Stuck and the City!

The issues I encounter when I fly non-rev (stand by) are literally endless but this time around it was simply Mother Nature who was getting in the way (I remembered to not eat before I got on the plane…just kidding- see previous blog post).  My trip began as I sat down on my flight to JFK, New York and once again was blinded by optimism and could only think of getting to my final destination of Stockholm, Sweden. Over the loud speaker I heard, “There is some bad weather in New York and we are delayed three hours so we need to deboard everyone.” Well to make a long story short seven hours later we finally took off, and by that point so many passengers had left that we were able to sit in first class. I became a “we” when I got lucky enough to sit next to another pilots’ daughter who was headed to Prague for a six week study abroad.  Normally when I travel I don’t like to make small talk and try to keep to myself, but Shannon Summers was the exception.  We sat for seven hours acting like best friends, telling each other our life stories and of course our tales of being pilot daughters.  We both ended up in the same boat of being about three hours late to our connecting flights.  Which in standby world is probably the worst thing that can happen on a summer flight headed to Europe. With  JFK was shut down for a few hours due to weather, a lot of people missed connections and the flights for the next couple days quickly became over sold- uh oh!

Luckily my flight attendant friend was in New York so she got us a discounted hotel and my new friend, old friend and I shared a room.  Which weirdly enough we decided was converted to a hotel from a parking garage as all the halls were slanted.

I was lucky that I really didn’t have any other option than my one flight at 7:10 p.m. the next day to try to get a seat on, so I got to enjoy my day in NYC.  I shopped a little, enjoyed a lovely lunch where I had a mushroom quesadilla with truffle oil and then layed in the park.

Poor Shannon (my new friend) went straight back to the airport in the morning and was just trying to get on a flight to anywhere in Europe since all of the flights were overbooked.   I went back to the airport in a great mood, and not disappointed that my Sweden trip had been delayed a day because I had spent a lovely day in the city.  But when the plane door closed and I wasn’t sitting on the plane I really didn’t feel like being in the city that never sleeps anymore.  Shannon was just as unsuccessful as I was so we got another hotel the three us of, and went to sleep with a little less optimism than we started with.  Especially Shannon because at this point they had “misplaced” her bag, and nobody knew where it was, from New York to Germany.

To wrap up this long story and two day delay up both Shannon and I ended up getting on the flights the next day and Shannon got a seat in first class, I wasn’t so lucky.  Her bag came back to her quickly, not quite sure where it went, but at least she found it.  Now that I’m retelling this story I think it doesn’t sound all that bad considering this is the first time in my 22 years of flying that I have gotten a hotel when flying by myself after getting stuck overnight.  So my normal story would include long nights of sleeping on the airport floors so hey, I guess this portion of my trip was just an easy walk in the terminal!

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The FAA Says I’m Fat, But I Ain’t Down With That

When flying standby I am pretty used to being told “you’re not getting on this flight.” But once I’m seated in my seat I normally breath a sign of relief and think “all smooth sailing from here.” As I’ve sometimes noticed, but more recently truly learned, that is not always true.  My dad always says “you’re not set until the door closes” and I have learned even that isn’t true. 

One time when I was headed on a whim two day trip to Sydney Australia (yes that’s right two days, well technically five- three days traveling two days in Sydney) I boarded my flight out of lovely Flint, Michigan (I hope you can detect my sarcasm)  headed to Detroit.  The doors close, we push back and I just close my eyes and start to get giddy with excitement to go to one of my favorite countries.  Then over the loud speaker they announce “We have an over weight situation and one passenger is putting the plane over weight; Kelsey Colt will you please gather your things and we will remove you as quickly as possible so we have an ontime departure.”  Now there is nothing like the FAA telling you that you are solely responsible for putting the 50,000 pound plane over weight to make you think twice about that double cheeseburger you had the night before. Oh and to put the cherry on top of the cake that I apparently shouldn’t eat, my physics teacher from high school was on the plane.  I can only imagine he was thinking that I must’ve gained the freshman 15 in college.

Clearly I’m not over this yet!

This is a picture of me eating the famous New Zealand Fergbuger! If you ever make it to the south island of New Zealand plan to eat at least three or four of your meals there!

The Perfect Creme Brulee– guest post from my sister, Kara

Crème brulee has always been one of my favorite desserts. I usually order it when I’m at really nice restaurants as it seems appropriate since it’s such a classy decadent ending to a great meal (and it seems to be an item that is kind of unique to menus at fancy restaurants). So I was very happy and surprised when I came home from a long day of work and traveling to find that my boyfriend (yes- he’s amazing!) had surprised me and made me crème brulee. It was the BEST crème brulee I’ve ever had- so creamy and rich and I definitely wanted more.

Crème brulee seems like such an elaborate, fancy dessert that I never considered making it myself- but after John made it for me I decide that I should try as well. When I asked him for the recipe he used I braced myself for a long list of ingredients and many difficult steps that I would probably screw up. John came back with the recipe (out of Cooks Illustrated- I love their recipes) and I was pleasantly surprised when I came across the recipe with only six ingredients! And they were ingredients that I already had- what?!?

You’ll see the recipe below and moral of this story is the crème bruelee turned out beautifully! The only part that I was disappointed in was the time. For this recipe after you cook the crème brulee it needs to be refrigerated for at least four hours (max four days)- and I’m a very impatient person, especially while cooking.  Usually I’m full by the time the food is done since I’m eating it during the entire cooking process, but trust me the wait is worth it for this recipe. :)

PS- Be careful with the blow torch. :)

Servings: 2

Ingredients

       1 cup heavy cream , chilled

       2 tablespoons granulated sugar plus 1 additional teaspoon

       Pinch table salt

       3 large egg yolks

       1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

       2 – 4 teaspoons turbinado sugar or Demerara sugar (AKA sugar in the raw)

Directions

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Combine 1/2 cup cream, sugar, and salt in small saucepan; bring mixture to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to ensure that sugar dissolves.
3. Meanwhile, place kitchen towel in bottom of baking dish or roasting pan and arrange two 4- to 5-ounce ramekins (or shallow fluted dishes) on towel. Bring kettle or saucepan of water to boil over high heat.
4. After cream has cooled slightly, stir in remaining 1/2 cup cream to cool down mixture further. Whisk yolks in medium bowl until broken up and combined. Whisk in vanilla extract and about 1/4 cup cream mixture into yolks until loosened and combined; repeat with another 1/4 cup cream. Add remaining cream and whisk until evenly colored and thoroughly combined. Strain through fine-mesh strainer into 2-cup measuring cup or pitcher (or clean medium bowl); discard solids in strainer. Pour or ladle mixture into ramekins, dividing it evenly among them.
5. Carefully place baking dish with ramekins on oven rack; pour boiling water into dish, taking care not to splash water into ramekins, until water reaches two-thirds height of ramekins. Bake until centers of custards are just barely set and are no longer sloshy and digital instant-read thermometer inserted in centers registers 170 to 175 degrees, 35 to 40 minutes (30 to 35 minutes for shallow fluted dishes). Begin checking temperature about 5 minutes before recommended time.
6. Transfer ramekins to wire rack; cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Set ramekins on rimmed baking sheet, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours or up to 4 days.
7. Uncover ramekins; if condensation has collected on custards, place paper towel on surface to soak up moisture. Sprinkle each with about 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar (1 1/2 teaspoons for shallow fluted dishes); tilt and tap ramekin for even coverage. Ignite torch and caramelize sugar (FYI- if you don’t have a blow torch I have also made this and just sprinkled sugar on top- still pretty tasty). Refrigerate ramekins, uncovered, to re-chill, 30 to 45 minutes (but no longer); serve.

Swirl, Sniff, Sip

Being the exceptionally cool dad that my dad is he has a connection in Calistoga.  Doesn’t sound very cool right?… but wait,  it is located at the Northern end of Napa Valley in California.  Now I have your attention.   So to add to the story my dad went to college in Utah with Bo Barrett. Once again that doesn’t sound that cool but Bo Barrett is the owner of Chateau Montelena Winery which is the featured vineyard in the movie Bottle Shock! So like I said my dad has the connection!

The Chateau

Before you visit this vineyard, or any vineyard in Napa Valley that is, make sure to watch the movie, because it gets you eager to see how wine is made from people who are so passionate about the art of wine making.  We were lucky enough to get a behind the curtains tour.  Bo took us down in the subterranean wine aging tunnels, which was cool to see, no pun intended (they are stored down there to keep the cool climate controlled).

We tasted Chardonnay, Riesling, Zinfendal, and two different types of Cabernets.

I was a little disappointed when I heard we were going to be trying the Chardonnay and the Riesling, because I’m not a big fan of either, but since the Chardonnay was the star in the movie I figured that was one we would taste.  We started with the Riesling; swirl, sniff, and a sip, and I was completely caught off guard. It was not the typical overly sweet flavor I am used to, but instead a crisp fresh flavor with layers of floral notes such as orange blossom, and white melon.  The same reaction occurred with the Chardonnay.  Instead of the buttery overwhelming flavor, it was full of citrus tones, and rich tropical notes complemented by subtle sweet oak.

After the tasting he drove us around the 254 acres of vines.  It was just stunning land filled with vines rolling over the hills!  He also showed us his adorable filly!

So now after one online wine class from school, and a quick wine tour from Bo I like to say I am a wine connoisseur!  And to end post with the classic words of Galileo Galilei “Wine is sunlight, held together by water.” Now grab a bottle of some fine wine, and enjoy a few more of my pictures from the Napa Valley!

Lava Vine Vineyard

     Biking around the vines!

     Learning about the grapes at Vincent Arroyo Winery.

From BBQ’s to Barbeques

If you were to ask a Brazilian to make a list of their favorite foods it might look like this

but make sure you’re specific and say Brazilian cuisine because the scribble at the top is crossing out chicken marsala. They will also tell you that at the very least you have to try Fejaida.  Fejaida is the most typical Brazilian meal that is very commonly found at a “barbeque.”   Now I put that in quotations because they seemed very proud to tell us that their barbeques did not include the plastic plate, hot dog, hamburger, and red cup like our bbqs but are a much more sophisticated scene.

Brazilian barbeques are stretched out and if you don’t get there in the beginning you will surely miss out.  They cook steaks, sausages and even whole onions on the grill but they cook the meats one piece at a time. When each meat was done they would take it out and slice it into bite size pieces and everyone would come and try some so you have appetizers for a couple hours.  And meanwhile the grand finale is simmering away which is the fejaida.  It is a big pot of beans and sausage and beef.

Don’t let this picture scare you- it is delicious.

They serve it with rice and a green which I think was kale, (problem with different languages is there are different names for vegetables so no translation) orange slices, and something similar to bread crumbs.

These barbeques I thought were really special because they are a frequent event.  The family we were staying with had one every weekend so it was a great way for the family to see each other and bond.  I know I sound cheesy and as a kid I would have found thought of it like a chore but now as I’m getting older and I like to say wiser, I think this would be awesome!