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26 March 2012

TIME TO MOVE ON

Dear readers,

You've been with me through Chinese food and random posts that have no substance at all. This blog is the infant of all of my blog experiments. It is, however, time to bow out.

BUT!!!! Have no fear!! I am STILL actively blogging and I want you ALL to come on over and join in the fun.

The food posts aren't going away; they're just moving over to one spot where I can happily write about all the things in the great, wide world that interest me (and trust me, that is a lot!).

Please take the time out of your busy schedule to wander over to Widdershins and Skeleton Keys. It has now become my one and only blog home and I want you all to be a part of it. Why? Because I cherish each and every relationship I've made through this crazy, blogging journey of mine. The time has come, however, to reign in some experiments and consolidate my thoughts and passions into one, easy to navigate site.

So what are you waiting for? Oh...right. For me to shut up :D Come on over! You'll be so glad you did :D I know I will.

All the best!
Jen now exclusively @ Widdershins and Skeleton Keys

28 February 2012

Biscuits in the Mornings

There's something about the smell of biscuits in the morning. Maybe it's because I'm from the South, but whenever I smell biscuits baking, my salivary glands kick into overdrive. Memories of mornings with my dad come flooding in. Funny how a simple little can of already-prepped-biscuits can do that.

Some mornings, my husband will wake up before me and make real biscuits. As if the canned version isn't really there. But seriously, there's a huge difference between *POP* "Oh look! Random objects that resemble bread dough!" and the measuring of flour, scooping of butter and shortening (yes, I said shortening), pouring of milk and sprinkling of salt. The cold milk rubs against your finger tips, waking you up, reminding you that you're about to partake in an ancient, Southern, morning tradition.

Mmmmm...biscuits! They go in the oven all round and gooey and emerge toasted on top, fluffy in the middle and, by the time I'm through with them, oozing from all sides with yellow butter.

Finger licking good, and I didn't even mention the gravy...

21 February 2012

A Thank You and An Announcement

WOW! So many of you responded to my post on my other blog about restarting this little food blog. And I see your lovely faces in my followers' box! I'm honored, truly, to be among such excellent and admirable bloggers. Thank you!

I've been blogging now for almost three years. I've started and stopped and restarted various blogs over that time. I'm constantly reminded what a kind and forgiving world this blogsphere is. Again, I am thankful and excited to bring Culinary Vagabonding back to life, bigger, bolder and better than ever!

As for the announcement part, I've decided to officially launch Culinary Vagabonding in April in conjunction with the A-Z Blogging Challenge. YES, I'm already signed up under my writing blog. I'm going to dive in head first and sign up with THIS blog as well! It will give me topic help and get me out there, fully committed to blogging regularly (on both blogs and that's something I desperately need!).

I'm excited to see where this project will go and I'm happy to have you all along for the ride! All the best!

See you soon!
Jen

16 February 2012

Behold! A New POST!

Well hello there! Long time no see. It's good to be back, even if momentarily. Yes, I said momentarily but hear me out before you press that "unfollow" button.

I've been doing a lot of researching, soul-searching, and focus-figuring. The blog is coming together after a long road of "what the heck am I doing here?" questionings. I'm taking my time getting the kinks sorted out so that when I am back -for good- you won't have to bother with all my "what ifs" and random topic shifting. (Unless of course you like that sort of thing, then wander over to my writing blog. There's plenty of random topic shifting over there!)

A little catching up:
-I'm still in school! In two weeks I'll never, ever have to look at another math book again! Huzzah!
-I'm still cooking, more so now that I received Brunhilde (my KitchenAid mixer) for Christmas.
-I'm still drinking too much coffee, writing stories and spending way too much time wandering instead of working. Wandering around the loft, around town, around ... around.

That's about it for now, guys! I hope you're all doing well, you'll all forgive my lack of posts, and come visit my writing blog! Seriously. It's not just for writers. It's for mad hatters from all walks of life!

Stay tuned for the new, improved Culinary Vagabonding. There's surprises in store! Recipes to be cooked! Food markets to explore! Exclamation points to be abused!

Jen xo

20 October 2011

Where AM I?

I'm blogging here and only here for now:

Widdershins and Skeleton Keys

Makes things easier. Do stop by!! I've missed you :)

~J

01 February 2011

Honestly, I'm Pooped!

You know it's getting bad when the only thing you can think of to write about on a culinary blog is camel wrestling.

Yeah.

February is barely here and I'm already in need of a break. School is taking a lot more time than I anticipated and it's not the only iron I have in that proverbial fire. I don't have the time to cook like I want to and that leaves you, dear readers, with a great big pile of flop.

*insert apology and groveling here*

I will still be at my other blog, Widdershins and Skeleton Keys and I would love for you all to join me over there. I will still be visiting you all as time permits, but for now, the vagabonding must be put on hold. I'll be back. I still have a lot more countries to traverse before we end up at our final destination of Ireland.

For now, however, I must bid vicarious culinary traveling adieu.

(Please join me at my other blog. I don't want to lose touch with ANY of you!!)

27 January 2011

Camel Wrestling!


photo credit

Yes, you read that right! Camel wrestling! What? You've never heard of the exciting idea of parading a female camel in front of a small herd of male camels and then letting them go at each other's throats (quite literally) under the delusion that the winner takes the bride?

Yeah, me either. But since we're still in Turkey (although on another one of those life induced, unplanned stops), when I saw the article on About.com, I just had to post it here.

If that's not strange enough for you, did you know there are camel beauty pageants?
Now you do.

Please note: I don't support camel wrestling. I don't support any type of animal fighting for fun and profit. Heck, I hate WWF and those are humans who are (somewhat) capable of making the decision to get the snot beat out of them with metal chairs and plywood!

I just found it interesting in a cultural anthropologist kind of way. Besides, if I ever need a unique career for a character in my next story, 'camel wrestler' sounds as unique as any!

Now you can tell all your friends you learned something new today.
You're welcome.

25 January 2011

Where's that new post...

Afternoon all! If you're curious as to where this Tuesday's blog post went, take a walk over to my other blog. I've given a good excuse there.

19 January 2011

New Addiction

It's not hard for me to develop a severe crush on a cuisine once I dive into it. It doesn't matter if I've never tasted it, only researched it or wandered through the pages of a cookbook. If the descriptions tantalize my taste buds, I'm sold.

Dear Turkish Cuisine: I love you. For reals.

Since my last post, I've been thinking endlessly about Turkish Delight. Sad, but true. No, I have not made any yet. I have drank (drunk...drinked?) copious amounts of coffee. That's got to count for something. Research. Yeah, that it.

I did some Googling this morning and found a couple of restaurant menus which enticed me. I started hunting down these foreign phrases and discovered that Turkey is a treasure of culinary delights! It appears the Ottoman Empire did something right when it assimilated local and regional cuisines into their own, creating what modern people know as Turkish cuisine. It hints as Central Asian, Middle Eastern and Balkan. The Mediterranean even dips it's toes in to contribute its trademark veggies, herbs and fish.

And honestly? It doesn't look that complicated to recreate. Well, except for the whole Baklava thing. All that phyllo.

Here's one for you. In fact, I might deviate from my flight pattern this evening and pick up a few cukes. This sounds fabulous! Even on a cold winter's night.

Cacik (Cucumber-Yogurt Salad)

Peel and rinse 3 medium sized cucumbers then coarsely grate them. Finely chop 3 sprigs of dill (or more if you love it like me!). Whisk together 3 cups of yogurt, 2 tsp. of salt, 1 cup of water, and 3 cloves of garlic. Add the grated cucumber. Pour the mixture into one large bowl and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a bit more dill. Or, you can divide it individually and garnish each bowl accordingly.

I'm thinking some grilled pita might be in order for dipping. Or some croutons. Or a really big spoon. Mmmmmm....

Sorry for the delay in the posting! Got a bit tangled in all these work-school-home-life wires. Fear not! I'll wriggle out eventually. Oh, and did I mention I'm diving into rewrites? Head first? No life preserver? Yippee!!

13 January 2011

Delightful!

First up, a couple of announcements:

1) School has knocked me for a loop. I thought it was going to be a cake walk, but this cramming a semester class into 8 weeks is whipping my back-side like nobody's business. That being said, I'm moving my posting here to 2 days instead of 3. You'll find me here Tuesdays and Thursdays until I can achieve balance, reach nirvana, or quit my job...

2) I have been a terrible blog reader! Please accept my humble, groveling apologies. See above for why it's taking me so long to respond to comments and visit your lovely places and faces.

3) Speaking of comments, I has a question: do you guys like having responses to your comments email to you (for those of you who have them set up that way) or would you rather me respond here, in a nice neat and unobtrusive format? Just curious; I want to make sure I respond to everyone and I'm trying to keep it sane for everyone involved ;)

OK!

Turkish Delight. I've posted on it before, eons ago, in another dimension. When I was a kid I was entranced by the name. Turkish hinted at the exotic; Delight meant it was, well, delightful.

CS Lewis (moment of silence...and go) immortalized it in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I was captivated. Edmund was forgiven for his betrayal because, quite frankly, I would have done the same thing for something as tantalizing as Turkish Delight. (Not to mention he's WAAAAYYYY cooler than Peter and I always wanted to play the White Witch, but I digress...)




And then.

AND THEN!!

I found out what it was:




Cornstarch and sugar.

Yep. That's it. But wait! Don't get as disappointed as I was when I first saw it. My first thought was, "Really? It's jello covered in powdered sugar." Upon further research, I found that's not true at all. That's just what it looks like. Several recipes present it as technically challenging. The one I'm posting here confirms that: it's a candy and if you've ever tried to make candy, you'll know how challenging that can be.

Oh, and trust me when I say this, GET A CANDY THERMOMETER BEFORE YOU TRY TO MAKE CANDY OF ANY KIND!!! There's some people *cough* that I know *cough* who tried to make caramel without a thermometer. It didn't work out. *clears throat forcefully* That is all.

So, here's the recipe and a disclaimer: the guy who posted this thought it fun to have a French maid demonstrate the making of the Turkish Delight. I know that sort of thing may offend some (or just make it rather awkward if you open the link at work). That being said, it's more ridiculous than risque. The recipe is the most comprehensive I could find. You have been warned.

I have never made Turkish Delight but it's on my list of things to try.

Right after my "friends" purchase a candy thermometer I can borrow...

**If you haven't wandered over to my writing blog yet, you really should.
There's cake.