Bread machines are for wimps

Making bread from scratch is just about the most fulfilling act as far as cooking goes.

Picture thanks to swamishivapadananda.typepad.com, because I didn't have my camera when I made this

It’s also something which terrifies most people (including myself). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve attempted to make yeast breads and the slightest yeast faux-pas has sent my unwitting victims into chewing misery when presented with rock-hard or bone dry bread. I’ve gotten the yeast thing down, more or less, but every time I begin the process I still feel like I’m gambling… with yeast. Anyway.

A little while ago I discovered a new kind of bread-making that feels just as satisfying and wholesome, is a little more unusual, and avoids the whole yeast conundrum/debacle altogether. The answer? Chapati!

Chapati is a skillet-fried bread that is popular both in India and East Africa. It’s delicious, and deliciously easy. Continue reading

Some continental cooking


Right now I’m living in Israel. Israel is officially, I believe, a part of Asia. A few days ago I decided to make some Pad Thai in celebration of a shared cultural heritage. Are you seeing the connection? It’s really very clear and logical. Anyway, despite the obvious continental linkage between my current country and Thailand, the tiny makolet(neighborhood grocery store) on my boyfriend’s street curiously seemed to stock only a limited selection of specialty Asian food items. While I was able to find exactly the right kind of rice noodles buried in a corner (I dusted them off and they were fine, I promise), I was at a loss when it came to fish sauce, tamarind juice, and couple other items. Aha, the joy of google! I found some spectacular substitutions which I’m excited to share, and the Pad Thai came out splendidly. Continue reading

This isn’t the way it seems, I promise…

I think it’s best to be up front about this: I kind of have a crush on this food blog. I make everything Alice loves, and I love everything she makes. (Except the things with shrimp or pork in them, because I keep kosher. Well, I love them too. I just can’t make them.) But wait! Before you go thinking I’m one of those foodie-bloggie-types, let me assure you that despite the fact that you are reading me talk about a food blog, on a food blog of my own, I am not into this at all. Except for her blog. And now my own. The end.

(p.s. Be warned: Alice advertises her blog as “everyday recipes from an everyday home cook.” I guess they all seem that way to her because she is super talented and has access to many fun kitchen tools. Not to worry-versions replete with substitutions will appear here in the days to come.)

The start of something

So a few years ago, I thought to myself: I’m in college, I love to travel, I love the good life, and I love to cook. And then I thought: this combination doesn’t make for a lot of money/fancy kitchen tools/stocked kitchen. So what will become of it all?

Well, I kept on cooking, and traveling, and not making so much money, and loving the good life. And I learned that you can have it all- as long as you learn the ropes. Being a bootleg gourmand means taking the “fancy” and making it your own. With food it means making whatever you want, but changing it up with whatever you have. With travel it means going wherever you want- but on the fly. You get the idea.

I’ve wandered through the US, South Africa, Namibia and Europe over the past few years, among other places. I don’t usually take very much with me- just a bag or two. I buy as few cooking supplies as I can when I land and I let the adventures begin. Now, I’m living in Israel and working as a PA for a busy CEO, which is an adventure all in itself. But the cooking and the hilarity continue.

That’s what I’ll try to do here as the bootleg gourmand- some cooking, some improvising, and a lot of random hilarity.