red onion in this recipe.  In addition, we’ve added some chopped cilantro for garnish and flavour.  However, it’s important to use the ingredients that you enjoy eating yourself!  Don’t forget to experiment some too!

Heat the oil in a non-stick saute’ pan til warm.  Add the okra and lemon juice and saute’ and stir for approximately 5 minutes.  Add the onion and spices to your pan and saute’ until the onions are transparent and the okra is tender (approximately 15 minutes).  Enjoy!

Cooks Notes:  Shubhra has some excellent tips on how to prepare Okra.  Check them out at:  \”Entice with Spice\”.  In addition, note that we added a little extra lemon juice to the okra and onions at the Cafe’–delicious!

Traveler’s Note:  Don’t forget to tour Little India when you’re in Houston.  Be sure to contact us at the Cafe’ if you find something tasty to share.  You may leave a comment on this post or email us at SusitnaCafe@gmail.com.

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Farmer’s Market – Homer, Alaska

Sure do love farmer’s markets, don’t you?  Well, when Susitna Cafe’ is on the road, we seem to find a farmer’s market  just about everywhere we travel.  Today we’re visiting one in Homer, Alaska USA.

Say hello everyone to Twitter Creek Gardens!  Tweet-tweet!

Look at all the beautiful and natural colors here today…sigh

Oh my, look at the produce!  Aren’t the colors and textures wonderful?  Big sigh

There is sooo much of nature’s wonderful bounty at farmer’s markets…it all just inspires me to make a simple and tasty salad with lots of color, texture and fresh farmer’s market taste.  Won’t you join me?

Susitna Cafe’ Golden Beet  and Tomato Salad

Serves 2 as a vegetarian meal or 4 as a side salad/vegetable dish

Salad Ingredients

1 cup organic baby spinach leaves

1 pound organic golden beets, peeled, boiled and sliced

2 or so assorted tomatoes, sliced (I use a variety of farmer’s market tomatoes including striped zebra tomatoes and chocolate cherry tomatoes)

2 ounces chevre cheese, sliced (I use chevre with  tomato and basil, although plain or herbed chevre is fine too)

1/2 cup whole pecans, toasted (I use Whichita Pecans which have a bold pecan flavour due to their extra oils)

Dressing

2 Tablespoons organic apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon organic lemon juice, fresh squeezed

lemon peel, grated (peel from approximately 1/4 to 1/2 an organic lemon)

2 1/2 Tablespoons organic olive oil

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (I use Grey Poupon Deli Mustard)

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Combine all of your dressing ingredients in a small mixing bowl.  Whisk together and chill while you assemble the salad ingredients.

Begin assembling the salad first by placing a layer of baby spinach leaves atop a large platter.  Next, add a layer of sliced golden beets on top of the spinach leaves.  Next, add approximately 1/2 of your chevre slices atop the beet slices.  Now add a colorful array of tomatoes.  Add the remaining 1/2 of your chevre slices atop the tomatoes and smile a big smile!  Sprinkle some salt and fresh ground pepper on the tomatoes.  Note that the addition of a little salt on the tomatoes will bring out their wonderful flavour.

Next, spoon about 1/2 of your dressing atop the salad reserving the rest for serving on the side.  Chill.  Just prior to serving, sprinkle the top of of the salad with some tasty toasted pecans.  So fresh, so colorful, so delicious!

Traveler’s Note:  See http://www.homerfarmersmarket.org/ for more information on this delightful farmer’s market held throughout the summer in the “Land of the Midnight Sun”.

Cook’s Notes:  Striped Zebra tomatoes are more acidic than most tomatoes, and they add a lemony flavour to your salad…whereas Chocolate Cherry tomatoes are a rich and flavorful addition.  Red beets may be substituted in this recipe, however note that they will impart a stronger beet flavour.  How about being a little creative?  Just substitute the chevre with blue cheese or fresh shaved aged parmigiano reggiano…yummm!

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Happy Birthday America!

Happy 4th of July Susitna Cafe’ friends!  We’re celebrating at our neighborhood annual parade and cookout, and we’re sooo glad you’ve joined us!

Oh look!  The sidewalks are all decorated with flags today…

The neighbors have pulled-out their lawn chairs…

And the parade has begun…

Isn’t this exciting?  It looks like there are some friendly firemen leading the parade!

Oh, and here come some bicyclists…

Wow!  Some folks are dressed-up for the occasion…they’re wearing good ‘ol red, white and blue…

Looks like some folks are enjoying their morning walk in the parade today…

While others are enjoying their wagons…

and wheels…

Look!  Family pets are in the parade too!

Ahhw…he’s sooo “Handsome”!

Now that the parade is over, let’s go to the neighborhood clubhouse.  Looks like the picnic has started!

Isn’t it nice here?  There’s face painting for the kids…

Swimming…

“Just Hanging”…

and, of course, hot dogs!

Well, let’s celebrate and grab a hot dog and some cole slaw…Happy Birthday America!!!

Susitna Cafe’ Cole Slaw with Feta

Ingredients*

4 cups cabbage, shredded

2 carrots, shredded

2 green onions (scallions), chopped

1/2 cup feta cheese (I use feta with mediterranean herbs, but plain feta is delicious too)

1/3 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 Tablespoons agave syrup

fresh ground pepper, to taste

*I recommended using organic ingredients whenever possible.

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Stir to incorporate the dressing and feta throughout the slaw.

Chill for several hours (overnight is even better).  This is a delicious alternative to cole slaw with mayonnaise!

Cook’s Note:   Note that the outer (greener) leaves on a cabbage head marinates faster and imparts a milder cabbage flavor to your slaw.  The shredded leaves from the hard interior section of the cabbage head takes longer to marinate and imparts a stronger flavor to your slaw.  You may wish to use a combination of both outer and inner leaves to vary the texture and flavor of this savory salad.  As for your hot dogs and/or sausages…remember to soak them in water for a couple of hours (or even overnight) prior to grilling.  Soaking will ensure that you’ll enjoy the plumpest and juiciest hot dogs at your summer grilling parties.  You know, sometimes it’s just the little things that you do that make a big tasty difference 😮

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