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18 April: Saturday

Peitou, Taiwan: Yes, this day has ended, but I have no idea how it passed. Something like molasses in the wintertime, then suddenly it is time to start dinner. Though sunny all day, it was really breezy, until about 3p, when it became just plain windy, and then just plain awfully windy. Yes, we are protected inside our pavilion, with our glass slider acting as a buffer, but the noise from the wind is SO LOUD!

There was some buttermilk in the fridge that was past it’s use-by date... but it is buttermilk and I never really pay any attention to that date with buttermilk... but it was probably time to give it up, so I made pancakes. These are the first pancakes I have made since the kids visited two summers ago in Oregon. I don’t know why I don’t make pancakes more often - doesn’t everyone make pancakes all the time? There were also a few blueberries that needed to be used, so this was a good time for an All-American breakfast.

Buttermilk blueberry pancakes with turkey sausage

I made (a half-recipe) of Martha Stewart’s Best Buttermilk Pancakes, and it made 6 large pancakes. More than enough for us. I did use two eggs today, because my eggs were so small.

Speaking of eggs... did I ever tell you about the time I was in Hong Kong with my Mom, circa 1983? Dave (nor Lisa!) was not with us on this trip, but people from the “home office” were in Hong Kong, and they heard I was in town, so invited my Mom and I to dinner at a fancy Chinese (we WERE in Hong Kong) restaurant. Thinking my Mom would love the experience of a fancy multi-course Chinese banquet, we agreed to join the very large party. One of the 3,754 dishes served to the guests were quail eggs. I have no recollection of the preparation at this time, but as we were leaving the restaurant and walking back to our hotel, another of the dinner guests was over-heard saying: I didn’t even know whales laid eggs! I can’t tell you how many times my Mom and I laughed about this comment.

After our quick trip to Italy last night for gnocchi, our evening took a serious turn east and we ended up in Taiwan (again!) tonight... and after our super luxurious butter, cream, and cheese extravaganza last night, we had a vegan Chinese dinner tonight.

With maybe an odd choice of cocktail. A few nights ago, Dave was telling me about the era his parents (and maybe your parents as well) went through a vodka gimlet phase. Vodka and Rose’s Lime Juice, shaken - not stirred. Though I am not a fan of Rose's Lime Juice, we did have a good stash of limes on hand and simple syrup. I found a recipe calling for 2 ounces of vodka, 3/4 ounces of fresh lime juice, 1/2 ounce simple syrup - and a lime “wheel” garnish. Done - x2. Very refreshing.

Redskin peanuts were the appetizer tonight - very commonly served at the table in restaurants in Taiwan for guests to munch-on before dinner (no charge).

Mapo Tofu (pronounced MAW-poh DOE-fu in Mandarin - it roughly translates to pock-marked-mother tofu - don’t ask) was our dinner this evening. Super spicy and satisfying. Cheap. Tons of leftovers.

Yep. I always serve sliced cucumbers with salt and rice vinegar with a Chinese meal. Never had a meal in Taiwan without this salad.

The tofu was served over jasmine rice, of course. This dish is not for everyone, but it one of DT’s all-time favorites, so he was happy.

Tomorrow, we are going back to Italy. Naples, to be exact.

Until my next update, I remain, your wind-blown correspondent.

5 thoughts

  1. Speaking of gimlets per David Lebovitch’s Drinking French.
    I highly recommend it.
    Rosemary Syrup
    1/2 cup (125ml) water
    1/2 cup (100g) sugar
    2 tablespoons (4g) coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

    Rosemary Gimlet
    2 ounces gin
    3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
    3/4 ounce rosemary syrup
    1. Make the rosemary syrup by heating the water, sugar and chopped rosemary leaves in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is hot and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let the syrup cool completely. Once cool, strain the rosemary syrup into a jar, and refrigerate until ready to use.
    2. Chill a stemmed cocktail glass in the freezer.
    3. Measure the gin, lime juice and rosemary syrup into a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker halfway with ice, cover, and shake the gimlet mixture about twenty seconds, until very cold. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary or a slice of fresh lime.

    1. Helen: I made this cocktail on April 1st, for French-themed dinner. I am really enjoying Lebovitz’s new book – and his daily instagram videos.

  2. MY mother, (Lucy!), drank Vodka gimlets. It was the first “cocktail” I ever had and the first I drink I shared with her. She’s gone now, but I have fond memories of gimlets with her…

  3. Many years ago, my sister met my plane when I arrived in San Diego, and we decided to have a nice arrival lunch on the water front. To celebrate, I ordered a gimlet on the rocks, (I don’t remember what my sister had). I noticed the waitress went and got somebody else to make my drink (there was no bartender). When I got it, it had a small onion in it. Right: it was a Gibson. I sent it back, and finally they invited me to come over and supervise making the gimlet.

    1. Ha! That’s a good one. My dad is a Gibson drinker, and he still has to explain it to a waiter every once in a while – or he will get a Gimlet. Cheers!

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