Saturday, May 28, 2005 

Ina Garten's Famous Flag Cake

Posted by Hello From Ina's third book, Barefoot Contessa Family Style. It was actually in one of Martha Stewart's Living Magazines and proved to be one of the most popular recipes. For the life of me, I can't find an image of we'll just put Ina up instead and you can make the cake and see how beautiful it turns out to be. Just in time for Memorial Day observances.


18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 cup sour cream at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

For the icing:
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese at room temperature
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

To assemble: 2 half-pints blueberries 3 half-pints raspberries
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter and flour an 18 by 13 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed, until light and fluffy. On medium speed, add the eggs, 2 at a time, then add the sour cream and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and stir until smooth.

Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a spatula. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool to room temperature.

For the icing, combine the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mixing just until smooth.

Spread three-fourths of the icing on the top of the cooled sheet cake. Outline the flag on the top of the cake with a toothpick. Fill the upper left corner with blueberries. Place 2 rows of raspberries across the top of the cake like a red stripe. Put the remaining icing in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe two rows of white stripes below the raspberries. Alternate rows of raspberries and icing until the flag is completed. Pipe stars on top of the blueberries.

I serve this cake right in the pan. If you want to turn it out onto a board before frosting, use parchment paper when you grease and flour the pan.

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Friday, May 27, 2005 

Happy Chef Blogging Friday!

Posted by Hello One of the most influential chefs in our country is Alice Waters. She doesn't have the fancy sayings, ala BAM! or a couple of FoodTV shows, but this amazing women changed the way Americans think about food; think about the freshness of food; think about how and where food comes from.

Chez Pannise
Mother Jones Interview
PBS American Masters
The Edible Schoolyard
Salon Interview
NPR Interview
AlterNet Interview
The Nature Conservancy Interview

Thursday, May 26, 2005 

It's just too hot....

note to self: get air conditioning.

I'm melting. I'm not cooking...anything...I feel like I am in the oven myself. Glancing through cookbooks, flipping through pages trying to be inspired, and all I can manage to view are recipes for libations. Must be a sign.


Makes 1

2 tablespoons simple syrup or to taste (recipe follows)
3/4 oz. Absolut Kurant vodka
3/4 oz. Absolut Citron vodka
a splash Key Lime juice or regular fresh lime juice
a splash chilled Cranberry Juice
a splash chilled Sprite

In a chilled, tall glass filled with ice, stir together all ingredients.

Simple Syrup**
(makes about 2 cups)

1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups water

In a small saucepan bring sugar and water to a boil, stirring and boil until sugar is completely dissovled. Cool syrup.

**cooled syrup keeps, covered and chilled, 2 weeks.


Photo of the Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding

Posted by Hello Now....I have not tried this. It looks yummy. Really yummy. And I am an admitted Krispy Kreme afficionata. But, I only allow myself so many in the year. And this would cover my allotment in one sitting.

Nic, over at The Baking Sheet, and I dare any of our readers to try this and report back. I'm not sure what I can come up with as a "reward" but I am dying to know what this tastes like.

So...the DARE IS ON!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 

A Bread Pudding Elvis Would Have Loved

(Hello is acting up no photo yet)

I am addicted to FoodTV. I must have my FoodTV daily or I go a little nutty. (Well...I guess I am to begin with, but that's an entirely different story) I got a glimpse of Paula Deen yesterday and she was doing some Southern BBQ stuff. And then she got to the desert part of the meal. I nearly died. Talk about a little nutty yet completely Southern, she used a recipe sent to her by her friend Bill Nicholson. He has come up with a way to use Krispy Kreme doughnuts that is quite unusual. Now, THIS is a desert fit for Elvis.

Bill Nicholson's Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding with Butter Rum Sauce

Difficulty: Easy Prep
Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour Yield: about 12 servings

2 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
2 (4.5-ounce) cans fruit cocktail (undrained)
2 eggs, beaten
1 (9-ounce) box raisins
1 pinch salt
1 or 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Butter Rum Sauce, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cube donuts into a large bowl. Pour other ingredients on top of donuts and let soak for a few minutes. Mix all ingredients together until donuts have soaked up the liquid as much as possible.

Bake for about 1 hour until center has jelled. Top with Butter Rum Sauce.

Butter Rum Sauce:
1 stick butter
1 pound box confectioners' sugar
Rum, to taste

Melt butter and slowly stir in confectioners' sugar. Add rum and heat until bubbly. Pour over each serving of Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding

See this recipe on air Tuesday May. 31 at 11:30 AM ET/PT

Other recipes on this show:

Chicken on the Grill
Daddy's Tangy Grilling Sauce
Grilled Asparagus with Lemon and Garlic
Fried Biscuits
Easy Squeeze Honey Butter

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 

The Chicago Tribune Cookbook

Posted by Hello Chicago is one of the great foodie towns in America. It has a rich ethnic diversity and that "melting pot" is reflected in the dishes available in the many renowned restaurants. Italian. German. Irish. Mexican. Indian. Polish. And the Tribune has been a source for cooks everywhere to turn for great recipes reflecting the city's heritage.

One afternoon I was rummaging through a booksale and found hidden under several books, The Chicago Tribune Cookbook, Contemporary and Classic Favorites from 1989. It is a food tome....706 pages with easy to read type and chockful of varied and easily manageable recipes. Lobster Salad with Avocado Mayonnaise. Crispy Asparagus with Tomato Ginger Chutney. Chicken Curry with Bamboo Shoots. And, of course....Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza.


Makes about 2 dozen. Preparation time: 20 minutes. Chilling Time: 1 hour. Baking Time: 15-18 minutes.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, separated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups finely chopped nuts
1/4 cup raspberry jam

Cream butter and sugar in large mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla extract. Mix well. Mix flour and salt. Stir into butter mixture and mix well. Cover. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Beat egg white lightly in small bowl. Put nuts in another small bowl. Dip each ball into egg white, then roll in nuts. Put balls 1 inch apart onto ungreased baking sheet. Press thumb in the center of each to make an indentation.

Bake until bottoms are golden. 15 - 18 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Fill indentation with a small amount of raspberry jam.

Monday, May 23, 2005 

Everyday Food from Martha Stewart

Posted by Hello This little magazine is from the Omnimedia Empire of Martha. It took me a little while to get used to it, but now I am certainly a fan. It's size is wonderful to take to the store with you...just slip it into your bag and go. Easy to handle and filled with useful information and great recipes.

It has become so popular, a television show has branched out, too.


Makes 12; Prep time: 15 minutes; Total time: 30 minutes

These delicate, buttery cookies, which get their crunchy texture from toasted pecans and a sugar coating, practically melt in you mouth

3/4 cup pecans
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for coating
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350°. On a baking sheet, toast pecans until fragrant, about 6 minutes. Let cool completely; finely chop.

With an electric mixer, cream butter and 1/3 cup sugar until light, about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla, salt, and flour, scraping down sides of bowl, just until dough comes together. Fold in pecans.

Separate dough into 12 pieces; squeeze dough to shape into balls. Roll in sugar. Place, 3 inches apart, on a baking sheet. Gently flatten with the bottom of a glass (reshape sides if necessary). Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake until golden brown, rotating sheet halfway through, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with more sugar. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

Saturday, May 21, 2005 

California Sizzles...In More Ways Than One!

Posted by Hello It has been really, really hot here in the Los Angeles area this week. 90 degrees, generally. Today it is supposed to be in the 100's. So...I'm not going to be in the kitchen today.

Sizzles is one of my favorite cookbooks. It is, yes again, a Junior League Cookbook, this time from the fine lovely ladies of Pasadena. Forget what the Beach Boys sang....There's No little old ladies driving the freeways here! I am soon to be a "regular" member of this fine organization. I will be completing my first year (Provisional year) soon and I am hoping to be on the Cookbook Committee as a new cookbook is slated to be out next year. (Crossing my fingers I was picked!)

Anyway....step into a star-studded land of Hollywood glamour, sun drenched beaches and fragrant parade of roses. Taste the fresh flavors of trend-setting southern California with this wonderful and beautifully illustrated and colorful cookbook. It's imaginative collection of easy and distinctive recipes are sure to be a hit for any occassion. There are easy recipes for cooks on-the-go; fresh, easily available ingredients; carefully selected triple-tested recipes. Try the California tastes of Swordfish Baked in Spicy Peanut Mole, Sherry Tomato Bisque, Gruyere Cheese and Pesto Filled Chicken Breasts, Torrey Pines Turkey Tostadas, Thai Shrimp Satay and Double Frosted Kahlua Brownies. (hungry yet?) Third place winner of a 1993 Tabasco Community Cookbook Awards. Try'll be Rose Bowl'd over!

Chocolate Caramel Brownie Heaven

14 oz. caramels
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2/3 cup cocoa
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans, divided

Preheat oven to 350F

Place caramels and sweetened condensed milk in a double boiler and cook over low heat until caramels are melted. Stir often and blend well. As caramels are melting, place shortneing in another saucepan and melt over low heat. Remove from heat and cool.

Beat sugar and eggs until well combined. Add cocoa, milk, vanilla and cooled shortening. Sift flour, salt and baking powder and add to chocolate mixture, beating well. Stir in chocolate chips and 1/2 cup pecans.

Spread 2/3 of the batter into a greased 9x13 inch pan and bake 12 minutes. Remove brownies from the oven and pour melted caramels evenly over surface. If caramels mixture has stiffened, reheat briefly to liquify. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup pecans over caramels. Drop remaining 1/3 of chocolate batter by tablespoonful and spread over surface with knife or spatula as evenly as possible. Using a knife, cut through brownie batter to marbleize.

Return pan to oven and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with foil for 1 hour. Refregerate foil covered pan for an addtional hour or until cooled.

Cut into 2x3 inch bars and store at room temperature.

Well...I'll be busy trying out some of the new recipes for the new book. I'll keep you posted on some real winners! And, of course, where to pick up the book when it comes out!

Friday, May 20, 2005 

Happy Day Before Preakness Blogging

Posted by Hello Will Giocomo have the last laugh?

I haven't gone over the Form I don't have my bets in.

But, ONE thing you can bet on is that Maryland has the best crab cakes in the world!

Thursday, May 19, 2005 

Music and Food...a Great Combo!

Posted by Hello You can't go wrong to give these luscious books as a gift...either for yourself or someone else.

Gourmet recipes from leading museum cafés:
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Art Institute of Chicago
National Gallery of Art
J. Paul Getty Museum
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Stylish food photography, breathtaking images by famed artists, and photos of each museum. The companion music CD, especially recorded for Museum Cafés & Arts, offers more than an hour of romantic chamber music (Ravel, Debussy, Mozart) by the Rossetti String Quartet.

Cheescake with Mango and Raspberry Coulis

Recipe courtesy Museum Restaurant, The Metropolitan Museum of ArtNew York, New York. From Museum Cafés & Arts

Prepare this luscious cheesecake at least 4 hours before serving. It tastes even better when prepared a day in advance.

1 1/2 pounds (750 g) cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup (4 oz/125 g) sugar
3 egg yolks
1 egg
1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Garnish - Mango
Coulis - Raspberry Coulis

Preheat the oven to 275°F (135°C). Butter a 8 1/2-inch (21.5-cm) round springform pan and sprinkle lightly with sugar. To prevent leaks, set the pan on 2 squares of aluminum foil and mold the foil up around the sides.

In the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.

With the machine running, add the egg yolks and eggs one at a time, using a spatula to scrape down the sides of bowl as needed. Add the cream and vanilla and beat until perfectly smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and transfer to a large baking dish. Add water to the baking dish to come two-thirds of the way up the sides of the pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Transfer the pan from the oven to a wire rack. Using a knife, loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes, then remove the sides. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. (Can be made up to 4 days ahead. Cover loosely and keep refrigerated.)

To serve, slice the cheesecake into wedges. Decorate each plate with a little mango and raspberry coulis and arrange a cheesecake wedge in the center.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

I also have the dining at Great American Lodges, too.

Monday, May 16, 2005 

A Cookie For Jon and The Daily Show Crew

Posted by Hello Sorry for the delay but I have been cooking up a storm for a basket I sent to Comedy Central in thanks of their making fun on National TV of skippy the bush kangaroo, one of the blogs that I help out on.

I found that putting a postcard backing helps with the shipping and you can have a fun time with designs. One of my favorite cookies to give are feet with a seashore backing. You can use little decorative jimmys to make sandals. It's fun.

Remember not to use "Royal Icing" with raw eggs. There are multiple products out there you can use instead, like one from Wilton.

Hope they like them.....

Sunday, May 15, 2005 

Williams-Sonoma - The Southwest

Posted by Hello I have always loved the cooking of the Southwest. Spicy. Exotic (for a New Englander!). Tasty. But true American, for it encompasses the cooking traditions of the Native Americans and various cultures that "visited" that certain part of the States. May I add....a delicious blending of cultures.

The author, Kathi Long has long been a "staple" at the Santa Fe Cooking School and she really knows her chilies! (Even though she originated from the MidWest...but then again, as Americans, most of us or our ancestors originated from somewhere else...)

These cookies are traditional Christmas cookies of New Mexico, but you can see and enjoy them throughout the year. The aniseed was introduced to the region by the Spanish in the early 19th century and the fleur-de-lys shape is a reminder of the French expeditions in the area in the 18th century.


1 cup lard or vegetable shortening, at room temperatore
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1/3 cup sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon freshly ground canela or 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of kosher salt
1 egg
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons aniseed, toasted
2 tablespoons dark rum or brandy

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium high speed, beat together the lard or shortening and 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add the salt and egg. Reduce speed to low and mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and aniseed. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the lard or shortening mixture and beat until just combined. Add the rum or brandy and mix until combined. If the dough still seems too dry to hold together, add water. 1 teaspoon at a time, until the dough comes together.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough about 1/4 inch thick. Using a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out the cookies. Gather the scraps, reroll and cut out more cookies until the dough is used up. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with the canela-sugar mixture.

Bake the cookies, one baking sheet at a time, until puffed and very lightly golden, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely. Repeat with the reminaing cookies.

The cookies will keep for 3-4 days in a cool dry place, such as an airtight tin, between layers of parchment or waxed paper.

Saturday, May 14, 2005 


Posted by Hello If you have not heard of this deli to the foodie hoardes, I highly recommend you get familiar with it!

Opened in March of 1982 by Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig in an historic building near the Ann Arbor Farmers' Market, the Deli got its start with a staff of two, a small selection of great-tasting specialty foods. Zingerman's today is an Ann Arbor institution, the source of great food and great experiences for thousands of visitors every year.

Their catalog is a hoot. You should order up one today.

You want oils? They've got some dandies.
You want some sweet stuff? They've got some "sweet" sweet stuff.
You want food gift ideas? They've got some gifts for just about everyone on your foodie list.

They have even branched out to be one of the top food retailer training folks in the country!
Put a little "zing" in your life. Go say hello.

Friday, May 13, 2005 

Happy Chef Blogging Friday!

Posted by Hello James Beard (May 5, 1903January 21, 1985) was an American chef and food writer.

His family operated a small hotel in the Pacific Northwest, and he was exposed to a tremendous variety of foods native to that region as a child. He trained initially as a singer and actor, and moved to New York City in 1937. Not having much luck in the theater, he and a friend tried to capitalize on the cocktail party craze by opening a catering company, "Hors D'Oeuvre" and published his first cookbook Hors D'Oeuvre and Canapes, a compilation of his catering recipes.

Rationing difficulties in World War II brought his catering business to its end. In 1946 he appeared on the first cooking show ever televised, "I Love to Eat" on NBC, and thus began his rise as an eminent American food authority.

Over the next forty years James Beard operated a cooking school out of his apartment in New York, wrote dozens of books on cooking and food, and hundreds of articles on food for many different magazines.

By many, James Beard is recognized as the father of American gastronomy. Throughout his life, he pursued and advocated the highest standards, and served as a mentor to emerging talents in the field of the culinary arts.

After Beard's death in 1985, Julia Child had the idea to preserve his home in New York City as the gathering place it was throughout his life. The late Peter Kump, a former student of Beard's and the founder of the Institute of Culinary Education (formerly Peter Kump's New York Cooking School), spearheaded the effort to purchase the house and create the James Beard Foundation.

Recently the James Beard Foundation has been the "recipe for scandal" and near financial collapse.

The James Beard Awards were recently handed out....go check out some of the winners! (congrats to one of our faves, Super Mario!)

Thursday, May 12, 2005 

George Lukas Meets Environmentally Friendly Folks

This is just too funny!

Grocery Store Wars

You will need to learn the ways of The Farm if you are to rescue Princess Lettuce

Watch Obi-Wan Cannoli, Chew-broccoli, Darth Tater and Cuke Skywalker in action against the dark side of the store aisles.

From those fun folks over at Free Range Graphics.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005 

A Decade of Decadence

  • Posted by Hello Frappaccino Turns Ten!

    Originally introduced in 1995, the Starbucks Frappuccino® blended beverage has become a beloved summer beverage for millions of Starbucks customers. Frappuccino® blended beverages originated in a Starbucks store in Santa Monica, CA, as local baristas began to blend cool, summer drinks for their customers. The drinks were a hit and in 1995, Starbucks officially introduced the Frappuccino® blended beverage nationally in two flavors -- Coffee and Mocha.

    Since 1995, Starbucks has introduced more than 25 innovative Frappuccino® blended beverage flavors and three blended beverage families -- coffee, creme and light.

    The following fun facts provide a lighthearted glimpse into the popularity of Frappuccino® blended beverages:
  • If all of the Frappuccino® blended beverages sold in 2004 were placed in a line, they would stretch for 14,000 miles, more than halfway around the world.
  • Starbucks store #8944 in Moreno Valley, California sells more Frappuccino® blended beverages than any other store in the United States and Canada.
  • Saturday is the busiest day of the week for Frappuccino® blended beverage sales.
    Caramel Frappuccino® blended coffee is currently the number one selling Frappuccino® blended beverage flavor.
  • The record for the most Frappuccino® blended beverage sold on a single day in both the United States and Canada occurred on Saturday, July 17, 2004. (From the Starbuck's Press Release) better take it easy on the drinking of these things...

    "God only knows how many calories are in here," Robin Lawless said on a recent hot afternoon in Government Center, eyeing the dollop of whipped cream and spiral of caramel sauce atop her caramel frappuccino. "I have no clue."

    Here's a hint: A McDonald's double ch
    eeseburger has 490 calories and 12 grams of saturated fat; Starbucks' Grande Caramel Frappuccino is close behind, at 430 calories and 10 grams of saturated fat -- half the recommended daily intake. - (


    This is a clone for Starbuck's "Lowfat Creamy Blend of Coffee & Milk" that you can now find in the all-too-puny 9 1/2-ounce bottles in most stores. Those little bottles will set you back at least a buck, but this Top Secret Recipes version costs a mere fraction of that. Plus, the recipe actually makes enough that you can get a pretty major caffeine buzz.

    1/2 cup fresh espresso
    2 1/2 cups lowfat milk (2 percent)
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    1 tablespoon dry pectin*(This is a natural thickener found in fruits that is used for canning.)
    Combine all of the ingredients in a pitcher or covered container. Stir or shake until sugar is dissolved. Chill and serve cold.

    Makes 24 ounces.

    To make the "Mocha" variety:

    Add a pinch (1/16 teaspoon) of cocoa powder to the mixture before combining.

    To fake espresso with a drip coffee maker and standard grind of coffee:
    Use 1/3 cup ground coffee and 1 cup of water.Brew once then run coffee through machine again, same grounds.Makes about 1/2 cup fresh espresso to use in the above recipe.Run a pot of water through machine, without grounds, to clean.

    Thanks to Starbucks Gossip for reminding us!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005 


Posted by Hello
I LOVE PENZEY'S. Haven't heard of them? Well....if you are looking for spices of the world, they have pretty much all of that you seek. Aiwain Seed...they got it. Annato Seed....they got it. Kala Jeera....they got it. Mahlab....they got it. Zatar....they got it. AND they have recipes in their catalogue, too, so you can learn how to cook with all these amazing spices.

I learn something new about ingredients and/or spices with each catalogue. Did you know:

Ginger is one of the most widely used spices in the world. It is essential for Asian and Indian dishes where it is used to season meat, seafood and vegetables in many ways-from Indian curries, to Japanese marinades, to Chinese stir-fry. In America, ginger has been used mainly in baking, but it is increasingly being used to season a variety of other dishes. A pinch of ginger is very nice to boost the flavor of salt-free dishes, and ginger is also a flavorful addition to chicken soup, sauteed vegetables, and roast chicken or pork. For flavorful grilled steak, rub ginger, garlic and black or white pepper on meat, marinate a few hours before cooking.


2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 Cup vegetable shortening
1 Cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 Cup molasses - either regular or unsulphured
1 tsp. GINGER, powdered
1 tsp. CINNAMON, powdered
1/2 tsp. CLOVES, powdered
1/3 Cup granulated white sugar (to roll dough in)

Sift flour, baking soda and salt together, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening and sugar until well blended. Beat in egg, molasses, GINGER, CINNAMON, and CLOVES. Add the flour mixture in two parts, blending well. Shape the dough into a ball, cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350°. Shape dough into 11/2" balls for large cookies - smaller are fine too. Roll the balls thoroughly in sugar, place on ungreased cookie trays. The cookies spread out during baking, so don't crowd them. Bake 15 minutes. Cool for a minute, then remove from cookie sheets. Store in an airtight container for crispy cookies, or in a regular cookie jar for chewy cookies.

Yield: 40-60 cookies
Prep. time: 10 minutes plus chilling
Baking time: 30 minutes total (2 sheets at a time for 15 minutes each)

I suggest you also order up and discover for your self the difference between the cinnamons. It WILL amaze you!

Korintje Cassia Cinnamon sweet and mellow, this is the cinnamon we all remember from our childhood
Cassia Cinnamon Chunks a blend of 1/4"-1/2" Chinese and Korintje cassia chunks
China Cassia Cinnamon our best seller, it is strong and spicier than Korintje, with a potent, sweet flavor
Extra Fancy Vietnamese Cinnamon the highest quality, strongest cinnamon available in America today
Ceylon "True" Cinnamon complex and fragrant, with a citrus overtone and rich buff color

Monday, May 09, 2005 

Hail to the Chef

Posted by Hello Imagine spending almost 25 years in the white house pastry kitchen as the executive pastry chef for five presidents and first families, doing your work surrounded by pounds of butter, chocolate, cream, fresh fruits and sugar. while the job may sound like a dessert lover's dream, it's not always as sweet as it seems.

Just ask french-born patissier Roland R. Mesnier, who retired last July. Lately he's been traveling throughout the country promoting his first cookbook, "Dessert University", which took four years to write with help from Lauren Chattman. the 545 pages are filled with all kinds of show-stopping desserts, many from his White House years.

During his time in the white house (1980-2004) he designed and created some 3,000 different desserts with the help of one full-time assistant. Read more at The Press Telegram

One of the recipes he is sharing:


Many chocolate mousse recipes are unnecessarily complicated. Simpler is better. There is nothing more satisfying than the combination of cream and chocolate, with a little bit of crystallized ginger added for excitement. Although there are only three ingredients in this recipe, you must handle them carefully for the best results. The chocolate should be a little warm to the touch; otherwise it may set before you have a chance to fold it into the whipped cream, resulting in a grainy mousse. For the same reason, let the cream come to room temperature before you whip it. If it is too cold, it might cause the chocolate to harden too quickly.

4 ounces semisweet OR bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream, at room temperature
2 teaspoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
6 chocolate cups (optional)

Pour 2 inches of water into a medium saucepan and bring to a bare simmer. Place chocolate in a stainless steel bowl that is big enough to rest on top of the saucepan, and place it over the simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn't touch the water. Heat, whisking occasionally, until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat and let cool until chocolate is just warm to the touch, between 95 and 100 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

Whip cream with an electric mixer until it holds soft peaks. Add whipped cream and ginger to chocolate all at once, and quickly whisk together. Scrape mousse into a serving bowl or individual goblets, or pipe it into chocolate cups, if desired. Serve immediately, or refrigerate up to 1 day before serving. Makes 6 servings.
-- From "Dessert University," by Roland Mesnier.

Sunday, May 08, 2005 

Happy Mother's Day

Posted by Hello Who knew Ina Garten originally worked in the White House on nuclear energy policy? Her recipes aren't "explosive" but her food policies are "energetic" and wonderfully delicious. Simple yet delectible recipes to serve for family, friends and enhance your entertaining style. She's provided recipes for, not only her "Barefoot Contessa" restaurant, but for Martha Stewart and Oprah's magazines, as well. You can also catch her on the FoodNetwork (the channel that is just too addictive...)


(Makes 20 - 22 cookies)

14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut (often called "flaked coconut")
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. White the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric miser fitted with the whisk attachment until they make medium-firm peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.

Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined wiht parchment paper using either a 1 3/4-inch diameter ice cream scoop or two teaspoons. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and serve.

They will stay fresh for a few days if wrapped well and left at room temperature.

Check out Ina's other books (which I don't have...yet)

Barefoot in Paris (her newest...along with a travel journal)
Barefoot Contessa Parties!
The Barefoot Contessa (her first)

Saturday, May 07, 2005 

Win or Lose...Afleet Alex is a Winner

Posted by Hello
Forget the mint juleps. Put down that $6 concession stand bottle of beer. This is a Kentucky Derby for lemonade. Especially if Afleet Alex, one of the more accomplished hopefuls in Saturday's 131st Run for the Roses, is as brave in the Churchill Downs stretch as a little girl named Alexandra "Alex" Scott was living her life. All eight years of it.

When Alex was 4, she started Alex's Lemonade Stand to raise money for pediatric cancer research. That's because two days before her first birthday, Alex was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer. She said she wanted to "help her hospital."
The first stand, in the front yard of Alex's suburban Philadelphia home, opened in the summer of 2000. Before she died last August holding the hands of her parents, and after word had spread of her bittersweet battle to help others, Alex had raised more than $700,000.

A portion of his Afleet Alex' winnings to go help support the Lemonade Stand. You can even buy Official Alex gear at his website.


Tyler Florence Highlighted on NPR

Posted by Hello OK....I'm a sucker for slow ponies and fast men....or...should that be the other way around. Well...anyway. I adore Tyler.

NPR highlighed young Master Florence this morning. It really is a great "interview" that highlights his accessibility and ability to communicate in a warm and friendly way. Isn't that what cooking is all about?

Take a listen. Get ready to get hungry...thank goodness NPR has some recipes up so you can "re-create!"

Friday, May 06, 2005 

Happy Day Before Kentucky Derby Blogging Friday

Posted by Hello We interrupt our regularly Happy Chef Blogging Friday to bring you a special Kentucky Derby Edition.

Who am I liking...well....I think that BELLAMY ROAD is the horse to beat. AFLEET ALEX just might be able to do that. BANDINI and WILKO are good midpackers who will be coming down the stretch when the speedballs are stopping. And a little underlay longshot, HIGH FLY. Time to play those exactas and trifectes as "Roady" and "Alex" are going to be going to post under very low odds.

All eyes and taste buds turn to Kentucky this time of year. We alreay brought you the official drink of the Derby, THE JULEP, so now for a recipe that includes something that is Kentucky bluegrass born and bred, just like the Thoroughbred champions the state is known for.

What am I talking about you ask....BOURBON!

Bourbon, named for its birthplace, Bourbon County, Kentucky, has a long rich tradition in the Bluegrass. The state's abundance of pure limestone water assures the distillation of a smooth, consistent product. The geographical location, central to the corn growing regions, maintains a steady supply of bourbon's chief ingredient. And the temperate climate of Kentucky is the perfect setting for the slow, even aging so critical to the production of fine, distilled spirits.

The creation of bourbon is accredited to Elijah Craig, a Baptist minister and an early President of Georgetown College, Kentucky. The year was 1789. The good parson was searching for a new and different taste in whiskey. Bourbon was the result.

Corn was the new component that separaated bourbon from other distilled whiskey. Elijah Craig combined corn, rye and barley malt with Kentucky's famous limestone water to produce the first alcoholic beverage truly creatred in the United States.

BOURBON BALLS from CordonBlueGrass from the Junior League of Louisville, KY

5 cups crushed vanilla wafer crumbs
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa
2 cups chopped nuts
6 tablesppons light corn syrup
1 cup bourbon (approx.)
Additional powdere sugar

In large bowl combine cookie crumbs, sugar, cocoa and nuts; stir with large spoon.
Add corn syrup and bourbon; mix well with spoon.
With about a tablespoon of dough, roll between palms of hands to make a ball.
After all balls have been made, roll in additional powdered sugar.
Store in a cool place.

Prep Time: 45 minutes / Yield: 4 1/2 dozen

These will keep in a refrigerator or freezer for a long time. You may want to re-roll in sugar if they sit for a while (which they generally don't) These are a Kentucky favoritre for Christmas greetings...or Derby parties!

Thursday, May 05, 2005 


originally uploaded by
santa barbarian.

OK...just testing my new flickr


Feliz Cinco De Mayo!

Posted by Hello Happy Cinco de Mayo! To celebrate, let's highlight a wonderful recipe from Douglas Rodriguez's Latin Flavors book (although he is Cuban and not Mexican).
This pound cake recipe is a to die for recipe on ANY holiday....

Cherry Almond Pound Cake
(serves 12)

1/4 cup amaretto liqueur
1 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces almond paste, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter
6 eggs
1/2 teaspoon bitter almond extract (or substitute almond extract)
1 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

About 2 hours before you are ready to bake, heat the amaretto in a small saucepan. Add the dried cherries. Let cool, stirring occasionally, until the cherries have soaked up all the liquid.

Preheat the oven to 325F. Butter and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan, tapping out an excess flour.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl fitted with a paddle, combine the almond paste and sugar. Beat on low speed until well combined and the mixture looks like wet sand. Add the butter and beat at medium speed until very fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula and add the almond extract and the eggs, one by one, beating only until they are well blended.

Beating on low speed, add a third of the dry ingredients and a third of the sour cream. Do this twice more with the remaining dry ingredients and sour cream, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula. Finally, beat the batter for about 20 seconds, until it is smooth looking. By hand, fold in the cherries until they are well distributed in the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Level the top with a spatula and tap the pan gently on the counter to settle the batter evenly.

Bake for 50-60 minutes until the top is browned and feels springy and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Make the glaze while the cake is cooling. Sift the confectioners sugar into a small bowl and slowly blend in the amaretto with a fork until the mixture is smooth.

Drizzle the cake with the glaze while the cake is still warm.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005 

Blue Grass Winners

Posted by Hello IS Kentucky Derby week and the post positions will be drawn today....and, really what is a Derby without THE JULEP?!

Kentuckians host some of the most lavish celebrations known to man--usually surrounding equestrian events--and now they show the rest of us how it's done. This is Southern hospitality and entertaining on a grand scale, from intimate family dinners to mammoth parties. Also contains history, photos and favorite menus from Kentucky horse farms. 400+ recipes, including Cream of Pimiento Soup and Amaretto Mousse. You know it's a southern recipe when it reads like a novel.

The JULEP is not a miser's beverage, and it reaches its height of conviviality only where friends are gathered together to lend the nectar of their charm to the succulent ingredients, which combine to soothe all of the senses of man. Even as friendship is a nurtured is a JULEP born.

One does not dash madly to the ice tray; bombard commercial glasses with characterless lumps of cold; splash whiskey, sugar and water into a blasphemous hodgepode....stirring the whole truth with a hasty finger that has only just applied some mint to the conglobberation with the gesture one would use to discard parsley from a main course to his butter plate.

Ah, no! The JULEP is a triumph of leaisure! First, one should have a prechilled silver tumbler. He then selects a tender sprig of mint (the sacrificial mint) which is rubbed with firm, though gentle, pressure around the interior walls of the tumbler, being careful not to crush, or mince, the is fragrant taste we are seeking.

Crush ice to the size of pebbles from a clear and running brook until each particle sparkles in the late afternoon sun like the eyes of fairies caught in the morning dew.

Pack the tumbler with these joyous creatures, then feed them sweet nectar brewed of equal parts of sugar and water to the consistency of liquid honey. A teaspoon and a half, poured slowly over the ice, should suffice.

Then fill the tumbler with finest Bourbon...from Kentucky, of course.

Now, stir until a frost appears; add fresh, tender, topleaf sprigs of mint about three inches long, and serve.

Did you ever FEEL such a cool caress?
Did you ever SEE a more relaxing picture?
Did you ever HEAR a more pleasing tune?
Did you ever SMELL a more fragrant odor?
Did you ever TASTE a more enjoyable sip?
What more, then, can you possibly need....except a friend to
enjoy a JULEP with you?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 

Savoring San Francisco

Posted by Hello
San Francisco is a city of neighborhoods where fine restaurants are part of everyday life. A foodie heaven. This book offers up piping hot recipes from 100 of the city's favorite cafes, bistros, grills, etc. Aqua. Rose Pistola. Yank Sing. Greens. And many more. It showcases a variety of cuisines, from Asian Fusion to San Francisco classics and everything inbetween.

It gathers photos and essays on each neighborhood and special secsions on local favorite dishes. When I am missing my city by the bay, I reach for this book to peruse through and I can almost smell the sourdough baking in SoSanFran and the coffee roasting in NoBeach!

S'Mores Brownies
from Citizen Cake in the Civic Center/Hayes Valley Section of the City

Note: At Citizen Cake, they make their own graham crackers and marshmallows, but you can use commerical ones.

10 oz ScharffenBerger or other 70 % bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
4 rectanglular (double squares) honey graham crackers, broken into 1-inch pieces
3 oz milk chocolate, chopped
12 large marshmallows, cut in half horizontally

Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease a 10-inch round cake pan or 9x13 inch baking pan.
In a medium saucepan, combine the bittersweet chocolate, butter and sugars and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the chocolate and butter are melted. Take care not to burn the mixture. Remove from heat. Add the eggs all at once and stir just to combine.

In a medium bowl, stir the flour, salt and baking poweder together. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir just until combined. Fold in the graham crackers and milk chocolate. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Place the marshmallows, cut side down, evenly over the top.

Bake just until the surface begins to crack and the marshmallows turn a dark golden brown, 30 - 40 minutes. If you want to cut clean pieces, let the brownies cool completely in their pans on wire racks. However, they are irresistible warm and gooey from the oven, though you should let them cool for 10 - 15 minutes first.

Monday, May 02, 2005 

The Secret Life of Food

Posted by Hello Who says food can't be fun? Clare Crespo has created a masterpiece of fun and silly AND yummy recipes for kids and adults with a fun streak still thriving in their soul. Great stuff to make for parties and for gift giving. I always giggle when I look through this delight!

Recipe by Clare Crespo

1 half-gallon glass fish bowl 2 6-oz. boxes Berry Blue Jell-O gelatin1 can (11-oz.) fruit cocktail2 gummy fish (or plastic fish) 1 plastic aquarium plant (optional)

What To Do
1. Make the Jell-O gelatin according to directions on the box. Pour into goldfish bowl.
2. Drain the fruit cocktail and slowly pour it into the goldfish bowl. It will sink to the bottom to act as the "gravel."
3. Place gelatin in the refrigerator to thicken for about one hour. Don't let it set completely.
4. Remove from the refrigerator and place the gummy (or plastic) fish in the Jell-O gelatin, using a chopstick, knife, or the back of a spoon to push the fish toward the bottom of the goldfish bowl.
5. Return the gelatin to the refrigerator to set completely.
6. When the gelatin has set and is ready to serve, use a spoon to scoop it and the fish out. If you are using plastic fish, be sure to set them aside.

for more Jell-O recipes...go here.
For more yummy fun from Clare, go to her website, yummyfun!


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