Wednesday, October 31, 2007 

Create your own cookbook at Epicurious.com!

OK...this looks pretty cool! TasteBook!
We know our Epicurious users have taste—which is why we're so excited about TasteBook, the only place on the Web where you can create customized hardcover cookbooks. With this easy-to-use tool, you can transform your favorite recipes from Epicurious.com into a beautiful, personalized book perfect for a gift—or your own collection.
Some of the editors have created their own TasteBooks which you can browse...and buy. Including one for charity.

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Happy Halloween!

Hope your candy haul is "ghoulishly good!" Speaking of "ghoulishly good", you remember these cereals? Some of my favorites when I was little!

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Monday, October 29, 2007 

Food Fright!

at Chipotle.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007 

You Can Take the Girl Outta New England...

but you can't take New England outta the girl.

GO SOX!

 

It's Breeder's Cup today

Thoroughbred Midnight Lute ~ Trained by Bob Baffert

Midnight Lute apparently had jet ski shoes on today. What a race!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007 

My Heroes






The Firefighters

unbelievable photo by wally skalij from latte times

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007 

Disaster


California Fire
Originally uploaded by cnynfreelancer.

Heartbreaking disaster.

Monday, October 22, 2007 

The City of Del Mar is now advising evacuation

for it's residents.

Del Mar Fairgrounds/Race Track is where thousands of animals and people have been evacuated to from the other burning areas of San Diego County.

Oh, this is horrific.

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California's on Fire Again


malibufire_2.jpg
Originally uploaded by Sundogg.

It is horrific.
250,000+ people evaculated.

Over a 1/4 of a million people.
Countless animals.
The San Diego Wild Animal Park put on alert.
The 1,800 stalls of Del Mar Racetrack overflowing with evacuated animals.
The smoke and ash are easily seen by satellite. Gusts of 112mph winds have been recorded.

It's just too large a disaster to fathom.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007 

Don't miss this NPR story

highlighting Dorie Greenspan
October is high season for apples, which makes master baker Dorie Greenspan very happy.

In celebration of the season, the author of Baking: From My Home to Yours shares a recipe for tarte Tatin with Michele Norris. - NPR

Be forwarned...listening may induce drooling.

Did you know...

Tarte Tatin became a universal darling after the Tatin sisters, French innkeepers, famously forgot to line a pan with crust before they put in the apples and started baking. Rather than begin again, in a flash of thrift and ingenuity, they decided to put the crust on top and serve the tart upside down.

Dorie writes about getting interviewed on her own blog! You might want to bookmark Dorie's blog, In the Kitchen and On the Road with Dorie. Quite the title. Quite the blogger.

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Friday, October 19, 2007 

Flickr Photo Friday


Cupcake Order - Amelia
Originally uploaded by bossacafez.

mmmmm...cupcakes!

Thursday, October 18, 2007 

Stop by one of our advertisers....

and buy avodados!

Premium California Hass Avocados harvested daily from over 7,000 available acres. Ensuring our customers get the freshest available Avocados year around. Notice the difference in flavor between the super market bought avocado and our fresh avocado.

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Things that make you go "hmmmmm"

or at least..."yummmmm"

Manufacturers of cakes and pies should focus on health, gourmet and unique flavors
in order to increase their competitiveness in the U.S. market, according to a report by Mintel. Sales of cakes and pies in U.S. retail outlets, in-store bakeries and independent bakeries will reach almost $6 billion by 2007, which is a 15% increase since 2001 in current terms, but only a 1% increase in constant terms, according to Mintel, reported Food Navigator. Full Story

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007 

Today is Conservation Call-In Day

about the Food and Farm Bill.

The Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, along with American Farmland Trust and other national conservation and environment organizations, have all sent out emails asking you to call your senators today...but you can still call up to Oct. 23.
The Senate Agriculture Committee is scheduled to begin its markup of the 2007 farm bill on October 23. Basic funding decisions have been discussed by Senators on the Committee during informal meetings that have already taken place. In the course of these meetings, it has become increasingly clear that funding for conservation is getting the short end of the stick relative to other sections of the bill. The funding levels currently being discussed by Committee Members are far lower than what is needed for a decent conservation title.
The American Farmland Trust has set up a page where you can quickly find your senator’s office phone number.

The Ethicurean has more.

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Monday, October 15, 2007 

BLOG ACTION DAY!

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day
On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future
Food inspectors overwhelmed by workload. As alarm bells sounded for the second-largest hamburger recall in history, the nation's top food safety officials were in Miami setting the "course for the next 100 years of food safety." Chicago Tribune

Many barriers keep organic food out of school lunches. While schools are offering healthier menu choices, what seems like a no-brainer -- feeding local kids locally grown food -- is surprisingly hard to do. Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Food cop: Love him or hate him. Those who have worked with Michael Jacobson describe him as a muckraker who will go head-to-head with restaurant chains and food companies. As executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, he's also a scientist who is known for his persistence in navigating government bureaucracy. Chicago Tribune

Think local, eat local. “It’s more economical for consumers, better for the environment and it keeps money in your community,” said Sandy Miller, a Newburg farmer who is also a member of the Harrisburg-based Buy Fresh, Buy Local advocacy group. Carlisle Sentinel

Ethanol's ripple effect. Because of the ethanol boom in the Midwest, grain prices have skyrocketed to record levels. And that spike in feed-grain prices has reached all the way across the country to the Northeast's increasingly popular organic farm sector.- Hartford Courant

Queen of the bees. Over the past 30 years, Susan Cobey has become a world leader in the obscure realm of bee fertility. The University of California, Davis, hired her in May to lead a new bee breeding program.- Erie Times-News

'Sewer' water in a bottle — yum! The plastic container like any other water bottle you'd buy at the neighborhood market. The label tells another story altogether. It says: "North Davis Sewer District drinking water." - Salt Lake Deseret Morning News

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Sunday, October 14, 2007 

Another looming "food" disaster....

Farmers are becoming extinct. You can't have food on the shelves or in Farmer's Markets if you don't have people knowledgeable in making edible things grow.

Agriculture schools in California and throughout the nation are hoping fresh slogans will cultivate interest among high school graduates who don’t know wheat from Wheaties.

The same universities that a generation ago churned out legions of agriculture professionals today largely struggle to woo students. Many students who are studying agriculture are clamoring for cheese class and wine-making seminars and shunning fields such as soil science and crop production.

Many schools are wrestling with declining enrollment, as a large portion of the agricultural work force is nearing retirement.

In California, one-third of the public and private plant doctors who monitor the health of the state’s $32- billion agriculture industry will retire in 10 years or less. One-third of the state’s county agricultural commissioners, whose inspections help keep out voracious foreign pests such as the Mediterranean fruit fly, will retire in the next five years. Yet enrollment in horticulture programs at the state’s top agriculture schools has dropped as much as 40 percent in the last five years.

...The looming work force gap has industry experts and agriculture school officials hiring marketing companies to spruce up their images. It’s a tall order: How do you make farming hip? - SLO Tribune

San Luis Obispo, just a bit up the coast, is home to one of the California Polytechnic campuses. Or, as we have affectionately called it "Cow" Poly. It has been around for quite some time, and it is well known for it's substantial "Ag" programs.
Since 1903, when Cal Poly built its first farm structures in San Luis Obispo and dedicated land to agriculture studies, the university has steadily built its programs to become one of the five largest agriculture colleges in the country.With more than 3,800 students, agriculture ranks second in enrollment only to engineering among Cal Poly’s colleges.

....“About 1 percent of the students who take the SATs consider agriculture a future career,” said Mark Shelton, associate dean of Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. “That’s a strong message telling us we haven’t sparked young people’s interest in the positive opportunities we have to offer—and to show them that food and water are some of the most significant issues we have ahead of us.” - SLO Tribune


Time to truly give farmers and farming the "props" they deserve. Instead of glorifying people who play make believe and get paid millions to essentially do nothing, let's start celebrating people in our society who actually make it function. Watch Friday the 13th Part 56 or eat. Which is more important to us all as a community? As a State? As a Country? As Human Beings?

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Saturday, October 13, 2007 

Say "Hello" to....


Cakespy Postcard
Originally uploaded by cakespy.

Cakespy! and their Flickr Fotos!

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Friday, October 12, 2007 

Flickr Photo Friday


El Capitan Yosemite National Park
Originally uploaded by Jim's outside photos.

Not just a great Valley...

but a shrine to human foresight, strength of granite, power of glaciers, the persistence of life, and the tranquility of the High Sierra.

Yosemite National Park, one of the first wilderness parks in the United States, is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.

Yosemite National Park

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Thursday, October 11, 2007 

I received a catalog in the mail

and wow....I'm intrigued. and I'm drooling.

fancyflours..."where bakers bloom"
Fancy Flours is a unique baking supply store specializing in high quality, difficult to find ingredients and delightful, edible sugar decorations. We offer over 800 collector's copper and easy-to-use tin cookie cutters, 100 different types of hard-to-find oils, extracts and flavorings, premium vanillas, muffin cups in every color you could ever dream of, more then 500 sugar whimsies, professional grade baking pans in every size and shape and much, much more!
They have cookie cutters, cake pans, baking tools, vintage toppers, chocolate transfer sheets, baking cups, cupcake wrappers and cupcake/cookie/cake "bling."

And, this time of year, you gotta love the "sugar brains"

They even have a blog, too!

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007 

What a little racehorse taught me about life

I read the news today, oh my. And, for a follower of the "ponies", it is a sad day indeed. The legendary racehorse, John Henry has passed. Gone to the big race in the sky to battle down the homestretch with the other greats of the sport.

And, I am heartbroken, indeed. For John Henry, although giving me great thrills at his exploits at the track, also taught me a great deal about life.


No..really.


John wasn't from the true "blue" blooded side of the track. His sire, Ole Bob Bowers was once sold for $900. John himself wasn't purchased for millions at the well-heeled sales at Saratoga. He barely brought in $1,100 at the Keeneland sales, after bashing himself in the head in the stall and arriving into the sales ring bloody.

He "suffered" the indignity of being gelded because he had his own mind...and mean temper. He also was undersized. Underweight. Underbred with unremarkable conformation.


He raced early on. He was a "workhorse" and managed to bring in some money and some attention. He was finally purchased by Dotsam Stable, the stable of Dorothy (Dot) and Sam Rubin. They shipped him out to California to the stable of Ron McAnally.


And...in the California sun and the glare of the racing public....John Henry blossomed. He started winning. Big. And the racing "elite" took notice. The fans turned up in droves to see "the little horse" that could. He captured the nation's imagination.


He certainly captured mine.


I would ride the Greyhound bus from Santa Barbara down to the tracks in the Los Angeles area, camera in tow and Racing Form in hand. And watching John in action truly was breath taking. Coming from the "nose bleed" section of the pack to win by a whisker he would give us thrills and excitement, and, yes, disappointment. He didn't win them all, but you knew he gave it his all. And we all loved him for it.


He was a ham. He truly loved the fans..almost as much as we loved him. I would squeeze up to the paddock rail to see the little guy. He would look around the ring, and, I kid you not, spot the cameras. As he was being walked around the ring, he would stop infront of someone who had a camera and "pose" until he heard that shutter click. I have a couple of great photos of him "smiling" at me.

So, what did he "teach" me, you ask...well...


John showed everyone that one can truly go from "rags to riches." It didn't matter if you weren't from the good side of the tracks or bloodlines, you could still have the talent to prove yourself an individual.


John showed that you could turn your anger and "meanness" to do good, and be productive. He was cantakerous, often ill-tempered, even after being gelded. That was just who he was...and he turned that "meanness" into a productive end result. Dogged determination.


John showed that winning wasn't the only thing....it was HOW YOU RAN YOUR RACE. It was the effort that mattered. Sure, winning was a great thing, but it wasn't the ONLY thing. Showing heart. Giving the task at hand your best effort. THAT was the important thing.


John showed that intelligence was part of any game, too. Chris McCarron often said that John knew when to move in the race, all by himself. He (Chris) was just along for the ride.


John also showed that knowing yourself was a key component to a "winning" life. He would walk carefully to morning workouts, making sure he didn't stumble on rocks or collide with other horses more "high strung." He knew that taking his time to the track was his "modus operendi". His "peeps" understood that too. John trained them well.

John was the "working man's" horse. He earned his place of greatness in the sport, and in our hearts, through toughness, tenacity and hard work rather than sheer brilliance. He taught us that life involved hard work, and having to work was nothing to be embarassed about. It was to be celebrated.


His final race record stood at 83 starts, 39 wins, 15 seconds, and 9 thirds with $6,497,947 in earnings.

  • Voted 7 Eclipse Awards
  • Voted Horse of the Year 1981 and 1984
  • Won Horse of the Year more than once, but not in consecutive years
  • Voted Eclipse Award for Outstanding Older Male Horse 1981
  • Oldest horse to win Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year - at age 9
  • Oldest horse to win a Grade 1 race - at age 9 (tied)
  • Voted Eclipse Award for Outstanding Male Turf Horse - 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984
  • Won 30 stakes races
  • Only horse to win the Arlington Million (G1) twice - 1981 & 1984
  • One of only two horses to win the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) twice - 1981 & 1982
  • Won more grade stakes than any other Thoroughbred - 25
  • Voted racehorse of the decade for the 1980's
  • Retired as the world's richest thoroughbred - July 28, 1985
  • Inducted into National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1990
  • Ranked #23 in the Blood-Horse magazine List of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century
It wasn't the awards and the acclaim that were bestowed upon him that made him so legendary, it was his dogged tirelessness and his "never give up" despite the odds attitude. It was the lessons that he taught this little railbird girl, and his millions of other fans around the world, that will never be forgotten. It was the hope that he gave us, all of us "non-blue bloods", that someday, we, too, could show class and greatness.

And, one of the most controversial, but most exciting of John Henry's racing days....the Santa Anita Handicap of 1982. I was there. Screaming my throat and lungs raw...cheering him on...jumping up and down along the rail along with the thousands of others....rooting on the "little horse that could."


John Henry, the "Steel Driving" horse with a "cinderella" story.

God speed, John. God speed.

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Monday, October 08, 2007 

God Speed, John Henry



“The mighty heart of the great John Henry has, at long last, yielded to time," expressed John Nicholson, executive director of the Horse Park. "The racing industry has lost a legend, but more significantly, many people have lost a personal hero. John Henry’s true legacy was written in people’s hearts far more indelibly than his superlative racing career could ever reflect. - The Bloodhorse

I remember seeing him at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park. He loved the crowds. He posed for the cameras. He was a ham. Chris McCarron, one of the legendary jockeys who "rode" him, once confessed that John knew what he was doing during a race and that he (Chris) was just along for the ride.

And, my....what a ride it was.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007 

Close to 500 varieties of avocados!

But, only 7 varieties are grown commercially in California. California is the leading producer of domestic avocados and home to about 90% of the nation's crop. Most California avocados are harvested on 60,000 acres between San Luis Obispo and the Mexican border, by about 6,800 growers. San Diego County, which produces 60% of all California avocados, is the acknowledged avocado capital of the nation. (Although, Santa Barbara County may disagree with that assessment...)

Did you know, the mother tree of all Hass avocados was born in a backyard in La Habra Heights, California.
In 2002, the tree to which every Hass avocado in the world can trace its lineage finally succumbed to root rot at the ripe old age of 76. Her offspring account for 95% of the avocados grown in California, and the fruit of her labor resulted in one of the state's most important industries. Yet, despite speculation to the contrary, nobody knows what variety of seed produced the original Hass Mother Tree.

The tree began life as lucky-find; a simple seed planted by A.R. Rideout of Whittier. Rideout, an innovator and pioneer in avocados, was always searching for new varieties and tended to plant whatever seeds he could find, often along streets or in neighbors' yards.

In the late 1920s, Mr. Rudolph Hass, a postman, purchased the seedling tree from Rideout, and planted it in his new orchard. He planned to graft another variety on it, but when repeated grafts didn't take he planned to cut the tree down. Fortunately for avocado lovers everywhere, Hass's children talked him out of it. They preferred the taste of the tree's fruit to that of the Fuerte, the predominant variety and industry standard in those days.
Hass maybe the most prominent, but my favorite has always been the Bacon. My stepdad had a tree growing next to the house and the 'cado's were always readily available for a quick bite.
This generally five-inch-long, egg-shaped avocado has a smooth, delicate, pine green skin mottled with dots that darken faintly when the fruit is ripe. Developed by a farmer named James Bacon in 1954, the fruit is harvested from the late fall through the spring, though some believe it peaks in midwinter. The bacon's pale, yellow-green flesh tastes slightly sweet, clean, and faintly sharp. - Saveur
California relys upon the quality of it's "alligator pear", and imports are taking a "bite" out it's business. Congress has taken note.
State regulations require that domestically grown avocados meet a minimum maturity standard, as well as predetermined size and weight requirements. Avocados grown abroad, most notably in Mexico, Chile, and the Dominican Republic, have not had to meet the same standards. The lack of uniform quality requirements may damage the demand for all avocados, claim the bills supporters.

...On April 26, Senator Barbara Boxer — along with congresswoman Lois Capps and Congressman Darrell Issa — presented the Quality Assurance Act in both the House and the Senate. The proposed bill is designed to protect the interest of the consumer, while facilitating fair competition among avocado growers both in California and abroad.

The bill would require all imported Hass Avocados meet the same quality standards as the avocados grown in California. - The Santa Barbara Independent

What to do with this creamy, delicious little green glob of goodness?

  1. Avocado Bread
  2. Gavocadoburger
  3. Beer Battered Fried Avocado Wedges
  4. Avocado and Shiitake Quesadilla
  5. Avocado Cake

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Friday, October 05, 2007 

Flickr Photo Friday


First find the Heart, then eat!!!
Originally uploaded by JIGGS.

I "heart" Avocado Festival Version!

Mexi Fest Guacamole (last year's winning guacamole recipe)

A blend of fresh yellow chile and a mixture of fresh tomatoes, yellow (sweet) onion, cilantro with a splash of lemon juice combined with Haas avocado.

Dice Approx. 10 Yellow Chiles Finely
Dice Approx. 8 Tomatoes and 3 Sweet Onions
Finely Cut Cilantro
Mix All Together & Add 1/3 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
Fold In Approx. 6-8 Diced Avocados
Makes Approx. 1 Quart

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007 

Top Chef Title Hung on Hung



Congrats, Chef Hung. But, we, in all honesty, were not cheering for you. Too much foam...too much attitude. Too many smurfs.

We had hoped Dale's cuisine would "reign supreme." Alas. We'll pack up our santuko's and wait for next season.

AfterElton.com has an interview with Dale...so does Chicagoist. (Looks like Chicago is on the burner for Season 4.)
The "Sandy Eggo" Tribune has a write up of Brian. (who knew that he was a "pony loving" railbird photographer!)

I wasn't really watching the food that Hung was preparing, anyway. I kept looking at Rocco and wondering when (or...cough, cough..."if") he got a facelift.

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We're so blessed here in Santa Barbara


Berrymania
Originally uploaded by santa barbarian.


We have numerous farms nearby, growing everything from berries to lettuce and everything in between. Local. Organic. Fresh. Sold in a community setting. What can beat that?

But there's nothing better than sweet, juicy freshly brought to market berries, except of course, something made with these mouthwatering little morsels of goodness.


Wild Raspberry Chiffon Pie

1 T. unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1 pt. fresh raspberries, crushed
3 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
1 graham cracker crust

Soften gelatin in water 10 minutes. Heat raspberries without bringing to boil; add egg yolks beaten with 1/2 cup sugar. When slightly thickened, add gelatin.

Remove from heat and add salt. Cool thoroughly until mixture begins to congeal, not set.

Beat egg whites until stiff while gradually adding remaining 1/4 cup sugar.

Fold egg whites and half of whipped cream into berry mixture. Pour into crust; spread remaining whipped cream around rim of plate leaving center exposed. Refrigerate at leat 4 hours before serving.

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Monday, October 01, 2007 

Iron Chef Cat Cora signing books in Santa Barbara

Chef Cora will be at our local Williams-Sonoma this upcoming Friday!!

She will be signing her new cookbook, Cooking from the Hip.

Williams-Sonoma - La Cumbre Plaza
October 5, 2007
12:00 Noon - 2:00 p.m.

If you can't make it down to meet her in person, you can visit her website - Cat Cora Cooks.

You can also find her serving up good for the world at Chefs for Humanity (which she founded)
Chefs for Humanity is a group of culinary professionals working to fight hunger, provide food nutrition education, emergency food relief when the need arises and humanitarian aid worldwide.

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MY INGREDIENTS

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