Monday, January 30, 2006

Waffle Brownies!

Waffle Brownies!
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
Okay this is the simplest of treats! One sauce pan is all you'll need, and a spoon. So I mixed up all the ingredients and spooned them on the waffle iron.

Took a pic so you could see and then closed the lids for about four minutes:

Ready to Eat Look how good these turn out! Lift them, with a fork, off the iron and do it again. I made a dozen brownies with my recipe.

Warm with buttercream Here they are with icing. A little chocolate buttercream this time. Mmmmm.

After tasting them, I would add a bit more cocoa possibly a third of a cup or instead of water, maybe use chocolate syrup. Or I could always use chocolate chips in the mix. Oh and I'd add a bit of vanilla too!

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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Happily Ever After Wedding Cake

Happily Ever After
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
This is how I spent my Saturday. I actually do this stuff all week and then don't think much about it on weekends. Usually. However, the sweetest girl was marrying her favorite guy today. She found out two weeks ago I do cakes for a living. She wondered if I could do a cake for her reception. I told her we were probably a little more than she could afford, and then offered if she wanted a homemade cake, I could do one at home.

She jumped at the chance. I did the best I could without the right equipment and this is what was agreed upon. A gift to them. Lemon cake with buttercream icing. decorated with whimsy and on the bottom tier - Happily Ever After with tiny gold bows placed here and there.

I still couldn't get the last cake in July out of my mind and stressed probably way to much for this one. It set up easily and the bride was ecstatic. I could see the errors and the leaning slightly top tier, but she was thrilled and that's what we were going for on this one.

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Does your blog look good? - Food Photography

Ribbon Candy
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
I am sooo late in posting this. Andrew over at Spittoon Extra is hosting this month's Does My Blog Look Good In This? event. It has closed and pictures submitted are being reviewed by the judges.

I scoured my December pictures and submitted the one above because I love the lighting and the way it sets the tone for the holidays.

There are many talented folks who've submitted pictures for review and I am in good company. I love the way we see the food world through pictures. It's great.

Go take a look for yourself.

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Waffle Brownies

This recipe came from a friend while we were living in married student housing while my husband was getting his degree. Unfortunately, I can't remember who I got it from!

I didn't have time to cook any, yet. Possibly Sunday. But here is the recipe for all of you who want to try it at home.

What you'll need:

* 1/2 cup butter
* 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1 tablespoon water
* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 2/3 cup chopped pecans - small (or any other kind of nut you may want)
Also - omit the nuts if you don't want them. Add choc chips if you want.


1. Preheat waffle iron.
2. Melt butter in a sauce pan. Remove from heat and stir in cocoa. Mix in the sugar, eggs and water. Add the flour and salt, beating well. Stir in the nuts.
3. In each area of the waffle iron, add 1 well rounded spoonful. Cook brownie in waffle iron as you would cook waffles. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, or glaze with confectioners glaze, or peanut butter, or choc fudge icing, or german chocolate, or strawberry jam or.... I think you get the picture. Frost with anything you want or even sandwich two together with your favorite ice cream!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Holy Grail of Waffle Irons

I was walking around a swap meet on Saturday. We haven't been to one in years! Every time I go to one though there is always one thing I keep my eyes open for: a waffle iron. You cannot buy a good small square waffle iron anymore!

Years ago, when we were in school with three small girls, I learned to make a fab, simple dessert. Waffle Brownies! It was easy to whip up some batter and make little brownies for a crowd of kids. But the batter doesn't work on a large square waffle cooker. So after my own waffle iron died a few years back I have been scouring second hand stores for a good used one.

Well Saturday was my day! A good quality working GE waffle iron! I asked the man selling it what the asking price was and I knew it would be mine. He started to say a price, and then looked defeated before even saying a price, a look I am very familiar with - because it's mine usually - and then he said "four dollars". I said super, no haggling required and gave him my four dollars. I proudly carried that wonder of wonders all over the rest of the swap meet. I took it home and cleaned her up and wow! I have been working more than usual so I haven't made brownies yet, but I'll post the pictures when I do!
See! The little squares!

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Albertson's - sold!

Okay, in case you're hearing these reports! Albertson's has once again put itself up for sale. Can we say confusing the workforce people! With that news is the news that Supervalu, while stating it was going elsewhere, has submitted a new bid! Stock prices soared today, well as soaring as food companies soar, and the bid was higher than the $26 a share Albertson's was asking in December. Supervalu put this deal together with a bunch of private equity firms, investors, et al. Maybe this time it will be accepted.

Let's hope so, I'm not sure anyone is calculating the cost in employees. Especially those key, super, employees that have already bailed on the company due to the confusion!

Update: Albertson's accepted Supervalue's bid and will be sold to the consortium and the company will be split apart. The larger portion going to Supervalu, including Briston Farms. The deal is expected to close mid - 2006. Full story: Albertson's Sold

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Chuao Chocolate

Gratuitous Chocolate
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
My good friend made her way across the U.S. last week in her beetle. She stopped here and there visiting those who love her. She came to stay with me yesterday. Yay! She moved last year to Minnesota, I have missed her a lot. You see, she and I share a passion - chocolate! The darker the better.

So, while the very wonderful Michele graciously chose me to be her site of the day, I missed most of the adulation of the crowd because of her visit. It was filled with laughter, chatter and best of all, a favorite treat.

My friend came bearing gifts. All readers should know, she knows me all too well, and has appropriately remembered the best gifts to bring when visiting friends left behind, is very good chocolate! Dear friend knew that a box of very excellent chocolates from Chuaowould trump site the of day nomination indeed!

I still am very very grateful to all who visited and especially Michele's nomination! But who could resist these?
Chuao Chocolates

If you really don't get it click on the picture to see them in the life size version and then, you too, will understand.

I'll get to your comments soon. You're all just great! And everyone has such great sites to visit. So those of you who don't know Michele, or any of the other commentors, click on their homepages and expand your neighborhoods!

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Meet the guy

Tractor Man
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
Who turned me into a "foodist".

Prior to meeting him, I thought food came from the grocery store. Silly me. I had visited the dairy in 3rd grade, saw them milk cows, had an ice cream and got a Geraldine the Cow booklet to color, but other than that I didn't know anything about farming.

My mom was a single parent for most of my growing up years. Her idea of dinner was to run to the local hamburger stand and pick up ten hamburgers for a dollar on 'special night'. Before I was in high school I had never had spaghetti, tacos or any other international cuisine. I had tasted pizza on occasion when a boyfriend of my mom's would come by. Pepperoni was as exotic as it got.

My grandmother was a good baker. She was married to an Englishman however, flavor was an afterthought most of the time. His favorite condiment was Worcestershire sauce. On everything. We liked her goulash because it had stewed tomatoes in it.

But I digress. When I moved from the city to the country in high school I was amazed at what people grew and ate. I was living in the heart of farm country. Fruit trees, citrus, rows and rows of strawberries, melons of every kind and squash. Miles of squash. Corn, tomatoes, and all kinds of other wonderful things to eat. Incredible! People actually got paid to grow stuff.

I know this sounds simplistic. But, heck it was the late 60s, farms were usually miles from nowhere. Now I lived in a community of farmers! The guy pictured above is the first real farmer I'd ever met. He happened to be the father of the guy I married. (yes incredible as it sounds I married my high school sweetheart and we're still married all these years later) I have talked with you guys before about my father-in-law here, or maybe at the other blog, but he was the hardest working man I ever came to know.

He was raised with the atittude of "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." every meal at their table was filled with fresh fruit, excellent meat, always biscuits on the table and of all things - I never understood - a raw onion so you could peel off a wedge and eat it with everything else. I remember the first Thanksgiving I spent with them. As soon as dinner was over a sort of assembly line was set up and husband and wife packed the leftovers in trays for individual meals for later use. I had never seen anything like it. He could fix anything. Cars, trucks, plumbing, septic systems, roofs, plastering, framing - oh heck, you name it. Resourceful was his middle name. He was from Oklahoma, had a sixth grade education, raised two great men, and earned my respect forever.

By the time I graduated his hard working wife found a deal on a small truck farm and bought it without his knowledge. She knew he'd hedge and worry so she just did it. From there forward, he farmed his on 2.5 acres and fed him and his wife well enough and became independent of his employers. He grew the best tomatoes anyone could buy. He also had rows of melons, okra, black eyed peas, collard greens and occasionally a small bit of polk salad. (I thought Credence made that up!)

Farming was what he did. It was all he thought of everyday, all day. He also had grapevines, apricots trees and a pecan tree. Each item he grew was meticulously cared for, harvested and sold or canned for family use.

Truck Farm

I asked him one afternoon while he was working in the field if I could take a few photos of him working. He thought I was crazy. Why would anyone want pictures of him working? Well, I'm glad I took them. I owe him a debt of gratitude for placing me on a path of enjoying food - not just eating it - but studying where it comes from, how it's processed, and the people that do all that hard work so we can enjoy a meal.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The best invention ever - Sunspots!

You may have noticed the slowness or lack of new posts lately. Let me explain.

A few years ago I got a job working in the desert. I would drive 40 minutes east each morning as the sun rose. I would drive 40 minutes west as the sun set each day. The glare of the giant shining orb (the Sun) in my eyes made me wish I could do something about it. I wanted to reduce the glare of the sun everytime I got in the car. I had this desire for six years.

Then I stopped working in the desert. Then I had some free time. Then I had an idea for an invention. I applied for a patent and got it. I am now introducing a new invention that I am selling.

If you drive, you have to deal with sun glare on occasion too. Go to my sidebar, click on the Get Sunspots! button and see what has been taking time away from food blogging lately. The site for Sunspots launched today. I hope you take a look and let me know what you think. Maybe you might even want to buy one!

Less sun glare - just a click away!

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Dates are great!

The California Date Commission has announced the dates for this year's Date Chef Competition. Each year, in April, the commission holds a chef competition for professional chefs. If you are a culinary professional you can enter this contest and compete for $5000 in awards. The problem is that I rarely see entries from anyone outside SoCal. Occasionally someone like Dean Frangopoulos, from New York will enter and win! Palm Springs, er, La Quinta in April? I think I'd like to be there!

The rules for entering are here. Simply stated, you submit a recipe for the competition featuring dates. The categories are dessert, entree or appetizer. If you decide to compete, you must submit their entry form and a color picture of your entry. If you are chosen as a finalist you win $100. Then you will be invited to compete for the people's choice award, which is held in conjunction with a gala, where you will cook your entry for the public. The afternoon event is fun and a great way to showcase your talent. The only other requirement is that if you are chosen a winner, you must feature your recipe at your place of business for 30 days.

I say go for it! Dates are so versatile, The French Laundry features dates as part of their menu. Can you compete with Thomas Keller? Of course you can because he uses Medjools. They're not eligible for the competition. You must use California dates including Deglet Noor, Zahidis, Halawys or Khadrawis. Let's get cooking!

Credit for picture: This was last year's winner Carolina Sanchez', "A Date Tasting" entry, photographed by Arthur Coleman.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

It's the pits

We live in the heart of Olive Country. Our city is dotted with black oily messy olives. They don't all get harvested and turned into great eating. Most unfortunately turn to compost or crow food. Olive trees by their very nature are messy. They grow like weeds and bushes if they're not tended to, but can yield marvelous fruit if well cared for.

My father-in-law, the farmer, turned all of us into an olive loving group. He would harvest the olives each year from the trees on his property and cure them. There was always the caution to the girls to stay away from granpa's olives until he presented you with a jar. Why the concern? Well, he did cured the old fashioned way - with lye. Yes, that creepy stuff that would eat a hole in you if given the chance. You could always find a bucket or two filled with olves in the process of becoming food.

At each celebration, as a family, olives are present. Green, Black, Kalamata, tapenades, stuffed, you name it. Muffelata sandiches are what's ordered when we go into LA to the Farmer's Market and visit the Gumbo Pot. We'll order a bowl of red beans and rice and a bowl of gumbo too though! This is a picture of what is currently in the fridge - pimento stuffed, tiny, tiny green olives, my favorite Kalamata and one I eat all the time - jalapeno stuffed olives! I love the jalapeno stuffed with chicken salad, it's great!

I have discovered a new product to enjoy! Olitos! This is such a great idea. Spreadable olive jam. I have not yet tried it, but I am ordering some from their website and can hardly wait for it to arrive! From their website: "A Mediterranean recipe with an added twist from Olitos®. We have combined natural hand picked olives, apple juice, rosemary mountain honey, herbs and spices and a dash of lemon to create this luxurious jam.

Since olives are actually a fruit, this versatile jam works well in both savoury and sweet dishes, see below for some suggestions or visit our recipe page. Our forum has been created for our customers to add their own creations – please feel free to join the food innovation."

I can imagine it with some crunchy toast and eggs in the morning. Mmmm. Another time of day to enjoy olives. Another would be a pizza with the jam instead of traditional sauce.

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Friday, January 06, 2006

Something so Funny

Should not be ignored. I did not see this post until today. I know it's a Christmas post but, you MUST go read it! I actually made it into a pdf so I could keep it to laugh at for a long time! I left a post letting her know it goes down as my very favorite 2005 post. I dub it the post of 2005!

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Trends in eating for 2006

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Marilyn Marter is looking at food trends in this week's food section. Of the 20 I won't be participating in some, others I already have!

Because I don't drink, the herb infused cocktail will just be a wonder for me. I can only imagine what an alcohol infused bit of cilantro must certainly taste like. Eeeek. I am sure many will disagree, and I applaud you. Go for it. Let me know which herb infusion work's well for you.

On the other hand, I love the fact that small is good. I have been saying that for years. What a trendsetter I am! Hah! I just like small bites of many different things. What a great way to eat! Get a smorgasboard of flavor and types just by eating small bites of several different things. Kind of Giada's recent Behind the Bash on Dennis Leary's Bash for NYFD. I am also hosting an IMBB in July this year, in which the theme will be Mordaditas! (anyone know what those are???) I do and I love them!

So.... go take a look at the list. Then come back here and tell all of us which trend you've already begun participating in, or which one's you're going to choose to play with. I really want to know!

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Smaller grocer soon to be a thing of the past in the UK

This morning's Market Watch has linked to a story regarding the UK's smaller grocercy stores - the Neighborhood Grocer - is what I call them:

UK supermarkets will gobble up corner shops in the next decade
Corner shops in the country could be an extinct animal by the next decade owing to the aggressive expansion of the "big four" supermarkets, according to a latest report by MPs. This is especially true because independent wholesalers are almost out of the business, says the report. “Supermarkets will say that they are also providing convenience stores, but the prospect for the independent operator is very, very bleak indeed," said Jim Dowd, the Labour MP, who is the chairman of an all-party group that tabled this report. "This is a sector that chains were not even in a little more than five years ago and now they have more than 600 stores." Full story here.

I am not a fan of big box stores. They serve the masses only. I am not sure the UK is even large enough to enjoy the big box stores on a mass level. I have never been to the UK (someday in my dreams maybe) however, the way I've always seem them is a more neighborly type of nation. Supporting each other in their communities and neighborhoods. The elimination or crushing of the neighborhood market is a shame in my opinion. I would hope this isn't an accurate assessment of what will happen.

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