Friday, June 30, 2006


Strawberry Pie

Ooh, yea, so, um, about last night. The combination of martinis and comedy, it sort of pushed me into that place where I suddenly think I’m a heck of a funny chick. What can I say. You were delightful, and I was, um, well, I said I’m sorry, didn’t I? So sorry in fact, I baked you a pie…come on over and have some before it's all gone!

Yup. A pie. Isn’t that what every girl who has over-imbibed does at three in the morning? I mean really peach, why throw together a tasty fry-up, or drink a glass of water and take a few Advil when you have a fridge full of luscious, red strawberries?

So I made you a pie that I don’t recall actually making. That’s how much I care. I know I made it because it was sitting on the counter this morning when I stumbled into the kitchen groping blindly for a bottle of water. Right there on the countertop. Smelling sweet and looking quite good if I do say so myself. It took a minute to recall how it had come to being, during which time the look on my face was most likely one of utter confusion, but I did suddenly recall and was happy for it. I was also relieved I hadn’t delved into the churro batter that was sitting one shelf down in the fridge…

I know, you’re wondering how a girl who was two (okay, maybe three) sheets to the wind could possibly pull of a pie in the dead of night, but I assure you it did happen. I was helped along by the fact I had made the dough earlier in the day, and the berries had already been macerating, but despite the fact I had one eye closed and a bit of a sway going on, it came together beautifully. And this morning, when I ate it, I was in heaven. Sweet berries with a hint of orange. Not a bad thing to wake up to. Too bad I don’t remember doing it…

Why don’t you try one yourself (sober, please) and let me know if it is in fact easy to make as it was to eat…

2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 teaspoons Grand Marnier
¼ cup sugar (as needed)
3 heaping tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon orange zest
Your favorite pie crust
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 425F.

In a large bowl, combine the strawberries, Grand Marnier, sugar and cornstarch. Let sit up to one hour, or six hours in the refrigerator. The longer it sits the mushier it becomes though, so if you want to have slices you can see, don’t let it sit longer than 30 minutes.

Roll out your pie-crust and fit it into a standard 9” pie plate (tin, pan, whatever you prefer to call it), crimping the edges as you go. Line the bottom with a parchment circle and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Blind bake the crust for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Remove the weights and set aside until you are ready to bake the pie.

Lower the oven to 350F.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Place the pie plate on the baking sheet, brush the edges of the crust with the melted butter, then fill the pie crust with the fruit mixture. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove and let cool completely before serving.

Makes one pie


Blind Bake: To bake a pie-crust without the filling. Metal weights or dried beans are usually used to keep the pastry from bubbling – That’s My

Grand Marnier is an orange flavored liqueur. It is made from Cognac flavored with the peel of bitter Haitian oranges, spices, and vanilla. –

The Oxnard Plain is a large coastal plain in southwest Ventura County, California. The Oxnard Plain is known for its strawberries, leading to the moniker "Strawberry Capital of the World" and the annual Oxnard Strawberry Festival, the nation's largest. - Wikipedia


Wednesday, June 28, 2006


IMBB #27 - Chocolate (Soy) Cake with Coconut Sorbet

Boy howdy. It sure has been quite awhile since I took part in an online event. For some reason or another, a few months back, I sort of decided I was over it. Too many events, not enough time probably. Then of course, this week, I noticed IMBB27. (27!)

IMBB (And in case you are wondering, no, I’m really not sure the point of the moniker) is a fun little online thingy-ma-doo where kids just like me all around the world bang out something based on a single idea or ingredient, and this time it was (oh boy) the Joy of Soy. Not just soy though, soy desserts. As a huge fan of that amazing little green bean, well, I just had to join in on the fun! Plus, I love seeing what other people pull out of their bag of (recipe) tricks.

I figured the most obvious thing to make (and therefore what everyone else would be doing) was tofu cheesecake, so I opted out of that. Besides, if it came out icky, I would be all kinds of pouty. Nothing gets me down like having to toss out a cheesecake, even an icky one. Next stop was chocolate cake. Simple, decadent mini-cakes.

I sort of just concocted this without giving it a lot of thought, just using what I had on hand. Soy milk, (natch) organic cocoa powder, sugar and flour. The batter was so sinful, I was over the moon with excitement. (And if I must confess, I ate quite a bit of it. Doh!) The finished product, well, it was also quite good, but part of me thinks I was spoiled by trying it unbaked. Hee. It has a nice crumb, and a rich chocolaty taste for sure. Overall, I’d say it’s a winner indeed.

It’s a pretty basic cake. Took about 10 minutes to pull together and 35 to bake. As for the sorbet, well it was so simple I feel like maybe giving the recipe is silly…just add a cup of simple syrup and a teaspoon of vanilla to a 16 oz. can of coconut milk, then freeze per your ice cream makers directions. Easy peasy as they say. And vegan to boot! (That is if you are the type of vegan who eats white sugar) Serve it with the cakes, or on its own. Either way, you will be giddy with happiness. I should mention, I served this with strawberry slices and a sauce (not pictured) made with melted dark chocolate and a touch of corn syrup, to keep it fluid.

When the finished cakes emerged from the oven, my darlings Ms. McGee and The Ombudsman came over to take a nibble, (and make me giggle) and they both gave this fab dessert a hearty thumbs up. The chocolate inside gooey-ness sent them over the top. And those be two discriminating kids. So why don't you try this too, and enjoy!

½ cup dark chocolate
½ cup soy milk
1 teaspoon soy butter
1 ½ cups white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup white sugar
½ cup powdered sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup soy milk (I used vanilla flavored)

In a small saucepan, combine the chocolate, soy milk and butter. Stir to combine. Set aside and let cool completely. This is your ganache.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix together the sugars and oil. Add the soy milk and mix all that together, then add to the dry ingredients.

Using a large muffin pan or ramekins, (both buttered, or oiled) add enough batter to fill each well 1/3 of the way. Dollop in a bit of the chocolate ganache, top with more of the batter to about ¾ full.

Bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

Makes about six.


Soy beans contain 40% protein (lean meat has 20% protein)

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the claim that 25 grams of soy protein a day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.

St. Louis-based
Solae LLC has come up with a patent-pending invention called SoleCina that involves both the process and the ingredients to produce either a "hybrid" meat - part soy, part real meat - or a completely meatless food that tastes like chicken, beef, pork or turkey. The company said both versions taste - and feel to the mouth - much like real meat, but are much healthier. For example, a hybrid burger dubbed the "Better Burger" by Solae has two-third the calories and half the fat and saturated fat as a burger of comparable size. SoleCina has been in the works for a decade. Solae is a $1 billion food innovation company that specializes in soy protein - the company has more than a 50 percent share of the world's isolated soy protein food ingredient market. It makes soy-based ingredients found in hundreds of grocery store products, including food bars, beverages, snacks and meatless alternatives. -

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Monday, June 26, 2006



I got back from Vegas with my liver in-tact on Sunday morning, so Boston-Boy and I decided to drive up the coast with the vague idea of finding strawberries in Oxnard. (Mostly because that's where they come from.)

It was another beautiful day (ah to be a cliché) and we certainly got our fill of sunshine and laughter. But this is not a post about vistas and fruit (Besides, I really have to dash out and buy some butter before I can do much other than devour them at this point.) it is about something not found in nature. This post is about my most favorite candy...the ever-elusive Chick-O-Stick.

I just felt it was high time I said something to promote something that brings me so much joy.

Oh baby!

Now, a lot of interesting food-stuffs come from the great state of Texas, but this one, well, it takes first prize in my book…

Made by the family owned Atkinson Company since 1932, using some sort of patented process (wow, amazing!) a Chick-O-Stick (and you have to read their site to explain the name, okay?) is pretty much the best cellophane wrapped thing you will ever taste, ever. Yes my peaches, it’s that good. If you are unfamiliar, it is sort of like the inside of a Butterfinger candy bar without the (sorry to say) cheap chocolate and with the addition of a dusting of sweet coconut. Florescent orange, shockingly brittle layers of peanut, coconut, salt, sugar that crunch like nothing else - well, the bits that don’t glue your molars together that is. Can I get an Amen! Boy howdy, it is good. It may break your teeth, it could induce cavities, but no matter what, it will taste fan-flipping-tastic.

So basically, this post is my ode to the (vegan delight) Chick-O-Stick. A Texas-born candy treat I have only encountered in gas station quick-marts on long, lonely stretches of highway, and something that when found simply must be coveted and adored.

Kids, if this is candy nirvana then I am on the path of enlightenment, because I honestly cannot pass one by. I suggest you take the same route – just hop on the nearest interstate, stop by an out-of-the way snack stop, find a box, lay out your change and indulge. At less than a dollar (I paid seventy-five cents) it is the bargain of the century.

Find some, buy some, and enjoy.


Apropos of nothing, you really should click here and check out Liam’s hilarious Shoes video…

The melting point of cocoa butter is just below the human body temperature — which is why it literally melts in your mouth.

Americans over 18 years of age consume 65 percent of the candy that’s produced each year.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Cocktail of the Week: Mint Julep

Hello my sweet peaches, how are you? I am in the swooniest (swooniest? Is that a word? Eh, who cares) mood. My mind is filled with good thoughts and the goofy grin plastered across my face cannot be erased. (And people say I’m over-the-top. Pfft!) Why? Because I am about to hop a flight to Vegas…and on someone else’s dime!

Could life be more grand? I think not.

I can’t give you all the details (mostly because you would go into a boredom induced coma) but suffice it to say, the next 72 hours should be a regular LOVE-fest.

Speaking with someone at the hotel, they reminded me that it is over a hundred degrees this week, (that’s about 46 on the Celsius scale for all of you who care) and to dress accordingly. I’m sorry? How does one dress for being sizzled? Yikers.

The only thing I think may keep me from turning into a Rachael-kabob is staying indoors in the freakish air-conditioning, and indulging in a tall cool Mint Julep. I know, for most of the world, it’s a drink limited to one day a year at the race track, but as a girl who loves her mint (and I DO!), and doesn’t like daiquiris, it is the perfect way to imbibe on a hot (dangerously sweltering?) summer day. I’m so looking forward to it!

If you want to transport yourself too, try this and enjoy!

1 cup water
½ cup sugar
1 cup crushed ice
1 small handful fresh mint, rinsed
2 oz. best quality bourbon (I use Knob Creek)

In a small saucepan (or in a bowl in the microwave) combine the water and sugar. Heat to melt the sugar, stir and cool completely. This is simple syrup. It will keep up to a month in your refrigerator.

In a cocktail shaker, add the mint leaves and muddle (use a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon) to gently crush the mint. Don’t pulverize it!

Add the ice, ¼ cup of simple syrup and the bourbon. Shake, pour into a tall glass and serve with a mint garnish.

Makes 1 drink. Please sip responsibly.


According to the experts who wrote The Bourbon Companion, Knob Creek bourbon earned a 90 out of 100. 12 year old Wild Turkey earned a 94, Jack Daniels a 78 and Four Roses Single Barrel Reserve, a 96.

The Mint Julep has been the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs® and the Kentucky Derby® for nearly a century. Early Times Kentucky Whisky has been privileged and honored to be a part of that tradition. The Early Times Mint Julep Ready-to-Serve Cocktail has been "The Official Mint Julep of the Kentucky Derby®" for over 18 years. -Kentuky

Muddle: To mash or crush ingredients with a spoon or a muddler (a rod with a flattened end). –

American fast food chain KFC Thursday opened its first restaurant in Hanoi and said it plans to expand its operations elsewhere in northern Vietnam.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Zucchini with Dill (Like Mother Makes)

Well now, here is a funny thing. (Oh yes Rachael, please do tell us something funny!)

I have been having the hardest time writing a post to go with this recipe. Don’t really know why. Maybe my mind is elsewhere, or maybe it's just because is so dear to me, and reminds me so strongly of my parents and my childhood, it leaves me at a loss for words.

Yea, I think that’s it. That said, I really cant let that stop me from sharing it, now can I!

It’s such an ideal combination of texture and flavor, and so quintessentially summery it takes me to another place.

The cooking could not be simpler. The outcome could not be more delicious. Perfect any time, hot, cold or room temperature. The technique, called sear-steaming is a great way to get color and flavor in dishes with oil-absorbing vegetables (like eggplant for instance) without adding a lot of additional fat. Please, try it and enjoy.

4 medium zucchini
1 onion, medium dice
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons freshly minced dill (or more, to taste)

Trim the ends of the zucchini, slice lengthwise, and then into ¼ inch half-moons. Set aside.

In a large skillet heat the olive oil over a medium flame. Add the zucchini and onion in a single layer and let cook for 3 minutes, without stirring, to brown. Stir and continue cooking for another few minutes until golden.

Add the water and the salt and cover the pan. Let cook for 2 minutes, remove the lid and stir. When the water is totally absorbed and the squash is cooked through, (when it is just this side of getting mushy really) add the minced dill. Stir to combine.

Serves 6 as a side dish


Check out these great (new to me) sites. Delicious! Food Beam, Sunday Night Dinner, Pie in the Sky and Acme Instant Food (Another site from LA! Yipeeee!)

Zucchini, also known as courgettes, are Italian marrow squashes

The name dill is derived from a Norse word which means to soothe

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Monday, June 19, 2006


Cheese Grilled in Grape Leaves

Love is in the air, and it isn’t even springtime in Paris. It just seems like this little (though, larger by the day) food-centric blog-o-sphere is abound with stories of enchanted meetings, blossoming relationships and truly romantic outcomes. (Update: Like this.)

Me, I’m not there, not even close really, but I do have good friends filling my thoughts and letting me feed them, and that is pretty durned okay by me.

As for the rest of it, well, what I have come to know of love seems to revolve around a small white tub of fresh goats milk cheese from Corsica and a fiendishly giving cheese monger who may have stolen my heart with his gentle offerings of profoundly delectable foodstuffs.

While deeply mired in a day of shopping for who-knows-what-all, I made a much-needed stop in to the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills. It’s a tiny little room that I have long considered the true heart of the burb. It’s delirious aroma fills your head, while your eyes feast on the abundance of luscious delights. There is always a small handful of cheerful patrons and an occasional juicy star spot. It is also where ones diet could swiftly go the way of the Dodo and your bank account will certainly feel the pangs of withdrawal.

On this occasion, I was on a mission, and my imaginary bf Todd, who was cheerfully waiting behind for the counter, greeted me on arrival. As always, he was there to answer any and all of my seemingly strange questions, was only too happy to help fulfill my cravings and desires (va-voom!). He does this so easily too! Just by plying me with oozing gooey fantasticness while cooing meltingly sentimental comments such as “This Roquefort is considered too strong for the American palate, what do you think?” “Do you taste the light hint of lavender?” and “Wait, just try this one more. You’re going to love it…it’s from a small village in the Southern foothills of…” well, you get the idea.

My request was simple, I had some grape leaves and wanted to use them to wrap around a cheese and grill it. I was thinking feta would be a classic match, but in truth was on the fence, since it is not my favorite. Twelve samples later (and that was before I expressed my profound love for blue cheeses. Bring on the mold baby!) we settled on an outrageously fresh Corsican Brocciu. It’s a fresh goat/ewes milk ricotta style cheese that comes in a little tub and made my mouth smile with its touching innocence. I knew it would be the lynchpin to wow my guests with this unique dish.

Getting home and firing up the grill was just about the hardest part in this recipe. The cheese just gets warmed through, making it a priority to use top quality ingredients. Take some grape leaves, a little bit of exceptional olive oil, some bread and a hot grill or pan, and you too can find out what heaven must taste like. This is just without parallel. The saltiness of the grape leaves, the crunch of the bread, the creamy, warm cheese and the smokiness of the fire come together to make appetizer perfection. Try this and you will, without a doubt, enjoy.

24 grape leaves, rinsed and stemmed
1 cup ricotta or feta style cheese cut into 24 1 ½ oz. pieces
Olive oil for brushing
Black pepper
48 slices of baguette, toasted (or ideally, brushed with oil and grilled)
4 medium tomatoes, diced
6 black olives, pitted and diced (I used dry cured)

Preheat your grill or a large dry pan.

Gently toss the cheese pieces with enough olive oil to coat. Season with black pepper.

Place a small bit of the cheese on a grape leaf and fold over to seal. Brush with a bit more olive oil and set aside. Continue with the rest of the cheese. You can make the bundles up to a day in advance. Refrigerate, covered if you do.

Toss the tomatoes with the minced olives, add a small dash of oil and season to taste with salt.

Grill the grape leaves, seam side down for about two minutes on the edge of your grill (away from the direct heat) turn and grill an additional two minutes. Remove and serve with bread and tomato relish.

Makes 24


Brocciu is a derivative of the word Brousse, another name for cream cheese made from raw ewe's milk or goat's milk. Brocciu is special because it was the first whey cheese with the AOC seal. Brocciu is very popular in Corsica and is sold in re-usable baskets. Most of the time, it is eaten fresh, but a part of the production is ripened. It is however, difficult to find this specialty outside of Corsica. –Frencheese.Co.Uk

Cheese, a concentrated dairy food made from milk, is defined as the fresh or matured product obtained by draining the whey (moisture or serum of original milk) after coagulation of casein, the major milk protein. –Innovate with

Switzerland's Nestle SA (NESN.VX) said on Monday it was buying weight-loss company Jenny Craig for around $600 million after a high profile diet by actress Kirstie Alley helped boost the U.S. company's sales. Nestle said it agreed to buy Jenny Craig from private equity firms ACI Capital and MidOcean Partners. The price was about five times what these investors paid in 2002 for the company, which sells prepackaged meals and offers personalized weight loss programs through a network of over 600 centers. Nestle, the world's largest food company, said weight management would form a new pillar of activity in its nutrition business. -Reuters

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Friday, June 16, 2006


Mango-Lime Sorbet

Let me state here for the record that it has been hot like hot like crazy damn hot these past few days. Hot in a way that my hair is doing funny things and the windows are all open (because my peaches, I live in an AC free home. Why? Don’t ask me!) and the cat keeps escaping and I need to do laundry but the idea of turning on the dryer is unbearable and all I want to do is go see Nacho Libre (which I will be doing in a few hours come to think of it) and eat cooling things in some sort of deference to eastern philosophies. Cooling things like cucumbers and mint, and bean sprouts and water chestnuts and fruit. Fruit like the ultimately sweet and spicy cooling mango. Of course, a mango in itself, well, that is truly magnificent, but add a bit of sugar, some lime and a freezer, and my friends you have perfection. (Until someone with a like-minded sensibility tells you that this is in fact the perfect base for a margarita, and then all heck may break loose. Consider yourself forewarned.)

So my yang (that’s the cooling side, I think) darlings. My perfect lotus flowers. My loyal readers and random passersby alike, I present a recipe for mango-lime sorbet (and/or mango-lime margarita base, whatever…) a simple, vibrant treat that will tingle your senses, and make your life complete. Well, at least until Boston Boy (or your version there-of) gets back with that fan he went to buy…

Try this, and enjoy.

½ cup white sugar
1 cup water
Zest and juice of one lime
4 mangos, peeled, pitted and diced

Freeze the bowl of your ice cream maker per the manufacturers directions.

In a bowl combine the sugar and water. Heat in the microwave (what? You want to turn on the stove on a day like this? Fine, do as you wish. Me I’m using more advanced technology…) Stir to dissolve the sugar and set aside to cool. This is simple syrup.

In a blender, combine the mango, lime zest and lime juice. Add the cooled simple syrup and puree until smooth. At this point you can strain, but why bother…

Taste and add more lime juice, zest or water as needed. Remember, when things freeze the taste dulls, so it can be pretty strong and it will be ok.

Put the mixture into the ice cream maker for 20 minutes. Serve immediately if you like it soft, or put into an airtight container and it will keep in the freezer for up to two weeks.
If you really want to make it into a margarita…well, I suspect you can figure that out on your own. Salut!

Makes about 3 cups


Looking for something hilarious to do tonight in LA? Check out Drama 3/4: Another Showcase Showdown.

Netflix for WINE? Check out Bottlenotes and find out for yourself!

[Skinner holds up Bart's ''Down with Homework'' shirt.]
Seymour Skinner: So, we meet again, Mad Magazine.
Bart: How do you know it's from Mad?Seymour Skinner: The year was 1968. We were on recon in a steaming Mekong Delta. An overheated private removed his flak jacket, revealing a t-shirt with an iron-on sporting the Mad slogan 'Up with miniskirts!' Well, we all had a good laugh, even though I didn't quite understand it. But our momentary lapse of concentration allowed Charley to get the drop on us. I spent the next 3 years in a POW camp, forced to subsist on a thin stew made of fish, vegetables, prawns, coconut milk and four kinds of rice. I came close to madness trying to find it here in the States, but they just can't get the spices right. - The Simpsons

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Comparing Chefs Knives

I’ve written about caring for knives before, but never given my opinion on what brand knife I prefer, and why…so here goes

What is the opposite of the expression “Beggars can’t be choosers?” Is it “damn, you is one spoilt bee-atch?” Well, whatever it is, when it comes to crazy-fancy knives and their ownership, I seem to fall into the latter category.

Of course, I could just claim to be a connoisseur or some such, but for the most part, I just happen to be your run-of-the-mill, girl-with-a-lethal-knife-collection. (And people wonder why I’m single…hmmm.) Some find it intimidating, (just the other day the Ombudsman was helping me make some dinner and commented they are pretty durned scary) others just assume its part of the job, but for me, it just is what it is, and well, I’m okay with that.

My collection started because when you show up at cooking school on the first day, they hand you a full kit of knives. Drool. That, coupled with the fact I had been working at a kitchen store for some time and they offer an outrageously generous employee discount got me where I am today. But then it became not about having a lot of knives, but all about finding the perfect knife. Something that felt good in my hand, that was the right weight and contour, held an edge and wasn’t too high maintenance. (For instance, I have a carbon knife, and while that bad boy is sharp as can be, lemme tell ya, the rusting is out of control. Caring for that sucker is a full time job.)

At this juncture I can honestly say, of the big-name brands - - the ones you could buy in any mall in North America - - I’ve got at least one, and use them all. But some are better than others for sure.

The first rule of thumb when buying a knife is to hold it in your hand. You’ll notice that a Japanese knife is much lighter-weight than a German forged and that is part of the narrowing down process. I say the blade on a Japanese knife does the cutting, while the weight of the German knife is really what’s getting the cuts done. What should never be happening is your own force doing the work. If that is the case, its time to get those suckers sharpened.

Since I have written about knives before, you can read about how to pick a knife, but here I’m going to talk pros and cons of the knives I use on a regular basis…and let you decide for yourself what sounds best to you. Here I am only talking about 10-inch chef knives. The best knife, to me, is sharp, easy to hold, and cuts without trouble. So here is my opinion, and just to give myself credibility, I am a trained chef, a former chef-instructor and worked for years as a knife saleswoman, so I figure I have about as much right to an opinion as any other joe-on-the-street.

Calphalon – Stamped knife that is flexible and dull. A bummer waste of money. I use this when I feel like sawing through something – in other words, never.

Wusthof Classic – Weighty, all-purpose, and keeps its edge. This is the knife I always come back to. The classic design fits in my hand and the variety of sizes make the whole line worthwhile. If you do a lot of chopping this is the way to go. The balance of a heavy handle and lighter blade make it a work horse.

Henkeles 4 Star – I don’t know what it is about this knife, but for the most part I typically forget I own it. It’s a bit heavier than Wustoff, and the blade is just a bit more curved, but overall, it’s a good all-purpose knife. Im not the biggest fan of the overall look, but if this was all you had, you’re still in good shape.

Shun Elite – Currently my favorite. Samurai sharp, and a good weight. Easy to manage and so far, the blade is still. I also have a santoku version, which I wish I could return. I am not a fan of that shape, since rocking is not an option. The more classic chef knife – though without a curve in the blade that makes rocking easier – is a dream though and worth every penny.

Global – Wow do I dislike this knife. The light weight bothers me, and I find its design dangerous. The heel (where the blade meets the handle) is pointy and can really hurt you, it also makes them hard to clean. I know they look glam, but wow is this knife is a disaster.

So if you are out looking for knife, my suggestion – get a Shun. They are available at Sur La Table, nationwide.


The 14-year effort to establish an urban farm in the heart of South Los Angeles came to an end today when sheriff's deputies moved in to evict the farmers, as well as some celebrities who were supporting them by keeping vigil on the land.

Do you live in NYC? Are you looking for a foodie job? Family Circle Magazine is looking for an Assistant Food Editor

Friday, June 09, 2006


Mexican Style Pickled Carrots

Lately, I’ve been hanging out with Boston-Boy, who has been showing me a real good time, chock full of delightful dinners, non-stop laughter and unexpected destinations.

One locale we seem drawn to like moths to a flame, is that perennial hot-spot, El Carmen, home of way, way, WAY too many tequila choices (I mean really kids, a menu with 300 tequilas with no descriptions means absolutely nothing to anyone but the ultimate aficionado. Breaking it up by price is the only way anyone can decipher a thing. Am I right here? Of course I am. Lordy.) which leads to my inevitable craving for (wait for it…wait for it…) yup, tacos.

And let's face it kids, if one thing has been established on this site is that I am a girl who is totally loco for tacos. Especially when they are paired with a good strong beverage. Mmm. Perfection.

The only trouble is that while variations on a tried and true theme can be cute and fun and sometimes fab - for true culinary bliss, for that supreme satisfaction, the classic taco is the only way to go. My feeling is just that one should keep their guava jelly and blue corn out off my plate, ya know? So for the taco to really hit the spot, and not leave me lonely and forlorn, a mix pickle of carrots, radishes and jalapenos is essential.

For something that is so darned easy to whip up and so vital to the taco experience, why more restaurants refuse to have it on hand is well beyond my simple reasoning. Any ideas?

You on the other hand, my fiery little friends, can rest easy now that this recipe is on hand and ready for action…try it and revel in the simplicity of the crunchy, spicy, piquant, herbaceous perfection that goes so well with just about anything (and makes a delightful and unexpected side dish when in a pinch…) and of course…enjoy

4 large carrots, peeled and sliced on an angle
1 bunch radishes, washed and quartered
1-2 large jalapenos (more if you really like spicy), sliced into thick rounds
1 clove garlic, sliced thin
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 small white onion, minced
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
½ teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt

Toss together the carrots, radishes and jalapenos and fit into a large glass container (with a lid)

In a large sauce pan, combine the garlic, oregano, onion, vinegar, water, sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer for two minutes.

Carefully pour the vinegar mixture over the carrot mixture until it covers all the vegetables, and allow to cool on the counter top. (Leftover liquid should be discarded) When cool, cap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Can be kept for up to two months.

Yup, it’s that easy.

Makes 1-½ cups of fantastic.


Christine, who is Filipina-American, is battling non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and is in urgent need of a bone marrow transplant, but has yet to find a matching donor. With over over 20,000 different bone marrow types, her best bet is to find a Filipino donor; only they are the most under-represented group in the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) Registry.

Please, if you are Filipino, or know someone who is, please, order a test kit. The test involves swabbing your cheek, the results could save a life.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Salmon with Tarragon-Horseradish Crust

Now my dearies, just a few days ago, I went on in depth with that fantastically enchanting topic: how to prepare horseradish, and before that, dazzled you with "How to make breadcrumbs."

What can I say, I’m just that kinda girl. Always making stuff in the kitchen. It’s just that I find (and purport) the easiest way to whip up dinner is to have a wide variety of ingredients in the pantry and ready for action. That way, when you (or in this case, I) invite people over to sit out under the stars on one of these outrageously beautiful summer nights (insert blissed-out sigh) making dinner is a snap. Won’t heat up the kitchen and leaves you more time to mix up cocktails, giggle with your true friends and really, really ponder the far reaching impact of Mabel Van Buren’s cinematic career…

The salmon here is simply the result of stirring, smearing and searing. I served it with some white rice with dill and a faboo fava bean and shallot medley (more on those little suckers some other time…) and was beyond pleased. Simple, chic and delicious. What more could a girl ask for? Try it, and enjoy.

3/4 cup breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon
2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for searing
salt and pepper to taste
4 medium sized (6 oz.) boneless salmon

In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, horseradish, tarragon, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Rinse the salmon and pat dry. Press a thick coating of the bread crumb mixture onto the top (not the skin side) and set aside.

In a large non-stick pan, heat a teaspoon or so of oil over medium high heat, gently place the salmon filets, skin side down, into the pan. Let cook for 3 or 4 minutes. Carefully turn and continue to cook until seared through, about 4 more minutes. Remove from the pan and serve immediately or at room temperature.

Serves four.


Grapes explode when you put them in the microwave.

If you are in the UK next weekend, make sure to stop by
A Taste of London.

Or if you are in L.A. Il Moro sponsors amazing wine tastings

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