Beautiful, Delicious Bali

Here I am on the island of Bali, with Bill, celebrating our 30th anniversary.  Which is so weird because we are only 35.

I cannot tell you how much I love everything here.  The beauty of the people is like no other, and I am particularly talking about inner beauty.  They are warm, kind, gentle, and graceful in all things.  They bow with their hands together and now so do we.  They take off their shoes before entering any room.  They smile all the time.  I love them all.  I love the lilt in their voice and the quiet way they speak.  We talk in quieter voices now as a consequence.

I cannot tell you how much I love the food!  Do you have 4 days for me to go on and on?  Every thing we have eaten has been perfection and presented artfully., but in a way you can figure out how to eat it.  No goofy over the top crap.  No foam, air, or creepy stuff that looks like something in the back of your refrigerator.  The portion sizes have been perfect as well.  We come away from our meals feeling satisfied but not stuffed.  It is possible to eat all on your plate, so nothing is wasted and still fit in our designer Bermuda shorts.  The spices they use are HOTHOTHOT.  (Why is it that the hottest countries use the hottest spices?  Ok, I know it is because this is where they grow, natch, but doesn't it seem like cold places like Norway and Sweden ought to be loading up on a myriad of chilies and hot places like Bali and Tahiti ought to be eating ice cream and chilled soups?  I need to have a talk with these people.)  So I have asked for not-so -hot spices because I originally said, "Yes, please give me what you eat", and hot lava poured out of my mouth. After I recovered, I learned I am not Balinese!

The blend of the sauces used to top the fish is always expertly proportioned so that when you taste it, you are not overwhelmed by any one ingredient, but it all comes together to cause the fish to reach its best taste.  The same goes for the chicken, lamb, (which I don't eat but Bill will, as you know, eat anything once.) and all the other things they eat.  I had the best ever chicken dish.  The chef graciously gave me the recipe and I will try to include it in my next class, if I can find the ingredients.  This is what it was like: 4 very thin slices of chicken paillard over a small dollop of steamed veggies, covered with a very light sauce of heaven.  I had a small bowl of steamed red rice on the side, about a half of a cup.  I could eat it all and not bloat.  It made me desire more, which is a good thing, I think.  It was a Bali chicken scallopini.  Sell my clothes, I'm going to heaven!  Oh and in case you're wondering, one does not swell up after these kind of meals because they are not swimming in soy.  Just a touch.

I got a tour of the kitchen in the gorgeous hotel where we stayed in the jungle.  It was so hot in there--much like I would imagine the surface of the sun to be.  It was actually pretty small and really bustling.    They next  guided me into the pastry chef's kitchen, which was separated by a door from the main kitchen, although it was not much cooler.   It was really small but had all the chef needed.  There were two guys working in there besides him.  The two chefs with whom I spoke in both kitchens could not have been more gracious nor welcoming, even thought they were quite busy.  They showed me some of the devices they use to make great food.  I loved it.

I took cooking clsses at the hotel down on the beach and will write about them next.  In the meantime, let me share with you a simple, wonderful dessert for you coffee lovers. Yes I know it is Italian, but we had it here, at the Amandari resort, overlooking rice fields, so here it is.  Anyone can do it and all should.

Affogato

1 dip of vanilla bean ice cream

1 cup of espesso, slightly cooled

Pour the espresso over the ice cream.  Serve with biscotti, or as they do here, thinly sliced biscotti.

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