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Posts from — January 2013

muffin “almost there”

Here is a quote from yesterday’s post:

“So back to the drawing board. I hope to have it down by tomorrow and post the recipe and my success.”

craftsman and wolves sign

What I hoped to have down was the recipe for “The Rebel Within” from Craftsman & Wolves, a restaurant in San Francisco.  “The Rebel Within” is a buttery, cheesy, sausage flecked muffin with a soft-cooked egg in the center. The egg yolk in the muffin should be soft and runny with the oozing yolk dripping like liquid gold onto the plate.

oozing

The muffin is named after a Hank Williams III song. Williams is the grandson of the legendary Hank Williams and the son of Hank Williams, Jr.

So, the big question is… did I get it right? Was I successful? Was the liquid gold running onto my plate?  No. No. and No!

I really wanted to name this post “Muffin Extraordinaire” but it’s honestly only “Muffin Almost There.”

blueprint

I developed the recipe by using the blueprint of the muffin that I found on the restaurant’s website. It’s a tongue-in-cheek blueprint with a hint of what ingredients to use, but it has no real portions. At least it gave me a starting point.

First, I tried soft poaching the eggs for 3 minutes in simmering water and then shocking the cooked eggs in ice water, as with THIS method. But once the muffins were baked, the yolks were firm, not even close to runny.

The second go-round, I tried only poaching three of the eggs for one minute and shocking them in the ice water. I cracked the remaining three eggs directly into the bottom layer of batter in the muffin tin.

I imagined that the 1-minute poached eggs would work and that the raw eggs would run all over the place and make a mess.

Once the muffins were baked, I anxiously cut into one of each type of muffin. The result? Exactly the same as the first time around. The yolks were cooked firm. The raw eggs did not run and make a mess, as I anticipated, they were firm right in the center of the muffin, just as the poached eggs were.

Even though the yolks didn’t turn out as I had hoped, I am going to share the recipe I developed while trying to get it right, because even without runny yolks, the muffin is AMAZING! Wonderfully scrumptious. Somehow the muffin is dense, yet still fluffy and fabulously flavorful.

Instead of naming my version “The Rebel Within” I shall name mine “The Easter Egg Within.”

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January 31, 2013   7 Comments

orthopedics, San Fran, and runny yolks

bones

The day after returning from San Francisco, I had a follow-up appointment at the orthopedics office. The x-rays showed that I am completely healed and may resume all activities, unrestricted. Yay – take that you stupid extension ladder!

castro

I had THE best time with Marissa in the City by the Bay. We shopped, we ate, we treated ourselves to a mani/pedi, we ate, we shopped some more, and we ate…

pot & Pantry storefront

One of the stores we went to was Pot & Pantry on the corner of Guerrero and 18th Streets.

sink

It’s an adorable little store that is deliberately designed to feel as if you’re shopping in a friend’s kitchen. Customers can buy, sell, or trade new and gently used kitchenware. It’s mostly new with a bit of vintage here and there.

I bought a couple little things, big surprise!

pegboard

While checking out, I noticed little postcard-sized cards that had lovely watercolors of food on them.

The rebel within C&W

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January 30, 2013   2 Comments

technology vs. preserved Meyer lemons

604PM

Along with the candied lemon slices from yesterday, I also put up five large Mason jars of preserved Meyer lemons. You can find the recipe HERE.

450PM

I hadn’t planned on making preserved lemons on this particular day, but since I was “being held captive by my technology” – I decided to make good use of my time.

The problem was with our TiVo. It decided to quit communicating with our router and wireless network. Or maybe it was the router and the wireless network that decided it no longer want to play nice with our TiVo.

Either way, it wasted a full 6 hours of my day.

I’ve always gotten wonderful customer service and tech support from TiVo. My luck may have run out on that.

The tech saga began at 2:20 PM on Martin Luther King Day. I use my computer to log into Tivo Support Online and entered into a chat with a technician named Natalie.  Natalie had me do all sorts of shut downs, unplugging, replugging, and restarting of my TiVo and of my router.

After 20 minutes of it, I realized that I would need to multi-task and take on another project, in-between our communications, to prevent me from going mad.

250PM

So I grabbed a cookie sheet, a cutting board, a knife, a bowl, some paper towels, and a bunch of Meyer lemons. I worked on this while simultaneously working on my technical issues with Natalie.

305PM

At one point, and I’m not making this up, this was our chat:

Natalie: OK Linda, unplug the Ethernet cord from the back of the TiVo box and while it resets, go and get a paperclip.

Linda: OK MacGyver, the cord is unplugged, I’ll go get a paperclip.

Natalie: LOL, “MacGyver,” you are too funny!

Linda: Natalie, I’m back with the paperclip, I assume you want me to unfold it and stick the end into some small hole somewhere.  Might I need some Silly Putty and a shoelace too?

Natalie: Now who’s Ms. MacGyver? No, just the paperclip will do. Yes, unfold it and stick it in the small hole on the bottom of the TiVo wireless adapter, then plug the Ethernet back in and tell me what happens.

Linda: Done and done. Nothing has happened. Are you certain I don’t need a wadded up piece of gum or something to make this damn thing work?!?

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January 29, 2013   5 Comments

candied lemons

Meyer lemon bunch

Nearly all of my Meyer lemon crop has been juiced out.  I saved a few to candy.

chocolate dipped meyer lemon slice

Candied Meyer lemon, as well as regular lemon, slices are lovey as a garnish on dessert plates and delicious when added to salads, either whole or chopped. The slices are a sweet tangy treat on their own or dipped in chocolate.  They would be a lovely hostess gift, packed in a small Mason jar.

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January 28, 2013   1 Comment

decor changes

The other big change in home decor since Christmas was the display on our sofa table.

We’ve had the table for nearly 20 years, and for that entire time it has been covered with pewter frames of various sizes that hold family photos.

zoom and flooded

Oddly enough, I am not able to put my hands on a good photo of the table itself. I know photos of it exist, just not on my computer. In other words, said photos were taken before I owned a digital camera. The prints are in photo albums at home… and since I am currently in San Francisco, this sorry image will have to do.

I know it is terrible. That is because I had to really zoom in and then flood it with light.

christmas 2006

Here is the original photo, which was taken in December, 2006. You wouldn’t know to look at it, but the sofa table is in the dark background, on the right side of the photo, just off of Dave’s elbow. Thank goodness for Photoshop.

sofa table change

Now that you’ve kind of seen a “before” photo – here is the “after.” First a daytime image…

night sofa table

… and next, a nighttime view.

When Dave first saw the “remodel,” he was not pleased. He liked the photo gallery better. The same photos that had sat on the same table for 20 years. Honestly, no one ever looked at or actually “saw” the photos anymore. So what was the point of displaying them in such a prominent place in the house?  I’ve moved the frames to a credenza in our sitting room.

Hopefully the new display has grown on him. I really like it.

Let’s take a closer look.

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January 27, 2013   6 Comments

ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

In the center of our entry, we have an antique Asian wine barrel. Or maybe it’s a rice barrel, I really don’t know for certain.

wine barrel

Point is, I’ve had it decorated pretty much the same way for the past 12 years. I switch it out for Christmas and add decor for other major holidays. The rest of the year, it has looked like you see above, minus the arrow sign and the basket of books below.

While I was putting everything back in its place this year, I decided I was sick of the way it looked and decided to change it up. Out with the urn full of faux greens. Goodbye large iron dragonfly. Adios to the bird cage and the stack of coffee table books the cage sat upon. (I must have moved the books for the “Blog 2-Year Celebration Cookbook Happy Hour,” photo you see above, but they were usually present.)

the barrel

Hello to a collection of cloches filled with pretty little treasures I gathered up from around the house.

side view

I’m pleased with the way it looks, but I have to admit that I now live with a fear of someone knocking into it, resulting it all of it crashing down like a deck of cards. Hopefully, that day will not come, but just in case, let’s take a look at it on its first day. We’ll begin with the large centerpiece of the group.

scrolls

This very large cloche sits on an old upturned milk can lid. It is filled with pieces of vintage French ephermera, some of it is rolled up and tied with twine and other pieces are left open.

leather books skeleton key

The papers sit atop small leather bound journals. A brass cow tag with a skeleton key completes this vignette.

The next largest cloche is the most recent find. It is actually a necklace stand from Pottery Barn.  Please do your best to focus on what’s inside the cloche and not what is behind it. It appears that the Christmas tree was fully undecorated, but still standing, and an evil ladder is leaning there, taunting me.

Speaking of ladders, I should report that I feel fully healed. I am in San Francisco visiting Marissa this weekend and I have a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday. I expect the x-rays and doctor will confirm my belief that I am recovered. I don’t really believe this particular ladder is evil, only extension ladders – those are straight from the devil, himself!

rosaries

This lovely cloche holds a collection of rosaries, an olive-wood cross from the Holy Land, and various religious charms.

boxes

A dessert cloches holds a few of my French limoges boxes.

box closeup

I especially love the boxes that have a little something removable inside. The pea pod has little individual peas and the cookbook has a sweet little recipe card. They are two of my favorites.

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January 26, 2013   3 Comments

dinner party main course

1 serving

This is the final recipe from our dinner party with Karen and Bob. As with the other recipes, I found this in a food magazine, this time from the February issue of Food & Wine.

The changes I made; two large onions seemed like too much, I decreased it to one. The recipe was called Ratatouille Toasts with Fried Eggs, it is now Ratatouille Toasts with Poached Eggs. Poached eggs are easier and able to be done ahead, a huge bonus when entertaining.

To do so; poach your eggs as normal, but under-cook them slightly. About 30 seconds off of your normal cooking time should do the trick. Just make sure the whites are nearly set. Lift the eggs directly out of the simmering water and into an ice bath to stop the cooking.  Then place them into the refrigerator until you need them.

egg ice bath

When you’re ready to serve, bring a pot of water to a gentle simmer and give your eggs a final 45 seconds of poaching. Because the whites are already set, you can heat several eggs at once without worrying that they will stick together. This takes much less time than poaching all the eggs at the last minute.

I usually poach the eggs the night before or the morning of a dinner or brunch. In the recipe below, I have instructions as if you are going to serve the eggs immediately, just in case that is how you would prefer to do it. Use the instructions above for making ahead.

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January 25, 2013   1 Comment

Yesterday, I saved a life

Do you remember back in April 2011 when I saved 9 little quail chicks? If not, HERE is that story.

9chicks

Yeah, that’s a sweet little tale.
I like quail.

But… I LOVE hummingbirds.
Love. Them.

I feel that hummingbirds and I are kindred spirits.
We are naturally attracted to each other.

2hummers

I’ve blogged about my love for them before. Here, here, and here – to show but a few.

Yesterday I spent the day better part of the day bringing a beautiful little hummingbird, that was on death’s door, back to life.

love him

Yes, this is him.

This was not the first or the second or even the third time I’ve held a hummingbird in my hand. It’s the forth time! But it was the first time I saved one’s life. Here is what went down -

I was in the backyard, watering plants, when I heard a rustling in the brown crackly canna lily that is frozen to a crunchy crisp from last week’s arctic blast.

cannalilly

Before the freeze, the plants looked like this, and now they are trashed. No worries, they’ll come back better and bigger in the spring. But for now, yuck.

So, I hear the noise and look over and see a hummingbird fly up, up from the gravel and dead leaves. I think, “What was he doing down there?” You don’t often see hummers on the ground.

hurt hummingbird

I walk over to see what he could have been attracted to and I see another hummingbird laying there with a hurt wing.

ouch bird

I pick him up and put him on a towel on the kitchen counter. Then I mix up some sugar water to feed him.

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January 24, 2013   9 Comments

lemon pizza?

The idea for this pizza came from the Corkscrew Cafe in Carmel Valley, California.

I’ve never been there. I  have never had their pizza, but as you well know, I have Meyer lemons… so it is this pizza that I made!

Meyer Lemon Pizza

I read the description on the menu, and the plethora of raves about it on Yelp, and I came up with my own Meyer Lemon Pizza.

Are you worried that you may not like this pizza because of the full lemon slices on there? Peel and all! Please don’t be. Meyer lemon peel is thinner and sweeter and it is delicious!

In addition, just yesterday, my friend, Amy (Amy’s Famous Taco Soup) sent me an email with all kinds of amazing information about lemon peels.

Did you know that lemon peels contain as much as 10 times more vitamins than the lemon juice itself? Lemon peels eradicate toxic elements in the body. The peel is an antimicrobial agent that fights against bacterial infections and fungi, effective against internal parasites and worms, it regulates blood pressure, and is an antidepressant, combats stress and nervous disorders. And according to the email Amy sent me, lemon kills cancer cells and is 10,000 times stronger than chemotherapy.

Now, I haven’t done an ounce of research to back up any of the information in that email, it could be “internet truth.”  But if even 1/10th of that is true… well get out there and eat your lemons, peels and all… and start with this pizza!

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January 23, 2013   2 Comments

2 cocktails and 1 appetizer

I can’t believe not one of you made a comment yesterday about my awesome tub photo.

Come on people, I cleaned up. I made sure the pumas stone, heel file, razor, shaving cream, loofah, and other junk was out of the photo. I’d had a pedicure just a couple days before, so my toes looked all pretty…

tub beauty

I even lit the bird candle!

And not one comment about any of it. I have to say, I’m a little disappointed.

Oh well, even so, I will still do as I promised and give you three recipes today. Three in one day! Yeah, no problem. :-)

Karen & Bob * G&T's

Karen and Bob enjoying their Blackberry- Meyer Lemon Gin & Tonics. Bob had shoulder surgery on December 26th, so my cocktails were a good substitute for any pain meds.

I’m just here to be of service.
Seriously though – Cheers to a speedy recovery, Bob!

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January 22, 2013   3 Comments