A big thank you to Miss Eliza at Strange and Random Happenstance for the Lemonade Award. Given the heat that we have had in Southern California I could really use a glass of lemonade right now. The award is for sites that show great attitude and The Lemonade Award is for sites which show great attitude.
1. Put the logo on your blog or post. 2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude! 3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post. 4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog. 5. Nominate your favorites and link to this post.
Everywhere I turn there are tomatoes. The Farmer's market's are overflowing with tomatoes. Over my fence, I can smell the sweet fragrance of ripening tomatoes. A knock on my door delivers me a basket of them. We are popping tomatoes into our mouth with every meal.
This past week, I have been on a reading rampage. Food was on my mind. I struggled slightly to finish The Last Chinese Chef and devoured A Homemade Life. (I will tell more about the book later).
Molly, over at Orangette is the author of A Homemade Life. When I say I devoured the book, I could not wait to enter my kitchen and start cooking something from her book. With all my tomatoes this would be an easy choice.
This wonderful recipe, brings out the best of tomatoes. For dinner I enjoyed the pesto with goat cheese. This would taste delicious on a baguette, focaccio, or tossed with pasta. I am temped to try it cold with pasta. Can you imagine sitting down in front of a fire in the middle of winter, enjoying the taste of roasted tomatoes with fresh basil. Enjoying your pasta, and breaking off a piece of foccacio to wipe your plate with. I am getting hungry again.
SLOW-ROASTED TOMATO PESTO (From A Homemade Life)
INGREDIENTS 1/2 cup olive oil 1 teaspoon lemon juice 2 medium garlic cloves peeled and trimmed 2 cups packed basil leaves 3 cups slow-roasted tomatoes 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
To slow roast the tomatoes preheat the oven to 200 F. Wash and dry the tomatoes and halve them lengthwise. Place them in a large bowl, and using your hands toss them gently with the oil. Arrange them cut side up on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and ground coriander, about a pinch of each for every 4 to 6 tomato halves.
Bake until the tomatoes crinkle at the edges and shrink to about half of their original size, 4-6 hours.
In a bowl of a food processor, combine the olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Pulse until the garlic is finely chopped. Add the basil leaves and process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Add the tomatoes and process well. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and pulse to combine. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
Here are the joys of my life, little squawk box and her brother. Everything they do is alike. It is unbelievable. I am always seeing double. I must say they do make me laugh and smile. I hope they do the same for you.
One of the better advantages of living in the sprawling suburbia of Orange County are the diverse ethnic markets. For all we lack in great bakeries, cheese and pastry shops I can shop at some pretty amazing markets. The City of Westminster, is also known as Little Saigon, offering shoppers a plethora of Vietnamese markets and restaurants. Given I was in court in Westminister I just had to stop in and see what the market was offering.
Walking through an Asian market is quite the unique experience. While I have visited many outdoor markets in Asia, I must say that I have never been in a grocery store selling live frogs before. Their selection of seafood was quite astounding with tanks full of lobster, crabs, and many fish. Walking through the fruit area, you can choose an assortment of persimmons, pomegrante, dragon and star fruit and miniature bananas (adorable and much more sweet) to name a few.
At the ready made food section there was roasted Peking duck, dumplings and buns.
I could spend hours cruising the aisles and looking at the selection of Asian foods and ingredients. After this short trip, I knew that I would be having Asian food this week.
For dinner I made shrimp wrapped in rice paper and an Asian salad. Given that today was a scorcher it was the perfect meal that did not require me heating up the kitchen.
Thin rice noodles (make them in advance and leave them in the fridge to cool) Chop up some lettuce (I used red lettuce) slice up some baby carrots slice up some shallots 1/4 cup shrimp
DRESSING 1 tablespoons fish sauce 1 teaspoon brown sugar 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
For anyone who loves all things sweet and tarty this is a book for you. I recently heard about this book and was prepared to wait for hit to hit the shelves when my friend Stephanie from Dispensing Happiness invited me to join her for a book cooking event. Reading, baking all wrapped into one and I would receive a copy of the book before it is released. I was already on a sugar high and I had not even baked anything.
Confections of a Closet Master Baker brings together all the wonderful ingredients found in a European pastry shop along with some wit and humor. Author Gesine Bullock-Prado took an unusual career path from law school to Hollywood entertainment business woman to baker. As an attorney myself I adore the fact that after two interviews she realized that attorneys are really a boring group and she did not want to have and after two interviews realized that lawyers are truly a bunch of boring people. She then worked for awhile in Hollywood until she became utterly frustrated with the shallowness of the entertainment industry and then followed her dream and opened up a bakery in Montpeilier Vermont.
Born to a German mother, she was treated to homemade birthday cakes and learnt to appreciate the simplicity yet sophisticated of what a pastry truly is meant to me. No oversized, dye-infused American desserts for this girl as a child. Born to European parents I could relate to her childhood dessert experiences.
The prologue to her book starts off with a chapter titled: The Devil in St. Nick. (You can read the first 15 pages here). To quote Bullock-Prado, "I saw the devil at age three and he gave me chocolate. It changed my life forever". Have you ever ready a better introductory sentence to a book. The devil is giving her chocolate, of course you want to continue reading and find out what happens next.
For me, reading Confections of a Closet Master Baker was almost as sweet as strolling into a pastry shop in Paris and sitting down to enjoy a chocolate eclair with my tea. I say almost because at the current time her bakery is in transition and moving from Vermont to Austin. So for now I will not be able to order any of the macarons she talks about in her book. Reading this book was like standing in front of the pastry case, choosing my eclair and then slowly savoring each bite, as I take a little taste of the chocolate and then a larger bite through the pastry and enjoy the taste of the fresh cream. With each chapter I enjoyed my small bites at her stories and with the last page I was full with the satisfaction of a good choice, knowing I could return again tomorrow for another selection.
While Bullock-Prado does not give out her recipe for macarons, each chapter has a recipe for a delectable treat she has showcased in her shop. What to make, what to make, starry starry nights, cherry turnovers, opera cake, zwetschgendatschi? The choices are endless.
Her recipe for zwetschgendatschi calls for you to make this dessert with utter sincerity. This is the tart of of true love, never boastful or conceited. How can I resist this desert?
You will just have to return here the week of September 4th to see what I decided to bake. Please visit Dispensing Happiness September 7th to views everyones sweet submissions.
Starvation Height is the true story of two wealthy British sisters who ended up under the spell of Dr. Linda Hazzard. Just the photo on the cover alone is creepy. I will admit for a blog that talks about food this is a rather odd and creepy book. Adding to the oddity was the fact that I read this book last year during the holidays as I was stuffing myself with Christmas cookies and cranberry delicacies.
It struck me as rather odd that I was reading a book about starvation treatment while enjoying the food of the season.
I found the story rather entrancing and unbelievable. Dorothea and Claire Williamson were both happily unmarried when they decided to visit Dr. Hazzard's Wilderness Heights for a health and diet treatment. Considered to be hypochondriacs, the sisters decided to participate in Dr. Hazzard's regime after reading her book promising strength and health. Considered slightly spoilt the sisters did not inform any of their family members about their decision to participate in this bizarre treatment.
Initially the sisters started off the treatment from their apartment in the city. Surviving on a broth diet, neighbors started to become concerned as the sisters started wasting away. The doctor would have her patients subscribe to a regiment of minimal calories and rather brutal massages.
After a period of weight loss the doctor had the sisters transferred to her unfinished spa in the wilderness. Isolated from family and society the sisters continued their decline. Realizing all was not right, a telegram was sent to their childhood nanny who came across the Atlantic to their side. Arriving at Olalla, the nanny was shocked to learn that one sister had died and the other was on the verge of insanity. The good doctor would not release Dorothea to the custody of her nanny without a fight.
Williamson's family enlisted the help of the British embassy to prosecute the doctor for the death of one of their subjects.
This is truly a creepy story. Dr. Hazzard was ahead of times as a female practitioner in the early 1900's. Her actions were truly reprehensible and borne of greed. I found it amazing that her patients would follow her strict regime of starvation in hope of seeking a healthier lifestyle. Even as she was being prosecuted, Dr. Hazzard continued to practice and kill off her patients.
This weekend I had another perfect summer day. I truly enjoy walks on the beach followed by a cooking session. My husband had been out of town so I started off the morning with a bike ride to the beach. After grabbing a cup of tea, I walked along the shoreline stopping to admire the ocean. A few weeks ago there was a Southern Swell which has changed the ocean bed slightly. Apparently there is a kelp bed that has caught the attention of the dolphins.
There must have been about 10 dolphins of all sizes feeding off the kelp bed. They are fascinating to watch as they breach in the air and play. To add a smile to my face, I found a purple star fish. This is truly the perfect way to start the day.
For awhile I had in my mind that I wanted to make raspberry jam. Off home I went for a short break to make some jam, before returning to the beach.
Wouldn't you love just to slather this loaf of bread with some fresh butter and jam?
1 pound raspberries (do not rinse them-not rinsing them will bring out their fragrance) 1 1/4 cup sugar 2 star anise Juice of 1 lemon
Mix together raspberries, sugar, lemon and anise. Simmer over low for about 10 minutes until the sugar is melted. Place in bowl and cover. Refrigerate overnight.
Place mixture in pot and cook over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes until the mixture coats the back of your spoon. You will know the jam is ready, as when you drop some on a plate it will stay.
I usually scrimp on the sugar. The jam is nice and tart-I probably could have used slightly less sugar.
Sheila at Book Journey was kind enough to honor me with this award. I truly enjoy the friends that I have made through the blogging world. Everyone has been very kind and helpful with my questions on posting photos, links and other computer techie stuff that seems to stump my brain. Even if they do not know the answer people are always willing to suggest and try to help.
What is the award about: “Blogs that receive the Let’s Be Friends Award are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers.”
I would like to pass this award on to some other people who deserve recognition and I appreciate their help along the way.
With a slice of chocolate cake to enjoy your award, sit down with your feet up and enjoy
One of my neighbors has a fig tree and it is getting ready to burst with figs. They are still green, but will be ripe soon. I can hardly wait. I can pop figs into my mouth one after another. For me they bring back memories of summers at my grandmothers along the Mediterranean.
Growing up in Canada we would rarely get fresh figs. Now that I live in Southern California, I am spoilt with them. So much so that I have three different types of figs in my fridge. In total there are 5 different types of figs; they are Black Mission blackish-purple skin and pink colored flesh, Kalamata-green skin and purplish flesh, Brown Turkey-purple skin and red flesh, Calimyrna-greenish-yellow skin and amber flesh and Adriatic, which has a light green skin and pink flesh. My favorite by far are the black mission and Kalamata. I find the Brown Turkey can sometimes be slightly tough.
What amazes me the most are the number of people who have never had a fresh fig. They are nothing like a fig newton. Trust me on this one. Figs are delicious fresh and this is my preferred way of eating them. Today I decided to experiment with them a little bit. I made a fig compote, more on that another day. I also made fig appetizers with goat cheese.
I was rather impressed with this concoction as I used bacon, goat cheese and figs together. The combination is a rather unusual but rather tasty collections of flavors. What also makes this interesting is the crispness of the bacon along with the fleshiness of the figs.
Figs with Goat Cheese and Bacon Recipe
4 slices bacon, baked until cooked but not crispy goat cheese 8 figs sliced in half
Slice the figs in half and place on a lined cookie sheet With your thumb indent the center of the figs Chop up the bacon and place the bacon in the indention in the fig Place the goat cheese on top ( I used goat cheese with black pepper for a little extra kick)
Bake in the oven at 350 F for about 5 minutes. Serve warm.
Seven years ago, readers everywhere fell in love with Jim Glass, the precocious ten-year-old at the heart of Tony Earley's bestseller Jim the Boy. Now a teenager, Jim returns in another tender and wise story of young love on the eve of World War Two.
Jim Glass has fallen in love, as only a teenage boy can fall in love, with his classmate Chrissie Steppe. Unfortunately, Chrissie is Bucky Bucklaw's girlfriend, and Bucky has joined the Navy on the eve of war. Jim vows to win Chrissie's heart in his absence, but the war makes high school less than a safe haven, and gives a young man's emotions a grown man's gravity. With the uncanny insight into the well-intentioned heart that made Jim the Boy a favorite novel for thousands of readers, Tony Earley has fashioned another nuanced and unforgettable portrait of America in another time--making it again even realer than our own day.
This is a timeless and moving story of discovery, loss and growing up, proving why Tony Earley's writing "radiates with a largeness of heart" (Esquire).
About the Author: Tony Earley is the author of four books: Here We Are in Paradise, a collection of stories; the novel Jim the Boy; the personal essay collection Somehow Form a Family; and The Blue Star, a novel forthcoming in Spring, 2008. A winner of a National Magazine Award for fiction, he was named one of the twenty best writers of his generation by both Granta, in 1996, and The New Yorker in 1999. His fiction and/or nonfiction have appeared in Harper's, Esquire, The New Yorker, The Oxford American, The New York Times Book Review, Tin House, Best American Short Stories, New Stories from the South and many other magazines and anthologies. He is a native of western North Carolina and a graduate of Warren Wilson College and The University of Alabama. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife and daughter, where he is the Samuel Milton Fleming Associate Professor of English at Vanderbilt University.
Contest will run until September 1
For your mandatory entry please let me know what your favorite coming of age book is.
For additional entries:
2. Tweet about it and leave me a link 3. Blog about it and leave me a link 4. Bring over a new blog friend who has not commented on my blog before and have them leave their blog url on my site-let's get to know some new bloggers.
Remember to leave me an email address so I may reach you and please US and Canada addresses only and no P.O. Boxes.
Usually when I think of garbanzo beans, hummus comes to mind. Also known as chickpeas, garbanzo beans are a great source of protein. The only problem for me is that I do not really like them. I love hummus, but not the beans on their own.
In keeping with the tradition of grilling and roasting vegetables, I decided to see how they would taste it I roasted them. Surprisingly quite tasty, nothing at all like I they taste raw. I must say I was pretty impressed with myself, as I found myself a new snack to take to the beach.
ROASTED GARBANZO BEANS
Drain and rinse can of garbanzo beans. Toss in olive oil and add 1/2 teaspoon of cumin and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
Line a cookie sheet with tin foil.
Roast in oven on 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. After about 20 minutes, stir the beans on the pan to ensure they are not sticking to the sheet.
Zoey Dean may not really be the author-there is a rumor that it is a pseudonym for a writing team. Who knows? What I do know is Hollywood is like High School with Money is a fun quick read.
The plot has been done before, think Devil Wears Prada, except that the main character, Taylor works at a movie company Metronome. While her boss has high expectations and a bratty teenager, her expectations are not unrealistic. Taylor's nemesis is the Number 1 assistant.
Taylor has just moved across the country for her dream job, she loves movies and actually has some great insight on how to produce them. The problem for Taylor is she does not understand Hollywood. However she quickly realizes she needs some help and befriends her bosses teenage daughter, for assistance on life lessons and how to dress for success.
While Taylor makes some fatal flaws along the way, you want for her to succeed. As for Quinn, it is hard to believe a teenager could have so many lessons to dole out, but I found myself liking her.
If you have recently suffered the loss of a loved one and are still grieving you will without a doubt need a box of kleenex to read this book. Even without suffering the loss of a loved one I would think that you will shed some tears while reading this memoir.
What Pam Cope has accomplished after the death of her teenage son in unbelievable. Pam along with author Aimee Molloy tells the story of her family after the unexpected death of her 15 year old son from an undiagnosed heart ailment. Her in-laws had suffered a similar tragedy a few years earlier and told her, that this event would be the worst situation she had even gone through and the best.
Feeling like she was losing her sanity, she accepted a friend's invitation to visit Vietnam. Her friend was involved in a orphanage in Vietnam and Pam returned home with the process commenced to adopt a Vietnamese boy. From this trip, she and her husband created a foundation called "Touch a Life," which is dedicated to helping children in need of assistance.
Pam, opens up her heart and soul in telling readers how she suffered, found herself depressed and her realization that money does not make one happier. Given that I recently suffered a tragic loss earlier this year, I found her book to be inspirational and almost therapeutic. I could identify with many of Pam's emotions and feelings.
What amazed me about her story is her dedication to the cause, so much so that her and her husband set aside a budget so they could fund the foundation. They went as far as downsizing their home.
Pam's story of her travels around the world to help needy children makes one want to adopt every last one of them. This is truly one of the better books I have read all year.
I would like to thank Hachette Publishing and Anna for providing me with a copy to review and 5 copies to giveaway to my readers.
To win a copy of Jansten's Gift(contest ends 8/30). Contest is open to residents of Canada and the US. No post office boxes please. Also leave me a way to contact you.
1. leave a comment why you want to read this book 2. blog about it with a link 3. tweet about it with the link 4. refer a friend to the giveaway and let me know 5. let me know where you heard about the giveaway.
This in an incredible story that you will really enjoy.
My glass has been half full all summer. We just recently broke out of a heat wave, so it seems that I always had a glass of something cold in my hand. Given I can hop on my bike and be at the beach in 15 minutes I really cannot complain. This past week we had a funny incident. My husband and I went to the pool one night-for a little cool down.
I recently got a new car and had been asking my husband to help me program my home link system-the button you push so you no longer need a garage door opener. That moment never arrived so I started doing it myself-except I was not tall enough to reach the button on the garage mechanism. So as we are leaving for the pool I had him assist. Worked great for my car but it deprogrammed his car. A sweaty hour later, I no longer need to use the garage door opener and he does. He realized that was his karma for not assisting me earlier given I had been asking for a few months.
We get to the pool and I am so hot and flustered from the waste of time that I cannot find the pool key. No problem there will be someone there to let us in. Really? I am sure I have hopped fences before but I was determined to hop into that pool. We cool off and laugh about the whole fence hopping incident. No sooner do we get home, I cannot find my bathing suit. To add more misery to the situation I start thinking of my poor B. (the cat that was hit by a car) and I am now sobbing uncontrollably. Back to the pool we go, cannot find my bathing suit anywhere, but wait a moment I find a shirt that I left behind the night before. Not any shirt, a shirt I bought in Paris 25 years ago. Yes I am one of those people that have clothes from decades ago.
Sure enough my bathing suit had fallen into my drycleaning bag, but I had my shirt back.
BLUEBERRY ICED TEA
grab your favorite flavored blueberry tea (I use Teavana) and brew. Drop a cinnamon stick into the brewing tea. Place in fridge and cool off. Enjoy.
I have been honored to have been given an award from Yvette at True Crime Book Reviews. Her blog has great reviews of true crime stories, some gruesome, others rather fascinating. She puts a lot of effort into her reviews and it is well worth the visit if you have not stopped by.
Do you reach for a cup of cocoa or tea when you’re relaxing, seeking comfort, sharing a plate of cookies with family & friends? You know that feeling you get when you drink a yummy cup of cocoa, tea or a hot toddy? That is what the Heartfelt award is all about: feeling warm inside! Probably right now you may be grabbing for some ice-cream or a slice of pie. Anything cool to forget the heat of the summer. How about a rice crispie square-they always make me feel good inside.
The Rules: 1) Put the logo on your blog/post. 2) Nominate up to 9 blogs which make you feel comfy or warm inside. 3) Be sure to link to your nominees within your post. 4) Let them know that they have been nominated by commenting on their blog. 5) Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.
I am not quite sure if my oven ever gets turned on in the summertime. Grilling is what summer eating is all about. Probably the only recipe (if you can call it that) that I do not grill are smores-not that I have not thought of it. However it would not be right. Smores are meant to be bar-b-qued at the beach. Almost everything gets thrown on the grill in the summer.
The other night I was trying to think of something different to do with the asparagus, besides just throwing it on the grill. Why not wrap it in asparagus and grill them. I have a large vegetable grill pan-so this would be easy enough. I gathered together a few stalks of asparagus, wrapped them in prosciutto and speared them so they would stay together and be easy to flip. It was almost like eating chips-as you have a little saltiness with the crispness of the asparagus.
trim the stalks of the asparagus wrap the asparagus in proscuitto-I speared mine with a skewer so I could manage them easier on the grill toss in olive oil and pepper
Grill on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes until asparagus are done
Cooking is one of my passions in life. Enjoying good food, pastries, chocolate and everything the French have to savor is my other. This should come as a surprise given my father chose my name after reading The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
I am a voracious reader and collector of cookbooks. Little did I know that all my grade school French lessons would come in handy one day.