Labor Day Weekend

Youghiogheny Dam, Confluence, PA (pronounced “yock-a-gain-ee”, or so we’re told)

Hmm, it’s been quite some time since I posted.  I guess we’ve just been busy.  We did take some time out for a weekend away in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania, which I highly recommend.  It’s a great area with activities for the whole family.  It’s also a great place to just rest and relax and enjoy some quiet time (which is what we did).


We stayed at Hartzell House, an incredible B&B in Addison, PA.  Our hosts, Kitty and Dave, are wonderful folks who made our stay comfortable and serene.  The house is beautifully decorated and meticulously maintained, with a lovely garden, sun room, patio, pool table, and plenty of books, games and DVDs to keep you occupied when you want to stay in.  There are lots of lovely spaces to curl up with a book and a cup of tea. Be warned: Kitty and Dave’s breakfasts are to die for… you might just pass out due to excessive bliss.  Also, be prepared to make some great new friends as everything about the B&B just brings out the friendly in its guests.


Hartzell House is located a short driving distance to many activities, outdoors and in, in both Pennsylvania and Maryland.  We had a bit of rain and my husband had a little cold, so we didn’t do too much in the great outdoors.  We did take in quite alot in the way of antiques and arts (stained glass, glass blowing, woodworking, iron working, weaving, pottery, quilting, photography, to name a few).

Glass blowing at Simon Pearce, Mountain Lake Park, MD

There are also some very good restaurants and cafes in the area, including River’s Edge Cafe (also a B&B) which has a good number of vegetarian selections (definitely try the sweet potato fries) and is located, as advertised, right at the edge of the river.


On the way home on Monday, we stopped for lunch at Tari’s, our favorite place in Berkeley Springs, WV, only to find that they had suffered some extensive flood damage earlier in the weekend and were still cleaning up.  Hope you re-open soon!  We spent a weekend in Berkeley Springs a few years ago, and highly recommend it too.


So, I have some overdue recipes to post… coconut quinoa and spicy eggplant, to name a few.  Look out for the those in the coming week.


My Birthday Dinner… Home Cooked, Care of My Husband

My husband has to cook… once a year, for my birthday.  He has to plan the menu, pick up the necessary groceries, prepare and serve the meal.  This year’s birthday dinner was postponed for various reasons, but it was definitely worth the wait.  I got a starter (stuffed mushrooms), a salad (gazpacho salad… yes, tastes like the soup but isn’t soupy), an entree (broccoli brown rice casserole), and… wait for it… he even made the dessert himself!

The Table (Minus Dessert)

Stuffed Mushrooms

Gazpacho Salad

Broccoli Brown Rice Casserole

Chocolate Ricotta Mousse

New! Shopping List

As you may have noticed, a sizable proportion of my recipes are focused on South Indian cooking.  South India generally refers to Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.  There are some similarities in language and culture, and many similarities in food, particularly in the most frequently used spices.  My recipes will focus on recipes from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, as these are the foods I know best.


Some of the ingredients will be unfamiliar if you don’t have much experience with South Indian food, and you’re very unlikely to have them in your pantry.  If you are serious about trying out some South Indian flavors and techniques, then head on over to my new Shopping List where I list the basic necessities for a South Indian kitchen.  I will update the list as I add new recipes, and I will try to get pictures/descriptions up for each item as soon as I can.

Happy cooking!