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Posts from — February 2010


So you may recall that back on December 1st, for her birthday, we gave Marissa a gift certificate to go skydiving. You may also recall that part of the gift was that I would dive with her… well today was the day. The fact that I am posting this lets you know that we survived and in fact thrived! It was a blast and we have photos, t-shirts, and certificates to prove it.  One thing I will say though-  the g-forces put upon your face when you are free falling are not kind to faces over 30, as evident in my photo compared to my 22 year old daughters young, tight, sweet and gorgeous face! Love you Marissa!!!

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February 27, 2010   14 Comments

Monday TV

Today I am busy prepping for a Girl Scout cooking class for sixteen cute little 2nd grade girls who are going to earn their cooking badges this afternoon – fun! On Tuesday of next week I’ll be out at the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park, AZ (about half-way to San Diego!) for an American Egg Board event I’m the food stylist for. And the day before that, on Monday, March 1st, I’ll be on TV with Tram Mai again on the Valley Dish. So set your DVR or TiVo to Channel 12 at 4:30 PM, if you so choose. Also on March 1st, the new summer schedule for Les Petites Gourmettes will be mailed, emailed, and posted here on the “Classes” page… right over there <—- on the left.  Big Darn Day!


February 26, 2010   1 Comment

stuffed and crabby

As promised, here’s a tasty way to use the leftover crab from yesterday’s crab cakes. Baby potato halves make excellent little hor d’oeuvre cups. And a small mellon baller is the perfect tool to hollow them out, so be sure to pick one up the next time you are at the grocery store – that’s right, you’ll find one in the “kitchen aisle” of your neighborhood grocery store. For another vehicle to hold the crab, try small mushrooms, just pull out the stems and use them either fresh or lightly roasted.

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February 25, 2010   No Comments

crab cakes

I have a dozen or so crab cake recipes but I chose this particular one for Peggy’s birthday because it is extra light. What makes it so, is separating the egg and folding in the whipped egg white just before cooking. The presentation with the herbed salad and aïoli is especially lovely, but the cakes are delicious on their own, so make it “easy-breezy” and leave those elements out, if you wish. I know I’ve mentioned before the fabulous real crab sold at Costco, but it is worth talking about again. The brand they used to sell was Phillips, now they carry Blue Star, both are exceptional quality and totally fabulous. What makes them so? Real lump crab that has been pasteurized with a “use by” date on the bottom of the container that is generally about 9 months to a year out. So there is no excuse to not have crab on hand anytime you need it. For this particular recipe, only about half of the container is used, so you can either double the amounts or be sure and use the remaining half container within a day or two.

To that end, I shall post another crab recipe tomorrow to finish it off. Another thing I have talked about before is the fact that the food processor has a special feature especially for making mayonnaise and aioli. If you need a refresher, click here to go back to that post. Finally, as always, if you don’t have Meyer lemons, no problem, just substitute regular lemons.

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February 24, 2010   2 Comments

birthday empanadas for Peggy!

So, before we get to today’s recipe – how about that picture above? Those are just 3 of about a dozen cool cocktail napkins I have which have fun riddles for parties to work out. When using them, it is best to have guests try and solve them before too many beverages are consumed –  just a helpful little FYI.  Study them and leave me a comment if you figure out all three! (And just in case the top one isn’t completely visible – it reads, “52 C in a D +2 J’s”). Plus if you are a fan of the Les Petites Gourmettes Fan page on facebook, you already know something special, so put on your thinking caps and comment as soon as possible!

Last night I had two of my very best friends, Peggy and Anne, over for a little happy hour to celebrate Peggy’s upcoming birthday, which is actually on February 26th. Happy Birthday, Peggy-Sue! Now that all of our kids are teenagers (and beyond, in Marissa’s case!) – we just don’t get together as often as we used to or anywhere near as often as we would like. So when we do – men and children, be forewarned -watch out! As the aforementioned kids know, all too well, we love to be together! I made these spicy little empanadas, crab cakes (that recipe to be posted tomorrow), and grapefruit-cranberry martinis … love you girls! (and even with all the love I have for you both – you may not comment on the riddles – although I would still love to get a comment of any other sort!) xoxo

Birthday Girl Peggy, me, and Anne with delish pink martinis plus a camera with a timer – what more do you need?!

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February 23, 2010   5 Comments

slurp your greens

There are a multitude of things I like about this soup; #1 It is super green – one of my favorite colors, #2 It is super healthy – no roux or cream to thicken, and #3 It is super versatile.

It is just right for St. Patrick’s Day thanks to it’s super greenness (only about 23 day away – yes I do count it down- I can’t help it – I’m 100% Irish !) It is already plenty healthy as is, but even more so when prepared vegetarian style using vegetable broth and tofu instead of chicken broth and chicken. And it is perfect for Lent, just replace the chicken with cooked and diced shrimp and you’re all set for a Friday night meal.

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February 22, 2010   8 Comments


Preserved lemons are a common ingredient in Moroccan and other North African cuisine. The pulp is sometimes used in stews and sauces and can be used sparingly in Bloody Marys or added to homemade seafood cocktail sauce. But the true treasure of preserved lemons is the peel. The flavor is slightly tart, intensely and wonderfully lemony. Preserved lemon peel is the key ingredient in many Moroccan dishes such as tagines.

Not all preserved lemon recipes call for olive oil, but I like to add it after the fermenting process to help “seal” or cover the lemons and prevent spoilage. Since I have Meyer lemons from my yard and also have the Queen Creek Meyer Lemon Olive Oil, I’ll be using both of those, but regular lemons are more than fine, and in fact, are the traditional lemons used. Limes and grapefruit can be preserved, using the same method and are delicious with curries, seafood, and lamb.

Make your own preserved lemons along with me today, because next week I’ll be posting delicious recipes to get you started using your new bounty!

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February 21, 2010   3 Comments

Arizona citrus

back to front: pink grapefruit, navel orange, lime, lemon, Meyer lemon, and blood orange
back to front: pink grapefruit, navel orange, Mexican lime, Lisbon lemon, Meyer lemon, and blood orange

In April, it will be two years since we remodeled our backyard and this winter has, literally, shown the fruits of our labor. We added a blood orange, Meyer lemon, and Mexican lime tree to our existing navel orange, Lisbon lemon, and pink grapefruit – for a true citrus grove!  Last year did not produce any of the new fruits, but this year, the proof is in the colorful picture above and I am one happy girl! The Meyer lemon has been the most prolific of the three new trees. These cookies are delicious with regular lemon zest too, so don’t discount them if you can’t find Meyer lemons.

The almond meal can be found at most grocery stores under the Bob’s Red Mill brand and at Trader Joe’s, or you can make your own almond meal. For about 1 1/3 cups almond meal, place 2 cups whole, unbalanced almonds in a food processor, pulse several times until a medium-fine textured meal forms. Do Not over-process or you will end up with almond butter! Put the ground almond meal in a clean flour sifter, sift and place any large almond particles back into processor and pulse again, sift. That’s all it takes!

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February 20, 2010   No Comments

fig balsamic


Yes, it’s true, I’m still talking about our gorgeous Sunday Valentine’s Day at the Queen Creek Olive Mill, hope you don’t mind ~ because I really love that place! I picked up a bottle of one of their new flavored balsamic vinegars. Fig Balsamic – delicious!

You too can have a bottle of the balsamic or any one of their amazing olive oils… just click here and mail order.

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February 19, 2010   No Comments

another new root vegetable

sunflower sunchoke

Sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes, are a bumpy, tan-skinned root vegetable that resembles ginger root but is actually a variety of sunflower root. You can find sunchokes sold in bulk at some grocery stores or in a one-pound package from “Melissa’s” produce called Sunflower chokes. Sunchokes have a sweet nutty flavor similar to potato or jicama. Serve sunchokes raw in salads or a crudités platter, sautéed, steamed, or boiled as you would potatoes and then mashed. When purchasing sunchokes, select chokes that are firm, avoid any that are soft or wrinkled.

sunchoke roots

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February 18, 2010   No Comments