Monday, July 31, 2006 

They're Buzzing About CUPCAKES!


I wasn't aware of Yahoo's The Buzz Log....but they had a great little "article" on Cupcakes!

Let Them Eat Cake....

Amy Sedaris
bakes them. Scarlett Johansson scarfs them. And a Los Angeles bakery sells 1,500 a day. Though long caught in the sticky clutches of children's birthday parties, the cupcake is emerging as an off-beat, but decidedly cool—and grown-up—dessert.

Friday, July 28, 2006 

podcast-iron!

Have you ever wanted to take a private master class with one of the country’s best restaurant chefs?

Now you can just by logging on to the jennair website and downloading the free Wired Home Chef podcast. For every download, Jenn-Air will donate $1 to Share Our Strength.

The first in the series features acclaimed chef and restaurateur Ben Ford, of Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City, CA, preparing his popular Crispy Flattened Chicken.

Download the free Wired Home Chef podcast.

(oh...and not to drop names...but you know who Ben's FATHER is, don't you?)

 

Hold the Butter, Please.....

Orville Reddenbacher might not enjoy the news.

The Environmental Protection Agency has been withholding the results of a 2003 study that may indicate potential health risks from inhaling artificial butter flavor vapors from microwave popcorn, a group of scientists and former Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials say.

Some workers at microwave popcorn factories have been diagnosed with a rare and fatal lung disease — dubbed "popcorn workers' lung" — and several of them are on lung transplant lists. The disease, bronchiolitis obliterans, is a serious and irreversible inflammation of the airways leading to the lungs. Studies in toxicology journals have linked diacetyl — a common food flavoring and main ingredient of artificial butter flavoring — to disease in laboratory animals.

It is not clear how many workers have been affected, but thousands of workers have been exposed to artificial butter vapors containing diacetyl and at least one employee has died. "This is a tragic example of the failure of the public health regulatory system," said David Michaels, associate chairman of the department of environmental and occupational health at George Washington University. -
Deseret News
For more stories....click HERE.

Thursday, July 27, 2006 

Adieu, L'Orangerie

Oh...No....Another historic Los Angeles eatery hanging up it's saute pans.

After 29 years of serving French haute cuisine to Angelenos, L'Orangerie "will be no more," says owner Gerard Ferry. He has sold the restaurant — a package deal that includes everything in the restaurant, including the well-stocked wine cellar, to Nobu Matsuhisa and his original partner in the Nobu chain of restaurants, Robert De Niro, for an undisclosed price.

...The closing of L'Orangerie, the last restaurant to deliver an old-school, formal French dining experience in Los Angeles, signals the end of an era. When luminaries such as Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Betsy Bloomingdale and Kirk and Anne Douglas wanted to dine somewhere a little more celebratory than even Chasen's, L'Orangerie was the place.- Latte Times

Here's their recipe for Dark chocolate tart, marinated raspberries, avocado cream and lemon sorbet

The write ups from Opentable.com, Gayot.com and Losangelesrestaurants.com

A definate end of an era for the "Ladies who Lunch" and "Entertainment Biz" crowd.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 

Online Chat with Bourdain...TOMORROW

Via the Washington Post.

Bourdain will be online Wednesday, July 26, at 11 a.m. ET to discuss his time in the international city and his thoughts about what was once a burgeoning hotspot for international travelers.

Submit your questions and comments before or during the discussion.

Monday, July 24, 2006 

bourdain's heading back from beirut

lying on a green army cot as a u.s. navy ship spirits him away from violence-stricken lebanon, american television food show host anthony bourdain says his heart is broken.

..."we'd been hearing great things about beirut and arrived and quickly fell in love with the country," he told Reuters.

"it was paradise, sort of the western dream of the way we'd all like the middle east to be -- enlightened, progressive, multi-cultural, and multi-religious."

...bourdain said his efforts to leave lebanon had not been easy, frustrated by unanswered telephone calls to the embassy and a "horror show" at a beach outside beirut where they had gathered before u.s. navy and marines whisked 1,052 americans to the ship by landing craft and then on to nearby cyprus.

"at the checkpoints, it was like a metallica concert gone horribly wrong," he said. "it was a mob scene."

bourdain said the rapidly escalating violence had destroyed a blossoming city that had finally begun to emerge as a vibrant, democratic cultural hotspot after a civil war and the subsequent political influence of neighbouring syria.

"i feel this awful sense of regret that we were never able to show beirut as it was," he said. "to see everyone's hopes die and watch the country dismantled piece by piece was very painful. i'm very angry and very frustrated." - reuters and he checked in at egullet and talked with larry king.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 

Beirut Confidential - News from Anthony Bourdain


Bourdain.jpg
Originally uploaded by aedixon75.

via eGullet Message Boards.....

I'm very aware of how flip my response to the Post was (made last Wednesday, very early in the crisis)as I sought to reassure family and friends that we were safe and okayand in good cheer. . It was--at the time--very representative of the (outward) attitude of Beirutis themselves, who pride themselves on their resilience and their determination to "keep the party going." Initially, many Beirutis were still going strong at nightclubs as jets flew low and menacingly overhead. Even that proud, famously world-weary attitude quickly changed, however, as circumstances here became even more appalling. I can certainly understand how offensive it might be to those on the ground here--or those with family and friends here--to read some of what's been posted on the other NR thread--and understand why it's been closed for now.

It is indeed heartbreaking and horrifying what has happened to this lovely country--to spanking new, lovingly restored,resurgent Beirut in particular, in only a few days of sustained and seemingly senseless destruction. A few days ago, this was a place where people were bursting with pride for the relative tolerance, progressive attitudes, and lack of conflict between groups. I was standing with a group: a Sunni, a Christian, and a Shiite--by the Hariri memorial when the gunfire started and the Hezbollah people appeared driving through city center and honking their horns in "celebration" for the capture/kidnappings. The look of dismay and embarrasment on all three faces...and the grim look of resignation as they all-- instantly-- recognized what would inevitably come next...it's something I will never forget. Of the three, our Shiite security guy, a tall, taciturn man, was the last to leave us, insisiting on staying by our side though he and his family lived in the much more perilous Southern part of Beirut. After witnessing many quick telephone exchanges between him and his family, and as more bombs and shells began to fall, seeing him nervously fingering his prayer beads, we finally convinced him to leave. His house was later flattened..We were soon relocated to a safer part of town.The sense of regret and ...shame we feel at being relatively safe yet witness to the carnage...and that we never got to show the world how beautiful this country and its people are--how much "like us" (yet uniquely and wonderfully not), how international, muti-lingual, multi-faith..how fantastic the food and hospitality is...will gnaw at us forever. WE will make it home. WE--unlike most Lebanese, have been (relatively) safe and secure during this. Trapped, yes--but trapped by a freaking swimming pool-not under the rubble of our homes. We may be only a few thousand yards or a few miles from the falling bombs-but we have an eventual way out. What hasn't been talked about much in the press, is how many young returnees there are/were here: young, educated Lebanese who'd emigrated abroad or been born aboad and only recenly returned..how filled with hope they were, how much they loved their country, how hopeful and enthusiastic they were that they could make a difference (and they WERE making a difference). That is all ashes now..

We (the NR crew) are indeed well--and well looked after. It's indeed frightening here, it's enraging, it's horrifying,and its frustrating..the classic "long hours of boredom interspersed with moments of terror" phenom they always use when talking about life during wartime. But we are relatively safe. And sooner or later we will no doubt be heading home.

We will never forget the Beirut that could have been-and will hopefully be again. Or what we saw here.

Monday, July 17, 2006 

A Few Sizzling "Flogs" to Check Out.....

Megnut
Blogher (Food & Drink Section)
The Nibble
Food Goat
Online Restaurant Marketing
Slashfood
Cream Puffs In Venice

dig in digerati! mangia!

Sunday, July 16, 2006 

GM "Anti-Freeze" doesn't belong in Ice Cream

A news "scoop" on Ben & Jerry's...

Ben & Jerry's, the self-styled "all natural" ice cream manufacturer, has broken ranks with food giant Unilever amid controversy about GM ice cream.

The breach follows a report in The Independent on Sunday last week revealing concerns from scientists over the risk to health from a synthetically produced "anti-freeze" protein, using a GM process, which Unilever is trying to get approved in the UK.

A spokesperson for Ben & Jerry's said: "We would not dream of including anything like that in our products. One of the biggest problems is that we are affected by Unilever's actions even though they are nothing to do with the way that we behave. The fact that we are not using this GM ingredient shows that we are not following all of their decisions." - The Independent

Give'm a call...let'm know you support them in "just saying NO!"
Contact us by phone:
Give us a call at 802-846-1500 between 9:00 and 5:00 EDT - Monday through Friday.
Ask for Consumer Affairs.

One way not to get "additional" ingredients is to make your own. It really is easy...and it IS Ice Cream season...Let's get "International" about it....

MEXICAN CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM

Active time: 40 min Start to finish: 2 1/2 hr (includes freezing)

1/2 vanilla bean
11 oz Mexican chocolate (3 1/2 disks; preferably Ibarra), coarsely chopped
3 3/4 cups half-and-half
3 large eggs
Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt

Special equipment: an instant-read thermometer; an ice cream maker

Halve vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape seeds into a 3-quart heavy saucepan. Add chocolate and half-and-half and bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking. Remove from heat.

Lightly beat eggs with salt in a bowl, then add hot chocolate mixture in a slow stream, whisking. Transfer custard to cleaned saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until custard registers 175°F on thermometer, 1 to 5 minutes. Immediately pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a metal bowl. Put bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and cool, stirring occasionally.

Freeze custard in ice cream maker. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and freeze until hardened, about 1 hour.

Cooks' note:
• Ice cream keeps 4 days.


Makes about 1 1/2 qt.
Gourmet Entertains
February 2003

 

Jessica's Biscuit...aka eCookbooks




is having their big summer sale. Clear some space in your cookbook shelf. They've got some really good deals. Check them out....

Jessica's Biscuit.
(and their sale catalog in pdf form....here)

I'm drooling at Martha Stewart's Baking Book, the Zuni Cafe Cookbook and Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen. (Can you believe I haven't gotten them yet?)

Which books are YOU drooling for? I know someone who might be able to recommend, well, 101 of them!

Saturday, July 15, 2006 

Anthony Bourdain...Beirut Confidential

Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain was stranded in war-ravaged Beirut yesterday after Israeli forces bombed the city's international airport and blockaded all of Lebanon's ports.

The best-selling author of "Kitchen Confidential" flew to Beirut on Sunday with a camera crew from his Travel Channel series, "No Reservations," to do a show on the local cuisine. But after the thunderous assault on the city in response to Islamic extremist group Hezbollah's capture of two Israeli soldiers, Bourdain and his crew holed up at the Moevenpick Hotel while they waited for evacuation instructions from the State Department.

"Our network, our friends and our families just want us out of here as soon as possible," Bourdain told Page Six yesterday afternoon, as Israeli shells exploded in the distance. "We're not getting a show out of this . . . I just wanna hang out and drink at the bar. The mojitos here are great.

"They're bombing right now in southern Beirut. I can hear the explosions. The thing is, the people here are really, really nice and totally embarrassed by Hezbollah and horrified by the bombings."

After spending Monday and Tuesday eating his way through Beirut and befriending locals, Bourdain and his crew partied at local nightclubs into the wee hours. "This is a party town," he explained. "Everyone in this city is [bleeping] gorgeous. It's like L.A. It's a totally international, sophisticated city. Everyone speaks English and throws dollars around."

Bourdain - who once consumed the raw, still-beating heart of a snake on camera, and who's traveled to the likes of Cambodia and North Vietnam in search of exotic eats - seemed mostly unfazed by the bombings, even though it was his first time in a war zone.

But many Lebanese who fear Israeli reprisals will get worse were streaming out of Beirut yesterday. "The roads to Damascus are packed with every Lebanese with a Rolodex," said Bourdain, who is the chef-at-large at Park Avenue South bistro Les Halles. "They're all heading toward Damascus."

Lebanon is one of the hottest summer vacation spots for Saudis, Emiratis, Kuwaitis and others, as well as for the huge Lebanese community in the Gulf. Lebanese tourism has enjoyed a spike in recent years, as many Gulf Arabs stopped vacationing in the United States after the 9/11 attacks. - PageSix New York Post

Friday, July 14, 2006 

Happy Chef Blogging Friday

Today...Why highlight one chef....I'm imagining highlighting a whole gaggle of them. In New York. In September. And so is StarChefs.

StarChefs.com International Chefs Congress
– A Kitchen Without Boundaries

Don’t miss what promises to be the most important professional culinary event in the US this year. Save the date for StarChefs.com’s inaugural International Chefs Congress, a two-day culinary symposium where the world’s most influential and innovative chefs will present the latest techniques and culinary concepts to their chef peers. This is the first event of its kind in the US, and StarChefs.com invites you to be a part of culinary history! The event will take place September 19 & 20, 2006 in New York City at Covenant House.

Interact and Collaborate:
StarChefs.com’s International Chefs Congress is your opportunity to collaborate with and learn from leading chefs from around the world. Attend innovative chef demonstrations, hands-on workshops, wine tastings, and expert panels on relevant industry topics.

and I certainly don't want to forget highlighting "Mixologists" that will be attending "TALES OF THE COCKTAIL" - July 19-23, 2006 in 'Nawhlins". And look who else will be attending the festivities in Crescent City....DAVE who you might have recently seen on Top Chef! (He's a top Chef in my pantry...)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 

Educating Yourself About Food

Involves many ingredients. Some aren't the "cooking with" type...some of the most important educational ingredients involve imparted knowledge. I highly suggest reading/browsing/subscribing to Specialty Food Magazine.

One of the highlights is the column written by Ari Weinzweig of Zingerman's. A favorite recent article was Fifteen Characteristics of Effective Champions. This is knowledge to use, not only in the kitchen, but in life.
I first met Geri Larkin in the early ’80s, not long after we opened the Deli. She was a consultant with Deloite & Touche, and has since left the world of high-powered consulting to become a Buddhist monk. Fortunately, she contributed a number of exceptional books on business and, speaking personally, left me with a few little pearl-ettes of wisdom. One of the best: “If there isn’t a champion,” she wrote, “somebody who says, ‘this is my thing, this is what drives me,’ then nothing happens.”

Larkin’s line about champions has been on my mind because I’ve been privileged to watch some new and successful champions emerge in our organization. These champions are not at the top of the organizational chart but rather mid-level product specialists, new assistant managers and long-term hourly staff who often have little or no formal authority. Yet they are making a difference, not in “new” or particularly glamorous projects, but rather by taking over things that were just chugging along. With these new and effective champions, results have improved significantly.

Go read the entire article. It is "enlightening"

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 

BAM!

Who says cookin' ain't fun....

 

No More Whining About Global Warming

Time to do something about it....quick. Time to start acknowledging that it is real...

Global Warming Could Devastate State's Wine Country - SFChronicle

A new study out today could give Americans another reason to worry about global warming: Apart from the rising seas and disappearing polar bears, climate change could also wipe out premium wine grape growing in Napa, Sonoma and Santa Barbara by the end of the century, according to scientists.

An increase in the number of hot days during the growing seasons would make California's richest wine-producing regions unsuitable for the finest grapes under a scenario published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

...Despite cautionary comments from other scientists, the prediction of the loss of good growing lands for the state's wine industry, valued at $2.9 billion a year, brings home the power and influence of climate in farm production, the study authors say.

"One big lesson is that the daily temperature changes are very important'' and not just the change in average temperatures, said Noah Diffenbaugh, assistant professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Purdue University and a study author.

....The paper concludes that production in the Napa and Sonoma valleys and Santa Barbara would essentially be eliminated in the future climate. The only areas in California that would remain highly suitable are the narrow coastal bands and in the Sierra Nevada, it says.

The United States would lose up to 81 percent of its premium wine grape growing acreage by 2100 with the greatest losses on the West Coast and the Southwest, the study says.

The researchers, including from Utah State and Southern Oregon universities, picked premium vineyards to study because of centuries of records on the relationship of climate and wine grapes.

"We know that climate change has affected wine production in the past,'' said Diffenbaugh. "If you go back to the medieval warm period, there were vineyards in south England. Then the Little Ice Age that began in the mid-16th Century eliminated those vineyards.''

Monday, July 10, 2006 

Say "HELLO" to......

chef ann

treehugger

apartment therapy - the kitchen

 

Cost of Flour...Not Self Rising

Just RISING.....
A paltry winter wheat harvest in the nation's breadbasket has driven up the cost of flour for consumers, with more price hikes feared as drought takes a growing toll on the nation's spring wheat crop as well.

Not only is the raw ingredient more costly because of this season's short wheat crop and low stock carry-over from last year, but flour mills across the nation are having to scramble to find the classes of wheat their customers want to buy. The only bright spot is crop quality: Test weights and protein levels for winter wheat are both exceptionally good this year.

"It is kind of like the price of gas: It just keeps going up," Eustace said. "It is the same problem with flour. You got to have it, so people are going to keep buying it."

Hard red winter wheat flour — the type of flour most commonly grown in Kansas, the nation's largest wheat producer — is used for making flour for breads.

Kansas is also the nation's biggest flour milling state. Texas and Oklahoma, both major winter wheat growers, had dismal harvests this season. Winter wheat is planted in the fall and harvested in early summer.

Spring wheat types — grown primarily in more northern states where summers are not as harsh — are used to mill flour that makes its way into pasta, cakes and other baked goods.

At the Stafford County Flour Mills Co. in Hudson, President Alvin Brensing said winter wheat harvest in the area was down about a third than what is normal. But the quality of the wheat — such as protein levels and test weights — was good. He was more worried about the price his mill was paying for it this season.

Last month, the Agriculture Department forecast the Kansas wheat crop would come in at 291.4 million bushels. That would make the crop 23 percent smaller than last year's harvest.

Nationwide, the agency predicted the winter wheat harvest would be 1.26 billion bushels, 16 percent below last year. - AP


Sunday, July 09, 2006 

It's BISCOTTI TIME!

Adios, Francia. Hola! Italia!

Hello...CHOCOLATE!



CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE BISCOTTI


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup strained dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 large eggs
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

FOR THE CHOCOLATE GLAZE
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
8 ounces fine-quality bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate such as Lindt, chopped

MAKE THE BISCOTTI

1. Position the shelves in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Heat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly dab the corners of the jelly roll pans with butter and line them with baking parchment. Set aside.

2. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, and baking powder. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the eggs and salt on medium speed until lightened in color, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar, taking about 2 minutes, then beat in the vanilla. Pour the tepid butter down the side of the bowl and beat for 30 seconds longer.

4. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and using an oversize rubber spatula, stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips, then fold in the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing only until combined. The dough will be very soft. For ease of handling, let the dough rest for 10 minutes to thicken.

5. Drop the dough by heaping spoonfuls onto the pans and form four logs, measuring about 12 inches long and 2 inches wide. Flour your hands lightly and even the sides as best you can. It's okay if the logs are somewhat irregular.

6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until set on top. To ensure even baking, rotate the pans top to bottom and front to back toward the end of baking time. Let cool for at least 20 minutes.

7. Lower the oven temperature to 325°F (160°C). Using a serrated knife, cut the logs on the diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Turn the slices cut side up and return to the oven for 12 minutes. Turn the biscotti over and bake for 7 minutes longer or until crisp.

MAKE THE CHOCOLATE GLAZE
1. While the biscotti are toasting, make the glaze. Place the water, corn syrup, and sugar in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes, then whisk to smooth. While the biscotti are still warm, dip the ends into the glaze and set on parchment-lined pans to dry.

STORAGE: Store in an airtight container, layered between strips of wax paper, to up to 3 weeks. These cookies may be frozen, but the glaze may dull.

Saturday, July 08, 2006 

We Briefly Interrupt this Food Blog





to show some other worldly deliciousness whose "cup" is overflowing....Deliciousness comes in so many different languages. But tomorrow....

France vs. Italy.

Two foodie nations battle it out...but not in Kitchen Stadium this time. Get ready for FOOD FIGHT! What will it be..

Mozzarella vs. Brie
Cream Puffs vs. Tiramisu
Beef bouguignone vs. Osso bucco
Baguettes vs. Foccacia
Frittata vs. Omelettes
Gnocchi vs. Potato Croquettes
Pannini vs. Croque Monsieur/Madame
Caprese vs. Salad Nicoise
Fritto Misto vs. Pommes Frites
Biscotti vs. Palmiers
Gelato vs. Creme Glacee
Crostata vs. Tarte

 

Meet Chef Donald Link of Herbsaint & Cochon

The Saints start marching in...oh the Saints start marching in... to munch on delicacies of The Big Easy that was nearly obliterated by Katrina. The city's restaurants are slowly getting back their spice and sizzle...and none really sizzles so much as Herbsaint and the chef behind the plates...Chef Donald Link.

Chef Link started his culinary career early on..... working in kitchens of Louisiana at age 15 washing dishes. Inspired by his Grandfather, he actually began to cook professionally shortly thereafter. He moved to San Francisco in 1993 and attended the acclaimed California Culinary Academy.

During this time in the City by the Bay, Donald cooked at many of San Francisco's fine restaurants, the Flying Saucer, Cha Cha Cha, Scala’s Bistro, and Zazie.

In 1995, Donald returned to his Louisiana roots to pursue his externship at Susan Spicer’s Bayona in New Orleans and continued on to become sous chef. In 1997, he returned to San Francisco to open the incomperable Jardinière with Traci Des Jardin. This soon led to an executive chef opportunity at the Elite Café where he received raving reviews and appeared on local cooking shows and participated in many charity events around Northern California.

In partnership with Tom Clendening, owner of the Elite Café, Donald opened the critically acclaimed Mojo in Palo Alto, Ca. He received 3 ½ stars from the San Jose Mercury News, the top three restaurants on the Peninsula by San Francisco Magazine, and was hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “…probably the premiere chef doing Creole food in the Bay Area”. He participated in special events such as Sonoma Wine Maker’s Dinners and Bill Graham’s New Orleans by the Bay where he was the featured chef two years in a row.

Since opening Herbsaint in 2000 Donald has been named Chef of the Year by New Orleans Magazine as well as a top ten Chefs to watch by Forbes Magazine. Chef Link was also named to the Top 40 under 40 "Power Generation" by New Orleans City Business. He recently opened up Cochon

Donald continues to travel for, and participate in charitable events such as Meals on Wheels and Dinner at the James Beard House.

On Herbsaint's newsletter, I found this little delicious nugget.
Zagat has now begun the balloting for its New Orleans Restaurants, Nightlife, & Attractions Surveys. They aim to help spread the word that New Orleans is rebuilding and coming back strong and that you can still have a great meal or night out in our vibrant city.

Complete the online survey by the August 9, 2006 deadline and you'll receive a free copy of the resulting guide when it is published. Go out and Vote for Herbsaint and your other favorite Restaurants in the city.

http://www.zagat.com/survey

Herbsaint Coconut Cream Pie

Time: 1 hour, plus 2 1/2 hours for chilling

For the pastry cream:
3 cups heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
5 large egg yolks

For the macadamia nut crust:
8 ounces macadamia nuts, toasted and cooled
1 cup flour
9 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt

For assembly:
4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut, lightly toasted and cooled.

1. To prepare the pastry cream, combine in a medium heavy-bottom saucepan 2 1/2 cups of cream and scrapings from the vanilla bean; discard the bean. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch. In a medium bowl, combine egg yolks with remaining 1/2 cup of cream.

2. Place the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk sugar and cornstarch mixture into egg yolks when cream is about to boil. (There will be slight movement in the pan.) As it starts to boil, whisk a few hot spoonfuls into the yolk mixture to temper it. Reduce heat under pan to medium-low. Pour yolk mixture into the pan, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture is thick. (If mixture separates, transfer it to a mixer with a whisk attachment, and beat until it is blended.) Transfer to a shallow container, and cover with plastic wrap to keep a skin from forming on the surface. Refrigerate until cold and firm, at least 1 hour.

3. To prepare macadamia nut crust, combine nuts and flour in a food processor. Process until nuts are finely ground, pulsing to keep them from becoming pasty. In a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter with sugar. Add yolk, and mix thoroughly. Add nut mixture and salt, and mix until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

4. Divide dough in half. Roll out a half between two sheets of plastic wrap to make a 10-inch disk. Repeat with remaining dough. Line two 9-inch tart pans, and chill in freezer until very firm, about 30 minutes.

5. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place pie weights in shells, and bake until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Remove pie weights, and continue to bake until the crust is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes more. Allow to cool.

6. To assemble, in bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment combine heavy cream, sugar and 2 cups of pastry cream. (Reserve any remaining cream for another use.) Whisk at high speed until soft peaks form. Add coconut, and continue whisking mixture by hand until very stiff. Spoon into cooled tart shells. Serve immediately, or refrigerate to chill.

Yield: Two 9-inch pies.

Friday, July 07, 2006 

OK...It's kinda wrong....

but looking at the restaurant closures list is one of the first things I do when they are available. Perhaps it was something I learned from my food handling course instructor. At least it's more acceptable than reading the obits.

DOMINO'S PIZZA #8310, 1865 LINCOLN BLVD, SANTA MONICA
  • Date Closed: May 04, 2006
  • Date Reopened: May 06, 2006
  • Reason for Closure:
    Prevention of entrance and harborage of vermin
    Vermin infestation

  • JACK IN THE BOX # 320, 1052 N GRAND AVE, COVINA
  • Date Closed: March 28, 2006
  • Date Reopened: March 29, 2006
  • Reason for Closure:
    Food protection
    Food to be pure & free of contamination, etc

  • JAMBA JUICE, 25888 THE OLD ROAD, VALENCIA
  • Date Closed: May 22, 2006
  • Date Reopened: May 23, 2006
  • Reason for Closure:
    Sewage
  •  

    Good Choice...The Right Choice...Organic Choice

    When Blake Rankin needed another machine that bags tea for his growing West Seattle business, he saw two possibilities: Spend $250,000 on a used machine that staples the bags or shell out four times that amount for a new model that ties knots in them.

    Rankin decided it was worth $1 million to keep those little staples out of landfills.

    "It's not about the money," he said. "It's about my legacy in the natural-foods industry." - Seattle Times

    Thursday, July 06, 2006 

    Some Good News....and Some Bad

    The Good News - Demand for Organic Food is up.

    The Bad - Supply Can't Keep Up.

    America's appetite for organic food is so strong that supply just can't keep up with demand. Organic products still have only a tiny slice, about 2.5 percent, of the nation's food market. But the slice is expanding at a feverish pace.

    ...The makers of the high-energy, eat-and-run Clif Bar needed 85,000 pounds of almonds, and they had to be organic. But the nation's organic almond crop was spoken for. Eventually, Clif Bar found the almonds — in Spain. But more shortages have popped up: apricots and blueberries, cashews and hazelnuts, brown rice syrup and oats.

    Even Stonyfield Farm, an organic pioneer in the United States, is pursuing a foreign supplier; Stonyfield is working on a deal to import milk powder from New Zealand. - AP

    Find out more about Organics (and more...)

    Organic Consumers Association

     

    Forget Hallie Berry....It's the Olallieberry that's really hot!

    The Olallieberry, a cross between a blackberry, loganberry and youngberry, originated in 1949 in Oregon, but mostly thrives in California -- especially on the coast. The olallie, a Native American word meaning blackberry, likes plenty of rain and mild temperatures. And with this year's torrential downpour, growers are expecting a bumper crop.

    Olallies, like most other spring and summer crops, are late this year, and just starting to show up in markets. - SFGate

    Pronounced oh-la-leh. Original cross was made in 1935 by George F. Waldo with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service who ran the cooperative blackberry breeding program between the USDA-ARS and Oregon State University cooperative breeding program. Selected in 1937 and tested in Oregon, Washington and California as Oregon 609. Named Olallie and released in 1950. While primarily developed in Oregon has never been very productive there and is therefore primarily grown in California. - Wikipedia
    From a fan of " American Pie: Slices of Life (and Pie) from America's Back Roads " by Pascale Le Draoulec

    " Just be warned: reading her chapter on Duarte's Tavern in Pescadero, Calif. -- home to the world's most divine ollalieberry pie -- unleashed such strong sensory memories for me, I'm actually planning an expensive detour on an upcoming trip to taste the pie again in person."


    where can you get your hands on these little gems of goodness, you ask?

    Webb Ranch Farm - Portola Valley, CA

    Swanton Berry Farm - Davenport, CA

    Linn's Fruit Bin - Cambria, CA

    Bacchini's Fruit Tree - Brentwood, CA


    CIN-OLATABERRY ICE CREAM

    2 cup whole milk
    2 cups heavy cream
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 large cinnamon stick
    1 cup sugar
    7 egg yolks
    2 tablespoon crème de cassis
    2 cups olallieberries (fresh or frozen)



    Combine the milk, cream, cinnamon (ground and stick), and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in a saucepan and scald. Whisk the yolks with the remaining sugar and the crème de cassis until light and fluffy. Slowly add the hot milk mixture with gentle whisking to the eggs to warm them. Pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan and add the olallieberries.

    Cook over low heat for about 20 minutes until the custard thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Cool to room temperature.

    Freeze in an ice cream maker. When the ice cream has thickened, remove the canister from the ice and salt, then remove the dasher and pat down the ice cream with a rubber scraper to remove excess air. Cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent ice crystal formation. Replace the canister lid and place in a freezer to harden for 3-5 hours.

    Makes about 2.5 quarts.
    Epicurious
    1996
    Tim M. Dore
    Third-prize winner of the Epicurious Ice Cream Contest

    Wednesday, July 05, 2006 

    Summertime....

    It's time to go barefoot. Or, in the foodie world...time to go "Barefoot Contessa!" Who knew the goodness could be packaged up....

    If you can open a box, you can make a delicious coffee cake.

    That's all it takes with this cake mix from the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, who folks know from her cookbooks and Food Network show.

    The sour cream coffee cake mix is a real hit. Every home baker knows the tasting process begins with the kid licking the spoon and bowl. Right away he gave it a thumbs up.

    From that point the aroma of brown sugar and butter wafting through the house certainly whet the appetite.

    The end product delivered. The cake mix was moist, tasty and, most important, the easiest cake I have ever made. - Chicago Sun Times
    I think I prefer to do it "long hand"....

    Barefoot Contessa's Sour Cream Coffee Cake

    12 T. Butter (1 1/2 sticks)
    1 1/2 C. Sugar
    3 XL Eggs
    1 1/2 t. vanilla
    1 1/4 C. sour cream
    2 1/2 C. Cake Flour
    2 t. baking powder
    1/2 t. baking soda
    1/2 t. kosher salt
    -----------
    Streusel

    3/4 C. light brown sugar, packed
    1/2 C. all purpose flour
    1 1/2 t. cinnamon
    1/4 t. kosher salt
    3 T. butter
    3/4 C. walnuts or pecans
    ----------

    Preheat 350*.
    Use a 10 inch tube pan.

    Cream butter and sugar 4-5 minutes.
    Add eggs one at a time...add vanilla and sour cream.
    Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
    Mix together with wet ingredients.
    _______
    Make Streusel
    _________

    Spoon 1/2 into the pan...Sprinkle 3/4 c. streusel on to that...
    Spoon on the rest of the batter...scatter the remaining streusel on top.
    Bake 350* for 50-60 min.

     

    Y is for YouTube....

    and it's more than good enough for me!

    Tuesday, July 04, 2006 

    Cooking With Ideas

    has a great idea....a virtual fast.

    Just as those who are organizing the Hunger Strike offer various ways to be involved, there are many ways to support the "virtual fast." You might do so by:

    1) Joining the strike by refraining from blogging for the period that long term hunger strikers do so.

    2) "Fasting" on July 4th (the starting date) with those who do so.

    3) "Fasting" on a different day or other time period and announcing your intention to do so and why.

    4) Organizing a "rolling fast" with bloggers you know-- so that some or all of us refrain from blogging on different dates.

    5) Doing what we can to ensure that we publicize the literal -- and our virtual --fast. The Code Pink site has useful information --including directions on how to fast safely.

    Of course, for those of us who choose to fast literally, posting on that topic (on a day when you are not figuratively fasting!) would be great as well. Be sure to include a tag in your post -- we suggest "virtual hunger strike." And let Laura and Code Pink know that you're joining us.

    Monday, July 03, 2006 

    Papayas

    Who knew?

    All commercial papayas grown in the U.S. are grown in Hawaii. More than 50 percent of them are genetically modified to resist the papaya ring virus, which devastated the local papaya industry in the early 1990s.

    However, Japan, a major export market for Hawaiian papaya, does not accept genetically modified (GM) papayas. To solve the problem, local farmers adopted an “identity preservation protocol” to ensure papayas sold in the Japanese market did not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The protocol essentially serves as a voluntary labeling standard, with strict certification processes and testing.

    ....In the past two years, the commodities branch of Hawaii’s Department of Agriculture has rejected “way less than 1 percent” of conventional papayas shipped to Japan, according to Darrel Kohara, acting Hawaii district supervisor for the Commodities Branch. “Our last rejection was over a year-and-a-half ago, and it was due to an applicant not following procedure,” he says.

    However, commercial papayas are the only ones monitored by such a program. GM papayas are unlabeled in stores and home gardeners unknowingly using these seeds are planting GM papaya.

    “Hawaii’s GM papayas are a real threat to organic papaya growers,” says Nancy Redfeather, a local organic farmer and GMO-free advocate. “Once a GM crop is introduced into a regional area, it’s only a matter of time until you can no longer grow the crop with the genetic certainty you had before. - Hawai'i Business

    Saturday, July 01, 2006 

    I live in a Culinary Escape Destination


    according to our Visitors Bureau....
    Santa Barbara County offers a culinary adventure for anyone who loves to wine and dine. American Riviera® cuisine showcases fresh, regional ingredients, including locally caught seafood and locally grown organic produce and wines - making Santa Barbara a hub for the haute gourmet.

    Smell, touch, and taste your way through Santa Barbara County. Visit the farms, waters, vineyards, markets, and restaurants that create, cultivate and celebrate our regional flavors.

    Get Hands On! Pick berries at a turn-of-the-century Solvang landmark. Tour a local farm to learn about sustainable agricultural and global environmental issues such as biodiversity, soil erosion, and pesticide use. Taste your way through the colorful downtown farmers' market. Dive for lobster and crab in the Santa Barbara Channel under the guidance of local experts.
    Dang...more traffic. Dang Sideways.

    MY INGREDIENTS

    • I'm Cookie Jill
    • From Santa Barbara, California, United States
    Recipe of Me

    Click for Santa Barbara, California Forecast


    Local Food and Local Farms

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