Sunday, December 31, 2006

Time to clean out the fridge

The holiday parties are just about over and you have a refrigerator full of left overs.Just how long do you hang on to the stuff? Should it go in the freezer? How long can I keep it in the freezer?

I don't know about you but I have a jar of olives in the fridge that are at least two years old. They're little grren ones with pimento stuffed in the middle. They've been there so long I think they actually belong to the fridge. If I take them out they may upset the balance of the west coast! We long forgot about them and no one in their right mind would even open the jar, much less eat them. They look brand new, I am sure they are probably fine to eat, but no is going to take the chance. No. One. So I think it's time they went to the happy hunting ground and give up the space in the fridge.

Just how long can something be kept in the refrigerator or freezer? Surprisingly, not long in the refrigerator, longer in the freezer, but some things should never be frozen. Let's take my favorite ingredient as a for instance: Eggs. Those wonders! You can do so much with them, but how should you treat them while you're waiting to use them up? Pretty much everyone knows about salmonella and eggs. They do need to be in the fridge. They'll stay fresh between three and five weeks refrigerated. Eggs in the shell should not be frozen. (that's not to say, they haven't ever been frozen while in your too cold fridge!) However, if you remove them from the shell, the yolks and whites are good in the refrigerator 2-4 days, but they'll last a whole year in the freezer! That's incredible. Remember if you have a surplus of eggs, remove them from their shells and freeze them. Label them by date and rotate them out.

Eggs are best if you can buy them fresh. I highly suspect eggs from the store any more. I think most of them are already 3 weeks old when you purchase them and then you have a short time line to use them. I shudder to think of the televised reports of stores taking them out of the carton and replacing them in new cartons! Yikes.

Boiled eggs don't freeze well at all, but they'll be good for a week in the fridge. That means you can boil up a batch and use them all week for snacks or salads. Keep that in mind when doing your new resolution meal planning.

Egg substitutes will be good for 10 days unopened or a year if frozen. Opened - just 2 to 4 days. Yikes, better use those quick!

Then there's the egg by-product mayonaise. It's good for two months opened (commercial brands) in the fridge and don't even think about freezing it. Better yet - make your own! It's so much better tasting and you can make just what you need then you don't have a storage problem.

Recipe for mayonnaise:

1 egg, yolk only
1 cup light olive oil, use canola if you don't have the olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

This will give you a basic mayonnaise. If you prefer to flavor it with other flavors, such as, mustard or dill, go for it.

In your blender, whir together the egg yolk and 1 to 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice add a dash of salt and a bit of pepper. With the blender on slowly add the oil in a small stream until it is blended well. It doesn't take alot of practice, but you do need to pour that oil slowly. You can also blend your ingredient by hand with a wisk if you'd like. If you do choose to blend by hand, make sure you only add a few drops of oil at a time!

Once blended, add lemon juice, salt and pepper to adjust flavor to your liking. You'll probably want to make your own from there on, it's so good.

If you need to really clean out the fridge and want more info on storage lengths and effectiveness go to the Partnership for Food Safety site and there are all kinds of tips and information available to make the job that much easier.

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas Every One!

This was a Christmas card I sent years ago. It is still one of my favorites. I wish you all that you wish, no matter what it is, have a great time with those you love!

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Baking has begun!

Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
Today we started off with a batch of Spritz Cookies. These are #1 daughters' favorite from childhood. They go together so quickly and there is nothing easier than a pressed cookie!

Lots of Spritz

I had six dozen done in about thirty minutes! That's another reason I love making these.

Then we moved onto to Log Jams. Easy peasy! A simple butter cookie recipe rolled into a log and then a well pressed into the center. Fill the well with seedless raspberry jam and bake! Drizzle a lemon glaze over the top when they're cool and you have #2's favorite cookie!

Log Jams

I then quickly moved on to a batch of homemade marshamllows, mint and vanilla. They are set out to dry tonight and they'll be photographed when they're done tomorrow. ;-)

Number 3's favorite is chocolate sorbet. That I'm making Thursday along with some chocolate chip gingerbread and some chocolate krinkle cookies. Shopping tomorrow, so no baking but, pleanty more where these came from!

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas cake

Christams cake
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
This is the best cake of the season! It's sugary and sweet and chcoolate! The best thing is that it's calorie free. I won't be eating this one. It's so cute!

I sent a note to Julia over at Little Cotton Rabbits She is the most creative gal! I love her rabbits, and monkeys, and when I saw these cakes I knew I had to own one. Secretly, between you and me, I really want a rabbit for Little Miss. When they become available I'm going to tryas I might to be quick on the buy button and get one.

Go take a look, someone across the pond is a great knitter!
Cozy Cupcake

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Breakfast today

breakfast begins
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
For the first time in a long time, I woke up hungry. I usually don't eat breakfast early in the day. I get up get the day started and then eat something around 9 a.m.

So this morning I decided to grab a quick bowl of Shredded Wheat. I know, I know, ewwweeewwee! is what a lot of you are saying. That's like eating hay! Yes, but I like it.

You see, I am allergic to milk. Have been since I was just a baby. I was even allergic to breast milk. Both my brother and I about drove my poor mother absolutely insane until she found out what made us cry, scream, wail all the time was the food we were ingesting. Anytime I eat anything with a huge amount of milk in it, I deal with the sick stomach and follow-up repercussions.

That's why I like Shredded Wheat. You can use a very small amount of milk, and actually not feel guilty about dumping a bunch milk down the drain. I learned as a small child to run the biscuits under hot water and then drain them off well add your sweetener and milk, consume. I still do it that way. The hot water gets the wheat nice and soft and ready for the milk. You can use just a minimal amount of milk, (not enough to make me queasy thank goodness) and it's gone when the cereal is!

Whenever I eat other cereals there is always a ton of milk left over and
I throw it down the drain. I feel so guilty pouring it away but you simply cannot addd it back to the carton. You'd have a mixture of ewewwewe creepy milk. I shudder thinking about it. Ick.

So that's why I choose Shredded Wheat for all your inquiring minds. Warmth, less milk yay! and less waste!

breakfast is over

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Okay, on to the holidays!

Last week I spent the week selling stuff. This week, I'll be buying stuff. I thought since I haven't cooked in a bit, I'll share with you some of the places I'm shopping for foods for the holidays and gifts. Next week, I promise, there'll be cooking here!

We'll start off with sweets then move to savories. I usually bake up a storm during the holidays unless I am so buried in work. This year is different. I'll be baking, but there are still some sweet and savory items our family loves, but cannot produce ourselves. What I'm buying and where:

D'Italia has all of the wonderful Perugina products! We must have Bacis. Every one has a little note of love included with the kiss. Who can resist an Italian kiss? D'Italia also carries other fine foods and gifts for the holidays.

Next we must have See's. This candy has been on our table for 50 years. I cannot remember a holiday where there wasn't a box of these wonderful confections. I know my sister loves Godiva, but I'm still a See's girl. The raspberry cream is so tart and wonderfully paired with a good semisweet dark chocolate. The variety we're able to choose online enables us to get everyone's favorites. No set asides at our place!

Those are the sweets must haves that we cannot make ourselves. No on to savories.

Okay, I don't mail order these, they're just around the corner from me. But they must be mentioned. Winchester Cheese Farm was one of Saveur Magazine California's top 100 in 2005. I love their Goudas. Their longest aged is my favorite. It is nice and hard and "grate-able". It is pungent and tart. I love it on a good ceasar salad grated or thinly sliced. Make Winchester Cheeses the center of a holiday platter!

Bristol Farms is one of my favorite places to shop. For those of us lucky enough to live in SoCal, they truly are the crown jewel of the grocery industry here. They do gift baskets for those of you far away. Good news surrounding Bristol now is that they've just opened their first store in San Diego (I was there Saturday, it is beautiful) and the San Francisco store just opened for all of you in NorCal. Go there it's a must! Soon they'll be in Palm Desert. I'll be shopping there all the time! Temecula can't be far away! The selcetion of meats, fine produce, and cheeses are what draw me in.

For those of you far away. Their catering menu is my well kept secret. When I am stumped coming up with a great menu for a gathering, ther have been many times, when this little menu has helped me see beyond the average. Take a look! You might just be able to surprise a few of your old standbys.

For those of you looking to brighten your table? You can't go wrong with Fishs Eddy. The selection of designers is fab! There are old standards and new hip designs! Go take a look and breather some life into that table of yours!

Okay, that should get you started. Take a look, and if I've missed a favorite of yours, let me know. I'll add it to the list!

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