Wednesday, August 31, 2011


The af Chapman & Skeppsholmen hostel  in Stockholm
Hostels have come a long way over the years. They aren't just for college kids on a budget, nor are they just an excuse to make a low budget horror film.

Hostels are an affordable option for any independent traveler wanting to see the world and connect with others. Many travelers, like Rick Steves and his son Andy highly recommend them. Hostels come in all shapes and sizes: jumbo jets, sailing ships, cinemas, castles, monasteries, and sometimes the accommodations are on par with what many hotels have to offer.

If you plan on making your own meals or simply want to cut your lodging costs hosteling might be the way to go. HostelWorld has become one of the preferred sites for finding hostels. There you will find the beloved hostels of Lisbon like the Travellers House, winner of the Hoscar (Hostel Oscar) in 2009 and 2010 and many others. They are mobile as well.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Harry got his wish for chocolate donuts
Making fresh donuts is easy and fun, especially for kids. I saw Giada De Laurentiis do this on one of her cooking shows and I thought it was a really clever idea. Since I usually have leftover pizza dough sitting in the fridge on Sunday mornings I decided to try frying it up. 

Brad's Pizza Dough

1 1/4 cups warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

1) To make the dough by hand, whisk the yeast and oil into the warm water until it is foamy.
2) Add the flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together.
3) Work the dough on a floured surface until it becomes smooth and not lumpy.
4) Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turning so the dough is completely coated with olive oil.
5) Cover and allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size. You can divide again if you wish and let it rise further.

For donuts, I usually use dough that has sat overnight in the refrigerator. This gives the dough a great consistency as the yeast has had extra time to work on the flour. Just remember to let it come back up to room temperature before using it.

Stretch the dough out on a floured surface without working it too much. Cut into shapes or roll into balls as pictured above. Using a slotted spoon or very quick fingers, place the donuts into an inch of vegetable oil. The oil should be at 300 degrees or higher. I normally use one ball of dough as a test, and if it's started sizzling, we're ready to go.

Fry until golden on both sides. It takes about a minute per side. Remove and allow to cool. Roll in cinnamon and sugar or dip into icing.