Friday, May 27, 2005

The Incredible Egg

I recently received a new monthly publication from the baking industry. Lucky for me it is the best issue of the year. On its cover it mentions that it is the 2005 Bakers encyclopedia. And that it is. There is so much information stuffed into this issue I will be using it as a reference for some time.

One article immediately caught my eye as something you might also be interested to see. It is a discussion of the egg. It's many uses and versatility of this magnificant little wonder. I have re-typed a table from the pages of the article for your enjoyment. The table does not have a credit so I am not sure who to mention. The article was written by Jessi Withrow, however, I have a sneaking suspicion this table came courtesy of the American Egg Board.

When I cook I like to know why things happen the way they do. I am trying to understand the effects of choices for ingredient more so I can have better success when I experiment with ingredients. Hopefully this chart will bring you as much enjoyment as it does me.

egg chart

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Meme for me

It's meme time!

S'mee of Knot in the String has tagged me for a music meme. It's not always about the food I guess!

Total volume of music files on my computer: 2.44 gigabytes

The last CD I bought: Was soooooo long ago. I only buy music from iTunes anymore. Last one purchased was an Oingo Boingo anthology album. I'm just a sucker for Danny Elfman!

Song playing now: Beautiful Mess by Diamond Rio

Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to
1. Lighter Shade of Pale, Annie Lennox
2. Panis Angelicus, Pavarotti
3. The Trees, Rush
4. One More Day & I Believe,Diamond Rio
5. Any song by Nat King Cole
6. Fanfare for the Common Man, Aaron Copeland, performed by Emerson, Lake and Palmer

I could easily have five hundred more. Music speaks for me most of the time. It is always on, especially at night while drifting off to sleep. It's a habit acquired as a child.

People to whom I'm passing the baton:

Sarah Marinara. She doesn't know me. I am a closet reader of hers. She's in love and going to be married soon, I'd love to hear the songs in her heart right now.

Kulturblog Kulturblog is a group blog that I just love. There are so many artistic minds over there that I would love to see what they're doing music-wise personally. Maybe someone over there, come on Logan!, would give us a nod.

Tag, you're it!

go do it.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Food Sections

Today is my day of the week for newspapers. You see, most of them have their food sections published on Wednesday. So I make the morning rounds reading to see if those food editors have discovered anything new and exciting:

In today's LA Times I find I have scooped them! Front page, food section, left column is "Attack of the Killer Cupcake". Betty Baboujon takes a walk through the areas cupcake bakeries. She too has discovered Sprinkles. :-D! On page F8 she continues with pictures, very nice! My favorite line is: "And yet, even when I like a cupcake, I can't imagine going out of my way for one. If I want one, there's always a supermarket nearby. I don't need a pricey, pedigreed cupcake, do I?" Ha! She meanders her way to a local grocer and buys a cupcake. Takes a bite and wonders if Sprinkles, or Leda's or Joan's is still open.

I knew she wouldn't let me down.

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Monday, May 23, 2005


We all have our favorite ingredients. Some people will tell you the most important spice is garlic, others will say coriander, everyone has their very favorite item that "makes the meal". Salt certainly has its place. Pepper, too. Most of us give our all in attempts to please, feed, and entertain our families and friends.

So what is that most important ingredient? What is it that makes the meal? Hunger.
You can work all day, or just ten minutes preparing the perfect food. However, unless someone is hungry, the food doesn't get to do its job. Certainly it will get eaten, eventually, maybe. But does it really convey all you wanted it to, if hunger is not present? Some people might find me a bit goofy (okay more than some) but I see food as something that sacrifices itself for us. If it is abused, it's a shame. Abused could mean overcooked, too much cooked, undercooked, burned, moldy before it gets used or really anything that makes it inedible. To allow food to rot or be thrown away because of our lack of attention to it, it is the worst form of waste.

Unfortunately there are people out there that will eat anything, anytime. But that's not really eating. That's consuming. When I cook, I want it to be eaten, enjoyed, with plenty of talk around the table. That's one of the thing I miss most about having kids at home. We ate together at least six nights a week, while they were at home. Yep, every night. It kindof really bugs me that as we age we find fewer and fewer people around the table. I really think I'm going to live in some communal house when I get old (I mean really old) so I can eat with lots of people. Last night we sat with friends over a simple meal. A friend cooked, she was so excited to feed all of us, she cooked most of the morning. We came hungry, after a long day in church, ready to eat. It was the personification of everything I'm talking about, food, hungry people and good conversation. We weren't just hungry for the food, it was also the comraderie.

So, what's your favorite ingredient?

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Sunday, May 22, 2005

IMBB #15 Has My Blog Jelled?

Elise over at Simply Recipes is hosting this month's Is my Blog Burning? She has chosen quite a formidable theme: Anything jelled, "through the use of gelatin, Jello, agar or other jelling agents". I say formidable because as they say "Has it jelled yet?" It's not as easy as that little box of Jello would have you belive!

I was very excited to participate in the challenge. Months ago I read a piece over at Not Martha about the inspiring Pastry Chef Blair Fukumura. She linked to his photo album and I was amazed at his creativity. I especially loved his little "Champagne Thimble with Floating Raspberry" creation. He had inspired me to try this sometime.

Well, thanks to Elise - here's my chance! I began around noon, with formulating my own gelatin. I began with Knox brand gelatin added my own flavoring and gave it a try. In the middle of this creation, my husband gets the afternoon off, & wants to go to Palm Springs. He wants me to go too. Well needless to say, I had to hurry my creation, knowing that Saturday was filled with a luau and no time for cooking or creating. My own creation gelatin was sideline in exchange for a simple Jello recipe and some very flavorful raspberries! A few things I learned along the way:

1. For the best results, make your own gelatin - sheets always work better than Knox.
2. Set aside the proper time frame to get something like this done.
3. If you choose to go the way of ease, reduce the amount of liquid in the gelatin. You'll have a better result, due to the lack of water. It will set-up and hold it's shape longer than 15 minutes.
4. I would rather have had the raspberry more centered in the gel. Next time!

Raspberry in gel

So while it looks pretty, I will attempt this later in the week again, without distractions! Thank you Elsie for getting me to give this a try. It worked well enough in a quick attempt that when I set aside proper time frames, I'll really be pleased with the result.

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Friday, May 20, 2005

Citrus clouds

citrus clouds
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
This month's SHF (Sugar High Friday) is today! I have been looking forward to this since it was announced! This month 's theme chosen by Alice at My Adventures in the Breadbox. She chose Citrus! Yay.

My last unmarried daughter is getting married in July. She has chosen a citrus theme for the wedding. It will be festive and beautiful. I have been trying to come up with some recipes to go with the theme, so this SHF is really a two pronged approach for me.

I have tried a few recipes, and chose to share this one with you. Mostly because it is so pretty! I got the recipe from the Florida Citrus Commission website.

First you make the meringue shells;

Begin with 3 egg whites, room temperature, 1/4 teaspoon of Cream of tartar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla (or the extract of your choice). I chose orange to compliment the ambrosia. You'll also need a cup of sugar.

Beat the eggs, extract and cream of tartar until frothy. Then begin adding the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat on high until all the sugar is combined and the meringue forms stiff, glossy peaks. Like this:


Then on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper (first choice) or waxed paper, form your shells. Begin with a mound of meringue and then push it out to the sides to form your shells. Like this:

Meringue clouds

Then place them in a 275 degree oven for an hour. After the hour is up turn off your oven and let the shells stay there for another hour. Sometimes, if you oven is too hot, your shells may turn slightly beige in color. Watch them closely. Also please note: meringue is really simple to make. However, if you have a high humidity day, no matter what you do thses will be dificult and may not turn out as you wish. It's not you, it's the humidity. Try again on a dry day and you'll find success.

Now on to the citrus ambrosia. You'll need: a teaspoon of orange zest, 1 cup of orange juice, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, a teaspoon of lemon juice, and a teaspoon of sugar for your glaze.

Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Add the juice and zest. Sir together over medium heat until thickened. Let cook for two more minutes. Stir in lemon juice. Set aside to cool in the fridge.

Then, section out two grapefruits and three oranges. To section the citrus remove all the skin from the outside of the orange (or grapfruit). Holding the fruit in one hand simply cut along a membrane on one side of a section. Then down the other. You'll then have the sections ready to eat. Like this:

Sectioning Citrus

Halve a bunch of green or red grapes. Add to the other fruit. When the glaze is cool pour over fruit, stir to cover all the fruit. Let stand in fridge for a few hours to combine and chill.

Spoon into meringue shells to serve.

Viola! Very good, but a bit too sweet for me!

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Monday, May 16, 2005

Oh Wow!

Oh Wow!

The picture for this one is quite blurry at a larger size. So if you click on it make sure you're ready for BLUR! At it's small size it says enough! Note: I took one bite, then tried to take another picture, but was compelled to take that second one quickly. Mmmmm.

This amazing little cake! It was the Dark Chocolate cupcake. It was a dark chocolate cake with bittersweet chocolate frosting. Then it is topped with little semi-sweet chocolate bits. AMAZING!!!!!!!! This cupcake is balanced so well. I will buy this one everytime I go in, along with any others available. But this one will always be on the list! Verrry good.

As I was waiting for my cupcakes to boxed, I looked around to check out the decor. I didn't see much else once I saw these:

Cup a cake!

Wowie! I had read about these, the bloggosphere is buzzing about them. Cup-a-Cake! They work great! We loaded up a couple and tossed them about, carried them around and then opened them later in the day. A few crumbs, but still very much intact. As you can see inside, there are a few little wedges inside to hold the cake in place. It pokes into the side of the cupcake and hold it in pretty well. Very cool!

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Life's uncertain...

Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
you know the rest. (I hope!)

So the big weekend began in LA. Fun! 30 years ago me and my sweetheart were married in Los Angeles. We were high school sweethearts and after 3.5 years of dating we decided this was for life and more. We took the plunge on the 15th of May the best day ever!

We decided to visit a few of the places we went 30 years ago. But, we decided to add a new place to the list: Sprinkles!

I read the wonderful blog, Slice of Pink and just a couple of weeks ago she mentioned this new cupcake place in Los Angeles. Cupcakes! The new buzzword. I looked up their website Sprinkles, got directions, we headed off to parts, known. We drove to Los Angeles. It was a beautiful afternoon, and there was very little traffic! Headed down Santa Monica Blvd to Rodeo drive. Ah, Beverly Hills. Interesting little place, but, I digress. We pull up to Sprinkles, and out I hopped to see what I could find. The big guy went to find a place to park.

It's a cute little spot. The picture doesn't do it justice. While the building is the most charming color of chocolate, the real value is found at thier counter! This is what I found!


A wonderful assortment of cupcakes. You have to remember I'm traveling here. I had to get pics but I also had to use available space and props! These also begged to be eaten!

DSCN0013 This was my first cupcake to try. Pumpkin. It was really good! A great pumpkin flavor and the buttercream frosting was the perfect amount. Not too much, not too little. Perfect! Light, fluffy, moist. Mmmmm.

The photo at the top was my favorite flavor so far... It was a heavenly blend of lemon cake, buttercream frosting then dredged in coconut. Upon slicing it for the picture, I could already smell the lemon! Combined with the coconut icing I was transported back to a memory of me when I was seven. Grandma's Lemon Coconut cake. It was an exact replica in a tiny package!

More next post!

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Saturday, May 14, 2005

Let's motor!

lets motor
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
While not exactly a food photo, this is what I am doing this weekend. Watch for updates as me and the big guy celebrate our 30th, yes 30!!!!!!, year of marriage.
We will visit some favorite spots and do some fun things and you'll get to see some pictures a bit from now.

So go out and have some fun too!

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Friday, May 13, 2005



BioMetric Payment Systems. Hmmm. Interesting reading this morning. Two different articles from two different locations announcing the use of BioMetric payment systems being adopted in the retail grocery business. The first announcment comes from PigglyWiggly of South Carolina. The second from Combo Stores in Provo, Utah.

So what is biometric payment? A person sets up an account by having their index finger scanned. The scan, along with your personal checking account information and a specified PIN number are kept on record. Then when you go into the store you just scan your finger in their scanner and it taps your account for payment. No longer is a check needed, a bank card, a wallet for ID, or even cash.

The service Piggly Wiggly is using has been developed by a San Francisco based company. Pay by Touch has been developing biometric systems for the retail industry since 2002. The finger scan is not actually a fingerprint scan. The Pay By Touch technology does not use actual fingerprints; instead, it uses a set of 40 data points from a finger scan that cannot be reverse engineered into a fingerprint. The data points are then encrypted to allow for a secure identity match at retail point of sale. You need not fear that anyone could reporduce your finger points scanned. Not point of sale identity theft!

Combo uses the firm BioPay. BioPay uses the same technology that Pay by Touch uses. BioPay does say that the cost per transaction is about 75% less than debit transactions. I wonder if that will be passed along to customers? So given the opportunity will you use this new technology?

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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Dessert Goodness

Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
Somedays you just have to say to yourself: Let them eat cake! Today was my day. I picked up a good friend and we went shopping for dresses to wear at our respective daughter's and son's weddings this summer. It was a blast. We went to dress shops and tried on all kinds of things. I found the cutest shoes and the sales girl let me have the pair on the table. This was great because they had been tried on by others a bit and were somewhat already "broken in". Yay! My girlfriend found the perfect dress for her son's wedding. So we're ready!

We then stopped by William Sonoma and picked a couple of odds and ends. Me a flour duster thingie (think antique - y) and a juicer. Friend: a sand castle cake pan to make special treats for her little grandson.

godiva cheesecake

Then on to lunch and dessert. Lunch was light so we could enjoy these wonderful desserts. Mmmm. Good!

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Saturday, May 07, 2005

More on Salt

iodized salt
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
I mentioned the many different types of salt in an earlier post. In that post I mentioned that since the industrial revolution salt has too been "industrialized". Our main use of salt is to add savor to and preserve foods. The uses of salt are many however. Listed below are some of the other uses for salt. Adapted from April 2005 Real Simple Magazine.

1. Roads and walkways - salt to avoid freezing.
2. Keep eggs from cracking when boiling - place a pinch or two of salt to the water.
3. To help keep drains clean - 1/2 cup of salt to a quart of hot water, pour down the drain.
4. To remove dirt from leafy vegetables such as spinach - rinse in a salt water solution.
5. In order to whip up eggs or cream to a high fluff - add a pinch of salt.
6. To help keep a turkey moist - salt the interior cavity of the bird prior to roasting.
7. To help remove wine stains from linens or clothing - cover the stain with salt, pour boiling water over area, rinse, prior to laundering.
8. To chill bottles in your ice bucket, alternate layers of ice and rock salt until around the bottle,add water to rim of bucket. Let stand for 10 minutes and you bottle will be well chilled.
9. When cooking zucchini or eggplant sprinkle with salt prior to cooking to prevent them from getting watery.
10. To keep windows from icing over on the interior of your car, rinse with a solution of 2 teaspoons of salt with a gallon of hot water, towel dry.
11. To clean a sticky residue from an iron - rub with salt and a paper towel. Have the steam off when doing this.
12. 3 tablespoons of salt and a little ice will clean the inside walls of a glass coffee pot.
13. Clean up raw egg spills by pouring salt over the egg. Let stand for a couple of minutes, clean up with a paper towel.
Cleaning tarnished brass and copper. Start with a paste of equal parts salt and flour with a few tablespoons of white vinegar. Apply to your favorite brass candlesticks or copper bowl with a soft cloth and rub. Rinse with water and dry.

Salt can also be used as an abrasive cleaner for any tough stain in the kitchen. Make a paste of salt and hot water - scrub to remove stain. Are there ways you use salt, that I haven't listed? Let me know.

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Friday, May 06, 2005


Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
Isn't this the most beautiful thing you've ever seen? It was costly, but way worth it. It is actually the first step in my new beginning. Before we can build we have to have water. We, that's so silly because it really wasn't we, drilled down between 150 - 200 feet and wow! The professional drill guys... hit water and put in a great well. We drove out to the property and hooked up the generator and viola! Upon timing it looks like we'll get about 30-40 gallons a minute. I loved the line from the professional guys "You could farm with that kind of pressure!" Heh heh. We said "Yeah!"

Another great thing was we then had the water tested. Straight out of the ground, this is the purest water I've ever seen. You have to realize i live in SoCal when i say that. The water that comes from my tap is hard and if it sits for more than 30 minutes, it tastes just like bleach. Ick. So the water from the property is clean, pure and ready to use as is. No filtering necessary. Yahoo!

I'm taking it as a sign of things to come.

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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Turns, turns, turns

Signs, signs, signs
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
Did you hear that? The really loud shout? It could have been me! I am doing the happy dance all around the house. Yes. It's that long awaited day. Which day you ask? The day I am again independent! I am without employ. Most people would fear this unique opportunity. For the last six years, someone else has generously been supporting my habit called the food industry. Today it all came to an end. And I am so excited! No money coming in, well do something about it. Hmmmm. What shall I do?

I think I will start working as hard for myself as I worked for someone else for the last twenty years. If I do I may just set my own path. Turn my own turns. It's scary and exciting at the same time. I have learned quite a bit about food production over the years and it is time for me to start applying it to my own success.

Look out food world, here I come!

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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Commerce in Eurasia

Iki Stores - Latvia
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
Reading a market report just delivered tells of good news in Latvia and the Ukraine. Two large grocery giants have signed agreements to build stores throughout these countries.

In Latvia, IKI stores have commited to build six new stores. In the Ukraine, the Fozzy Group (no not the musicians) have announced an agreement to open its third store in the Ukraine. It will be taking over an old Maksi store location in the Borispol area.

Fozzy stores carry about 50,000 SKUs and are approxiamtely 6,000 to 8,000 square meters. Fozzy's other two store are locate din Odessa and Kiev. The stores are a welcome convenience to shoppers in both countries.

I don't know very much at all about these countries or the stores that are prominent in them. I do remember reading and hearing news reports that people in Latvia and the Ukraine were desparate for the convenience of a supermarket. Not to mention the possibility of having a nice selection of commodities. Hopefully things are improving in both areas economically to allow all of their citizens to enjoy these stores.

If you have personal knowledge of the areas, I'd love to read your feedback.

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