Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Nibble on they tiny feet!

It is mid morning. I am tired, but not as tired as mom and dad. We have a new little girl! She is healthy and seemingly happy with life outside the womb so far! More later!

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Baby Alert

I will be away from my computer for a few days. We are welcoming our newest graddaughter tomorrow morning by emergency c section. Not what we expected at all, other complications are making this a bit of a problem, therefore I may be sporadic at blogging over the next few days.

I'll see ya in a few...

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dreams do come true, with a little hard work!

After many years of hoping, working, wishing and experimenting, I can finally say I have fulfilled a dream. For a couple of years I have been making cake mixes on a small scale and selling them to a couple of specialty food stores. It has been a small scale operation and hoped to launch it on a larger scale some day. Well, I answered an ad on Craiglist and maybe, just maybe that dream will become a reality.

I have spoken with a lady who has her own pasta company. She has been making and selling pasta on a small scale also. She is dreaming big now though! She works in conjunction with a farmer's market nearby, and has had her thinking cap on lately. She has signed a lease, is in the build out stage of her own specialty foods store! One that will feature local only foods. She is keeping her radius to a 100 mile radius to support the local Slow Food group and is looking for vendors to join her. This gave me an impetus to work harder and actually launch my cake and baking mixes on a larger scale!

I asked my sister, and she answered yes, to help design new packaging with me. We developed a great story and drew from our childhood. I am so looking forward to working with Jordan, her store and many other specialty foods stores in the future.

Here's a peek at the new line:

and the new logo for Over the River and Through the Woods... baking company:

Each mix is made with the commitment to the use of organic, if possible, and definitely non-GMO products (non genetically altered) for these mixes. Our logo sprang forth when my sis and I discussed being at gramma's house. She always had her Red Riding Hood cookie jar filled with wonderful treats. Watch for me on Etsy too!

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Friday, July 18, 2008

More summer reading!

Okay. Hands down the best food photography ever! The great people over at DK Publishing sent me Grill It! Wowzers! Every recipe is fabulous.

I have promised this book to the youngest one, and she is going to love it! I am trying to decide which recipe I loved best. It's between the Oysters on the Half Shell, with pancetta and bbq sauce no less! Or the Super Hot Jerk Pork Shoulder. I think the shoulder may win here because I usually do jerk with chicken. Can you say succulent pork shoulder with those wonderful overtones of jerk seasoning! Not to be missed!

The authors, Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby have not missed a country or food stuff to represent. They have gone far over the top in search of every known item you can grill. Not only that, though. Their recipes are fantastic. Even desserts are better. An example is the Upside Down Banana Cake. Sweet, but not too sweet, different and impressive. Your guests will think you are a genius for thinking this up.

Go get a copy for yourself, you won't regret it. The pictures alone, are worth the cost of the book. Gizzi Erskine (food stylist) has outdone herself!

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Summer Reading

Thanks to the nice people at Penguin Books, Chronicle Books, and DK Publishing, I have had the pleasure of doing some summer reading. Who reads cookbooks? I do for one. And as I peruse a few other blogs, so do other people, so I'll share the fun I've been having of late.

First up? Food 2.0 by Charlie Ayers. Who is Charlie Ayers you ask? Charlie Ayers is the chef hired by Google in 1999 when the company was very small. Charlie is the guy who built the food empire that is Google cafeterias.

I wasn't sure I would like this book all that much. You see, when I was younger, I worked for a large food company at their headquarters. On the bottom floor of the building was the company cafeteria. It was expensive, bleh food, hardly enjoyed during the 30 minutes given you to consume a lunch.

Would Charlie Ayers' cafeteria be different. Well, for one, I know it was. I have heard stories of the Google teams efforts to feed their people and even invite the families of their employees to enjoy meals together. I heard it was a great cornucopia of world wide food selections. But was it good? Did it call out to the people?

After reading the cookbook and back story provided by Charlie, I want to work at Google, just for the food! Ayers not only shares his recipes, but his food philosophy and reasoning. And a lot of it makes sense. It is simple, easy to make food, that not only tastes good, but is formulated to be nourishing. He believes in eating local, and tells you why and how to make the decision for yourself.

I recommend this book for new cooks, wanting to learn the reasons to cook and not use take-out. He helps you build a basic pantry of foodstuffs that you'll actually use and re-use. I also recommend this book for all cooks, because we all get stuck in ruts and need something fresh to keep us excited to be in the kitchen.

My favorite recipe so far? The not to be missed Nina's Kimchi. I'm also looking forward to making myself some vanilla infused vinegar!

Second up. Meat, A love story. Not for the faint of heart. However, a great story of meat. As a food source, a passion, a career, and a tragedy. Susan Bourette takes you on a journey in pursuit of meat, from processing plant to fine dining witha few stops in between. It is a great summer read, I recommend to everyone.

She begins in a meat processing plant, and shares the trial of being a pork packing house employee. My first response was to throw the book across the room and run away, to my favorite butcher shop to be comforted by the little packages of meat. Never again to think of the story of how it actually got into that package. Isn't that anyone's first response when confronted by the harsh reality that is a processing plant? We really don't want to know where our meat comes from. The sacrifices that are made on our behalf.

However, I was drawn in. I could not put it down. I, like Ms. Bourette, am a carnivore. The journey from packinghouse to butcher shop, off to a wonderful "happy" farm, on to a fine dining restaurant. Rapt is how I would describe my two day journey through the pages.

Again, each of us has decisions to make on how we will eat. This book will help you through your process. Local farming, grass fed beef? Mass produced or happ farmed? Which choice will you make? Take the time to read the book. Susan may help you out a bit. It did confirm some things for me.

Two other books to come shortly!

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Burger King, Not my kind of place!

I read a lot of business blogs. I was reading a story at Brand Autopsy that pointed me to the story I am bringing to your attention. At Idea Sandbox Paul tells about an experience he had at an airport recently. He noticed a tray liner being used at Burger King.

It is appalling. I cannot believe this is classified as humor any where in the world. Burger King really has their head in the wrong place and I can see why they are faltering and lagging behind other restaurants. Please read the story and act accordingly. (What I mean is send an email to BK and let them know that even if it isn't in the U.S. you don't want to support that kind of advertising or promotions.)

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The best SLO has to offer

Many of you familiar with the San Louis Obispo area are already familiar with Carlock's Bakery. For those of you searching for great pastries, cakes, donuts, or just about naything a bakery can offer I give you Carlock's.

Carlock's has been in the SLO area since 1961 and had been family owned ever since. They bake fresh daily and wow! I went twice while on vacation and have nothing but accolades for them! The pastries are wonderful. Cakes, excellent! Variety - out of this world!!! The selection of cookies will have your mouth watering.

Do yourself a favor if you are ever in the San Louis Obispo area. Take a drive down Los Osos Valley Road and live it up! Carlock's is located at the corner of 10th and Los Osos Valley Road. If you need to call them: (805)528-1845 and don't forget, everyone needs a day off! They're closed Sundays and Mondays, but open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Worth every penny!

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Herbes de Provence

I have received many requests for a recipe for the Herbes de Provence I mentioned in the last post. Every cook has their own recipe, yet many are quite similar. Below find a good blend I like to use:

Herbes de Provence

1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon summer savory
1/2 teaspoon lavender
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon oregano or basil
1/4 teaspoon sage

Herbes de Provence is best made with dried herbs. Fresh herbs lose their flavor quickly, if cooked for longer than 20 minutes or so. I recommend using fresh herbs in marinades and fresh salads, or when cooking quickly. This blend is excellent in soups, on potatoes, rice, pasta, fish, roasted vegetables or bread. Store as you would other spices. Herbes de Provence makes a great bouquet garni.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

2008 Lavender harvest

2008 Lavender harvest, originally uploaded by foodchronicles.

Yes, I have put it off for about three weeks! But last night I finally went out and harvested the lavender. We have four large plants that needed to be cut. The picture shows this year's harvest!

No9w it will go to the drying shed (garage) and get nice and dried out. The I will make sachets, and set some aside for herbs de provence. Then I am going to try and do distilling this time around. I'll also just bag up some buds to use around the house while cleaning. I love sprinkling them on the carpet while I vacuum, they leave such a wonderful scent.

If any of you readers would like a 4 oz bag of lavender, let me know. I'd love to send you some!

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