Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Passed Over--

To some Christians
, Jews are God's Chosen People. Certainly my maternal grandmother believed this, and searched for one willing to marry her. She found herself forced settled for a Baptist minister.

Odd how aspirations are fulfilled after skipping a generation. My mostly non observant Chosen Person and I exchanged vows under a huppah. The marriage is a mash up, but so far a successful one. (Note the 'so far.' Clearly an indicator of my fatalismo mexicano.)

A friend of mine makes fantastic gefilte fish, using salmon poached in salmon stock. Their color is nothing like the flabby damp grey ones you'd find in a bottle of the stuff--but a vivid pink, flecked with bits of bright carrot orange. Delightful, delicious, but too labor-intense for even me.

Aside: if one group is God's chosen people, what are the rest of us? What is the opposite of chosen? A sigh.

I shall console myself with matzoh ball soup and chopped liver. And perhaps a little kosher wine.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring is sprung

the grass is riz
I wonder where
the birdies is


Out of town half the week I returned and everything had burst into color: wisteria, calla lillies, azaleas, more and more, pansies, birds of paradise, on every street I turned. Who says southern California doesn't have seasons? You've got to pay attention. I even love that the camphor trees tend to lose their leaves this time of year, and scatter them across streets and drives. Gorgeous.

(Oh yeah, we've got two seasons: earthquake and fire)

In honor of spring, sprinkle flowers everywhere: especially on your cupcakes, as
revealed here.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Green beans

Those Italians have a way with vegetables. In anticipation of your victory garden, or your shopping spree at Super King, here's something to try out:

Slick a saute pan with olive oil. Add two or three sliced cloves of garlic. After they've released their aroma, and are not yet through, add a pound of diced tomatoes (only got canned? That's fine, too). Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes or so. Add a pound of trimmed green beans, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low until the beans are tender. Garnish with minced basil.

According to Marcella Hazan you can use this as a pasta sauce or serve on the side of most roast meats. Or you can just enjoy it as is.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I've got a Meyer lemon tree that's the gift that keeps on giving. One year we had maybe fifteen lemons. This year we've got dozens still after a season of sunshine.

What else to do with lemons, besides the twist for your martinis?


In your blender add: three diced cloves of garlic, three cups of drained garbanzo beans, 2/3 cup of tahini. Blend. Add 3/4 cup lemon juice, 1 tsp salt. Blend. Pour into container. Now add a teaspoon or two (to taste) of sesame oil. Mmmm. I like it best with Trader Joe's pita chips. I just can't get enough.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bloggers and their appetites.

We came, we shmoozed, we devoured.
Pommes frites from this provocative person; pizza from Petrea, sangria from Susan, (we're nothing if not alliterative) The Chieftess made a wonderful broccoli and raisin and peanut salad. A woman brought her home made goat cheese; some one brought an enormous box of Polka Dot mini cupcakes. And then there were the lemon bars. A woman said to me, "Excuse me, but I'm having a moment." That's how much she wanted to concentrate on them.

Need the recipe? Here you go. Hope to see you at the next one.

Apparently the goddess Margaret didn't really forget us. She was too busy getting an essay polished and published. Read it right here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day Jobs

Even the Restless Chef must pay the bills. I love this link here of how revered writers have paid their rent.

What? You were hoping for a seasonal recipe?!
Okay, I LOVE Irish soda bread. I forget the source, but it's a favorite:

Preheat oven to 375
Combine 3 cups flour, 3 tblsp sugar, 1 tsp baking soda, 3/4 tsp salt. Cut in 1 stick butter until fine crumbs form. Mix in 1 tblsp caraway seeds, 1/2 cup golden raisins, 1/3 cup dried currants, and 1 cup buttermilk. Stir until everything's moist. Gather dough and knead (I don't know how to knead, so just wing your 16 turns). Form into a ball, then flatten into a 1 inch thick circle.

Slash an x completely across. Brush with more buttermilk. Bake 30-35 minutes. Slather on the butter, and die happy.

Better get shoppin' for tonight's party--

Monday, March 15, 2010

Happy birthday, mom!

Original art by Simone

Today's the day. Saturday night we ended her celebration with brownies, cupcakes and lemon bars. The lemon bars were so popular the only evidence of their existence was circumstantial: a baking dish with a lemon crust ringing the edges. Long life, and lottsa love, lady!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Danish Delight--

Where have you been all my life?!?
I recently cooked an asparagus havarti omelette for a friend, based on one we had at a restaurant.
Simple: snap off the woody ends of the asparagus, then chop into one inch or so segments. Pan saute briefly in butter, then cover pan and steam until tender.
Make your omelette as you usually would, lay thin slices of havarti over one half, cover with the cooked asparagus, fold over your eggs, then garnish with more asparagus. Heaven!

But the discovery was how wonderful the cheese was all on its own: buttery, soft, creamy, slightly salty. The half pound chunk I bought is now nearly gone. I used it over the steamed broccoli I made along with dinner. Fantabulous!

It's wonderful to discover something new, later in life--

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Rapture and Rex

This just in from Craig Johnson, a terrific Wyoming writer. I enjoyed it so much I had to share with readers. What does it have to do with food? Nothin'. But I know a couple of dog lovers might enjoy the sentiment.

According to various estimates, there are about thirty million people in the US who firmly believe that the Rapture is coming in their lifetime. For the uninitiated, this is the second coming, an event which will result in the righteous being swept away to a far better place, leaving the rest here on earth. This Post-it isn’t so much as to whether this is or isn’t going to happen but more of what’s being done about the details.

A retired retail executive out of New Hampshire has fired up this service called Eternal-Earth Bound Pets USA that’ll sweep in after you’ve been swept off, to rescue and take care of your pets. Over a hundred people have already ponied (I’m not sure if horses are included in the plan…) up a hundred bucks for a ten-year contract that will insure that their pets are taken care of in a post-Rapture world. Says Mr. Centre, “If you love your pets, I can’t believe you wouldn’t think of this.”

There’s only one problem—well, actually, there are two, but I’ll get to the other one momentarily. First off, aren’t these people leaving their pets to the Godless to take care of? I mean, everybody else is going to be gone, right? So, I guess the atheists are the chosen pet-care providers. Earth Bound has twenty-six rescuers spread across twenty-two states who’ve signed certificates saying they don’t believe in God or have a criminal record. Now I’ve seen the movies about what’s supposed to happen in the apocalypse; it seems like Hollywood does one every three weeks where people turn into zombies, giant insects roam the land, there’s no oil, and the rain melts everybody—so how are we to be sure that Fido’s going to really be cared for? Is someone from EEBP-USA going to convert and check in?

On to number two—in this whole scenario who exactly is going to be left behind? The argument is that animals don’t have souls and therefore won’t be taking part in the great sweep. Really? I want you to look around your home and tell me who’s the kindest, most loyal, ever faithful, comforting, hard-working, uncomplaining, selfless individual in the house?

Seems to me we all better start cozying up to the four-legged and slide them a little cash for a premium...

All the best,


Wait! Here's the food connection, dogs, right here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Keh so, (not kay so). A faithful reader asks, "What gives with the Mexican cheese?"
My favorite brand: Cacique, sold in most supermarkets, even the mainstream ones. So the owner's an exile from Cuba? He's become quite a wealthy guy serving a demand that hadn't been met when he arrived in these parts; he lives in the San Gabriel Valley, and is apparently quite the humanitarian.

Top 3:
Cotija, a hard cheese to grate as a sharp contrast. Use on huevos rancheros, enfrijoladas, grate on top of refried beans, pan fried tacos.
Oaxaca: mellow and melting. Roast and shred a half dozen pasilla chiles. Grate or slice cheese on top, run under broiler. What else do you need?
Crema Mexicana: Sour cream will seem a pitiful imitation after this. Use with discretion, or indiscriminately, depending upon your metabolism.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ropa Vieja

All this rainy, chilly weather you made a pot roast, baked tater tots, and cracked open a bottle of wine. Now you've got leftovers. Such a dilemma!

Mince an onion, and saute over gentle heat. Add a jalapeno or two or three, depending on your spice o'meter. A minced garlic, a coupla tomatoes, fresh or canned. (This is all by guess and by gosh, specific quantities relative to what you've got leftover). Cube or shred the leftover meat. Add. Cube the leftover carrots and potatoes. Add any leftover stock, or some water. Salt to your taste.

Now, you can serve that with a generous grating of cotija cheese, a garnish of cilantro and a side of rice and beans. Or you can heat a few corn tortillas, add a dollop or two of meat, then salsa, seal with a tooth pick then gently fry in skillet. Smother with crisp, shredded cabbage.

Simple recipe, complex flavors.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


When not planning a menu, cooking, or washing up I love to take personality tests.
Like this one, here. Although you have to enter an email address, there's no spam, or follow up nudges. If you take it, let me know how you scored. You show me yours, I'll show you mine--

Monday, March 1, 2010



In case you missed this at Altadena Hiker....among others...