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FASHION
FASHION

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BEAUTY
BEAUTY

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FOOD
FOOD
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BAKED BRIE WITH HONEY AND NUTS





I was on the look out for an appetizer for a party I was hosting at home. I was thinking of a Cheese Platter, as I was running short on time with the other preps for the party. But the idea of Baked Brie seemed more delicious even in the planning stage. Brie is a French Cheese which pairs really well, both with sweet and savory bits. And it tastes even better when its baked. I had picked up a wheel of brie, from a recent Costco trip and I had some puff pastry in the freezer. Add to it some honey and a handful of nuts and you got yourself a crowd pleaser on your hands.

Baked Brie is quite a favorite at Holiday parties but it pairs pretty well around the year. Who does not love to scoop up warm and gooey cheese encased in some golden puff pastry. Pour yourself some good wine and bite along. You will surely get ab extra HUG form your friends that evening.

The best part of this recipe is that how convenient it is to make it. Even if you very little time on your hands, you can still make it. You can even prep the cheese a day in advance and bake it right before your guests arrive.  Baked Brie can be made with a variety of toppings. You can make it sweet and savory. I have made Baked Brie with caramelized onions and prawns and also with honey and nuts. You can customize the toppings according to your taste buds.

The only word of caution is that you should let the Brie rest for around 50 to 10 minutes after you pull it out of the oven This prevents a hot molten lava of liquid cheese oozing out, which can burn your tongue. This resting time allows the cheese to congeal to just the right consistency. You can serve the baked brie with some dried apricots, croutons and grapes of your cheese. Let your guests have a go at it. They can cut out wedges of their choice and pair with what they like. Keep a Bottle or two of Wine by the side.

BAKED BRIE WITH HONEY AND NUTS :

Ingredients:
Wheel of Brie
Nuts
Egg : 1
Choice of Nuts
Honey
Parchment Paper
Puff Pastry : Thawed ( 1 or 2 sheets, depending on your choice of covering the Brie)

Procedure:
Pre-heat the oven to 400 F.

Remove the Brie from its packaging.


With a knife, scrape away the rind of the Brie on both sides. Make sure that you don't damage the wheel in this process.


Lay the Brie on some parchment paper. Smother it with honey .


Smooth out the honey with an off set spatula so that its evenly coated.




Chop your choice of nuts to uniform pieces. I had used unsalted cashews, pine nuts, walnuts and slivered almonds.


Lay the nuts on top of the coated Brie. Drizzle the nuts with more honey. 


Roll out the thawed puff pastry. 


There are two ways of doing this step.
First : Lay the rolled out puff pastry on top of the brie and tuck the rest inside and seal in as you go. Trim off the excess.

Secondly: Use two sheets of Puff Pastry. Roll out both. Lay the Brie on the first sheet and cover with the second. Cut along the perimeter leaving around an inch of dough along the sides. Crimp with a fork.


I cut out some leaves from the excess dough and laid them in a circular pattern on top of the covered Brie.


Brush the pastry with egg wash carefully so as to not snag at the pastry while you do it.


Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400F for around 15 minutes or till the dough is golden brown.


Make sure you let the Brie rest for around 5 to 10 minutes to prevent a hot lava of molten cheese bursting out.


Enjoy ! Bon Appetit !

KOGI FOOD TRUCK - LA : EATING OUT


I mentioned in my last Los Angeles Eating Out Post, that I would be doing a Series on our culinary adventures in LA. Here comes the second installment of the series. From the swankiest restaurant in Beverly Hills(NOBU, LOS ANGELES), let me take you to a Food Experience, which  has tourists and locals flocking like crazy. It has the capacity to shut down social media with their mentions. Yes, you guessed it right. KOGI FOOD TRUCK .

Me and my Husband are foodies, thahts a known fact. The blog probably just has 1/100th of our culinary experiences documented in it, but I am trying to keep up. In our quest for trying out avenues of food which we havent, we kept hearing  the name of Kogi Barbecue, in many a television programs and social media mentions. We had missed it during our last trip to Los Angeles, so this time around we knew we had to squeeze it in.

For those of you , not familiar with the phenomenon called Kogi Barbecue, let me chat up a bit. Kogi Food Truck is a fleet of five food trucks, which ply the roads of Los Angeles. Social Media is how the word gets out, where the trucks would be parked that evening. Its no ordinary food truck, whipping up your regular food truck favorites. The brainchild of Chef Roy Choi, who created a Fusion of Korean Barbecue and Mexican food. Its almost received an iconic status, where the LA food scene is concerned.


Our flight from Kansas City to Los Angeles reached on time, and by the time we had picked up our luggage and taken our rental car, we were super hungry. Not to mention it was a bit late than our usual weekday dinner time. We had looked up the locations of the Kogi Trucks for the Night, on Twitter and decided on which one to head to. The problem was that the trucks only stayed at a location for around an hour every night. So if you didn't make it within a certain time frame, then you were clearly not in luck.

But we did make it in good time. It was time to EAT !


Our daughter had woken up from her nap by then , we were ready to tuck in. We might have ordered a bit more for 2 1/2 people. Why do we always over order when we see an interesting menu.




We started off with SHORT RIB TACOS. Marinated and succulent Korean Barbecue Short Rib, served in griddled corn toritllas , caramelized Korean Barbecue, chopped up Romaine, onion lime relish and salsa roja. Every bite was such an explosion of flavors, I kid you not. Its not wonder how fast it vanished from our paper tray.


Next in line, were the SWEET CHILI CHICKEN QUESADILLAS. I know, I should have gone for the KIMCHI QUESSADILLAS, but we had to look in to the taste buds of our soon to be 3 year old daughter. What a lovely contrast of tastes the slices of quessadillas presented. And that sauce with which it was slathered, should be sold by the bottle by Chef Roy Choi, and people would be queueing up for that too. I am not a person who likes their protein sweet. But it was a great balance of introducing just a ask of sweet into the savory.



 Of the three things we ordered that night, my least favorite had to be the SHORT RIB BURRITO. One reason could be that by this time, we were already stuffed with the food and the accompanying pop that we had ordered.It was interesting to have short ribs, breakfast eggs  in a burrito, but somehow the size was a bit too big after all that we had stuffed in. Somehow the short ribs paired better in the Tacos, if you take my word.




I dont know when I am going back to Los Angeles next, but whenever I go, I shall  be at the  Kogi Food Truck, stuffing my face with Short Rib Tacos, till I am at that all familiar food coma stage.

Bon Appetit !


ALASKA ADVENTURES DAY 4 : GLACIER CALVING & WILDLIFE CRUISE AT KENAI FJORDS NATIONAL PARK


Hope all of you had a wonderful Father's Day yesterday. Sunday's post comes a day late, as I decided to take a day off from work. To celebrate the Day with my Dad, my Baby's Dad and my Brother, who celebrated his First Father's Day yesterday. It was 'Precious,' to say the least.

Coming back to Business. Travel Posts continue on the blog with the last installment of our Alaska Adventures. I hope you have enjoyed our travelogues. If you haven't yet read any of the previous posts, then I shall be linking them all below.



We drove down from our hotel in downtown Anchorage to Seward on the last day. We had our reservations for the Glacier Calving and Wildlife Cruise with the Kenai Fjords Tours. Boats depart everyday during the Tourist season(Summer) and its advised to make reservations.

 If you thought Ice Age only lingers at the Columbia Ice Field in Canada, then you need to visit Harding Ice Field at the Kenai Fjords. As their official website aptly describes, "Where Mountains, Ice and Oceans Meet."


We grabbed a quick breakfast of some Caribou Patty Burgers before heading to the small boat harbour at Seward. It was such a juicy burger, but in the haste to eat and not miss the boat(well, literally), I forgot to take pictures.

I had taken my motion sickness medication and was all set. The cruise offers you a small meal on board along with complimentary beverages. I was clearly ODing on my Ginger Ale to get my sea feet on. The tours venture along the Park's Tidewater Glaciers and offered a 6-7 hour tour. Whenever any of the crew members sight any wildlife, they stop the boat for your viewing pleasure. But with wildlife there can never e any guarantee. And our 18-55 is no match for teh fancy zoom lenses being used on board to capture the wildlife. We met a pair of Fin Whales and Mommy -Baby Humpback Whale, a school of Porpoises, sea lions and sea otters. Not all pictures are that glamorous.




Now for the piece de resistance : Aialik Glacier and Harding Ice Field. The boats take you as close as possible to where the Glacier Calving takes place . Humongous blocks of glacier ice break off from the Aialik Glacier and fall into the ocean. Yes, into the ocean. The sound when the ice breaks off from the glacier, is comparable to that of a hundred thunders together, if that makes sense. Its just unbelievable.







The boats manouver through floating blocks of ice across the tidewater glacier.

Time flies and it had flown swift and fast as the trip had finally drawn to a close. Our date with the Midnight Sun were almost over.  The time had come to head to the Airport. With some great memories, we flew back home to the Midwest from the Last Frontier.



You might also want to read :
Alaska Adventures Day 1: Anchorage, Portage Glacier, Chugach, Whittier
Alaska Adventures Day 2: Eagle River, Elkutna, Matanuska Glacier
Alaska Adventures Day 3 : Denali National Park and Anchorage
Alaska on my tastebuds
The Alaskan Comedy



ALASKA ADVENTURES DAY 3: DENALI NATIONAL PARK AND ANCHORAGE


Day 3 in Alaska . we woke up pretty early in the most dreamiest of Cabins. The gurgling of the brooks as they wound their way around the rocks, the mist which was settling in, through the sunlight. Words cant do justice to how romantic the experience was. McKinley Creek Side Cabins is located very close to the gates of Denali National Park.  My man knows how to pamper his lady at a vacation and planning this stay was enough proof of that.

We had picked up our Food the evening before when we were driving to the Denali area.

Booked on the first bus, leaving for (Denali)Mount McKinley from the bus depot at Denali National Park. Our Car was parked for the day at the adjoining Parking Lot at the Park and we queued up to ride. If you are planning a day at Denali, make sure you have made prior bookings for a place at one of the buses. The buses leave at intervals from the first visitor center at the bus depot but they don't accept bookings on arrival. Beyond the Savage River Check Point, private cars are not allowed.

There are 4 different kinds of Buses to avail at Denali National Park of varying time and distances. We had availed the Shuttle Buses, which allowed us to disembark/board anywhere along the road.

It was foggy and cloudy and was drizzling all along. When there are mountains in question, and one peak(Denali - formerly Mt. McKinley)  in particular you are interested in, clouds and fog can really be a dampener. 6 million acres of land, and one road running through out. Starting from Snowy Mountains, to the Alpine Vegetation and down to the Taiga and low valleys.

Wildlife sightings are common but not guaranteed. The Bus driver will stop the bus when she/he sights any wildlife on either side. Or if you have spotted any wildlife, make sure you let the driver now. But please never shout out. A Mama Grizzly and her two Cubs were strolling by the Taiga , for our bus to make its first stop and to have everyone pull their binoculars out.

Polychrome Overlook and Stony Hill Overlook were our designated stops after the initial wildlife stop.




It was time for the Eielson Visitor Center. From here, you need to change buses to head to Wonder Lake and Denali .

If the sky is clear, then you can have a clear view of America's tallest peak, Denali(formerly Mt McKinley) from the view point here. But if you have the cloud cover for company then that's it. Denali is the highest peak in North America with an elevation of 6190 ft.



If you ever thought, how heavy can Antlers be? Then you need to have a word with the Man. I could not even lift it and he swears how it was almost a work out in itself. These discarded antlers of reindeer, moose. elk are left at the Outdoor Viewing Gallery of the Eielson Visitor Center for the visitors to have a hands on experience.



The Mama Bear might not have been obliging to pose for the shutterbugs but Mama Moose surely was in a mood to oblige the flash bulbs going crazy.


And so was Madam Gull !







It was a wonderful day of Hiking, exploring at one of the largest National Parks in the World. So in love with the jaw dropping views all around.

It was a drive back to Anchorage for a quick 4th of July dinner . When there is sunlight till 12 or 1 am, there were no fireworks.




Most of the restaurants downtown were closed for business except for a few pubs. Some Martinis to chase ,some juicy  burgers and creamy slaw at the Rumrunner's Old Town Bar & Grill . Sadly enough, even this eatery is closed. Whats with our trip and so many of the eateries we had been to, now being closed.

It was time to head to our stay for the night and plan for the last day ahead.

Must add, that I was feeling a bit sad , that we were exactly at the last leg of our Alaskan Adventure.


You might also like :
Alaska Adventures Day 1 : Anchorage, Portage Glacier, Turnagain Arm, Whittier,Chugach
Alaska Adventures Day 2: Eagle River, Elkutna,Palmer,Matanuska Glacier
Alaska on my tastebuds
The Alaskan Comedy