When I wasn’t pretending to be 21 while visiting my little sister for her graduation, I was baking. One night I made cheesecake with strawberry sauce. I made an America’s Test Kitchen recipe and it was great. It almost had a soufflé consistency to it. As you can see in the pictures though the sides got a little burnt, luckily it didn’t change the flavor but it did make it not so pretty. As I continue to bake and test recipes I am learning an oven thermometor would come in handy and is starting to become necessary; the oven was clearly too hot. On graduation night I made a cake and it had to be graduation themed. With that thought I decided to make an upside down cap. I carried the cakes on the plane, standard, and then froze them. This made it easy to frost the the next day and kept the cakes fresh. The cake was a recipe I’ve done in the past, lemon poppy seed.
This past weekend I went back to one of my favorite places…East Lansing, Michigan for Michigan State University’s graduation. I went to watch my litter sister graduate and of course act like I was in college again. The first day I was there I went to Burgerama which might just be my heaven. It is day drinking beer only out of pitchers, burgers, and awesome music. What more could you ask for?
The next night things got real young when my sister, brother-in-law, and I went to my little sister’s house party. We tried to fit and…
We also made sure to visit out most fav late night eats places, below is Conrads! Though the menu has changed my love for them has not.
I made cookies and cupcakes for the bachelorette party and some had to be inappropriate which means so were boobs, butts, and penises. I had to get creative with the heart cookie cutter for the boobs and butts because I couldn’t find one anywhere. I cut a can and shaped it into a heart; which actually worked out pretty well. I borrowed the penis cookie cutters from one of my friends—that would have been a little bit more difficult to make out of a can. I also made golf themed cupcakes because the bride-t0-be is marrying a pro golfer and is also a big golf fan! I used a special tip for the frosting, got edible pearls from the grocery store, and made the flags with toothpicks and paper. I carried the cupcakes, unfrosted, on the plane along with the fully done cookies. I checked my bag with the frosting and it was easy to put together once I was in Nashville.
If you don’t have inappropriate desserts and dance on the kitchen counter then it really isn’t a bachelorette party now is it?
When I was doing research for Hoi An going to a cooking class was something a lot of people and sites suggested. I decided on Morning Glory Advance Masterclass. The class started at 8:30 am and you get to go through the local market then to the school where you cook three different dishes for $39; sold. This was one of the things I was most excited about. I was the cheer leader for the cooking class and to say Phil was skeptical was definitely an understatement. It could have something to do with the fact that I dragged him/or group on the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg, which I still say is amazing and a must do, but Phil would say differently. I scheduled the class for Friday morning. I didn’t realize that would be a problem, but it was. When the alarm went off at 7:30 am the day after our Thanksgiving cruise/party evening it was the worst sound ever. I pressed snooze and wished that nine minutes would feel like three more hours. When the alarm went off again I yelled to Becky that we need to get up and both of us mumbled about how we couldn’t. Me the cheerleader then turned off the alarm and went back to be. Fail. I was so disappointed when I woke up later. I immediately emailed the school and asked if we could come in the next day and lucky enough for us they had room!!! Thank goodness because it was amazing. Even Phil will vouch for this outing. We had a cooking school student lead us around the market; showing us the different vegetables, tools they use, meats, fish, etc.
Then they took us to the school and took us around to the different stations such as fried treats, rice meals, daily workers food, sweet treats, and the one that caught most people’s eye weird and wonderful. At the weird and wonderful station I tried silk worm salad, baby clams, spicy snails, duck egg embryo, spicy frog legs, jelly fish salad, and steamed pig brain. It was intense, the worm was chalky and grainy, the duck embryo tasted basically like a hard boiled egg but with more of a dense texture and the pig brain I actually can’t really remember so it must have been good? We made the rounds. I even tried making cao lau noodle which is a local staple from Hoi An. The recipe is only known by a few and almost impossible to get. The noodles are distinguishable by their thickness. Another item from Hoi An is the white rose dumpling, which are dumplings with a rose like shape (see picture below) and filled with either shrimp or pork. I also helped in making rice noodles patties and I was pretty good at it. That could be a potential carrier move.
Cau lao noodles
Next we moved on to the hands on section. Becky and I were teammates and shared a work station. First we made cabbage leaf parcels with shrimp mousse in broth, bang xeo (Vietnamese pancake), and finally barbecue chicken and mango salad. We used an Vietnamese knife to cut the papya and as a parting gift we got one to take home with us! You can see it below; it is an interesting shape and unique tool. It made slicing mango very easy.
In the end we had a private tour of the market, a full meal, hour of trying food, and a knife to take home all for $39. You can’t beat that. Also it worked out well that we didn’t go the day we were hungover; I would not suggest trying pig brain or walking through a raw meat market hungover, but who am I to stop you. Follow me @Pilots_Daughter.
I landed in Paris on January 10th. This was the day after the hostage situation. My sister and I landed and headed straight to Lyon via train. We were so excited to visit the gastronomic capital of France. We knew we would probably notice some extra security at popular tourist sites because of the recent events but didn’t think there would be anything else to notice; we were wrong. France was immediately united and it was clear in every city you went. Everywhere you looked there were “Je suis Charlie” or “Nous sommes Charlie” signs. We also got to experience the march in Lyon. It was remarkable to see. Below are a few pictures of the how the country came together after such a tragedy.
Since my company has three offices in Boston, Lucerne, and Denver they created “kickoff” to bring us all together once a year. At this conference we have workshops, talk about future goals, past successes etc, and get to know each other. Mexico was lots of talking, drinking, eating, dancing, and no sleeping—literally. On the last night my groups flight was at 7:00 am so our bus transfer picked us up at 3:30 which meant an all-nighter. My main focus these past two days has been sleep. I’m just not as young as I once was…
Below are photos of Tulum! Here we all split into groups and were each assigned a Mayan sign. My group was water. You can see us attempting to act water out below.
Last night I had oysters, octopus, sea urchin coupe, and duck breast to name a few. This great food isn’t that weird or surprising but what is surprisingly weird is that this was had at the Great American Beer Festival. Last night I had my first GABF experience and it was awesome! The food part was the Farm to Table Pavilion that was 28 craft beers paired with 28 small bites.
When you left the back room and traded your glass cup for your GABF plastic one the vibe changed. Not that the food room wasn’t an amazing vibe but in the main area there was a different one and it was more relaxed. People are here to drink some great beer and have fun. There was even a silent disco section for people to get their boogie on. It was seriously so fun. Now that I know what I’m missing out on I might become a regular.
I found it. What you ask? Utter bliss—that is what I found. Let me explain; vacation is a word that can describe many different types of experiences. It can be relaxing on a beach, visiting family, or exploring new lands; the latter is what it has been for me for the past few years. Every vacation I take has been extraordinary, don’t get me wrong, but also exhausting. Exploring the city, eating the food, visiting the museums by day then hitting the town to experience the pubs or clubs by night. Great experiences that are not to be taken for granted but also like I said exhausting. So where is this bliss I speak of? On the Layover that is where. My dads new toy. A catamaran sailboat. Clearly my dad named the boat…pilot…get it?
I had the privilege of sailing on the Layover for four days and three nights two weekends ago and I can’t begin to explain how amazing it was. I would wake from the sun beaming in my cabin window, or my dad banging pots trying to boil water from coffee, and get the day started. I would enjoy a leisure cup of coffee with the sea air and then get ready to set sail. Motor out of the harbor then get the sails up and let them be the power for a few hours. During this time I would alternate between reading, letting my feet hang off the back of the boat, or taking a nap in the sun. Next we would start in for the docks that would be our post for the night. After docking we would then get ready for happy hour. We would figure out what our plan was for dinner and then walk around the new spot we were at. Each night would end with a night cap joined by chats and laughs. The next day wake up and repeat. It was incredible. Pure peace.
First night we stayed in the Boston Harbor. The second night we stayed in Salem and the final night Marblehead.
Boston was great because we were able to have some family come down from New Hampshire and good friends and dine at our absolute favorites…Regina’s Pizzeria. Oh and end the night with Mike’s Pastry.
At Salem we walked around the eerie city and got to enjoy a huge thunderstorm on the boat. During this thunderstorm while sipping on New England IPA’s and munching on chowder and oyster’s we also learned a little more about the boat…the amount of windows we had. The next morning we had every bed pad, sheet, and towel out in the sun to dry and the guys working on the tourist boat getting ready for their day thought it was kind to ask if we needed a close line. I told them we were just learning more and more about the boat, or I guess I should have said learning where the windows are.
Marblehead was my favorite. It might be one of the cutest New England cities I have ever been to. Each house was clearly built for the specific family and were all different. The roads are narrow and you feel like you are walking in a historic period. We also made lobster on the boat there so that could have something to do with it being my favorite too.
My little sister turned 21 on September 4th. She was the final Colt girl to turn 21 meaning the final 21st birthday I will probably go to for a while. My parents are now breathing a sigh of relief. My little sister Kylie is in her final year of college at Michigan State University so we, my older sister and brother-in-law, came to her. She didn’t really have to convince us at all since Kara and I both went to State as well so we are always looking for any excuse to return to our old stomping grounds.
I of course wanted to bring the cake so I carried it on. The cake had to be a 21st birthday cake so what could be better than a cheap liquor bottle? Nothing, so a Burnett’s cake it was. My sister loves lemons so I made it lemon themed. I bake the cake in an 8 X 8 pan. That way i could make the rectangle body and have extra for the neck of the bottle. I made the fondant cap the night before I left and also the fondant label. Once in Michigan I whipped up some butter cream frosting and put it all together.
The night ended up being one we will never forget and not just because of the cake ;) Those involved will get it…