Thursday, December 28, 2006


We watched the movie. Akeelah and the Bee last night. A real “feel good” movie and it worked. Did it show us a glimpse of real life? No, but that wasn’t the point. Sure, it was simple and didn’t require a lot of thought to enjoy it. Nothing wrong with that!

And speaking of Christmas presents… here’s one that we’re both enjoying. The hang-up cookbook holder really works well.

Right now the holder contains a recipe for Boston Cream pie, made from scratch… more on that later.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Scalloped potatoes

A holiday staple of course, but these were called a favorite at last nights meal.

Of course I didn't cook them exactly as detailed in the recipe; for one thing, I made a slight error and mistook 1 cup of chicken broth for 1 can of chicken broth. But not to worry! I just added more sour cream and cream cheese. Not exactly double...I just added what was left in each container.

Well, it worked out fine and it's a great colorful dish for holiday cooking. (We substituted Green bell peppers for Orange...making for Green and Red, of course)

I know that I was supposed to post more pictures, but I was so busy sampling cookies and candy that I just didn't get around to it. Maybe later.

Monday, December 25, 2006

More on Christmas 2006

Our neighbor's contribution to our table...a sweet potato pie. Thanks!
The cookies assembled...

The microplane grater, what a great tool. And the beginnings of a lemon merengue pie.

Christmas 2006

Since it's been such an interesting Christmas so far... (See here) I think I will spend some time posting observations and photos during the day, showing you our progress. It's bound to get better!

First, a picture of the Moroccan Lemons.

And a picture of the cookies before assembling onto the platter...

Friday, December 22, 2006


I posted once before about using TJ's Chicken potstickers (Gyoza) and TJ's Hot and Sour Soup together...well, I did that again and this time I added a side dish of TJ's Edamame; soy beans. Simple enough, just boil for 5 minutes, drain and serve with butter. Great flavor!

Thursday, December 21, 2006


This Christmas will bring us a chance for a new tradition; Tri-tip instead of turkey. I stopped at Chico Locker and Sausage Company the other day and bought 2 roasts. They are pre-marinated and I chose two different marinades, just to make sure that all can enjoy. There is a Santa Maria style dry rub and Yukon Gold…which I was told would be a favorite.

I will have to go back to this store after the holidays and check out the sausage. I saw a lamb sausage that had me interested. One of the best pizza’s I ever had was topped with a lamb sausage (Pizzacato…Lake Oswego, Oregon). With Trader Joe’s pizza dough and some local lamb sausage, I may be able to duplicate it.

And speaking of the Trader; no cookies! There’s not a single box of Christmas Jo-Jo’s to be had. "Maybe next year", was the answer from the clerk.

But I did discover that TJ sells condensed milk as well as evaporated milk and at prices way below the supermarket level. Good job!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Plenty of what to do with them? Aren't those pretty?
The best idea so far is the Moroccan Lemon "cure".

Here's some links to better explain the whole idea.

And this one to an Epicurious recipe...

I like this one best because of the spices and the extended shelf life.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Turkey anyone? Anyone?

We just finished another meal of soup (Cabbage/Tomato) made with turkey broth. I have one container of the broth left in the freezer and then it's over. And since any soup that calls for a foundation of chicken broth tastes so much better with turkey...I decided to see if I could find it for sale. Nada, none, zip. That left me with the Google option and there it was, hidden among the pet foods? Yes, it's for humans and not your dog or cat. And I found something called Turkey Base, a pricey item. But if it works?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Liquorice Facts

It's back!

I checked at Trader Joe's yesterday and found my favorite licorice is back on the shelf after being gone for over a month. No, it's not the funny tasting red stuff that is mistakenly labeled as licorice. This is the real deal!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Soups On!

Laurae was on a soft diet yesterday after some oral surgery and so soup was on the menu. I started with one recipe and ended up with a somewhat different kind…though quite good! That’s what I like about soups; anything goes.

Here’s a list of ingredients; in no particular order

1 small white onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2+ cups of turkey stock
1 can white beans
1 can stewed tomatoes (Mexican style)
2 Tbs olive oil
3 stalks of celery, sliced and chopped
½ cup of mushrooms
1 cup of chopped, left over turkey (Dark meat)
2 apples, cored, peeled and thinly sliced
½ cup red wine
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil for about 3 minutes. Now add the turkey stock, beans, tomatoes, chopped turkey and celery. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for about 45 minutes.

(I had made a very rich turkey stock from our Thanksgiving bird, so this where the recipe deviated…the original recipe called for beef stock and no meat at all.)

While the soup is simmering, core and peel 2 apples before slicing them thin. Take a small saucepan and heat (medium) the ½ cup of wine. (Sorry, Denise…you left your Yellow Tail Shiraz here on Thanksgiving and it became part of our soup.) Cook the apple slices in the wine until they are soft.

When the 45 minutes of simmering are up, add the apples and the remaining wine to the soup. Add the mushrooms. Now simmer for about 15 more minutes. Adjust the seasonings and you’re ready!

I could see doing this one with beef stock, but I would probably want to add a soup bone to the stock first and make it really rich before adding it to the soup. Unless you can buy a real rich beef stock?

This makes about 6-8 servings and should be even better on the second day.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


We watched the movie, The Lost City last night and really enjoyed it. Though I’m still at a loss as to why we enjoyed it? It went on for 2 ½ hours and Bill Murray was lame, as usual. Yet we were still wide eyed as the final credits rolled. At first I couldn’t make sense of who was who…and even at the end, I still had questions. But it was entertaining and that’s all it has to be.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Whole Enchilada

Some more info on cranberry sauce…or jelly. Before the holidays, Laurae spotted an interesting dish that employed cranberries and turkey, in its left-over form. Well, I made that dish (Cran-Turkey Enchiladas) on Saturday and it was great. Here’s the recipe… Of course I varied from the recipe. Doesn’t everyone? I used the cranberry sauce that I made last week and I didn’t use as much as the recipe calls for. I was saving a little of it!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Holiday Sauce

OK, I just found this recipe for a cranberry sauce and haven’t tried it yet…but it sounds so good that I will post it here anyway. You be the judge.

2/3 cup orange zest
2 cups water
2 cups white sugar
2/3 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 cups cranberries
1 tablespoon brandy

In a small pan over medium heat, combine the orange zest and water. Cover and bring to boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Drain, reserving zest and 1/3 cup liquid.

To the reserved liquid, add the sugar, orange juice and lemon juice. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes uncovered, stirring often.

Add cranberries; increase heat to medium-high and boil for about 10 minutes or until the cranberries have popped and a small spoonful of sauce sets on a cold plate.

Remove from heat, stir in brandy. Pour into 4 1/2 pint jars leaving 1/2 inch space from top.

Place lids onto jars, and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Tea Time

I’m sipping a cup of tea this morning… PG Tips tea, advertised as England’s No. 1 tea. We bought a box of it yesterday while shopping at Brambury Cottage in Chico, a great gift store and one we always enjoy shopping in.

OK, back to the tea. It has a flavor that reminds me of the tea that I used to enjoy when I was a child. My grandmother, Dot, would drink a tea similar to this and I would always beg to be included in the pouring of “a cuppa”. Now don’t laugh, but I have poured a tablespoon of egg nog into the cup. Very good!

Friday, November 10, 2006

TJ Rules!

As you know, I’m a big fan of the Trader. So here are a couple of things I discovered recently.

We had Chicken and Vegetable Pot stickers last night and they were great! The secret was in the use of TJ’s Hot and Sour Soup. I took all of the Trader Joe’s frozen pot stickers out and placed them in a large (wide) pan of heated oil (2 Tbs at medium/high) and let them simmer for about 2 minutes. Then I added a ¼ cup of water and covered the pan for about 8 minutes. In the meantime, I opened the soup and put it in a saucepan to heat. Once it began to bubble, I put the pot stickers into that saucepan and turned the heat down to let it simmer for an additional 10 minutes; stirring every now and then to make certain the stickers got some good coverage with the soup. Served in a soup bowl, this makes a great dinner for two, though you have to like spicy, and we do.

We also like Trader Joe’s own version of Oreo’s, (Joe-Joe’s) especially the ginger flavored one. But there is a new one out and it’s the Candy Cane Joe-Joe. Real peppermint candy cane embedded in the frosting… it’s even better than the ginger!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Soups on!

I can boast that I made a great soup last night… well; I did it with the help of a good recipe of course. But I did make some small changes; doesn’t everyone?

Here’s a link to the original recipe. Now you can make the changes you want.

And look at the calories in this one; not bad at all! Sodium is kind of high but you can change that easily enough.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Shannon says...

Since my granddaughter has decided to practice her writing skills once more, I was browsing through her Blogger profile and ran across the fact that her favorite movie was The Notebook. I rented it via Netflix and we watched it last night.

Caution! This movie shouldn't be viewed by old married us. It makes us cry.

Good acting by all, and though it seemed to drag at times, it was an excellent movie overall.

Other criticisms; the editing was sloppy, causing me to question "what", "how" and "why" in more than a few scenes... And since I was born in 1940; the ficticious date that the film began, some of the scenes from 7 or 8 years later didn't ring true for me. But who would notice that but the old folks, like me.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


We’re beginning to get ready for winter around here. I think I will see about getting ½ a cord of firewood just to be certain that we have enough. And I have been trying out some soup recipes lately. The usual winter diet is all about “comfort” foods and we need to change a few things about that. Soups can be just as comforting as macaroni and cheese on a cold winter evening, but they can contain about a 1/3 of the calories and fat. We both want to stay as slim as we can this year and not have to fight to remove the weight in the spring.

A 1,100 daily calorie diet is not that hard to follow if you use soup as the entrée of one of the main meals. And soup can contain all of the necessary elements of a healthy meal. Case in point; I made a chicken chowder last night, all from scratch and it probably contained about 350 calories or less.

I started with a basic recipe and then modified it as I prowled through the refrigerator and cupboards. Here’s how it came together… first I sautéed ½ cup of chopped sweet onions along with some thyme and a few bay leaves. When the onions were translucent I poured in 1 can of non-fat (99%) low sodium chicken broth and brought it up to a simmer before adding about 4 red potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces. About ten minutes later, when the potatoes were starting to become tender, I added 2 cups of non-fat milk, a cup of chicken pieces, (I used thighs, cut up into bite size) a cup of frozen mixed vegetables, a ½ cup of mushroom slices and ½ of a red Bell pepper, seeded and chopped.

After simmering for another 15 minutes, the chicken was done and the potatoes were tender while the mixed vegetables were still crisp enough to be flavorful. It was great. If I make it again, I will probably add a spicy element; maybe a few sprinkles of hot sauce. I was expecting a bit more flavor from the chicken thighs but it didn’t happen. (The original recipe called for celery and not mixed vegetables. Low fat milk, not non-fat. And it called for chicken breasts, not thighs.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Teastick -

Great Design!

I didn't even look at the price? Design is everything...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Stay tuned

We are trying out a bread machine...our daughter has loaned us her fine bread making machine (Zojirushi) and we're experimenting with it. So far it has been simple; plain wheat. And it was good...good enough to make us want to try something a little more exotic. So we've bought some raisins (Sorry, Kitty) and the raisin bread is our next target. Pictures to follow the tasting...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Testing...3, and the last

Though I always love the taste and aroma of fresh ground coffee, I hate the grinding! Especially at this early hour. The grinder emits a dreadful howl along with a small cloud of very fine coffee dust. You really don’t see the coffee dust until you run your finger over the tile near the grinder.

But I have completed that chore and have brewed a pot of Folgers Gourmet Selections (whole bean) Vanilla Biscotti coffee.

When I opened the package I was able to enjoy that rush of complex coffee scents. Lovely. Then, when the grinder finished, the kitchen was filled with the aroma of freshly baked biscotti. Really! The Folgers chemists seem to have found the right stuff.

The first cup of coffee was sipped. And I enjoyed it, from first to last sip. The taste was quite pleasant and it seemed to remind me very much of biscotti. The vanilla taste was harder to identify, but it was definitely there.

The second cup (20 minutes old) was better. Richer, and the aroma was more pronounced. The vanilla was now easy to find.

The third and final cup (45 minutes old) is still very much a sipping cup. Good flavor and good aroma. It really hasn’t changed much from the taste of the second cup.

This is certainly the best of the three coffees from Folgers. But it is a whole bean coffee and although I love it, would I buy it? I certainly would if the taste and aroma could come through in a ground coffee package. For that first cup in the morning, I’m looking for great taste and a pleasing aroma and not having to switch on a grinder to get it. This would be a great coffee for later in the day…

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Testing...2, 3

This morning’s first task was to try out the second of three offerings from Folgers Coffee. The coffee for the morning tasting is Folgers Gourmet Selections Lively Columbian Medium Roast. And once again I carefully measured the coffee and the water.

First impressions; the coffee bag was sealed and when I opened it, I didn’t get the expected aroma “blast” of fresh ground coffee. Getting closer, I was able to smell it but it was faint. Of course it’s a medium roast and that will reduce the liveliness of the aroma. The first cup was quite smooth and it had a pleasant aftertaste, but there was nothing special about it. The second cup was more to my liking. It was probably 20 minutes old and in that time it had developed some body and a richer flavor. Now that is nice! And the third cup…my limit, was even better. This cup is probably an hour old, but there is no hint of burned coffee taste or smell. The flavor is even more fully developed and is quite pleasant with no bite to it. This is coffee you can savor.

These first two coffees from Folgers are ground coffees and there is always a question of freshness when buying ground coffees. I know that the packaging is high tech and when opened it should be the same as freshly ground. But there is always the nagging suspicion that it just might be a little bit older than you want it to be. Of course the same can be said about the age of the beans when you buy coffee to grind for yourself, although the bean is still a better package for holding flavor. There is only one coffee left to taste and that’s the one that will require my grinding the beans. I will wait till Monday morning to try that one.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Testing, 1, 2, 3...

Let’s see, it’s a little after 4 and the moon is making it a bright morning long before the sun has a chance. And I have a good cup of coffee in front of me for a change. How did that happen? Well, my cooking blog was noticed by “someone” and I was given three types of a new Folgers coffee to try. By accepting the coffee, I also have an obligation to review it and to post that review on my blog. The package arrived in the mail yesterday and this morning I have brewed a pot. The coffee pot is finally silent and so I’m ready.

Now I must be critical of the coffee and what credentials do I have for that? Let me review them for you; I began drinking coffee at the age of 14, sipping percolated Hills Bros. with plentiful helpings of sugar and ½&½. That was my parent’s drink and I hadn’t developed my own taste at that age. But it didn’t take long before I was avoiding all additions to the brew and was drinking it “black”. It seemed like the manly thing to do and I was into all things “manly”.

By the time I joined the Navy, I was a fully developed coffee drinker. I had even joined a private coffee house in 1957; a place where I paid my dues to sip exotic drinks such as cappuccino and latte. Espresso was not a foreign word to me. But the Navy helped me to develop the ability to drink any kind of coffee. Luckily I survived the experience. And I did it without a “parachute”, the addition of cream and sugar. Although there were times when faced with a cup of foul and bitter dregs that I craved that sweet comfort of my youth.

After the Navy experience and for the next 30 or so years, I was pretty much a pedestrian coffee drinker with only occasional forays into the world of gourmet coffees. I still drank it black, as it should be. I owned a coffee grinder for those times when I felt driven to experience a new taste in coffees. I even had a small espresso machine, though it wasn’t often used. And I had moved beyond Hills Bros. I moved easily between brands and wasn’t afraid to try a different one. Although I must admit that the use of coffee during these years was mainly for therapeutic reasons (waking up) and not esthetic ones.

The late 1990’s was when I began to enjoy the taste of coffee once more as coffee shops returned to popularity. And I began to be more critical of what I was given to drink.

Today, I will probably drink four cups of coffee. Three of them in the early morning hours and then a cup from a local coffee shop at a later hour. That’s a normal day for me; though I can have another cup in the evening and it won’t bother me at all. So yes; upon review I can say that I’m qualified to judge a cup of coffee. 52 years of coffee drinking has to be worth something!

This morning’s coffee is Folgers Gourmet Selections, Morning Café. It’s labeled as a light roast and upon opening the bag; I could barely smell any aroma at all. Yes, that’s certainly light. I carefully measured the amount of coffee per cup and added the proper amount of water to the coffee maker. I’m not usually that careful in the morning, but I thought that in all fairness, I needed to make the brewing conditions equal for all three selections.

The first sip was uneventful. No rush of flavors. But it was pleasant enough. I waited for the aftertaste and it came slowly. It was certainly not intense but it was a little more complex than I thought it might be. The first cup was good and I went for the second one. Perhaps, 15 minutes had elapsed since brewing and the second cup was developing some additional flavors; but certainly not strong ones. OK, it’s time for the critical third cup. It’s been an hour since the brewing and if the coffee is going to develop some real character, it has to do it now.

The cup still has a pleasant aroma, but not much strength to it. The flavor? It’s still quite undeveloped. But of course it’s labeled as a “light roast” and so it isn’t going to suddenly grow stronger; it will remain a simple (and boring) but pleasant coffee.

Tomorrow’s choice will be the Columbian and perhaps I can find some character there. The label says, “Medium Roast” and that may be more my style.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Pazzo Ristorante

OK, another tradition has begun. We just finished a very nice dinner at the Pazzo Ristorante in downtown Portland.

Laurae and I had a pre-race dinner here in 2001 and then last year, Jill and I enjoyed another one, even though we had to eat at the bar because the restaurant was full. This year we arrived at 4:30 and found the restaurant to be pleasantly quiet. (It wouldn't last!) We ordered and our waiter quickly had our salads presented. I had ordered a beet and cucumber salad, but I wasn't prepared for the sight of yellow beets? It was quite good and now I wonder where I can find yellow beets.

For entrees, we had ordered pasta of course; Laurae had a saffron pasta with smoked pork and prosciutto ragu while I had the black and white ravioli stuffed with salmon. All very good. And yes, we will be back. It's a tradition.

Dan & Louis Oyster Bar

... Family-owned since 1907

After a great breakfast, we decided to walk down to the Oyster Bar. Not to eat, but to see what was on the menu. With Laurae's allergy crisis only a few weeks old, we thought it made more sense not to tempt fate and so we were looking at the menu to see if there were items other than seafood on it. There were; a 5 ounce steak with 2 sides and only $11. This will be our destination on Sunday evening, after the marathon. This is where we ate last year, so I suppose we're trying to make it a tradition. Why not? It's great food!

Here's my photo


Bistro & Bar
This was our choice for breakfast and it was a good one! I wasn't sure of where to go, so I Googled "Portland breakfast" and one of the first reviews I saw mentioned this place. It was only about 4 blocks from the hotel, a pleasant walk.

There was quite a crowd when we arrived, but it only took about 5 minutes for us to be seated in a pleasant sun-lit location. Laurae had the Grilled Portabella Mushroom & Asiago Cheese Scramble while I had a Beef Hash...not corned beef, but the real thing. The service was super and the food was excellent. What else would you need?

Give Mother's at least 4 stars.

Here's my shot of the exterior. See the people sitting at the sidewalk table? Our table was right behind them (but inside, of course)

And right across the street, this unique looking building.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ah! Coffee!

I suppose I should mention some of the food we enjoyed while we were touring New Mexico, beginning with the coffee we found while shopping at…Trader Joe’s. Yes, even in the wilds of Santa Fe, you can find the Trader. We spotted a coffee with the name, “New Mexico Piñon Coffee”. A little investigation reveals the fact that the ingredients are High Altitude Arabica Coffee Beans and Piñon Nuts. Well, we were in New Mexico and the name of the coffee seemed promising, so we bought and ground a package of the beans. I can tell you that we all enjoyed it thoroughly! Each mornings brew brought fresh comments about the aroma and flavor.

And this morning, back home and shopping at Trader Joe’s in Chico…there it was! So I now have a package, freshly ground and will make a pot for tomorrow morning. Here’s the link to their website. And from what I just read, they have a new coffee, “Colorado Piñon Coffee.” I may have to order some of that!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A tale of two restaurants

Last Friday we returned to Grilla Bites on Cohasset and enjoyed a pleasant “birthday” meal. Since it was my birthday, I decided to splurge with the Organic Bison Rib Eye steak. (Is bison ever, not organic?) Anyway, the meal included fresh sautéed vegetables and garlic mash potatoes. We sat outside near the fountain and enjoyed the splashing sounds that masked any noise from street traffic. The restaurant is located so far from the street; there is very little noise anyway. The bison was delicious as were the vegetables. The garlic mashed potatoes were smooth and creamy…but where was the garlic? All in all, a good meal and the tab for the steak was $19.

On a different note, we tried the newest restaurant in Orland last night; the Farwood Bar and Grill. First, the surroundings. The building immediately to the south is condemned and has a large sign on it to indicate that it shouldn’t be occupied. Parking for the new restaurant was absent as the parking lot hasn’t been paved yet. So far, not so good. We were greeted courteously and shown to the table that had been reserved for our party of 5. Oops! That was going to be a tough fit. So we were shown to another, near the front of the restaurant. As it turned out, the table would fit two diners nicely; so why were there 4 chairs? And 5 diners make for a very crowded dinner. And since they hadn’t included window shades in the design, the two of us had to squint or shade our eyes with the menus. We ordered and I had a small sirloin, some vegetables and a baked potato, while Laurae had Mahi Mahi. (Dorado) We struggled to enjoy the appetizers which had taken up all available table space. Dinner arrived after a reasonable wait and it was fine. Except for the vegetables, which were al dente…but cold. The size of the sirloin was right; maybe 6 oz? Laurae said the fish was dry, a symptom of overcooking.

Although the restaurant is lovely to look at; the back bar is magnificent! There are too many failings for us to try it again this year. The place is extremely noisy; as there are no soft surfaces anywhere and the bar is separated from the diners by a low wall. Maybe, after they have had some time to correct things, we might try it again. But, with the $$$ dollars that they have invested in the place, they may not make it till next year.

Friday, September 01, 2006

A Review

The Shipping News

A very good movie. We were pleasantly surprised by it and found it enthralling. But here I am finding it difficult to describe?…There was some profanity, but it served its purpose by shocking us when we heard it. Sure, some parts of the story were not credible, but overall I would give it 4 stars out of 5, and I wish we could find more films just like it.

Friday, August 25, 2006

A Review...

This time it was the Has Beans coffee house in downtown Chico. I stopped by about 8:30 this morning and found a not very crowded scene. But by the time I had ordered my latte and muffin, there were 4 or 5 people in line behind me. The place is comfortable but dark. I had to change my seat when I couldn’t read the comics in the CN&R. (Tom Tomorrow) There were two seats in the window section that had plenty of light, but since they put you on display for passerby’s, I wasn’t interested. There is some art work on the walls and that’s always appreciated. Plus, there was reading material; a sign of smart management!

OK, here’s the review: The coffee was good. I would return for it. The service was pleasant, but the muffin had seen better days. They need a better selection of pastries.

And speaking of reviews...check out this site; Yelp. Just Search for your city and see what comes up.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Deep South

A “good old boy” dinner…shrimp and grits. Probably best for a winter night but I tried it tonight and it was great. Now I have had shrimp and grits before; even had them for dinner. Most memorable was a dinner in Charlotte, North Carolina. And I believe the origin of this dish is from that state.

I started with a package of frozen Tiger shrimp (20-25 count) from Trader Joe’s. First, defrost and then use scissors to cut off the shell on the tail, rinse and pat dry. Set aside.

Buy regular grits, not “quick” grits. Now pour out one cup and then heat a pot with 4 cups of chicken broth. Once it’s boiling, pour in the grits, stir and simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes.

In a large frying pan, cook 6 slices of bacon until browned. Set aside to cool. Now add to the frying pan; ½ cup of sweet onions, chopped fine and 1 clove of garlic, minced. Crush the bacon into bits and add them to the pan. Now it’s time to add the shrimp to the frying pan and cook until just turning pink on both sides. While the shrimp is cooking, turn off the heat for the grits and add 3 tablespoons of butter and ½ cup of sharp cheddar cheese. Stir them in.

Now it’s time to pour the grits into a large serving bowl. And add the shrimp, bacon, onion and garlic mix from the frying pan. Yes, there are some bacon drippings in there…you bet! Mix well and serve immediately.

OK, it’s not exactly heart healthy fare, but I didn’t use butter; I used a substitute. And I cut the amount of cheese in half. Feel free to experiment. For instance, I will only use half the bacon next time.

Friday, August 18, 2006

TJ and Me Redux

Trader Joe does it again…this time it’s the “new” Corn and Chile, a salsa without tomatoes. I’ve tried it on a few things now; the latest being some tuna burgers. It has mild heat and a sweet tang to it. Definitely worth trying.

And speaking of tuna burgers; these are a lot of fun to make. I go with a basic recipe of tuna, mayo, egg, bread crumbs and then improvise. Tonight I threw in some French’s fried onion rings, chopped sweet white onion, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, bread crumbs with Italian seasoning, etc, etc, + Corn and Chile…shaped it into patties and cooked for 4 or 5 minutes on each side.

And the next time I make them, they will be different once again!

Cafe Mondo

It's a coffee shop review and I may have hit paydirt here. I stopped at the Cafe Mondo because of a recent CN&R review of coffee shops, plus my daughter had told me it was worth trying. It's not much to look at from the outside and inside, it's decor is junkyard chic. Comfortable would be a good word to use, but service was great! The coffee, a latte, was right on! Temperature and taste were all to my liking; and they encourage reading at this store, with plenty of newspapers and magazines to choose from. To eat, I had a great orange and white chocolate scone. ("Would you like me to heat that up for you?" Yes!)

Of course I will have to try it again, just to make certain. I've been fooled before. (Higher Grounds) Then I have to try Has Beans in the downtown area...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Burt Munro and

The Worlds Fastest Indian

A great movie! You should rent it, really! Anthony Hopkins stars in this true story and you know that Sir Anthony wouldn't work in a bad movie. I know the title might put you off, so this link shows you some more information about it. Go ahead, rent it. You won't be sorry.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Last night we tried out a new Trader Joe’s item…Basil Pizza dough. It was easy to work the dough into the required 16” circle and then I had some fun deciding what to place on it. You start with a light coating of olive oil and in this recipe; I followed that with some ground turkey. I had already cooked the turkey (rare) with a liberal dose of Greek Herbs. Then I added slices of baby zucchini, halved cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, bell pepper slivers and chopped onions.  

After 18 minutes in a 400° oven, it was ready to slice and eat. And surprisingly good. We’re going to try it again and vary the toppings to include spinach and other fresh garden items.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


A great lunch…the food and the service were just right. We were in Roseville yesterday and it didn’t take us long to make up our minds as to where we should eat; Roseville Gourmet!

The lunch menu has been updated since the last time we ate there and now included my favorite, the Gourmet Chow Mein. That’s a dish that I usually ordered when having dinner there. The lunch version includes a chicken wing, fried rice and Lemon Chicken. It was the right sized dish and so you didn’t have to worry about taking one of those little white boxes home with you. And all with no salt and no MSG, just good tastes.

The service was quick and unobtrusive; the dining room spotless. And lunch for two was under $14.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Here's a recipe that I just found and it looks like a keeper. I haven't tried it yet but it does have all the good ingredients. And I suppose you don't need to use Halibut; I imagine that Tilapia would work as well.

Halibut with Zahtar and Mint Couscous
"Zahtar is a Middle Eastern seasoning made with sumac, a dried sour berry.Dried tart cherries have a similar tang.
3/4 cup dried sour cherries1 tablespoon dried oregano1 tablespoon ground cumin1 1/2 teaspoons paprika3 tablespoons olive oil6 tablespoons lemon juicesalt1 cup couscous1 1/2 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth1 1/2 pounds boned, skinned halibut (1 in. thick)1 cup finely chopped English cucumber1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
In a blender or food processor, combine dried cherries, oregano, cumin,paprika, oil, and lemon juice. Whirl until pureed, scraping containersides as necessary. Add salt to taste.In a 1 1/2 to 2-quart pan, combine couscous and broth. Bring to a boilover high heat, cover, remove pan from heat, and let stand until liquid isabsorbed, about 5 minutes. Keep warm.Meanwhile, rinse halibut, pat dry, and coat with cherry mixture. Set eachpiece of halibut on a slightly larger piece of foil. Cut foil to fit fish.Have barbecue ready with direct heat at hot. Set foil with fish on grill.Cover barbecue with lid (open vents for charcoal), and cook until fish isopaque, 8 to 10 minutes.Stir chopped cucumber and chopped mint into couscous; spoon onto plates.Cut grilled halibut into equal portions and set onto couscous. Season totaste with salt.Makes 4 servings."

Friday, July 21, 2006

TJ and Me

We tried the quinoa last night and it was as promised - almost. I really like the flavor, but I think I used too much water/broth to cook it in. That seems to be a problem with rice as well. Alton Brown (FoodTV) had a great show on rice awhile ago and made the observation that you can cook rice with far less water than the amount indicated on the package. I have a feeling that it's the same with quinoa.

For this meal I cooked a turkey thigh with Greek seasoning, 45 minutes in a covered casserole dish at 375. Then I dissected the thigh, removing all of the remaining fat and skin and setting the meat aside. I chopped up about 1/2 cup of red onion and 3 cloves of garlic and placed them in the casserole dish. I sauted that for about 2 minutes. I cut up 2 small zucchini and added those to the pot. I also added the cut up turkey and 1 cup of chicken stock to the mixture and let it simmer while I added the remaining chicken stock to the liquid I was going to cook the quinoa in. The quinoa cooked for 15 minutes, following directions on the box...but it was still a little bit wet? Now it was time to add some sliced fresh mushrooms to the casserole dish and in a few more minutes we were ready to eat.

Very good...but I might add red bell pepper next time, just for the color. And there was a spice missing? I just don't know which one...

So it's back to Trader Joe's for more quinoa and maybe the missing spice. What would I do without TJ? The only other store that fascinates me like the Trader does is Larry's Markets in Washington. Now those are good stores!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Really Good Eats

Couscous (Koos Koos) a lovely little grain, and packaged in a box to be found at your local Trader Joe's. And with this easy to cook grain (just follow the directions on the box) you can make Tabbouleh Salad, a Middle Eastern treat. Tabbouleh (tab ooley) only takes a few minutes to prepare and then let it sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour; longer is better! Besides the usual chopped onions, tomatoes and green peppers, I added the chopped mint. I also added about a tablespoon of a good balsamic vinegar. (not in the recipe on the box...but worthwhile) A perfect meal all by itself for a hot summer day. Thanks, Denise!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Grilla Bites

An odd name for sure. It's a salad bar and a juice bar and they just opened up a second location in Chico.

"Organic, Natural & Local" is their claim and everything looked fresh and inviting. We tried the salad bar where the price is determined by the weight of your salad, an interesting idea. But it does make you much does a strawberry weigh? Should I add those heavy walnuts? Ah, mushrooms are light!

I can't comment on the service as it's all self-serve, but the location and ambience are just fine. A new business center with tables available around an outdoor fountain. And we were asked if we needed "Anything else? Water?" by at least three different members of the staff. Yes, we're going to go again. It's a perfect place for dinner on a hot summer day.

According to the business card I picked up, they also have locations in Medford and Ashland, Oregon.

Friday, June 23, 2006


The How How restaurant on Muldoon Road in east Anchorage. It's attached to the Ramada Quite Limited hotel where we stayed and was the site for our "free" breakfast, included with the room.

It's a Chinese restaurant and it's furnished in an overwhelming display of red, gold and black lacquer. Except for the carpet, which was worn and dirty. I had a feeling we were in for an exceptional treat when I noted the prominent sign as we entered. "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone!" Not a "Welcome! Please wait to be seated." sign, just a clear reminder of who was in charge!

Here's a photo I found on the internet...not very clear, but neither was the restaurant.

There was plenty of cholesterol on the menu and liberal helpings of sweets. And odd...a big pan full of fried chicken wings. I have a feeling that they were left over from dinner the night before.

Do yourself a favor and skip this restaurant. In fact, I tried Googling How How and got no hits at all. Apparently it's unknown...until now.

Here's a view of the Ramada...note the proximity to the Golden Arches, a close rival to the How How.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Simon & Seafort's

Another great restaurant…a little bit of a drive from Orland, but you would certainly work up an appetite on the way; Simon & Seafort’s in Anchorage. We made our reservations for 7:30 and we only had to wait for a few minutes before we were seated. The restaurant is located at the western end of Anchorage, on the bluff that overlooks the Turnagain Arm of the Cook Inlet and it has plenty of windows, so you can watch the boats…and the planes from just about every table.

The menu is designed for seafood lovers, although there were the usual beef options for those who like it. Everyone at our table (except myself) ordered salmon, Copper River salmon, while I ordered the halibut cheeks. Now I have had cheeks before, in Seattle…and they had been quite good, but these were excellent!

Everyone had high praise for the salmon; mild and sweet. The service was great and after the table was cleared, Laurae and I shared a berry cobbler with ice cream. It was huge…made to be shared.

We left the restaurant about 10 PM, put our sunglasses on and headed back to the hotel and sleep. A most enjoyable evening; it really is a 5 star restaurant.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


If you're in Anchorage, you can't miss a meal at Humpy's! Great food, but when I ordered a N/A beer, a Kaliber...they were all out. We had the halibut tacos one day and I tried a spicy Thai stir fry dish the next. It's a seat yourself kind of place; lots of noise...and (Boo!) Alaska allows smoking. Most restaurants do ban it anyway, but not Humpy's. With all of these negatives, why do I say it's a great place to go? The food is good!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


A movie I liked! After suffering through Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow… a movie I didn’t even mention in this blog, we received The Talented Mr. Ripley. Now this was a good one, full of suspense and good acting for a welcome change.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

More Squash

Although squash might seem like a winter vegetable, with a little help it becomes a great springtime vegetable as well.

I took two Butternut squash and halved them. Placed them in a shallow roasting pan (cut side down) and added 2 cups of water. Set the oven to 350 and bake for about 30-40 minutes. Check with a fork to see when done. Then I scooped out the lovely orange flesh...I mean it's a really great color of orange! Then, inspired by the color...I added a 1/4 can of frozen orange juice. Mix that together. I used a small electric beater. Then add a cup of dried cranberries. Stir to mix. Now put the mixture into a small casserole dish and place in the refrigerator for awhile. You want the cranberries to plump up. Ready to eat? Warm in the microwave...the orange gives the squash a fresh spring like taste.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Movie Review

Matchstick Men… Nicholas Cage stars in this one. And although the reviews ran about 75% in favor of it, I was (we were) 100% in favor. The film did exactly what a good film should do and that’s to entertain. Great twisted ending(s). Some profanity but wasn’t overdone.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Rice Bowl - on the Esplanade

We went back to the Rice Bowl restaurant last night and I can report that it was a pretty good meal...but first a few comments. It was partly our fault, we really need to speak up when we are seated next to another party when the restaurant is only 20% filled as it was when we arrived last night. And sure enough...we were seated next to a chatty crowd, making our own conversation difficult. OK, so why does this happen? Wouldn't it be a nice gesture to seat everyone with a buffer of at least one table between them? But, as I said...we should have spoken up. And we will.

The service was good and there were no delays. And this restaurant has both a Chinese and a Japanese menu...feel free to order from either one. I went for the Japanese menu, ordering the Miso soup, a Salmon Skin salad and a Volcano roll with Spicy Tuna. The miso was slightly salty and missing the rich taste I am so fond of. It was sort of watery? But the Salmon Skin Salad was a winner! Lightly fried strips of salmon skin with a fancy selection of greenery. The Volcano roll was also a good choice. Spicy tuna sushi with a fancy orange cap of ground salmon. The rest of our party had Chinese and reported that it was quite good as well.

I guess we'll be back. I would give it 3.75 stars...I would have given them 4 stars, but they serve no non-alcoholic beer. That's a must for any restaurant that wants my business on a regular basis.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

And Another review...

Hmmm? I can't even remember the title? That tells you a lot about the quality of the movie. OK, it was the movie about Tom Hanks playing an Eastern European traveler who gets stuck in the airport terminal in New York. was mostly a movie about Tom Hanks trying to sound as if he were an Eastern European. By the way, he isn't. The whole "accent" thing put me off. The script? Poor. Plausible? Not even. Give it 2 stars.

Cold Mountain - A review

We watched this movie last night and once again I came away convinced that reading the book is a far more entertaining experience than watching the movie. Not that it wasn't a riveting was, and we were held captive to it for the entire 150+ minutes.

But in a movie, the violence is, well, it's violent. In a book, your imagination is sufficient. You don't need to be slapped in the face with it to know it...

The book was rich with language and this movie was short on riches. It relied on star power to make it a box office hit. I might have enjoyed it more if the actors had been "unknowns". I would give it 3 stars.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


We watched a most provocative movie last night…The Magdalene Sisters. (2003) Sad and startling. Sad because it was true. Startling because it happened just a short time ago. Read the reviews. I couldn’t expand on any of the reviews. I can only say that I was outraged by it…5 stars.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Kalyn's Kitchen
My news aggregator brought me this might like it. I certainly did.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Great Performances
Great gotta see it if it shows again.
But tonight, Frontline has a special on Meth that should be seen.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Fargo...The Movie

We watched “Fargo” last night. And I’m still thinking about it…If it weren’t for the fact that it was based on a true story, I would have thought it was a “black comedy” sort of film. But where did that true story happen? Apparently not in Minnesota.

(Alrighty dere den, folks in NorDakoda and Minnesoda do talk with an accent. Not all of them of course, but I have heard a few.)

Except for the violence and the profanity…it was a great movie. And I don’t know how they could have made the movie any other way…I give it 3.5 stars.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Tale of Two Movies

We watched a couple of movies last night, so here goes… Training Day, with Denzel Washinton. That had to be one of the worst movies I have ever seen. No, let me revise that. I didn’t really see it. We watched for about 10 minutes and that was enough. Off! Out!

But, I had another movie standing by… Tea with Mussolini. That wasn’t the best movie, but it certainly shone in comparison to Training Day. I thought the acting was only fair and the story line seemed fragmented at times, but it was pleasant. I will give it 3 stars.

And now I’m going to change our Netflix subscription to the lowest level, one DVD at a time. We never get around to seeing them as fast as they arrive with a two DVD subscription. Look at the money we will be saving! The reduced newspaper and movie budget will be our salvation in our old age. We’ll be able to afford new walkers every other year.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Saint Patrick's Day has come and gone. Although the leftover corned beef remains...
And I prepared a non-traditional dinner of Corned Beef and Carrots. You know, to celebrate the wearing of the Orange. (Orange=carrots, get it?)

First, the carrots; about 2# of the baby carrots in the cello pack. Boil till tender, but not too long!
Now take 1/4 cup of frozen orange juice concentrate and mix it with 1/4 cup of melted butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup of Mandarin orange slices. Put carrots in lightly greased baking dish and pour juice/butter/orange mixture over. Refrigerate for 8 hours - overnight. Heat oven to 350. Stir carrots and juice/butter/orange mixture together once more and then cook for about 20-25 minutes.

The corned beef was easy. I found a recipe I liked; rinse the corned beef (3# round brisket) and pat dry. Preheat oven to 300. Put a rack into a roasting pan. Now take brown sugar and coat the corned beef completely, top and bottom. Place on rack, fat side up. Take a bottle of Irish beer and pour some carefully onto the brown sugar to wet it good. The rest is poured into the pan. ( I used Clausthaler, a German non-alcoholic beer with a great bitter taste) Now cover the whole thing with a aluminum foil tent and cook for about 2+ hours. Very good!

And I made Soda bread as well...after a slight hiccup with some old wheat flour, I got the recipe almost right and the next 4 loaves turned out just fine.

And speaking of bread...get the King Arthur Flour catalog. Lots of expensive stuff, but fascinating. Or shop on-line. (Same place)

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Red Violin
That was the film I had picked a week or so ago...just got around to watching it last night. I found it fascinating; Laurae fell asleep. So take your pick. But if you rent it, be sure you TURN ON the sub-titles before beginning the movie. I didn't and had to go back to the beginning after about 10 minutes, switch to sub-titles and begin again. Photography is exquisite, as is the musical score. I'm giving it 4 stars!

Friday, March 10, 2006

A movie review...

We watched Troy the other night. All 163 minutes of it. I think we were too numb to get up and turn it off earlier as we should have. I don't know who starred in it and I really don't care.

But after some thought, it struck me! This movie was exactly like the movies I used to look forward to seeing at the LaMar theatre when I was 12 years old. In fact, it might have been one those movies, re-done.

OK, now I can honestly say that this is a great movie! For a 12 year old...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


It’s time for a recipe here…as you may already know, pork is no longer flavorful. Yes, it’s lean and gets to market itself as “the other white meat.” But it’s just white meat, not necessarily flavorful.

I really do like pork, but I need to find ways to add some flavor to it and here’s a recipe that I tried yesterday. The original recipe made 6 servings and my revised one serves 3.

1 large boneless pork loin chop
½ yellow onion, diced
1 large banana, diced
Additional vegetables as desired (I used a ¼ bag of TJ’s frozen Mexican corn)
Vegetable oil
15 ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
Cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
Pappy’s Garlic Seasoning

Take one of those large boneless pork loin chops, the kind you buy at Costco. Cut it into bite sized pieces. Take half of a yellow onion and dice it. Season and cook the pork in a skillet with the oil, over medium high heat, until browned. Add the onions and cook until tender and translucent.

Add the bananas, tomatoes and any additional vegetables. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low, stirring occasionally, until the pork is quite tender. About 30 minutes.

While pork is cooking, cook a batch of egg noodles (or rice). I used the egg noodles and stirred it all together before serving. I suppose I would serve the rice separately if I used it.

A very good taste!

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Speaking of recipes…was I? Anyway, if you’re in Trader Joe’s, you might keep your eye open for the recipe boxes that are scattered around the store. Brightly colored 3x5 cards with great recipes are in the boxes and the recipes call for an ingredient near at hand. (Of course…) I picked up 5 of them yesterday.
I just had to comment on the tomato harvest from last year. I know, that's history...but I made a quick dinner the other night with some angel hair pasta and a spaghetti sauce from the freezer. The sauce was great! The tomatoes were loaded with natural sugars and the frozen storage seemed to accent that. I didn't use any salt in the sauce and no meat. And it was perfect. I only have two of those left in the freezer, so I need to portion them out carefully until the next harvest. You should try it yourself this year.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A movie review...Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. Rated R

A very good movie and quite opportune. With Kenny Boy on trial, it makes sense to watch this movie. And if you're a Californian, you will be quite "Amused" as you listen to the comments of the Enron traders while they worked the system to make a fortune for Enron.

The language is profane at times...but what is worse is the mindset of those uttering the profanities. These people were less than human.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Superheated steam oven
Is this the new "microwave"? The kitchen appliance we can't live without? I have to admit that it sounds pretty neat...

Saturday, February 18, 2006

A good soup. It was certainly soup weather and so I fooled a bit with this recipe and came up with one I liked...

Italian Sausage Soup
1 pound Italian sausage (I used thinly sliced TJ’s Chicken Sausage)
1 clove garlic, minced (I used 2)
2 (14 ounce) cans beef broth
1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes
1 cup sliced carrots (I used peeled and cubed sweet potatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) can great Northern beans, undrained (I used White Beans)
2 small zucchini, cubed
2 cups spinach - packed, rinsed and torn
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
In a stockpot or Dutch oven, brown sausage with garlic. Stir in broth, tomatoes and sweet potato, and season with Italian Seasoning, salt and pepper. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes.
Stir in beans with liquid and zucchini. Cover, and simmer another 15 minutes, or until zucchini is tender.
Remove from heat, and add spinach. Replace lid allowing the heat from the soup to cook the spinach leaves. Soup is ready to serve after 5 minutes.

I'm sure it would be good with bulk Italian Sausage, but I had some (5) precooked chicken sausage with Chipotle pepper. Trader Joe has a wide variety of these and I usually have one kind or another in my refrigerator. The recipe had very little spice? so I added the Italian seasoning. Feel free to add more of course. I served it with a great bread from Great Harvest.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


It’s our anniversary today and we decided to give ourselves a nice present. Last year at this time, we gave ourselves a new stove and so it seems to make sense that this year we would give ourselves another food related item; a new mixer. Yes, we have what our oldest daughter calls, “A Counter Trophy”, a KitchenAid 5 quart mixer. Every kitchen is supposed to have one, whether it’s used or not. Ours is white…and I know that is so boring! But our kitchen has no bold color theme; it’s all wood and white so the mixer will fit right in.


We enjoyed a good dinner last night and I’m sharing it here…enchiladas. Doesn’t everyone like enchiladas? I started by sautéing 4 boneless chicken thighs. I use the thighs because they have a bolder taste than the breasts, but to each their own! Then I cut up the meat into bite sized chunks and placed them in a bowl. I grated some sharp cheddar and some Jack cheese. A jar of Sunny Select Southwest Salsa (Hot) with corn was opened and I was ready to begin heating the tortillas. And then I decided to add one more thing; spinach. Fresh spinach.

Heating the tortillas briefly in hot oil softens them for rolling. Then I placed a layer of spinach leaves in the middle of the tortilla, followed by chicken, cheese, (both kinds) and salsa. I rolled the tortilla into the familiar enchilada shape and placed it in the shallow baking dish. I made a total of 6 enchiladas and then used one bottle of Trader Joe’s Enchilada Sauce to cover them. The last of the cheese was then sprinkled over the top.

I cooked them at 350℉ for 40 minutes.

Very good…but here is what I will do next time. More spinach. I will add one more layer of spinach leaves to top the salsa layer. And TJ’s sauce is bland. I will use a different enchilada sauce, an ethnic one or make my own.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Since we all love Tilapia, I spotted this recipe and decided to post it here before trying it first.

Tilapia with Old Bay Butter
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup white wine
1 Tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 tsp. Tarragon leaves
1 lb. Tilapia fillets

Mix butter, wine, Old Bay Seasoning and tarragon. Brush both sides of fish with mixture. Grill or broil 8-10 minutes per inch of thickness or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Turn fish and brush with remaining mixture half way through grilling.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Friday's Fish...
We had White Sea Bass last night. And it was pretty much a Trader Joe dinner. The bass was TJ's and so was the olive oil. The inspiration was all mine though...

I defrosted two medium sized bass filets. In a saute pan (with cover) I added about two tablespoons of olive oil and placed the heat at medium - low. Then I added a 1/2 tsp of Pappy's garlic spice seasoning and a dozen fennel seeds and let them cook (cover on) in the heated oil for about 10 minutes. I reasoned that it would infuse the oil with the spices and mute their flavors a little.

Then I added the fish and let it cook (cover on) for about 10 minutes. (size will vary cooking times) The fish was very good, moist and flaky...with just a hint of spice. I served the dish with sliced lemons that were beautiful. (From our own tree!) As a side dish, we had "Jewel" sweet potatoes, served with butter and TJ's deep, dark brown molasses brown sugar. A good coleslaw salad complimented the menu perfectly.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I have been a little bit depressed during the past few it was time to do what's best for that kind of thinking; time once again to watch "Young Einstein", starring Yahoo Serious!

A classic movie! From his first experiments where he split the "beer atom" and reduced his father's small brewery to a pile of ashes, and then to the end where young Einstein, the Tasmanian genius, invents "Rock and Roll"...just after saving the world from an even larger Beer Explosion. Co-stars Marie Curie, the beautiful French Nobel Prize (1906) winner.

I feel so much better!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Poached Scrambled eggs
I've got to try this one...
"This method requires a degree of blind faith. After all, pouring cold liquid into hot liquid promises to yield little more than murky yellow water. Following a lot of trial and error, I came to a few basic steps that lead to perfect eggs every time.

The most important factor is using only the thick whites and the yolk. At first I could get this technique to work only with very fresh farmer's-market eggs, whose viscous whites are high in protein (the main bonding agent). As eggs age, the thick part of the white erodes, and the thin, watery part increases, which is why fresh eggs (less than one week old) are best for eating, and older ones are better suited for meringues. This flummoxed me until a quick e-mail message to my friend Harold McGee, the food scientist and author of “On Food and Cooking,” solved the problem. He discovered that using supermarket eggs is just fine if you start by cracking each one into a slotted spoon (or sieve) and let the thin white drain away, then work with the remaining thick white and yolk.

Next, beat the eggs with a fork, but don't add salt. (The grains of salt will tear the structure of the eggs, causing them to disintegrate on contact with the water.) Let a covered pot filled with about four inches of water come to a low boil over moderate heat, then remove the cover, add a little salt and stir the water in a clockwise motion. After you've created a mini-whirlpool, gently pour the eggs into the moving liquid, which will allow them to set suspended in the water rather than sink to the bottom of the pot, where they would stick...
After saying a quick prayer and adding the eggs, cover the pot and count to 20. Almost instantly the eggs will change from translucent to opaque and float to the surface in gossamer ribbons. This all happens very quickly, and by the time you lift the lid, they should be completely cooked.

Tilt the pot over the strainer while holding back the eggs with a spoon, and pour off most of the water. A few bits may escape, but the strainer will catch them. When the rest of the water has drained, gently slide the eggs into the strainer and let them sit there for a minute while you get bowls or remove bread from the toaster. "

Monday, January 30, 2006

Peppa What?
Peppadew USA
These are too good...honest. We had some this weekend when Kitty brought some from an Arizona Safeway store. I need to look in the local Safeway...or perhaps I could take a copy of this page to Raley's?

Friday, January 27, 2006

Drunken gluttons order and eat 100-patty hamburger

I had no idea that you could order extra patties...and only $1 apiece. Oh well, two are enough for me.

We ate at the In-n-Out on Truxel Road last night. Enjoyed.

Odd; one of the best parts of a Double-Double is the cheese that spills out and onto the paper wrapping. If you're careful, you can eat that cheese without getting any of the paper...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Movie Review

What a great movie…one of the best! The plot is predictable, and although I usually find that to be offensive, in this case it was desired. Back in the day…a good review of a movie might include the line, “I laughed and I cried…” and I can say that about this movie. The acting was superb! Johnnie Depp was brilliant as always. Judi Dench; superb. I can’t think of one actor that didn’t give their best for this movie. This is a 5 star movie, no doubt about it.

For more on the movie and some good reviews, click here

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A good one...I received this one from Jill and we tried it out last night.

Tasty Onion Chicken
½ Cup butter, melted
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tsp. ground mustard
1 Large can French-fried onions, crushed
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

In a shallow bowl, combine butter, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Place onions in another shallow bowl. Dip chicken in butter mixture, then coat with onions. Place in a greased 11-in.X7-in.X2-in. baking dish; drizzle with remaining butter mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until done.

The differences...I used two large chicken breasts and 1/2 can of French Fried onions. Next time I'm using 4 small chicken breasts and the full can. And because I used larger chicken breasts, the 25 minutes weren't quite enough and I had to zap them in the microwave for 2 minutes to get the internal temp past 160 degrees.

Friday, January 20, 2006


Have you seen those TV ads for Pillsbury® Grands® biscuits where the biscuit is made into a sort of empanada? I have seen them, was intrigued with the possibilities and decided to try it last night. I made up my own filling, chicken and squash. I cooked some boneless chicken thighs with onion and garlic, and then sliced up the chicken into very small pieces. After removing the chicken from the pan, I sautéed the onions along with some cut up bell pepper. The difficult part came next as I tried and failed at making the biscuits conform to a 6” diameter. Laurae did better than I and after some messy experimenting, I was able to close and seal the empanadas; but first I gave them a dollop of salsa over the chicken. They required a full 14 minutes before they were brown enough to call “done”.

Very tasty. But on my next try I will follow Laurae’s advice and brush the tops with egg white to polish them and I will use a food processor to better blend the ingredients into a manageable size. (The zucchini kept trying to escape)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Since my daughter once looked here (in vain) for a good carrot recipe...I thought I should post this one that I just spotted. Sounds good!

Orange Glazed Carrots
3 cups thinly sliced carrots
3 tbs butter
2 cups water
3 tbs orange marmalade
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbs chopped pecans

Mix carrots water and salt in crock-pot. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours, or until carrots are done. Drain well; stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on high for another 30 minutes.
Here's something I found in the Bee on Wednesday... -

"This lentil-chicken sausage combination is a comforting, savory dish of the kind that suggests slow cooking but, happily, demands only 30 minutes of the cook's time.

Lentils With Chicken Sausage
1 cup French green lentils (7 ounces)
4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 celery rib, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small onion, quartered, plus 1 large onion, cut through the root end into 8 wedges
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 thyme sprigs
1 cup baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 precooked chicken sausages ( 3/4 pound)
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

In a medium heavy soup pot, combine the lentils with the chicken stock. Cover and bring to a boil.

In a food processor, pulse the carrot, celery, quartered onion and the garlic until finely chopped. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the vegetables and the thyme and cook over moderately high heat until softened, 3 minutes; scrape into the lentils, cover and cook over moderate heat until the lentils are tender, 20 minutes. Stir in the spinach; season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet. Add the onion wedges and sausages and cook over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until the onions are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for 1 minute.

Thickly slice the sausages. Stir the sausages, onions and any accumulated juices into the lentils; discard the thyme sprigs. Spoon the lentils and sausages into bowls and serve.
Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 494 cal., 24 g total fat (4.8 g saturated), 39 g carbo., 9 g fiber.
Wine suggestion: a berry-inflected merlot.

I haven't made it yet as I'm still working on leftovers, but I am gathering the ingredients. I found some lentils at Holiday...but not green ones. The sausage can be found at Trader Joe's.

Friday, January 13, 2006


For a new taste; try a Trader Joe’s French Truffle and a banana. At the same time and at 6:30 in the morning! Gives a whole new meaning to health foods!  
Making a Pie Crust
This looks like it has all the info needed to make the perfect crust. I need to get brave enough to just do it! But first I have to find out if we own a "pastry cutter".

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Penna Gourmet Olives
I spotted this in a local newspaper article yesterday. I am hoping for a few of my own olives next year, but if they don't's my backup source! And they are right here in Orland (Actually a little bit south...)


Marvelous eggs! I read an article in the food section of the Bee yesterday and it intrigued me enough to try out the recipe. Well, it’s more of a technique than it is a recipe. It was all about scrambling eggs…slowly. Very slowly. Here a link to the article (Originally from the LA Times)

I tried it out last night, letting 6 eggs warm up first (30 minutes) and then adding a tablespoon of butter to the frying pan. I beat the eggs lightly with a whip and had the pan temperature at medium-low when I poured them in. I began to stir. And stir some more. You can’t stop, except to add more butter every once in awhile. It takes a long time to see any change in the eggs, but after about 7 minutes, the eggs began to form small curds. Keep stirring. At some point I began to remove the pan from the heat altogether (temporarily) and stir some more, all in an effort to slow things down. After about 15 minutes, the eggs were an unusually rich color of yellow and were soft and moist. Yes, they were cooked. I added them to a few slices of our leftover ham and it was a most delightful meal. The taste of the eggs is more pronounced, “eggy” and very rich tasting!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Cold and raining...

Speaking of stew…There’s something about winter that always makes me think of lamb. I ran across this recipe and I think I need to make it.

3 lbs of lamb stew meat
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 potatoes, cubed
15 baby carrots
1 turnip chopped
2 bay leaves
3 cups of water with 3 cubes of beef bouillon
1 tsp salt
½ tsp rosemary
½ tsp black pepper
4 tbsp oil

  1. Heat oil in skillet.

  2. While oil is heating put flour in a paper bag.  Add salt, pepper and garlic powder to the flour mixture. Seasonings to taste.

  3. Put some stew meat in bag and shake to cover.

  4. Put meat in pan and brown on all sides.

  5. When all meat is browned add to crockpot.

  6. Add all other ingredients to crockpot.

  7. Cook 6 to 8 hours, depending on your crockpot.

I’ve never used a turnip in stew and so I think I should give it a try. And the recipe says that it will serve 6.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

More Recipes!

I was taken to task recently because there weren’t enough recipes posted here, and there were no links to sources for recipes. I guess I forgot that this is supposed to be “food” blog. And upon review, it does look like there haven’t been that many recipes posted here recently. OK, I will try to make amends by giving out this link to one of my favorite recipe sites… and I promise to add some other links as well.


Since I have made this blog into more than just an “eats” blog, I want to report on the movie we watched last night, “Million Dollar Baby” with Clint Eastwood. It is a “fight” movie; specifically a movie about a woman who is a professional boxer. That’s not exactly what I would call a compelling story to base a movie on, but Clint Eastwood did a great job with it. I was very conflicted while watching the movie as I reject boxing on an intellectual basis, and at the same time, boxing appeals to some base element within me. I hate that!  

As the story unfolded, I was gripped by the “reality” of it and had to tell myself that it was simply a movie. The acting was that superb. At one point, I had to stand up, walk around and look elsewhere and not at the screen. Also, about halfway through the movie I knew that the ending was not going to make me happy and from then on, it was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. Scary. But it was one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

spicy snacks
Peppadews? Where do I find them?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

A new year has arrived and I must have some goals for it...and one is to learn how to make a lemon meringue pie. I have all of the lemons I will ever need; I just need the skill to make the pie.

Here's a site that proclaims to have the BEST pie recipe, but they didn't include the pie shell in the recipe and that has to be excellent as well, or the pie is a flop. I guess I have to start somewhere and I might as well start with this one.

Oops. I looked a little further on that site and spotted a pie shell now I'm good to go!