Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mmm...Mushroom Risotto

Recipe (8 servings)
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 lb mushrooms, chopped
  • oil (you will need at least 1/4 cup)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup (or more!) Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup (or less!) butter

Directions & Revisions
  • warm the broth on low heat
  • heat 2 tblsp. olive oil and add in mushrooms, cook for about 3 minutes, remove from heat and set it aside
  • in a seperate pan, heat 1 tblsp of oil, add shallots and cook for 2 minutes
  • add rice and cook about 2 minutes
  • pour in the wine and absorb
  • add 1/2 cup of broth at a time, stirring constantly
  • continue until all of the broth has been added and rice is cooked (about 15-20)
  • stir the mushrooms (and whatever else you want, for this risotto I added spinach, peas and prosciutto)
  • add butter and Parmesan

Hubby and I give two thumbs friend N. had two servings, the best compliment a "chef" could hope for.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Karlovy Vary

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

last day in Vienna and travel to Prague

Day 4 Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

For your reading pleasure, Stan wrote this entry:

MAK- the Museum of Applied Art
Museum a mix of textiles, paintings, woodwork, furniture and books from early medieval to modern and from Europe as well as Asia. Favorite exhibits were Architecture, Frankfurt kitchen, Seating Furniture.
Judenplatz- is a nice little square separated from the louder streets by taller buildings and accessible by windy alleys. Open air restaurants are an interesting backdrop to the mausoleum-like memorial to the Jews that perished in the nearby concentration camps.
Belevedere- The gardens are very impressive. Lawns are decorated with a mosaic of little plants that look like miniature trees so it looks like a small version of tree-lined alleys. Fountains, flowers, palace in the distance, tourists (us included) everywhere.
Dinner at a little Thai restaurant. Tom Yum – good. Green curry was different from US-Thai but very good.

Day 5 Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Travel day- today we took the big bad OBB to Prague! It was 45 minutes late but a good time was still had by all…check out Stan and his happy juice below.
Having spent the train ride learning about Prague through Rick Steve’s and Frommer’s the take away message for us was that Prague is full of con artist, thieves, and mafia style cab drivers that cheat you and charge exorbitant rates…but still a lovely place to visit! So naturally I got a major case of “I’m a big strong woman and don’t need no stinkin’ no-neck cabbie to stiff me so I’ll just walk to my hotel from the train station thank you very much” and almost an hour later having dragged a 50 lb suitcase and backpack (each) plus purse (just me) we arrived collapsed at our hotel, the Eurostar Thalia.
We then strolled around our new neighborhood (much easier now without the luggage) and scoped out where and what was up.

Belvedere Palace, Belvedere fountains, bumblebee, travel with all our luggage, Stan’s happy juice

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Eurotrippin continued...

Day 3 Monday, September 7th, 2009
We learned our lesson the hard way yesterday and wisely had breakfast at the hotel before heading out to MUMOK- Museum Moderner Kunst. What can I say about modern art*? It's a natural outgrowth of the complexity of modern life and the meaninglessness that results from it? It's hit or miss? It's silly (to paint a canvas one color and tell people it's "artistic")? It's even sillier to literally scribble (think- any two year old can do this) on a piece of paper, tape that to another piece of paper, have two floors(!) in a museum devoted to this, without it making sense to anyone and call THAT art? Yeah I guess it's safe to say that we liked the modern art in Chicago and LA better.
*Disclaimer- I am not a trained art critic. Nor am I a professionally trained artist. I’ve never taken an art history or an art appreciation class. To be frank I don’t even think I can doodle very well. So everything I have to say can just be ignored, thank you very much.

Naschmarkt- is where we headed to next. It's an open air market where you can buy fruits and veggies and any kind of cuisine imaginable! (we found Russians selling vodka and caviar!) We snacked on some Vietnamese soup and strawberries.
Across the street is the Secession Building- this is a building. Really there's some artsy explanation for why it's important but to us it's just a building. Please see photos for proof. Then onto the Jewish Museum- another rather disappointing place, maybe we're bad Jews or something but we didn't find the experience particularly moving or informative. When we first got there, there was a woman in the elevator with us who asked "Where are you from?" I thought I detected an accent from her so I answered "oh from America."She then says (all bitchy and exasperated with me) "Well I know that, where in America?" I thought about it for a second, I never know quite how much information to give here (well my husband and I are originally from the Ukraine, and we both immigrated to San Francisco, and went to school in Davis and then he moved to Reno and I stayed behind, blah blah blah, you see the problem) so I said "Umm Reno?" to which Miss Bitchy says "I didn't realize people from Reno actually went anywhere"...awkward pause from me, mental plea from Slavik "please don't bother she's not worth it" UGH!!! Some people.
The one exhibit we both enjoyed was "Tipisch" a look at pervasive Jewish and other ethnic stereotypes. There was a multimedia component (with clips ranging from "Dave Chapelle's Black White Supremacist, a rap song about "The Protocols of Zion", and other clips of existing stereotypes in the media) which was designed to show us that stereotypes are alive and well and be (we think) serious in tone...well we find it hilarious and sat and laughed at everything. I guess it's hard to edumacte us backward, hillbilly, Reno-ites that never travel anywhere.
After this a quick break at Buffet Trzesniewski- a place serving 21 different cheap open faced sandwiches, essentially Russian salads on black bread.
From here we hobbled around the City Center looking for Cantina La Norma, an Italian restaurant mentioned in the Rick Steve’s travel guide. By the time we found it I could no longer walk… yet somehow miraculously found the strength to continue to get gelato at Zanoni Zanoni, yummy yummy! Another memorable moment of the evening for us was when I remarked to Stan on all of the lovely horse drawn carriages taking tourists around, “Ooh horsies!” To which Stan says “Run from the four legged pooping machines.” Lovely imagery thank you Stan.

It’s modern, but is it art? No I think it’s a cardboard rock suspended from the ceiling. Stan underneath another fine “art” exhibit. Several selections from Naschmarkt. The Secession building. Sandwiches from Trzesniweski.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Day 1- Travel…sucked. Pregnant and traveling alone for 21 hours. Really is there any need to elaborate?
Saturday, September 5th, 2009
When I got to Vienna, I was greeted by my lovely escort/bag carrier/tour guide/husband. We took the CAT to downtown Vienna and then the train to our hotel, the Renaissance at the Imperial Riding School. I was crashing and slept for an hour before we could venture out for some dinner. My tummy wasn’t ready for wienershnitzel yet, so we dined on less than traditional Viennese fair…or to be more accurate we found a vegetarian Taiwanese restaurant, delicious! Then we wandered around to the Ringstrasse (the center of Vienna) for some dessert. After the all the hype of sachertorte, I thought it was kind of a let down, way too sweet and too dry. I will chalk that up to the skill of the chef, not the torte itself and valiantly try again.

Day 2 Sunday, September 06, 2009

We got up bright and early and went looking to find a better breakfast bargain (our hotel charges 24 Euros per person for breakfast buffet, nien danke). We took the “best in the world” Viennese public transportation to Stephansplatz (center of the tourist Vienna) and to our amazement found nothing open, seriously nothing, it was 8 o’clock in the morning, when do these people get up to work? We ate at McDonalds in defeat.
We started with Stephansdom or St. Stephen’s Cathedral. On Sundays there is mass and there was a sign that explained that they closed the doors during it. This made us really paranoid of being locked in, so we decided to go to the top of the tower on another day. We took a train to the museum quarter and started the hard core sightseeing.
Hofburg Palace- we saw the Kaiserappartements (Imperial apartments) which were more modest than one would expect of a palace dwelling, the porcelain and silver collection (yawn) and the Sisi museum- a museum dedicated to the life and death of Empress Elizabeth, wife of Franz Joseph I.
We found a tiny sandwich place, Hofburg Stuberl and had some yummy kasekreiner (sausage with cheese) and bread.
Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts)- an exhibit of the Hapsburg’s art collection including Raphael, Bosch and Brueghel.
Another food stop and photo op moment at the outside caf├ęs in the museum quarter. Warning to the wise- you never know what you’re getting even when the menu is in English. But our meal wasn’t half bad and gave us the strength to continue on!
Leopold museum- the most famous artists here include Egon Schiele (nudes galore) and Klimt.
After such sensory overload we needed a nap! For dinner we found a nearby pub for some more sausage and goulash, and bier.

Photos: Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral), Parliament building, statue in front of Parliament building, horse's ass, painting of Pomona and Vertumnus (for those of you that saw the play I was in "Metamorphoses"...), us contemplating our navels at Museum quarter