Saturday, April 30, 2005 

A Taste of Aloha

Posted by Hello Award winning A Taste of Aloha, first published in 1983, contains over 360 recipes donated by Junior League of Honolulu members, notable chefs, restaurants and hotels reflecting Hawaii’s diverse ethnic backgrounds. It includes a complete glossary, unique fish chart and a guide for a Hawaiian luau. It is one of the most popular of the Junior League Cookbooks. It also has a second edition, Another Taste of Aloha.

Beautifully illustrated by the renowned artist, Pegge Hopper, these books a wonderful edition to any cookbook collection.

O'Heneli Bars

4 cups oatmeal
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup melted butter
3 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup dark corn syrup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix ingredients. Spread into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

1 (12-oz) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup chunky peanut butter

Melt chips with peanut butter. Mix well. Spread on bars and refrigerate until frosting hardens.

Friday, April 29, 2005 

Happy Chef Blogging Friday!

Jeremiah Tower Posted by Hello

before there was Wolfgang, there was JEREMIAH. (and those signature big red glasses!)

He is considered one of the forces behind modern California cuisine –- which emphasized the use of locally grown ingredients to elevate simple dishes to fine delicacies. That in turn launched a revolution in American regional cookery.

Offering unique and daily-changing menus at Berkeley's Chez Panisse in the early '70s, and later at his own San Francisco gem, Stars, Jeremiah Tower became a crusader for "California Regional Cuisine," He began his rise to culinary stardom without any formal culinary training to his name, instead relying on his basic common sense, appreciation for great food, and unshakable confidence.

Jeremiah opened his instantly successful San Francisco restaurant Stars in 1984, moving across the Bay with his simple philosophy of cooking with the best ingredients only at their peak. Shortly thereafter, Jeremiah had a virtual constellation of Stars restaurants, cafes, and bakeries around the globe, known for their emphasis on seasonality, freshness, and quality.

Listen to an NPR interview. Or watch him cook with Julia.

Thursday, April 28, 2005 

Portland's Palate

Posted by Hello This is from the Junior League of Portland, Oregon. It really has to be one of the most gorgeous cookbooks I have in my colllection. The illustrations are lush and almost delicious as the recipes look. It was the Regional Winner of the Tabasco Community Cookbook Awards in 1993.

Frozen Chocolate Mousse Torte

1 8oz can almond paste
1 tablespoon cocoa
5 eggs, divided
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted
2 teaspoons instant coffee powder, dissovled in 1 teaspoon hot water
1 tablespoon brandy
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
semi-sweet chocolate curls or whipped cream for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan
In a food proecessor with a metal blade, crumble almond paste. Add cocoa and 2 of the eggs and blend until smooth. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack.
In a small metal bowl placed over very hot, but not boiling water, melt chocolate, stirring gently.
Separate 2 of the remaining eggs. in a large bowl, beat the 2 egg yolks with remaining whole egg. Beat in dissolved coffee, brandy and melted chocolate.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat 2 egg whites until foamy. Gradually add sugar until moist, stiff peaks form.
Fold egg whites into chocoalte mixture.
In another bowl, whip cream. Fold into chocolate mixture. Spread evenly over cooled cake.
Freeze overnight.
Thaw 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with chocolate curls and/or whipped cream.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005 


Posted by Hello I just received the newest copy of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food. While glancing through it, I noticed they highlighted on of my favorite foods....Rhubarb!

I remember growing up constantly knawing on this tart vegetable...yes that's right veggie.

Facts about this misunderstood plant:

Rhubarb is a vegetable with a unique taste that makes it a favorite in many pies and desserts. It originated in Asia over 2,000 years ago. It was initially cultivated for its medicinal qualities, it was not until the 18th century that rhubarb was grown for culinary purposes in Britain and America.

Rhubarb is often commonly mistaken to be a fruit but rhubarb is actually a close relative of garden sorrel, and is therefore a member of the vegetable family. Rhubarb is rich in vitamin C and dietary fiber The stems or stalks of the rhubarb are to be eaten, the leaves are actually poisonous and should not be consumed.

But oh...all the good things with rhubarb you can make!

Rhubarb Strawberry Pie

frozen-butter pastry dough
1 1/2 pounds trimmed rhubarb
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups raspberries
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
Accompaniment: vanilla ice cream

Divide dough into 2 pieces (1 piece should be slightly smaller than the other). Chill larger dough piece, wrapped in plastic wrap. On a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin roll out smaller piece of dough into a 10-inch round (about 1/8 inch thick).

Transfer round to a large baking sheet and chill, covered. Roll out remaining dough into an 11-inch round (about 1/8 inch thick) and stack it on top of first round. Chill pastry rounds, loosely covered with plastic wrap, at least 1 hour, or until firm. Cut enough rhubarb crosswise into 1/2-inch slices to measure 4 cups. In a 3-quart kettle stir together 3 cups rhubarb, 1 cup sugar, and cinnamon and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is melted, about 6 minutes. In a small bowl stir together cornstarch and lemon juice. Add cornstarch mixture to rhubarb mixture and boil, stirring constantly, until rhubarb is thickened, about 5 minutes, and transfer mixture to a bowl. Cool mixture to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Fold raspberries and remaining cup rhubarb into mixture until just combined. Chill rhubarb filling, covered, at least 30 minutes, or until cold.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

In a small bowl whisk together egg and milk to make an egg wash. Fit 11-inch round of dough into a 9-inch (1-quart) glass pie plate and trim with scissors, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Spoon rhubarb filling into shell, smoothing top, and brush edge of crust with egg wash. Drape remaining pastry round over filling and trim, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Crimp edge decoratively. With a sharp small knife score a decorative pattern on crust and brush crust evenly with some egg wash. Sprinkle crust with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.

Bake pie on a baking sheet in middle of oven 35 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and cooked through. (If pastry gets too brown too quickly, tent pie with foil.) Transfer pie to a rack. Cool pie at least 1 hour to set filling.

Serve pie with ice cream.Serves 8.
Gourmet - April 1999

Tuesday, April 26, 2005 

Sarah McLachlan's Favourite Recipes

Posted by Hello I love her music...I love the recipes in this book! Almost all vegetarian...but soooo good everyone will be pleased.

Living on a cramped tour bus for months on end, hopping from greasy spoon to greasy spoon — the life of a rock star may be glamorous, but it is not without its hardships. Singer-songwriter, and good cook, Sarah McLachlan brought
Chef Jaime Laurita on board to cook for her band and crew. They soon discovered that, even on the go, you can indulge in sumptuous and healthy food.

Mom's Currant Cake

Makes 1 loaf

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
1 heaping tablespoon molasses
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) room temperature unsalted butter, plus more for pan
3/4 cup Demerara sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups currants

1. Preheat the oven to 325°. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Butter a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan; set aside.
2. In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat. Stir in molasses. In a medium bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating to combine after each addition. Stir in the cream mixture, then the currants. Add the dry ingredients and beat to combine.
3. Pour into prepared pan, and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

Monday, April 25, 2005 

Oh...Dreaming of Scotland

of Scottish Shortbread...and a holiday on the Isle of Eriska! Posted by Hello
Sometimes in this cyberworld we stumble across little areas that put a little relaxation in our hearts....and give us glimpses into worlds and occupations that we had little knowledge of before, but inspire us. Go visit The Isle of Eriska blog or click on the above title to cyberly go to the Isle of Eriska.....and start dreaming of holiday!

Well...I will wait to see if they will share a secret authentic scottish shortbread recipe with me, but for the meantime...this one has won some hearts on this side of "the Pond."


2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger
confectioners' sugar for sprinkling the cookies

In a bowl with an electric mixer cream together the butter, the brown sugar, and the ground ginger until the mixture is light and fluffy and add the flour and the salt. Beat the dough until it is just combined and beat in the candied ginger. Halve the dough, roll out each half 1/4 inch thick between sheets of wax paper, and freeze the dough on baking sheets for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it is very firm. Working with half the dough at a time, remove the top sheets of wax paper and cut out cookies with a 2 1/4-inch heart-shaped cutter. (The dough should be cold so that the cookies retain their shape.) Arrange the cookies 2 inches apart on the baking sheets, bake them in batches in the middle of a preheated 300°F. oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until they are pale golden, and transfer them to a rack. Gather the scraps, reroll the dough, and make more cookies in the same manner. Let the cookies cool completely and sprinkle them with the confectioners' sugar, sifted. The cookies keep in an airtight container for 5 days.

Saturday, April 23, 2005 

The Oreo Cookie Personality Test

Psychologists have discovered that the manner in which people eat Oreo cookies provides great insight into their personalities. Choose which method best describes your favorite method of eating Oreos:

1. The whole thing all at once.
2. One bite at a time.
3. Slow and methodical nibbles examining the results of each bite afterwards.
4. In little feverous nibbles.
5. Dunked in some liquid (milk, coffee...).
6. Twisted apart, the inside, then the cookie.
7. Twisted apart, the inside, and toss the cookie.
8. Just the cookie, not the inside.
9. I just like to lick them, not eat them.
10. I don't have a favorite way because I don't like Oreo.

Your Personality:

1. The whole thing. This means you consume life with abandon, you are fun to be with, exciting, carefree with some hint of recklessness. You are totally irresponsible. No one should trust you with their children.
2. One bite at a time. You are lucky to be one of the 5.4 billion other people who eat their Oreos this very same way. Just like them, you lack imagination, but that's okay, not to worry, you're normal.
3. Slow and methodical. You follow the rules. You're very tidy and orderly. You're very meticulous in every detail with every thing you do to the point of being anal retentive and irritating to others. Stay out of the fast lane if you're only going to go the speed limit.
4. Feverous nibbles. Your boss likes you because you get your work done quickly. You always have a million things to do and never enough time to do them. Mental breakdowns and suicides run in your family. Valium and Ritalin would do you good.
5. Dunked. Every one likes you because you are always up beat. You like to sugar coat unpleasant experiences and rationalize bad situations into good ones. You are in total denial about the shambles you call a life. You have a propensity towards narcotic addiction.
6. Twisted apart, the inside, and then the cookie. You have a highly curious nature. You take pleasure in breaking things apart to find out how they work, though not always able to put them back together, so you destroy all the evidence of your activities. You deny your involvement when things go wrong. You are a compulsive liar and exhibit deviant, if not criminal, behavior.
7. Twisted apart, the inside, and then toss the cookie. You are good at business and take risk that pay off. You take what you want and throw the rest away. You are greedy, selfish, mean, and lack feelings for others. You should be ashamed of yourself. But that's ok, you don't care, you got yours.
8. Just the cookie, not the inside. You enjoy pain.
9. I just like to lick them, not eat them. Stay away from small furry animals and seek professional medical help - immediately.
10. I don't have a favorite way, I don't like Oreo cookies. You probably come from a rich family, and like to wear nice things, and go to up-scale restaurants. You are particular and fussy about the things you buy, own, and wear. Things have to be just right. You like to be pampered. You are a prim.

Friday, April 22, 2005 

Happy Chef Blogging Friday!

Posted by Hello Love him or Hate Him - The Restaurant's ROCCO DISPIRITO!

Could he be back? He certainly has eaten humungous crow with his very public feud with Jeffrey Chodorow, all caught in the bright lights of reality tv. And, he did send Fortune Magazine a little mail...
Anyway, remember that TV show, "The Restaurant," on which Rocco DiSpirito got into a nasty, all-out fight with the restaurant's owner, Jeffrey Chodorow? And the restaurant in question, Rocco's, closed following horrific reviews? Well, today, in my mailbox, appeared DiSpirito's apology to Chodorow et al. He wrote, "In retrospect I regret some of my statements and actions, which may have exacerbated the dispute between us. The whole experience… was 'interesting' to say the least—one that both Jeffrey and I are glad to have behind us."

He's letting the secret recipe to Mama's meatballs out on his website. But, really, Mama herself is the secret ingredient.

Thursday, April 21, 2005 

Slotting Fee Disclosures?

I think it's a great idea!
A state legislator is seeking to impose civil penalties on retailers that fail to disclose information on slotting fee arrangements.

State Sen. Liz Figueroa, D-Fremont, recently introduced Senate Bill 582 which would require any retailer charging slotting fees to disclose details of the arrangement up front to product suppliers.

Slotting fees represent a $9 billion revenue stream for supermarkets, costing suppliers between $3,000 to $40,000 in annual charges. Some cannot afford the heft payments, which Figueroa claims restrict choice."(Slotting fees) are prevalent throughout the grocery industry and, in some cases, cause harm to food suppliers and consumers," Figueroa said in an interview with the East Bay Business Times (Pleasanton, Calif.)

Figueroa has the support of some farmers and grocery worker unions, but the California Grocers Association adamantly opposes her bill.

The bill will have a hearing sometime this spring. If the bill clears the Senate and the Assembly, it would next be considered by the state Assembly and eventually Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. - gourmet news

The decades-old practice of suppliers paying major grocery chains for shelf space is a less-than-fresh controversy. For years, small businesses have argued that the fees push them off the shelves. Meanwhile, grocers say space is limited, and introducing new products is risky. Slotting fees offset those risks, they say.

Charging slotting fees generates substantial money -- about $9 billion annually for the placement of new products alone, according to the Federal Trade Commission -- and has caught the attention of at least one state legislator. - Monterey Herald

The FTC study found that slotting fees "are all over the map," Schultheiss said. Within just the hot-dog category, one of five product groups the commission studied, the agency found one retailer that charged $5,000 and another that charged more than $20,000.

"It's hard to say whether or not there's a direct correlation between how much is charged and how much it costs," she said, because there are no records to check. The report noted, "Many retailers simply do not maintain ... historical, product-specific electronic data on slotting allowances." -

You might not want to ever walk into a grocery store and ask about slotting fees...the general public isn't supposed to know too much about grocer's payola scenarios.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 

Seasoned with Fun (Jr.League El Paso)

Posted by Hello They also put out an accompanying book "Seasoned with Sun", but I don't have that in my collection...yet!

It really is an interesting cookbook...packed full of information on cooking, cooking tips and entertaining tips. Lots of interesting flavor combos and spices. They also have an additional section with some recipes translated into Spanish.

Mango Colada Pie

Prep time 20 Minutes
Chill time: 8 hours
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 8 - 10 servings

Coconut Crust (below)
2 - 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar; divided
2 ripe mangoes, chopped in small pieces
2 - 8 oz containers heavy cream
3/4 cup coconut

Prepare Coconut Crust: set aside
Beat cream cheese and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer until creamy
Fold in mangoes
In a separate mixing bowl, beat heavy cream and remaining 1/3 cup sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold in the mango mixture.
Pour into cooled Coconut Crust. Garnish with coconut.
Chill for at least 8 hours or overnight before serving.

Decorate each plate with some raspberry puree and fresh raspberries.

Coconut Crust
1/2 cup almonds, finely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Combine almonds, sugar, walnuts, graham cracker crumbs and coconut.
Add butter and stir until blended
Press into bottom and up sides of deep dish pie plate
Bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool.

Monday, April 18, 2005 

Martha's Baaaaaaack

Posted by Hello Well...Now we know where cookie monster may have gotten his "go healthy" idea...

Six weeks after being released from federal prison, Martha Stewart has reached a deal with Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. to create a 24-hour channel featuring cooking, gardening and entertaining programming for women. - Yahoo/AP

Love her or hate her....Martha just keeps rolling along. Is it a coincidence that Martha, a Democrat, got jail time and the likes of Ken Lay, Republicans, who did serious financial damage to our country are still walking free? I don't think so.

But, that being said. Martha's magazines are a fantastic resource for great recipes.

Madeleine Cookies

Perfectly delicate shell-shaped cookies—are flavored with lemon or orange zest, but variations include chocolate, cocoa, almond paste, or nuts. Baked in scallop-shaped molds, these cookies are tender with a tight-grained interior and a delicate crust.

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
5tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1/2cup whole hazelnuts, toasted
1 1/4cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
Pinch of salt
4 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Heat oven to 325 deg;. In a small saucepan, melt butter until light amber in color.

2. Brush madeleine pan with melted butter, and dust lightly with flour. Place hazelnuts and 1 tablespoon confectioners sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, and process until very fine.

3. Combine hazelnut mixture, 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons confectioners sugar, flour, and salt in a medium bowl. Add egg whites and vanilla, and whisk to combine. Add melted browned butter, and whisk until incorporated. With a tablespoon, fill molds evenly, about three-quarters of the way. Transfer to oven, and bake 14 to 18 minutes. Cool 2 minutes, and remove from pan. Cool completely on a rack, ridged side up. Dust cookies with confectioners sugar.

Sunday, April 17, 2005 

The Palace Grill (Formerly Cafe)

Posted by Hello This is one of my all time favorite restaurants in Santa Barbara...let alone anywhere. A little cajun cooking warms the heart and soul. It is a casual atmosphere with "team service" where everyone is your waiter and the music plays zee zydeco!

One of their signature recipes was a Jalapeno-Cheddar Corn Muffin. I believe it was printed up in the Los Angeles Times at one time in their SOS column, but I found it in a cookbook "Sumptious Santa Barbara" . Nothing is quite like the original, but hopefully these will come close.

Jalapeno-Cheddar Corn Muffins

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 cup corn meal
2 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
3 eggs, lightly beatn
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon margarine, melted
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup shortening
1 3/4 cups milk
5 ounces cheddar cheese, finely grated
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced

Combine dry ingredients in large mixing bowl. In separate small bowl, combine eggs, margarine and honey; mix well. Rub shorenting into dry ingredients until crumbly. Add egg mixture and mix until all dry ingredients are moistened. Add milk and stir very well. Stir in cheese and pepper thoroughly. Scoop mixture into lightly greased muffin tins, filling 3/4 full.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 15 minutes until gorlden borwn. Serve warm.
Makes two and 1/2 dozen muffins.

Saturday, April 16, 2005 

Lives Up To It's Title

Posted by Hello Imagine having a subscription to all the great food magazines – Gourmet, Food & Wine, Bon Appétit and the like – and being able to read the food sections of every major newspaper. And imagine owning every one of the year's best cookbooks, then testing all those recipes and selecting only the very best. Buy yourself this issue or any of the others that have sinced followed and imagine no more....

Velvet Chocolate Cake

Claire Legas, pastry chef at Absinthe Restaurant in San Francisco, created this delicious recipe for Scharffen-berger Chocolate. (and if you have not used this chocolate, you are missing out on what I think is the best dark chocolate around....)

1 pound Scharffen Berger 70% bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup minus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup strong coffee, kept warm but not hot
6 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter or spray a 9-inch round pan (not spring-form) with vegetable oil spray. Line bottom with a parchment circle. Have a larger pan ready to serve as a water bath.

Melt the chocolate gently over hot water. Keep warm.
Whip the cream with 2 tbs of sugar until the mixture forms soft peaks. Set aside.
Whip eggs on high speed in a stand mixer until double in volume. Gradually add the 1/2 cup sugar to the eggs, 1 tbs at a time. Continue whipping until the eggs have fully tripled in volume and are light and fluffy. They should have some body.
Pour the coffee into the chocolate and stir until combined.
Fold the eggs into the chocolate in three additions, working quickly to incorporate each addition. Fold in cream.
Pour the batter into the parchment-lined pan. Place it in the larger pan. Fill the outer pan with hot water so that it reaches halfway up the side of the cake pan.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the cake still jiggles in the center when gently shaken. Cool completely on a rack.

To unmold, slide small knife or spatula around the edges of the cake to loosen from pan. Cover the top of the pan with a sheet of waxed paper. Place a plate upside-down over the paper and invert pan and plate together. Remove cake pan and parchment liner. Place a serving platter on the bottom of the cake and turn right-side up.

Slice and serve with creme anglaise or whipped cream.

Makes 14-16 servings. Keeps up to four days at room temperature, wrapped tightly in plastic.

If you want some of this sinfully delicious cake, and you are in or planning to visit the San Francisco area, I suggest making reservations to Absinthe Restaurant via OPENTABLE.COM. ( I LOVE this site!)

Friday, April 15, 2005 

Super Mario!

Happy Chef Blogging Friday

Posted by Hello who knew he was a sous-chef in my hometown Santa Barbara!

Thursday, April 14, 2005 

Chocolate Snowball

Posted by Hello you gotta love the title...and you'll love the recipes....

Raspberry Granola Bars

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2/3 cup shredded coconut
2/3 cup finely ground walnuts
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 apple (any variety) cored and grated
1 cup (10-ouce jar) raspberry preserves or spreadable fruit

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Brush a 9x13 inch baking pan with melted butter and dust lightly with flour or spray generously with cooking spray.

Mix the flour, oats, brown sugar, coconut and walnuts in a large bowl. Using your fingers work in the butter until it resembles a coarse meal, being careful not to overmix it into a dough. (or you can use a food processor. Pulse 4 or 5 times) Pat a little more than half of this mixture (about 3 cups) into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust just begins to turn brown. Cool.

Stir the grated apple into the preserves. Spread onto the pre-baked crust. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining flour and nut mixture. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until the top crust is a light golden brown. Cool completely before cutting.

Makes 12 (3 inch square) or 24 (2 inch square) bar cookie.

Go visit the Chocolate Snowball website. Imagine yourself munching happily upon delicious bakery items while taking in the views.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 

What is up with The South and Cheese Straws

Posted by Hello "If there were community cookbook awards, the Oscar for the best performance would go hands down to River Road Recipes". - New York Times. There have been more than 1.2 million copies sold of this book...and for good reason. It covers pretty much everything. It was originally published in 1959 and the copy that I have is the 52nd Printing done in April 1980. It has been followed up by with River Road Recipes II, III and IV. Guess they must be doing something right down in Baton Rouge!

I'm not sure why Cheese Straws are so popular in the South. And I have been seeing a handfull of companies that are now offering them up nationwide. But why pay a fortune for boxed cheesy snacks when you can make some up at home. And they're soooooooo easy.

Cheese Straws

1 cup butter
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 2/3 cups sifted flour
Dash red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix ingrediets together well. Roll thin and cut in narrow strips. Bake in slow oven, 275 degrees until light borwn. Makes about 4 dozen.

* SPEAKING OF AWARDS * go visit the Webby Awards People's Vote and vote for one of my favorite blogs "101 Cookbooks" for best personal site.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005 

Torani - Not just for coffee anymore

Posted by Hello Great recipes can be had with the use of various Torani flavors! The Torani Cookbook showcases many varying from drinks to marinades to desserts.

Raspberry Chocolate Mousse

8 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
3 egg yolks
3 1/2 tablespoons Raspberry syrup
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla syrup

cut the chocolate into chunks and melt in a double boiler. Add suger, egg yolks and Raspberry syrup. Stir to blend. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Whip the cream with the Vanilla syrup to soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture and spoon into four wine or parfait glasses. Chill well and serve. Serves 4.

Monday, April 11, 2005 

I Really Do Miss Fraiser

Posted by Hello This recipe is from Cafe Nervosa - The Connoisseur's Cookbook.
The recipes were tested in the kitchens of Southern Living. (I don't think that the brother Crane had their aprons out...) Fun. Food. Frippery. It's a nice little keepsake of quality nibbles and a quality show.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Creme Brulee

4 oz white chocolate, chopped
2 cups whipping cream, divided
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped macadamia nuts, toasted
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
Garnish: White Chocolate Shavings

Combine white chocolate and 1/2 cup whipping cream in a heaven saucepan; cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate melts. Add remaining 1 1/4 cups whipping cream, egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla, stirring with a wire whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture is smooth. Place 1 tablespoon chopped macadamia nuts in each of 5 (5x1 inch) round individual baking dishes. Pour custard evenly over nuts. Place dishes in a large roasting pan. Add hot water to pan to depth of 1/2 inch.

Bake at 275 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until almost set. Cool custards in water in pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan; cover and chill custards at least 8 hours.

Sprinkle about 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar evenly over each custard; place custards in pan.

Broil 5 1/2 inches from heat (with electric oven door partially opened) until brown sugar melts. Let stand 5 minutes to allow brown sugar to harden. Garnish, if desired.

Yield: 5 servings.

Sunday, April 10, 2005 

Two Things I adore...Tyler and PBJ

Posted by Hello
Now if I could only get him to come bake some of these jam filled cupcakes with peanut butter topping just for me....yummy.

11/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
1 cup grape jelly (Recommended: Welch's Grape Jelly) Candy bars (Recommended: Reese's Pieces, Butterfinger, Nutterbutter, Heath Bar, smashed up with a rolling pin, for decorating)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a cupcake pan with paper liners, gently spray the liners with nonstick spray and set aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt over a large piece of paper. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with a hand mixer on medium speed, until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, the egg yolk, and the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Pour in the milk and continue to mix until smooth. Pick up the paper with the dry ingredients and gradually pour it into the wet ingredients, continue to mix just until blended.

Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared cupcake tins, about 3/4 full. Bake until the tops of the cupcakes spring back to the touch and are not too golden; about 20 minutes. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, and then allow to cool completely on a wire rack before filling, frosting or decorating.

Fill a squirt bottle with the grape jelly and screw on the cap. Carefully insert the tip of the squirt bottle as far as it will go into the top of the cupcakes. Gently squeeze about 1 tablespoon worth of jelly inside of each. Ice the tops of the cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting to cover. Decorate with your favorite candy.

Peanut Butter Frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon milk

Beat the butter, peanut butter, and cream cheese with a hand or standing mixer on medium speed, until light and fluffy. Slowly add the confectioner's sugar and continue to mix until the frosting is smooth, mix in the milk and continue to mix until it reaches a good spreading consisting.

Saturday, April 09, 2005 

Oh..No..It's Durian Season.....RUN!

Posted by Hello Here's ONE flavor that I absolutely won't offer in cookie form...geeez...If you have never run into one of these porkypine's a description, but you will never truly know one until you take one whiff....whew! (think old gym socks left in a hot locker for a week...)
A large round fruit, native to Southeast Asia, that grows on trees and is distinctive in appearance with its spiked outer shell. Durians grow in round and oblong shapes in excess of 8 to 10 pounds, but generally the fruit is available in sizes ranging from 3 to 10 pounds. The semi-hard shell of this fruit has short, protruding, sharp spikes that cover the inner cavities that contain the edible pulp or meat. Divided into sections, similar to individual pockets, the 5 chambers that grow within the shell each contain a creamy, thick pulp, which is custard-like in texture. The meat provides flavors that may be nutty and bitter to sweet and fruity, somewhat similar to a flavor of strawberries mixed with bananas. This meaty pulp also provides an aroma that is strong and can be nauseating to some. Within the flesh
there are large brown seeds that are edible if cooked prior to eating. They can be roasted or sliced and fried in a seasoned oil.

There are different varieties of durians, each with a somewhat different flavor and texture. Durians with yellow meat generally have a sweeter flavor while white meat varieties may have a nuttier taste. The inner flesh can be smooth or wrinkled. If wrinkled, the meat is creamier with a bittersweet, somewhat nutty flavor. Smoother skinned durians have a fruitier flavor and a slightly less creamy texture. To prepare, the fruit can be sliced in half between the stem and the bottom or the concave sections can be cut in an elliptical shape and pulled back away from the shell of the fruit. Either method will allow access to the pockets that contain the creamy textured flesh so it can be scooped out with a large spoon for serving. Make sure no juice drips onto any item which can be stained, such as clothing, as it will permanently mark areas where it spills.

Durians should be eaten fresh and not stored at room temperature for more than 3 to 5 days. It is best to select well formed fruits without blemishes. By inserting a knife into a durian it is possible to check for freshness, which is indicated if the residue remaining on the knife is sticky.

The durian fruit can be used in baking sweets, in making jams, for use in custards, or as a flavoring for milk shakes and ice-cream treats.

NPR had a little story on it this afternoon. It's a fun listen. - Spring in SF is Durian Season. Be thankful it doesn't come in "smell-o-vision."

Friday, April 08, 2005 

Happy Buddha Day (Hana Matsuri)

photo by james marzano Posted by Hello

According to legend, Prince Gautama (known to us as the Enlightened One or Buddha) was born on April 8th around 446 BC. The story goes that when he was born the earth shook as sweet nectar and flowers fell from the heavens. Soon after his birth he is said to have pointed to the heavens with his right forefinger, to the earth with his left, and proclaimed; “I am my own lord throughout Heaven and Earth!” This day has since been celebrated as Hana Matsuri, the “Flower Festival.”

Images of the naked infant Buddha, proclaiming the essence of the Buddhist doctrine and pointing skyward, can be seen all over Japan every year on his birthday and posters of the precocious Buddha-child are always pasted-up in every neighborhood weeks earlier, calling the people to come to their local temple for celebrations on April 8th. On that day small statues of infant Buddha, some of them ornate and quite old, are placed in the center of a tray filled with sweet tea in miniature shrines, looking like small Buddhist temples covered in various flowers are called, accurately enough, hana mido or “flower temples.” These flower decked shrines are said to represent the garden of Lumbini in Nepal where the Buddha was born. In earlier times twelve flowers were specifically used to decorate them, each representing a different month of the year.

The sweet tea that surrounds the statue and which sits in a pot next to it is called amacha. This liquid, supposedly the same nectar which fell so long ago from heaven, is brewed from the leaves of the hydrangea bush which grows in the mountains. It is interesting to note that before sugar was introduced into Japan, amacha was boiled down into a thick syrup and used as a sugar substitute.

Thursday, April 07, 2005 

Rice Krispy Cookies

From a Taste of Oregon, Junior League of Eugene
First Published October 1980 and this particular edition that I picked up is the 15th printing of May 1998. Posted by Hello

1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
3/4 cup Rice Krispies

Beat the butter, sugar, and egg yolks until creamy. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking poweder, then add to butter mixture along with the vanilla. Blend in oatmeal and Rice Krispies. Form cookie dough into 1-inch balls and flatten on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until they start to borwn, about 10 minutes.

Yield: 3 dozen

I have not made these yet, but they fascinated me for some reason. Could it be the Rice Krispie part? I recently picked up this book at my favorite used book store in Santa Barbara. I figured I couldn't go wrong, as it is a Junior League book, it has sold over 300,000 copies AND was the winner of both the Walter S. McIlhenny Hall of Fame and the Southern Living Hall of Fame awards. From what I understand, it is one of the nation's top best selling Junior League cookbooks.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005 

This Day in Food History....

I had no idea it was National Caramel Popcorn Day, today...

1859 Massachusetts created the first Inspector of Milk position in the U.S.
1869 John Wesley Hyatt patented celluloid, the first synthetic plastic.
1896 Opening day of the first modern Olympic games. The last Olympics were held 1,500 years ago.
1930 'Twinkies' go on sale for the first time.
1932 C. Glen King, at the University of Pittsburgh, isolated vitamin C from lemon juice.
1938 Roy J. Plunkett accidentally discovered Teflon.
1954 TV dinners are introduced. C.A. Swanson & Sons introduced the first TV dinner: roast turkey with stuffing and gravy, sweet potatoes and peas. It sold for 98 cents and came in an aluminum tray, so you could just open the box and heat the dinner in the oven. (No microwave ovens back then). Supposedly executive Gerald Thomas came up with the idea when the company had tons of leftover turkey from Thanksgiving (Didn't we all?). The idea for the aluminum trays came from the trays used for airline food. They were an immediate success, and Turkey dinners are still the most popular Swanson frozen dinner. Swanson stopped calling them TV dinners in 1962.
1988 McDonald's opened its 10,000th restaurant in Dale City, Virginia.


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