Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Beach birds
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
These birds know where its at! After four days of illness, two days of hurrying about to get invitations out, I think I might just join them!

There is nothing like going to the beach to smell the ocean air. The clean crisp smell of salt water has such an amazing effect on my psyche. It reminds me of childhood and the lazy sunny days in the sand and sea. It really does me good to sit and reflect and listen to the pounding of waves. Must go this weekend.

Until then. Baking, baking, baking. Wedding in three weeks!

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Sunday, June 26, 2005

IMBB #16 - Eggs!

Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
Viv at Seattle Bon Vivant is hosting this month's Is My Blog Burning event. IMBB is the brainchild of Alberto of Il Forno. Viv's choice of eggs as the feature ingredient had me thinking about an entry all month.

Eggs, as I showed you here, are such versitle little ingredients. I can hardly wait to see the other entries as I am sure there will be quite a bit of diversity.

My entry begins with four simple ingredients. Six eggs, yes I know there are only five in the picture, it was a better composition! Six eggs, 2/3 cup of flour, cup of milk, and a dash of salt.

Turn oven to 350 degrees. Put a pat of butter in your baking pans, this recipe makes 2 pans, full. A 9 inch round will work best. Place in the oven to melt the butter.

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. You don't need to use a mixer, I do, because it's faster. Remove the pans from the oven and split the mixture between your pans. Place back in the oven for 17 - 20 minutes, checking only by peeking through the glass on the oven door. When it has risen and it nice and golden brown, it's done.

You now have made your first recipe of Dutch Babies! These are a family favorite, simply to make and so impressive to watch come out of the oven. If, this is you first attempt, don't take them out too soon, as they will rise a lot in the last few minutes. These aren;t the best I;ve made, but they were still delicious!

As you bring them out of the oven you will want to add the finishing touch to you "babies". That being, sweetener - powdered sugar, or a sugar substitute such as Splenda, fresh lemons and butter. three simple things

Add a bit of each to your "baby" and you're all set. This was a Father's day luncheon this year for my hubby!
happy father's day

So Thank You Viv, for the opportunity to show off a favorite egg dish! I really am excited to see what eveyone else has done!

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Monday, June 20, 2005

Now for the feast!

Beautiful Gowns

Our youngest daughter will be married July 16th. We are very happy with her choice of young men. He's a great guy, has an interesting background and is devoted to her. He spent two years in Brazil and then in January returned for six weeks to visit friends. Upon his return, he waited about a week, then popped the question. This was in February. We have been planning the reception since then. We have also attended 7 other weddings since she announced her engagement. It has been a whirlwind season. After her wedding we have two others to attend, the last of which is in the last week of August. This will certainly go down as the summer of weddings!

Each time a daughter is married, and the planning begins, my mind turns to a favorite story. It is the story of a French woman during the 19th century revolution, who loses her husband, family and most of her belongings. She is penniless, a refugee in need of shelter and is willing to work for her keep. A French singer arranges for her to become a servant for two sisters who have devoted their lives to helping the poor and needy in their community. Babette moves in with them, and becomes their servant and cook. When the sisters leave for a time, Babette steps in and cooks for the needy. She becomes a part of the greater community. Babette has one possession, a ticket in the French Lottery. She is informed she has won 10,000 francs. With winnings in hand, the sisters are sure she will depart shortly thereafter. She asks if she can prepare a meal for all. The sisters protest, after much discussion the sisters finally give their permission. Babette proceeds to spend her entire fortune to prepare this meal. She wants to show her gratitude for their willingness to take her in, provide shelter and care for her in her hour of need.

Babette's feast is one of my favorite stories by Isak Dinesan. I won't give away all the details of the story and will leave the most interesting points of the story out to peak your curiosity. I would hope you would be intrigued enough to seek it out and read it.

I love the story because it illustrates how I feel when I prepare a reception feast for one of our daughters. There have been so many people that have influenced their lives along the way. While we have been a strong family, with lots of love, I recognize we do not live in a vacuum. There have been so many people that have touched their lives, in one way or another, I could never thank them enough. So I do what I can do. I prepare the best foods I know how to prepare in great abundance and invite friends and family to join us in a feast of celebration. Each has been a joy. Each has been a great celebration. It is my way to say thank you for their influence and love.

So, here we are again. It is again time for another feast. We have chosen to do an Italian theme. We have a few favorite dishes and will add to the list as we proceed to prepare. We have a distance to travel between the wedding and the feast so I need to choose a menu that can be prepared in advance and placed upon arrival. It will be luncheon from 2:30 to 5:30 in the afternoon. Of course there will be Bruschetta, antipasti salad, two to three pasta salads, biscotti, an olive bar, different breads (of course from Con Pane) and sweets. Is there a dish you wouldn't have a feast without serving? I will take your suggestions with open heart and mind to help make this a feast beyond measure. (please be reminded, when I say I, I really mean to include my wonderful husband!)

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Entering the room

Entering the room
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
Okay. So this is how I have been spending my time. Painting, flooring, moulding, moving and piles.

I missed Sugar High Friday! Tartletts are my signature dish and I just didn't have the time. I will be posting a tartlett piece this week though.

From the opposite corner As you can see, this room is not all that large. However, once everything is put in its place (mise en place!) there will be ample room to do all the wonderful things I have in mind. Photography, scanning, creating, sewing, small quilting projects, and computing. All of my amazing cooking and catering stuff is stored in the closet with a roll down cover to keep things looking tidy.

In the photo you see a large tv on the bureau. It iwll soon be up on the wall through the use of a nice wall mount we got in December. Finally! Also, you see my flat file filled with rubber stamps and paper, cutting tools, embossing stuff and all things crafty. My light boxes will have a place and I will begin scanning slides from days long gone and will be decorating the walls with excellent pictures I have taken over the years.

Empty wall & cornerThis wall is the blank wall awaiting those pictures!. Also in the corner will be a large book shelf filled with the books that inspire me. I will share a pic of it filled when it is in place, hopefully, tomorrow. Where all this stuff came from was in different places around the house. By remaking this room, I have also gained a dining room! A shot of that new area will come with my IMBB entry on Friday.

Thanks for reading, a much improved blog is on the way!

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Sunday, June 12, 2005

Oh Wow!

They must be harvesting Avocados again! We just sat through some pretty good movin' and shakin'! Earthquake! About 15 minutes ago, 5.6, with the epicenter 6 miles east of Anza, California. Which, just happens to be very close to me. Without warning, the earth jolted and then rumbled for about 45 seconds with a second good bump! It then quietly rumbled away. The cats are freaked, but all is well. I thought for certain we were going to lose the large front window, but alas, all is well.

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I haven't been cooking much

I am currently in the process of remodeling a room that has been a bedroom for years. It is currently being redone so I can have some creative space.

It will be the computer room with scanner, printer and all the necessary computer stuff.
It will be my photography room where I can photograph all the different things I do - cooking, crafting, quilting, and the people I love.
It will be my design room for quilting. Also the occasional room to set up the frames and tie a quilt. I decided a couple of years ago that hand quilting will not be something I can do with ease. Machine quilting has come a long way, I will have most of what I do machine quilted.
It will be the sewing room. I do sew, mostly I curse. However, I can sew up some pretty cute togs for kids that don't require buttons or zippers!
It will also be a storage room for all the cooking things I don't use everyday as my kitchen is so small!

The floor was installed yesterday. The walls have already been painted - the most glorius color of chocolate on one wall, and hot cocoa on the other three. The molding will go up Monday and then I can move in.

While I get finished up, go take a look around at a few of my favorite places. Take a look at the links column and go discover some places you haven't been before!

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Friday, June 10, 2005

Food as Art

Everyday Matters has been a favorite of mine for a long time. Danny has such a great way of illustrating life and entertaining me with his wit and wisdom. I stop by weekly to catch up with his work and what's going on and to be inspired. Danny is not a foodblogger. He is an illustrator. I am amazed at how well he is able to capture a scene with pen and ink.

He recently posted an entry where he was having dinner with friends. His art was done on the paper tablecloth of the table they were seated at. It is truly a "food as art" post. Go take a look at it, I'm sure you'll agree. Click on the link above and scroll down to his June 5th post. His creativity never ceases to amaze me!

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Monday, June 06, 2005

Paper Chef

This is my first entry into Paper Chef! This is number 7 of the paper Chef series, it is being hosted by Owen at Tomatilla this month. Thank you Owen!

I decided to join the fun when I took a look at the ingredients list. Medjool dates, buttermilk, egg and honey!
Medjools are my very favorite thing in the world. They are a wonderful spill over from my childhood. They bring back wonderful memories of baking cookies with grandmother. Actually, not a lot of cooking was done on my part, but I did happen to consume a lot!

So where to begin? I have experimented with dates for years and with the given ingredient list I thought I would try to keep it very simple. The only other ingredient I added is walnuts. I give you Tempura Fried Dates


1 lb of medjool dates, pitted (slice lengthwise on one side of date, remove pit.)
Walnut, halves and quarters
1/4 cup of honey
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups ice cold club soda
Buttermilk to thin batter
4 cups of oil

Add honey to walnuts and glaze well. Fill cavity of medjool date with walnut and honey mixture. Place on tray in refrigerator to chill for thirty minutes.

For batter:
Combine flour, egg and club soda in a bowl and mix until all is wet. Add buttermilk in small amount to thin, but not too thin!

Heat oil in pan to 375 degrees. When oil has reached full temperature (and not before) drop a date in the tempura mixture and cover well. Carefully place date in oil and cook until golden brown. Remove from oil to drain. To plate, sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired, or drizzle a little honey on the plate. No more than three dates per serving, as these are quite rich. They also work great as a dessert platter addition. Consume!

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. The heat really enhances the date flavor and the tempura batter crunch along with the walnuts is an added texture that enhance this wonderful little dessert.

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Sunday, June 05, 2005


Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
Okay so you're expecting photos. This, unfortunately, is not yesterday's cake.

Yesterday's temperatures reached into the 90's. Needless to say, the cake did not survive long in the heat of the day. I argued with the woman hosting the reception. I begged her to move the cake from direct sun to somewhere inside to a cooler venue. However, stating that the cake was the centerpiece of the recption (I understand that) it must stay where it was, as three hours away, the lighting was directed to that perfect spot.

The cake melted away and was very disappointing to all. We did get shots of the bride and groom cutting the cake and enjoying a first piece together and then quickly took it apart and began serving it. I will never do an outdoor wedding in the summer time again. Everyone did love the cake though! They raved about the flavors and the frosting. Well that's great. I'm glad they did enjoy it. I just wish when I say it is not going to last in direct sunlight, people would listen. It could all have been saved, if they had listened.

What I learned. Cake school was right. Buttercream is not a good way to go when the venue is outdoors. Even when the cake turns into disasters, good friends take it in stride. My friends, took it well, and all was not lost. Friends are more important than cake any day.

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Friday, June 03, 2005

Quick update.

I am doing my least favorite part of baking today. A family friend is being married tomorrow and in some random act of insanity I told her I'd make her cake. Four tiers, plain, square, simple. I even told a good friend to never speak to me again if I ever volunteered to do a cake. She hasn't called. Back to frosting making!

Pictures will be posted tomorrow!

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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

El Indio Shop

El Indio
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
This little corner restaurant is a San Diego landmark. I have been going there since 1972, when I was attending the university there. It was established in 1940 as a tortilla factory. People, in the area working, would stop in and comment on the aroma wafting forth from the building and ask if there was anything they could purchase to eat. At the time it was only a tortilla factory, but after some careful thought El Indio's was born. It is still family owned and operated.

They began serving simple mexican fare and it has been a San Diego favorite for many, many years.

This is a sample of our favorites. In the foreground is my favorite. Mordiditas. I order them everytime. They are taquitos smothered in nacho cheese sauce and jalapenos. You then dribble a small amount of salsa on it and dive in. Also pictured is their rice, taquitos and in the very back a flan.

El Indio Shop also has other delicious items such as prepared tamales, tacos, enchiladas, well basically anything you can thin to order. I have rarely been disappointed with anything we have ordered as a group. Oh, yeah, did I mention we usually go in a group of eight or more to eat? Everyone orders something diefferent and we all share. The tortillas are fab! They are made on site with fresh ground masa and then fried and sprinkled with a bit of chile powder.

These pics were part of our tour of the southland on our anniversary weekend. El Indio's is at 3695 India street just south of Washington. Take the five freeway south to Washington and go east to India. You can eat in, take out or even have them prepare a feast for you to take home and warm up for later. Stop by the next time you're in San Diego!

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