Battle of the Birthday Cakes

It seems that everyone has a cake they prefer to get on their birthday, and in our family, it’s come down to two frontrunners, one a flashy store-bought treat, the other a homemade favorite. In one corner, we’ve got what we call the “choo-choo-train cake” from Baskin Robbins. Many of you might remember this cake from your childhood: chocolate cake and ice-cream (usually strawberry or vanilla flavor) rolled into a cylinder and decorated to look like a train. Large cookies form the wheels, an upside-down cone forms the smoke stack, and the rest of the details are created with large quantities of frosting. Continue reading

Lomo Saltado: A Taste of Peru

The commercials for state that today, one in five relationships begin online, and I believe it. These days, it seems like everyone knows somebody who’s found their significant other through a dating site, and as someone who never experienced online dating (and is thankful for it after some of the stories I’ve heard!), I’m amazed.  Across counties, cities, and countries, people are able to meet online and eventually meet in person and get to know each other.

This is how one our good friend Ken met his fiancé, who will soon be on her way from Peru to begin her life here in Fresno, California.  Though we haven’t met her yet, Jan and I are excited to welcome her here when she arrives.  So when we found ourselves passing by a Peruvian restaurant during a trip to Anaheim earlier this year, it was the perfect opportunity to both taste something new, and be able to report that we had, in fact, tasted Peruvian food. Continue reading

Whiskey Raisin Crunch

It all started with rum raisin ice cream. A few weeks ago, I learned that rum raisin is a popular ice cream flavor in Japan, and because I found this to be an interesting fact, I’ve been thinking about this ever since. Having never tried rum raisin ice cream before, nor seen it at the grocery store or ice cream counter, I was intrigued.  I decided it was a flavor from another era, because when I did ask some folks about it, they said, “Oh yeah! Rum raisin ice cream!” like they were recalling a fond memory from long ago.  If rum raisin was something familiar, and yet, something that hadn’t been around in a while, I was bringing it back. Continue reading

Colossal shrimp and quinoa

Seems like I’ve been hearing about quinoa everywhere lately, so realizing I’m probably far behind the times, I decided it was finally time to give it a try. A staple food in South America, quinoa (“keen-wah”) is a grain known for its high protein content. It can be used as a side dish, where rice or pasta might ordinarily be used, or cooked as a part of the main meal.

We found a box of organic quinoa at Trader Joe’s and cooked it according to package directions. Instructions stated that it could be cooked in rice or broth, and we used chicken broth, since we figured that would give the grain a greater depth of flavor. Continue reading