Friday, September 28, 2007

indispensable kitchen tool

accidental hedonist has a new poll over at her site asking what is your favorite tool in your kitchen. the kitchenaid stand mixer seems to rank pretty high in the comments, but the hands down winner in the poll is the humble knife. i couldn't agree more and i'm thrilled to have an opportunity to post a picture that i took of my favorite tool in my kitchen: my ceramic chef's knife. these were a present from my bunky about seven years ago and i love them to pieces. they're ceramic, so they don't need to be honed with a steel, but they stay super sharp. you're supposed to get them sharpened once a year, but the bummer is you have to send them back to the manufacturer to do it, because they need a special sharpening wheel (diamond, i think). that being said, i've been able to get away with getting them sharpened every two years with no problem.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

When in Rome......

well not really Rome, we are in Southern New Mexico. And the abundance of FRESH, I say FRESH ingredients is an absolute thrill.

So finding my way thru a local market I spotted fresh made tortilla's.
Well there is my dinner menu tostada's.

This layered meal can be vegetarian, made with seafood it's your choice, BUT try to go with the freshest products. And of course an adult beverage is a good choice such as my favorite cerveza, Corona.

A tostada is a layered Mexican one dish meal, such as the one posted on the site.

Mine consisted of the following:

a fresh flour tortilla fried crisp
spread with heated refried beans
cooked ground beef, shredded beef or chicken
shredded lettuce
grated cheese, cheddar or jack

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ghoulies and Ghosties …

… and long legged beasties

Here is your only chance to dress your pet for a good reason, Halloween! On your blog post please a wonderful pix of you furry, hair, or scaly friend and don't forget a link back to us. Oh, if you don't dress your pet, send your link anyway, we love to see all those faces.

We'll be collecting the next Food Bloggy Pets of the Month posts for October so get your permalinks sent by the 29th (or so) of September. Send them to our e-mail,

Then everyone drop by around the 1st of October to see things that go bump in the night.

Friday, September 21, 2007

You have to break some eggs

No secret, I'm a fan of America's Test Kitchen, both the website and the PBS show, so for my beloved's birthday this week I thought I'd try their Old-Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake. I'm not putting in the recipe because it is quite long but it is so worth the trouble, especially the frosting.

I've always been insecure baking 'scratch' cakes but this one has make me feel quite accomplished. For best results you need to beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick, almost like pancake batter. This gives the cake a wonderful light texture, well that, and the fact their are four eggs and two more egg yolks. Did I tell you this isn't low fat?

There is a bit of a trick to the frosting, too. To begin with, it takes a pound of chocolate. Wow, what's not to like. It's a ganache but beaten until fluffy. You must cool the frosting down to 70 degrees over a bowl of ice water before beating. If it is too warm it won't fluff and too cold it seizes. Don't let this keep you from trying this cake; the effort will give you your reward. My frosting was a tiny bit too soft so after frosting, I refrigerated the cake to 'set' the frosting, then left it our about an hour before serving.

The "kids" across the street came by to enjoy this creation and loved it, as did the birthday boy. But I have just one question, is anyone else this messy?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Greeting's from the road

I am sure our faithful readers are sick of hearing about Tito's, our favorite taco joint in Los Angeles. Well my sweet husband and I are traveling the country in our RV and have come across a restaurant that would and could compete with Tito's.

While in Oklahoma City we were told to go visit Bricktown, which is the Okie version of San Antonio's RiverWalk. Well it's not very big and is enlarging as I type. But it has great potential.

Anyway we get out of the truck right smack dab in front of this Mexican restaurant. Ahhhh omens gotta love em. Chileno's is a sit down establishment with and excellent large menu. I settled on carnitas which is a favorite and Mr Doodles ordered a combo plate of green chile buritto, cheese enchilada, two taco's, boy does have an appetite. Glad he did cause I got to taste his taco pictured below. We each said as we took a bite of that taco......"hmmmmmmmm Tito's".

As a bonus and just for sister Moon I ordered a sopapilla. This was absolutely the best one I have had so far. I am so lucky that Mr Doodles is not fond of this taste treat - he has NO idea what he is missing. Look at the honey dripping down the sides and when they come out of the hot oil cinnamon and sugar are sprinkled on - what is not to like. Had to do and extra power walk after this.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Take the survey

Not long after the pet food from China was in the news for killing a number of cat and dogs here in the states I realized I had this bottle of apple juice in my pantry. If you can't read the stamped on label it say: Concentrate from China. It still sits on my shelf; staring at me.

In the market today I noticed two bins of garlic. One filled with loose heads and the other with three heads packaged together. The packaged garlic stated it was a product of China.

Huh? I live in California and Gilroy, the Garlic Capital, is close, well closer than China. Where does that garlic go? I do understand the global economy but we can't get apple juice and garlic from the west coast? Washington is just brimming with apples, where does that juice go?

China seems to be on the end of some serious recalls from pet food to children's toys. It makes me uneasy to think of food being prepared in countries with safety standards not up to ours. Give me good ole American fresh spinach any time. Oh wait, China doesn't seem to have the market cornered on food contamination. How soon we forget.

So I'm back to my original question, would you drink this? Please take the little survey on the left. I'm really interested in what you have to say.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A juicy drink

This is easier than opening a carton from the market, well, almost as easy. I love limes and we have just an abundance in the markets this summer. The ginger gives it a bit of a punch and it is very thirst-quenching. I put cut up limes in my water when it's real hot, too.

Gingery Limeade
Cooking Light

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger (don't substitute!)
1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 1/2 cold water

Combine first four ingredients in a small pan, whisk until sugar is dissolved. Give it a bit of heat, if needed. Strain mixture through a sieve into a pitcher. Add juice and 2 1/2 cups cold water through the sieve, discard the ginger and lime zest. Chill completely.

A few pretty slices of lime couldn't hurt and I suppose a bit o' rum would be nice, too.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I cooked............

I know, I know this is a food blog. But being in an RV traveling around the country and cooking is just not what I had in mind.

I love to cook but I had a bit of adjustment to my NEW kitchen. The stove is tiny as is the oven. I have ordered a new microwave/convection oven. But my most treasured purchase would be my electric skillet. Yep!!! Amazing because I had never used an electric skillet 'til now.

Who knows what made me think of getting one. My mom used one for years maybe it was remembering that skillet sitting on her counter.

Anyway, we arrived mid afternoon at our destination of Little Rock. I decided I had items in the fridge to cover dinner.
I started by cooking some sweet Italian sausage in some beef broth, adding a chopped red pepper and one cube of garlic*. I had some frozen meatballs which are a Mr Doodles favorite. Put all of the above in the skillet along with Trader Joe's starter tomato sauce and simmered to meld the flavors for a good half hour. Meantime I cooked up a bit of penne pasta. Toasted some cheese bread with a garlic parmesan cheese paste and Voila a meal that I could be proud of cooking.

I'll get better at this I hope so stay tuna'd.........

*cube garlic is an itty bitty piece of compressed garlic that comes frozen in a package of a dozen I think. I got this package in Canada but sister moon says that Trader Joe's also carries this product.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Food to keep you from rusting

Because she's concerned with her family's health, lil bird sent a list of ten items that would instantly upgrade your health. Her father has had a time with his cholesterol and this had some good ideas. He's also been watching his calorie intake so the Cabbage reference jumped out at me. Not that cabbage will reduce your cholesterol, no it's more of an antioxidant, but it can be combined with other helpful ingredients that will.

This article also had a great explanation of the term antioxidants. "Just as the name suggests antioxidants keep your cells from oxidation. Think of oxidation as rust."

I served this last night for some friends and it got rave reviews and hopefully none of my guest are rusting this morning.

Asian-style slaw
4 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon sriacha, an Asian chili sauce (I used BBQ sauce)
1 head Napa cabbage, shredded
1/4 cup toasted peanuts
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

I made the dressing and added some Tabasco chipotle hot sauce, about a teaspoon. Then marinated a can of rinsed garbanzo beans for about an hour in the dressing. I mixed this all together and chilled for 30 minutes before serving. I'd never tasted "sriacha" so I'm not sure how spicy it is but I tasted the dressing along the way to get the right "bite."

Monday, September 03, 2007

September Pets

We've just a few pets this month but I think we can blame that on the busy Summer time. If you have a pet don't forget to send us a link to their photo on your blog.

We'll be collecting the next Food Bloggy Pets of the Month posts for October so get your permalinks sent by the 29th (or so) of September. Send them to our e-mail.

We know we can't get enough of Ziggy at Soul Fusion Kitchen and looks like he can't get enough, either. Summertime is tough on our little friends and Ziggy's short 'do is just the ticket for these blistering Southern California days.

Check Sylvie's blog for some great recipes, too. Ziggy is just a bonus.


Here's one of our own, lil bird's Multi. He owns anything he can get into or on top of.

"I'm in your office, watchin' you work."

Next is Buddy Cat who is the traveling companion to our own Doodles and Mr Doodles. As you know, they are on a long adventure traveling the Americas in a RV. They are heading to Memphis, Tennessee an area known for BBQ.

Check out her post and find out why the cat's in the tub.

Ok, you might be asking, where is Buddy dog. Well he's over on my other blog, French Benefits. He had a run in with a pet care product. So if you are a dog owner and use flea prevention products you might want to check out what happened to our pooch.