Stone-Ground Grits and Nora Mill Granary

Nora Mills Granary Storefront

Nora Mill Granary Storefront

Grits are a Southern classic, made from ground corn kernels and simmered until they get thick and creamy. While usually served for breakfast, grits can also be presented as a side dish, or as part of a main course for lunch or dinner (for example, in shrimp and grits).

The most flavorful grits—way better than instant grits—are stone-ground grits. I was first introduced to stone-ground grits in college when my mother-in-law sent me a bag. My husband and I weren’t big grit eaters at the time; we had mostly eaten instant grits while backpacking, so we imagined grits as more or less a bland texture or base.

read more

Crane Ramen Restaurant Gainesville, FL

Interior of Crane Ramen Restaurant in Gainesville, FL

Interior of Crane Ramen Restaurant in Gainesville, FL

When my mother called and told me that Crane Ramen—the first ramen restaurant in Gainesville, Florida—had opened, I decided to check it out. It’s hard to find a ramen restaurant outside the big cities, though with the increasing popularity of ramen, that may change. I’ve been spoiled by all the ramen joints in Chicago (Santouka being my favorite) and Atlanta, so it was exciting to see one open in my little hometown.

Crane Ramen’s Atmosphere and Setting

Crane Ramen features a vibrant, modern interior with an open kitchen, illustrated placemats showing how to eat ramen (the secret is to slurp and slurp quickly!), and ceiling banners featuring the restaurant’s logo—a crane stretched proudly over an empty stack of bowls. This may be a reference to longevity, as cranes are fabled to live 1,000 years in Japan, and noodles symbolize longevity in some Asian countries.

read more

Fromage Blanc with Honey and Raspberries

Fromage Blanc with Honey and Raspberries

Fromage Blanc with Honey, Raspberries, Vanilla-Bourbon Sugar, and Espresso

This is the last post in my series re-creating Julia Child’s first meal in France. It started off with oysters on the half shell with rye bread and butter, followed by sole meunière (sole filets pan-fried with butter and topped with capers, lemon juice, and parsley). The third course was a light and refreshing salad dressed with a Dijon-mustard vinaigrette. Fromage blanc with honey, raspberries, and espresso concludes the meal (Julia Child had a strong café filter, which is a large cup of American-style coffee, but because I only have a Bialetti espresso maker, I opted for espresso).

read more

Classic French Dijon Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Classic French Dijon Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Classic French Dijon Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

This post continues my series re-creating Julia Child’s first meal in France. I previously featured her first course (oysters on the half shell) and second course (sole meunière). Her third course was salade verte (green salad) with a lightly acidic vinaigrette dressing, served alongside baguette slices. I re-created the delicious, tangy dressing by making a classic French Dijon vinaigrette and poured it over a fresh salad with kumquat slices.

read more

Flavorful Journeys Popular Blog Posts of 2015

Every year I like to look and see which blog posts on Flavorful Journeys were most popular with readers. It’s a fun way to reflect and reminisce on my culinary adventures and travel experiences. Without further ado, here are Flavorful Journeys top 10 posts of 2015!

1. Sashimi Seaweed Cucumber Salad

Flavorful Journeys Popular Blog Posts of 2015

This sashimi seaweed cucumber salad is one of my weeknight favorites. Since everything is served raw, preparation is a breeze. The fresh fish, roe, and seaweed transport you to the sea, while the citrusy ponzu enlivens the salad by adding acidity to the dish.

read more