Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Dinner Dessert

I didn't get the recipe for this - I just know there was a young man in high school who brought this to the dinner I was at for Christmas, and that it was very pretty, and even more importantly, it was delicious!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fine Dining In China

I think, if I ever go to China, I will skip eating at Dunkin' Donuts. Dry Pork and Seaweed Donuts just don't sound to appetizing.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Have a heart! For dinner that is.

I was walking through our local Ray's grocery store and noticed a cheep package of meat.  I picked it up and realized it was beef heart.  Already cleaned up and sliced and for less then $2.  I'm not sure if I've ever eaten beef heart before, but I've eaten plenty of venison heart and always loved it, and in fact have been craving it.  I couldn't resist, I grabbed the package of beef heart.  I've never cooked heart.  I would have called Mom if she were still with us, but not an option, so I went to the god of offal, Chris Cosentino and searched his blog for a beef heart recipe.  I didn't have the 3 hours needed to let the marinade set and let the heart actually sit in the marinade, but I went for it anyway.  I mashed together garlic and fresh thyme and added orange juice and white wine and olive oil and marinaded the heart for as long as I could.

I did every other chore I needed to get done for the evening to let the heart marinate for as long as possible.  When I ran out of other chores and my stomach was growling too loudly to ignore I pulled the heart out of the marinade, salt and peppered it and fired it in a hot cast iron skilled with a couple tablespoons of oil.  
Chris recommended a high heat to caramelize the heart.  About 3 minutes per side to end up with medium cooked.  It came out perfect.  I expected the heart to be a bit tough and chewy.  It was neither.  It definitely had a different texture from a steak, or even from the venison heart I remember eating, but it was more like a lean steak then you would think.  Which makes sense.  A heart is a muscle.  It's not like other organ meats, it's much more similar to the steak we're use to eating, minus the fat.  The marinade definitely tenderized it, even in the short time I had.  The heart was tender and lean, and had no hint of gaminess.  The leftovers made a delicious heart sandwich the next day.  I will be buying more heart ( at a couple bucks for a pound of meat it's worth it) and I can't wait to do Chris's marinade for the full 3 hours.  It was delicious with the short time I had, I can only imagine how good it will be when done properly.  
So here's dinner.  Beef heart and a salad.  Topped with horseradish.  Yum!  And so healthy. Full of B vitamins, CoQ10, Folic Acid, Selenium, Phosphorus, Zinc, and Amino Acids. A much needed energy and immune system boost.  And so tasty! 

Friday, November 5, 2010

More on the McDonalds Happy Meal ban.

Sad news: Happy Meal ban won't stop kid obesity

Helping kids become leaner, more fit takes more than just axing fast food http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39991380/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition

Wow!  Really?  Ya' think? 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Word for the day

"Denerver - A term in French cookery denoting the removal of tendons, membranes, gristle, etc. from meat (poultry, game) etc."

Larousse Gastronomique.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Homemade Toaster Scrambles

My daughter is hooked on these things:
Not the healthiest thing on the planet.  So I decided to see if I could make a homemade version, so I could at least know what was in the food I'm serving my girl.  I did cheat and bought puff pastry dough to work with.  Dough is not my strong point, so I usually chicken out on making my own and buy frozen.  One of these days I'm going to get brave and make my own - in fact, maybe I'll spend a whole day perfecting the craft so I don't have to buy the frozen stuff anymore - but until then, we'll go with this. 

This is what I started with:

4 eggs - to be scrambled
about 1/4 cup red onion finely chopped
1 large clove of garlic minced
about 1 cup of ham finely chopped
about 1 cup of shredded cheese - I used sharp cheddar and garlic jack from Loleta Cheese Factory.
2 sheets of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry.

I fried up the onions and garlic in about half tablespoon of butter then added the ham.  I set the oven to preheat at 375 degrees.
 I then rolled out the puff pastry until it was about 1/3 it's original thickness, then sliced it into 6 separate pieces with a pizza cutter.
 I added the 4 eggs to the ham and onion mixture.  Added a sprinkle of kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper.
 I placed a heaping spoonful of the cooked mixture on each sheet and topped it with the shredded cheese.
 I folded the sheets over and sealed them using a fork along the edges.
 I baked them for 20 minutes, let them fully cool then put them in the freezer on a cookie sheet for about 8 hours.  I then put them in an airtight bag and back in the freezer and they're ready to go when Cordelia is ready for her breakfast toaster scramble.  They won't fit in a toaster, but it won't take long to toast them back up in the broiler - or if you have a toaster oven. 

I did eat one for a taste test, and I have to say it was pretty tasty.  It didn't taste like the boxed ones from Pilsbury, but it was the same concept, and in my opinion, much better.  It tasted homemade.  I'll have to come back and let you know what my daughter's critique is.  Heaven knows, she will be honest.  So we shall see. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Flat Bread Pizza's

I discovered this great recipe to make Naan from my Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book. I used the Boule recipe which is 3 cups of lukewarm water, 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast, 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt, 6 1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached, all purpose white flour. I put all of this in my stand mixer with a bread hook, mix it up, put it in a bowl, covered but not sealed, and left for the day until a need a piece of dough. For the naan I pulled a peach size piece of this dough off, dusted it with flour, shaped it into a ball by stretching the surface around to the bottom on all four sides. I rolled the ball of dough out to a thickness of about 1/8 inch to a diameter of about 8 inches. I heated up my cast iron skillet with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, dropped my dough in the pan, lowered the heat and covered it. I flipped the bread after about 3 minutes and browned the bread on both sides. When the naan felt firm I removed it from the pan.

My kids love naan, so they loved this bread, but we took it a step further and made a whole meal out of it. We topped it with various cheeses, pizza sauce, mushrooms and a few other things. What ever each of us wanted on our naan pizza, put it in a 450 degree oven for about 10 minutes and we had a delicious dinner that the kids loved and will be asking for again and a again. It was fast, easy, and healthy.


Sunday, September 19, 2010


Lemonade sounded good for some reason today, so I picked up some lemons and made some fresh lemonade.

How I made it:

Simple syrup

1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar

Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan, heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Juice 4 to 6 lemons to get 1 cup of fresh lemon juice. Strain out seeds.

Combine simple syrup, 1 cup lemon juice and 3 to 4 cups chilled water. Add ice and lemon slices if desired. If this is not tart enough for you, adjust it by adding more lemon juice.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Chicken soup for may sick baby

Ok, She's not my baby anymore - she's 11 going on 25, but she's my first and she'll always be my baby' and she was sick this week.  So what do I do?  I go to work fixing food to cure her - specifically, chicken soup and fruit salad and homemade bread. 
I'm in my new house and a new kitchen, and things are still in boxes, but I have my Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book, and my recipe book holder out and ready to go.
The first thing I did was put together some bread dough so that I could fry up some naan to dip in the soup.  One of Cordelia's favorite things in the world in naan - I figured she could use some good comfort food.
Then I started in on the chicken stock. Which included:
1 5lb chicken
1 1/2 white onions quartered
1 turnip - halved
2 carrots, cut in chunks
3 ribs celery, cut in chunks
a handful of flat leaf parsley
a bunch of fresh thyme
1 whole head of garlic, halved
1 tsp peppercorns
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 inch fresh peeled ginger
6 whole allspice
1/2 tsp dried dill
enough water to just cover it all.
I boiled all of this for 1 and a half hours. 
And ended up with this
In the mean time, I threw this together:
Fruit is always good for a cold - and my youngest LOVES her fruit.
Then I put the soup together.
The soup included all of the stock I had made and:
2 tbsp olive oil to saute' (for about 6 minutes)
1 medium onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
2 medium chopped carrots
2 chopped celery ribs
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
I then put in my stock and cooked  the veggies for about 5 minutes then added thin egg noodles that I got from the Jewish food section of Safeway and cooked those for 10 minutes.  Then I stirred in the chicken meat I had stripped and shredded from the whole chicken I had cooked in the stock earlier. I then put in a handful of chopped flat leaf parsley and I tossed in some kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.  And this is what I ended up with:
It was delicious and enough for about 12 people - The girls LOVED it especially with warm naan right out of the skillet to dip in the soup.  I ended up with enough for lunch for a couple of days, fed a couple friends at work with it, and have some saved for my love when he comes out to see me for Christmas in December.  I hope it's still good when he gets here, I know my Okiefied friend said it was the best chicken soup she ever had.  That was quite a complement. 

Lunch at Loleta Bakery

My girls and I had a wonderful lunch at the Loleta Bakery last weekend. White chocolate mocha, blue cheese and walnut pizzetta and a bowl of lamb kofta soup and a half pastrami sandwich, with bread made fresh that morning.
Oh, and the freshest salad on the planet!  I'm pretty sure fresh locally grown lettuce, picked that day.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bacon? Brown Ale - yes Bacon

As I was busily unpacking and continuing to move I was listening to our local radio station KSLG to keep me motivated and to keep up on what was going on at the Hops in Humboldt event in Fortuna.  I happened to catch one of the live remote sessions when one of the dj's was trying a beer from Uncommon Brewers from Santa Rosa. 
What caught my ear was the word bacon.  Yes BACON - they were serving up a beer called Bacon Brown Ale.  I have not had a chance to try this, but I guarantee, the first chance I get, I will be trying it.  Because, as you know, everything is better with bacon.  Right?

Check out this review of the beer at Beer 47

Hops In Humboldt

A great local event you should check out today in Sunny (not so much today) Fortuna.
Hops in Humboldt

Thursday, August 26, 2010


A couple of days ago I made a quick stop into Eureka Grocery Outlet to pick up a few items.  I'm recently going through a divorce and in the process of moving to a new home, so I'm on the edge of broke and living in a constant state of chaos at the moment, so Grocery Outlet is a blessing right now.  They carry a lot of, what I call, junk, but they also have some great deals on good organic and gourmet foods and they now carry more fresh produce.  Normally I avoid too many processed food items for my family, but when half of your cooking gear is buried at the bottom of one of several unmarked boxes and you have to be in 20 different places at once, it puts a crimp on taking the time to cook well.  Consequently I have been falling off my healthy food wagon lately. 

What I really needed the other day was a quick breakfast solution.  If I was really on top of it, I would have a freezer full of frozen homemade pancakes and breakfast burritos, but that was too much to pull off while living between 4 different homes and not having access to my kitchen.  So I ran into Grocery outlet and grabbed a box of frozen waffles, a box of frozen french toast, and a box of these:

I got in line with my bounty of processed foods eager to get home, when the girl ringing me up comments on my toaster scrambles.  Mmmm.  These are good (I agree - they are pretty tasty).  Then she says, "they just seem so much healthier then the waffles or the french toast." 

What?  Really?  Did she just say that?  How could they be any healthier?  I don't get it.  Is this really how most American's think?  Just because it's not noticeably sweet, it much be healthier?  Wow!

Let's see - what are the ingredients:
Enriched flour bleached(wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamin mononitrate, ribolfavin, folic acid), Water, Soybean Oil, Palm Oil, Ham with Natural Juices Ground and Formed (ham, salt sugar, modified potato starch, pork stock, ground mustard, dextrose, sodium tripolypohsphate, natural smoke flavor, natural flavor, sodium nitrite ascorbic acid, citric acid), Eggs, Partially Hydrogenated Soybeean and Cottenseed Oil, Corn Starch, Glycerin, Egg Yolk, Salt, Dry Yeast, Dried Whey, Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Modified Corn Starch, Sodium Caseinate, Cheddar Cheese (milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes), Sodium Posphate, Mono and Diglycerides, Lactic Acid, Sodium Citrate, Nonfat Milk, Ctric Acid, Sodium Steearoyl Lactylate, Xanthan Gum, Enzyme Modified Parmesan Cheese (milk, cheese cultures, salt enzymes), Spice, Blue Cheese (milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes), Guar Gum, Natural Flavor, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Potassium Sorbate and TBHZ (preservatives), Titanium Dioxide, Yellow 5, Yellow 6.

Wow!  What is half of this stuff?  When I make bread it's flour, water, salt and yeast.  That's it.  Ham is ham, cheese is cheese.  Eggs are eggs.  And what exactly is "natural flavor"?  Hmmm.  Healthier then frozen waffles huh?  I don't see how. 

Nutritional value?  For ONE of these, which does not come anywhere near filling you up - You get 11 grams of fat, 3.5 of that saturated (17% of your daily value.  Now remember, you'll probably eat 2 or 3 of these).  0.5 grams of trans fats (triple that if you eat 3) 20 mg of Cholesterol (7 % times 3) 310 mg of sodium (13% times 3) 16 grams of total carbohydrates (5% times 3) 1 gram of sugar and 3 grams of protein (times 3) No vitamin A no Vitamin C no Calcium and 4% of your Iron. 

This is healthier then a frozen waffle?  Really? At least you can top a waffle with yogurt and fresh fruit and get something good from it.  What would you top this with? Ketchup?  Hot sauce maybe?  No wonder this girl looked visibly unhealthy - her skin was gray and she was slightly overweight and moved at a slugs pace.  The poor thing thinks this kind of food is healthy.  She probably lives on stuff like this.  I have to wonder when she last ate a fresh strawberry or had an apple fresh off the tree.  I feel sad for her.  I feel sad for all of the people out there who actually think like this and are completely oblivious to how good food should be.  What have we taught these people?  Not much apparently.  We need to change that.  And soon.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Raw milk advocates, dairymen spar at supes meeting (Humboldt Co. CA)

Raw milk advocates, dairymen spar at supes meeting

Donna Tam/The Times-Standard

Posted: 08/25/2010 01:34:24 AM PDT

Raw milk consumers and possible distributors touted its health benefits and a demand for the product in Humboldt County Tuesday morning, swaying some board members to look for more information.

Read more here:

Friday, August 20, 2010

In Heels and Backwards – Women Butchers Break Bones and Barriers

We have our very own rare femail butcher in Loleta - Pixie at the Loleta Meat Market. I hadn't thought about all the barriers she must have had to go through to do what she does as a woman. I just thought she was a cool chick who cuts up animals and makes some of the best sausage in the world.

In Heels and Backwards – Women Butchers Break Bones and Barriers

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fruit Bouquets

My Oakiefied friend is at it again.  Now she's building these awesome fruit bouquet's for people at work.  If you order one of these things from a professional it will set you back a good $50.  I say just call Michale and have her make you one and give her the $50. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Carter House Gardens

My favorite Restaurant in Humboldt, and one of my top three favorite restaurants I have ever been to is  Restaurant 301 at Carter House.  It's expensive, but not over priced.  The ambiance of their restaurant is upscale, but cozy and comfortable and the service is over the top professional, yet friendly and comfortable.  Never pretentious.  To top that off, I really love their "garden to table" philosophy.  They don't just talk the talk at Restaurant 301, they walk the walk.  Twenty seven years ago they started an edible flower and herb garden for their restaurant. What ever they don't grow themselves they do their best to find locally, and use the local supply of food as their inspiration in the kitchen.  They supply the restaurant from local farmer's markets, farms, and ranches, and use that to create both an amazing al a carte menu and an even more amazing discovery menu which is 2 special multi course meals, with each course being paired specially with a different wine.

Today on my walk to the library I got a little distracted by the local Victorian's and was happy to find myself standing outside the very Carter Gardens that help supply those menus - the one started 27 years ago to raise edible flowers and herbs.  I snooped around three sides of the garden until someone walked up to me and said, "they don't mind if you go on in the garden and walk around.  Just don't take anything. "  I hope that didn't mean, don't take any pictures, because I couldn't help myself.
I could have spent the whole day here, and I'm wondering if they would mind if I came back with a book on my next lunch hour and sit on the bench in front of the lavender bushes and read for a while.  I'll just have to try.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cardamom/Pistachio Cake with Lime Syrup

My wonderful boss (no I'm not being sarcastic) is leaving us for bigger and brighter opportunities.  I hate to see her go, but I'm happy for her, and she was an a great excuse for a potluck.  It doesn't take much to come up with an excuse for a potluck where I work.  We're all  food obsessed people.  Not a bad thing in my opinion, even though I'm sure there is some freak out there ready to create a syndrome around it.  Anyway....
One of my co-workers showed up to the potluck with this amazing cake.  Cardamom and Pistachio Cake with Lime Syrup.  (One of several wonderful dishes - I'm still waiting for the corn salad and homemade mac and cheese recipes) I will say though, that Michelle's cake was the most unique and delicious dish there.  I haven't had a chance to make it yet, but I plan to.  She was kind enough to share the recipe and here it is for you to try.

1 cup pistachio meat (or pecans)
1/2 to 1 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 cup sugar (3/4 cup for cake, 3/4 cup for sauce)
1 1/2 cup self-rising flour
11 tbsp butter, softened
3 eggs
1/2 cup plain yogurt (or sour cream)
1 large lime ( or two small ones)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease round cake pan and line bottom with wax paper.  Grind pistachios and cardamom in food processor.  Stir in 34 cup sugar and all of flour.  Mix in butter in crumbly.  In separate bowl, mix eggs and yogurt.  Stir into batter.  Pour into cake pan and spread out with spoon (batter is thick) Bake for 45 minutes.  Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert and allow to cool on a rack.

Zest limes and set zest aside.  Sqeeze limes and add enough water to make 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp total liquid.  Add 3/4 cups sugar.  Heat over medium heat until boiling.  Add lime zest and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Strain out lime zest and allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Syrup will be slightly thickened.

Poke holes in top of cake witha skewer.  Pour syrup over cake and allow it to soak up.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Defeated Chicken

In my journey of divorce I'm discovering little treasures here and there.  Tonight, it was  my "week on week off" roomie's Philippine Cookbook by Reynaldo Alejandro that I discovered.  Sitting in my little room by myself contemplating my world I noticed this cookbook.  I wasn't expecting such a book among the engineering, science and Asian travel books, but there it was. I was so excited.  I pulled it out and perused it.  Lots of different lumpia recipes and things like fried pigeon, fried pig knuckles and ox tongue pie.  But the one recipe that really caught my eye was Talunang Manok or Defeated Chicken.  I had to laugh.  What kind of recipe is called defeated chicken?  I mean, really.  All chicken recipes would ultimately be a defeated chicken recipe wouldn't it?  They're defeated and in my stew pot and soon to fill my tummy right?  Well, it has a whole different meaning in the Philippine culture. 

Here is what I learned. 

The national sport of the Philippine's is cockfighting.  Not a pretty sport, not something I condone, but it's their culture and it's not my place to judge that, and the history of it and how this particular meal came about.  The cocks who have lost their last fight are called talumnan.  They were bred for cockfighting, not eating, so these roosters are tough little buggers. So, not being people to waste an animal, and I have to respect them for doing this, they created a special recipe to make them tender enough to eat, The Defeated Chicken.

This can be done with a regular stewing chicken - so don't worry about finding a worn out fighting cock.

2 cups salted black beans (these can be found in a Asian specialty market)
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 4 to 5 lb stewing fowl, cut into serving pices
2 lbs pigs' feet (can be found in Asian or Mexican markets)
4 cups water
3 garlic heads, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp oregano
1 small piece star anise
1 cinnamon stick

Mash beans with vinegar and brown sugar an place, with the chicken, pigs' feet and water, ina large pot.  Boil until chicken and pigs' feet are tender ( a pressure cooker may be used).  Add garlic and spices to stock.  Simmer until thick.

Serves 4- 6

There you have it - one defeated chicken. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Surfside Burger Shack

I noticed this place about a month ago and have been itching to stop in and check them out.  Every local review I've read has been very positive, and they serve only grass fed local Humboldt County beef, a half pound of beef at that. 

I finally got my chance to stop in today, and I'm not sure what possessed me, but I didn't order their 1/2 lb burger.  Instead I ordered the salmon burger.  I don't normally care for salmon burgers, so I'm not sure why I went that route, but I'm very glad I did.  It was made with wild pacific salmon and had all the fixin's on it that a regular burger would have, plus I had them add avocado for a extra dollar.  It was DELICIOUS!  And their fries were fantastic.  I never eat more then three or four fries when I order a burger.  I devoured two thirds of them - way beyond my stomach's capacity!

The restaurant is small and filled with pictures of surfers and bikers, mostly local.  There is a pinball machine as well.  The menu isn't extensive.  It's simple like the restaurant.  Their focus in on good quality ingredients.  You can order several size burgers, from 1 to 4 patties.  They're basic burgers, but you can choose from several extra toppings to specialize your burger.  They also have hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, salmon burgers, turkey burgers, and veggie burgers.  There are BLT's and I think maybe some sub sandwiches.  They have some salads - at least one on the special today (avocado salad) and several sides.  They do a chicken nugget basket and have a kids menu.  They serve local micro brews, Corona, Pacifica and Pabst Blue Ribbon tall boys.  They have several types of soda and bottled water.  Prices range from from $6 to $9 and you get enough food to justify the price.  The Surfside Burger Shack is family owned - Chad Smith is the owner, and you can find them at 445 5th street in Eureka CA.  They do have take out menus and you can call them at 707-268-1295. 

And if you're really hungry and up for a challenge, every weekend they have the Tsunami Eating Challenge.  It's a quad burger with all the regular toppings plus 4 extra toppings.  I think you have to eat the fries too - a combo item.  You have 1 hour to finish.  Their regular burgers are huge, so it would take a big hunger to get a quad down in my opinion.  If you finish in an hour, the meal is free, you get your picture on the wall and a free t-shirt.  So if you're real hungry - I dare you to try - double dog dare you!