Passport for Your Palate-Grapefruit Vodka Soda

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My favorite go to spirit is vodka and while I usually keep it very simple with just some soda and lime, I do love to play around from time to time. This particular combination was inspired by my oldest daughter, Greta.  We were doing one of our almost weekly chats at the end of the work day. I believe that evening it happened to be National Tequila today.  I was like dang, I don’t have any tequila in the house, just my vodka. She herself had now become busy grabbing a stool and was making a search through the cabinet in the kitchen that house the liquor.  She immediately chimed in with what had become the most recent poolside libation this summer with her and my friends in Tennessee.

 

“Mom, we have been doing vodka, grapefruit juice, and club soda.”

I was like I actually have some grapefruit juice on hand that I’d grabbed for a recipe I can’t recall.  It turns out she never found any tequila that night either and we both ended up with this light refreshing drink perfectly suited for a hot summer night.

 

It turns out, I’ve discovered, that I am not the only one on my back balcony that enjoys this cocktail as it has attracted the hummingbirds.  I was quite startled the first time the buzz and blur came right into my face as I lifted the glass for a sip.  I am guessing it is the beautiful color of the drink that draws the bird as I can’t say it is super sweet.  Though I’ve included some variations you can try as well below.

 

Grapefruit Vodka Soda or aka a Greyhound

1 glass

 

1.5 ounce favorite vodka, give or take. My current go to is Broken Shed.

6-8 ounces ruby red grapefruit juice.  I am an OceanSpray fan.

1-2 ounces club soda.

Lime wedge, option garnish

 

Fill glass with ice.  Pour in vodka, then grapefruit juice, then top with club soda. I use a highball glass.  Usually a plastic one right now as this is something to take poolside.  Stir.  You could opt to shake in a mixer as well, but I keep it easy peasy when I am at home..

 

Variations

  • You can substitute gin for the vodka
  • Add salt to the rim and make it a Salty Dog (traditionally this would have gin instead of vodka)
  • Want to take some bitterness out of the grapefruit consider adding sugar to the rim or adding a touch of maple syrup to the mix. For me it has to be real Vermont Maple Syrup.
  • I made my own fun twist by using an ounce or two of Pad Thai Sauce in the mix.

 

Give my summer buzz a try. Let me know if the birds come by. Happy Sipping!


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslPassport for Your Palate-Grapefruit Vodka Soda
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Passport for Your Palate-Pad Thai

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Thailand is the “Land of Smiles.” It offers the complete package when it comes to an unforgettable vacation and one of the reasons is it’s great cuisine. This dish I am about to share is sure to put a smile on your lips when you taste it.  Being in the travel industry has provided me with a plethora of incredible opportunities and experiences. Despite our current Covid-19 situation, Thailand Tourism, Down Under Answers, and Ayara Thai were able to provide not once, but twice a fun and tasty evening event where Chef Vanda led us through how to create Pad Thai in our own kitchens via Zoom.  What is even better is that her restaurant packages a kit for your purchase that provides all the authentic ingredients such as the Pad Thai sauce, rice noodles, shrimp paste, pickled radish, paprika, crushed peanuts, and roasted chili powder.  You then only need to go pick up a handful of items from the store to make this fantastic plate.   It is super easy and quick.  TIP: Cut up all your ingredients and have them ready to go before cooking!

Throughout our cooking lesson Chef Vanda interjected with stories and cultural practices of her home, Thailand.  If I didn’t already have Thailand on my “to  go” list, it would be now.  I have actually been eating Thai food for years.  I love to grab lunch locally with one of my agency owner friends and when I do get the opportunity to visit my folks in Vermont, my dad makes some mean Thai cuisine. There is a lovely restaurant called Thai Basil, located in Manchester, Vermont,  we often go to for celebrations because they have a lot of gluten-free options for my daughter.

So let’s get cooking!

All of the cooking is done in one pan or wok.  Chef Vanda does recommend a wok with flat bottom, but a cast iron pan will work as well.  You are going to be heating the pan up on high heat, so everything cooks fast.  She also says if there is something you are allergic to or don’t care for you can leave it out.  And one last thing, typically Pad Thai is not spicy and it is up to your discretion on the use of the chili powder for the heat at the end.

Pad Thai Recipe

Serves 1-2 people

Ingredients:

3-4 oz Ayara’s Pad Thai Sauce

2 bundles of rice noodles, soaked in room temp water for 15-min

2-3 oz chicken, sliced

1 oz tofu, cubed

1-2 eggs (personal preference)

2-tbs soybean oil or vegetable oil (do not use olive oil)

1-tbs garlic, chopped

1-tbs shrimp paste

Pinch pickled radish

1/2 tsp paprika

1 lime cut into wedges

Roasted peanuts, crushed

Roasted chili powder

1 handful of beansprouts, for cooking

1 handful of beansprouts, for garnish

1 green onion, cut into 1-inch lengths

Cilantro, garnish to taste

Instructions:

  1. Place a wok/pan over high heat. Once hot, add oil and cook chicken and tofu.
  2. Once chicken is almost cooked, add egg and garlic
  3. Once egg is cooked, add noodles. When noodles begin to soften, add shrimp paste and pickled radish.
  4. Once mixed, add Pad Thai sauce, beansprouts, green onions, and paprika
  5. Taste, add more sauce if needed.
  6. Transfer to serving dish. Garnish with beansprouts, lime, peanuts, chili powder, and cilantro to taste.

Additional Cooking Tips:

  • Her noodles come with a tie around them. This is to let you know when they are ready to take out of the water. When the noodles easily slip out of the tie they are ready to go.
  • When you put the eggs, you want to let them set a bit. Then once set break them up into larger chunks. You don’t want to scramble them.
  • She prefers to use Pressed Tofu.
  • To eat this, you take a fork and spoon, toss all the ingredients that you have on the plate together. You than use the fork to push bites onto your spoon and eat from your spoon.  That is how they do it in Thailand.

I recorded myself live this past cooking class. You can see it here. Mind you there were some camera issues, but it was all for fun.  To get your own Pad Thai Recipe kit from Ayara Thai, click here. 

Happy Cooking!

#padthai


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

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Passport for Your Palate-Lamington

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Lamington is an Australian delight. A sponge cake dessert, covered in chocolate, and then rolled in desiccated coconut. These little treats are part of every Aussie childhood. They appear at birthdays, morning and afternoon teas, fundraising events, and of course on Australia Day each January 26th.

I’ve enjoyed these delectable cakes on just about every trip to Australia, but my favorite time has to be visiting Kangaroo Island, South Australia. It was a trip in 2015 that I took my son, Cullen, on for his 18th birthday and soon to be high school graduation. We were spending a couple nights on the island doing tours with Exceptional Kangaroo Island, owned and operated by Craig Wickham and his family.

Day 1 was out day to go Koala spotting. Searching out koalas seemingly hiding in the high branches of the eucalyptus trees. During our outing we stopped at a billabong, where we did happen to spot several of our little furry friends, for morning tea. The guides had brought freshly made lamington to enjoy with our tea. I don’t know if it was the cakes were that much tastier or the venue we were eating them in was so much more intoxicating to eat them in. Either way they were truly a treat.

I reached out to a good Aussie mate of mine and asked her if she could point me to a good recipe to replicate this yummy treat. I share here with you the link to a recipe by Mardi Michels published in 2014 by Jamie Oliver. Mardi mentions that this is an adapted recipe of her nana’s. Give it a burl for your next celebration.

Homemade Lamingtons


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslPassport for Your Palate-Lamington
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Passport for Your Palate-Marinated Cheese

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It’s that time of year again. Summer is coming to a close. The air is changing. Kids are back in school.  Life is getting back on routine and football has returned.  For those of you, who have been following me for awhile, you know I am a huge football fan, and you will find my on my couch, at friend’s homes, or even a neighborhood bar/restaurant to keep up with my Green Bay Packers.

I’ve been a fan for years considering I’ve lived in Wisconsin 4 different times and received my degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  I don’t keep up with college as much as the NFL, but will always be a Bucky fan.

One of the things that comes along with my football fanatics is a food spread.  I don’t really cook dinners on Sundays and tend to prepare more finger foods to graze upon.  And of course, when you are a Packer fan, and have been a Wisconsinite, you can not enjoy a football game with out some sort of cheese on the table.  So, as things rev up for this season, I bring to you an oldy but a goody. I don’t even recall where it came from as it is just amongst the recipes in my old hand written recipe box, but I do know you can find several versions of it on line.  It is so simple! Yet it has the appearance you may have slaved all day upon it.  It always get raves reviews!  As the men say, “that is some good sh*t!”  Enjoy!

Marinated Cheese

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
3 Tbsp chopped parsley
3 Tbsp minced green onion
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
3 cloves minced garlic
1-2oz jar diced pimentos
1-8oz block sharp cheddar
1-8oz package cream cheese

Directions:

-Mix 1st 10 ingredients together. Stir vigorously. Set marinate aside.
-Cut block of cheddar cheese in half lengthwise. Cut crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices
-Repeat procedure with cream cheese
-Arrange cheese slices alternately in a shallow baking dish, standing the slices on side.
-Pour marinade over cheese slices.

Cover and refrigerate 8 hours. Transfer to a serving platter and spoon marinade over cheese slices.
Serve with assorted crackers.

12 to 16 appetizer servings.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

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Passport for Your Palate-Tostadas and a Mule

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One of the great things about traveling is tasting.  No trip should be taken without making a dive into the local cuisine and trying out the restaurants.  January had me in a new destination with new yet familiar flavors.  I am a spice girl. I love foods with a lot of flavor and a bit of heat.   I got just that with my visit to Frida’s in La Antigua Guatemala this past month.
Frida’s is a Mexican restaurant located close to the heart of La Antigua on 5a. Ave. Norte 29.  It is open 10am to 1am and has two floors with bars and dining. My visit had our group seated on the second floor as a stop for appetizers before heading to our dinner meeting. The place has a very upbeat vibe serving both locals and travelers. Reservations recommended.  The cuisine is traditional Mexican with a flare.  For our appetizers we had mini tostadas served with very fun and tasty cocktails.  Frida’s was gracious enough to share with us the ingredients of our delicious bites that I’d like to pass on to you. They would be great party pleasers.

The recipes for the food and drinks we had are:

Spicy Margarita
1.5 oz of white tequila mixed with lime, triple sec and chile de árbol infussion. Served in a margarita glass with salt and chile on the rim!
Oax Mule
1.5 oz of young mezcal mixed with macerated ginger, lime, sugar and cucumber topped with tonic water. Served with ice and a piece of fresh grapefruit.
Tostadas de pulpo:
Cover a black corn tostada with an avocado mouse, top it with grilled octopus with garlic and coriander and put a bit of chile de árbol oil on top!
Tostadas Atún:
Fresh tuna marinated in lime and orange juice with cilantro, pepper and pickled onion. Add sweet corn kernels, put in a corn tostada and top with chipotle mayo.

Note the corn tostadas were about the size you would find in a corn chip bag. I would use a circle cutter to cut out from real corn tostada for these small bites.  My personal favorites were the Oax Mule and the Tostadas Atún.  Enjoy!

Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslPassport for Your Palate-Tostadas and a Mule
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Passport for Your Palate-Pomegranate Martini

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I’m a vodka girl.  I’d say any of us that imbibe whether frequently or not have a go to favorite spirit. Mine happens to be vodka. Was it due to years of being exposed to the incredible James Bond films and his signature “Shaken not stirred” martinis? Maybe. No matter where the taste came from I am a sucker for ordering and trying new martinis wherever I go.

This year one of the best creations I came across was in New York City this December at the Refinery Rooftop. A great rooftop space with incredible ambiance and amazing views of the Manhattan Skyline.  The natural lighting, décor, and friendly atmosphere made it a great stop for our Friday afternoon cocktailing.  The drink we ordered was called Pom-ises Pom-ises.
It was served in a beautiful copper martini glass. With a little google research with new friends I met at the corner of the bar, we found the exact glasses on Amazon.com along with some more affordable options as well.   Here is my recreation of the drink.

Pomegranate Martini
1 3/4 to 2oz Vodka  (Tito’s or your favorite brand or even an already infused pomegranate vodka. I do Tito’s as it is gluten-free)
1/2oz Pomegranate Juice (POM or Simple Truth brands are great options and easy to find at your local super store)
1/3oz Orange liqueur
Fresh lime juice

Garnish:
Slice of Lime

Instructions:
Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice
Shake and strain into a copper martini glass or glass of choosing
Garnish with Lime slice


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslPassport for Your Palate-Pomegranate Martini
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Passport for Your Palate-Jellied Cranberries

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It’s Thanksgiving time here in the United States, which means its time to give thanks for all our blessings as we gather round the table.  It is also the time to pull out your stretchy pants for the over indulging you will do on all your family and friend’s cooking.  Then the big nap that ensues and takes over your body after such a wonderful feast. True relaxation!

In this bit, I share a recipe that has become a kid favorite and annual request. It became part of our thanksgiving in its original recipe form around 2003 when we first moved to the state of Tennessee.  That year, we had become very self-conscious of our health and unlike Wisconsin, Tennessee can be quite warm on Thanksgiving and thus we began cooking our turkey on the grill that year.   This year however, I am taking my dish with me to Vermont where the kids and I will enjoy family time with my parents.

I love this dish because it is very easy to whip up first thing Thanksgiving morning or can be prepared a day ahead which makes it a perfect dish to bring to other homes.  My current recipe is an adaptation from a South Beach Diet recipe I found back in 2003. Since then, like any good cook, I have modified and tweaked it over the course of time to its current state.  I love its freshness with the crisp tart cranberries, sweet bursting pomegranates, and zesty orange.  I sometimes have to make two bowls due to its popularity.

Jellied Cranberries
Serves 8

Ingredients:
1 envelope (four 1/2-cup servings) sugar-free raspberry gelatin (you can use regular, just cutting calories here. Also, Jell-O brand is gluten-free)
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
ice cubes ( I use the crushed ice setting on my refrigerator when time to add)
2 cups fresh cranberries
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (Time saver: buy the ones already seeded in the fruit section of your grocery)

Instructions:
Stir boiling water into gelatin powder in medium bowl at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Measure 1/2 cup of cold water and add enough ice cubes to make 1 1/4 cups ice water. Add cold water and ice cubes to gelatin.  Stir until slightly thickened. Remove any remaining ice. Set aside.
Add cranberries and orange zest to bowl of food processor or blender. Process until finely chopped (do not puree) Add to dissolved gelatin.  Mix well. Cover and refrigerate until set (About 3 hours)

On Thanksgiving this is always one of the first things I make and get put aside.  It is a great recipe for the kids to help put together too.  I have always loved having my kids in the kitchen since they were toddlers. Fond memories of “cook’s helper” in their homemade aprons.

What are your family favorites and traditions? I would love to hear.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslPassport for Your Palate-Jellied Cranberries
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Passport for Your Palate-Creamy Zucchini Soup

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South Australia is your one stop-destination for world-class wine, unbeatable gourmet food, spectacular natural scenery and unique wildlife. This summer, I was fortunate to visit Adelaide, South Australia’s capital and Australia’s best boutique city.  During my time there I was fortunate to be able to get out on a wine tour to explore the rolling hills and beautiful country side that surround it.
One of the stops along our trail was Longview Vineyard.  Longview is located just outside the historic township of Macclesfield and is a stunning family-owned Adelaide Hills single vineyard with the feel of an old world estate, but still clearly Australian.  It is located in am most beautiful setting giving you stunning views across the rolling hills as far as the eye can see. Perfect in winter or summer season, the estate is designed for events and boasts a new tasting room and eatery that I was more then willing to give a go.  Truly what is better than wine, food, and good friends to share it with.Luckily for us, the tour included lunch at this stop and my travel buddies and I are still talking about the food and wine we had that day. In particular, we can’t stop thinking about the absolutely delectable mouth-watering zucchini soup the cook made of us.  We were so taken with the soup, we had the host bring her out so as we might get the secrets to her incredible creamy soup that had no cream in it at all.

Since being back in the states, several of us have taken our hand at replicating the beautiful green liquid we were served.  Here is a culmination of our efforts in a recipe for you to try.  I am still tweaking myself and in this version, I’ve actually included a bit of broccoli.  I am told by my good travel agency owner friend, Amal, whose husband is a chef, that the secret lies in the sauté of the vegetables in a 2 to 1 ratio mix of butter to olive oil, with butter being half the ratio.  Give it a go and let me know what spin you put on it.

Creamy Zucchini Soup
Ingredients:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
1 white onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 large zucchini, chopped
1/2-1 cup broccoli florets, cut in small pieces (optional)
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth/stock
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Wash and prepare your vegetables.
Heat oil in large pot and sauté over a low to medium heat until the onion and garlic are translucent.
Add in the zucchini and broccoli; stir for a few minutes.
Add the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Season to taste.
Once cooked, use a stick blender and blend the soup to form a smooth texture.

Garnish with fresh shaved parmesan and basil infused olive oil. (optional)
Serve with a toasted crostini.

Makes about 4 servings.

Longview Vineyard is located along South Australia’s Epicurean Way. The Epicurean Way is a 4 day drive food and wine trip that seamlessly links together the four iconic wine regions of Mclaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, Barossa, and Clare Valley. It is a perfect inclusion in an Australian itinerary for those who travel with their taste buds.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

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Passport for Your Palate-German Eggs

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What are German Eggs?  Well, it’s an affectionate name we’ve given to the style an method of eating an egg that we discovered in Germany and Austria. Back in the early 2000s, my then husband, lived and worked in Julich, Germany.  He only came home for week visits about every  6 to 8 weeks, during the two years the company moved him there. Meanwhile, myself and 3 toddlers where living back in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Well, one day I decided instead of him flying home, that I should pack up the three kids despite their young age and take a trip to Germany instead of him coming home.
I spent a good part of year planning it.  Learning German, reading up on the countries, and planning a 2-week driving itinerary that would suite both parent and children alike. Once the trip was set, I packed up 3 kids (2, 4, and 6 years of age at the time) and boarded a KLM flight for Amsterdam for our summer vacation.

One of the things I loved was breakfast while we were there. You see I am not really a fan of traditional breakfast food. You know cereals, waffles, pancakes, and such.  I much prefer to eat something more like dinner or lunch. Even now I’ll take a plate of leftovers over a standard breakfast. You can imagine the joy, if you are like myself, to discover in Europe they have lots of things on the morning buffet that are more like lunch.  Meats and sausages, breads, cheeses, and more!  All fresh from the farm.  My mouth is watering just envisioning some of the table spreads I remember coming down to.
Well, one of the staples on these tables were eggs.  Not just hard boiled eggs though, but what we would refer to as soft boiled.  What made these eggs even tastier and almost an are was the way they were served with their own special cup and utensils. They became the family favorite.  So much so that I began the search during the trip to find my own set of Eierbecher (egg cups) and Eierlöffel (egg spoons), along with the special egg cracker.

Thus when we returned from Germany and Austria, the kids would request German eggs because that’s where they were introduced to the soft boiled egg.  We have a tradition now of eating them for our holiday breakfasts, but they make the perfect treat for a leisurely Sunday morning breakfast.  Mind you there is some trick to producing the perfect soft boiled egg and this is what I/we learned from our travels.


How to make the Perfect Soft Boiled (German) Egg

2 eggs
Small bowl with cold water
Pot ( some say glass is better then aluminum)

Bring  salted pot of water to a boil.  Large enough there is room for the eggs not to collide.   Gently place eggs into boiling water. ( I use a slotted spoon to slowly set in the boil)  Cover the pot and turn heat down to low.  Set timer for % minutes or 6 if you like your yolks a bit thicker.  When timer goes of carefully remove egg with spoon and set in the bowl of cold water.  Note: if you are boiling more than 2 eggs you will need a larger pot and need to add a minute or 2 more.

To eat, place egg in your egg cup, use the top egg cracker to remove the top, then use the small spoon to scoop out the deliciousness.  Salt and pepper as desired.

Serves 1



Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

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Passport for Your Palate-Australian Meat Pie

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What is an Australian meat pie?  Well, it is one of the foods you must absolutely try when you are visiting.  It is pure comfort in the palm of your hand. It is a must have when I am Down Under.  The pies are often referred to as Australia’s national dish.
Australian meat pies are hand-held sized meat pies containing dice or minced meat. Sometimes they will also have gravy, mushrooms, onions, cheese or other vegetables in them. They are often served with tomato sauce. (Australia’s version of ketchup) My understanding from my Aussie friends is that mince meat is the way to go, but I often opt for the beef and mushroom myself.
For me, my visits to Australia were not the first time I encountered a meat pie.  My father’s family is from New England, Vermont to be exact and my great grandmother, Nanny Dot, and her sisters used to make a minced meat pie. Most often around holidays such as thanksgiving.  Her pies where made in a regular pie dish vs the smaller hand-sized pies I eat in Australia.  I have to say as a young girl I wasn’t very fond of the minced meat flavor. Probably why I still opt for the beef and mushroom. To me the  Australia meat pies are a cousin to our pot pies. Which I do make on occasion from a full-size pie to individual ramakins.
Meat pies actually go way back in history over to Europe during the middle ages.  Making savory pies was a way, or only way, back then to preserve meats.  Today, though in Australia, you can find these handy little delectable take away pies at sporting events, holiday celebrations, and most local bakeries. My most recent visit to South Australia, one of the travel agents in our group found a place to deliver.  We’d been in country 7 days without a bite and couldn’t head to the airport for our flight home without one. The store brought them to our hotel for a quick dine and dash before piling in our vans for the trip home.
Today I share two recipes with you. One from the recipe book of my relatives for making minced meat and a traditional meat recipe for today’s Australian pies.

Mince Meat Recipe from Myrtle Taylor Pillsbury’s Book

2 pounds meat
2 1/2 pounds sweet apples
4 pounds sugar
1/2 pound suet
1/2 pound butter
2 quarts cider
3 teaspoonfuls of cloves
6 teaspoonfuls all spice
6 teaspoonfuls of cinnamon
1 teaspoonful pepper
4 nutmegs
1 glass of brandy
3 glasses wine
Salt and one cracker

Raisins stewed and chopped, use if desired citron and lemons.
The above is made in a regular pie dish for 6-8 servings.
Unfortunately, the book has no directions on how to prepare the pie. This is typical of the recipes I find from my ancestors. I always get to experiment in making it come out the way I remember.


Australian Meat Pie
I’ve adapted my recipe based on above and other recipes that I have seen for the meat pies.  Once you have a basic recipe you can pretty much add and modify to your content as I mentioned pies come from a range or meat only, to meat with chees, to meat with mushrooms, and on.

For the Crust:
Here is my standard go to pie crust recipe that I use for a standard 9-inch pie. To make individual pies you would roll out and cut into large circle and cut out your circles for your individual crusts. Another option is to buy prepared dough or puff pastry.
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening or 2/3 cup lard  ( I use Crisco)
2 cups all -purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water
Combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening until mix becomes size of small peas. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until flour is moist and pastry almost cleans sides of bowl.
Roll into a ball.  Roll out on lightly floured surface. Cut your rounds for your individual pie pans.  Place one circle in bottom of each pie tin.  Once pie is filled top with second circle. See instructions below.

For the Filling:
1 ½ to 2lbs cubed meat minced or lean ground beef
1 onion finely chopped (optional)
2 clove garlic minced
½ stick butter
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ cup red wine
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
½ -1 6oz can of tomato paste
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons flour (mix with some water or broth before adding)
¾ cup beef broth
½ tsp thyme
Freshly ground pepper
Salt to taste

Instructions for pie:
-Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft.  Add beef, breaking into small pieces. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for about 8 minutes. Add in garlic and cook until fragrant.
-Add broth, wine, Worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar, nutmeg, allspice, tomato paste and thyme and bring to a boil.  Add flour mixed in liquid and slowly stir in to thicken. Add more thickening if needed, but mixture will thicken up more when chilled.   Lower heat to medium-low to simmer gently for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning to suit.  Transfer to a bowl and let cool in refrigerator.
-Meanwhile prepare crusts.
-Once filling is cooled. Make sure rack is in center of oven. Place a baking sheet on the rack and pre-heat to 425F
-Fill your pie shells, don’t overfill. Use water or egg wash to brush the edges. Pinch and crimp the pastry together. Brush top. Place small slit in middle with point of knife.
-Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on rack for 10 minutes before serving.
-Serve with tomato sauce (ketchup)



Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslPassport for Your Palate-Australian Meat Pie
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