Thursday, November 30, 2006

Cooking up a storm!

Just not in the kitchen. I have been spending an enormous amount of time in my garage. That where I have my kiln. I have been fusing glass every single day and sometimes twice a day. Fusing glass has become my new was to cook.

Don't worry I'm not abandoning food. Not by any means. I am however, starting a webline of products and am in a artists show in Los Alamitos on Monday, so my efforts have gone into that venture.

You can find my shop on the web at 3 Hip Sisters. It is a collboration of my sisters and a few friends. We hope to be able to entice you to buy something and support locally grown art!

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving all!

I hope your holiday with family and friends is everything you hope it is. I will miss my daughters this year. Everyone is spread out across the U.S. and I am staying home. So whomever you're sharing a table with this year, have a great meal and have some pumpkin pie for me!

Thank you for reading and I'll see ya in a day or so. We must begin planning a Christmas feast!

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Thanksgiving Dinner

Okay, this week is the week of all weeks in the food world I travel in...

Let's see what our neighborhood of food bloggers can offer those who haven't made their own Thanksgiving meal plans:

We're talking turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, yams, vegetable, cranberry relish, a relish tray and pumpkin pie for dessert.

I could not resist this jar of pickled vegetables over at I'm mad and I eat. The picture alone makes this consumer want to try it. A jar of spiced vegetables adds just the right touch to the dinner table.

If you haven't cooked a turkey before there is no other place to get explicit directions except of course Cooking for Engineers. He takes you through every inch of the process for you so you can have a great experience cooking that bird!

Now for great potatoes check out BomBippy. They have a really good looking Garlic Mashed Potato recipe to share with us.

Kalyn's talking gravy! It looks like a good way to go, especially if you're counting calories this year.

Yams are so simple, but there are so many ways of doing them. Chowhound has put out the call to everyone. They want the best you've got!

Vegetables? Well, where else should I look than to Joe over at Desert Culinary for my favorite vegetable add-in here. Asparagus is my fav and then to roast it and combine it with ornage, just adds the right touch to a Thanksgiving meal. Thanks Joe!

Elise over at Simply Recipes brings us her uncle's favorite cranberry relish. It looks superb and I'm going to give this a try!

Shuna is the pie queen. Over at Eggbeater Shuna shares the perfect pumpkin pie recipe ever. It has some ingredients in it I would never have thought of using in a dessert but wow! when I tried this last year it was amazing! You must try it at least once.

Last but really not all we could add to the table, but all for now, is whipped cream. I have been to some homes that had never ever tasted fresh whipped cream. I couldn't believe it! So for all of you out there that have never tasted fresh whipped cream this one's for you!

Go buy a pint of Heavy whipping cream. Chill it well. Chill the bowl you're going to use to whip it in. Chill the beaters of your mixer. Once eerything is well chilled, pour the whipping cream in the bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and a couple of teaspoons of real vanilla and whip it up into peaks. If you like it soft, stop there. If you like a more substantial feel to your cream, let it beat a but longer. But be careful! You're not making butter! Too much whipping can make it a bit too stiff, but even then, it is still better than anything you've ever had coming out of a can!

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Monday, November 13, 2006

A post in which I really cook

apple roll
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
So I had the sis and her husband over last night for dinner. I started thinking I should whip up something sweet for after our meal and I came up with an apple roll.

I had been thinking I was going to make a pie, but I had some laminated dough on hand and decided to go with the roll instead. Butter, 1/2 cube, Granny Smith apples - 3 peeled, about a half cup of cinnamon sugar was all that I needed to put it together.

So I began by rolling out the dough into a rectangle. I melted the butter, and brushed it onto the dough, reserving a small amount for the finish. Then with a sharp knife I sliced into the dough about a third of the way on both sides, making strips of dough about a half inch wide. When that is done, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the dough lightly.
Core and slice your apples into quarter inch slices. Begin laying the slices on the uncut portion of dough.

At this point I remembered to take a few shots of the dessert I was making!

Apple roll2

Continue laying the apple slices along the dough until you've used all your apple slices. It should look something like this:

Apple slices on dough

Then alternating your dougn stirps, taking one from the top and then one from the bottom, fold the strips over the apple slices to form a "log". When you've completed the roll can be dabbed with the rest of the butter and a small sprinkling of cinnamon sugar to finish it. It will look something like this:

Dough folded over ready to cook
and this:
End shot of apple roll

Pop it in the oven at 375 for about thirty to thirty five minutes. The dough should be flaky and will have puffed up and baked to a golden brown color.

Out of the oven

Slice and serve!
Slice of baked apple roll

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Veteran's day poppy

Veteran's day poppy
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
I always equate these poppies with food. Why? Well, the Veterans that collect donations sit outside grocery stores. I cannot walk passed a Veteran with poppies without making a donation.

I have been trained to do it. From the time I was small no matter who I went to the grocers with, we stopped made a donation and received our flower. I was taught to wear it proudly and to never forget the sacrifices made by someone else for me.

I will not forget. I will always donate. I cannot express my gratitude in adequate words. Thank you.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Snack foods

Fritos. Lays. Oreos. Marshmallows. Honey buns. Hostess Twinkies and cupcakes. YooHoos. Ding Dongs. Glazed donuts. Nachos. Snicker bars. All those good old snacks!

The food police would have us not eat any of them. And, they want to pass laws to make it more expensive to do so. They'll force you into a healthy eating system if it kills you! Californians in their infinite wisdom said no to a law that would raise taxes on cigarettes for the fourth or fifth time in the recent election. We, a majority of people who don't like breathing cigarette smoke, who have banned smoking in public places and even a few communities completely, said no to more taxes.

The food police want to put higher taxes on snack foods. We need to say no to this also. In 2004 households with incomes of less than $10,000 a year paid 11.9% of their income on snack foods. Compared to people earning over $70,000 who only paid 1% of their incomes you can see why the tax is wrong. Those who can least afford it will pay a much higher tax incrementally. That is what is wrong with the extra taxes we pay across the board. Everyone always says tax the rich, but how? TAxing the rich has a trickle down effect to the poor, so additional taxation is no the cure all it would seem to be.

There needs to be a better way of dealing with the food police and their efforts to change the way society eats. I wish they would study and begin to understand what motivates people to eat the way they choose to eat. There is a reason for every person alive I am sure. Some eat to live. Some live to eat and there is a huge group in the middle choosing the food they eat for emotional reasons.

Please understand, I am not saying snack foods are good or bad. What I am trying to say, is that taxing individuals to punish or modify bad behavior reasoning is a short cut to solving a larger problem. Too many times people think that the only way to change behavior is to make it "hurt". If we tack .50 on every purchase, they'll stop purchasing snacks so often. Baloney! It just makes their budget more difficult to handle when you speak of lower income families. Is it not their right to enjoy a few treats on occasion? Should eveything be gruel because their budgets are so limited?

This takes me to the place I was in college. I wanted to major in finance, and home economics. There was not a blended major like that. Either you are the home manager or the financial manager. My advisor told me good luck, and that I would never be satisfied through pursuit of that major in college. I chose finance. I learned what I needed and became a stock broker, I didn't get a degree. Being a broker lasted about ten years. I was successful, I was at the top of my game, and I walked away from it to work in a gourmet food store. I was much happier. Earning quite a bit less, but much happier. Still there needed to be a way to teach individuals how they can do both, manage their homes so their finances would be used at their optimum. We rarely teach the masses how money works. It is a great tool for some and then others struggle continuously to just put meager meals on the table. There has to be a better way.

The food police are not helping at all. The run about like Chicken Little shouting all about how we're killing ourselves. Well, from the moment of birth, we are all consigned to die. What we need to tell people is how they can "live". And live better than they ever thought they could. Forget all the hype. How about some basic information, and a little creativity. That would probably help more than anything. It is another reason I love the net. All that good information available to anyone who has access.

My sidebar has a list of really good people talking about really good things. Why not click ona few and find out something you don't know. And, hey, why not share a bit too!

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Perception is just that

I read an interesting story this morning in Ad Age daily. It talks about when McDonalds committed to changing the oil with which they fried their famous french fries. Almost as soon as the company made the announcement, they began to get emails of complaint. The fries were no longer the great french fry they had grown to love and consume. They had lost thier "flavor". They had lost their unique crispness known only to McDonald's.

Interesting to note though, was the fact that they had not yet changed the oil over to the new stuff. In fact, they still haven't changed it four years later. It is still the same old stuff they've always used. I am not sure why it hasn't changed, that isn't what this post is about.

What perceptions do you have regarding food? Are they based in personal experience? Or are they based in rhetoric learned from another source. We can be swayed through commercial efforts, through a family member or even a trusted professional. We won't eat this or that, and will only eat "this". Are those choices reality based? Or are the choices we make due to heresay or recommendations from outside sources.

The reason I ask, is we have a family of superb eaters. Some would say too superb, but that is beside the point. What I mean is that there isn't a lot of pickiness at the table. ONe story that always comes to mind is when my oldest was two we went to her regularly scheduled doctor appointment. He said she looked very healthy and wasso cute and animated. He then asked her what her favorite food was? She relied "trees!". "Trees??? What does she mean?" I replied that she was referring to her favoritestest food of broccoli. They look like little trees. He was appalled. He could not believe that I would feed a child of two something so awful as broccoli. I felt as if I had done something wrong, that somehow I was abusing my poor two year old. He even went so far as to say that no one should be forced to eat such terrible foods. Oh, I get it now. You don't like broccoli. Set the perception aside and see what is really driving this outburst. We continued to eat broccoli. And love it.

Other times I have been afraid to try some foreign food because of my perception of the culture or the look of the food. Sometimes I am right on, but others, when I give myself permission to go for it, I am pleasantly surprised. The is an armenian food I just love. It is ground cooked lamb spread between two tortilla like breads. It is wonderful. If I had not become acquainted with a lover of this item I would have never tried it. Now every time I go to LA I find myself ot the "bakery" that makes them. They're wonderful treats. I wouldn't tell my husband what they were made with until after he had tried them and said he liked them, because he doesn't eat lamb. You know lamb is innocent and is a religious representation of Christ, therefore his parents would never think of eating lamb. Me, I asked for it, for a birthday dinner once because it is my favorite.

One of my least favorite things to eat are mustard greens. The smell of them alone should keep one from trying them. However, everyone else in the family loves cooked greens and we even have gone so far as to get them to go so everyone could enjoy them if they weren't dining with us. So... let the lesson be learned. Don't be swayed by perception. If it is foreign to you, don't pass it up. Give it a try, don't let the hype keep you from trying something new!

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Bruschetta plate

Bruschetta plate
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
We had lunch out today. Maggiano's in Orange County - Costa Mesa to be exact. We had gone out shooting photos and videos and stopped by to have lunch. Their food is always so good.

We started with the bruschetta, it is delicious. The cheese adds the perfect touch. It makes the tomatoes taste almost like fresh strawberries.


then moved on to a main dish:

Rigatoni D

I chose a Rigatoni "D" dish. It was made with chicken and mushrooms with a marsala sauce. Very well done. The big guy had lasagne.

Then I packed up most of my main dish so I could have a profiterole!


For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a cream puff filled with vanilla ice cream, and then doused in a chocolate sauce. A bit of cream and powdered sugar are put on top. A scrumptous way to finish the meal.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Small fruits

Small fruits
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
Today I'm taking some shots of the tiny fruit I found at the grocers. The orange is a blood orange, normal size, so you can see how small the pears and the apples are.

The apples are actually crabapples. I have never seen them fresh like this. We have enjoyed them for years, spiced - stems and all. There was always a jar at the table at Thanksgiving around our home. I didn't even know you could eat them fresh like this until just a few years ago. Now to find them locally is really incredible considering the grocery stores around here.

Then the pears, my favorite fruit of all time, were there. Listed as "baby" pears. I'm sure they're not thrilled with the description, but they were fresh and ripe and I could hardly contain myself long enough to photograph them. Delicious!

What small fruit have you seen lately?

I am also enjoying my new camera! I cannot believe what great close-up photos it takes just using the auto settings. I will have to break it out of auto presets and shoot something showing some real depth of field soon. but for now enjoy these:

Pears and crabapples


harvest bushel

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Harvest table

Harvest table
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
This is my Thanksgiving/harvest table centerpiece this year. Last year I did the gourds thing and by Thanksgiving, the gourds had begun to rot and kindof creeped me out. A lot.

This year I have amassed a collection of ceramic gourds. One reason is because they won't rot. Another is so I can use them year in and year out. I won't be wasting gourds every year and I feel better about that. I also bought a unique "bowl" to put it in for the table. I looked and looked for just the right item for the centerpiece and was confronted with the same old thing. Giant leaves, wrought iron leaves, shiny plates in autumn colors. All of these were great but the didn't suit me. Finally I found this big round piece designed as a wall hanging. I thought it would be fine to put it on the table, fill it with fall stuff and then afterward, hangit on the wall if I wanted. Yep. That's what I chose.

So here's to entering in my favorite time of year. Gratitude time. Oh there are so many things to be thankful for. One for instance, that I am blessed to live in a country where I can worry about hwo I'm going to decorate my table for autumn. Silly in the eyes of some, but hey, I'm prudent most of the time.

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