Friday, February 29, 2008


Roasted Pepper & Caper Salad

Ooh, ooh. It's leap day! Also known as Sadie Hawkins Day. Or, apparently the day ladies are given social permission to ask men to marry them.

What sassy good fun. Hippity-hop.

Me, I'm avoiding (The Ombudsman) any such entanglements, just in case things get weird, and focusing on the important things.

With the blissful weather (Yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus! The Groundhog was wrong! Spring has sprung! Whoopeeee!) I have a whole new zest for life (which was tricky, since I was a pretty zesty girl to start with) and renewed zeal for all things food.

The markets round the hood are a bounty of early strawberries, lithesome asparagus and the last of the sparkling citrus. Peppers are just coming to an end and me, I'm all aflutter (A flutter? Fluttery? Flibberty! I digress...Happy Leap Day!) over what's in store, in this cusp of the seasons.

It's as if we have it all right now. Winter, spring, summer and fall.

So what do I do with this co-mingling of delights? Why this salad of course. A salad without greens. Because darlings, not all salads are leafy.

It is a nice little way to combine the best of late winter/early spring produce in a summery-weather way. Ties is all up quite nicely, don't you think?

Try this my peaches, and taste the joy.

6 large red bell peppers
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed and minced
4 cloves of garlic
4 teaspoons olive oil

Roast your peppers over an open flame, or under the broiler until charred on all sides. Place in a bowl and cover the bowl to allow the peppers to steam a few minutes.

Meanwhile, mince the garlic and saute briefly in the olive oil. Add the capers just at the last moment then remove the pan from the heat. Set aside to cool.

Remove the peppers from the bowl, rinse off the charred skin, and remove the seeds. Slice into strips.

Layer on a platter, drizzle with olive oil, garlic and capers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.

Serves six


The edible ice cream cone made its American debut at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis and now, the ice cream cone has won Senate approval to become Missouri's official dessert.

Pork producer Smithfield Foods said Thursday that third-quarter profits fell about 10 percent on lower live hog prices and higher raising costs, but the results beat expectations handily. The nation's largest hog producer and pork processor also forecast a difficult fourth quarter. - AP

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Monday, February 25, 2008


The 99 Cent Only Store Cookbook


So while everyone else at The Rock Goddess' ultra lux Oscars viewing party/feast for all senses, was actually watching the spectacle, I was chatting in a corner with the chic and fab Christiane.

I swear, I love this woman!

Christiane, for those of you not quite in the know yet, is the genius authoress of The 99 Cent Only Store Cookbook! She is the perfect blend of brilliant and daring, darling and delectible, (the best sort of friends to have I say!) and I hope you will all check out her book the minute it hits the stores.


Find a 99 Cent Only store near you

The Hormel Company of Austin, Minnesota sold the first canned ham in 1926.

Carbonated soft drink canning began in 1940.Aluminum was introduced in metal can making in 1957. - Food

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Drink of the Week: Greyhound (Vodka and Grapefruit Juice)

What with citrus being in season right now; and drinking a lovely cocktail on a sunny day always being in season, it's no wonder I came to this positively refreshing bev.

Mixed up on a flawless Southern California Sunday, it quenches the palate, tingles the taste buds and reminds a person that life is good. (The inclusion of the vodka certainly doesn't hurt in the matter...)

If you too have forgotten the thrill of sipping fresh squeezed grapefruit juice paired with ice cold vodka, due to one too many poor imitations, this will be a revelation.

Nothing flat, bottled or canned in the taste of this elixir, only that captured sunshine spark we can all use this time of year.

And bonus! Grapefruit is a great source of vitamin C, so if you feel a cold coming on, mix one of these up in a hurry!

Try it, mes petits pamplemousses, and taste the joy.

1 ounce vodka
3 ounces fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
Sparkling water

Fill a tall glass with ice. Add the vodka and then the grapefruit juice. Top off the glass with sparkling water, stir gently with a long spoon and serve.

Serves one.

Can also be made as a punch.

Please, always drink responsibly.

Pubs with bad reputations are to be banned from serving beer in glasses, the U.K. Home Secretary has announced. "High risk" pubs and nightclubs where violence is a problem will be forced to use plastic replacements, as part of a wide-ranging plan to reduce the level of violence in Britain.

If they refuse, councils will remove their licence. "There is an expectation that such premises will move to a safer alternative to glass, such as polycarbonate." The plan comes amid concern about drunken violence in the streets. –Birmingham

The average American consumer made 69 trips to the grocery store in 2004 down from 72 in 2003 and from 92 trips in 1995.


Friday, February 15, 2008


Chocolate, Chocolate Chip and Fleur de Sel Cookie Delights

It was a few days ago, and I was decked out in an outfit that can only be described as brown.

Head to toe in the stuff.

Sure, there was cashmere involved, but really, it was uncharacteristically monochromatic. And honestly dear-hearts, the color seems to have affected my palate.

It was as if the redundant luxuriousness of the ensembles tone became a launching (tipping?) point for a chocolate craving. A chocolate delight craving.

So like any sensible girl, off to the market I traipsed, clad in my cognac colored boots, and a cocoa drenched London-designer-re-imagines-Laura-Ingalls skirt focused on the idea that I needed some quality ingredients, stat.

Whatever else was on the day's agenda had to be forfeited for the cause.

You see my loves - trying to put more than one bit of imperative information into my flightly noggin at a time - just plain doesn't work.

Which can be my only explanation for why I had completely spaced what awaited me at that fine Whole Foods, and yet still headed there like a heat-seeking missile.

Upon arrival, my mind was still vacant, except for the notion I needed my intended delights to be chocolatey, salty AND sweet.

Moments later, I stood, in awe of the salt shelf options, stunned at my choices, (and as much so at the prices. Heavens! I may be incomprehensibly frivolous with my purse strings when it comes to my culinary adventures, but there is no way on this green earth I would purchase 3 ounces of salt for $80. Heck no Daddy-O! And shame on whoever is selling such a thing. Tisk tisk! You're selling salt! Stop being so pretentious! ...oops, sorry, soap box moment...back to my story) when I turned to the lithe and ethereal blond standing next to me looking equally perplexed. I brazenly queried if she had any kind of sodium purchasing preference. Alas, she did not, but we both agreed that with something like salt, the price is the point, and with that I snatched up a (only somewhat reasonably priced, but oh-so-worth-it) bag of crystals and sashayed over to the produce section...

And what did my shiny eyes behold signing books, right there in front of the Washington Delicious Apples? A pair of sensational red boots filled out by Washington's very own delicious apple...Miss Shauna of Gluten Free fame! And who stood next to this juicy peach of a gal? None other than her dear friend saviour from the salt section! It was kismet I tell you, kismet! Swept up in the excitement of the day, I had just plain forgotten that Shauna was in town! Yes, I had still headed right to her like the beacon of light she's as if my mind was on its own agenda. Thank goodness!

Love it, doncha? I sure did. I can only thank goodness that sometimes my over-taxed mind pulls it together, consciously or unconsciously...

I can't really relate the rest of the experience, because it was far (far, far) too (too, too) brief, and non-to-culinarily inclined (unless you consider Pinkberry altogether culinary) but it was a shining moment of bliss in my week and an encounter that brightened my little life indescribably. I am a huge fan of Shauna - and of Sharon too - and their combined loveliness and was tickled pink to finally get to meet Shauna's sassy self. Kinda, sorta rocked my world.

I can only hope that the next time I see this fine woman, I will have a gluten free recipe to share...because these are most assuredly not. They do have the fantastic crackle of salt enrobed in the buttery fabocity of chocolate though, so they will do for now...

Now try this my peaches, and taste the joy.

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 sticks plus 6 tablespoons butter, room temp
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons fleur de sel
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips

Preaheat your oven to 350F.

Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking soda in a medium bowl.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachement, cream the butter. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, fleur de sel and vanilla and beat until combined. Beat in the sifted dry ingredients until blended; your dough will be kinda crumbly. Add the chips and combine.

Divide the dough in half and roll into a 1 1/2- logs. Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, 20 minutes.

Line 4 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Cut the logs into 3/8-inch slices and arrange about 1 inch apart on the sheets. If the slices crumble, just smoosh them back together.

Bake for about 17 minutes, or until puffed and cracked on top.

Cool for 5 minutes on the sheets, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 2 dz. cookies


Fleur de Sel - "flower of the salt." A rare sea salt harvested by hand in Brittany, France and available only in limited quantities. - Recipe Gold Mine

According to the European Fair Trade Association, non-fair-trade farmers get barely 5 percent of the profit from chocolate, whereas trading organizations and the chocolate industry receive about 70 percent. This means that producers get only 5 cents from every dollar spent on chocolate, while the companies get 70 cents - 14 times more. -


Thursday, February 14, 2008


Happy Valentines Day 2008


Happy Valentines Day~


Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Potato and Sausage Tortilla/Tortilla de Patata y Chorizo

My, my isn't life a joyful experience!

Every day brings new and exciting things. And, according to the voices on NPR, today is going to be "downright hot." Was it a weather report or just a view into the immediate future?

Either which way, it made me giggle hearing them say that. Downright hot indeed. But was it prophetic?

Let's hope!

Me, I'm headed to the museum, then going for a swim, getting a mani/pedi (because the sun is finally out, and therefore, this girl needs to be primed and ready!) and meeting my girls for a sunset appertif. (In case you were interested in my itinerary for the day...)

But first, I am conjuring this exquisite tapas recipe for you, my darling peaches. So you, too, can have a "downright hot" day.

It's a festive dish, but certainly does need a bit of your time. That said, once it's made, it tastes just as spectacular at room temperature, and will last (if you don't eat it all at once) for at least three days.

The Spanish would serve this with a bit of mayo as a condiment. I'll leave that up to you...

Now try it my darlings, and taste the joy!

3 large baking potatoes
2 roasted red peppers, diced
1 cup parsley, minced
½ lb Spanish (not Mexican) hot chorizo sausage
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
6 large eggs
Mayonnaise for serving

Preheat your oven to 350F

Peel the potatoes and slice into medium-thin rounds.

In a 10 inch cast iron skillet, saute the potatoes a single layer, in a small amount of olive oil. As they just start to brown, carefully layer in the peppers, parsley and sausage.

Whisk together the paprika and eggs in a bowl while the potatoes cook.

Reduce the heat to low, then pour the eggs over the potatoes. Cover and cook for three minutes. Uncover and transfer to the oven. Cook until set, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven, let cool, and serve with mayo or plain.

Makes 8-10 servings.


This goes perfectly with Salt Cod Stuffed Peppers

Americans are downing close to 200 pounds of meat, poultry and fish per capita per year (dairy and eggs are separate, and hardly insignificant), an increase of 50 pounds per person from 50 years ago. - NY Times

Want another version of this dish? Check out
Serious Eats' adaptation.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008


Cocoa Nib, Vanilla Bean & Chocolate Chip Cookies

Seems to me, cookie is a bit of a kiddie term. Nursery speak, really. It just doesn't seem to connote how sauve and adult some of these "cookies" really are.

Grown-up cookies are the kind of treat that includes ingredients like heady bergamot or a shock of sea salt. They pair with a flute of prosecco far better than with a glass of milk - and I say, they need a far more chic lexeme than cookie.

Maybe they should just be called "delights." Or "menogregodianastictasticolici."

(But that second one only because it pretty much guarantees no toddler will be heard throwing a tantrum while demanding them.)

Or, is that ageist?


Now, now. I know perfectly well that not all children are sugar-addicts, and many appreciate a quality - adult palate oriented - snack. But if I were in charge of marketing, my target audience for this "delight" would And most likely, you. But not the wee ones. Nope, this isn't exactly for them.

This is for someone who craves a certain layering of flavors, including bitter, sweet and salty. A bite of crumbly buttery texture, some bitter-chocolate crunch, a few smooth, dark and melty bits and at last, a lingering suprise of salt.

Yup, this ain't no cookie. It truly is a delight. And just to make it less for the small ones and more for us tastes even better if given a day to meld, to mellow and to melt in your mouth. A delight with built in patience.

Try it my peaches, and taste the joy.

6 ounces Scharffenberger semi-sweet chocolate with cocoa nibs
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Seeds scrapped from 1/2 a vanilla pod

Roughly chop up the chocolate. You are trying to get bits of assorted sizes, but none bigger than a standard chocolate chip.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda and kosher salt.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. (Or, do this by hand.)

Beat in the egg yolk, vanilla, and vanilla seeds. Scrape the side and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated.

Add the flour, then fold in the chopped chocolate.

Divide the dough in half. Pat each half into a log, wrap them in plastic and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Slice the cookies into 1/8 inch thick slices.

Bake the cookies on a buttered cookie sheet for about 20 minutes, until golden.

Let the cookies cool on the sheets for five minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely. These cookies are actually better the next day.


Cacao Nibs are roasted cocoa beans separated from their husks and broken into small bits. Nibs add crunchiness and subtle chocolate flavor to baked goods and savory dishes. They make a great substitute for roasted nuts or chocolate chips, without added sweetness - Gourmet Sleuth

Oh, and if you are keeping camera responded to a bit of a resuscitation. It's still on it's death-bed, but happily, it had a few more snaps in it afterall...and on an unrelated note...Happy Birthday to my C*!

The average American eats 35,000 cookies in their lifetime

Bryanna of Notes from a Vegan Kitchen lwrote about cocoa nibs too.

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