Monday, April 30, 2007


Made In L.A. - See's Candies

Welcome to this beautiful Monday all you cats and kittens! And thanks for stopping by!

For your reading pleasure, today I am here to wax rhapsodic about the single best Made in L.A. item of them all.

That’s right. The best.

See’s Candy. “Quality Without Compromise”

I dare you to deny it.

Since 1921 these fine people have been churning out the mostest yummy chocolate treats around. And lollipops. (I recommend the butterscotch. Drool.)

And I feel confident saying that their outstanding products are something most Angelenos would put at the very top of their own Made In L.A. list.


Super top quality, sugary-sweet nostalgia. All-kindsa-chocolaty goodness. (And did I mention the Toffee-ettes? Sigh.) Flavors galore, and as a fantastic bonus...they give out free samples in their pristine shops, so you can make sure your box is only filled with goodies that appeal to you.

Me, I go for the dark chocolate covered ginger nuggets, more than anything else...spicy-sweet decadence.

All this happiness-in-a-box for incredibly reasonable prices! (And available on-line! Whoo-eee!)

The only person I have ever met who doesn’t eat See’s candies (who doesn't have some sort of medical condition that prevents them, of course) is my darling friend, The Ombudsman. And his excuse is pretty solid. His father worked there for 30 years and he is just plain over it. (Can you imagine if your father was scented with chocolate instead of aftershave though? Mmm.) Then again, they essentially paid for the roof over his head for the first 18 years of his life, so even he – a non-sweet-tooth kinda guy – admits they are the best candy of them all. Even if they are based in SF. The manufacturing plant is here, and that is good enough for us.

See's Old Fashioned Candies. It's a kid in a candy store.

Go now. Buy some. And enjoy!


Charles See opened the first See's Candies shop and kitchen on Western Avenue in Los Angeles in November of 1921.

A Limerick for you:
A tossed salad was set on the table,
(But hark to the end of my fable)!
A quick flick of the wrist
The dishes all missed
as the waiter was not very able!


Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Chicken Chermoula

This recipe! This recipe! It makes me HAPPY.

For one thing, I learned it about, oh, say, 10 years ago from a supremely cool woman.

This being me we are talking about, of course, I don't remember her name, (sentimental, aren't I!)but she gave me this recipe and for that I she will always hold a place in my heart.

And then, this past whirlwind-weekend, I was able to share it with two more supremely cool women.

Keep the goodness flowing...

But why get all hyped about sharing a chicken recipe, of all things?

Simple as this.

Over drinks, a few weeks ago, one of the aforementioned cool women declared - unprompted, and with absolutely no hesitation...

"I like chicken. (Pause.) That's right, I said it."

How would you have responded? (I mean, other than having to hold your sides due to extreme laughter)

The gauntlet was thrown down indeed. So I told her I had the recipe for her.

And this was it. I mean, for a woman willing to make such a definitive statement, I had no choice but to bring out the big guns. The real deal chicken-perfection-recipe.

Bold, sassy, unique. (Like my girls!) If you like really intense flavor and have a bit of prep time, (this MUST marinate at least four hours, really, it just needs it.) I say, get your chicken on!

A curious combination of extreme flavors; lemon, cumin, paprika and saffron, it is a mouth full of wow indeed.

And on Sunday afternoon, we all got together and made it, and loved it and ate it and wished we had made more...

So now my peaches, it is your turn to try it, and enjoy!

4 chicken legs, and four thighs
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red onion, chopped fine
4 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbs sweet paprika
2 tsp cumin seeds
3 Tbsp cilantro, minced
1 tsp salt
½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
Large pinch red pepper flakes
¼ tsp ground ginger
2 pinches of saffron threads
4 Tbsp olive oil
Chicken stock as needed
Couscous to serve

Combine the chicken, garlic, onion, lime juice, paprika, cumin, cilantro, salt, pepper, pepper flakes, ginger, saffron and olive oil. Let marinate up to two hours at room temp or two days in the fridge, turning from time to time.

Preheat your oven to 450F or turn your grill on (do that. Really, this is SO good grilled. If you do, just simmer the remaining on the sauce in a pan on the stove top.)

Place the chicken and its marinade in a roasting pan and add enough chicken broth to come ½ inch up the sides of the pan.

Roast for 20-40 minutes (depending on cuts used) or until the chicken is browned on the outside and juicy on the inside.

Skim off the fat from the roasting juices, and serve with the juices poured over.


Chermoula is a North African spice mix of lemon, cumin, garlic, coriander and saffron

In 1444 any merchant caught selling adulterated saffron in Bavaria was burned alive (um. ouch!)

Iconic restaurant Chez Panisse served its first meal on Aug. 28, 1971. They had their first profitable year (a whopping 2%) in 1984,
with sales of $2.7 million. (Sales jumped, in 2000, to almost $7 million.) - LA Times

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Monday, April 23, 2007


Matzo Ball Soup with Dill

Just because it is springtime, doesn't mean your desire for soup has to go onto the back burner (oh dear, I do think I am so clever sometimes. Almost sickens me. Almost.)

This is the quintessential springtime soup, light and breezy with just enough heft to make it filling.

Simple, refined, elegant. And let us not forget so, so, so delicious! Dill-tastic too. Dill. Yum.

That said, I admit it's somewhat curious that I think it's elegant, considering it's humble origins. Just goes to show that elegance is all in the presentation, and the demeanor of the presenter!

4 large eggs
5 Tbsp margarine, melted
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh dill
1 1/4 cups unsalted matzo meal
1/2 cup club soda
6 cups chicken stock (homemade is best)
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced on the bias
Dill sprigs for garnish

Whisk eggs in medium bowl until frothy. Whisk in melted margarine, pepper and dill.

Using a wooden spoon, slowly mix in the matzo meal, then add the club soda.

Cover and chill batter until firm. In my fridge this took 45 minutes.

Using damp hands, shape the batter into small balls. About the size of a walnut. Remember, they swell up when they cook.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the matzoh balls, cover partially and lower the heat to medium.

Simmer until matzo balls are tender, about 30 min. to 1 hour. (Depending on size.)

Drain the pot, reserving the balls. (Can be made ahead. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours or cover and chill up to 1 day.)

Bring a large pot of chicken stock to a gentle simmer. Add in the matzo balls. Simmer until warmed through, about 10 minutes.

Ladle broth into individual (I like to use glass) bowls, add three matzo balls and a few carrot slices. Top the matzo balls with a sprig of dill and serve.

Makes a heck of a lot. Remeber they are super filling. This should serve 8-10.


Ate dinner at Beechwood this weekend. Strange place. Good food, but for no apparent reason they make you give a credit card before you order! Weird.

Matzah balls, also known as kneydlach are a traditional European Jewish dumpling made from matzah meal

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Friday, April 20, 2007


Fried Avocados with Fruit Salsa

This seems insane, right? Breaded and fried avocados?

I mean, really. Yikes!


Insanely GOOD is what you should be thinking.

Look, I too was skeptical, but I thought it through and decided to give it a whirl. I mean, life is short kids! Why not go on and make something different?

And you really can't go wrong with deep-fried. Right? Right.

Fried is my favorite food group after all...

And you know what?

This is the ultimate. Mouthwatering decadence. Crispy, smooth, spicy, sweet, salty, rarefied, divinity.

If you got the time and you got the dime (and the waist-line. Ha ha) get thee to the market then get on home and make a serving of these to munch. You'll thank me peaches, you really will.

Try it, and enjoy.

1 small pink papaya, peeled and seeds removed
4 green kiwis, peeled
2 red bell peppers
1 red jalapeno pepper, seeds removed
1/2 cup brown sugar
Zest and 1/4 cup lime juice

6 avocados, somewhat firm
3 eggs
Sea salt and black pepper
1 package panko bread crumbs*
5 cups canola oil
Tortilla Chips to serve

Dice some of the papaya, kiwi, bell pepper and chile pepper. Add the rest along with the sugar, lime zest and juice in a food processor and puree. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Combine the diced fruit with the pureed batch. (You can also leave it all diced, or puree it all. I just find the puree can get soupy...)

Beat eggs in small mixing bowl until combined. Place panko crumbs in separate bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in heavy large skillet at least 2 inches deep.

Heat to hot but not smoking. Cut avocados into half, tip to tail. Remove the pit, and using a spoon, scoop the flesh out of the skin.

Dip each avocado half into the egg and then into the panko crumbs.

Fry until crisp and golden.

Transfer to paper towels, season with salt.

Fill with fruit salsa and serve.

*Why panko? They are crispy and have more texture than plain breadcrumbs. I don't know that I would make this with regular breadcrumbs. If you can't get Panko, try finely crumbled crackers.

A collector for the Royal Horticultural Society of Britain sent fresh kiwi's to Britian from China in 1847, and another collector sent the seeds to England in 1900. Kiwi plants were first exported from China to the United States in 1904, and seeds were brought to New Zealand in 1906.

Are you taking part in the Eat Local Challenge?

Demand for organic milk in the U.S. has been growing 20 percent or more a year, so much so that in 2005, some retailers posted signs in their dairy cases apologizing for not having enough of it. - NY Times

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Thursday, April 19, 2007


Wao Bao Chicago - Hot Asian Buns

You know what I LOVE?

Hot Asian Buns.

Oh yea.

And here is how I got my hands on some...

I was in Chicago for, like, I dunno, 26 hours last week and my only requirement (other than celebrating the occasion that brought me there.) was a stop at Wow Bao.

Sure, sure there is amazing, sublime, fantastically local food in Chi-Town, but when a girl is in a hurry and a sit down meal isn't on the agenda, this is the way to go.

Bao. Steamed buns. Chewy, savory, delicious.

Available in the lobby of the Water Tower building. Limited menu (six to choose from including whole-wheat energy - pictured, classic pork, etc.), at the wallet friendly price of $1.29. All that and freshly made Pomegranate-GingerAle. Yum, yum and double yum.

And you may be asking, why does a girl who trys to support small businesses and lives in a town that has a huge and vibrant local Chinese-American population go to another city and eat a Fast-Food Westernized version of a classic that I can get pretty much anywhere here? My answer? Not really sure. I just loves it.

But you know what? Maybe it is because this place is the BEST.

There you go kids, yet another scintillating restaurant review courtesy of Fresh Approach. If you are in the area, stop in, and enjoy. Why not, right?


What is bao? A classic, steamed yeast bun, filled with marinated pork, and soy and oyster sauce

Restaurant group Lettuce Entertain You owns and operates 31 establishments in the Chicago area, including award winning Tru

David Jung, founder of Los Angeles' Hong Kong Noodle Company, created the fortune cookie in 1916


Monday, April 16, 2007


Spicy Mushroom Tamales

My weekend was just so rockin’ I want share! (Kinda the point of this site, now that I think of it. Sharing and whatall.)

I’ll try to keep it food-centric though. Promise.

On our very balmy Friday night I met up with my Wine and Gun Club (more on that some other time, I promise. It’s good stuff) for dinner at the chic and fab Santa Monica mainstay, JiRaffe.

My basic report is that after 10 (give or take, I don't really know) years, the food is still great, our server was a complete freak and Chef-Owner Raphael is still adorable and welcoming. So what if it took 1.5 hours for us to get a table! He gave us champagne. Free booze and I’m a happy girl! What can I say, I’m cheap that way.

Saturday night involved what I can only say was the worst play I have ever sat through. Now, I admit, I lured The Ombudsman to a Mamet spectacular recently, but his payback, in the form of a gay-themed musical, spoofing a bad television show from the 50’s, playing in the basement of a Mexican Restaurant? Much, much worse. Really, really bad. (Bad acting, bad singing, bad lighting, nothing funny even thought it was supposed to be get the idea) Luckily, prior to the show, we had dinner at Dusty’s. Wow, what took me so long to get there? Loved it. Food was great, service was great, ambiance (wait for it!)...great. If you are in the Silverlake area, I say get yourself over there.

But it was Sunday’s extravaganza that is the really good stuff my peaches. It was for a Mexican themed dinner party, and wowee wow did I get my fun on with this. I made TAMALES!

I know, you are psyched for me, right?

I had just always wanted to make them, and never really had a reason up until just then, (being a single girl and all, having vast quantities of rich food in my freezer is something I tend to avoid.) and I went for it full force. Hee hee.

After five hours of prepping and 30 minutes of self-primping, I appeared with them at the designated time. The response from our gracious hostess, was wide-eyed awe. (Something I fully admit motivates a lot of my cooking) And a basic statement to the affect of, “Wow. That’s a lot of work, isn’t it?”

And you know what? IT IS. It is. A Lot of Work. Time consuming insanity. I totally get why in Mexico, it’s a family affair, because I’m telling you, many hands would have for sure made this lighter work. Not that I didn’t enjoy every moment, because I did, but heavens, it took an age to get done. An age. To give you an idea, I think that while making these I managed to also clean my bathroom, get my hair colored (Its flaming red now, and frankly, I’m freaking out. That wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I sat down in the chair. Oh well.) read a few chapters of an awesome book and have a 40 minute phone conversation...

My point here is that time-consumption aside, I love-love-love tamales, and am excited I found an excuse to make some. I learned this’s not about the filling. As much as I want them to be about the filling, it’s not. It’s about the masa. It’s about making light and fluffy steamed corn dough. The nature of the beast is that you just can’t get that much filling in there. There is no way. So make what you can get in there as flavorful as possible, and concentrate on the balance of tastes. You can fill it with pretty much anything too, which is part of the fun.

So I say go for it, make a huge batch, freeze them and enjoy all year long. They aren't complicated, just time consuming, so dive in and enjoy!

2 cups masa dough
1 cup chilled shortening
1 teaspoon baking powder
20 corn husks, soaked in hot water for an hour
¼ cup warm water
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large roasted poblano chile
1 tomato, diced
1 yellow onion
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
Pinch of habenero chile powder
½ teaspoon chile flakes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

In a mixer, whip the shortening and baking powder for a minute to combine. Add the masa in two steps and add warm water if it is getting too stiff. You are looking for a medium-soft dough.

You should be able to handle it without it sticking to your hands, and a small bit of it should float in a glass of cold water.

Cover and refrigerate that for an hour, while you make the filling.

Saute the mushrooms, garlic and onion until just browned. Add the chile, tomato, oregano, chile powder and chile flakes and continue to cook until most of the liquid is gone, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Remove the masa from your fridge and re-whip for a minute. Taste (gross, but necessary.) and salt as needed.

Drain the corn husks. Lay one on the counter in front of you, pointy side facing you. Add ¼ cups masa in a 4 inch long rectangle shape to the top portion of the husk, leaving an inch at the top. Spread a scant tablespoon of filling in a 1 inch vertical swath down the center. There needs to be at least an inch of dough on each side of the filling. Pick up the two long sides of the husk and bring them together. Roll the flaps of the husk in the same direction of the tamale. Fold the pointy side upward and secure by tying with a thin strip of the extra corn husks.

Now you have to steam them, upright. I put a steaming basket in a soup pot, stood them up and covered the pot to steam for an hour and fifteen minutes. Worked perfectly. They are done when the corn husk comes away from the dough easily.

Makes about 16


For better directions on how to do this, check this out

What is a tamale? Pork and vegetables encased in masa dough and wrapped in a corn husk and then steamed or boiled.

So then, what is masa? A dough of water and masa harina.

Which leads me to, what is masa harina? a flour like powder used to make masa. It's made with sun or fire dried corn kernels that have been cooked in limewater (water mixed with calcium oxide). After having been cooked, then soaked in the limewater overnight, the wet corn is ground into masa harina.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007


Drink of the Week: Diet Coke Plus with Vitamins

Maximum bliss.

I’ve been there.

Laying on the deck of a boat with my family, at midnight, somewhere in the southern Mediterranean, watching a meteor shower.

Any time I hear the last bit of this.

Standing on the edge of the North York Moors on a windswept day, as a flock of wooly sheep curiously engulfed us.

Watching my mother close her eyes and smile into the sun.

Driving 500 miles in one day with the Ombudsman to see the wildflowers in Joshua Tree National Park.

My brothers wedding

Every moment spent with my sister’s children

The list goes on.

But this, my dears, is a contender for the top of the list. Sure, it's a different type of bliss, but it's all mine...

That’s right kids...

Diet Coke Plus with Vitamins.

Same (debatably) great taste, but (ostensibly) “good” for you.

Sure it’s about triple the cost, but hey, I’ll take what I can get.

Buy some today and ENJOY.

(And yes, this IS my second post on a Coca-Cola product in less than a week. What can I say...oh wait, I know..."Dear Coca-Cola, please send a case of this stuff to me. I will love you forever. I mean, I already do love you, but this would just be the icing on the cake, know what I'm saying?")


In 1898, Caleb D. Bradham, a New Bern, North Carolina pharmacist created Pepsi Cola, in imitation of Coca Cola.

Pepsi once had an advertising campaign in China with the slogan 'Pepsi gives you life' - only - the translation came out 'Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave.'

In Turkey, Pepsi sells beverages including: Pepsi– Pepsi-Cola– Pepsi Light– Pepsi Twist, Fruko Gazoz, Fruko Orange, Yedigün, Tamek and Tamek Plus


Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Swedish Delights - Care of Clivia's Cuisine

(Note: This post is from an age ago. Like, January I think. I have NO clue why I forgot to post it. Sorry!)

I was super excited when I got a call from The Boy Who Works Too Much informing me that a package had arrived and was at the Post Office waiting for pick up.

What could it be? I hadn’t ordered anything. There were no holiday gifts lost in the mail. I speculated for a few minutes before it dawned on me what it might be. (Hey kids, I'm just not the brightest girl, okay?)

I jumped up and down with glee. Could it be? So soon?

My winnings from Menu of Hope? A package of Swedish delights from the original delight herself, Kristina?

The anticipation of picking it up nearly killed me. I had to wait till morning. I could hardly stand it.

I got there and waited patiently for my turn. I handed my slip to Lucille (she is good people. She knows me well) who disappeared into the back. A few minutes later, she reappeared, smiled and handed it over.

I ran to my car and debated if I should tear open the package then or wait until later. I went for it.

I could NOT believe my eyes. I beheld such a bounty of sweets I almost went into insulin shock. It was like a childhood dream come true.

As an added bonus, the most lovely Kristina had put in a postcard, some tea, (which is filling my kitchen with the most amazing vapor as we speak) and an absolutely scrumptious looking Swedish Cookbook that I cannot wait to dive in to. She is such a doll!

I didn’t know what candy to try first. Logic helped deduce what most of them were but not all. (The packaging not being in English and whatall) I went for the smallest packet, Salta Katten which turns out was black licorice. I next tried something called Djungelvral. The most popular candy in Sweden it seems. Well, it shocked the heck out of me. It was - salt covered licorice. I'll leave that for another time. Cultural taste differences and whatot.

But it was the sweet car-shaped marshmallows that caught me. Bilar. I could not stop eating them. Oh heavens were they good. Chewy, fruity and perfect. Like nothing I had ever had before. I only wish I hadn't gobbled them all up like the greedy-gretchen I am, because just mentioning them to you I am craving more.

So my overall experience with Swedish candy is this. While salt-covered licorice is the national candy of choice over there, I am prone to think that their marshmallows (and chocolates) are world class goodies. And my overall thoughts on Kristina is that she is a woman after my heart, and my sweet tooth.

So a million thanks Kristina, and to the confection makers of Sweden. My hat is off to you! (And now, I should go make a dentist appointment...)


Switzerland and Sweden topped world candy consumption in 2006, according to Caobisco, the trade organization for the European Union candy business. The Swiss ate more chocolate per capita than any other country: 23.4 pounds, up four percent from 2000. Sweden topped world consumption figures for non-chocolate candy, including gum, with a per capita consumption of 25.6 pounds, a 17,5 percent increase from 2005.

Marshmallow: A light, spongy confection made of mostly sugar

The expression “a cup of Joe” to denote coffee, was first coined during WWII, when American servicemen (G.I. Joe) were identified as big coffee drinkers


Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Artichoke Ravioli with Supremed Blood Oranges


If you tuned in yesterday, you undoubtably saw my post on how to supreme an orange. Supreme reading, I'm sure. (Hee hee. Terrible, aren't I?)

Well, it's all well and good to theoretically know how to do something, but it's a far finer thing to be able to put it into practice, ya?

And this is a delightfully different pasta dish that has the vibrant and somewhat unexpected addition of supremed orange segments. (In this case, I used blood oranges, for color and whatall) So you can get to using that knowledge I imparted right away! Yipee!

My recipe was inspired by the wonderful birthday dinner at Hatfield's (thanks again to my darling Ombudsman for that meal. Come to think of it, the last post was thanks to him too! What a inspiring boy that boy is!) that included an appetizer of fresh ricotta ravioli in a citrus buerre blanc with candied grapefruit (and odd as that sounds, it was outrageously tasty).

The ravioli I concocted here as a variation on that citrus and butter theme, are somewhat dense and rich. That is what makes the orange so perfect. With a hint of sourness, it cuts through the pasta creating a balance that can only bring a smile to your face.

So try this my dears, use your new "supreme" knowledge, and enjoy!

1 package gyoza potsticker wrappers (you will use about 16)
1 can artichoke hearts in water, drained and quartered
2 teaspoons parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fontina cheese, shredded
1 egg1 small onion, haved and sliced as thin as possible*
4 T. butter
zest and segments of one large orange
chopped chives, to taste

In a food processor puree 4 artichoke hearts and cheeses. Adjust seasoning to taste. Add the egg and pulse to combine.

Line up four wrappers on a cutting board. Brush just the top half of the outer edges with some water, you just want a thin film. Using a tablespoon, arrange 4 dollops of the filling in the center of each wrapper. Place another wrapper directly on top, pressing around the filling and sealing the edges. Using a fork, crimp down the edges of the ravioli.

To cook, bring a large pot two-thirds full of water to a boil over high heat. Add some salt and the ravioli and return to a boil, stirring gently. Cook until the ravioli float and are al dente (tender but firm to the bite), 30 seconds to 3 minutes, depending on the freshness of the pasta. Using a skimmer, transfer to paper towels to drain briefly.

For the sauce: Melt the butter in a saute pan. Add the artichoke quarters and shaved onion. Saute until just browned. Add the orange zest, some salt and the chives. Saute another minute and remove.

Toss with the cooked ravioli and serve with supremed oranges. (And broccoli, if you like. I did!)

*The onions are what look like ribbons of pasta in the photo. They were halved and then sliced on a mandoline.

Stouffers LEAN CUISINE brand low-calorie frozen entrees were introduced in 1981

Fontina cheese has been made in the Aosta Valley in the Italian Alps since the 12th century

In the U.S. today is National Cinnamon Crescent Day

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Monday, April 09, 2007


How To Supreme (Segment) an Orange


supreme v. to remove the skin, pith, membranes, and seeds of a citrus fruit and separate its wedges. Also as noun, a wedge of citrus fruit.

I forget where I was, but I know the Ombudsman was there too, so chances are my forgetfulness can be blamed on the drink...I’m almost certain of it.

So this is how it started.

Someone asked me how to segment an orange.

I corrected them by saying its not segmenting, its supreming. To segment just means to peel and pull apart.

To supreme, well, see above.

And we went through it together. But without pictures, and with the addition of inebriation. Oh, and did I mention all of this was happening on a teeny-tiny orange while I was wielding a 12 inch (that’s right kids. I said 12 inch) chefs knife? Needless to say, it ended sorta almost before it began.

But for you my peaches, I am sober as a judge, and I added pictures. What a clever girl am I! Pictures let us not forget, have been noted to be worth a thousand words. As of this moment, I am at 189, so I think its best time for the pictures to take over. What say you?
Alrighty then, here you go! How to supreme an orange:

Begin by choosing an orange, grapefruit or any other segmented fruit (your other choices elude me currently. Oh yes, lemons and limes.) this also is a great way to cut up melons.

Using a small paring knife, slice off the top and bottom, to just expose the pulp.

Start at the top, just where the pith (white part) meets the pulp and slice off the skin, following the curve of the fruit.

When you are done removing the peel, slice out each segment by cutting in towards the center of the fruit along the membranes/walls. Remove the now supremed segments.

VOILA! That's all there is to it!

And tomorrow my sweets, I will share a recipe that actually makes use of this silly technique.

Until then, enjoy!


Wanna know the best time to slurp your noodles and when that might not be a good thing? Check out this site. Don't Gross Out The World.

The origin of the grapefruit poses a bit of a botanical mystery. Its appearance and flavor indicate that it's a hybrid between a large, sour citrus fruit called the shaddock (Citrus maxima) and the sweet orange (Citrus sinensis). - Hungry


Sunday, April 08, 2007


Drink of the Week: The Real Thing - Yellow Cap Coke

Hey kids, there is still time to get your hands on this years batch of Coca-Cola made with real sugar, AKA - Yellow Cap Coke.

This version is only available for one week a year, so stock up.

Why is this of interest?

For the last 20+ years, Coke has been formulated with high fructose corn syrup as a cost saving measure.

This version - to meet Kosher for Passover requirements - harkens back to the (more natural) Coke of yesteryear. (Or, apparently Coke bottled in Mexico, where it is still made this way.)

If you are old enough to have tasted Coke before they went with corn syrup, this will really be a treat. The sweetness is less cloying, the flavors, crisper, and the overall experience, a nice flash-back.



Friday, April 06, 2007


Goat Cheese Stuffed Figs in Pancetta

Here we go again my food frenzied friends...(try saying that a few times fast!)

I do hope you will indulge me as I delve into yet another in a long list of tasty cocktail snack recipes. A catagory of foodstuffs near and dear to my little ol' heart.

Hand held foods are the very bestest!

And these?

Figs stuffed with goat cheese. Wrapped in pancetta then broiled to perfection.


And what about the recipe? Is it complicated? WIll it take time? Do you need to plan in advance?


All that happens is that you have to take a few ingredients that you love, combine and cook. A few minutes later, they emerge hot from the oven. Then you can go on and pop one into your mouth, chew and smile.

That is all there is to it.


A snap to make and a bold, delicious combo of yum.

Go ahead. Sit back for a moment and imagine yourself eating this. Crispy, salty pancetta, sweet smooth and crunchy figs, warm, tangy goat cheese with a hint of cardamom.

I suggest you pair this with a good, strong bev and make a night of it.


3/4 cup goat cheese
Black pepper to taste
A hearty pinch of ground cardamom
1 cup dried mission figs, sliced in half
20 slices pancetta, very thinly sliced
½ cup dry Marsala wine
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 Tbsp butter

In a small bowl, stir the black pepper and cardamom into the goat cheese. Taste and adjust as needed. Set aside.
In a large saute pan, melt the butter and brown sugar and cook about 4 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the Marsala.

Return to the stove and add the figs. Cook, stirring until they are completely coated .

Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.

When they are cool, take about a tablespoon of the cheese and make it into a small ball and place on the cut side of the fig and press down to form a mound.

Wrap each fig in pancetta to completely cover the goat cheese.

Place on a lined baking sheet and broil until the pancetta is completely cooked and crispy, turning once to get all the sides cooked. Remove and serve warm on a platter.


On this day in 1930, Twinkies went on sale for the first time

Louis Flores Ruiz, who founded Ruiz Foods in 1964 - the largest manufacturer of frozen Mexican food in the U.S., has died. He was 88. The privately held corporation is the largest Latino-owned manufacturing firm in California and had $326 million in revenue in 2005. The Ruiz company has been recognized as a pioneer in the automation of tortilla-making.

Pancetta: Cured pork belly that is rolled and tied. Unlike American bacon, it is not smoked.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Watercress and Radish Souper Salad with Potatoes

Are you indecisive?

Sometimes you want a simple, chic salad.

Sometimes you want a soul-satisfying soup.

Sometimes you want both.

And really...there is an argument for one and an equally good argument for the other...

So you opt for the salad because the weather is warm, but then half way through you realize you just can’t finish it all. (Eyes are bigger-than-your-stomach syndrome, perhaps?)

So being the waste-no-want-not kid you are, you box it up and put it in the fridge. (Without sog-inducing dressing of course.)

Later, as the sun sets, there is a chill in the air and you think...”Gee, I could really go for some soup, I sure wish I had some.”

And maybe for a second (just a second, since we all know it’s unbecoming) you pout. Lower lip trembling, in a pah-teh-tic voice, you say aloud, to no one in particular, “I want soup.”

But right then, a thought comes to you! A lightbulb over the head kinda moment.

That salad? It can be transformed! It is really just soup ingredients waiting to be heated and pureed.

It is dinner indeed!

Your wish is granted.

Soup will be on the table in less than 10 minutes.

You, my friend, are a genius.

Peppery salad, rich and a healthy, hearty soup. One recipe. Two meals.

Oh yeah.

So try this as a salad, or as a soup, either which way, I am sure you will enjoy...

1 large bunch watercress
2 medium yukon gold potatoes, cut into wedges
6 large radishes, cut into wedges
4 large spring onions, quartered (through the root)
Olive oil
1 T. fresh oregano, minced
6 cups chicken stock
2 tsp. sour cream (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Chives for garnish

In a large pot, boil the potatoes in the chicken stock until just tender.

Meanwhile, heat some of the oil in a saute pan and saute the radishes. Set aside when just browned. Add the onions and do the same.

When the potatoes are done, remove with a slotted spoon and saute in the pan with the oregano.

Reserve the chicken stock.

Toss the salad together and dress with a light vinaigrette.

To make the salad into a soup, add all the sautéed ingredients and the watercress into the chicken stock and simmer for 3 minutes.

Puree with an immersion blender or in a regular blender. The first time I made this I left it sorta chunky, (See picture the the right) the second time, I pureed it smooth. (As you can see in the top photo.)

They were both nice.

If you want to make it richer, add a dollop of sour cream, (or creme fraiche) and stir it all together to combine.

Season to taste and serve with chive garnish.

Serves two to four.


If you are looking for coffee and don't want it to be from Starbucks, check out Delocator.

The California Olive commission wants your recipes. "
Send in your favorite recipes from around the world and we'll put 'em on our map. Load 'em up with California Ripe Olives of course, and we'll give 'em a nice long visit. Then as always, we'll test 'em, taste 'em and choose the champion. The winner of the California Ripe Olive quarterly recipe contest will receive a case of our favorite little black fruits, a California Ripe Olive apron and recognition on our website. Whether your culinary trip starts on the runway or the road, it's time to get a move on!"

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Fennel & Orange Salad with Black Olives


Oh sweet fennel, how I love you so.

Coupled with sweet-tart oranges, you make for a perfect salad.

When that salad includes the addition some dry-cured, salty olives and fennel seeds it's as if I have kissed a dream.

I cannot tell you how dear to me you are.

To those who disparage you, I say bah.

To those who are unitiated to your charms, I say try this, and enjoy.

One large bulb fennel, fronds reserved
2 large oranges, segmented, 3 T. juice reserved
A few dry-cured black olives
Olive oil
One small lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds

Crush the fennel seeds and place in a small bowl. Add the olive oil and let sit while you continue.

Slice the fennel as thin as possible.

Toss with the oranges and olives.

Add the remaining orange juice, a bit of juice from the lemon, salt and pepper to the olive oil. Whisk to combine, taste and adjust seasonings.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve with a garnish of fennel fronds.
Serves two as a large salad.


Greek mythology claims Prometheus used the stalk of a fennel plant to steal fire from the gods.

The spinach industry has yet to recover from last September's government warning not to eat bagged and fresh spinach because of suspected contamination by E. coli., even though that advisory lasted less then two weeks. "We are struggling to get back on our feet. We are at about 50% of our former demand," said Dale Huss, vice president of production for Ocean Mist Farms, which grows spinach and other produce on 20,000 acres in California, Arizona and Mexico. Today, state and federal health investigators said they had they had traced the contaminated spinach that was the culprit in the outbreak to a California field leased to Mission Organics. The outbreak killed three people and sickened hundreds more. The produce was sold under the Dole label. Once a $240-million business, industrywide sales of packaged spinach are off about 40%, said Marty Ordman, a vice president at Dole Foods Co., the Westlake Village-based produce company. - LA Times

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