Alas, the final installment of my Sri Lankan adventure! After we left Sri Lanka’s tea country, we headed north to an area called the Cultural Triangle to see some of the country’s most popular ancient sites. We explored ancient royal palaces, Buddhist temples and the countryside. On this leg of the trip we also stopped in Minneriya Park, where we saw over 120 Sri Lankan elephants! We felt so lucky to have spent a few weeks in Sri Lanka, we easily could’ve stayed there for months. And while we were able to enjoy the beauty of its culture, the friendliness of the people and its ancient sites, Sri Lanka endured a devastating flood in the southern region killing over 200 people and displacing thousands while we were there and recently, a dengue outbreak as a result of the receding floods. We made a small contribution to support aid in the wake of these issues and if any of my posts about Sri Lanka have inspired or moved you, I encourage you to make a donation to the Red Cross. We completely fell in love with this country and I hope I’ve inspired you to go to Sri Lanka too!
Anyone who has traveled to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico has probably had cochinita pibil. It is one of the most famous dishes of this region and is one of my favorite Mexican dishes. Cochinita pibil is achiote-marinated pork that has been roasted in banana leaves. The marinade is made of lots of citrus, garlic and achiote paste, which is made of the anatto seed and various spices. Anatto seed is a deep red spice that is used mostly for dyeing and has a very mild flavor despite its vivid color. It is typically served with red pickled onions and fiery orange habanero salsa. From its spicy and tangy flavors to its festive pink and orange colors, this is the perfect summer party dinner for a big crowd!
Raise your hand if lemon bars are your WEAKNESS . . . you are not alone my friend, I repeat, you are not alone. I remember having a magically transformative moment biting into my first lemon bar as a child. There was something unexpected about that tart, lemony zing possessing such a rich, silky texture. Not to mention how it sat ever so delicately atop that buttery shortbread crust; I’d never tasted anything like it. It was game changing! And that’s exactly what I’m shooting for with these lemon bar popsicles.
I took my favorite lemon curd recipe, and made the texture a bit more popsicle friendly by adding whole milk. And of course, no lemon bar (even in popsicle form) would be complete without the buttery crust, so I’ve included that recipe as well. Just crumble and dip to your heart’s desire! This is definitely a new family favorite. Ten popsicles didn’t stand a chance in our house . . . popsicles are like currency to a toddler hand model!
A huge thank you to Billy from Wit & Vinegar (also considers popsicles currency) for taking summer seriously, and making Popsicle Week a reality!! And don’t forget to peruse #popsicleweek on social for more fabulous frozen fun!!
- Whisk eggs and egg yolks together in medium bowl and set aside.
- Mix lemon juice, sugar, and salt together in a small heavy saucepan and heat over medium heat until sugar is dissolved but not yet boiling, stirring frequently. SLOWLY drizzle this into the whisked eggs, whisking constantly until combined.
- Pour back into the saucepan and return to medium heat. Stir constantly until the mixture has thickened, about 3-5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and gently whisk in butter until melted, then whisk in the milk. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and let cool to room temperature.
- Pour into your popsicle molds of choice and freeze. Meanwhile prepare the shortbread cookie crumble.
- Take popsicles out of the freezer when frozen, and remove from the molds. Let sit to soften just for a minute before coating with the shortbread crumbs. Eat and enjoy!
- Preheat the oven to 350° F and prepare an 8X8 inch square pan by greasing it with butter.
- Sift confectioners’ sugar and flour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed for a few seconds to mix together. Add the butter and return to low speed until the dough comes together smoothly, scraping sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Pour out dough into your prepared pan and press with hands or the flat side of a cup until the dough covers the bottom, about 1/4 inch thick. Prick several times with a fork.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes in the oven until golden brown. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack.
- Break the shortbread up and smash into crumbs with a rolling pin or flat side of a cup.
(images by HonestlyYUM)
Today, I’m sharing Part 2 of our Sri Lankan adventure in Yala National Park, Ella and Hatton (check out Part 1 if you missed it!). After we left the beaches and colonial town of Galle, we made our way east to Yala National Park, which is home to the largest population of leopards and lots of Sri Lankan elephants! Then, we went north into Sri Lanka’s lush and green countryside. The vistas in Ella and Hatton of the mountains and tea plantations were some of the most beautiful we had ever seen. We couldn’t believe that within 3 hours we went from seeing elephants and leopards on safari in the dry bushes of Yala to the expansive wet green mountains and valleys of Sri Lanka’s tea country.
When I told most people I went to Sri Lanka for our honeymoon, most people’s response was either “where is that?” or “why?” Sure, it’s not your typical honeymoon destination like Bora Bora or Europe, and in all fairness, I knew very little about small island country in the Indian Ocean before we planned this trip. But, Sri Lanka seemed to have it all: tropical beaches, incredible wildlife, ancient ruins, lush green countrysides, a rich culture and history, not overly touristy, oh, and rice and curry, egg hoppers, tropical fruits and tea, tea and more tea! As you can imagine, exploring Sri Lankan cuisine was a big reason for us as well. Now that we’re back, I can’t stop raving about the country we fell in love with and have found myself actively persuading all my friends and family to go to Sri Lanka for their next vacation. Our trip was 2 weeks, which is enough time to see most of a majority of the country. Today, I’m sharing my highlights from Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital and Galle, an old preserved Dutch fort in southern Sri Lanka.
I will be the first to admit that I was very skeptical of sous vide cooking. For those not familiar with this method, you basically cook a piece of food in a vacuum sealed plastic bag in low temperature water for a long period of time, which both cooks food evenly at a perfect level of doneness and retains juice and flavor. The whole thing always seemed like a lot work and extra equipment I didn’t have time or room in my kitchen for. But, sous vide machines nowadays are sleeker, smaller and technologically savvy. The machine itself is a small stick that you can place in a container or pot that you already have. You do need special equipment in addition to the sous vide machine itself — sous vide bags and a vacuum pump. There are plenty of options on Amazon, but these are the ones I used. I use a Joule and it syncs up to an app on your phone so once you place the food in water, the app calculates the time required (depending on what you’re cooking) and keeps a timer for you. In full disclosure, Joule sent me this machine, but I absolutely fell in love with it– I don’t think I’ve ever cooked this much steak. Each steak just consistently turned out so juicy, tender and evenly cooked. I couldn’t believe I went this long without sous vide! And it’s a very forgiving method of cooking– you really can’t F this up. I am a total sous vide convert and today I’m sharing with you how to sous vide a ribeye steak. Some people have recipes that add aromatics or seasoning to the steak in the cooking process but I love just a simple salt and pepper (and truly, you don’t need anything else when you’re using this cooking method) and different condiments and sauces like fresh horseradish, sesame oil, something spicy like Crunch Dynasty or yuzu kosho— hands down my favorite condiment to eat with steak!