Sunday, December 31, 2006

knitting instead of cooking

i've been knitting instead of cooking recently, so i'll admit that i haven't been posting too often. i've made a sweater for max, though, so it's perfect for sweetnicks' weekend dog blogging:

squinty mc squintersons

do be sure to stop by sweetnicks' to check out all the other food hounds.

there are pictures in the works from christmas dinner (can you say 12 pound prime rib?), so, as doodles would say, stay tuna'd...

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve lite

Not the best photo I have ever taken ;~(

Soup is a good thing to have for a Christmas Eve, meal because you know darn well you are gonna eat a ton the next day.

So for Christmas Eve I made for the two of us the family Potato Soup recipe that has been around for quite sometime now.

As usual I put a twist to the Creamy Potato soup. I made the basic recipe that sister moon found ages ago.

BUT I kept a few of the bite size pieces of potatoes out, sauteed them in a bit of butter and a dash or three of smoky paprika, then added them at the last minute.
Tasty if I say so myself. And served with fresh sourdough rolls and a glass of wine you are good to go for that Christmas meal that you know you will over indulge.
This recipe my sister printed up in a small cookbook that was amongst many of her other favorites that she compiled and sent out for Christmas gifts. I think it was about 15 +/- years ago because of a particular reference.
Potato Soup
1/4 C butter
1 C celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 C parsley (I forgot the parsley)
3 - 4 white potatoes chopped (about 4 cups)
1 qt milk (I used half milk and the other half was half & half)
1 qt low sodium chicken broth
3 Tbls cornstarch
salt & pepper to taste
In a kettle melt butter, add onion & celery cook till limp. Add all but about a cup of the potatoes, parsley and broth. Cook until tender. Stir in milk and cook til soup is hot, DO NOT BOIL. ***This is where I get out my mini boat motor AKA hand held blender to blend the soup to a smooth consistency. Once smooth blend cornstarch with a little water to make a slurry and stir into soup, continue to heat until soup thickens. If you find it a bit thick to your liking add a bit more broth. Add the parsley at the last minute. This is where I steamed a few of the potatoes and sauteed them in a bit of butter and a few sprinkles of smoky paprika. Love the flavor it adds.
***not a necessary part of the method but something that I do.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

It has been awhile BUT

Like all of you it's a busy, busy time.

Just wanted to share with you something that we received yesterday from a friend. Now this friend is spending the winter in Telluride or they would probably be here with us. Glad they are in Telluride cause they are having a wicked White Christmas.

Anyway they sent a care package of fruit. My husband says that's like sending coal to West Virginia! But after opening the box and seeing the contents we were quite excited. Among other unusual fruit there were six pommelo fruit I did not mis spell the name it seems it is spelled a variety of ways.
Think I'll make a salad plate with the various goodies take pictures.

Wanted to say Hey!!! and share this information with y'all ~ stay tuna'd.....

Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

weekend dog blogging

i haven't posted a weekend dog blogging a while. heck, i haven't posted on pbe at all in a while. chalk it up to being busy celebrating the ucla bruins' upset victory over our crosstown rivals, u$c...or, as we like to call it, fairfax high. check out a celebratory photo of four very happy bruins in front of the scoreboard here.

anyway, here's a cute little snap that mooncrazy and doodles took of my pup multy when they visited over the summer. i'm not sure if they put multy in the basket for the picture or if he just hopped right on in there hisownself (which is actually quite likely). either way, it's cute and since multy has not been feeling well recently (ear infection), i thought i'd put this up and ask people to send some good vibes his way...

multy in a basket

don't forget to check out the other cute foodie dogs on weekend dog blogging over at sweetnick's place.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


This recipe I found in Cook's Illustrated last year and it's been a favorite. It should be called Ya Gotta Like Lemon Pound Cake but I've never had leftovers so it must be good. Melting the butter and adding it with the food processor is a neat shortcut and I want to try different flavoring but so far have always used the lemon.

Lemon Pound Cake
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter plus some to grease pan
1 1/2 cups ( 6 ounces) cake flour plus some for the pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) sugar
2 tablespoons grated zest plus 2 teaspoons juice from 2 medium lemons
4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Grease 9x5 loaf pan and dust with cake flour.

Melt butter, stir to incorporate separated milk solids.

In food processor, process sugar and zest until combined. Add lemon juice, eggs and vanilla; process until combined, about 5 seconds. With machine running, add melted butter through feed tube in a steady stream (about 20 seconds). Transfer mixture to large bowl. Sift flour mixture over eggs in three steps, whisking gently after each addition until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 325 and continue to bake until deep golden brown and skewer inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes; rotating pan half way through baking time. Cool in pan for ten minutes, then turn onto wire rack and brush with glaze. Cool to room temp. Cooled cake can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temp for up to five days.

Lemon Glaze
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
1/4 cup juice from medium lemon
Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened slightly for about two minutes. Poke holes in baked cake and brush top and sides of hot cake.

Monday, December 04, 2006

It wouldn't be Christmas without …

Before Jimmy Carter was pounding nails for Habitat or sitting in the oval office he was a peanut farmer. After he became a little more famous by getting that seat in the oval office his mother was asked for a favorite recipe for peanut brittle. I've been making this just about every Christmas since and sometimes, like candy is apt to do, it has been a disaster.

Once the whole batch was green, not pale green but a bright St. Patrick's Day green. My father had a friend in the candy business and asked him about this phenomenon. Seems if you don't cook the peanuts long enough that's what happens. Lucky it was only one batch.

Another time I used a glass candy thermometer and when cleaning up I noticed it was broken. Now did it break after I took it out? Don't know, had to toss that whole batch in the trash. I now use a digital thermometer and you have to watch them too. One year it seemed to come to temperature very quickly and I didn't bother to check it with anything else, that year it wouldn't set up. Yeah, trash.

Helpful Hint: You should always test your thermometer by taking the temperature of boiling water, it should be somewhere close to 212 depending on your altitude. My darling air-conditioner mechanic told me that one.

Yikes, why do I go through all this? This is the best you've ever eaten, bar none. It has a honeycomb texture that makes it kind to all dental work and if you follow the directions it will be a holiday favorite of yours too.

If you've never made candy this isn't too difficult but watch that hot syrup--it burns. It just doesn't burn it sticks to you and burns until you can get it off--so be very careful.

Miss Lillian's Peanut Brittle
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup white corn syrup
3 cups raw peanuts

1/2 stick butter, cut in about 8 pieces.
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons baking soda, yup, that right two TABLESPOONS

Please read the entire recipe before attempting this candy.
Grease two large cookie sheets and sit them on trivets or rack as they will get very hot when you put in the cooked brittle.

Boil sugar, water, and syrup in a pan three times the volume until it spins a thread (234 degrees). Once the sugar is melted you don't have to stir it. It has to boil a while to get to temperature, I think about ten minutes or more.

Add peanuts and stir continuously until syrup turns a light golden brown. Think a nice medium lager and if it isn't golden brown, the peanuts will turn green when they cool.

Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla. Stir until it melts. Add the soda all at once and stir for about 30 seconds. The mixture will foam up quicker than you can imagine but don't be scared--this is what creates the honeycomb texture--stir it down but don't beat out all the bubbles.

Quickly pour into prepared pans and spread out the mixture with the back of a spoon. Don't flatten too much.

Cool and break into pieces. Store in an air-tight container.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

another odd pairing

Where I live we are still running the air conditioner. The electric company loves those sun gods and then the humidity is bad so the A/C is a must if you care to get sleep at nite.

So I am standing in my kitchen contemplating a healthy lunch and I see in my fruit bowl the following granny smith apples, a couple of banana's and some perfectly ripe Haas avacado's.

Doesn't that make an attractive picture. So being the odd duck that I am or can be I'm thinking how would they taste together??? Now I peel and chop, place said ingredients on a plate. OK dressing, they need something, yep something lite. Aha ha how bout that lime I have, squish the lime juice out and I have a tasty lunch. After a couple of bites I added some fresh gound pepper and a tad shake of salt. I also could have added some cilantro.

Let me know what y'all think, and try it if you dare.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pumpkin Pie

Don't ask me why I made these little gems but a creative moment ascended upon me and for a split second I had no idea how these little gems were going to pop out of these small tart pans.
But persistence ruled and out they popped. The pumpkin part is just your ordinary Libby's canned pie stuff. I did create a bit of decor with the leftover bits of pastry dough.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Adventurous sauce

First, the back story. I love cranberry juice, cranberry bread, and cosmopolitans, but I've never, much to lil bird's amazement, eaten cranberry sauce.

Our Thanksgiving celebration will be at someone else's house so when given the task of bringing the cranberry sauce I said yes, I'll give it a try. I do fancy myself a cook.

Now, fast forward to last night, just a few days from the celebration. I researched many recipes and found Ming Tsai's to be the most interesting. It starts with a saute of red onion and orange zest and ginger; not traditional but I'm adventurous. Then add the cranberries with two tablespoons of brown sugar, orange juice, and some salt and pepper. Salt and pepper? This is getting odd.

Taste. For me it had way to much of an onion flavor so I'm gonna fix it up. Yeah, right.

To this I added some more sugar and ground chipotle and some more ginger. I'm going to get some flavor out of this if it kills me. Getting better but still not certain. Oops, lost the cranberry tartness, how about some dried cranberries, yeah. Taste?

So like a coward, I went back to the market and made the recipe on the back of the package.

What will I do with the other? Surprisingly when it cooled it had enough flavor for me to keep so there will be two sauces this Thanksgiving. If I were to attempt that recipe again I'd caramelize the onions first add more sugar but I'd leave in the chipotle. It does add a brief hint of heat which in my opinion says California.

Hope everyone enjoys their holiday.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ham and beans with kale

Nothing smells better than a pot of something cooking on the stove all day. A ham bone, some beans, seasonings--heaven in a little red bowl. Don't forget something green.

Can't post anymore, gotta dig in.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Not your ordinary Quiche

This is probably, in my humble opinion, one of the very best quiche recipe I have ever made. I have tried others and I keep coming back to this one.

Even sister moon can't remember where this recipe came from. But it is one of my all time favorite go to recipes to fix for company, pot lucks or just a lunch or brunch at home.

Green Chile Quiche

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
6 eggs beaten
3/4 cup low fat milk

3/4 cup half & half
1 4 oz can of chopped green chiles
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1 1/2 cups shredded swiss cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
unbake 10" pie crust

Slice cream cheese and place on the bottom of the crust. Beat eggs, add , chiles and mustard. Fold in the shredded cheese and pour over cream cheese in the crust. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 1 hour 15 minutes or until done in center.
Check after one hour. If your edges of pie crust get too brown protect them with foil.

This quiche I added a taste of smoky paprika and a pinch of red pepper flakes and left out the dry mustard. I forgot that I add a spoon ful of salsa on the side. Also different times of the year you would be able to use a fresh chile when available. Right now in my area green chiles are not the best.
If you like quiche, try this you will not be sorry. And if you do try it let me know how you adjusted it to fit your taste. I would like to make it a little lower in calories but I am not a chemist.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Some serious bbq competition winners

Congratulations are in order for one of our foodie friends, Sylvie at Soul Fusion Kitchen. Trot on over to see how they faired at the BBQ event this past weekend. Those bbq beauty shots are some hardcore food porn . This might make me think twice about posting anything bbq for a long time. Great job, Sylvie!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A little something to cheer up our Red state friends

When I was a child I'd heard the legend of the Red Velvet Cake. A woman is served this delicious red cake in a fancy hotel restaurant and asks the waiter for the recipe only to find $100 was added to her bill. Her attorney advises to pay, I don't know, maybe he was eating lunch with her, any way, she pays and then to get even sends a chain letter to friends with the recipe. That is the long reason why I decided to make the cake.

Cook's Country has a red velvet cake recipe so I decided why not give it a try. First, this is not a difficult one to follow but as some know, I'm not a baker of cakes. I can throw together a pie in my sleep but cakes, I do have to follow the directions.

First odd thing, it calls for a one ounce bottle of red food coloring, next some buttermilk, now that's not too odd but it seems like I get stuck with the remainder of the quart and hate to waste. Cook's had an answer for my thriftiness, freeze the left over buttermilk in cup increments. Cool.

You mix the food coloring with two tablespoons of cocoa, I use Dutch process. When you add it to the cake batter you can see just how lacking your mixer is. There is a little divot at the bottom that needs a little hand mixing.

Mine did not raise as much as I thought it should. Maybe more mixing though I was diligent with the directions. I used 7-inch square pans to their 8-inch round so I'm thinking they should have been higher. Because I just can't leave well enough alone I sliced each layer in two. I thought it would look more dramatic. Who couldn't use more drama in their life.

As for the flavor I think it is suppose to have just a hint of chocolate, which it does. Some friends were afraid of the red food coloring turning their teeth ghoulish but that didn't happen. The frosting is delish, not too sweet nor cream cheesy, nice blend of flavors.

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 oz red food coloring
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
Whisk buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, and eggs in large measuring cup. Whisk flour, baking soada, and salt in medium bowl.Cream butter; beat in sugar gradually.
Add flour mixure alternately with egg mixture, beating well after each addition.
Make paste of cocoa and food coloring; add to creamed mixture.
Stir until thoroughly mixed. Bake in 2 9-inch pans for 25 minutes at 350°.

2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
16 oz. cream cheese, softened and cut into 8 pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of salt.

Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated. Beat in vanilla and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Frost the cooled cakes, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 3 days.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Another roast chicken

I noticed that whole roasters are on sale at my local market. I pick up a couple the other day. Found a recipe at America's Test Kitchen. I happened to see the actual cooking on PBS and it just stuck in my mind. For one thing I had never brined anything. I didn't even know if I had anything large enough to brine a chicken. I did have a rubbermaid container that would work woo hoo!!!

Crisp-Skin High-Roast Butterflied Chicken with Potatoes

If you prefer not to brine, use a kosher chicken - it is salted and has a taste and texture similar to a brined bird. For extracrisp skin, after applying the flavored butter let the chicken dry uncovered in the refrigerator 8 to 24 hours. Russet potatoes have the best potato flavor, but Yukon Golds have beautiful color and better retain their shape after cooking. Either works well in this recipe. A food processor makes quick and easy work of slicing the potatoes.Serves 4

1 cup kosher salt (or 1/2 cup table salt), for brine
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 whole chicken , 3 1/2 to 4 lbs, preferably free-range or other high-quality chicken such as Bell and Evans, giblets removed and reserved for another use, fat around cavity removed and discarded
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (4 to 5 medium), or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickVegetable cooking spray (nonstick)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon table salt (for potatoes)
Ground black pepper
1. Dissolve salt and sugar in 2 quarts cold water in large container. Immerse chicken and refrigerate until fully seasoned, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Line bottom of broiler pan with foil and spray with nonstick vegetable cooking spray. Remove chicken from brine and rinse thoroughly under cold running water.

1. Butterfly chicken, flatten breastbone, apply flavored butter (if using), and position chicken on broiler pan rack; thoroughly pat dry with paper towels.
2. Toss potatoes with 1 tablespoon oil, salt, and pepper to taste in medium bowl. Spread potatoes in even layer in foil-lined broiler pan bottom. Place broiler pan rack with chicken on top. Rub chicken with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and sprinkle with pepper.
3. Roast chicken until spotty brown, about 20 minutes. Rotate pan and continue to roast until skin has crisped and turned a deep brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees in thickest part of breast, 20 to 25 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to cutting board. With potholders, remove broiler pan rack; soak up excess grease from potatoes with several sheets paper towels. Remove foil liner with potatoes from broiler pan bottom and invert foil and potatoes onto cookie sheet or second cutting board. Carefully peel back foil, using a metal spatula to help scrape potatoes off foil as needed. With additional paper towels, pat off remaining grease. Cut chicken into serving pieces and serve with potatoes.

Lesson learned: This chicken was very tender, moist and quite tasty. I will definnitely do this again because the brining makes it so good.
BUT the potatoes were another story. Because of the compound butter used on the chicken and also calls for oil on the potatoes, the potatoes get rather greasy, quite bit more than described in the above recipe. I supplied the link to the recipe but their site and photos can be a bit wonky so don't be surprised if the photos don't show up.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Good bye good buys

This Friday is our last Farmer's Market until March.
Good bye sweet corn. So long tree ripe fruit. Adios artisan cheeses.

Yes, I know, I could travel into Santa Monica on Wednesdays but this place is less than five minutes away and I've gotten used to my Friday afternoon trip.

I'll be wearing black all day.

Monday, October 30, 2006

happy halloween

a jack-o-latern is technically not food, but the pumpkin conceivably could've been a pie, had i not hacked it to pieces...


i did sprinkle the lid with cinnamon and cloves, though.

happy halloween, everyone!

Cider question???

It's fall weather, folks are cooking fall food, soups, stews, cider.
Our blogger friend Jeff over at cforcooking posted a blog about cooking with cider.
Never heard of the cider he used, thought probably an east coast product.
Lo and behold while shopping at Cost Plus/World Market guess what I found?
Yes the light green bottle is granny smith apple and the other is the standard dark. Having never cooked with cider, what do I do with these ciders? Send any and all ideas my way please.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

solace in cake form

when your team sucks and lets you down two weeks in a row, make chocolate cake...

chocolate cake

[yes, you can make a box chocolate cake with canned chocolate frosting look good with the right accessories.]

Holiday shipping???

on a food blog you say!!! Well I posted this on my personal blog awhile back. And it was suggested that I post it here as well. Since we are all avid cookers and bakers, but probably not adept in mailing cookies, maybe this might help your cookie gems arrive safely and intact.

Oh, also the fact that blogger friend, LaVidaDulce is about to complete her series on cookies for the holidays. Check out her site there are some dang good ones that she has posted.

Once upon a time husband and I owned a pack and ship store. We mailed a variety of items, some of which I cannot go into. But cookies were a big mailing item. I remember our mom would always mail Valentine cookies to “little bird”. Mom would call husband to consult on packaging. So we came up with the idea that we would put an article in the paper to help people pack the holiday baking items that they may be shipping off. And praying they get their safely

Mailing Cookies
Everyone loves to receive packages in the mail, especially the edible variety. Make sure you get cheers, not jeers, when you mail your elegant eatables.

A big NO NO!
Some cookies tend to ship better than others do. We recommend that you do not mail cookies with custard or custard-like fillings or toppings. The custard could spoil, making a very unwelcome gift. For that matter, any cookie that requires refrigeration is not a good candidate for the shipping. Another type of cookie that doesn't hold up well for mailing is one with a delicate, cake-like texture type cookies.

Yes, yes, yes!
Cookies that have a crunchy or hard texture such as Biscotti, Mexican Wedding Cakes, Crisps, and Shortbreads make excellent choices for shipping. They tend to be fairly sturdy, so you don't have to worry too much about breakage. And since they already have a fairly dry texture, drying out isn't much of an issue.
Cookies that have a slightly chewy texture, like Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal-Raisin, Snickerdoodles, and White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies also ship well. These cookies will tend to dry out if they are in the mail for more than a week, so if their destination is a long way off, you might want to ship them by express to ensure that they arrive just as tasty as when they left.
Macaroons ship beautifully. Their chewy, moist textures only seem to improve after they've aged a few days. Who wouldn't want to receive a single, perfect chocolate-dipped coconut macaroon as a special treat?
Dense bar cookies such as Fudge Brownies, Lemon Bars, or Peanut Butter Bars are delightful to receive in the mail. Just be sure to individually wrap each one with plastic wrap to keep that moist, gooey, dense texture from drying out.

Good things come in secure packages

Once you've baked and cooled your cookies, you're ready for the next step: packing them. There are a few guidelines you should follow when it comes to preparing cookies to be mailed. Follow these and your special packages should arrive fresh, in one piece, and great tasting.
Don't pack crisp and soft cookies together. The moisture from the soft cookies will seep into the crisp cookies, making them lose their delightful crunch.
Don't overstuff your container. Your cookies may be damaged. Likewise, don't under-pack your container. The cookies should fit snugly. If you have too much space, crumple up a bit of newspaper or towels to fill the holes.
Pack cookies in a sturdy tin or airtight container. On the bottom of the container place a piece of bubble wrap, then line the container with parchment paper or cellophane, leaving enough to tuck over the top once the container is fully packed. Place one layer of cookies in the container. Cover with parchment paper. Arrange another layer of cookies, followed with more parchment paper, and continue this layering until the container is full. Tuck the cellophane or parchment paper over the top, then place another piece of bubble wrap on top, and seal your container.
You now need to pack your tin or container in a heavy-duty cardboard box that's large enough to allow a two- to three-inch cushion between the tin and the wall of the outside box. Place a layer of shipping peanuts, crumpled paper on the bottom of your shipping box. Set your cookie tin on this bottom layer. Then fill in the sides and top with more shipping materials. Seal the shipping box with two-inch-wide shipping tape. Place a mailing label on the box, and you're ready to send those treats on their way. Rest assured that you will surely be receiving a call of gratitude.

Someday I’ll tell y’all bout the Key Lime pie that we shipped.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Happy Halloween - Pumpkin Bread

I have never admitted to being a baker, sister moon is the baker in the family. But when I saw this cake on the front of a magazine awhile back I thought how cute I could do that.

I volunteer at the library from time to time when they need readers for the childrens group. Well this Saturday is the Halloween reading and the library was going to provided treats for the little darlings. I thought I would make these cake/bread thingies and the adults could have a treat as well.

Cakes are made in a six inch mini bundt pan. I put two cakes together with some pumpkin butter I just happened to have, but you could use any frosting to adhere the two pieces. The orange drippy stuff is confectioners sugar and lemon juice dyed orange.The green leaves are marzipan and the stem is made of marzipan rolled in cocoa. The flash made it appear (LOL) much lighter in color than it really is. The remaining batter I made in a loaf pan and froze after cooling.

Lesson learned: Don't fill the pans all the way up because then they will look like cupcakes and you will have to cut the tops off. Wear gloves when making leaves cause food coloring does dye the finger nails.

I used the following recipe, but you could use anything, even a cake mix of your liking.

This recipe is adapted from Gourmet magazine of several years ago.
You'll need 2 loaf pans for this recipe, or 6 of the mini onesI use the disposable ones. I also use small bundt pans.

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 cups chopped nuts, walnuts or pecans (reserve some for on top)
3 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3 cups canned pure pumpkin (I believe the can is 29 ounces I just use the whole can)
1 cup sugar
1 cup (packed) lite brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil pans to prevent sticking

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin pie spice in medium bowl; whisk to blend. Mix in nuts. Using electric mixer, beat pure pumpkin and both sugars in large bowl until blended. Gradually beat in oil, then eggs 1 at a time.Stir in dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk, little dry little buttermilk. Divide batter among prepared pans. Sprinkle with reserved nuts. A friend made this recipe and garnished it with toasted pumpkin seeds
Bake breads until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool in pans.
(Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; store at room temperature.)

What I like about this bread is that it is not sweet, add raisins if you care to, plus this bread freezes well.

Don't serve ravioli to an Italian

Two of my women guests were put to work on the antipasti while I got the bread in the oven. Doesn't it look good? Unfortunately it was the second course that started the downhill slide. What was so slippery? Homemade ravioli. I have a pasta press and have made noodles but ravioli has always been a favorite of mine so here was my chance.

Yikes, not as easy as it looks on TV. A few exploded but I did manage three for each serving. Oh, and it's back to school for me to learn how to make a browned butter sauce. It was more of a burnt butter sauce by the time it was served. Sage leaves were tossed in and they were actually quite good, the crunch was relief to the slippery little pillows. Pix? No way. By this time I couldn't bear to get the camera.

Michael Chiarello lied when he said make the dough as thin as you can. They looked more like dimsum than ravioli and an Italian at the table said his mother would use a fork to crimp the sides closed. Good suggestion because I will try this again. Our mother didn't raise quitters--no matter how many friends I have to go through--I will get this right.

Next post: pink gravy?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Recipe by the book

I like many of you who enjoy cooking, I like to experiment. This is one recipe I can honestly say I did not deviate one bit.

Creme Brulee is a favorite of mine, not so much husbands. In our past life we frequented one restaurant quite often. We knew the owner quite well and he introduced us to the chef. Come to find out he was a neighbor and we became fast friends. His creme brulee was very close to this recipe. Mark always said I was his best customer for his creme brulee.

Creme Brulee Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2005

1 quart heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 cup vanilla sugar, divided
6 large egg yolks
2 quarts hot water
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and reserve for another use.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into 6 (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes.
Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days. Remove the creme brulee from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup vanilla sugar equally among the 6 dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Guinea Pigs love cookies

I invited friends over to test some recipes on Sunday and I served Grandma's Butterscotch Cookies and La Vida Dulce's Chocolate Shortbread with vanilla ice cream and Michael Chiarello's Balsamic Caramel Sauce. We didn't start with dessert but this might have been the best course. Remember, these friends were guinea pigs and I'm not so sure the main course came together like I planned so I'm going to leave the rest of the menu for a later post.

First, if you only make one cookie this holiday season make it the Chocolate Shortbread. It is so incredibly melt-in-your-mouth rich and quite easy. Too easy if you ask me because you can throw this together in a moment's notice and who needs that sort of temptation.

Now if you really want something different do try the Balsamic Caramel Sauce. I wasn't too sure but the sweet of the ice cream balances the balsamic vinegar. I had a little push back from a few of the guests but won over one of them. Hey, I surprised myself, too. It was good.

So, what did I learn? Sometimes you need to step outside your apron and try something you've never cooked before. Now Doodles says she has a Roasted Pears with Caramel sauce recipe on her ... and I have all this leftover sauce, hmmmm, sounds like something new.

Friday, October 20, 2006

My version of Tortilla Soup

Dang this was good. Although a few zantacs were passed around at the completion on the meal.

My love for Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes is well known, I had some leftover chicken breast that I diced up and some of that mean green sauce that moon posted a few days ago.

I chopped up a small onion, added the chicken once the onion was sauted, poured the mean green sauce over the chicken and added a half a container box of low sodium chicken broth.Let that simmer for a bit and added my can of fire roasted tomatoes, added the remainder of the chicken broth and let simmer for about half hour. Had a can of white hominy, rinsed it well and added that to the pot. Now remember the mean green sauce already has a lot of seasoning so extra is not need. Taste as you go.

Once the hominy is heated thru it tends to thinken the soup, so I added another box of chicken broth. Finished it off with tortilla strips lots of em as husband says, slices of avacado, and some fresh cilantro.I had made corn muffins earlier and added a can of chopped green chiles to the batter.Find the similar recipe here at the Muir Glen site. Try it if you like spice, adjust it if you don't.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A new addition to the family

Well it's a new addition to my appliance family. I have been wanting a new food processor for a very long time. I am blaming this purchase on Jeff because when I saw the one he got I was in a state of envy.

It matches my car, although it was not a priority. Husband said that the lawnmower doesn't have as powerful motor ;)It's a Kitchen Aid 12 cup, 750, with a mini bowl. I have not used it yet, and I don't know what I'm waiting for, BUT it sure does look nice in my appliance garage.
stay tuna'd

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Mmmmm; pepperoni

If you will remember when I got back from New Jersey I spoke fondly of a local treat, Pepperoni Bread. I needed to make it before it was just a memory so this week I bought some Bridgeford frozen bread dough, sliced pepperoni along with mozzarella, parmesan, and fontina cheeses.

This was too easy but sooooo good.

Defrost the bread dough and roll into a rectangle.
Shred the cheeses and layer with lots of pepperoni slices.

Roll this up like a jelly roll but don't cut, leave whole, tuck under the ends
Brush with olive oil and let rise in a warm place, about 30 minutes.

Bake 375 for twenty minutes. It should be nicely browned and sound hollow when tapped. Brush crust with melted butter.

Eat as soon as it is cool enough, I burnt my mouth but it's up to you if you want to wait that long. It will smell like pepperoni and what could be wrong with that.

Bridgeford makes pretty decent bread. I've used it before for cinnamon rolls but this was the first loaf. If it turned out I was going to make my bread from scratch but this was too easy and was quite tasty, just like the original in Jersey.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

chocaholics click here

after visiting the kitchen wench site where she mentions that her breath smells, smells of chocolate, geeesh how bad could that be.

I remebered I had come acrossed this site about truffles. Now I have never mad a truffle in my entire life, but I have eaten a few, some good, some OK and some to die for. Like that one moon and I had in Indiana, remember.
Anyway for you adventurous sould that would like to partake in making a truffle, please let me know how you did. I try this. But I would love to hear experiences and lessons learned so stay tuna'd...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

And that's how it was in the 1940's

Laura Rebecca has always been able to come up with some great fun challenges.
LR's Retro Recipe Challenge has been very educational and a trip down memory lane.

The 1940s were all about rationing, protein stretching, substitutions, and making do with less. Home cooks made sugarless cookies and meatless meals. Cookbooks, magazines, government pamphlets, and food company brochures were full of creative ideas for stretching food supplies. Why the shortage? Food was needed to feed soldiers fighting World War II. Farmers and food manufacturers were tapped to supply growing military needs, thus creating a shortage of foods available for domestic civilian consumers.
Rationing was introduced in the United States by the Office of Price Administration in 1942 as a way to equitably distribute diminishing food supplies. The American government encouraged homeowners to create Victory Gardens, small plots of fruits and vegetables to supplement personal and community food supplies. Nutrition information was also widely disseminated to help home cooks create balanced meals for their families. The National School Lunch Act was passed in 1945, extending Roosevelt's New Deal WPA commitment to feeding America's hungry children. After the war, many new products were introduced to the American public. These "convenience foods" (dehydrated juice, instant coffee, cake mixes, etc.) were the result of military research. Not all of these were embraced enthusiastically, as traditional homemakers preferred to cook "the old fashioned" way once rationed ingredients were readily available.

During WWII, approx. 1942-1945, butter, fats, sugar and meat were rationed. I have read you were only allowed to buy 1 pound of meat per person, per week. Recipes for cakes and other 'goodies' using honey and sugar substitutes were popular. It was very common for even city dwellers to have patriotic "Victory Gardens" where they raised their own vegetables, including beans and tomatoes. This reduced the number of people who had to be employed in agriculture, so they could produce weapons or fight the war.

the above information was taken off the internet when 1940 recipes were googled.

My food of choice for Retro Recipe Challenge would be tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. Now back in the 40's it wouldn't have been a cream of tomato and probably not an abundance of cheese that the photo depicts, remember they were all in the ration mode at the time. The soup was probably Campbell's with a can of water added, eeek! And the grilled cheese was probably made with white bread, two eeeks!! But in those days it was made with love just like today. And if we were really good we probably got a pickle to accompany our sandwich.

Friday, October 13, 2006

cue balls arrive in florida

Sister moon wrote about these a few blogs ago

After much prodding, my little farmers market guy finally was able to secure some cueball zucchini. Green and yellow zucchini on the indoor grill cause the outdoor grill was getting rained on. The green round guys are more dense and less watery, creating a sweeter flavor in my opinion.

Anyway brushed them with olive oil, crushed garlic, lots of fresh ground pepper. Prior to brushing them with the herbs I squeeze some lime juice on them. Finished them off with a sprinkle of kosher salt and some cilantro. Great side dish.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

basil coming out my @$#

so the crop share featured an abundant amount of basil this week (three huge bunches). check it out...


other than the temporary home decoration use, what am i going to do with all of this freakin' basil? we're getting a little sick of pesto and i made basil oil last week. i'm running out of ideas. help a sister out, people.

p.s. kalyn, you don't need to answer! i've already got one bunch set aside for your brilliant freezing technique. :)

Chilly weather is finally here

About August I didn't think I'd be saying this but it's time to cook chili! Damn us Californios had us some hot weather this summer, not unlike the rest of the country. So now all the ugly electric bills are behind us let's get cookin' some tummy-warmin', not to mention soul burnin' chili.

I have this burning question, how do you make chili? From a recipe or just start throwing chili-like ingredients in a pot and hope for the best? This isn't really a challenge just something informal from our readers. Add a comment, long or short or send an e-mail and share your chili favorites or your own secrets.

My chili? I slow cook some beef shanks or ribs or any other bony beefy thing with some dried and fresh chilies and garlic and onions and tomatoes. Somehow in the end it becomes chili good enough to eat. I'm always a bit amazed it comes together.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


I made four yes FOUR dozen chocolate chip cookies and this is what I have left!

We had a real estate open house today. When I saw La Vida Dulce's
Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe I thought that could be the cookie that sells this place.

this is the plate I found when we returned home, holy cow all had vanished, three little cookies remained.

Have yet to hear from our realtor.

Next open house if required, will the the famous "scutterbotch" cookies...stay tuna'd

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Here's a crock

This crock, my now cookie jar, was my grandmother, Emily Prucilla's and it served her well for decades. I inherited it when my mom passed away because it was always my favorite. I nearly had a breakdown when I dropped the lid and it broke in two pieces but darling husband, to the rescue, patched it up.

I try to keep it full of cookies, these are Alton Browns chocolate chip (just for you, Jeff) but what I really want to make is a recipe of Grandma's that I recently rediscovered. She called them "scutterbotch" and each generation loved them. Along with the recipe was the following letter my mom sent to her family and friends after her mother's passing in 1991.

The time is fall of 1931. The people knew by then that the country was in serious trouble. Unemployment, failed banks, and closed factories plagued he towns and cities but in Monroeville, Indiana a small farming community close to the Ohio border, poor farmers were still poor farmers. My father, an engineer, moved his family to a farm to soften the blow of the depression. I was nine, my sisters Mary Alice and Marcella were seven and five. Our little brother Tom was two; Joseph was yet to be born.

As was typical of the day the big white farm house had a large kitchen with a wood burning cook stove. Here mother Emily would bake the most wonderful butterscotch cookies. At night she would mix up a batch and then early in the morning she would bake them. The smell of those cookies would walk us girls up and on those mornings we would waste no time getting ready. The smell always meant there would be cookies for breakfast and some in our lunch.

As time went by we sold the farm and moved to the city. Our brother Joseph was born and six weeks later, Daddy Tom died. He left Emily to raise the five children alone. Times were hard. Emily had to work to support her family but she always found time to make us a batch of butterscotch cookies. Mother died May 13, 1991. At that time I had two dozen cookies in the freezer. I had made them under her directions some weeks before her passing.

This morning, as I write you this letter, I am having butterscotch cookies with my coffee; the smell of cookies still lingers on.

Love, Lorna

Butterscotch Cookies
1 cup oleo,* that's shortening for you young uns.
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
1 cup chopped nuts

*you could use butter and they would be delicious; they just wouldn't taste like Grandma's.

Mix sugar, eggs, and oleo. Add flour salt and soda; mix well. Add nuts. Divide into two rolls and wrap in wax paper (plastic wrap is fine). Chill overnight. Cut 1/4 inch and bake 8-10 minutes at 375 until lightly browned. Do not overbake.

Note: Her rolls were never round they were flat on the sides producing an oblong cookie but I always made them that way, too.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

No more calls, we have a winner

We've posted a few references to an L.A. landmark, Olvera Street and our favorite taquito stand, Cielito Lindo. See posts one and two. I was real surprised to get a few request for the sauce recipe. I've tried many times to replicate and finally gave up, jeeze, it's only about forty miles to LA.

The request saying they'd take anything close so I thought I'd give it one more try. I mean I do fancy myself a pretty good cook and I've eaten enough of their guacamole--I should be able to get closer. I'd even seen a recipe in a cook book, god only knows where, that says cook the sauce to change the raw taste.

This is not your typical guacamole, it is thin and strained of any seeds. You really don't even taste the avocado there is so little.

Taquito sauce

1 can of Herdez Salsa Verde, or something that has tomatillos, onions, serrano peppers, salt, and cilantro.
1/2 ripe avocado
about 1/2 cup cilantro, packed
one serrano pepper, no seeds

Blend this in a food processor until smooth. Add salt to taste or extra serrano peppers if you like it hotter. Strain out all the seed.

Now here's the odd part, bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for about five minutes. Don't boil, just simmer, this isn't a reduction. Thin with a bit of water or chicken broth. This is a real thin sauce. Maybe as thin as tomato juice. Cool and refrigerate.

So I made this a few days ago and damn, if I didn't come closer than I'd even hoped. It is lacking something I can't put my finger on, maybe thinning with chicken broth would be it. If you make it and you've eaten at Cielito Lindo's you tell me. For now, I think I'm satisfied.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

another breakfast for dinner

Fellow blogger at Mixed Salad Annie brought up an interesting question what is your favorite breakfast for dinner?I mentioned in the comments that her choice happened to be my second choice.

My first choice would be Migas……………

Our Dad made, what he called, tortilla and eggs. The first time I had them I fell in love with them. But for some reason husband is not fond of this dish, so I fix them for myself when I know he is not gonna be home for dinner.I have never used a recipe but I did find several on line. Migas (pronounced MEE gas) is eggs, bits of corn tortilla, and a host of savory ingredients, from black beans, chorizo and cheese to salsa, avocado and chiles. The word, migas, in fact, is derived from the Spanish word for crumbs.

Migas with Fresh Tortillas
4 large eggs
a few tablespoons salsa (your favorite, it can be the chunky variety)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon oil3
6-inch corn tortillas, cut in to strips
1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
2 tablespoons chopped green chiles (I use the canned)
1/2 cup chopped avocado, sprinkled with a little lime juice
2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
2/3 cup grated Monterrey jack cheese
sour cream
In a small bowl, lightly beat together the eggs and set aside.Warm the butter and oil in a heavy skillet. Add the chopped onion and sauté until it is transparent. Add the tortilla strips and sauté until just a bit crisp Stir in the chopped green chiles and the salsa.Pour the eggs into the skillet, and "scramble" until eggs are done. Remove the skillet from heat, and sprinkle the chopped avocado, cilantro and cheese into the eggs, again stirring well.Serve at once with warm flour tortillas like you would eat toast. Garnish with additional salsa and sour cream

Note: This recipe makes two servings, but it can easily be doubled or tripled or more for a larger crowd. Migas are a terrific brunch dish. Chop the onion, green chiles, tomato, avocado and cilantro before you start the migas so they'll be ready when you need them.

In addition to the ingredients called for in this recipe, some additional possibilities for enhancing your migas are:
crisply cooked and crumbled bacon · Salsa verde· chopped ham · crumbled chorizo (browned before you add the eggs) · cooked, shredded chicken or turkey · grated or diced potato (sautéed until tender before adding the eggs) · poblano chiles · green Bell pepper · green onion · crushed red pepper flakes

Monday, October 02, 2006

parsi dhansak

parsi dhansak

i am a big fan of indian food, but it's never been really accessible for me in terms of cooking at home. trader joes has a few jarred sauces that aren't too bad, but not exactly authentic. i've purchased a few cookbooks in the past, but never really been able to produce anything that was quite authentic. unfortunately, i just don't have access to an indian grandmother. i really love dal (lentils) and i've tried to cook them before, but i've never been able to get that indian restaurant consistency to my end product. i almost gave up...

enter, the internet. i've been lurking on some very cool indian cooking blogs for some time now, religiously recipes. some of my favorite sites are saffron trail and sailu's food. i came across a great recipe the other day on saffron trail, for parsi dhansak, which uses pumpkin and dal. i was very excited to try this, because i received some pumpkin (well, kabocha squash) in my crop share the other day and wasn't quite sure what i was going to do with it. you can check out the recipe here.

simply put, this dish was just plain rad. it had the right consistency and the right flavor. it actually seemed like something i would get at a restaurant. my bunky really liked it, too, and actually ate a vegetarian meal without asking why he was being served just a side dish. i have to thank nandita at saffron trail for sharing this recipe and helping me along the road to learning how to make home cooked indian food. now that i have my feet wet, i'm really looking forward to trying out some more recipes.

even better, this dish is good and good for you: there's only about two tablespoons of oil in the whole thing; lentils are a great source of vegetarian protein; and pumpkins are rich in vitamin c, beta carotene and fiber. in fact, pumpkins are an anti-oxidant rich food, which makes this a perfect entry for sweetnicks' arf/5-a-day tuesday!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A nip in the air............

Everywhere you go there is mention of fall. Wish someone would tell the “weather gods” that are in charge of Florida.
All the magazines have a fall cover from food to decorating.So the temperature dropped four degrees, I made soup…………..I look for any excuse to make soup, especially the creamed variety.
Our mom was a terrific soup maker. I remember she was the first to introduce me to creamed asparagus soup as well as creamed broccoli soup. One of my husband’s favorite cream soups is roasted red pepper and tomato.This recipe is one that I concocted from an assortment of recipes. You know take a bit of this recipe and add it to that recipe……tada there now it’s our own. We all do it!

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
2 large red peppers*
2 cans of Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes (14 oz.)
3 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1/4 - 1/2 cup cream
1 tbls olive oil
1 medium onion about ½ cup
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
salt and pepper to taste1.

Roast peppers in a 400F oven until skin is blackened. Let rest in a sealed paper or plastic bag for about 15 minutes, then peel off the skin, seed, remove membrane and chop into chunks.
2. Briefly sautee (5 minutes) in olive oil onions and garlic in a medium pot. Add tomatoes (with juice) and chopped peppers and cook on high to reach a boil then reduce to simmer for 15 minutes, or until tender.
3. Add stock and spices. Feel free to add some red pepper flakes or chipotle powder for spicy kick. Add cream and bring to a boil, then slow simmer for 15 minutes. I use an immersion type/boat motor blender to puree the soup to a desired consistency.
4. For a finishing touch, when plating, add a dollop of sour cream and some chopped cilantro. Or croutons spread with a pesto. I also like a splash of sherry at the very end. This version I put a thin slice of asiago cheese and popped it under the broiler till cheese melted

*you could use the jar variety of red peppers but remember to get the roasted red peppers packed in water not vinegar.

Lesson learned………….as jeff would say!! If you use a regular blender cool the contents down somewhat prior to pureeing and leave the lid ajar a tad cause if not you’ll have a mess.

Do you have a favorite cream soup?

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Bullet-proof mac 'n cheese

A while ago I was poking about in Soul Kitchen's archive and found a recipe for Mac and Cheese. It got tucked into my and forgotten. It was clean-out-the-refrigerator mode before our vacation and a bunch of shredded cheddar made me think of the recipe. Boy, was I glad I did. Sylvie will have to tell us where it came from, it's title is "Bertha's Macaroni and Cheese."

Easy to throw together while you're doing other things and pop in the oven. I only made half the recipe and it still came out perfect. Mine was a nice sharp cheddar and I added half and half, remember, I was cleaning the fridge. We ate it for dinner, then lunch and I had one little square left so it was wrapped in foil, marked and thrown in the freezer. I know, I can't bare to throw away good food.

Why do I call it bullet proof? One night after vacation, and the leftover had been in the freezer three weeks, I needed a supper just for me. Hmmm. Removed the foil, wrapped it in plastic and popped it in the microwave for a few minutes. When I heard it sizzle it was ready. It was still as tasty as the first night I made it.

Couldn't kill it if you tried.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Hats off to Johnnies

Christine, one of our foodie friends on La Vida Dulce has a post on The Hat and even though I think it's one of the better fast food "joints" in Southern California I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Johnnies Pastrami. You see, Doodles and I, and then lil Bird, grew up eating there. They are truely a mid-century classic complete with neon and and a working juke box at your table.

Not living close I get my pastrami fix from The Hat, there's one in Simi, but just the thought of Johnnies, that greasy joint, makes my arteries quiver, hmmmmm, onion rings. Philly might have their cheese steaks but The Hat and Johnnies have the market on pastrami.

After you order, from some of the oldest waitresses I've ever seen, they bring you this wonderful bowl of cold kosher pickles. Eating three or four is a must, then a rootbeer, pastrami, and onion rings. I don't know what is better. Well maybe Tito's around the corner but that's for another post.

Johnnie's Pastrami
4047 Sepulveda Blvd (cross street: Washington Place)
Culver City, California 90230

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Two weeks: too long to be without a stove

I'm back and I missed this blog because I didn't even have access to a computer to see what everyone was up to. We ate our way through Philly, New Jersey and right up down to DC so I have some stories to tell.

What was the best? Pepperoni Bread in New Jersey. Seems like it's been a staple there for years and I've got to come up with a recipe. Second was a cheese steak. Amazing when done right and since we stayed with two Philly born cousins they treated us to the authentic. Third was the Philly soft pretzel and I have to say, they were different than all others I've tasted. I think the common denominator for these treats was the bread, it must be the water.

So any Philly cooks out there, send me a recipe for Pepperoni Bread and I'll give it a try with my west coast water.

Monday, September 25, 2006

For Sale..........Oatmeal cookies

Some of you know that Mr & Mrs Doodles have our home for sale. The real estate market in our area is quite dismal. So one needs to resort to severe tactics.

"little bird" reminded me of
LauraRebecca's recommendation on selling her home, BAKE COOKIES!!! And that I did. The house didn't sell, BUT we did have some inquiries.

I posted some info on my personal site if you are wanting to know more click here

The cookie recipe is straight off the Quaker Oats box......but the vanilla was a wonderful vanilla paste that sister moon and I got on our recent trip to Surfas.

I am going to be away from the computer for a couple of days. Hopefully we will hear from sister Moon soon as she returns from her vacation.....................stay tuna'd!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Saturday lunch.........

To prepare for a Real Estate Open House both husband and I were working around the house all day Saturday. Husband took the outside and I worked inside spiffing up the place.

I knew we were going to be busy doing our chores so I planned ahead, for once. I had been to my local Pannera Bread store and they had some tasty looking fccacia breads in the case. Picked up a couple of those as they are small nine inch size. Having just been to the farmer's food stand and got what looked to be the last of the good summer tomatoes, all I could think of was a gorgonzola, tomato foccacia bread treat.

The bread already had the basil baked in sooooo I loaded up the gorgonzola on top of the fresh tomatoes which include several turns of the pepper mill, popped it in a 475 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Lunch is served!

Now I am off to bake some oatmeal cookies for our Open House.........wish me luck and stay tuna'd!!!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

shrimp.......that's it...........shrimp!!!

What to cook for dinner…… many others ya just get in a slump…..kinda like my Dodgers!
But I digress.

I happened to walk by the fish market the other day and saw that they had some wonderful fresh Key West shrimp. That is such a treat because it means the waters are cooling down. Shrimp not good in warm water, sorta like me in warm weather.

I came up with this............easy and quite tasty!

Shrimp and Rice
1 can 14 oz. Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes
½ pound large shrimp shell and tail removed
2 bell peppers – one red, one green
1 small onion chopped
2 whole cloves garlic
handful of green peas frozen are OK
¼ cup shredded carrots
red pepper flakes
fresh chopped basil
white wine OR
chicken broth
splash or worstershire sauce
Rice – your choice

I like to roast the vegetables then add them to the sauce. They add a lot of flavor. So I seed and coarse chop both peppers, coarse chop onion, peel garlic and leave whole. Spread this on a baking sheet, sprinkle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, just keep an eye on them to not burn but charred is good.
While veggies are roasting put the can of tomatoes in a heavy skillet, juice and all to heat thru and reduce down some. You can also be cooking the rice of your choice. I chose a white sticky rice which is my husbands favorite rice. But this would go well with brown or a wild rice mixture as well. Once the veggies are roasted mix them in the pan with the tomatoes that have been reducing. Now is the time to check for extra liquid I used a dry white wine, but a chicken broth could also be used. The garlic that roasted along with the veggies is now soft so run a knife thru the garlic and add to the mixture. Add the shrimp, peas, carrots, worstershire sauce, a few red peppers flakes and simmer on low heat till shrimp has turned pink.

ps.......sister moon wouldn't be partaking in this dish as she is deathly allergic to seafood. Look for her upcoming posts on her trip. I can just feel them eating at some pretty special spots. Cannot wait to hear all about it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

It's way too early to think about.............

Holiday gift giving but a friend of mine, who is very organized, sent me this recipe a few days ago. In her note she said that she was going to make them for Christmas gifts and if I wanted more jar recipe mixes she had them.

Holy cow I couldn't get past the word Christmas.

I must tell you I have not made this recipe - but it does sound good. So I'm gonna pass this recipe treat along to y'all...........and ask the question Do you make food items for holiday gift giving?

Tangy Lemonade Bars Mix

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup dried cranberries
1 T. grated lemon peel
3/4 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt

1. Layer ingredients attractively in any order into 1-quart food storage jar
with tight-fitting lid. Pack ingredients down slightly before adding another

2. Cover top of jar with fabric; attach gift tag with raffia or ribbon. Makes
one 1-quart jar.

On tag:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup thawed frozen lemonade concentrate
1 egg
1 jar Tangy Lemonade Bars Mix
1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Lightly grease 13 x 9 - inch baking pan.
2. Beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in lemonade concentrate and
egg until blended. (Mixture may appear curdled.)
Add bar cookie mix to butter mixture; stir until well blended.
3. Press dough evenly in prepared pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.
Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 2 1/2 dozen bars

Monday, September 18, 2006

mexican bloody mary

so, i'm driving home and thinking about all the stuff i need to get done tonite. hubby's working late, so i've got some time to myself. by the time i get to the front door, i've got a plan: feed myself; feed the dogs; pay some bills; ride the exercise bike; catch up on some work; hit the sack. so, i walk into the kitchen, open the fridge and see that i have both tecate beer and bloody mary mix. i've been meaning to try something with those two ingredients. so, some beer, some bloody mary mix, a couple of dashes of hot sauce, a splash of worcestershire, some horseradish and a shot of lemon juice soon found themselves being mixed in a chilled glass mug by a celery swizzle stick. it looked a little like somethin' this...

mexican bloody mary

wow, did that taste good going down. can you guess what else i got to on my list? here's a hint...the dogs are hungry.

p.s., this is why i don't have kids.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

company for brunch

I don't often make a brunch mid week but our friends werestopping by on their way back home to Ft Lauderdale. A brunch meal seemed like the perfect plan. They had been to the Panhandle of Florida to visit a new grandbaby. And yes they brought photos, as they are quite proud of the newest addition to the family.
When I spoke to friends last week I told them I would plan lunch so we could just sit and chat at home and not be rushed in a restaurant. They were only able to spend a few hours so we wanted to yak to share some gossip and of course eat.

I prepared a "go to frittata "that I have made several times in the past and so very easy. I had some leftover spinach from the previous nites dinner as well as some carmelized onions. Hoping for a red pepper in the refrigerator and there ya have the makings for an easy fritata. To accompany the mini frittatas I cooked up some hash browns, toasted some bagels, and sliced up what is probably the last cantaloupe of the season. Oh yes the adult iced cappucinno......recipe to follow.

Food and friends - what more could you ask for.

Adult Cappuccino

1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
a little crushed ice - but not enough to dillute coffee
2 cups freshly brewed espresso, chilled
6 tablespoons amaretto liqueur
1 cup whipping cream, chilled
Stir the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.
Cool the sugar syrup completely.

I made this the nite before and added the amaretto and a dollop of whipped cream just prior to serving. Crumble a piece of amaretto cookie on top of the whipped cream.

Mini Frittata's

8 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sauted spinach fresh or frozen chopped
1/4 cup red bell pepper sauted
1/4 carmelized onions
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Litely oil your muffin tins (I use the 3" tin)
Whisk the eggs, milk, pepper, and salt in a large bowl to blend well. Stir in the spinach,peppers, onions, cheese, and parsley. Fill prepared muffin cups almost to the top with the egg mixture. Bake until the egg mixture puffs and is just set in the tins. I timed it to be about 18-20 minutes using this size of muffin tin. Use smaller tins and the cooking time would shorten. They will puff over the edge a bit.
Ham and asparagus is another good combo for this fritatta.

Let me know what combination of flavors and ingredients you use. It's that kind of a dish.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Mediterranean visit with a treat

When planning my trip to visit sister moon, I made a couple of requests, we have already posted a couple of them. But one of the biggies was a trip to the newly re-opened after major re-do of the Getty Villa, located on a Malibu California cliff over looking the Pacific Ocean. You must make a reservation to go to the Villa, so if you find this museum in your plans, check out the web site and plan ahead. Believe me it is worth the trip.Now I know this is a food blog and yep the Villa has a lovely Café. Wonderful food with indoor or outdoor seating. Sit outdoors if you can because you may think you are sitting on a terrace in the Mediterranean. Sister moon and I were quite good about eating; we shared a small pizza, thin crust which was of the cheese variety. And I should explain why we did this – they have some drop dead divine gorgeous desserts. Ah yes a method to our madness so to speak. We decided, after much back and forth jabbering, on the Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta. Good God Almighty!!! look at it.......... what is not to drool over.

So when we came home sister was on the computer and found a panna cotta recipe that she thought was good. But sister moon just left to go on vacation with husband. Maybe it is on her delicious. I shall go look. BUT if anyone has a meyer lemon panna cotta recipe that has been tried please let me know. So stay tuna'd I'm on the hunt!

Also in the above photo adorning the plate is a rasberry coulis.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Orzo, the building block of lunch

This lunch salad was built as a group project, Doodles and Mooncrazy. I, sister moon, stood at the refrigerator and tossed things out to Doodles to chop and slice. Amazing what you can create. I, Doodles, love this salad because it is just easy and refreshing and so very versatile. Don't turn your nose up at this bottled dressing cause it is low in calorie but loaded with flavor. That Paul Newman is just a special kinda guy.
The chicken was Costco's cooked roaster and the apples, Grannie Smith. The farmer's market asparagus was blanched and it stayed nice and crisp even as a leftover. Chopped pecans, cilantro, sliced green onion, and canned garbonzo beans rounded out this orzo salad. Topped with Newman's Own Sesame Ginger dressing it was a full meal.

We dressed the salads individually as two helpings were heading to the Hollywood bowl the next night that kept everything fresh and crunchy. And it travels well too!

Try this dressing for marinating chicken or pork … and while your at it check out Mr. Newman's web site for some recipe ideas.

Friday, September 08, 2006

tag I'm it ..........???

My dear sweet sister Moon has edited this post because I am having COMPUTER PROBLEMS!!! pray for me cause I'm gonna kill somebody!!!!!!!!!

Five Foods You Should Eat Before You Die!

I Doodles was recently tagged by annie from to participate in the Foodbloggers Guide to the Globe started by Melissa at The Traveler's Lunchbox

Because I love to travel – let’s do this on a virtual travel odyssey

1. Now I know that everyone cannot eat seafood, sister moon happens to be one that I know of, but I love most every kind of seafood out there. So let’s go to San Francisco and find some CIOPPINO. One of my favorite meals because it is nothing fancy, Cioppino is a fish stew that has some very tasty ingredients and usually accompanied by some sourdough bread great for soaking up some of that sauce. Think I’ll go to Scoma’s, a restaurant that I first ate cioppino. At that very moment I fell in love with the dish and the city.

2.Let’s toddle on over to Italy cause it’s where I would love to be. I’ll pick anywhere preferably the countryside, but Milan and Rome hold a special place in my heart. May I should drag Michael Chiarello and/or Giada De Larentis along for the trip. What tour guides they would be! And fun too! I also am going to choose a WHITE PIZZA. I am quite fond of the rustic style that is cooked on a grill. Not that perfectly round American version, not that it is bad mind you, but this is a pizza you should really try. Like I said I like the white version but hey it’s your pizza put on it what ever you dare. Thanks sister moon for making me this delightful dish and sending me home with the recipe. How bout a crispy pinot gris to go with the pizza and some poached pears drizzled with lavender honey. Oh my god I am there can you tell!!!

3. So Munich is not all that far from Italy - let's go have a beer or three. I am a beer snob and am not that fond of American beers.....but some of the European beers are very much to my liking as are some Mexican beers but we may tackle that later. Back to Munich for the moment. I know the Beer Gardens are mostly for the tourists but they are fun - the music is loud - the waitstaff are amazing and the beer is damn tasty. Have a German sausage slathered in German mustard while you enjoy the beer and the fun music.

4. Canada , Toronto to be precise, has some of the very best Chinese food this side of China. The very tastiest potstickers I have ever had the pleasure of eating. I have not been to China and probably never will but I have been to Toronto a lot and it seems we gravitate toward the Chinese sections of town everytime.

5. Now I am very torn between Mexico and Maine. This is very difficult because I love lobster and eating lobster in Maine would be my choice. At one of those beat up losbter shacks on a pier when the lobsters just come in the the wife of one of the fisherman boils up a bunch while you wait..don't forget the melted butter. But Mexican food of any kind eaten in a little spot called Topolabumpo, perched on the side of the road on a cliff overlooking the gorgeous Pacific Ocean. Now that is where I wanna be.

Hope you enjoyed my trip.............I did fer sure.............thanks for joining me.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A little bit of heaven in LA

Another of Doodles "must-haves" was a trip to Cielito Lindo, a taquito joint in Olivera Street which is about as downtown as you can get in LA. If you ever get to LA it should be a must. Click the link for an earlier post.

So we're there and had to browse the touristy shops a bit and found a few trinkets for Little Bird, how we wished she could have joined us, and had to buy some Jamoncillo, one of my favorite Mexican candy. I'm looking for a recipe if anyone has it. It's a milk fudge and it should be simple. That only left eating lunch at Cielito Lindo's.

Lunch is pretty simple, three taquitos, guacamole and beans. Their guacamole is different, more of a green chile tomantillo sauce with some kick. It's thin and powerful. For years I tried to copy the recipe then gave up. Why would I want to ruin the experience? We've been going there for the taquitos con guacamole since 1957, and I think they'll be here for another fifty years. It is reassuring that it hasn't changed a bit, nothing. Well, about twenty years ago they did get radical and offer tamales, they are good as well but way too filling. I'd rather eat the taquitos.