By the time you read this, I will be on a plane heading to Barcelona, Spain!
The photo was taken in February 2013 at Peggy’s 50th birthday party.
Anne, Lorraine, Connor, Peggy, Stevo, Natalie and Samantha (standing)
Peggy, Lorraine (Peggy’s sister-in-law) and I are going for a nearly two-week long trip to visit Natalie, Peggy’s daughter, who is studying abroad in Barcelona.
How lucky are we?!?
There is supposedly internet in the house we’ve rented. If so, I shall blog from there… if not, I hope to be able to blog at least intermittently.
March 10, 2014 2 Comments
Saturday night was our 10th annual neighborhood Progressive Dinner. The theme this time was “Speakeasy” and we had so much fun with it.
We started with appetizers at Ronnie’s beautiful home, then split up to have dinner at the various host homes and finally gathered back together at our house for desserts.
This was what greeted guests when they entered our house.
At Joanne’s, my “dinner host” home, I enjoyed a wonderful meal where we indulged on Lemon Drops and…
… not only delicious, but beautiful Chicken a la Rose, made by Kim…
… along with Waldorf Salad and Rosemary Potatoes…
… all in a perfectly jazzy dining room! Pictured are Flapper Ronnie, Cool Cat Scott (with his faux cigarette) and Flapper Kim. Can you even imagine a more perfectly themed dining room than this one, with its life-sized jazz band mural?
It all began at Ronnie’s and her beautifully set hor d’oeuvres table!
I made the appetizers for Ronnie’s house and she provided the desserts for mine. I made Piglets in a Warm Puffy Blanket, Bacon Wrapped Cheesy Mushrooms, Spinach Deviled Eggs, and the following recipe for Shrimp Canapes.
March 3, 2014 5 Comments
This is the third installment of my Friday Q & A, also know as “Questions from Lori & Answers from Linda.”
Myself, Lori and Amy
If you recall, my sweet and dearly missed friend, Lori, asked me four detailed questions when I first challenged all of you to pose them to me. Lori stepped up to the plate and I’ve already answered the first and then the second. This is the hardest of the four, but I don’t want to shrink from the task at hand any longer.
Lori and her adorable husband, Jonathan, have been doing business and living in Tokyo, Japan since September 2012. Lori is fabulous cook and had the most gorgeous, huge, well-equipped, workable and enviable kitchen imaginable when they lived here in Scottsdale.
This is Lori’s Tokyo kitchen! Can you imagine? When I wrote about how much of a closet Marissa’s San Francisco kitchen was, Lori wrote to say that she envied it, now you can see why! Here is what Lori emailed me at the time:
“I have attached pictures of our charming little Tokyo kitchenette. And when I say “charming” – I use that term in the loosest of senses . . . the charm quickly wore off … and we are left bumping into each other, cursing at each other and are at our wits end to figure out what to cook on our 2 miniscule burner cook top.
No oven (regular, toaster or otherwise) but a decent microwave, but little else to work with in terms of pots, pans or cooking implements. And clean-up! Did you see the size of that dishwasher? Although I have to say it is very àpropos given the fact that we have exactly 4 plates, 4 salads, 4 glasses and cereal bowls.
So, with information and visuals in hand- what the heck would you cook here? Oh-and of course I forgot to mention, there is no access to “normal” foods, spices, condiments, etc. So, Miss Linda – if you were in my slippers and kimono what would you do?”
The exact question Lori put forth on that Friday, three weeks ago, was this:
Is there a way or rule of thumb to adapt any recipes for the oven to a microwave? I literally never used the microwave except for re-heating in the US, and sadly that is all I have to use here in Japan (along with my tiny stove-top).
My problem is that, I too, only use the microwave to thaw, melt and reheat food. I do not use it to cook with. I had to turn to the internet for help. Then I tested the theories on a few small items, a chicken breast, a rice casserole, and a piece of salmon. I found all the hints and tricks below to be spot on. Lori, I hope this helps and I hope that while you’re visiting here in the States, you’ll pick up a microwave cookbook and then experiment on your own when you get back to Japan. Please keep me (us) posted on any successes and on the failures too! You have a knack for writing amazingly hilarious “fail” stories!
Here are my Dozen best tips for Microwave Cookery
February 28, 2014 No Comments
My life is spiraling out of control, out of my control. Others are currently pulling the strings. As a result I have nothing new to blog about so today I’m giving you a Throwback Thursday.
Today is a special day for my longtime friend… who also was a bridesmaid in my wedding some 28 years ago …. today is her birthday.
The two cocktails and appetizer in THIS POST are what I served when we had Birthday Girl Karen and her husband, Bob, over for dinner last year about this time.
February 27, 2014 1 Comment
Wow, this week went fast! I can’t believe it’s Friday already.
Once again, I shall be answering one of Lori’s questions. Lori put forth several when I asked you to pose questions to me. This is one that I didn’t expect to be getting to quite so soon. But the week flew by so fast, that I wasn’t ready to answer the tougher questions she asked… here we go:
Are you going to unveil your plan for your “playroom” when you figure it out?!?
Yes, Lori, it’s not only figured out.. it’s all done. Well, not completely done… but done for now.
I desperately needed a space to store and organize all my craft supplies in one central location. It’s been stuffed in several places throughout the house; the garage, my closet, in the buffets in the dining room, the master bedroom sitting room, in the kids’ rooms (under their beds – without their knowledge) and even in the backyard patio area.
As I mentioned in a post earlier this month, I’ve reclaimed a portion of a large room upstairs that we’ve always called “the playroom.” The playroom has always had a television, couch, and computer desk. In the early years it had a dozen shelves along two of the walls. Those shelves housed Marissa’s extensive collections of Disney figurines and Connor’s huge collection of Star Wars action figures. The shelves came down and the toys went up into the attic, years ago. There were also about a half-dozen tall white cupboards, in the early days, that held school craft and art materials, games, videos and toys… those too are long gone.
More recently the room has been an extra bedroom, with a trundle daybed and also sadly became sort of a junk room. When your kids are college age, they accumulate dorm/apartment furniture and when they finish college, that stuff has to get dumped somewhere… this room became our “somewhere.”
Currently, the room is divided into three distinct areas – television lounge area … also known as Connor’s lair.
… Connor’s computer desk area …
… and my craft area, which still has the daybed included in it. Here are some of the details and close-ups.
February 21, 2014 4 Comments
A week ago yesterday, our neighbors, Allison and Ian, had a new baby girl. She joins two sisters, ages 2 and 3. Since Allison obviously has her hands full (to say the least!) another neighbor, Kim, organized a sign-up for us to pitch in and bring dinners to the family for the next couple weeks.
Kim used a great online tool called Signup Genius. I’d never heard of it before, but I guess it’s all the rage with mom’s of school age kids. I am so out of the loop! It really is genius though!
Anyhow, I made a double batch of this dish yesterday afternoon. My three guys really enjoyed it for dinner last night. Hopefully Ian, Allison and their girls will enjoy it just as much tonight.
February 17, 2014 1 Comment
San Tung is that restaurant in San Francisco that Marissa and I have to eat at the night I arrive in San Francisco each and every time I visit her. It serves the famous “dry-fried” chicken wings that we crave and love.
I desperately wanted to make them for the family on Super Bowl Sunday.
After much online research and some trial and error, I have the recipe for you to make at home!
You’re going to need a large pot, Dutch oven, or preferably a deep fryer. If using a pot, you’ll also need a candy thermometer. Plus, you’ll need a couple big bowls, wire racks, paper towels and a baking sheet.
If you’re like me, you like your wings cut into two pieces, the drummett and the wing.
When cutting the wings in half, just cut through the skin, then bend the wing so you see where the joint is and cut right through the joint.
It’s easy once you find the joint and don’t try cutting through the bone. Then cut off the wing tip, there is a joint there too.
Save and freeze the tips for the next time you make chicken stock.
This recipe makes about 60 wings (30 wings cut in half) and it takes over and hour and a half to fry them all – twice. The recipe can easily be cut in half.
OK, let’s get started…
Homemade San Tung “Dry-Fried” Chicken Wings
Sweet and Spicy Sticky Sauce
1 bunch green onions, minced (green and white parts)
1 small bunch cilantro, minced
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 cups honey or agave nectar
3/4 cup water
1 head garlic, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons Szechuan chili sauce
8 pounds chicken wings
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 cups canola oil
2 cups cornstarch, divided
1 1/2 cups water
Sauce: Mix together the green onions and cilantro. Divide in half, placing half in a small bowl, cover and refrigerate.
Place the other half in a large bowl and…
…whisk in the remaining sauce ingredients.
Pour the sauce into a large skillet and simmer for 10 minutes until thickened.
February 3, 2014 2 Comments
On Sunday, Dave and I went to a second baby shower for Tram. She’s having twins after all, so she should have a minimum of two showers! This was a couples shower that her best friends threw for her. It was at the home of Chef Michael Cairns and his wife, Dar. Michael is the Executive Chef at the Montelucia Resort and Spa.
So yes, naturally the food was outstanding! As was the decor, the company, and the relaxed casual vibe on an absolutely perfect and beautiful Sunday afternoon.
Everything was delicious but the two standouts for me were a delicious and ultra-creative quinoa bar that we started with. And a pureed sweet potato side dish that Chef Michael served.
After eating that addicting sweet potato dish, I was craving sweet potatoes on Monday and I could not shake it. That is how this recipe was born… out of a craving. As we all know, pregnant women are not the only people who get them!
Connor and I thought the heat from the chipotle peppers was perfect. Dave thought it was a bit much. If you’re heat sensitive, cut the amount of chipotle in half. Or start with half as much, taste and then decide if you want to add more.
Chipotle-Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins
3 medium sweet potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Greek yogurt, for garnish
Fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish
January 28, 2014 2 Comments
It makes me a bit sad to be entering my last post about Tram’s baby shower. Albeit, five consecutive posts about one party is a lot, but I’ve really loved sharing it with all of you and reliving it for myself.
I’ll start with the beginning, what the guests saw as they entered…
… the front doors and the burlap wreaths that I made especially for the shower. I had purchased a couple springtime wreaths at Home Goods last year, but they were all nasty and faded before the end of summer, so into the trash they went. Once I took down the Christmas wreaths this year, I had nothing to replace them with.
I had pinned THIS tutorial on how to make burlap wreathes on Pinterest and decided, “no time like the present” to get it done! Oh my goodness, it could not have been easier! I whipped them both out in about 20 minutes. Seriously, ten minutes each! Follow the tutorial and you can make some of your own. By the way, I used an 18-inch wreath form. I will be adding some sort of spring/summer embellishments in the near future.
I found the yarn and number twos at Hobby Lobby and the baby shoes at, Micheal’s, of all places! I used clear adhesive dots to adhere the shoes to the burlap and the twos to the doors. Of course, the shoes went home with Tram.
To the right of the door was a chalkboard sign (of course!) telling guests what to do and where to go. Some people are so darn bossy!
About an hour and a half into the shower, Peggy set the Party Favors out in the same front courtyard so the guests could easily snag them on their way out.
You have to know by now that there was another chalkboard sign, with instructions. This is a school theme, after all!
January 17, 2014 2 Comments
Many of the guests at Tram’s Baby Shower had expressed interest in the recipes for the brunch food I served. In fact, Tram commented that yesterday’s post was a “Cliffhanger” since so many of her friends were hoping for the recipes and I said that the recipes would be coming tomorrow.
That actually made me laugh. A Cliffhanger? Me?
No, I just have so much to share about the shower that I have to break it up into a week’s worth of posts. So, today I shall give you all the recipes!
It sounds more daunting than it actually is because all but one of the recipes have already been posted here on the blog. See, no Cliffhanger to be had. Most of them, I made exactly as previously written and a couple of the others – have a few tweaks. Let’s get to it!
First up, The Granola Bar.
To accompany the granola, there were bowls of fresh blackberries, blueberries, strawberries,plus lemon curd, low-fat vanilla yogurt and, my favorite store-bought yogurt of all time, Greek Gods brand Honey yogurt.
January 14, 2014 3 Comments