Ireland’s Burren and Beef Stew

The Burren, Ireland

The Burren, Ireland

Most people who visit Ireland go to see castles, explore pretty coastal villages and eat  hearty Irish meals, all of which was exactly what I had in mind on my first trip to Ireland.  But I made the colossal error of asking my husband to plan our trip.  So, we flew into Dublin and drove straight across the island to climb on rocks at The Burren.  I was not entirely sure about all this. Continue reading

Warming Up in the Twin Cities with Hot Stone Bowls (Dolsot) and Be Bim Bap

Korean Stone Bowls

Korean Stone Bowl (Dolsot)

Minneapolis-Saint Paul, MN (the Twin Cities), one of my favorite Midwestern cities, has always intrigued me for its ethnic diversity. I can understand why the Swedes and Norwegians settled there — lots of ice, snow and long winters.  You can see why they would enjoy the popular Minnesota winter sports:  cross-country skiing (which I love), ice-fishing (which I find bewildering), and curling (which I find fascinating and will be the subject of a later post). Continue reading

Minnesota and Dad’s Italian Sausage Lasagna

Lake Kabekona, Minnesota – My Favorite Minnesota Lake

I’m in Minnesota (MN), U.S., this week.  If you’ve never been here, it is a beautiful place — referred to as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”.  In fact, MN has many aquatic natural wonders. Continue reading

An Italian Villa and Tuscan-style Cavatappi with Spring Vegetables

Villa Entrance

Tuscany, as most everyone knows, is a magical and unspoiled place.  Although many areas can be crowded with tourists, with just a bit of effort, one can still find beautiful  slices of traditional Tuscan life.  When asked by friends to join them in a stay at one such unspoiled gem, we agreed without hesitation.   They had found a villa to rent at a family-run winery in the Chianti Classico region of the Black Rooster (Gallo Nero) between Sienna and Florence. The villa’s resident caretaker, Marianne, would provide home-cooked traditional Italian meals for us on selected evenings.  How could we possibly resist? Continue reading

The Quintessential English Farm Shop and Purple Sprouting Broccoli

Traveling throughout the United Kingdom, I struggle to understand how such a densely populated country can have so much green space and agricultural land.  The population density of the United Kingdom is a staggering 650 people per square mile — compared to 84 people per square mile in the United States.   One of the ways they achieve this “greenness” is by densely packing the cities, villages and hamlets (a village without a church) — leaving large expanses of green space for agricultural use.

Outskirts of Inkberrow Village

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Mongolian Beef and a Chinatown Cooking Competition

I retired as a scientist at age 50 to pursue my culinary passion and culinary school. This meant, of course, that my fellow culinary students were younger than my children — as were many of the faculty. Yet, it all came together. The older students looked to the culinary juniors for energy and encouragement. The younger set looked to the few “oldsters” for a bit of academic counsel and faculty-management strategy. Continue reading