Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 3: Otavalo Craft Market

Yesterday, we adventured to La Mitad del Mundo (the middle of the world) and La Capilla del Hombre (the chapel of man- for and by Oswaldo Guayasamin) and I got some great pictures which I will eventually post when the internet is faster.

But today, we went to the world famous Otavalo market, you can get more information here. Its one of the biggest, if not the biggest, indigenous and artisan market in South America. And it was WONDERFUL. Everything is so much less expensive and everything looked great. A friend on the trip got an alpaca blanket for $18! Crazy! I just ended up with a hat, a bag, and some colorful souvenirs, but I won't spoil the surprise for my friends who follow me. And the food looked so delicious, but they advise that gringas (foreigners) not eat the fruit or vegetables unless they can be peeled or boiled because of differing bacteria. But I love how limes are central to cooking here (and drinks) because lime is one of my favorite flavors.

Here are some of my pictures of the market!

I hope you enjoy these pictures! 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Papas Fritas

For my first food adventure in Quito, our small group went with our program coordinator to get some late night (everything closes early) eats at a nearby "fast food" place. They had a bunch of delicious sounding dishes, but I wasn't that hungry so I only got a side of papas fritas (french fries) and lemonade for under $3! And it was a huge portion. The papas fritas were good, but they reminded me more of home fries than french fries. Overall, a good first dish!

Ecuador: Quito

I am officially safe in our hotel in Quito, but 3 other girls from my program are going out to get food, and I am going to tag along! The flight was good, the layover is another story :) but I managed to start and finish Julie and Julia

Lowcountry Goodbye

I am preparing to say goodbye to the Lowcountry for a little bit, so it was only fitting to make shrimp and grits with my dad, our signature dish to make together. I can't believe how much I missed local shrimp. They are so tasty and plump! Our recipe is pretty simple- onions and bell peppers sauteed in olive oil, then add the shrimp to the mixture.  Make grits (preferably stone-ground) and top them with the shrimp mixture. And enjoy! It hardly needs salt because of the flavorful olive oil and is filling. If you don't have a palate for grits, it tastes equally good over rice! Try it this weekend for me :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Sorry I have been slacking on the posting! I am getting ready for a big trip to Guayaquil, Ecuador! I am going for a month and studying Spanish for my minor :) I will be posting pictures and food adventures, but I wanted to let am just packing and trying to get everything done. I can't wait!

Do you have any good traveling advice for me?! Its the first time I will be leaving the country alone!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I Scream, You Scream

We all scream for ICE CREAM!

Its almost summer for everyone in public schools here and the ice cream man came by our neighborhood. Although not as tasty as homemade ice cream, its just so nostalgic that I couldn't resist buying an ice cream pop. Sour blue raspberry hit the spot perfectly! So, listen for the ice cream truck soon and treat yourself (its a steal at $1!)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

What I love about my house

There are many things that I love about my house (my parents' house) in Mt. Pleasant. The location- close to the beach and downtown Charleston, a place to cook and craft with my mom, and my mom's herb garden. Its so nice to walk outside and grab some fresh herbs to cook with for dinner.




These are just so pretty I couldn't exclude them- blueberries! I hope they ripen before I go to Ecuador next week! 

I just wanted to share a little bit of my home with you :) Have a wonderful weekend!

Charleston Sunrise

I made a point this week to wake up early and watch the sunrise on the Ravenel Bridge with Jonathan. I took so many pictures, so its hard to decide which pictures to upload! I like them all!

I thought this picture was funny :) 

I hope your sunrises are just as beautiful! 

Friday, May 21, 2010

More Restaurant Raves

A (late) Thursday tip... Go to a fancy restaurant for LUNCH! Jonathan and I went to Blossom for lunch. It was delicious, as always, but  Jonathan tried a turkey sandwich off of their "Dine for 9" menu. Everything was $9! And the entrees included either a salad or a cup of soup! What a steal! I tried the white pizza and it was only $10 and delicious. And I have leftovers for dinner. Overall, another great experience at Blossom. Plus, another perk was that you probably won't need to put in reservations too far in advance or even at all, and we ate and left within an hour. Perfect for a lunch hour. Try it in your hometown!

After a delicious lunch, we stopped by the Macaroon Boutique (long been on my list of to-do's!) Its on John Street in Charleston. Sooo delicious!

Thats a picture of their croissants. I got a bag of Parisian macarons, but I ate them too fast to take a picture! I got raspberry, pistachio and chocolate in my assortment bag. Divine! I highly recommend this bakery :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

More Baking

My mom and I cooked dinner tonight and I made some banana chocolate tea bread for the 52 Weeks of Baking swap (week 7). Both turned out delicious! I used Smitten Kitchen's Ratatouille recipe and a recipe from one of my mom's older cookbooks, Entertaining on the Isle with the Mare Island Officers Wives Club. Its a classic in our house and so delicious! I used up some over-ripe bananas and it was perfect.

Oh, and my Peruvian potatoes we made into mashed potatoes. So pretty and so delicious!

Banana Chocolate Tea Bread
  • Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1 cup mashed banana 
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 chopped nuts (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used dark!)

Cream together sugar and butter. Add eggs, the dry ingredients (previously combined) and the remaining ingredients. Bake in a large, greased loaf pan at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes; then remove and serve.

I bet it would taste fantastic with vanilla ice cream, but I devoured it on its own. Its a classic at my house and doesn't really need any tweaking! It only took about 15 minutes to prepare it, so its definitely easy. I totally recommend it!

Bakery Tour

Yesterday, my friend, Sarah, and I, met up downtown in Charleston to go on a mini-bakery tour. We wanted to go to the Macaroon Boutique, but it is closed on Monday, so we stopped by Saffron and Baked. Delicious!

Banana Torte

This torte was delicious because it wasn't too banana-y or too sweet. But the atmosphere at Saffron was lacking a little bit. They had tons to choose from, though. 


Sarah got the Sweet and Salty cake and I got the Sweet and Salty brownie. They were both AMAZING. I totally recommend getting either- the brownie was moist (not usually my favorite, but great) and the icing on the cake was light and perfect.

*I got inspired and stopped by the public library for the Baked cookbook. It has the recipe for the cake and I may just have to try to make it at home! And I picked up Magnolia's Cookbook at the same time. Its going to be fun trying the recipes after my trip to Ecuador

Monday, May 17, 2010

Magnolia's- Pictures

Appetizer: Pan Seared Sea Scallops

My Entree: Pan Seared Duck Breast with scalloped sweet potatoes and collard greens

So good! Everything was delicious and we had to take leftovers home!

After dinner, we went back to Jonathan's house and he surprised me again with dessert he picked up from Whole Foods. A mini fruit tart and a cheesecake bite. Both were fantastic and the perfect bite size.

It was a wonderful evening with a great man and great food :) I highly recommend Magnolia's with your special someone (or anyone just so you can go!)

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Jonathan surprised me tonight for dinner by spoiling me and taking me to Magnolia's in Charleston. I left my camera at his house after dessert, so I will share pictures later! I just want to say that it was FABULOUS and so worth it! I really needed some down South cooking :) I can't wait to share!

Saturday Adventures

This morning, I woke up early and went to the Charleston Farmer's Market, which is probably one of my favorite places to go during the spring and summer months, and got a lot of really great ingredients.  I didn't take individual pictures of what I picked up, but I picked up an eggplant, Peruvian potatoes (purple!), radishes, and basil, among others. I am so excited to show you what I do with them this week!

We also went out on our family boat as soon as I got back from the farmer's market at 10:30. Jonathan wakeboarded for the first time and I got these great pictures!

He's such a good sport! He even let me go to Whole Foods today... and he came along! Haha. Whole Foods/ Earth Fare are a weakness for me! But it was a good and busy day today and we ended it by going to see the Charleston Battery soccer game with my family. It was a great game and I couldn't help but notice that the sky was gorgeous.

I can't wait to share my recipes that I use for my new ingredients! Have a wonderful Sunday!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Foodie Friday

I forgot to post this, but I had a really good TJ Maxx and Marshall's run yesterday! I picked up a sushi recipe book for 75 cents and an Italian stovetop espresso maker for $6. And its pink so it matches my other coffee appliances. I am pretty proud of myself!

I had a busy and wonderfully productive Friday! I woke up and made some really, really easy freezer strawberry jam with my U-Pick strawberries. Couldn't have been simpler :) I haven't tried it yet, but it looks fantastic!

Easy Strawberry Freezer Jam (from a Swap-Bot swap)

4 cups strawberries, crushed and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 pouch freezer pectin *very important that it is freezer specific*

Mix fruit, sugar, and pectin by hand, gently, for 3 minutes. Let stand for 30 minutes to thicken.
Ladle into 5 8oz  freezer jars (I used plastic Bell ones)
Place in freezer. The jam will last for 1 year frozen or refrigerated for 3 weeks. If it lasts that long... It works the same for a lot of fruit.

I also whipped up some homemade marshmallows yesterday and we made s'mores with them tonight. They didn't brown up really well because they melted really quickly. But the vanilla tasted wonderful with the chocolate and made some pretty tasty s'mores!

I even finished up making my blackberry sorbet. It was tasty and highlighted the freshness of the blackberry perfectly!

Blackberry Sorbet from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
Makes 1 quart

4 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Puree the blackberries in a blender or food processor with the water and sugar.  Press the mixture through a strainer to remove the seeds.  Stir in the lemon juice. 

Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

It was a wonderful, food-filled day! Enjoy the recipes!