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Posts from — April 2010

happy birthday to my baby sister, Sloane!

My beautiful sister, Sloane, celebrates her birthday today.  As mentioned in the “forgiveness” post of last week, she is my little sister and was at my mercy during our childhood years. That’s what six years age difference will do for you, a distant older sister with the adoring younger always hanging around.  Thankfully, we are long past those days and I can not begin to express my love, eagerness to share and be with, appreciation and admiration for my best friend who also happens to be my sister.  This chocolate overdose dessert is for her. Once component of it is our Aunt Connie’s Mint Chocolate Pudding, a delicious ode to our childhood days. I love you, Sloane! xoxox

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April 30, 2010   2 Comments

egg on top

If you’ve been looking at restaurant menus for the past year or so, you’ve noticed that chefs are putting eggs on top of just about everything. Poached or fried eggs on top of pasta, salads, pizzas. The egg is the world’s most perfect food, it is economical and a great way to add protein and richness to just about anything. So take a crack at this current trend at the most natural time of day, for breakfast or brunch, but with an unconventional twist, breakfast pizza!

Small eggs work best if you’re making large pizzas to slice into wedges. The challenge – small eggs can be difficult to find. Try your local Asian market because most mainstream grocery stores only carry extra-large, large, and if you’re lucky, medium eggs. If you go with the medium eggs, remove about half of the whites before placing on the pizza, or the eggs will overflow and make a mess of the oven.  Or, divide the dough into 8 portions and make individual pizzas, then you can use the entire medium egg. You won’t get the same bang for your buck though, since you’ll get two large pizzas, or 16 servings if you follow the recipe as written. And the look of the large pizza is much more impressive than the individual, as you can see for yourself in these photos.

Side note: Almost forgot to mention – watch me at 4:30 PM on Channel 12 (NBC) Valley Dish tomorrow with Tram Mai.

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April 29, 2010   No Comments

pretty tease

I am busily prepping for my first class, of a three week series, this evening at Les Gourmettes Cooking School. Barb Fenzl had this adorable cooking utensil centerpiece basket that her sweet husband, Terry, made for her.  I brought it home, picked up a big $9 bunch of flowers at Costco and added in fresh herbs and baby artichokes from my garden.  Truly loving how it turned out and I will soon be making a utensil centerpiece basket of my own! Barb’s has 2 wooden spoons, a pastry brush, whisk, tongs (can’t see those at right end of basket) and a wooden pasta fork. Too cute!

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April 28, 2010   4 Comments

ladybug!

When I went out the garden to pick the mint needed for this recipe, I found this very welcome and sweet little guest, funny how simple joys can just make your day! My goal for the past month or two has been to cook with lemons everyday.  I know you’re probably sick of hearing about how many lemons I have, but believe me, I’m more tired of trying to use/get rid of them!  I took about 50 pounds to cooking class last night and plan to do the same tomorrow night when I begin my 3-week series at Les Gourmettes. Just the thought of all of them is wearing me out… the solution? Tonight, I’m going to fire up the Jacuzzi and make cocktails using up several lemons, that will get me geared up to keep going! This is a great cocktail if you have a little leftover champagne or as in my case, you have a split lying around unused. I’m using Absolute Citron, but any unflavored or citrus flavored vodka is fine. If you’re not lemon-rich, buy lemon sorbet at the grocery store and you’re all set.

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April 27, 2010   9 Comments

first of the season

I picked my first artichokes of the season today! Plus another 40 or 50 pounds of lemons! Really, someday, I will have picked that lemon tree clean… but not for awhile. Only two artichokes were ready, so this recipe is for two, it can easily be doubled or tripled, no matter how many more artichokes you add.  But only go up to 1 1/2 cups of water to cook them in and no more than about 5 tablespoons olive oil.  When increasing recipes, know that not all ingredients increase in equal increments.  For instance, even is you double or triple the onion/garlic/thyme/fennel portions, you still will only need about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to sauté them in… make sense?

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April 26, 2010   3 Comments

Saturday night’s alright

(Disclaimer: So I’ve already had a few people (whom I dearly love!) call or email to advise that I do not know how to spell all right... I do indeed know how to spell it correctly, but I’m going with the thought I had when I wrote the title for this post -which was Elton John’s hit, “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” … and if Elton spells it that way – it’s just fine and more than alright with me!)

After a long day of company picnicking, errands, and cleaning – a quick dinner was in order for Saturday night. I’ve used pomegranate molasses several times before, so just click on that ingredient and it will take you to the easy recipe. Pom molasses is a valuable ingredient to have on hand. It gives a great big punch to everything from chicken, lamb, beef and fish to your run of the mill – ho hum vegetable dishes.

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April 25, 2010   1 Comment

invention

I’m often asked, “How exactly do you come up with new recipes?”  Well, sometimes, it comes from inspiration; such as beautiful fresh produce at the farmer’s market, or a new product at Trader Joe’s, or even a great sale on a favorite cut of meat at the supermarket. Other times, it is the result of the rule, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” That is the case today. Here is a word-for-word text I just received from my husband of nearly 25 years, (May 4th), David. “I forgot I was supposed to bring some kind of side dish to the (company) picnic today :) if you have something you could easily throw together…” This from a man married for, just weeks away from 25 years, yet it sounds more like something that would come out of your 4th grade child’s mouth!

If you’re a married woman with children, you are thinking, “Yup, no surprise, been there- done that.” If you’re a man, you are most likely thinking, “What is the big deal, obviously the woman knows how to cook.”  Whatever! Of course, I do “have something” and I can “easily throw it together”. After all, Dave does know what our refrigerator looks like at any given minute. So here is how side dish for today’s picnic got thrown together.

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April 24, 2010   4 Comments

poached + fried = delicious

While our family was in Italy during the summer of 2008, I had Asparagus with Prosciutto di Parma, Parmegiano Reggiano, and Poached Eggs. The dish is a common sight on Italian menus.

I’ve taken quite a few liberties, basically Americanizing and bastardizing it at the same time! The inspiration to do so, came after a cooking class on Monday night with Chef Chris Curtiss of Noca, who made these outstanding fried poached eggs and served them on top of a fabulous salad with pickled red onions, bacon, and red wine vinaigrette – truly amazing!

I often serve the asparagus as a side dish and it has already been feature on this site, but this is a wonderful light, refreshing, and satisfying main dish for any night of the week. Of course, it would also make a great brunch dish.

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April 21, 2010   3 Comments

forgiveness

For the past year, I’ve been providing 2 dozen cookies a month to the winner of an auction item I donated to a local charity.  This is my last delivery of the year and these cookies are real winners.  I have a thing for malted milk balls, Whoppers, as it were.  They have long been one of my all-time favorite candies.  I’m sure my mistreated baby sister, Sloane, could tell some awful stories about my mean-younger self, involving Whoppers… I’ll just leave it at that.  I dearly love you, Sloane and I am truly sorry for that very mean big sister whom you had to put up with, when we shared a bedroom, all those years ago… please forgive me! xoxo

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April 19, 2010   2 Comments

Happy Birthday

My Dad in front of his farmhouse on 7th Avenue and Missouri in Phoenix, Arizona on his 2nd birthday in 1933

Today is my Dad’s 79th birthday. I’m still out of town, but I didn’t want the day to go by without acknowledging his birthday.  I love you, Dad! xoxo

My Dad with all 8 of his grandchildren on Connor’s 1st birthday in 1992. (surrounding Dad and Connor from bottom left, clockwise; Race, Marissa, Ben, Joel, David, Raina, and Jeremy.)

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April 18, 2010   1 Comment