Tag Archives: drink

Horchata – Mexican Rice and Almond Drink

Mexico has a great tradition of sweet refreshing drinks. My favorites are horchata, tamarindo, and jamaica “ha-mike-ah”. This was my first time making horchata and it turned out well. I’ll probably do it again, but I might cut back on the almonds because they’re hard to get and this recipe takes a lot of them. I also really didn’t enjoy blanching and peeling almonds by hand. Definitely buy blanched almonds if you have the option.

There’s a wide variety of horchata recipes, but you can find the one I used at the Homesick Texan blog. I liked this recipe because it doesn’t use powdered cinnamon or milk. Powdered cinnamon tends to float on top of liquids and adding milk to horchata just doesn’t seem authentic.

Advertisements

Licorice Spice Tea

Stash licorice spice herbal tea

This is my favorite herbal tea. I don’t get it often in Laos, so I was so happy when my friend Tiffany shared some bulk licorice root with me.  I looked on the back of this tea bag for the ingredients and used some of the same ingredients to create the following tea recipe. It tastes very close to the Stash version. The great thing about licorice root is that it adds a sweet taste without adding sugar.

Ingredients:

  • 1 T dried licorice root
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 5 cloves
  • 2 inches of cinnamon stick

Add 4 cups of water and simmer for at least 20 minutes. Drink some, add more water, and continue simmering for the whole evening. It will make your house smell great.

Good Everything – restaurant review

cute silverware holder

Since Udon Thani is the biggest Thai city close to Vientiane, we find ourselves there pretty often. Sometimes we go to Udon for its airport and sometimes for it’s hospital. Whenever we’re there, we love to eat at Good Everything. It’s a cute little restaurant across the street from Nong Prajak Park where everything really is good (everything we’ve tried at least). The atmosphere is airy, fresh, quiet, and quaint. It reminds me of an old flower shop and it’s surrounded by a small, carefully maintained garden.

The menu includes both Thai and foreign dishes. It can be hard to find good western food in Southeast Asia. Sometimes it’s too bland, too ketchup-y, or not very healthy. I don’t know how, but Good Everything has figured out what western food should actually taste like!

The last time we ate there, I got the corn cream soup and a mango shake:

corn cream soup with garlic bread

Mango Shake - so pretty!

James ordered a Vietnamese style wrap set (sorry for the out of focus lettuce):

In the past we’ve had the salad nicoise, bread basket with spreads (one of our favorites), Thai latna, and many of the fruit drinks. All the fruit drinks are presently beautifully and made of real fruit. They also have a good selection of teas and desserts.

Passion Fruit and Its Flower

James is trying to grow a different variety of passion fruit in the garden. Up here in the mountains, we have a small variety that tastes great, but doesn’t make a lot of juice. This is the larger variety of passion fruit, which grows in Vientiane.

So far, our vine has produced less than 10 fruits and some flowers that might turn into fruit. Aren’t the flowers crazy beautiful?! We hope our passion fruit vines will give us lots of passion fruit juice!

Linguine Carbonara and Watermelon Juice

I’m pleased to announce that this is my first guest post! My brother, Scott, is a great cook. He makes his own chicken broth, pita bread, and braided challah bread. Scott is probably a braver cook than me in some ways because I have never dealt with a whole chicken by myself. We had originally thought Scott might post his challah recipe, but it comes from a cookbook, which brings up copyright issues, so he chose to share this meal instead! I hope this will be the first of many guest posts from Scott.  Parmesan is not easily available in Laos, but you can get it in Vientiane. You could use the New Zeeland cheddar if you have to, but it won’t be as good. Usually carbonara includes ham or bacon, so add that too if you wish.

Carbonara is mac and cheese’s classy older cousin.  It’s a creamy and savory pasta dish with a pepper bite and yet will take perhaps only three or four more minutes than the blue box.  I’m not sure about the availability of parmesan in Laos, but the other 5 ingredients or substitutes should be available.

Watermelon juice compliments this dish well, it’s sweet, thirst quenching and puts out the black pepper sniffles.  I hear this drink comes from Mexico, but it could be from anywhere. Continue reading

Iced Hibiscus Tea – Agua de Flor de Jamaica

I first encountered this drink in the Yucatan province of Mexico. It was called “Jamaica” and I loved how refreshing it was on a hot day. It was available at almost every restaurant and I drank it at every chance. Although it’s a tea, it tastes more like a juice. Jamaica is pronounced “Ha-mike-ah”  and the name of the drink comes from the Spanish word for hibiscus, Flor de Jamaica (flower of Jamaica).

I was so excited come across this drink again in Laos. We were eating lunch at the Vang Vieng Organic Farm and they served us some of this juice. Since then, we’ve discovered that one of James’ co-workers grows this flower on her small farm. So now we have access to an unlimited supply! The Lao name for this drink is “nam som podee” – which means “sour juice, just right”. Some people also call it “nam krajiab” which is the Thai name. Continue reading

Chai

IMG_3537

According to my friend who used to live in India, “chai” means tea and there are many kinds of chai – some of them are spiced. So, this is the way that I make spiced chai, but you can alter the spices to suit your tastes. Whole spices are the way to go since they have more flavor and won’t leave powder floating on your tea. Continue reading