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What’s Cooking

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  • EVOO, AN EPICUREAN DELIGHT

    Posted on Monday, January 31, 2011

    Good morning everyone-

    I literally just flew in to John Wayne Airport, picked up the fur kids and came home.  I’ve got a business story to write up and another “Best of” to start work on.  I also have a meeting with an editor and my fridge is quite bare.  

    Later, it’s back to the airport to pick up our son and daughter-in-law, they booked a different flight.  

    We were all walking around a mall after a very good breakfast at Chompy’s.  This is the deli that Adam Richman went to and tried the “deli slider challenge“.

    He lost.

    I was virtuous-they have a low fat/low cal “fitness bootcamp” section and I stayed with that.

    At the mall, they had a shop devoted to gourmet olive oil and balsamic vinegars.  Yum!

    Our daughter and I had a blast inhaling the aroma’s of such things as:  balsamic with blood orange, ginger pear, dark chocolate, raspberries, strawberries and a host of other savory additions!  

    Same with the various levels of EVOO-show like wines.  

    We did try some.  At the end, our son bought me an “outrageous salad” gift pack!  Our daughter-in-law suggested I have them for dinner and use all three in the meal.

    Absolutely! What’s a gift if you can’t share the fun of getting it?

    My gift pack has first press EVOO with tuscan herbs.  We did try it with some roasted potatoes that the employees just made.

    The pack also had some 18 year old balsamic and one with ginger pear. That is going to make one great vinagraitte for a spinach salad.

    I might use the 18 year old vinegar with whatever berries look good and serve it over some angel food cake.

    This week, let’s talk about how to use the “same old, same old” in different ways.

    Back to my stories and unpacking!


    2 Replies
  • Too Busy

    Posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2011

    I’m admitting to not having much of a head this week.  It’s been replaced by sinuses that seem to have taken over my brain.

    Don’t ask about what I suggest for the weekend, don’t ask for a recipe-cuz ladies, I’m completely “fermished” or “ferklempfed” as we say in Yiddish.

    Even the anti-biotics are not doing what they should.

    I’m about to get on a plane too-and that is not going to be a pretty sight.  I’m hoping the airsick pills, the decongestant/antihistamine, the cough syrup and the gabapentin will all hit right before lift-off and I just make it to Sky Harbor Airport without grossing out the other passengers on the plane.

    I’ll be back sometime Monday-hopefully in better spirits and health than right this moment.  

    The worst part is that I’m going to celebrate my grandsons birthdays and I’m going to have to restrain myself from giving them any hugs and kisses.

    So fellow foodies-the best I can say is:  Please, make me some chicken soup (I don’t even care about the matzoh balls) and wish me luck.


    4 Replies
  • Sick=Simple/Easy Fare From Hubby

    Posted on Sunday, January 23, 2011

    Ugh.  I have been hit-big time.

    I tried to convince myself this was a bad allergy attack, but no-my body decided I didn’t suffer nearly enough with that virus that started on my birthday and lasted nearly a month.

    The worst part-my week is jam-packed with deadlines, a party and a weekend in Arizona for my grandkids birthday.

    Getting sick was not only NOT in my plans-but it’s darn inconvenient.

    I’ve mentioned how my husband is not into cooking.  As predicted-first words were:  I guess I’ll take out steak for dinner.

    To which I crankily grunted-oh no you won’t.  I did manage to somehow get dinner on the table Friday night.  Don’t ask what it was, I was so sick I can’t remember.  Saturday, hubby did take out some chicken sausage.  Then he was going to grill it and add it to some ramen soup.

    Oh dear-again, I suggested something less salty.  He wound up going to El Pollo Loco with a coupon. This particular unit never gets anything done very well-chicken looked more the size of a pheasant and it was so over-cooked I wound up not eating it and it was scrapping my already sore throat.  The steamed veggies were mush.

    Whatever.

    Sunday-I told him to grill the sausages and I’d instruct him on what to do with the butternut squash.  He wasn’t happy, but he realized there was no wiggle room on this.  I was happy to stop there, but he added the rice from the tragic chicken dinner to his plate.

    Today-I’ve been up since before the sun came up to do an interview.  We’ve got a party Thursday night and we‘re flying out Friday night.  

    Will anything decent get on the table in my present condition and workload.  My guess is “of course“, I’m thinking homemade waffles tonight with some caramelized apples.  Warm, homey and comforting.

    Hope your week will also use these adjectives.


    2 Replies
  • When You've Got a Fridge Full of Nothing

    Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2011

    I looked in my fridge/pantry and realized, that due to our kids departure and all the various meals I had made during their stay-I wound up with lots of nothing.

    You know what I’m talking about-1/2 C of rice that the kids decided they didn’t want after all, part of a package of individual applesauce cups, smooth peanut butter (okay, that’s going to Sunshine’s morning pills-she really shouldn’t be sharing my super chunky), the box of maple sugar oatmeal that never got opened.  The bananas that were finally ripe enough to eat-you‘re getting the picture, right?

    There are more little bits and pieces-the most significant was 1/2 a sheet cake from Costco that my daughter ordered, knowing full well that it would be taking up valuable fruit and veggie spots.  Her reasoning-it was cheaper than buying 3 cupcakes.

    Sigh-I don’t eat cake and my husband was happy to have a piece one day, but then realized it wouldn’t take long to undue all his hard work if he ate it again.  

    I threw the whole thing out.  Made for some interesting garbage.

    We also found that our daughter ordered our grandson a dinner when they were with her mother-in-law that never got eaten.  Seems the poor little guy was so  overtired from the excitement of being with us, the Chuck E. Cheese party and then getting to ride in a rental car that by the time they met the other grandma-he passed out.  

    I guess this column is about the aftermath of a party weekend-nothing really interesting to talk about, but despite the mess, fun to look at and remember.


    5 Replies
  • Fast and Fabulous Brunches

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011

    Since my daughter and family arrived for the MLK weekend last Friday night and we‘re holding our breath about my husband’s place of employment-I prepared ahead of time for the “birthday” celebration.  

    Our grandsons will be turning 3 & 4 in a couple of weeks-so we decided it would be best to have a local party or 2.

    Our daughter made all 3 grandparents suffer through a Chuck E Cheese ordeal on Saturday afternoon.  It was mainly for the boys and some friends of theirs who weren’t making the trek out to AZ for the big bash at the end of the month.

    On Sunday though-hubby and I hosted a family brunch so everyone here could see them and sing a rousing “Happy Birthday“.

    Thruough the years our family party now total 14 in a heartbeat.  No big deal-except that Friday was my check up with the Rheumatologist.  Before the kids even made their way to Sky Harbor airport, I had another round of cortisone shoved into my hip.  I wasn’t in the best of shape until this morning.  

    As I mentioned-I knew what was going to happen and decided to budget shop before the added syringe was filled.

    Here was the menu:

    Bagels, 4 kinds
    Lox
    Cream cheese
    Peanut butter and jams
    Pineapple, calabria and honeydew melons
    2 types of juice
    pickles and other goodies for the sides
    Coffee bar-I offered, various creamers, chocolate syrup, cinnamon alongside the full strength and decaf coffees

    We had plenty of birthday cake left for those who wanted it.

    I also bought the makings for omelets-with 4 types of cheese and veggies, but no one took me up on that offer.

    Now this may sound fairly expensive for a budget meal-but if you start figuring that we had 14 people and the going price for a bagel and lox breakfast here in OC is about $9, plus coffee is another $2.50 a person-the $80 I spent was truly a bargain!

    Plus, I had enough bagels left to supply my husband with his “breakfasts-on-the-run” for 2 weeks, enough lox leftover for 2 more breakfasts and fruit for the rest of the week as well.

    I did serve on paper plates, but used ceramic mugs for the coffee and glasses for the beverages.

    The best part of this was that because I knew how I was going to be feeling-I didn’t have to grit my teeth, I was able to enjoy the family, the food and not much clean up.

    How do you do breakfast for a crowd?


    4 Replies
  • Healthy-Yes, I Said Healthy Cookies

    Posted on Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    I’ve named most of my culinary creations after most members of my family: Sarah’s Favorite Mashers, Adam’s Healthy Hot-wings, Dad’s Favorite Biscotti, Steve’s Only Salad, Dylan’s Applesauce Delight. But this, because I added the coffee element I’ve crowned them:

    Carine’s Mocha-Oatmeal Bites

    Ingredients:

    3/4 C butter flavored shortening
    1 C dark brown sugar
    1/2 C sugar
    1/4 C hot water
    2 tbsp instants coffee
    1 egg
    1 1/2 tsp. EACH pure vanilla and almond (or rum) extract
    3 C old-fashioned oats
    1 C WW flour OR if you can find it-garbanzo bean flour
    1/4 C cocoa powder
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 to 1 1/2 C 60-70% chocolate chips
    1 C toasted pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)
    1 C toasted coconut, shredded and sweetened (optional)
    1/2 C dried cranberries or large raisins (optional)

    Pre-heat oven to 350. Place racks in middle and upper part of the oven. If your oven has a convection capability, I suggest using this method and lowering the temperature by 25 degrees. Prep cookie sheets. In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, cocoa powder, salt and soda.

    Stir coffee into the very hot water (or use 1/4 C of very strong coffee in its place, cooled) and cool.

    In the large bowl of mixer, cream the shortening and sugars. When fluffy, add the coffee, egg and extracts. Add flour mixture, by thirds, at low speed to sugar mixture and thoroughly combine. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheets (if using non-stick, do not grease!)

    Bake 10-13 minutes, just until edges turn golden. Remove and cool on racks. Store in airtight containers. Should make 3-4 dozen, depending on the size of your “tablespoon“!

    If you’d rather have bars-prep a 15×10 jelly roll pan and spread dough-bake approximately 20 minutes, until almost firm too touch and golden. Let cool for 15 minutes before cutting and cooling on racks.


    2 Replies