Saturday, November 26, 2005 

Cyber Cookie Swap!

The Domestic Goddess is cooking up a sublime collection of cookies in "flogtopia". I thought that since cranberries were of "holiday topic", it would be good to share a cookie with them involved. I have to admit, I love the little tart nuggets.

I updated a recipe that I think was found in Sunset has been a couple of years, but I remember they were delicious, and, a little unusual of a combo for a cookie. I made a few changes and then gathered my faithful "guinea pigs" for taste testing. It did raise some eyebrows at first, but one bite, everyone said..."oh, yeah. This is a keeper recipe." The cranberry and the citrus work so well together! These are on the delicate side, though, so handle with with abandon.


Yield - 24
3/4 lb Unsalted Butter, room temperature
16 oz Granulated Sugar
14 oz Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
2 tsp Vanilla
1 tbls Fresh Grated Orange Peel
1 tsp Baking Powder
7 oz Dried Cranberries
5 oz Sweetened flaked dried coconut

Preheat oven to 350.

Beat butter, sugar, orange peel and vanilla until smooth.
In separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture, stir to mix then beat on low speed until dough comes together, about 5 minutes.

Mix in cranberries and coconut.

Shape dough into 1" balls and place on cookie sheets lined with parchment (or silpat) about 2" apart. "Smoosh" down just slightly with the palm of your hand. (Dough is a little "crumbly")

Bake until cookie edges just begin to brown, about 8-11 minutes. Shorter baking time will yield a chewier cookie, loner baking time will yield a crispier cookie)

Cool on sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool completely. Enjoy. Remember to share.

And, speaking of cookie swaps, Martha has a very helpful "brochure" on things to do for your cookie swap party you can download...or just browse (pdf)

Friday, November 25, 2005 

I know this isn't desert related....

but wondering what to do with the left over turkey? Turkey Tetrazzini of course! And, did you know, the dish was named after Luisa Tetrazzini, a world renowned Italian opera singer?

10 ounces mushrooms, sliced thin (about 4 cups)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups milk
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
10 ounces spaghetti
3 cups coarsely chopped cooked turkey, including cooked giblets if desired
1 cup cooked peas
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/3 cup fine fresh bread crumbs

In a large heavy saucepan cook the mushrooms in 1/4 cup of the butter over moderate heat, stirring, until most of the liquid they give off has evaporated, stir in the flour, and cook the mixture over low heat, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add in a stream the milk, the broth, and the wine, stirring, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring, and simmer the sauce for 5 minutes. In a kettle of boiling salted water cook the spaghetti until it is al dente and drain it well.

In a large bowl combine well the spaghetti, the mushroom sauce, the turkey, the peas, and salt and pepper to taste, stir in 1/3 cup of the Parmesan, and transfer the mixture to a buttered shallow 3-quart casserole. In a small bowl combine well the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan, the bread crumbs, and salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle the mixture evenly over the Tetrazzini, and dot the top with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, cut into bits. The Tetrazzini may be prepared up to this point 1 month in advance and kept frozen, covered. Bake the Tetrazzini in the middle of a preheated 375°F. oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until it is bubbling and the top is golden.

Serves 4 to 6.

(*NOTE - This is a good base recipe. This is a little bland for the masses so pump it up with some red pepper, celery, onions, garlic or other spices to your liking.)

Thursday, November 24, 2005 

Want some deals on Kitchen items?

Amazon's gone deal crazy. Save up to 60% on items...and if you need a KitchenAid at $199...better get clicking before the 27th!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Actually, Martin's Daughter Rene Estevez is a trained pastry chef. (Maybe that's why President Bartlett is such a foodie!) Although she does some acting (she has been in the West Wing as Nancy), she'll be known in my heart for this wonderful cheesecake. Yeah, it maybe Martin's favorite, it's one of mine as well. A cheesecake fit for a President!

Martin Sheen's Favorite Pumpkin Cheesecake

For Crust
9 whole graham crackers broken (about 4 ounces)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter, melted

For Filling
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 hour 45 minutes 15 mins prep

To make the Crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Wrap a couble layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil around the outside of a 10-inch sprinform pan. (The idea is to make it watertight). This is very important or you will have a soggy crust.
Combine the graham crackers, sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor.
Process until the graham crackers are very finely ground.
Drizzle the melted butter over.
Pulse until the crumbs begin to stick together.
Press the crumbs over the bottom (not the sides) of the prepared pan.
Bake in the middle of the oven until the crust is slightly golden, about 10 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack and cool while preparing the filling.

To make the Filling:

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl until smooth and fluffy.
Beat the eggs one at a time.
Add the pumpkin and the remaining ingredients.
Beat just until mixed.
Pour the filing into the prepared crust.
Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan and add hot water to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

Bake the cheesecake until the filling is slightly puffed and softly set and the top is golden, about 1 1/2 hours.
Transfer the cheesecake to a wire rack to cool.
Cover and refrigerate the cake overnight.
Use a knife to cut around the side of the pan to loosen the cheesecake.
Release the pan sides, cut the cheesecake into wedges, and serve.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 

Ina Garten's Cranberry Fruit Conserve

If you are responsible for bringing the cranberries to your family fest, forget the canned jiggly stuff. Try Ina's'll never go back to premade stuff again! Who knew that a White House analyst could create such deliciousness in the kitchen!

The Barefoot Contessa's Cranberry Fruit Conserve

1 (12-ounce) bag of fresh cranberries, cleaned
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 orange, zest grated and juiced
1 lemon, zest grated and juiced
3/4 cup raisins

3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Cook the cranberries, sugar, and 1 cup of water in a saucepan over low heat for about 5 minutes, or until the skins pop open. Add the apple, zests, and juices and cook for 15 more minutes. Remove from the heat and add the raisins and nuts. Let cool, and serve chilled.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 

Another Magazine I love....


I remember my mom subscribing to it when I was younger. Yes...I've continued with the family tradition! Every month it is packed with things to cook, things to see, things to expolore, things to plant (and when) and things to build. It was Martha before Martha, but with a Western flavor.

The December issue has some wonderful articles on an Albuqueque artist, how to cut your own Christmas tree and making a eucalyputs swag, a Green Built Idea house (eco savvy materials and elements) and little get away ideas in San Diego, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Scottsdale and South Pasadena (one of my favorite little get away places.) And, also where to get the best Mail Order Tamales. (What is Christmas without tamales!?)

It also has some "Easy Holiday Cookies" and lots of good tips on how to make, bake, ship and gift wrap.

There is one cookie that has stayed on my mind. This is from December 2001 issue and is perfect for holiday gift giving...or munching for yourself and family. (They're just too good to give away sometimes!)

Peppermint Molasses Cookies

About 2/3 cups butter or margarine, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup crushed hard peppermint candy such as candy canes

Peppermint Icing (recipe follows)

1. In a large bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat 2/3 cup butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Add egg and molasses and beat until well blended.

2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, baking soda and salt. Stir into butter mixture, then beat just until dough comes together. Stir in peppermint candy. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and freeze until dough is firm, about 45 minutes.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on buttered 12- by 15-inch baking sheets.

4. Bake cookies in a 350º regular or convection oven until lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes; if baking two sheets at once in one oven, switch their positions halfway through baking. Immediately, with a wide spatula, transfer cookies to racks to cool. When cool, drizzle with Peppermint Icing; save any remaining icing for other uses.

Peppermint Icing:
In a bowl, mix 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons milk, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla until well blended. If too thick to drizzle, mix in more milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until thin enough. Stir in 1 tablespoon finely crushed hard peppermint candy and 1 to 2 drops red food coloring if desired. Makes 1/2 cup.

Monday, November 21, 2005 

Just in time for the Holiday Shopping Season....

Google Introduces New Tool for Mapping Out Shopping Trips

The feature, to be unveiled Tuesday at Google's Froogle shopping site, will pinpoint the merchants selling a specific item within a designated ZIP code. Besides displaying a map showing all the local stores carrying the merchandise, Froogle also will list price differences - AP

Froogle for us frugals....


I think I watch the Food Network too much...

I just love seeing all the "Food Contests and Festivals" that they highlight and travel to. Who knew that there were so many! Who knew that someone put many of these winning recipes in a book!
Edwina Gadsby did it with her Smothered with Love Chicken. Christopher Stallard did it too but with a Spiced Pork Tenderloin. And Breanna Lynn did it while baking a Bucket of Dirt & Worms. In fact, millions of Americans do it religiously every year nationwide: participate in local and national recipe contests and food festivals. From Jericho, NY to Louisville, KY to Yountville, CA, from Salem, OR to Poteet, TX to Celebration, FL, they compete for prizes as small as a blue ribbon and as large as $100,000.

RED, WHITE & BLUE RIBBON 2004 is the first national collection of winners from more than 200 of these contests nationwide. A virtual culinary tour of America, it offers a combination of simple to sophisticated prize-winning dishes that are cause for celebration. -
Lisa Ekus Public Relations
What's also pretty cool is there is a resource list in back highlighting some of the festivals and when they are held. Some of the fun sounding "adventures in contests"....

Almond Inspiration Recipe Contest (Modesto, CA)
Basil Harvest Festival - Best O'Pesto (Paso Robles, CA)
National Cornbread Festival (South Pittsburg, TN) (wow...that really IS south of PA!)
and the one highlighted on CBS' Very Foodie Oriented edition of Sunday Morning yesterday -
the Yambilee Contest (The National Sweet Potatoe Frolic) (Opelousas, LA) - and just intime for Thanksgiving, take a look at all the yummy yam things you can make! (Yams are good for more than just holding up marshmallows, ya know!)
the recipe that caught my eye, though....
Tart & Gooey Cranberry Pecan Pie Bars
(Mary Donovan-Haber of Eau Claire, WI won first prize in the "fresh cranberry" category at the Warrens Cranberry Festival. (Cran Fest!)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 sticks butter or margarine, divided
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 eggs, slightly beaten
12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
2 1/2 cups pecans, finely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13" baking pan. In a bowl, combine flour, white sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in 1 1/2 sticks of butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Press mixture into bottom of pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine corn syrup, brown sugar and remaining 1 stick of butter. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then remove from heat.
Put eggs in a bowl. Gradually stir about 1/2 cup of brown sugar mixture into eggs, then add egg mixture to remaining brown sugar mixture in saucepan. Stir in cranberries, pecans and vanilla. Pour cranberry mixture over baked crust. Bake for 30-32 minutes, until cranberry mixture is set. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars and serve.
(The Food Network has some more recipes from Cran Fest)

Sunday, November 20, 2005 

Specialty Food Magazine

This is a fabulous magazine for those in the food industry. Timely stories. Great articles. Fabulous recipes. I highly recommend it, and, subscribing to their email newsletter.

Some of the stories in their emails and magazine...

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Americans have tried organic foods and beverages, jumping from just over half (54%) in both 2003 and 2004, according to the 2005 Whole Foods Market Organic Trend Tracker. The market for organic foods continues to grow, with 27% of respondents indicating they consume more organic foods and beverages than they did one year ago. Full Story

A new Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. management team is transitioning the company into a functional food marketer, offering Atkins Advantage bars and ready-to-drink shakes to the adult population of active men and women seeking to improve their overall health and wellness. This is a shift from ANI's previous strategy of educating consumers about the benefits of a controlled-carbohydrate diet. Full Story

The Grand Rapids Press examines some of the steps that Meijer Inc. has taken to survive since Wal-Mart became a major competitor in its markets throughout a five-state area. It has cut two-thirds of its costs and cut 25% off the cost of building new stores, said co-CEO Hank Meijer. Full Story

Food Writing for Non-Writers: In the November/December issue of Specialty Food Magazine, Zingerman’s President Ari Weinzweig educates specialty food retailers on the fundamentals of writing about the products they sell. Demystify the writing process with Weinzweig’s ten simple steps to successful food writing. Click here for full story

Retailer efforts to combat hunger continue to grow as the need for donations increases, according to a new FMI report Survey of Supermarkets and Food Banks, 2005. Each year nearly one-quarter of the supermarkets surveyed (24%) donate more than one million or more pounds of food. More than half (53%) donate at least 100,000 pounds of food annually. Full StoryFull Report

Saturday, November 19, 2005 

There's wrong...

and then there is just plain...wrong! ewwww.

But if you have someone on your holiday list that would enjoy can "pick one up" at

Savannah's Candy Kitchen.


Making the Whole Holiday Blue in MA

Geez. I'm sorry. This is just silly.
There'll be no last-minute shopping for turkeys or trimmings on Thanksgiving Day in Massachusetts.

The state has warned the upscale Whole Foods supermarket chain that it will risk criminal charges under the state's centuries-old "blue laws" if it goes ahead with plans to open on the holiday.

The office of Attorney General Thomas Reilly issued a legal opinion after officials at a Whole Foods competitor, Shaw's Supermarkets, wrote him a letter asking him to block the opening, The Boston Globe reported.

David Lannon, president of Whole Foods Market's North Atlantic Region, said the chain has scrapped the Thanksgiving openings at its 14 state stores.

"We're not going to break the law, he said. "If the blue law says we'll have to be closed, we have to be closed."

Many of the state's Puritan-era blue laws, passed in the 1600s to keep colonists at home or in church on Sundays, have been repealed, such as a ban of liquor sales on Sundays. But one that remains in effect requires all stores, except convenience stores and gas stations, to close on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. - AP

Thursday, November 17, 2005 

Sticky Non Stick Sitch

You might want to reexamine your usage of Non Stick Pans

DuPont Co. hid studies showing the risks of a Teflon-related chemical used to line candy wrappers, pizza boxes, microwave popcorn bags and hundreds of other food containers, according to internal company documents and a former employee.

The chemical Zonyl can rub off the liner and get into food. Once in a person's body, it can break down into perfluorooctanoic acid and its salts, known as PFOA, a related chemical used in the making of Teflon-coated cookware.

The Environmental Protection Agency has been trying to decide whether to classify PFOA as a "likely" human carcinogen. The Food and Drug Administration in a letter released Wednesday evening by DuPont, said it was continuing to monitor the safety of PFOA chemicals in food.

The DuPont documents were made public Wednesday by the Environmental
Working Group, a research and advocacy organization.

At the same time, a former DuPont chemical engineer, Glenn Evers, told reporters at a news conference at EWG's office that the company long suppressed its studies on the chemical.

"They are toxic," Evers said of the PFOA chemicals. "They get into human blood. And they are also in every one of you. Your loved ones, your fellow citizens." - AP

Former DuPont Top Expert: Company Knew, Covered Up Pollution of Americans' Blood for 18 Years.

Documents: Company Couldn't Find Safe Level of Exposure in 1973 to Chemical that Never Breaks Down, Clings to Human Blood

Study Results Show Company Found Safer Ways to Coat Food Packaging But Shelved Them to Save Money - Environmental Working Group



Your Blog Should Be Red

Your blog is full of intensity and passion.
You are very opinionated - and people love or hate you for it.
You have the potential to be both a famous and infamous blogger.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 

The Holidays May Not Be So Sweet

The cost of goods, especially sugar, is going up..up..up. Talk about having a "sugar high"

Thousands of acres of cane ready to be harvested were soaked in saltwater as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita pounded the Gulf of Mexico 35 miles away. When the sea water receded, much of the cane was damaged and the fields were filled with torn-off porches, picnic tables, splintered furniture and stinking moss.

The loss of the Louisiana sugarcane and disruptions at two sugar refineries in New Orleans sent a shock through the sugar industry, which was already dealing with shortages because of hurricane-damaged crops in Florida last year.

"Sure, I'm gonna hurt," said DuPlantis, whose 3,000 acres of cane were flooded. "But that's small potatoes compared to the industry as a whole."

Since the end of August, the price of sugar has gone from 28 cents a pound to over 40 cents, according to the U.S.

Department of Agriculture citing industry publications. That's compounded the pricing difficulties the sugar industry faces — the government keeps prices for sugar considerably higher in the U.S. than on the world market by limiting imports and restricting how much sugar can be sold domestically.

The goal is to protect farmers and processors and ensure a steady supply of sugar. However, the price difference means that food manufacturers — and consumers — pay more than if there were no restrictions on imports. The world price for refined sugar averaged 14.18 cents a pound, according to the USDA.

The latest increase is being felt mostly by small confectioners, bakers and ice cream makers who don't buy their sugar on the futures market months ahead of time.

...To take the edge off, the USDA temporarily increased sugar imports and released sugar beet reserves into the market. More than half of the sugar refined in the U.S. comes from sugar beets, the rest is from sugarcane.

But neither the imports nor the reserves could stave off the price increases, because two of the country's largest refineries, both in New Orleans, were shuttered, said Salathe. When they reopen, it's hoped that prices will retreat. - AP
My favorite sugar..."C&H Pure Can Sugar It's the One!" (Amazing how jingles stay locked in the memory!) If you notice the "new" (and not improved, in my opinion) packaging of late, you will no longer see the traditional Hibiscus Flower that had been one of their trademarks to their logo. Apparently the C (California) part of the company got mad at the H (Hawai'i) part...or so someone gossiped to me. Whether that is true or not, I don't know...all I know is that I love their sugar! They also, as do I, suggest doing a random act of "sweetness"!

Monday, November 14, 2005 

What a good dad!

Hank, at the urging of his son, bought the Betty Crocker Bake and Fill System and actually baked a cake in celebration of the end of soccer season. (the cake looked like a soccer ball, of course)

Actually, the set looks pretty cool for just $19.95!


Custom M & M's

How cool is that?! Choice of 21 colors and you get 2 lines of 8 characters per line.

Order up yours now for Holiday Gift Eating....I mean "Giving"

Saturday, November 12, 2005 

Blogger Giving Food Critic...Indigestion

Sassy Blogger Julia Langbein Takes on Chief New York Times Food Critic Frank Bruni.

go read the story at AP or visit her blog, The Bruni Digest.

Friday, November 11, 2005 

Happy Chef Blogging Friday!

Veterans' Day Edition.

Meet the Chef's "Adopt a Ship" Program participant, Chef Steve Mannion

The USS Hopper (DDG 70), home ported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, recently set sail for Tarawa, Kiribati, to take part in the commemoration ceremony of the 60th Anniversary of the Battle of Tarawa. Hopper didn't leave alone. With the help of Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Corporate Chef, Chef Michael Harants, and his Adopt-a-Ship Program. Chef Harants arranged for Chef Steve Mannion to embark Hopper for the 14-day trip as part of the Adopt-a-Ship Program.

Chef Mannion has more than 29 years of culinary expertise and he is the Director of the Culinary Academy of Austin, in Austin, Texas. He is a Certified Executive Chef (CEC), Certified Executive Pasty Chef (CEPC) and he has competed in numerous cooking competitions around the world.

Chef Mannion became an integral part of the Food Service Division (S-2) throughout his visit. He provided culinary training to the Culinary Specialists (CSs) and Food Service Attendants (FSAs) in a variety of areas. He has been a tremendous asset to Hopper throughout his stay. The training he provided was invaluable to our operation and he undoubtedly left a lasting impression on our CSs, FSAs and the ship. Just having him around boosted crew morale. There was a buzz throughout the ship when our crew saw we had an actual Chef on board providing training to our CSs. I think that sent a strong message to our crew that the Navy is taking food service seriously.

Adopt-a-Ship provides measurable results to all participants. The MSs directly benefit from the culinary knowledge and work experiences of the visiting chef. This informal education results in American Culinary Federation (ACF) Continuing Education Hours (CEHs) for both the CS and participating Chef. CEHs are a beneficial award used toward industry professional certification. ACF culinary and management certification is a powerful statement demonstrating valuable experience and the value a certified chef and cook places on continuing education. To say Steve was well received by the CSs and the crew would be an understatement. Not only did he provide training, he also dazzled the crew with his entrees, baked goods, pastries, desserts, and hors d'oeuvres. While in Tarawa, Steve and the Food Service Division had the opportunity to put their talents on display as Hopper hosted a flight deck reception for 250 Distinguished Visitors, including the President and First Lady of Kiribati, on behalf of the U.S. Ambassador to Tarawa.

...When asked what he thought of the experience, Steve replied, "When I volunteered to come on this trip I really had no way of knowing what to expect or how I would be received. I now know that it was an honor for me to have been able to come aboard and to have served each and everyone of you." Steve also said, "What amazed me most, and still does, is how young each and every one is. Not having served in the military myself, I was truly amazed that such important responsibilities have been bestowed on such young Americans. I have always felt and known that our country is in good hands when it comes to our defense, but now I can say I know it first hand." This experience was undoubtedly a success for all parties involved. Not only did Hopper receive outstanding culinary instruction, they also made a lasting friendship.

The Adopt-a-Ship program began as a partnership between NAVSUP and the ACF to provide training to CSs who may otherwise not have had the opportunity to experience industry practices. Adopt-a-Ship is actively recruiting chefs and cooks from the ACF and will expand the search into other professional food service organizations including the Research Chefs Association (RCA), the Retailer's Bakers Association (RBA), the National Restaurant Association (NRA) and the International Food Service Executives Association (IFSEA), reaching out to all culinary professionals to support Navy Culinary Training. This voluntary program provides chefs and cooks the opportunity to spend time shipboard with CSs by sharing their culinary knowledge and industry experience. - Navy Supply Corps Newsletter

The guided missile destroyer Hopper (DDG 70) was commissioned in San Francisco, Calif., during an 11 a.m. ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 6, 1997. The USS Hopper was named for Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, whose pioneering spirit in the field of computer technology led the Navy into the age of computers. During her career, she was know as the “Grand Lady of Software,” “Amazing Grace” and “Grandma Cobol” after co-inventing COBOL (common business-oriented language). COBOL made it possible for computers to respond to words instead of just numbers, thus enabling computers to “talk to each other.”

Rear Adm. Hopper retired from the Naval Reserve in January 1967, but was recalled to active duty in August 1967 by President Lyndon B. Johnson because of her much-needed expertise in applied computer science. Rear Adm. Hopper retired a second time in August 1986. She passed away on Jan. 1, 1992. This is the first time since World War II, and only the second time in Naval history, that a warship has been named for a woman from the Navy’s own ranks. - US Navy

Thursday, November 10, 2005 

Martha's Baking Up More Book Business....

Martha's got a new book out.

Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook!

She's getting everyone in the "mood" by having some very good hints and suggestions up on her site. Lots of images of "baked stuff", "how to" videos....and, of course, holiday baking recipes....even a few from the new book. She's such a delicious tease!)

She got a great pdf up on her sit about preparing and having a successful "
cookie swap" This alone would make a great gift on it's own if you print it out and put it in a binder along with some cookie cutters or spatulas!

Martha also has some ideas on
shipping your baked goods as presents:

Instead of consigning your thoughtfully shaped and baked goods to an old shoe box or used coffee can, try one of the following decorative ideas for storing and presenting them.

1 Pudding molds lined with parchment make excellent vessels for soft chocolate truffles.

2. Long, lidded bread pans, swathed in bright taffeta or velvet ribbon, are the perfect container for delicate cookies like biscotti.

3. A paint box, found in art-supply stores, displays a variety of different cookies in mini cupcake liners.

4. Heavy-duty square cake pans with notched corners are perfect for securing crisscrosses of ribbon or rickrack over parchment-paper lids.

5. Even clear plastic airtight containers make pretty packages when dressed up with lengths of ribbon.


Every gift you ship should have two basic lines of defense: It should be well packed in an inner gift box, then well packed in a second, outer gift box.

—Choose a box that is appropriate in size to the cookie tin within. This will help keep the tins from shifting and the cookies from breaking.

—The ideal cushion is 2 to 3 inches of packing material on all sides.

—Reuse or recycle packing material like boxes, Bubble Wrap, and foam peanuts.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005 

Newspaper Food Section Wednesday

Today I thought we would travel abroad. Since I have been visiting the blog of Eriska, which details the often overlooked details of maintaining and running a delightful hotel in Scotland. I thought we would travel across "The Pond" and visit the food pages of The Scotsman.

But first...a little appetizer about Scotland....

Scotland is known for it's arts and it's parties. Put them together for a whole lot of fun. There are now twelve international festivals each year in
Edinburgh alone: apart from the main festival there is the vast Fringe Festival, the Edinburgh International Book Festival (the largest of its kind in the world), the famous Edinburgh Tattoo, the Children’s Festival, the Science Festival, the Film and Television Festival, the Jazz and Blues Festival and the multicultural Edinburgh Mela.

Aberdeen has a dynamic biennial literary festival – Word - and Glasgow has its own Jazz and Blues Festival and the exciting Celtic Connections showcasing the best of contemporary bands. Lewis and Skye also have music festivals with a Gaelic twist and the Gaels also have their own annual festival, The Mod, which moves from location to location.

And speaking of the arts, one of my favorite bands,
Travis is from Scotland.

Scotland is also known for its mountainous and beautiful scenery. Much of the upland within the UK is contained within the borders of Scotland, along with the highest peaks. Some of the highest mountains in Scotland are Ben Nevis (1343m or 4406 feet high), Ben Macdhui (1309m or 4296 feet) and Braeriach (1296m or 4252 feet)

It is also noted for its lochs (this name is generally used for lakes in Scotland). Much of the west coast of the country is intersected by Sea Lochs, the longest of which, Loch Fyne, penetrates more than 40 miles inland. Notable fresh-water lochs include Loch Ness (yes...
the one with the Monster!).

You can podcast an insider's view of Edinburgh...
here. Or see what you can see and do in

Although, Beppo, the proprietor of Eriska shared with me his family's recipe for Shortbread, I'm keeping it a secret! You will have to email him and beg for the recipe. The recipe that caught my eye in the Scotsman was their take on an American tradition..."brownies" using
dark muscovado sugar which I thought was an interesting departure from the usual variety.

Dark Muscovado Brownies

350g dark chocolate (55-60% cocoa solids)
250g unsalted butter
3 large free-range eggs
250g unrefined dark muscovado sugar
50g plain flour1 tsp baking powder

Melt the chocolate and butter together, then cool a little. Whisk the eggs until pale and frothy then add the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking until thick and glossy. Gently fold in the melted chocolate mixture, then sieve in the flour and baking powder. Pour into a buttered 23cm square cake tin. Bake at 170C/325F/Gas 3 for 35-40 minutes until just done - when a skewer is inserted into the middle there should be some mixture adhering. Remove and cool for at least 20 minutes, then cut and remove to a wire rack to cool.


The City by the Bay has a new magazine

edible San Francisco - a foodie magazine for the foodie town!

As they say...

Edible San Francisco is a quarterly newsletter that promotes the abundance of local foods in the San Francisco area. We celebrate the family farmers, fishermen, fishmongers, food artisans, chefs, and other food-related businesses for their dedication to using the highest quality, fresh, seasonal foods.

it looks luscious...go take a look.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005 

It's Election Day...Let's Vote!

Vote for your favorite cookie...HERE!

Monday, November 07, 2005 

It's Fall...I'm Missing "Home"

I'm originally from New Hampshire. I guess you can take the girl out of New England, but you can't take the New England out of the girl. Some of my favorite places in "blogtopia" (y!sctp) to "surf" to that remind me of "home"....

The Vermont Country Store - I love some of the, well, unusually named products. Come on "Tired Old Ass Soak"...who can resist that?

LL Bean - What can I say. Reasonably priced. Durable. From Maine. And they have great sales. Right now they have Free hop on over and find something for yourself or someone on the Holiday List.

Vermont Teddy Bear - cuddly American made fun...

Bag Balm - you can't go through a winter without this stuff to soften the hands. There's the old Yankee saying, too, if you can't fix it with Bag Balm and Duct Tape, it aint' worth keeping or saving.

and last, but not least, King Arthur Flour, which is actually located in Norwich, VT...right across the Connecticut River from where I grew up! One of their recipes using the food of the New England sweet toothed blessed gods...Maple Sugar!


1 cup (8 ounces) butter OR a combination of half butter and half vegetable shortening
1 cup (5 1/4 ounces) pure maple sugar
1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons (1/4 ounce) maple baking flavor
2 3/4 cups (11 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) pure maple sugar
2 tablespoons (7/8 ounces) granulated sugar

Dough: In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugars, cream of tartar, salt, and eggs until fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk together the baking soda, maple baking flavor and flour. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat until blended. Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes, to stiffen it and make it easier to shape.

Topping: Combine the sugars in a shallow bowl or pie pan, or in a large plastic bag. Drop the dough by the rounded tablespoonful into the sugar, gently shake the pan (or bag) to coat the balls, then roll them in your hands till they're smooth and round. Place the cookies on parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake them in a preheated 400°F oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they're a very light, golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and after 5 minutes transfer them to a rack to cool. Yield: about 3 dozen 3-inch cookies.

Maple Glaze (optional)
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) glazing or confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) maple syrup
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon maple flavor powder or maple extract

Mix together the glaze ingredients to make a spreadable frosting. Smooth a thin layer over the cookies. Let the glaze dry for several hours before packing the cookies in airtight containers. Store for 1 week, or freeze for a longer period.

Sunday, November 06, 2005 

Found at the local library....

oh...yummy.... get ready to drool...

There are, according to the back cover, 1010 chocolate recipes as they thought the recipes so good they couldn't cut them down to 1001.

This book is dangerous. The total combined caloric content of these recipes is three million calories.

Friday, November 04, 2005 

Happy Chef Blogging Friday!

Today...let's have some fun...

The Swedish Chef

A parody of televised
cooking shows, the Swedish Chef wears a toque blanche and has bushy eyebrows that completely obscure his eyes. He was one of the few Muppets to employ an actual puppeteer's hands, originally Oz's, in the designs—that is, they were visible to the audience through his sleeves and facilitated handling food and utensils.

Nearly all Swedish Chef sketches begin with him in a kitchen, waving some utensils while singing his signature song in a trademark semi-comprehensible
gibberish which parodies the characteristic vowel sounds of Swedish. "Yorn desh born, der ritt de gitt der gue, Orn desh, dee born desh, de umn bork! bork! bork!". The last line of the song is always "Børk! Børk! Børk!", and is punctuated by him throwing the utensils over his shoulder to crash into the crockery behind.

After this introduction, the Chef continues speaking gibberish while preparing a particular recipe. His commentary is spiced with the occasional English word to clue the viewer in to what he is attempting. These clues are necessary as he frequently uses unorthodox culinary equipment (firearms, tennis racquets, etc.) to prepare his dishes. The sketch typically degenerates into a slapstick finale where the ingredients or equipment get the better of him.
In one sketch, a misaimed explosive charge slightly damaged the face of the puppet. The Chef's face remained scarred through the rest of the season.

The Chef's gibberish gained a life of its own with the creation of a Unix lex filter capable of converting standard English to "chefspeak" in 1992. The filter quickly became a staple of hacker culture and eventually spread to the mainstream with "Swedish Chef" translators on several websites such as Google. In 2003 Opera Software published a special "Bork" version of its internet browser which turned the MSN website into "Swedish."

It is sometimes said that The Swedish Chef character is based on real life Swedish chef Lars "Kuprik" Bäckman. He claims that his rather unsuccessful appearance on Good Morning America caught the attention of Jim Henson, who later bought the rights to the recording and created Lars Bäckman's Muppet alter ego. Bäckman's Dalecarlian accent would explain the chef's strange pronunciation. This story is however denied by writer Jerry Juhl. (Thanks to Wikipedia and Veekeepedia)

Listen to his classic Chocolate Mooose recipe. it too...but read it "out loud" to have some fun.

Noo, toodie wee well meg dee chocolate mooose. Step oone, geet a five-pound block oof chocolate.

Step twoo, get dee mooose. Heer, mooosee mooosee mooosee mooosee!

Step three, put dee mooose een dee bleender.

Nuutice: dee bleender cun't hundel dee entlers. Put dee entlers een last.

Seeve dee entlers, yoo cun use dem fur furks.

Steep three: cuut chocolate eentoo leetle bite-size peeces. Heer, we uuse a cleever.

Dees is guud chocolate. Weell, eef at furst yuu dun't succeed, pass dee buck. Get dee asseesteent. Aseesteent! (Miss Piggy)

Asseesteent, pulees cuut dee chocolate eentoo leedle bite-size peeces. Theenk yooo, asseestent.

Steep fuur, put chocolate een weeth mooose, und bleend egen.

Allweeys remembur oone uf twoo theengs. Eether puut dee leed on dee bleender, ur meg shuur det yuur diiners ur een dee keetchen.

Uum! Dees ees guud mooosee!

(thanks to the Messy Gourmet)

Thursday, November 03, 2005 

Know What it means to miss New Orleans

Bon Appetit, in it's September issue, highlighted America's Top 5 Restaurant Cities. New York. San Francisco. Chicago. Las Vegas. And our beloved New Orleans.

The magazine had gone to press before Katrina hit. It was heartbreaking to look over their article on The Big Easy at the same time watching it destroyed live on television. But it is a good issue and the article makes one drool over the food city that was.

Take a virtual tour of The Big Easy. And the BourboCam is back and running.

And please remember, the affects of Katrina are still being felt...and it takes money to restore the city and people's lives. This Thanksgiving, the holiday of food, please remember the city of food that Katrina washed away. And please remember the musicians that made The Big Easy so "delicious".

For your thanksgiving, cook up a little something "Nawhlins" style...

Pumpkin and Pecan Bread Pudding

1 loaf stale French bread
3/4 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
3 whole eggs
1 quart half-and-half cream
1/2 pint whipping cream
1 Tbs. vanilla
2 Tbs. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 can pie pumpkin (the fresh jack-o-lantern pumpkin won't work)
1 cup pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
1. In a mixing bowl, blend the half-and-half, whipping cream, vanilla, and all the egg to make a custard mixture.
2. Slice the bread about 3/4 inch thick.
3. Coat the insides of two 10-inch cake pans with a generous amount of butter. Line the perimeter with the smallest slices of bread, then cover the bottom with an overlapping bread layer. Sprinkle on some of the cinnamon, then pour on enough custard mixture to soak all the bread.
4. Mix the pumpkin with the nutmeg and ½ cup of the custard mixture. Spoon a layer of the pumpkin mixture across the bread. about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle a third of the pcans across the pumpkin.
5. Put down another layer of bread, dust it with cinnamon, soak it with the custard mixture, and top with the remaining pumpkin mixture, and another third of the pecans. Finish with another layer of bread, cinnamon, and custard mixture, with the remaining pecans on top.
6. Bake in the preheated 250-degree oven for one hour and 35 minutes. Remove and cool. Cut into pie-style slices and serve either warm or cold--it's great both ways!

Serves 12.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005 

Food Section Wednesday

The NYTimes had a lovely, heartbreaking article on New Orleans...."Pralines...seasoned with tears"

Perhaps no city in the United States has as distinctive and vital a food culture as New Orleans. The city has epitomized good eating (and hedonism in general) to several generations of Americans, and Southerners treasure it more than anyone.

"If it were not for New Orleans and
Louisiana," said John Egerton of Nashville, whose 1987 book "Southern Food" (Knopf) is considered the classic treatment of the subject, "Southern food would probably not be as revered as it is. If New Orleans doesn't come back, it will accelerate the gradual disappearance of traditional Southern food, which has already gone from a way of life to something for ceremonial occasions, at least for most people."

Several major New Orleans restaurants have reopened, some on a limited basis, including Lilette, Cuvée and Herbsaint. Frank Brigtsen, who is living temporarily in Shreveport, La., has pledged to reopen his Uptown establishment, Brigtsen's. The Brennan family, which owns Commander's Palace and nine other places, has reopened several and promised to bring them all back, but several, including Commander's, need major repairs, and the timetable remains unclear.

John T. Edge, the director of the
Southern Foodways Alliance, which runs the symposium, told me he was confident that nearly all the nationally known New Orleans restaurants would eventually reopen. What troubles him, he said, is the po' boy shops, oyster bars, red-beans-and-rice joints and other mom-and-pop businesses that have given New Orleans dining so much of its zest. Some are already gone. Uglesich's, one of the most beloved neighborhood places, closed before the storms;
Austin Leslie, the fried-chicken wizard, was evacuated after Katrina struck and died in Atlanta. - NYTimes
What IS a prahline, you may ask...
New Orleans style pralines have their origin in 18th century France. Once there lived a French Marshal and Diplomat named Cesar du Plessis-Praslin (pronounced prah-lin). His chef invented a recipe for coating almonds, in sugar to be consumed as a digestive aid. The chef named the confection pralines, after his employer. Today, the word “praline” is common throughout France and Belgium to describe any confection made with nuts.

Eighteenth century historian, Le Page du Pratz, praised the pecan and its use in “the praline…one of the delicacies of New Orleans.”

How did the praline get to America? In the days of sailing vessels when news and fashion took months to travel from Paris to New Orleans, a southern gentleman made business trips to Paris and no doubt brought back some of these delicious pralines to the head cook of his plantation. By virtue of her excellent cooking, she felt that this new confection was a challenge. So she prepared a confection that has lived through the ages. Instead of almonds, she used a Louisiana nut called a pecan and sugar made from Louisiana sugar cane. Instead of one nut she used a handful of pecans for good measure.

And...when you mention pralines in the French Quarter...most people will think of Aunt Sally's.


1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons dark corn syrup
1 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecan halves

Butter the sides of a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Place the sugar, salt, and corn syrup, milk, and butter in saucepan. Over medium heat, stir mixture constantly with a wooden spoon until sugars have dissolved and mixture comes to a boil. Continue to cook to a soft ball stage, approximately 236 degrees F on a candy thermometer. If you do a cold water test, the ball of candy will flatten when you take it out of the water. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Add the vanilla and nuts, and beat with a spoon by hand for approximately 2 minutes or until candy is slightly thick and begins to lose its gloss. Quickly drop heaping tablespoons onto waxed paper. If the candy becomes stiff, add a few drops of hot water.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 

More Good Reasons to Love Chocolate

U.S. confectioner Mars Inc. is ready with its new line of chocolate bars and chocolate-covered almonds it says are good for the heart and arteries.

The CocoaVia confections are produced at a factory in Albany, Ga., and serve as the centerpiece of a corporate quest to transform chocolate into a healthy indulgence, reports The New York Times.

The new rice and flavanol-filled cocoa powder in the chocolate bars are injected with liquid-canola plant sterols, separating them from the company's more well-known M&M's, Snickers and Dove bars.

Flavanols are naturally occurring chemicals in cocoa that have antioxidant qualities. Sterols are plant-based chemicals found in a variety of foods, the report said.

If the company can show flavanols help improve blood flow and lower blood pressure, then foods with them could potentially help prevent heart disease. The bars will be placed in health food aisles.

Some skeptical nutritionists say the effort seems less of a breakthrough than a sly way to scare up chocolate sales. - UPI


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