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Posts from — September 2010

bragging rights

Sometimes a proud mom just has to brag about her children. Today is one of those days, so please bare with me. The picture below is from Connor’s 18th birthday (he is now 19  1/2 years old) and he had just blown out the candles from his favorite kind of cake, which would best be called “chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate!” I am posting this picture and the recipe for the cake, not because we celebrate half birthdays around here,  but because I want to tell you how proud I am of my son.

Connor will have a weekly comic strip in The Lumberjack, Northern Arizona University’s newspaper! So very cool! His older sister, Marissa, who recently graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Arizona, wrote for her newspaper, The Wildcat, and now Connor will be published too. Marissa is equally proud of her “little” brother, as you can see by yesterday’s post on her blog, as seen HERE.  Yes, she beat me to it, and that kinda makes me doubly proud of both of them. xoxo

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September 30, 2010   No Comments

Valley Dish

I will be making this fall inspired dinner on an upcoming Valley Dish program. It’s so difficult to even imagine beautiful, cool, crisp weather when it’s still 100+ degrees out there, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do! To tell the truth what inspired me was a huge bag of carrots, from “you know where” in my fridge.  That said, I’ll be making a carrot soup too. In the recipe I suggest using purchased pre-julienned carrots for convenience; but feel free to peel, slice, and julienne your own – if you already have a bag of carrots hanging around at your house. By the way, I’ll be on Valley Dish tomorrow (9/30/10), where I will be judging a seafood cook-off instead of cooking! So if you have any desire to see me eat instead of cook, tune in at 3:30 PM, NBC channel 12.

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September 29, 2010   1 Comment

Bavette

I learned of a new, new to me anyhow, cut of beef from a most unsuspecting place; One King’s Lane, an online discount shopping site!

I am somewhat addicted to the site and need to take a break from checking out what they are offering each day. Although I do have quite a bit of my Christmas shopping done! The one day I will not give up checking on is Sunday. On Sundays, they offer food and or kitchen products.

About a month ago their featured items were lobsters (I’ve already posted about that!) and Estancia free-range, grass-fed beef. Honestly, I don’t know if the beef we purchased from there was so wonderfully delicious because of the source or if it was the beef cut, bavette steak; but wonderful it was!

If you enjoy flank and skirt steaks,  you will adore bavette steak! Also known as flap steak, bavette has much of the characteristic of flank or skirt steak. Although fibrous and chewy, all three cuts are packed with flavor.

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September 28, 2010   2 Comments

Amy!

My beautiful, talented, and generous friend and neighbor, Amy Kilpatrick, embroidered these adorable tea towels for me. I love them to pieces and now she is going to teach me how to embroider – believe me, that is a friend!

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September 26, 2010   3 Comments

“lame name” game

I seriously need your help! I created the most dazzling dish the other night but I can’t figure out what to name it. I dreamt about it that night, prayed about it the next morning, and have been racking my brain, but everything I come up with is lame and doesn’t do this divine tuna justice. So, I turn to you, my smart, cleaver, and innovative followers for help and support. If I use our suggestion, a cookbook shall be sent or delivered to you, with my undying gratitude. As Dave said, “This should be on a high-end restaurant menu!” Keep that in mind whilst conjuring up your nom de guerre. Wow, look at how my vocab has increased, just since yesterday! Incredible how using a thesaurus can change your life.

OK, enough of that, on to the tuna. I planned to sear the tuna and serve it with sugar snap peas. I was also thinking of adding cannellini beans and shelled edamame, but when I actually went to make it, I had neither. Dang it, now what? Marissa and I had been out running errands all day and the last thing I wanted to do was get back in the hot car. As usual, that meant it was time to improvise. Sometimes that turns out so so, other times the results are truly awful, but this time – pure genius! I do believe it was the red kidney beans that really made the dish pop. I understand that they appear to be a strange addition, but somehow it worked.

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September 25, 2010   3 Comments

accelerated, expeditious, perfunctory…

I realized as I was deciding what to name this dish that I use the words “quick” and “fast” and “easy” way to0 often! I remember reading, some years ago, that the average person’s vocabulary is actually quite limited. So I did a little research… and when I say research, it means I “Googled” it, and here is one thing I found:

Average Vocabulary Count
Grade 1 Student = 1,000+ words
Normal Person (Graduate) = 5,000 to 6,000+ words
University Professor = 15,000+ words
Spelling Bee Winners = 30,000+
Shakespeare used 60,000 words
College Dictionary (Abridged) = 50,000 – 70,000
Total Words in English Language = 250,000+ (Growing)

I have no idea how accurate any of those numbers are, but I do know that my own vocabulary is extremely limited.  I use the same words over and over and over again … see what I mean? Although my “easy-breezy” category, which this dish fits into, would just sound all wrong if it was “perfunctory-breezy”, now wouldn’t it?!

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September 24, 2010   No Comments

asparagus basics

Asparagus is one of my family’s favorite vegetables. I generally make Parmesan Roasted Asparagus, but it’s been too hot and humid this past week to even think of turning on the oven, so we’re back to basics. Not only with the recipe but also with the technique. What technique? Peeling the stalks, that’s what!

At the market, choose asparagus with tightly closed tips. The stalks should be bright green and firm. If you aren’t cooking the asparagus that day; stand the bundled stalks in a tall glass or vase with about an inch of water, as you would fresh flowers, and refrigerate.

Asparagus comes in all different thicknesses, from pencil-thin to nearly an inch in diameter. The bottom woody inch or two of any asparagus should be discarded. Whether or not you peel the stalks depends upon their thickness. If you were to peel the pencil-thin size, you would have nothing left. I generally peel if the stalks are 1/2-inch in diameter or thicker.

Begin by snapping off the bottom end of each asparagus stalk. It will naturally break at the spot where it is tender. Cutting the ends off with a knife makes it impossible to estimate just how much to take off since tenderness varies from one stalk to the next.

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September 23, 2010   1 Comment

Fall series at Les Gourmettes

After my post of two days ago telling of the upcoming classes I’ll be teaching at Les Gourmettes Cooking School, I’ve received about a dozen emails asking for the schedule. Since the demand appears to be high, I’m posting it here for all.

If you are interested in signing up for the classes, please act quickly, there are only 16 initial spaces available. Mail a check made out to Les Gourmettes Cooking School for the full amount ($150) to 6610 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona 85012.  Please include a sheet of paper with your name, address, phone, an email address and “Linda’s Series” written on it with the payment.

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September 22, 2010   2 Comments

family talent

If you read this blog much, you already know that baking is not my thing. But I do have a young family member in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and baking is her forté. My sister-in-law, Teresea’s, daughter-in-law, Brandie, recently opened a cupcake bakery, Sweet B Cupcakes.  It is the city’s first bakery dedicated to cupcakes.

The “Good Morning, Cupcake!” – a maple buttermilk cupcake with maple butter frosting sprinkled with crispy bacon crumbles, is one of their most popular creations.

No, unfortunately the following is not their recipe, it is just my best guess at what the delicacy may be like. I must say, it turned out pretty darn good for a non-baker. Although, I did overfill the papers a bit, as you can see by the sad looking pan below. To avoid the same ugly fate, only fill the liners 3/4 full with the batter. I have reflected that in the written recipe below.

I also didn’t want to wait for the bacon drippings to solidify in the refrigerator, so I set them in an ice bath (also pictured below) as I minced and crumbled the bacon. The drippings were ready to go as soon as I was done with that easy task.

Marissa (and Dave for that matter) turned up her nose at the idea of bacon on cupcakes, but she (and he) changed her tune upon the first bite. These are really super yummy, and would be wonderful change from the same old muffins at a breakfast or brunch.

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September 21, 2010   4 Comments

my quick “go to”

When I am completely uninspired to create something new for dinner, this is my “go to” main course. It can be chicken breasts, a couple steaks, or pork chops, as shown here. The flavor of the wine or the herbs may change but the method remains. Season the meat, cook it through, remove meat from pan, add flavoring/seasoning to pan and cook, then deglaze the pan with liquid (doesn’t have to be wine; stock, juice or even water all work too) and reduce slightly. Done, ready to eat without much thought or effort, but still perfectly wonderful.

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September 20, 2010   1 Comment