Saturday, February 27, 2010

Company is coming... of course it's time to impress. And to do that? I reach for Julia Childs Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Jean and Roy from Washington State are on a whirl wind trip down thru Oregon, California and over to Arizona. They are now heading back and stopping our place for a bit of respite. Now don't misjudge Jean, this woman is a DYNAMO in the kitchen. And it doesn't matter one bit that the kitchen is in a trailer. She's culinary trained, owns her own business and has cooked with the best of them.

She even works to inspire young chefs and has set up a scholarship program to help new comers afford culinary school. WOW! (

What to cook...why boeuf bourguignon of course! So tonight I shop and tomorrow I cook.

Be sure visit on Monday for full disclosure of the menu, the laughter and the greatest of new memories.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ode to Souffle'

Oh today I got new eggs
Their shells so clean and new
I knew for sure that I would make
A dish that was my debut.

I gathered my ingredients
And strengthen my resolve
Tonight I would make a dish
And hope I had the gaul.

The soufflé I exclaimed!
And whipped up my egg whites
I browned up some bacon
Much to my delight.

More cheese! Said my hubby
I told him do not worry.
The cheese you see me adding
Will make it nice a gooey.

We watched the timer ticking
And wondered how it would taste
The smells were fantastic
I dare not use pull with haste.

Alas it was done!
And ready to devour,
We scooped it up and love it,
It was gone within an hour.

I have never made a soufflé. So over the years I was very hesitant to try one. I had heard horror stories, but I was not to be dismayed. Last September I had the privilege of meeting several of my friends from a cooking board hosted by the folks at Cuisine at Home.

One of those was Billy Cotton. He had made his first soufflé and was so pleased at his results. I told him I had not yet challenged that task. Billy informed me that was about to try his first dessert one. After talking with him I told him that while he would do his dessert one, I promised I would do my first savory one, based on the recipe he did.

When we came home I received a phone call that Billy had passed away.

But the promised was made. So I dedicate my first soufflé to Billy. I hope I did you proud! :)

My ingredients are ready -

Folding in the eggs whites -

Into the oven it goes -

Oh this was so good! Let's eat!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Vitamin Shops

So while 2010 is going to be the year of the pork, it also the year I eat a bit better and put heathier stuff in my gullet.

Which brings me to my trip to the vitamin store yesterday.  First if you've never been into one of these and you're going there to pick up one small item, find an employee and fast, tell them what you need. Otherwise you will wander around with the doe in the headlight look for long agonizing minutes.

I'm suppose to be taking all of these -

Good lord this is a small meal when you take into consideration all the liquid I'm going to need to get them down! Which will end up decreasing work production with all the trips to the bathroom I'm going to have to make.

Guys you're going for this little appetizer -

OoOoo look at all the blue ones! And no you can't use beer to wash them down.

There are pills, powders and liquids to pump you up, trim you down, speed up your metabolism, brighten your day, keep you focused, increase your memory, remove nausea (though I think taking all these might give me nausea). There are jars of liquid grass. GRASS! Freshly mowed and organic I'm sure. You can get bottles of chlorophyll. This is the stuff that makes plants green. At the vitamin shop it states "...called the "building block of life". Without chlorophyll there is no life..." If you're a PLANT! Eat a salad.  

All kidding aside this is crazy. Vitamins are a billion dollar industry. If I took as many pills as they recommend I would have to give up a meal along with 35% of my income due to the expense. And did they go to vitamin school? Cause the girl that helped me couldn't have been more than 19 years old. I mean if I want to teach nutrition or be a dietician I have to go to 4 years of school. So if Casey really wants to tell me what vitamins I should take, she should really be asking me a few perdinent medical questions don't cha think?

So not counting synthetic vitamins, where do all these "natural" vitamins get their ingredients from? **whispers** Food

What what? Food you say? Well let's see -

Calcium from bone and dairy. (which also covers Vitamin D)
Vitamin C from Citrus
Omega 3 Fish
Vitamin B's (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12) Turkey, liver, tuna, chili peppers, lentils, bananas, potatoes just to name a few.
Iron - Bran flakes (also makes a nice coating for chicken) oatmeal, cream of wheat, steamed clams.

It all comes down to eating right. Well balanced food, fresh food, seasonal food.

Now the question...why was I there? Yep I went for supplements. I got some arctic cod liver oil for the Omega 3's because we just cannot get good decent seafood where I live without taking out a loan to afford it. I also wanted pure cranberry juice. Not that "cocktail" that you get in grocery stores which is mainly sugar.

Granted there are times when supplements are needed, but before you spend $100's in the quick fix, take a look at your diet. Wouldn't you rather have a great meal than a fist full of pills?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


No this isn't about the game!

This is as a big a holiday for foodies as Thanksgiving. It's the playoffs! It's the time we create munchies that are not standard but fun and filling and can go toe toe with a thrilling play in the inzone.

So my menu was Chex Mix - and the neat thing about this stuff is since it's basically cereal it's perfect for breakfast on the go, Chianti braised stuffed mushrooms, antipasta salad, spinach artichoke dip, bruschetta, fresh guacamole. We bounced from Mexico to Italy and then came back home to Red Velvet cupcakes (Thanks Deb!).

Dinner was lemon garlic marainated chicken which was grilled and served on a bed of greens with a lemon vinairgrette. (well except for Terry who someday needs to learn that Ranch dressing does not go on everything. Besides Ranch Dressing is the Californians solution to bleu cheese dressing. I truly think it went down something like this -

Chip - Pass me some of that dressing dude, that looks like it would radically go with my salad. **pours dressing** Oh man this is bogus!
Barbie - Like whatever Earl, it's like French ya know?
Chip - French or not it totally sucks! Like it's not sweet or anything.
Gayle Henderson - Here son let me fix you up something more to your liking. Out here in Santa Barbara we like to think we're refined, but we know we're just pretentious. I'll mask that classic wonderful cheese flavor with some buttermilk and mayo (yeah like that made it healthier - let's see 5g more of fat, 7mg more of cholesterol) and add some powdered garlic (yum...why not fresh again?) Oh and here in California since we put sour cream on everything we know that if we put that in our dressing soon you will use our dressing for everything and even forget sour cream is available.
Chip - Like dude that sound righteous!)

**Gayle is the creator of Ranch Dressing. Let's egg her house 'k?

Ok back to the food, the real food at least. It was topped off with some impromptu garlic bread. Folks don't buy that frozen garlic bread. Take a cube of butter, 2-3 cloves of garlic (use a garlic press to make this fast) some parsley and Parmesan cheese melt it slightly so you can spread it and broil till it's done. Delish!

All in all we ate like heffers (Moo). I really love "food days".

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Ok so I'm not a big salmon fan. But I know many who are, and while I will cook it up for my husband and will eat some myself I feel the need to share with you.

Do not buy and eat farm raised salmon, ever. It has pretty much zero nutritional value other than mass and some protein. If you think you're getting those wonderful Omega 3 fats you're wrong. You're getting little to none.

Why? Well wild salmon eats krill. This is what helps it to produce within it's flesh those wonderful fats we so need. Farm raised salmon, on the other hand, never sees a krill. It's fed grain. Grain?! Never heard of salmon going on the hunt for a good bowl of oatmeal.

Wild salmon...from now it? Good :)

Monday, February 01, 2010

Raw Food Party

Well last night I had such a wonderful and unique experience. One of my old instructors and I are friends and last night she had a dinner party that I was invited to. Raw Food - 100% vegan.

Once more Janet Rorschach, Chef Consultant and Instructor, pulls out the plug in our lives we call normallacy and introduces us to different ways of thinking. Her home is small, but extremely welcoming. Overstuffed chairs, bookshelves filled with everything you could think of from cooking (of course) to art, to fiction, to history and more.

She goes one step further and invites an array of people, who while in the working world might not have much in common, but here are brought together for the love of the food and the person hosting. A good dose of curiosity didn't hurt either.

Our cook for the evening was Ron Gilmore a "raw foodie" for the last 8 years and his girlfriend Diachin (and I am sure I am not spelling that right). and Here we see Ron and Janet getting things ready for the evening's festivities.

So already I was skeptical but as I said before very curious. Nothing prepared or eaten touched the stove. The dinner party was in 2 parts. You could arrive early for the instructional part or come later just for dinner. You know I was there at the beginning.

We started with miso soup that had large diced advocado in it. This was really delicious.

There was also a crudite with all the standard veggies, but also jicama, asparagus and mushrooms. It was served with a zhoug sauce which is cilantro based and a bit like a pesto. It gets its bite from habanero. It was also served with a savoy dressing that stunned me on it's flavor. It was buttery, tangy and sweet. I was already thinking of so many other things I could use it on.

Savoy Dream Dressing
1/4 C raw Cashews (soaked for 30 minutes)
2 tablespoons lemon juice2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon olive oil1 Tablespoon raw agave Nectar
1/2 Teaspoon sea Salt

Blend in high-powered blender till creamy.

Then we had "pasta" with basil pesto. The pasta was seaweed, which was soaked in water to make it tender and then again in lemon juice. I was really surprised, plesantly no less. I'm trying to find the name of the seaweed. The 'noodles' were clear and it was slightly curly. I totally forgot to get a picture of this.

Broccoli Salad with olives, of all things, really was something I didn't expect. I do believe that olives are way under-rated. But folks get brined olives not processed olives. That's why this dish was so darn good.

Next was dessert. OMG hold on to your to hats kids! Chocolate Mint Meringue Pie. So the crust was a combination of nuts, dates and a dash of cinnamon all done in the food processor. This was pressed into a spring form pan (about 8" pan) The chocolate filling was (you may want to sit
down) advocados, raw chocolate powder, mint extract, agave nectar, coconut oil all processed in a blender till smooth. This was put on top of the crust and chilled. Then for the meringue. He used the meat of 3-4 thai coconuts. The flesh is really soft like thick yogurt. A bit of vanilla and
some more agave. This went on top of the chocolate mixture and chilled some more. I was blown away at the flavor!
And again I only got one shot of the meringue going on top of the chocolate filling. I got so excited when we cut into it I forgot to grab the camera.

I must say that while Derek and I are now doing 2 vegetarian meals a week now I'm thinking about making one of them a raw meal. There are side affects folks! For one who cooks her food, eats meat and carbs...the sudden introduction to a full meal of raw veggies and nuts is,
well let's say musical and a tad painful. So it would take some getting used to.

Am I now a convert to the raw food movement? No..but I do have a better understanding of it and let's face it, I do believe it's moderation hehe.

Eager folks listen intently as Ron describes his food and his philosophy.

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