Sunday, July 31, 2005 

Dear S.O.S....part Deux

Well...since I'm on an S.O.S. kick, heres a recipe from this edition!
Griswold's Bran Muffins
1/4 cup butter
6 tb brown sugar, packed
1 cup sugar
2 tb honey
1 tb water
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup + 2 tbl cup cake flour
1 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 cup raisins
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained
3 cups whole bran cereal
Cream butter until fluffy, gradually beat in brown sugar and 6 tbl of granulated sugar. Add 2 tbl honey and water. Whip until fluffy. Set aside.
Coat 18 - 20 large muffin cups liberally and evenly with mixture. Combine whole-wheat flour and cake flour, remaining 10 tablespoons granulated sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.
Stir in raisins. Add eggs, remaining 1/4 cup honey, oil and pineapple and blend. Stir in bran and buttermilk and mix until batter is just blended.
Fill coated muffin pans 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees 18 - 20 minutes. Remove muffins from pans immediately by turning upside down on racks.
Slather on spread. Eat. Enjoy.

Saturday, July 30, 2005 

Dear S.O.S.

More than 200 recipes were handpicked by Rose Dosti from the files of "Culinary SOS", the popular recipe request column in the Los Angeles Times, and are highlighted in this fun little cookbook. This is the third volume of the Dear SOS series. I have one of the other ones, "Thirty Years of Recipe Requests", as well. I still don't have the third, "Dessert Recipe Requests" ...there's still room somewhere in my bookshelf for it though!

Many of Los Angeles' top rated restaurants, and those still reverberating on tastebud memories along local attractions and destinations have culinary selections in the book, Chicken Salad with Orange Souffle from Neiman Marcus, Beverly Hills; Quiche a la Ma Maison, from long departed beloved Ma Maison, West Hollywood, Corned Beef from the Santa Anita Racetrack, Arcadia; Chicken Chilaquiles from the Border Grill, Santa Monica. The book also contains some requested recipes outside of Los Angeles and in a couple cases, way off the beaten path. But, good food is good food! Garlic Soup from Artz Rib House, Austin, TX; Buckwheat Cakes from the Wigwam Hotel, Holbrook, AZ; Skyline Chili from Skyline Chili, Cincinnati, OH.

These cookies are from Rock in Marina del Rey, that was owned by Hans Rockenwagner. And, for any serious chocoholic, these cookies are the ultimate drug to feed your addiction. Their consistency borders on that of a brownie. They are very dense and filled with patches of pure chocolate. They are terrific slightly chilled, but they are just as good fresh out the oven.

Espresso Macadamia Nut Cookies

Total Time: 1 hrs.
Baking Time: 10 min.
Preparation Time: 20 min.
Refrigeration Time: 30 min.

4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate - coarsely chopped
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips - divided
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
50 macadamia nuts

In the top of a double broiler over gently simmering water, melt the
unsweetened chocolate, 1 1/2 cups of the chocolate chips, and the butter, stirring occasionally until the mixture is smooth and completely blended. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour,
baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, espresso powder, and vanilla and beat together until the mixture holds a ribbon when the beater is lifted away. Fold in the cooled chocolate mixture. Fold in the remaining chocolate chips and the macadamia nuts. Let the batter rest for 30 minutes, covered in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter and flour 2 large baking sheets. Spoon about 2 tablespoons cookie batter at a time onto the prepared baking sheet. Place cookies at least 1 inch apart. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until puffy and shiny. Cool on a rack.


Congrats to Chocolate & Zucchini

Clotilde was interviewed by NPR's Scott Simon this morning. And, as always, delightful...and delish!

Clotilde Dusoulier's Tasteful Blog

Friday, July 29, 2005 

Happy Chef Blogging Friday!

Meet Emily Luchetti who lives by the simplest truth: There's always room for dessert.

Ms. Luchetti is the executive pastry chef at Farallon Restaurant in San Francisco, and is recognized around the country for her award-winning sweet creations.

She graduated from Denison University in 1979 with a BA in Sociology and moved to New York City and got a job through The New York Times classified section with the title "No Typing Required". That job in a Wall Street executive dining room revealed how she could get paid for doing what she loved best- cooking. From there she went on to The New York Restaurant School and worked in various New York establishments (including David Leiderman’s Manhattan Market and The Silver Palate) building her resume and culinary skills. Traveling to France for a year in 1982 allowed her to continue her food education and learn how great food enriches people’s lives.

Emily joined Jeremiah Tower when he opened Stars Restaurant in San Francisco in 1984. She started as a line cook and worked her way up to lunch chef. Finally, her true passion for making desserts could not be ignored and in 1987 she became the pastry chef at Stars and remained there until July 1995. During that time Emily was also the co-owner with Jeremiah Tower of StarBake, a retail bakery. In 1997 she joined co-owners, Chef Mark Franz (who also worked with her at Stars) and Pat Kuleto, as Executive Pastry Chef at Farallon Restaurant.

Emily has also written three outstanding cookbooks, Stars Desserts (HarperCollins 1991), Four Star Desserts (HarperCollins 1995), and A Passion for Desserts (Chronicle Books, 2003). She contributed to The Revised Joy of Cooking (Simon & Schuster, 1997) and created the dessert recipes for The Farallon Cookbook (Chronicle Books, 2000). She is now writing A Passion for Ice Cream (Chronicle Books, Spring 2006).

Since the debut of her first book in 1991, Emily has passionately taught baking to dessert lovers across the country. She writes cookbooks and teaches baking so that people can obtain the same enjoyment she does from creating something with her hands and giving delectable edible treats to others to savor. Fundamental to her passion for baking is the belief that desserts increase the social experiences and interactions of friends and family as they linger around the table eating great desserts. Emily takes the mystery out of baking as she makes the process fun and non-intimidating. Emily has taught baking classes and made television appearances across the country and in Australia. She and her recipes appear regularly in national newspapers and magazines. Emily has been featured on numerous news programs and The Food Network’s The Ultimate Kitchen, Sweet Dreams, Cookin’ Live with Sara Moulton and Sara’s Secrets.

Emily was chairwoman of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs from 1994-1999. She has been a national spokesperson for Northwest Cherries, Washington Apples, The Sugar Association and The National Butter Board.

Awards and Nominations
1991 Martini & Rossi Dessert Cookbook of the Year and IACP Nominee Stars Desserts
1993 & 1994 James Beard Nominations for Best Pastry Chef
1994 Chocolatier Magazine Top Ten Pastry Chefs
1995 James Beard Nomination for Four Star Desserts
1998 San Francisco Focus Magazine Pastry Chef of the Year
2001 Women Chefs & Restaurateurs Golden Whisk Award
2003 Food Arts Magazine Silver Spoon Award
2004 James Beard Nomination for Pastry Chef of the Year

Step aside Fig Newtons...a new figaroo is in town...

Makes 2 dozen
Cookie dough:
3 large hard-boiled egg yolks
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
Grated zest (peel) from 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
Fig filling:
1 1/2 cups (8 ounces) dried figs
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3/4 cup water

Place egg yolks, butter, lemon zest, vanilla and sugar in a food processor and process until smooth. Add flour and salt and again process until smooth. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or as long as overnight.

While dough chills, make filling: Cut figs into quarters, discarding stems. Put figs, orange juice and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer until figs are soft, about 5 minutes. Drain figs, discarding liquid. Cool to room temperature, then puree in a food processor.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll half the dough (keep remaining dough refrigerated) into a rectangle 1/8-inch thick. Cut dough into 3-inch squares. Place 1 teaspoon fig puree along one edge of a square. Pick up edge of dough with a metal spatula and roll dough around filling. Place roll, seam-side down, on prepared baking sheet. Roll rest of cookies in same manner. Scraps of dough can be rerolled. The dough gets soft quickly. If it becomes too difficult to toll, refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Bake figamaroles until golden brown, about 12 minutes.

--From ``A Passion for Desserts,'' by Emily Luchetti

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 

Maybe a name change would be good...

More at Rude Food. (get ready to laugh)

Monday, July 25, 2005 

All I can say is....


The Hershey Co., the nation's largest candy maker, plans to acquire a California-based specialty maker of dark chocolate bars and baking products.

Hershey did not say Monday how much it would pay to purchase Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker Inc. The company owns and operates three specialty stores in New York City, San Francisco and Berkeley, Calif., and its products are also carried in other specialty stores.

...In the past year, Hershey has acquired the Mexico-based maker of spicy candies, Grupo Lorena, and Hawaii's largest macadamia nut processor, Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corp. -
I adore Scharffen Berger. I only hope that this buy out won't destroy the quality of their product, as buyout usually do. I especially enjoy their chocolate for the best brownies in the world. And, of course, it makes a world of difference in cookies, too.

When in the San Francisco area, I highly recommend taking a tour of their "plant". If you can't make it there for awhile, take a virtual tour.

Sunday, July 24, 2005 

Surfas! Truly a Chef's Paradise

Surfas had its humble beginnings in an abandoned garage in Los Angeles, 1937. It did very well, and in 1947 the business was moved to West Jefferson Boulevard, complete with a showroom and a service department for the expanding company.

The modest sized company became known as a premier commercial kitchen design and installation house, but that was only part of the success. Surfas had expanded into a warehouse filled with commercial equipment, cookware, cutlery, tools, china, glass ware, bake ware and other professional culinary items. When they outgrew the space in 1989, Surfas moved to a new Culver City location and added gourmet and specialty food to their warehouse. Surfas became known as a Chef's Paradise to the local professionals who spend hours at this friendly store, shopping and sharing ideas about fine food and industry trends. A few years ago, they opened their doors to the general public.

And I am so glad they did!

Saturday, July 23, 2005 

Baking Buyer...One of My Favorite Magazines

Baking Buyer is free to qualified managers in the retail, bakery cafe and intermediate wholesaler baking business. It covers the retail baking industry by providing news and business information, merchandising ideas and product trends. Its 30,000 monthly readers include both independent and multi-unit retailers, who run in-store or supermarket bakery cafe, donut or bagel shop, small wholesale businesses with storefronts and full-line bakeries.

Informative. Nicely designed. Great stories. And they now an online version! Way cool!

Friday, July 22, 2005 

Happy Chef Blogging Friday!

Meet Mai Pham

(From her bio on her website of her restaurant, LemonGrass. One of my favorite restaurants in Sacramento, CA)

Mai Pham is the chef and owner of Lemon Grass Restaurant in Sacramento, California, a nation- ally acclaimed restaurant featuring Vietnamese and Thai cuisine. A respected expert on Southeast Asian Cuisine, she writes for national publications, conducts cooking classes and seminars, and serves as a con-sultant to various food organizations throughout the U.S.

She's the author of Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table (Harpercollins, Aug. 2001). Her first book, The Best of Vietnamese and Thai Cooking (Prima, 1996) was featured on National Public Radio 'Fresh Air' and in Martha Stewart Living and ArtCulinaire magazines. A food columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, she also contributes to the Los Angeles Times, Fine Cooking and other major publications. In addition, she teaches at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone and leads educational culinary tours to South-east Asia.

Her inaugural tour to Vietnam in 2000 was televised internationally by CNN, and was frequently rebroadcasted on United and Delta airlines. Mai's achievements have led to numerous awards and recognition. She won both the International Association of Culinary Professionals Bert Greene and the Association of Food Journalists awards for excellence in journalism; the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce 'Businesswoman of the Year' award and the Business Journal 'Women Who Mean Business' award. She also received an honorary Master's degree from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York for her 'entreprenuerial spirit, culinary leadership and commitment to cooking education.'

Mai came to the U.S. with her family after the fall of Saigon in 1975. After graduating from the University of Maryland with a degree in Journalism, she worked as a television reporter until 1988 when she decided to follow her passion for cooking and opened Lemon Grass Restaurant.

Thursday, July 21, 2005 

Another Broiler Day....Another Cool Recipe

Not just for "the West" anymore. Sunset Magazine!

I love Sunset. It is my dream magazine...I take a look at the home projects you can do at home or all the fabulous off the beaten trail travel adventures they often hightlight...and I dream. As another broiling day is taking place (100+) I'm yet again attracted to something cool....

5 pops packed with fresh summer flavor by Elaine Johnson

PREP TIME: 10 to 15 minutes, plus at least 3 hours to freeze
MAKES: 6 to 8 pops
NOTES: Use juice bar or pop molds with a ¼- to 1/3-cup capacity. Cookware and hardware stores are selling many new models this year. Beyond the widely available standard molds that we used for the pops at right, we had fun with Cuisipro’s Rocket Pop molds ($14 for a set of six; or 888/834-2511), which have individual containers that lift out.
1. Pour fruit mixture (recipes at right) into 6 to 8 juice bar molds (see notes). Attach covers firmly and insert sticks, leaving 1½ to 2 inches of each sticking out. Set molds in freezer, making sure they’re level and upright, and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours, or up to 2 weeks.
2. To unmold, run warm water over the molds up to the rim, just until pops are released from sides, 5 to 15 seconds. Remove the covers and pull out the pops.
Layered Pops To create two-tone pops, make two different recipes and use twice as many molds. Pour one mixture into all the molds and freeze until firm to the touch on top, about 45 minutes, then pour the second mixture over the first, and freeze completely.

1. Blackberry-Cardamom In a blender, whirl 3½ cups rinsed, drained blackberries until smooth. Push through a fine strainer into a 1-quart glass measure; discard seeds. Add ½ cup apple juice, 2 to 4 tablespoons sugar (to taste), and 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom to purée; stir until sugar is dissolved.

2. Peach-Almond In a blender, whirl 3 cups sliced peeled ripe peaches, ¾ cup canned peach nectar, 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (to taste), 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1/8 teaspoon almond extract until smooth.

3. Strawberry-Cream In a blender, whirl 2 cups rinsed, hulled strawberries until smooth. Push through a fine strainer into a 1-quart glass measure; discard seeds. Return berry purée to blender and whirl in ½ cup light sour cream, 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar (to taste), and 2 teaspoons lemon juice until smooth.

4. Mango-Coconut In a blender, whirl 1¼ cups mango chunks (about 1 in., from 1 lb. fruit), ¾ cup canned coconut milk, 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (to taste), and 1 tablespoon lime juice until smooth.

5. Raspberry-Orange In a blender, whirl 3 cups rinsed, drained raspberries until smooth. Push through a fine strainer into a 1-quart glass measure; discard seeds. Add 2/3 cup orange juice and 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar (to taste) to berry purée; stir until sugar is dissolved.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 

Newspaper Food Section Wednesday

Today, we're visiting the pages of the St. Petersburg Times.

My grandparents lived in St. Petersburg and we would always visit them on our trek down south for the winters. (Golfing snowbirds, we)I have fond memories of climbing up in their grapefruit trees, wandering miles and miles of beach (which was a wonder for a young lass from New England). And then of course, the hot and humid Christmases with fake plastic Christmas trees. I always got a kick out of the city being known as "Wrinkle City" to truckers in the 1970's. I guess alot of other people's grandparents lived down there, too.

There's nothing like crossing the Tamiami Trail via car. We would spot on occassion a stray gator or two wandering across the road and miles and miles of flat nothing with an occassional Brahma herd. Although I am sure that a lot of the landscape has changed since the late 60's early 70's. We would always keep a heads up for my mom's favorite stop, STUCKEYS! When people say "the South", Stuckey's Pecan Rolls always leap to my mind.

Back to food.....Someone wrote in to the paper asking for a fudge without chocolate. The readers responded by sending in quite a selection...with some unusual ingredients.

From: Madeleine O'Brien of Dunellon
Recipe: Blue Ribbon Peanut Butter Fudge
1 box confectioner's sugar
1 pound peanut butter
2 sticks butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup graham-cracker crumbs

Mix sugar with graham-cracker crumbs. Add peanut butter. Melt butter and add along with vanilla. Put fudge in 9- by 13-inch pan. Refrigerate overnight. Cut into squares.
* * *
From: Judy Collins of Tampa

Recipe: Peanut Butter Fudge
1 stick butter
1 pound light brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound confectioner's sugar

In a medium saucepan melt butter, stir in brown sugar and milk. Bring to a boil. Boil and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla. Mix in confectioner's sugar and beat until smooth. Spread into a buttered 9-inch square pan. Chill until firm. Cut into squares.
Makes 3 1/2 pounds.
* * *
From: Annette Hall of Dearborn, Mich., and Safety Harbor, Lucille Frechette of Seminole, and Doris Miller of St. Petersburg

Recipe: Peanut Butter Fudge
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 12-ounce package peanut butter chips
1 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup finely chopped salted peanuts

In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, butter and evaporated milk. Bring to a rolling boil over moderate heat, stirring constantly. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter chips; stir until chips melt and mixture is smooth. Add marshmallow creme and vanilla extract; beat until well-blended. Pour into foil-lined 9- by 13-inch baking pan. Sprinkle with peanuts and press them into fudge. Chill until firm.
Makes about 2 1/2 pounds.
* * *
From: Nancy Csont of St. Petersburg and Boneta Williams of New Port Richey
Recipe: Microwave Peanut Butter Fudge
1 16-ounce box confectioner's sugar
Pinch salt
1/3 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup peanut butter

Put sugar in a microwave safe bowl and make a well in the center. Place salt, milk and butter in the well. Microwave for 1 minute or until butter is melted. Stir vigorously until smooth. If it's lumpy, microwave for 45 more seconds. Time will depend on your microwave. Beat until smooth and add peanut butter. Mix and pour into a buttered 8-inch dish. It sets up quickly. Let cool and cut into pieces.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 

It's been a week of hot, sticky weather...more to come...

It's Ice Cream Sandwich time...Another wonderful recipe from Hopefully these will save me from melting.....


Bake and freeze the Triple-Chocolate Cookies a day before filling them with ice cream.

For convenience, you can make the homemade ice cream up to three days in advance. Purchased strawberry ice cream (softened slightly at room temperature until spreadable) also works in these sandwiches.

1 1/2 cups chopped fresh strawberries
1/3 cup plus
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
16 frozen
Triple-Chocolate Cookies

Combine strawberries, 1/3 cup sugar, and corn syrup in medium bowl. Using potato masher, mash until puree forms; let stand 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring cream, milk, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar to simmer in heavy medium saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Using electric mixer, beat yolks in medium bowl until thick and pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Gradually beat in hot cream mixture. Return mixture to saucepan. Stir over medium heat until custard thickens and forms path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, about 4 minutes (do not boil). Strain custard into large bowl. Cool. Stir in strawberry mixture and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate custard until cold, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.

Process custard in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer ice cream to container; cover and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Keep frozen.)

Place 1 frozen Triple-Chocolate Cookie flat side up on work surface. Place 1/2 cup ice cream atop cookie. Using offset spatula or butter knife, gently spread ice cream to cover cookie; top with another cookie, flat side down, and press gently to adhere. Repeat with remaining ice cream and cookies, making 8 ice cream sandwiches total. Wrap and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Let ice cream sandwiches stand at room temperature 5 minutes before serving.
Makes 8.

Bon Appétit
July 2005
chef Tom Douglas

Sunday, July 17, 2005 

Dark Chocolate on the Rise....

The 12-step chocoholics program: NEVER BE MORE THAN 12 STEPS AWAY FROM CHOCOLATE! - Terry Moore

Top-of-the-line chocolate is enticing Americans everywhere. According to, the Vienna, Virginia-based
Chocolate Manufacturers Association says sales of gourmet dark chocolate rose 17 percent in the U.S. last year. Retail sales of all chocolate rose 3.9 percent to $15.1 billion, an amount that outpaced a 2.3-percent increase in all candy sales.

And New Yorkers are the pinnacle of chocolate connoisseurs. They are demanding chocolates made of rare cacaos and even spending $100 a box for bonbons enhanced by flavors that range from chipotle chili peppers and kalamata olives to Earl Grey tea.

Per Se, Thomas Keller's year-old restaurant at the Time Warner Center where dinner for two easily surpasses $500, the captain explains the origin of the chocolate's cacao beans when he presents desserts. At Pierre Marcolini, a Belgian chocolate shop that opened on Park Avenue in February, clusters of $2.50 pralines are unveiled as seasonal collections, echoing the fashion industry.

"Chocolate is now what coffee was a few years ago,'' said
Jacques Torres, a former James Beard Pastry Chef of the Year who opened the first New York chocolate factory to grind its own cacao beans. "People are starting to understand there's a difference between a $5-a-pound chocolate and what we do at $40 to $50 a pound.'' - Gourmet Retailer

Could it be that dark chocolate is healthier?

Researchers in Scotland and Italy say dark chocolate has much better anti-oxidant properties.
This means that it can protect the heart and arteries from oxidative damage, similar to the rust that develops on metal over time. -

Chocolate Movies on the Brain....

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Como Agua Para Chocolate

Saturday, July 16, 2005 

Good Work If You Can Get It....

Cook's Illustrated is looking for a few good foodies.

Cook's Illustrated would like to ask a favor of you. We are asking you to become a "Friend of Cook's". What does a "Friend of Cook's" mean? Well, we would like to be able to email you from time to time to ask your opinion about upcoming books and articles and also about your cooking habits. Most of all, we would like you to occasionally test a recipe for us. This is not a paid position -- you would buy your own ingredients and cook the food on your own time - but we think it might be fun to try Cook's recipes before you see them in a magazine. We would then want you to fill out a simple questionnaire about the recipe and email it back to us. You would only be asked to test 2 or 3 recipes per year.This is not a marketing gimmick or promotional message. We really do want to know how our recipes fare in your home with your cookware, your stove, your oven, and your local ingredients. All we ask is that you tell us what you really think of our recipes. If you would like to become a Friend of Cook's, email us at



not a good week for the national biscuit company.
nabisco has recalled boxes of its single-serving oreo chocolate wafer snacks because they may mistakenly contain individual packages of chips ahoy cookies.
this is a health risk for those with a milk allergy because the baked oreo wafers don’t contain milk, while the chips ahoy cookies do. -
13 july

nabisco foods issued a national recall friday for 838,000 boxes of pure milk chocolate covered oreo sandwich cookies because some boxes may contain cookies with peanut butter creme filling, posing a health hazard to people allergic to peanuts. - 15 july
not a good week for those cookiemonsters with food allergies, either...

Friday, July 15, 2005 

Happy Chef Blogging Friday!

My cyber pal Fletch, over at the fabulous No Direction Home, has a hankering for one particular chef....

Rachel Ray. (the photo big enough, Fletch?)

I can't blame him. She's talented, attractive, can whip up a delicious meal in no time and knows how to save money. When Fletch finally gets his new kitchen set up, I'm sure that anyone of these would be a nice "kitchen warming present." Well...I think that Fletch might actually prefer Rachel herself as a kitchen warming present....but I'm not going to go there....

People pick on Rachel. And, it's not that often that Slate magazine comes into the verbal fray battling for a chef....but they defend Ms. Ray against the "snobs".

And professional chefs, including Slate food writer Sara Dickerman, turn up their noses when Ray comes around. It's easy to see why: Ray rejects specialty ingredients, elaborate recipes, and other foodie staples. But she deserves our respect. She understands how Americans really cook, and she's an exceptional entertainer.
Since it is going to be 103+ again today....I think a one of Rachel's Mochaccinos would be in order! So...Cheers, Fletch!


1 cup cold milk
1 cup strong black coffee, regular or decaf
1/2 cup chocolate syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 pints coffee flavor ice cream
Whipped cream in spray canister, garnish
Chocolate shavings, garnish

To a blender, add 1/2 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of coffee, 1/4 cup of syrup, and the cinnamon. Puree to combine ingredients. Add 1 pint ice cream and blend until smooth. Pour into 2 frosted fountain glasses or tall glasses and garnish with swirls of whipped cream, an extra pinch of cinnamon, and some chocolate savings and serve. Repeat to make 2 more shakes.


100 Years.....And Still Going Strong!

Happy 100th Galatoire's!

The wonderful thing about Galatoire's is that things almost never change. Run by fourth generation family members, Galatoire's has attracted a steady flow of regular customers, many who have been going there for decades, and claiming the same table. One such customer is Marian Atkinson, whose cousin is Gen. George S. Patton. She has dined at Galatoire's since 1916, and can be seen almost every evening, sitting at the same table and exchanging greetings with other patrons.

For many years, due to its "no reservations" policy, Galatoire's was known for its line of customers awaiting tables in front of the restaurant on Bourbon St. One story has it that retired U.S. Senator J. Bennett Johnson was waiting in line for a table, and President Ronald Reagan placed a call to him at Galatoire's. After they completed their conversation, Senator Johnson graciously returned to his position in line and waited for his turn to be seated.

NPR ran a "birthday" celebratory segment the other day.....
"Galatoire's 100 years of an eating institution"

One of their waiters was so beloved, that when he was terminated,
100's of letters were sent in protest....and turned into a stage show "The Galatoire Monologues" where actors read the various protest letters.

And, when in "Nawhlins" you must have some bread pudding.


Active time: 30 min Start to finish: 1 1/2 hr

For bread puddings
6 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
12 (3/4-inch-thick) slices from a baguette
For banana sauce
2 firm-ripe medium bananas
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup light or amber rum

Special equipment: a nonstick muffin pan with 6 large (1-cup) muffin cups

Make bread puddings: Whisk together eggs, sugar, and salt in a large bowl, then whisk in milk, vanilla, and cinnamon.

Place 2 slices of bread in each buttered muffin cup, then divide custard among cups. Let stand, gently pressing down on bread occasionally, until soft and some of custard is absorbed, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Bake bread puddings in middle of oven until golden on top and a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly, about 5 minutes (puddings will sink slightly in center). Remove from pan, then cool on rack until warm, about 10 minutes more.

Make sauce while puddings cool: Cut bananas crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Melt butter in a 1-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, then add brown sugar and cook, whisking, until smooth and combined well, about 1 minute. Add rum and bananas, then simmer, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes.

Serve puddings warm with sauce spooned over them.Makes 6 servings.

You Asked For It
April 2003

Adapted from Galatoire's, New Orleans, LA

Thursday, July 14, 2005 

Happy Bastille Day!

One of the most french of all desserts is the delightful madeleine! What a great way to celebrate Fête nationale!

Marcel Proust's madeleine is the cliché cookie—a highbrow reference that's penetrated pop culture. (Take the Sopranos episode in which Tony's Proustian madeleine is a slice of cappicola.) The great French author put madeleines on the map, and probably in our mouths, too. We surely have him to thank for those little packages at every Starbucks checkout. -


Madeleines are good any time, any where. Here are some secrets to making madeleines, and a wonderful chocolate version which is guaranteed to please!

• Make the dough up to three days in advance and chill it in the refrigerator.• Heavily butter the molds and chill them so the butter hardens before the molds are filled with batter.• Refrigerate the filled molds before baking.• Make sure the oven is fully hot before baking the madeleines.• Bake for no longer than 7 minutes — the madeleines should not quite spring back when you touch them. This ensures a moist result.

3/4 cup (100g) all-purpose flour
Half cup (90g) unsweetened cocoa
Pinch salt 4 large eggs
1 cup (200g) vanilla sugar
12 tablespoons (6 ounces; 185g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Butter for buttering the madeleine tins

1. Sift together the flour, cocoa and the salt.
2. Place the eggs and the sugar in a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk until thick and lemon-colored. Fold in the flour, then melted butter.
3. Butter the madeleine pans, then spoon in the batter, filling each about three fourths full. Refrigerate the filled madeleine pans and the remaining batter for one hour.
4. Heat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
5. Bake the madeleines just until they are firm and puffed, about 7 minutes. Turn them immediately from the molds, wipe out the molds, let cool and continue baking the madeleines until all of the batter is used. The madeleines are best when eaten slightly warm or at room temperature the same day they are made.Makes about 36 madeleines.

Letter from France
Susan Herrmann Loomis

Tuesday, July 12, 2005 

The Brown Derby (1926 - 1985)

Mention the Brown Derby, and images of Hollywood's Golden Age spring to mind.

It was one of the most valued "seen and be seen" venues in the city. The stars made the Brown Derby their second home. At one point, the Vine Street location stayed open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The most prominent customers, Katharine Hepburn, Joan Bennett, Jean Harlow, William Powell and Joan Crawford sat in booths on the desirable north side beneath caricatures of themselves drawn originally by artist Eddie Vitch, who sketched in exchange for meals.

The stories are legendary: Clark Gable proposed to Carole Lombard at the Brown Derby, and Lucille Ball and Jack Haley fought a duel with flying dinner rolls, a classic food fight that ended in a truce.

I remember watching the stars head to the Ambassador for their soirees after awards ceremonys...and I actually did get to eat in the Hollywood Brown Derby before it was closed. Of course it didn't have that same "aura" as when it was the toast of hollywood, but I could feel the history in the booths.

There were numerous locations....(Hollywood, Los Feliz) the first and most recognizable one being the brown bowler shaped building on Wilshire Boulevard. (pictured above) Built in 1926, it stood right across the street from the Ambassador Hotel (built in 1921) and the infamous night club, the Cocoanut Grove. It was also not far from the Bullocks Wilshire Building, one of the most beautiful art deco buildings in the United States.

Although The Derby was known for being the birthplace of "
the Cobb Salad", this Grapefruit cake was a popular luncheon dessert and has a cult following in the Los Angeles area.


1-1/2 cups sifted cake Flour
3/4 cup granulated Sugar
1-1/2 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Salt
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup oil
3 Eggs, separated
3 Tbsp Grapefruit juice
1/2 tsp grated Lemon peel
1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into mixing bowl. Make a well in center of dry ingredients. Add water, oil, egg yolks, grapefruit juice and lemon peel. Beat until very smooth. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar separately until whites are stiff but not dry. Gradually pour egg yolk mixture over whites, folding gently with a rubber spatula until just blended. Do not stir mixture. Pour into an ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cake springs back when touched lightly with finger. Invert cake on cake rack and cool. Run spatula around edge of cake. Carefully remove from pan. With a serrated knife, gently cut layer in half.

Grapefruit Cream-Cheese Frosting
2 3oz packages Cream-cheese
2 tsp Lemon juice
1 tsp grated Lemon peel
3/4 cup Powdered sugar, sifted
6-8 drops Yellow food coloring
Grapefruit sections, well-drained

Let cream cheese soften at room temperature. Beat cheese until fluffy. Add lemon juice and rind. Gradually blend in sugar. Beat until blended. Add coloring. Crush several grapefruit sections to measure 2 tsps. Blend into frosting. Spread frosting on bottom half of cake. Top with several grapefruit sections. Cover with second layer. Frost top and sides, garnish with remaining grapefruit.

Monday, July 11, 2005 

Brownie Points for these Brownies!

Guess I'm on a Cooking Light kick. I went through a number of my "collection" this weekend, just casual relaxing reading. (I find reading cookbooks and cooking magazines are very relaxing) I agree with reader Rurality...I have never had anything bad from Cooking Light. But I am jealous over her being able to go on a tour of their buildings! (But not quite as much jealousy I have over Sylvie cooking with Tyler.....ggrrrrr....but I love her blogs - Soul Food Kitchen, Journey by Family Influence, and Food Blog S'cool, too much to hold a grudge "forever"!)

So, today, we turn to "brownies" of a "lighter" variety.

Fudgy Mocha-Toffee Brownies

Coffee and toffee give these rich chocolate brownies a unique twist. Store leftovers (if there ARE any left) brownies in an airtight container for up to a week.

2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/4 cup toffee chips

Preheat oven to 350º.

Coat bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.

Combine coffee and hot water, stirring until coffee dissolves.

Combine butter and chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at high 1 minute or until butter melts; stir until chocolate is smooth.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine coffee mixture, butter mixture, vanilla, and eggs in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add coffee mixture to flour mixture; stir just until combined. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle evenly with toffee chips.

Bake at 350º for 22 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Yield: 20 servings (or if you are like me.....3 one for for mid afternoon for dinner!)

NUTRITION PER SERVINGCALORIES 145(30% from fat); FAT 4.8g (sat 2.4g,mono 1.8g,poly 0.3g); PROTEIN 2.2g; CHOLESTEROL 30mg; CALCIUM 23mg; SODIUM 121mg; FIBER 1.1g; IRON 0.9mg; CARBOHYDRATE 24.9g

*Cooking Light also has an email newsletter that I enjoy tremendously, too! sign up here. *

Sunday, July 10, 2005 

Think Cookies Are Not Part of a Healthy Diet?

well...think again!

There are numerous ways to "lighten up" cookies and other desserts. A great resource is Cooking Light. I have been a subscriber for years and they have some wonderful ideas and recipes to make it easy to take a little fat and "bad stuff" out of your diet. (AND...they taste good!) They have everything from cookies to pies to cakes, and then your usual food...pastas, fish, etc. Some sample recipes from the June Issue: Croutons with Orange and Fennel Tapenade, Kiwi Colada, Chocolate Cinnamon Bread Pudding, Grilled Vidalia Onion and Steak Sandwiches, Thai Shrimp and Tofu with Asparagus, Tilapia in Mustard Cream Sauce, Skillet Pork with Sweet Balsamic Peaches, Jalapeno Spiked Cherry hungry yet?


These are satisfying cookies as humble as peanut butter cookies but not as crumbly. The dough is somewhat sticky; chilling it briefly makes handling easier.

2/3 cup macadamia nuts
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375°.

Place nuts in a food processor; process until smooth (about 2 minutes), scraping sides of bowl once. Combine macadamia butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed. Add vanilla and egg; beat well.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and ground nutmeg, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat at low speed just until combined (mixture will be very thick). Stir in chopped cranberries. Chill 10 minutes.
Divide chilled dough into 30 equal portions; roll each portion into a ball. Place 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in a small bowl. Lightly press each ball into sugar; place each ball, sugar side up, on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

Gently press the top of each cookie with a fork. Dip the fork in water; gently press the top of each cookie again to form a crisscross pattern. Place 15 cookies on each of 2 baking sheets.
Bake cookies, 1 baking sheet at a time, at 375° for 9 minutes or until golden.

Remove cookies from pan; cool on a wire rack. Repeat procedure with remaining cookies.
Yield: 30 servings (serving size: 1 cookie)

CALORIES 76 (30% from fat); FAT 2.5g (sat 0.4g,mono 1.8g,poly 0.1g); PROTEIN 1g; CHOLESTEROL 7mg; CALCIUM 7mg; SODIUM 44mg; FIBER 0.6g; IRON 0.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 13.2g

Saturday, July 09, 2005 

Betty Crocker's Cooky Book

This classic cookbook was the most requested out-of-print book in Betty Crocker history. It is available once again in an authentic reproduction of the beloved 1963 edition of Betty Crocker’s® Cooky Book.

Many of us grew up learning to bake from this book. It is chockfull of 450 favorite cookie recipes and includes everything from a basic drop, bar, and rolled cookies to more elaborate cookies and confections suitable for holidays and entertaining.

There is a "Cooky Primer" section that gives you hints on how to bake, store and freeze your delicious creations. My favorite section is actually "Betty Crocker's Best Cookies" a section showing how certain cookies were in "fashion" during certain decades. (although they do stop at 1960-1963 where they highlight the French Lace Cookies)

These Cream Wafers are delicate, pastry-like rounds, one-bite wonders with a rich filling. And, yes, the recipe is correct: There is no sugar in the actual wafer, though they are dipped in sugar before baking.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup whipping cream

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Food coloring (red or green or whatever color you want!)

To make the cookies:
Mix flour, butter and whipping cream. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1/3 of the dough at a time 1/8 inch thick. Cut dough into 1 1/2-inch rounds with an appropriate cutter or a shot glass.

Cover a large piece of wax paper with a generous layer of sugar. Using a spatula, transfer cookie rounds to sugar. Turn each round to coat both sides. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and prick each round with a fork 3 or 4 times. Bake 7 to 9 minutes or just until set but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool completely.

To make the filling:
Mix powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract, beating until smooth. Thin with a little milk or water (a few drops) if necessary. Divide between 2 bowls and color each with a few drops of food coloring to make pink and light-green filling. Spread 1/2 teaspoon filling on a cookie, then press another cookie against the filling to make sandwiches.
Makes about 5 dozen.

Friday, July 08, 2005 

Happy Chef Blogging Friday!

Meet Dean Fearing!

The executive chef of
The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas, Texas. The son of an innkeeper, Fearing grew up in eastern Kentucky and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. He joined The Mansion as executive sous chef in 1980 and became the head of the kitchen in 1985. He is known for using seasonal, native ingredients and is credited with bringing Texas cuisine to national attention. He received The James Beard Foundation Restaurant Award for "Best Chef in the Southwest" in 1994.

When not in his kitchen, he can sometimes be found strumming his guitar, a vintage Fender Telecaster, with his all-chef band, The Barbwires.

Chef Fearing will welcome chefs, musicians and guests to hear his band on Saturday, July 9, 2005, at the Annual Summer BBQ Fest on The Mansion on Turtle Creek grounds. Fearing (guitar and lead vocals) is joined by Chef Robert Del Grande (guitar and vocals) of Houston's Cafi Annie among others. The popular event, now in its 4th year, has raised more than $175,000 for charity.

Butterfinger Candy Bar Pie
Eight servings

8 Butterfinger candy bars
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
Unbaked 9-inch pie shell

Chop 6 candy bars; set aside. Chop remaining 2 candy bars; set aside.Whisk eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, water, flour and salt; mix to blend. Stir in melted butter, then stir in 6 chopped candy bars. Refrigerate mixture for 8 hours.

Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Scrape filling into unbaked pie shell. Bake 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, ten refrigerate 12 hours or overnight. Serve garnished with whipped cream and remaining chopped candy bars.

Thursday, July 07, 2005 

The Best of Gourmet - Featuring the Flavors of San Francisco

OK...I'm back. A little emotionally bruised and slightly tattered. I quit my job at Williams-Sonoma due to the ongoing discontent over the lousy management. What can you do when you catch the manager lying to you time and time again? How can you handle a fellow employee with some serious emotional problems? It was a part time was supposed to be fun but it turned into this hellhole and I can honestly say that the management direction of the company is going down the drain. They are no longer really looking for people who cook...they are looking for highschoolers with "energy". Forget knowledge and experience. They are banking on the hype. Anyway...tears have dried...a little.

Let's get back to food, shall we.

Good ideas are hard to come by, especially when dinner should have been on the table ten minutes ago. That’s when Gourmet comes in handy. Month after month, readers rely on the magazine for quick solutions as well as planned feasts, and they’re never disappointed. The Best of Gourmet, Featuring the Flavors of San Francisco is a collection of 33 menus and more than 325 recipes that were created in Gourmet’s test kitchens during 2002. If you’re looking for inspiration, look no further.

As well-traveled foodies know, some of the most exciting, culturally diverse fare in America can be found in San Francisco. In preparation for this year’s Cuisines of the World section, Gourmet’s food editors gathered there to taste their way from one ethnic community to another. One food editor, inspired by the Northern Italian dishes of North Beach, decided to create an ambitious San Francisco Celebration with the Tuscan, Ligurian, and Piedmont flavors of the area. Her menu includes clams oreganata, heady with plenty of garlic, fresh oregano, and lemon zest; pansoti (“little bellies” ravioli) with a rich cured ham, caramelized onion, and walnut filling; roasted leg of lamb infused with little pockets of garlic, fresh thyme, and rosemary; baby bell peppers stuffed with onions, anchovies, cheese, and capers; and an ethereal finale–fluffy ovals of meringue with pistachio custard and chocolate drizzle.

Since zucchini is in season....


Active time: 20 min Start to finish: 1 1/4 hr

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 large eggs at room temperature
2 cups coarsely grated zucchini (8 oz)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
pecial equipment: a 3-quart bundt or fleur-de-lis pan

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Butter bundt pan well and dust with some flour, knocking out excess.

Sift together 2 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to medium and add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down side of bowl occasionally, then beat until very smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes more.

Reduce speed to low and add all but 1/2 cup flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
Toss zucchini, chocolate chips, and walnuts with remaining 1/2 cup flour mixture and add to batter, then mix batter with a rubber spatula (batter will be thick).
Spoon batter into bundt pan, smoothing top. Bake in middle of oven, rotating pan halfway through baking, until side begins to pull away from pan and a tester comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes total.

Cool cake in pan on a rack 30 minutes, then run a thin knife around outer and inner edges. Invert rack over pan, then invert cake onto rack. Cool completely.

Cooks' note:
• Cake keeps 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.


This definately goes on the Holiday Wish List


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  • From Santa Barbara, California, United States
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