Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

04
Jan
14

I’m Baaaaacccckkkk!

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I posted anything on this blog.  I wasn’t even sure how to get into it anymore.  Good thing I’m a little bit smart and figured it out quickly.  So, I’m not making any big promises here, such as I promise to write  more in 2014 or share only healthy recipes and that  sort of nonsense.  I just had this feeling I should check in on this thing I created several years ago and was having so much fun with;  fun being the operative word.

We should all have more fun.  Cooking and baking is, obviously, fun for me.  And so is writing about it and sharing pictures of whatever I’m making.  But what is really fun is hearing from all of you.  I miss you and hope you feel the same.

What have you been doing lately just for fun?  I’ve been trying to teach myself how to play the accordion.  Katie has been teaching herself to play the guitar.  We’ve been hanging upside down like a couple of nutters on a Teeter machine!  We adopted a young dog in October and he’s a lot of fun.  Six pounds of pure cuteness.  His name is Diablo.

Not too sure what is going on with a lot of my pictures from previous posts.  A lot of them, it seems, have fallen off the pages.  I’ll have to have my IT girl (AKA Katie) look into why this keeps happening.  They are linked to Fotki, so if anyone has ideas or suggestions, let me know.

So, Happy New Year and I hope to be posting something with pictures and recipes soon.   Feels like a good plan to me.

31
Dec
12

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 19,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

01
Jan
12

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

14
Aug
11

Where’s the Beak?

The Artful Dodger hipping Oliver to street lingo

“You do know what a beak is, don’t cha?” “It’s a birds mouth, isn’t it?” “For your information, a beak’s a magistrate.” That line from “Oliver”never made sense to me. Where is the connection? Anyone?

The Spanish word for beak is pico. I had a friend in Mexico nick named Pico because he was blessed with a hooter resembling that of Ringo Starr.

Pico de gallo is a popular salsa we like to pour over our tacos and enchiladas. But why is it called “rooster’s beak?” Again, where is the connection?

I consulted the “Food Lover’s Companion”, my first go-to book when I have a culinary connected conundrum. According to that source, “Pico de gallo [PEE-koh day GI-yoh] ….is a relish made of finely chopped ingredients like jicama, oranges, onions, bell peppers, jalapeño peppers and cucumbers along with various seasonings. This condiment was so named because it was once purportedly eaten with the thumb and finger, an action that resembles a rooster’s pecking beak.” Ok, I guess that makes some sense.

Here’s what I found on Wikipedia:

Another suggested etymology is that pico is derived from the verb picar, which has two meanings: 1) to mince or chop, and 2) to bite, sting or peck. The rooster, gallo inSpanish, is a common metaphor for the hyper-masculine (“macho“) male in Mexican culture. One example of such machismo is taking pride in withstanding the spicy burn of chilis.

However, neither theory can be considered definite, as they assume the use of hot chilis. In many regions of Mexico the term “pico de gallo” refers to any of a variety of salads, condiments or fillings made with sweet fruitstomatoestomatillosavocado or mild chilis — not necessarily with hot chilis, or any chilis at all. Thus, the name could be a simple allusion to the bird feed-like minced texture and appearance of the sauce.[2]

The pico de gallo I am used to seeing and eating in California and the Pacific Northwest is more of a salsa or salsa fresca. Tomatoes, onion and garlic are the staple. And it’s chunky yet a bit on the soupy side, so I can’t imagine trying to peck that up with your dedos (that’s Spanish for fingers).

My simple, spicy version of Pico de Gallo

Enough scratching and pecking for the significance of the name of this spicy concoction. Here is my simple version of Pico de Gallo:

3 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped

½ yellow onion, finely chopped

3 large cloves garlic, finely minced

1 large jalapeño, finely minced

salt and pepper to taste

chopped cilantro (optional)

Rough to finely chop the ripe tomatoes

These summer beauties were the perfect ripeness!

chop the onions

make sure they are pretty fine

ditto the jalapenos - keep the seeds if you want the heat or remove for a less heated condiment

Remove the skins from the garlic cloves

The easiest way to remove the skins from garlic is to chop off the hard, woody end and using the flat of your chefs knife, give it a good firm bash with your fist.  Did that make sense?  Place the knife on it’s side over the garlic clove.  Make a fist like you are playing one-potato-two-potato and smash it down on the knife.  One smash is all you need do.

Finely chop all of that beautiful garlic

Place it all in a mixing bowl and give it a good stir.  Season with salt and pepper to taste,  You can also add chopped cilantro if you like.  I didn’t have any on hand the day I made this, otherwise it would have made it in there too.

Spoon over your favorite Mexican dishes or anything that you like. It's great on it's own with some tortilla chips.

Whether you call it pico de gallo, salsa fresca, tomato relish or Mexican ketchup, it doesn’t get any easier to make.  Team it up with some guacamole and get the party started.  Hmmm….where’s that avocado?

03
Jan
11

Cookiepalooza

It seems like everyone makes cookies at Christmas time and I didn’t want to bore my audience

with a post about cookies.  But then I thought, Hey!  This is what I do.  I bake and I cook

and I blog about it, sometimes.  And maybe my cookies will be different from the cookies

others bake and blog about.

I started making cookie dough in November.  And then stocking my freezer full of it.  That

way, I could bake-off what I needed and still have plenty to see us through Christmas time.

Freezerful of cookie dough balls ready for the holiday baking frenzy

Here's a closer look

What started off to be a plan that sounded something like this “I’m going to make a platter

for Katie’s work mates and some bags for a few select, special people.  That’s it, no big

deal.”  So, it started off simple enough.  One afternoon I baked off about 6 kinds of

cookies and made some toffee. 

Some Snickerdoodles cooling

English Toffee cooling and hardening - this stuff is way addicting, right Cat?

You know how I like my close up shots

 I made a lovely large platter for Katie to carry off to work the next day. 

A platter for Katie's workmates

I had cookies and toffee left over, of course, so I put some little gift bags

together and brought them to my work.  Everytime I saw someone who I felt a special

fondness for, I would give them a bag of treats.  It felt really good to do that.  Since I

enjoy feeling good, I started baking more cookies off every few days and kept carrying bags

of goodies to work.

Color coded bags of treats, red contained vegan, blue were caramel corn and white had regular cookies and toffee

Some  treats were especially geared toward certain folks.  The Parmesan Black Pepper

Biscotti went to those few who are not sweet tooths.  I can’t imagine not being a sweet

tooth, being highly addicted to the stuff myself, but, oh well.  Let me tell you, HUGE HIT

is an understatement.  They loved it.

Savory Biscotti - who knew? Apparently these went really well with red wine

I work with quite a few vegan people.  I didn’t want to leave them out, as it sucks to feel

like the odd man out because of dietary differences.  My vegan goodie bags contained vegan

English Toffee, Orange Almond Biscotti and Ginger Molasses cookies.  I have never seen so

many pleased vegans!  Many told me I should market the vegan biscotti and the toffee as they

had never seen any, anywhere.  One friend told me that if it weren’t for the goodies bag

from me, he would not have had any treats on Christmas day, as he spent the day with his

family and he is the lone vegan.  He also said it had been years since he had toffee and he

was so grateful.

I pulled out my text books from culinary school, found a recipe for peanut brittle and whipped up a batch

I don’t even know how many bags of treats I gave out.  Actually, the very first person to

get a small platter of cookies was Dr. Alice C., our chiropractor.  She is pregnant and very

protective of her food.  She said she might eat them all herself, but later confessed to

letting her hubby have a cookie or two.  Not only did co-workers get the cute little bags,

but our mail carrier, Ken, who looks forward to his annual sugar fest, and the smart alec

cashier at Rite Aid, Gary, scored.    Our favorite waitress at Sam’s Billiard’s, Stephanie,

was presented with a large platter to take home to share with her family.  The following

week we were greeted with lots of ohhhhs and ahhhs over the sweets.  Although, she is way

sweeter than those treats.  I even made caramel corn closer to Christmas and the

ladies at our optometrist’s office practically wet themselves when they dove into the bag I

presented to them.

How about a closer look at that toffee and peanut brittle

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies and Cherry Chocolate Chip Biscotti dipped in white chocolate - yum!

So, long story short, I made tons of cookies and lots of people happy (and maybe a little

tubby!)  I for one am glad to see an end to the holidays and am truly ready for a new and

exciting year.

21
Apr
10

Melted Butter and Mayo, You’ve Been Replaced

Jumbo artichokes in the produce department at work

My last post I shared a great recipe for Kale and Carrot Salad, right?  Well guess what I discovered?  That dressing for the salad makes an awesome dipping sauce for steamed artichokes.  Seriously, it’s super yum. 

We’re eating so much healthier these days and I try to cook with a wide variety of veggies.  The other day I just had to buy a couple of these jumbo bad boy artichokes.  Most people like to dip the leaves in mayonnaise (gross) or melted butter (good, but, not-so-much for the body).   I used to use some low fat salad dressing, but I’m so over bottled dressing and haven’t bought any for years now.  So what’s a girl to dip her choke in then? 

That’s when it me!  I had some left over spicy sesame dressing from the kale salad we had for dinner the night before.  Brilliant!  Oh, the flavor is so complimentary with the sweetness of the artichoke.  Plus, the dressing has such a bold flavor that you only have to dip a tiny bit to get a good punch. 

So, get to the store, buy some artichokes, and while they are steaming, whisk up the dressing.  Great with a meal or just by itself for a healthy snack.  Dig in!

01
Jun
09

Soul Food

At the beginning of this blog writing experience I made a statement about this being a vehicle for me to share food ideas.  Well, today’s blog is not about food for the body but rather for the soul.  My soul, in particular, that is. My partner and I frequently write Lists of Positive Aspects, especially when we want to turn our thoughts and desires to the positive side of anything and everything.  While cleaning the house this morning, I ran across one of my lists I would like to share with the world.  It is a list of appreciation for someone I love.  It is a list about my daughter.

LIST OF POSITIVE ASPECTS ABOUT MY DAUGHTER 

MY DAUGHTER IS SMART

MY DAUGHTER IS PRETTY

MY DAUGHTER IS A WONDERFUL MOTHER

MY DAUGHTER IS WELL READ

MY DAUGHTER IS FUNNY!!!!!

MY DAUGHTER HAS A QUICK WIT

MY DAUGHTER IS LOVING

MY DAUGHTER IS A GOOD CAREGIVER

MY DAUGHTER IS GENEROUS AND ALWAYS GIVES GIFTS THAT ARE WELL THOUGHT OUT AND PERSONAL

MY DAUGHTER IS A GOOD WRITER

MY DAUGHTER LOVES ANIMALS

MY DAUGHTER IS VEGETARIAN

MY DAUGHTER IS SENSATIVE

MY DAUGHTER IS SOFT AND GIVES GOOD HUGS

MY DAUGHTER IS A FUN TRAVEL COMPANION 

 That is the list, word for word, as I found it.  I substituted “My Daughter” for her name, to protect her privacy.  There is no date on it, but I know it was written several months ago.  I still believe every statement in that list and I always will.

Peace, love and forgiveness,

 

VG




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