Travel Eats

Ginny's Kitchen is Moving!


Ginny's Kitchen blog is moving to ("oma" = Mom in Korea).  We will post new cooking entries and restaurant reviews on the "Dragon Mom" site.

Please click on the link above to visit the new site.

We will continue to blog family happenings on

Thank you and Happy New Year!

Ian & Ginny


Christmas Day Dinner 2012

                                              Cheese, glorious cheese.

The Christmas tradition of cheese and chocolate fondue continued this year with a very generous gift from Sophie and the in-laws.  Le Creuset fondue pot I love you!  

For the cheese fondue I used Mark Bittman's recipe (halved).

1/2 lb. grated Emmenthaler cheese

1/2 lb. grated Gruyere cheese

1 cup white wine

1 TBS cornstarch mixed with 1 TBS cold water

1 clove garlic, smashed

In a pot (or your fondue pot if it is OK on the stovetop) heat the white wine and garlic over medium heat.  Gradually stir in the grated cheeses.  It always looks like a hot mess but keep stirring and don't over heat.  When the cheese is all melted whisk in the cornstarch/water slurry gradually.  Heat for another minute or two.  

We served with steamed broccoli, apple slices and bread.  This is enough to serve 3 people as a main course who are: 1. still stuffed from Christmas brunch and 2. saving room for chocolate fondue.  We made white chocolate fondue this year, but personally I found it a little too sweet.  I will go back to dark chocolate next time.  For the fondue heat ~1/2 cup heavy cream to just under boiling.  You can add a tablespoon of your favorite liqueur to jazz it up if you like (Grand Marnier).  Remove pot from heat and stir in about 6-8 oz of chopped chocolate. Continue stirring til smooth.   Make sure the flame under your fondue pot is pretty low for the chocolate fondue or you could scorch your creation.  You might not even need to keep it on a flame because chocolate fondue rarely lasts long enough to cool.  We dipped strawberries, marshmallows and bread.  This amount serves 3-4 people for dessert.

Looking forward to more fondue in my future. I also received a crepe pan and portable induction burner from Ian. Stay tuned for crepes!


Christmas Day Brunch 2012

                                     So easy a monkey could make it....

Ian's family has a traditional Christmas breakfast that involves monkey bread.  The only downside to their breakfast is that they ate it before opening presents!  Coming from a family whose parents allowed them to get up as early as they liked (think 3:00 a.m.) to open stockings provided we were quiet, I adopted the monkey bread but not the timing of breakfast.

I made this two days earlier using my friend Arielle's recipe. She does say you can attempt to refrigerate after assembly and let it rise that morning but I was too afraid.  I wound up using a lot more brown sugar as well.  If you do bake ahead of time, wrap well and reheat in a 350F oven for 15 minutes or so.

 The gingerbread flavor is not overpowering--you could make this any time of year.   I made a big bowl of grapefruit supremes.  I added some pomegranate for color and because Sophie said, "You never buy pomegranates," after going to Jamba Juice with Ian.  Ian's sister and her family came for brunch, and there was much merriment with sparkling/blackberry wine cocktails, card games and the antics of Pom Diggity. 

 The other star of the brunch table: my friend Abby's make-ahead bread pudding.  Ian and Sophie made this on Christmas Eve while I was bumbling my way through my first day in a new clinic.  In between looking for tape measures, urine cups and VBAC consent forms I was answering texts like, "where is the rosemary? Can we use more than 6 cups of bread? Where do I get tsp pepper?"  Abby would be proud because we duded up the casserole with a layer of grated cheddar and sliced scallions on top.  The casserole shared the oven with the Christmas ham (made my own glaze with brown sugar/mustard/cider vinegar) and came out puffy and beautiful.  Sophie was sad that the cream cheese layer didn't spread out--consider this advance notice--don't expect the cream cheese to melt and spread.  Nobody will care. 


Worth It's Weight in Gold


                                                     Actual size=1"

I bought a bag of dried shrimp at H-mart expressly for use in the carrot salad from Naomi Duguid's "Burma."  A book I hope will be forthcoming from a certain family member this holiday season.  Luckily, the Tipsy Baker posted the recipe here on her blog.  If you like the Thai green papaya salad, you will love this recipe, and you won't have to source green papayas.  You will have to find some dried shrimp and grind them up in your food processor.  Creepily, their little eyes remain intact after grinding.  You can just tell people they are poppy seeds.  They keep indefinitely in the refrigerator.  You can also use them when you make kimchi.  Sophie didn't even notice them in the salad.

If you don't own a largish mortar and pestle you can just use a rolling pin or a muddler to pound your carrots.  I scaled back the pepper by half because I used an extremely hot Thai chile pepper.  It was just perfect for our family but almost too spicy for Sophie's friend.  I added the fried shallots last minute because I didn't want them to get soggy so they aren't visible in the picture below.

It was nice to eat something that didn't contain butter, flour, sugar or eggs after all the baking.  After hearing Duguid's recent interview on the "Good Food" podcast, and tasting this salad I am even more excited to get my hands on this cookbook.  I may break down and buy pre-fried shallots from the Vietnamese grocery.  According to the Tipsy Baker, the shallot chopping and frying is a part time job when cooking from "Burma." 

We went to Hmart and Wegman's today and it was a total goat rodeo.  I am hoping I don't have to go back to the grocery store before Christmas.  Why is cheese so expensive?  I bought a ham to supplement my Christmas brunch/dinner in case we don't have enough fondue.  We found Chocolate Pirate's Booty which looks like dried dog turds.  We finished the bag on the way home; it's that delicious.  I swam a mile this morning so it doesn't really count anyway. 

We were in Hawaii this time last year, and I remember looking all over for Saffron James perfume for Maddy.  This year I love the Bobby Brown fragrance, Beach.  Maddy thinks it smells like sunscreen.  To me it smells like our beach towels do after a weekend at the beach--sunscreen + salt + something undefineable.  I keep sniffing my wrists and thinking of mai tais and sunsets.

Mele Kalikimaka.


Who Will Be Our Life-Ring?

                         Taken on the shores of the Han River in Seoul ~January 2010. 

 The sign says, "Please throw the life ring to the drowning person."  Koreans are so polite even in crisis.  I am glad the world didn't end today.  I had a nice week.  I helped deliver a 9 lb. baby girl (my first delivery since July--it is like riding a bike) yesterday, and my trail run training group did a night run through the woods with headlamps on Wednesday night.  It was the Blair Witch Project combined with how it felt to sneak out of the house in the middle of the night as a teenager.  Pom Diggity and I went shopping today for some last minute gifts, and I saw just a few snowflakes fluttering by as I walked to the mailbox.  We are staying home for the holidays this year and will be missing Maddy who will be with her dad and his family in Florida.  We are planning a Christmas brunch with Ian's sister and her family.  I observed a moment of silence today at 9:30 along with others nationwide to honor those killed during the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary last week.  I cannot imagine how pervasive the silence must be in those homes who lost loved ones so needlessly. 

Listening to the song "Head full of doubt/Road full of promise," by the Avett Brothers I was struck by this line:

"When nothing is owed, deserved or expected

And your life doesn't change by the man who's elected

If you're loved by someone, you're never rejected

Decide who to be and go be it."

We all hope for change.  Maybe we need to stop hoping and start acting.  I don't think our founding fathers anticipated the horrific combination of a disturbed individual with an assault weapon and a wanton disregard for his fellow man.