Eating Across Portugal (2022)

After over two years of trying to get to Portugal (with the trip planned four times…and cancelled), we finally made it there! Instead of cycling and birding, the original plan, we decided to be “regular tourists” – as much as we ever are – and get to some places missed on a prior trip. This meant going south to the Algarve, staying in Sagres (near Cabo de São Vicente, the farthest southwest point of Europe); the capital of Lisbon, including day trips to Évora in the Alentejo to the east, the beach towns of Cascais and Estoril to the west, and Sintra to the northwest; the university town of Coimbra; and Porto in the north.

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MasterClass: Roy Choi Teaches Intuitive Cooking

Once again I was derailed from taking a MasterClass by Madhur Jaffrey when a class by Roy Choi became available. I first heard about Roy Choi when he appeared on an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” in Koreatown, Los Angeles. (Great episode for food, history, culture … highly recommend.) Choi’s Kogi food trucks figured in the episode, and the next time I was in LA, hubby and I with my mom in tow zeroed in on one of the trucks in Santa Monica for some Korean short rib bbq tacos. (Photo credit above: Click here to read my review of RC’s course.

Meyer Lemon Marmalade

I make this marmalade once a year or so, depending on whether a friend returns from a Christmas visit with family in southern California with bags of lemons to give away. This is a recipe I had scribbled in a notebook that I’ve used forever, with a few tweaks. Sometimes I leave it just as lemon, other times I add some thin-skinned oranges; depends on how much fruit I have handy.

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Neapolitan New Year’s Eve

As 2021 drew to a close, I was happy to participate in a zoom class with Alfredo Cafasso Vitale (Instagram: @cookingwithalcavi, Email:, from Naples, preparing a Neapolitan New Year’s Eve menu. I have done a couple of classes with Alfredo after seeing him listed in Rick Steves’ Guides Marketplace. For this New Year’s Eve, we made a lovely Insalata di Rinforzo, a colorful salad with cauliflower, anchovies (stay with me…), olives, raisins, pine nuts, peppers, and pickled vegetables; and Pizza di Scarole, a stuffed pizza with escarole, capers, olives, pine nuts, and raisins.

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MasterClass: Joanne Chang’s Bake Like a Pro

I was set to begin a new MasterClass by Madhur Jaffrey (Indian Cooking), even had stocked up on some of the spices I was lacking, and then was promptly derailed by this special “Sessions” class popping up when I logged in. If you’re not familiar with Joanne Chang, as I wasn’t, she is an American chef and owner of Flour Bakery in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts; she is also the James Beard Foundation Award winner for Outstanding Baker, 2016. She has a passion for desserts and her enthusiasm shines through in every lesson. Click here to read my review of JC’s course.

MasterClass: Yotam Ottolenghi Teaches Modern Middle Eastern Cooking

Yotam Ottolenghi’s class was the third one I signed up for on, after Gordon Ramsay (1 of 2) and Massimo Bottura. It’s fair to say that I knew zip about Middle Eastern cooking, aside from a few things that are now ubiquitous – hummus, baba ghanoush, etc. I didn’t even know much about Ottolenghi himself, aside from seeing his name here and there in the NYTimes cooking section. So this class was truly a revelation! Click here to read my review of YO’s course. [Photo credit above:]

Eating Across Spain, 2021 Edition

We (finally) made our long-awaited return to Spain in September, after a couple of years of being thwarted by the pandemic on a combined Portugal/Spain itinerary. The trip focused solely on Andalucía, for cycling and birding. But of course we very much enjoyed the Andalucían cuisine, especially some of the more Moorish-inspired dishes that we didn’t see in Extremadura or northern Spain on prior trips.

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MasterClass: Massimo Bottura Teaches Modern Italian Cooking

Massimo Bottura’s class was the second one I signed up for on, after Gordon Ramsay’s (1 of 2). I love Italian cuisine, for one thing, and certainly recognized Bottura from a segment on 60 Minutes, and also from his appearance in Stanley Tucci’s “Searching for Italy” program, the episode on Emilia-Romagna. Click here to read my review of MB’s course. [Photo credit above:]

MasterClass: Gordon Ramsay Teaches Cooking I

Not long ago I bought myself an annual subscription on … and promptly dove into Gordon Ramsay’s first class. What fun! I’ve since finished (well, almost) that class and have moved onto Massimo Bottura’s modern Italian cooking. Click here to read my review of GR’s course, and I’ll post my experiences with Massimo’s when I complete the course! [Photo credit above:]

Cashew (Nondairy) Yogurt

I’m a big fan of yogurt, in recent years tending towards greek yogurt and Icelandic skyr. So imagine my dismay when I was told some issues I was having were a result of lactose intolerance. Grrr! There are plenty of alternative “milks” available these days (so lattes are still on the breakfast menu), but I wasn’t finding the yogurt options too appealing. Luckily making it from scratch is pretty simple. If you don’t want to soak/blend the cashews you can just buy cashew milk (or some other nondairy milk), but it’s more cost effective this way. Updated 5/24/2021 to add microwave instructions.

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