Sunday, November 30, 2008

thanks, ina!


well the stuffing was a huge success. i used this recipe, and switched out the sausage for pancetta. mostly because i didn't have sausage, but i had pancetta. i was kind of scared, since i usually hate stuffing . . . especially the kind with the huge cubes of bread. i had always kind of lumped it in my mind with things like waldorf salad (yuck) and jello with floaty fruit in it. well, that is no longer the case. i will now lump it my mind with things that are awesome like french fries and nutella on strawberries.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

happy thanksgiving


just set the table. my folks will be here in a few hours. i have already realized that i forgot a bunch of ingredients and i don't really know how to make a proper stuffing. this should be fun.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

a question.


is there really anything better than peanut butter? this morning, i can think of nothing i would rather have than a heaping spoonful of peanut butter. yum!

Monday, November 10, 2008

he likes soup, or so he says


well many of you know the battle that is waged in the gotch household almost every day . . . jen vs. andrew in THE BATTLE OF SOUP (dah dah dah daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah). it has been a losing battle on my end for about 4 years running. you know how he has his list of foods he hates (wet meat, pulpy juice, cherries, pickles, and on and on)? well soup always seems to find it's way to the top of the list. this is a problem for me, since i am a soup lover. i love to eat soup, i love to make soup and when i feel that first bit of cold in the autumn air (which in l.a. means when it drops below 70 degrees), i want soup. and yesterday, for some odd reason, he agreed to a pot of soup. i think it is mostly because i told him it had peanut butter in it, and peanut butter is at the top of his "foods i love" list right after hamburgers. so after a short trip to the market, some chopping of vegetables, and warming of bread, soup was served. and it was good, real, real good. andrew ate every last drop, only quizzing me a few times about the ingredients. i was reluctant to tell him there was salsa in it, because he doesn't like cooked tomatoes or tomato soup. it didn't seem to phase him. he even ate the garbanzo beans, and he hates beans, except green beans. later that night, when the truth was rising to the surface, he confided in me that next time, he could do without the beans. i reminded him that he loves humus, but that was not enough. "it's a texture thing, not a taste thing" he calmly replied. either way, i feel like some progress was made here last night. there is even talk of more soup next week. i'll keep you posted. here's the recipe if you are interested.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

HOPE


IS HERE!!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

what we ate yesterday


see, i told you i wasn't gone forever. i'm slowly getting back into the swing of things. my out of town job is almost over and the change in the weather is making me long for delicious soups and spiked hot chocolate.

this is what we ate yesterday. pretty and delicious!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

this blog is not dead


contrary to what you might think, this blog is not dead. i'm just on hiatus. this and this and this are taking up a lot of my time. and becoming a foodie isn't easy. it takes work. hopefully things will slow down enough soon that i will be able to get back to cooking (something i haven't done in months - - literally months), making cocktails, shopping for new treats, etc, etc. thanks for understanding. i promise that when the time is right, i will make a triumphant return.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I feel horrible


I have lied to you, broken promises, i'm a deadbeat food blogger. How did this happen? I can't believe it. I had such good intentions. From the beginning I said that I wouldn't just post for the sake of posting. I don't want to inundate you with crap, but this is crazy, right? I am just feeling really, really overwhelmed at the moment. There is so much going on in my life right now. Most of which is really fantastic; All of which is really time consuming. And the thing about being a food blogger is, it takes time (and a working scanner - - at the moment, i have neither). So hang in there, please. I beg you. It won't be like this forever, because if it is I will just curl up and die (a bit overdramatic, but you get my point). Thank you for all of your encouraging emails (some threatening one's, too). As soon as life permits, it's you and me, together, drinking, eating and having a wonderful time.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Drink of the Week


is coming. no really, it is. i actually have two, one with booze and one without, both with lemons. lots and lots of lemons. be back later with the recipes and names (that's the tough part).

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Briny Breeze - - Drink of the Week


Oh my God? Where have I been? This is crazy. It's not that I don't care about you, no, that's not it at all. I've just been so busy. But no Drink of the Week, that was just rude. I will continue to do my best. Sometimes my best just kind of sucks. Sorry. While we are on the subject of Drink of the Week, let me introduce you to the Briny Breeze. I named it after this little town in south Florida. It's a little mobile home park right on the ocean and it is amazing. Especially if you happen to have a polaroid camera with you (which I did). So, without further adieu . . .

The Briny Breeze

5 small pieces of Watermelon (i used a melon baller, because melon ballers are fun)
3 mint leaves
1 oz vodka
A generous splash of Rose's sweetened lime juice
A splash of Cointreau ( I also tried it with a splash of Campari and that was good, too. I just feel like I always use Campari, but Campari is really, really good. Especially in summer.)
club soda or tonic water

Plop your melon balls into a glass along with the mint leaves (i tore mine into pieces - - it feels naughty) and the vodka and then muddle it up. Add all of your splashes and stir. Fill a second glass with ice and then pour your muddled mixture over the ice, top off with club soda or tonic water. Garnish with melon balls, mint and lime - - you could even sugar the rim if you were so inclined. Now drink it!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Chamomile Mint Iced Tea


All is not lost. I am still doing a drink of the week. Thanks for sticking by me. I have been so busy with work/photography/creative endeavors that my food adventures have been few and far between. I still intend to provide a Drink of the Week each week and then reinstate twenty bucks once I have a bit more free time. Let's take it easy, shall we? Sit back, relax and enjoy something soothing.

A couple of weeks ago my friend, Lisa and I had lunch at one of my favorite places, Le Pain Quotidien. I was planning on having a glass of wine with lunch (I deserved it!), and then I saw a carafe of chamomile mint iced tea go by and the wine went out the window. Shall we take a break from alcohol this week? Let's. Actually, here's a deal for you. Drink this and let me know if you come up with some sort of alcohol-y twist on it and I will do the same. We can meet back Monday with our results.

No real recipe here. I just steeped a bag of their amazing chamomile tea with some mint leaves and a bit of sugar. After about 5 minutes I poured it over a tall glass of ice that was filled with new, fresh, pretty mint leaves. Then I took a picture of it (you don't have to do that part), and then I gulped it down.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Drink of the Week - - The Peony


Ok, I'm still deciding on a name for last week's Drink of the Week. C'mon you guys. I've had some really good suggestions, but I want to give it (and you) more time. For this week's Drink of the Week, I had the name before I had the drink. I was so inspired by this amazing bunch of peonies that I decided to concoct a drink in their honor (they are my favorite flower. well actually, that's not entirely true. they are in a tie for the title of My Favorite Flower with the ever fragrant gardenia. I wore one in my hair when we got married, although the peony was the first flower Andrew ever gave me - - great. now I'm confused.) This one probably won't get you too drunk, but there are others on the list that will. This is more like a relaxing summer day chatting with the girls while the boys sit inside screaming at the tv while watching the NBA finals type of drink (but don't get me wrong, boys can drink it, too. you may just want to give it another name like "The Widowmaker" or "Testosterone" anything but The Peony.

The Peony

1 6.3oz bottle of Stirrings Bitter Lemon
2 oz Chambord
1 1/2 oz Aperol
1 oz Maraschino Syrup
1 1/2 oz Rose's Sweetened Lime Juice

Stir ingredients, pour over ice and throw in a bunch of lemon and lime slices (cause they're pretty). Oh, and if you can, serve it in a pink glass. This recipe makes 2 if you feel like sharing.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Here, You Take It.


You should have this twenty bucks. I don't deserve it. I wonder what you'll buy with it? I can't wait to hear all about it. I will be offering up a Drink of the Week tomorrow (all is not forgotten, plus I think we could all use one). Oh, I just had an idea. You could put your money towards this. Yes, do that. Or do whatever, just let me know how it ends up.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Ta Dah!


Drink of the Week. As promised. I actually had this one ready for last week and then got busy with work, and depressed about Paris, so I just sat on it. Not literally sat on it, but you knew that, didn't you. I had made some margaritas and posted a photo on flickr and then one of my favorite flickr friends, hannah (haeshu) emailed me this amazing recipe, that had been passed on to her.

2 cups lime juice (about 10 -12) limes
4 cups pink grapefruit juice (trust me)
1 cup sugar
2 cups tequila
3/4 cup grand marnier (i use cointreau sometimes, too)

mix together until sugar is dissolved. it's good on the rocks or slightly blended.

She assured me that although grapefruit juice might sound strange, it is delicious. She was right!

So I took myself to the grocery store that afternoon. Bought myself some ruby red grapefruits (because i was convinced fresh squeezed would make it even better), came home and squeezed my little heart out.

Problem number one . . . 3 grapefruits yielded about 3 oz of juice, which left me about 3 1/3 cups short. I improvised. Fortunately I didn't have a "big group" coming over (just Andrew and my brother). So here's what I did (At least I think it is what I did - - I was still in too much of a haze from my Paris ails that I forgot to write it down- - I am now literally sitting here staring at a glass pyrex measuring cup trying to envision which line the lime juice went to)

3 oz Grapefruit juice (fresh squeezed if you are up for it)
4 oz Rose's sweetened lime juice (cause it's easier than waiting for sugar to dissolve, or making a simple syrup)
2 oz Tequila
1 oz Grand Marnier (or Cointreau)

Shake with ice, pour into a glass with a salted rim (use good salt, even if they say they don't like salt, it's a margarita for christ's sake) over ice. enjoy

One last thing. I can't come up with a name. I don't want anything "grey" or "ruby." I just want something catchy and fun. Any ideas?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

bad foodie


You guys are right. I am really sorry. I have been a bad, bad foodie. No twenty bucks, no drink of the week (although i have had several to try and drink away some sorrows). Here is the honest truth. I was extremely depressed after Paris . . . i mean it was bad. . . on the couch for days, eating everything in site, watching reruns of little house on the prairie, bad. And, I'm a bit broke - - so much so that it makes spending twenty bucks seem extravagant. I'm coming out of it. Getting inspired and playing the lottery, so I'll probably be a multi millionaire the next time you talk to me. For now I will admit defeat, tell you that it may be a couple of weeks before twenty bucks makes it's return, but promise you that this friday you will have a drink of the week. Thanks for sticking by me. Don't leave. Please, don't leave.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Business as Usual


Hello. Are you still out there? Gosh, I hope so. Sorry I have been so, so . . . well, absent. I didn't plan on it. I didn't want to be. It just happened. Things seem to be getting back to normal for me (i.e. I don't cry when I think about Paris), so I want to just return to business as usual. If you wanted to see and here more about Paris, you can do so here and here. But as far as we're concerned, it's back twenty bucks and drink of the week. I think that is best. What do you think? I sure hope you agree. Here, have some Parisian pastries. They're delicious.

Monday, May 12, 2008

No One Told Me . . .


that a post Paris funk could last this long. My apologies, again. I miss you guys.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I'm stuck


So sorry I haven't been around. Still in a bit of a post Paris funk. You understand, don't you? Here is some meat and cheese as a peace offering (although not a traditional peace offering, I know). I will do my very best to give you a drink of the week tomorrow, and promise to be back to my old self next week. I need to find somewhere to spend my twenty bucks. For now, if you want to read about non food related paris stuff, click here.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Paris . . .


was so amazing, but you probably already knew I was going to say that. I wish I could send you all a piece of cheese, a piece of chocolate and a glass of wine. I guess until I become wealthy enough to do that, you will have to just listen to me ramble on about it. I'll try to fill the week with Paris stories. If you want to see photos, keep checking here and here. Thank you for all of your suggestions. I am still in total withdrawal. Be back soon.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Half Birthdays are Important (very important)


And so I celebrate mine today. Eat a cupcake for me if you have a chance. Cupcakes are important, too.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Peace Offering: Strawberries & Nutella


I wanted to tell you that I might be a bit scarce the next couple of weeks. I'm sorry. I offer you this delicious treat of strawberries and nutella as a peace offering. We leaving for Vegas at the crack of dawn tomorrow for a shoot and an anniversary celebration (3 years on Wednesday), then we come back on Thursday only to turn around and leave on Friday. Yes, the Paris strip is finally upon us. I am taking my laptop to both Vegas and Paris, and I will do my very, very best. I want so much to share this trip with you. Hopefully I will be able to drop you a note or two (or a whole bunch) while I am there. I will still try to get you a Drink of the Week this Friday (I know you are a lush and you need excitement). I may not get to the twenty bucks post this week. We'll see. That's all for now. I should be asleep. I think I kind of am asleep. Sorry if this makes no sense. Goodnight (or Good Morning - - depending on when you are reading this).

Friday, April 18, 2008

Honey, Drink This!


Hello and welcome to my Drink of the Week. First question. Is it wrong to concoct a Drink of the Week at 8:15 Friday morning? I hope not, because that is what I just did. Last night after my shoot I took myself on a field trip over to BevMo. Drink of the Week heaven. I didn't even bother with their awesome 5 cent wine sale. I just b-lined it over to the liquor aisle (actually liquor aisles - - there's lots of them). I was talking to my friend Bobbi at the time and she mentioned a great liqueur called Aperol. She said it was quite similar to Campari, but a bit more flavorful and fragrant. I just so happened to be standing in front of the last bottle of Aperol as she was telling me this, so I grabbed it. A touch of fate in the liquor store. I read the label, "based on an infusion of orange, rhubarb, china and gentian." Which means very little to me (how is something based on an infusion of china?), but I was intrigued. Just a hop, skip and a jump (and no, i didn't hop, skip or jump in there . . . it's for storytelling purposes) down from the Apertol was the sweetest bottle of booze I have ever seen, Barenjager honey liqueur. Outfitted in it's own little woven jumpsuit, it was too irresistible to pass up. So I bought that, too, thinking it may take care of some of my "honey not dissolving in cold alcoholic beverage" problems. I also grabbed some simple syrup. My last bottle went bad. Apparently you are supposed to refrigerate after opening. If not, bad, bad things happen. And then I found the missing link, in the form of the cutest little soda bottles you have ever seen (even cuter than that damn sanbitter). Tart Cranberry Soda comes in a four pack of little glass bottles with solid red caps. It's all natural cocktail soda with cranberry essences and "champagne" bubbles. How good does that sound? I got some bitter lemon flavor as well (and they have cute solid yellow tops). I paid for my things and rushed home, but by the time I got back I was just too tired to concoct. My usual tasters were nowhere to be found, so I just went to bed instead. I woke up early this morning with my Drink of the Week juices flowing (literally and figuratively) and produced this little gem of a cocktail. . .

Honey, Drink This!

1 6.3 oz bottle of Tart Cranberry Soda

Ok. Before I go any further, I know you may not be able to get this stuff, so be creative. Use club soda or tonic water, cranberry juice and maybe a splash of Champagne (if you are sophisticated enough to have splashes of Champagne just laying around). Oh, and please, please let me know if you do get creative and in the process come up with something amazing. I'll be sure to post it.

1 oz Barenjager Honey Liqueur
2 oz Aperol
2 oz white wine ( i used some pinot grigio i had open, try whatever you like and let me know).

Combine ingredients in a glass, stir and fill with ice. Garnish with a blood orange slice (not because it's relevant, but because you can. remember, you are a foodie)
drink and enjoy.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

$13.14 - - The Review


Okay, so I got home from prepping a job yesterday with my taste buds all geared up for chocolate. I ran inside and went to grab the hi milk chocolate bar and it was nowhere to be found. I knew right away that it had met it's demise at the hands of my favorite chocoholic (Andrew). When I asked him about it, he didn't even bother denying it.

I said, "Um, honey. Did you eat all of the chocolate bar in the red wrapper?"

and he said, "Yes. Yes I did. But do you want to know why I ate it? I ate it because you left it sitting in the sun and it had turned into a big melty blob."

I thought for a second and then said, "So you didn't even eat a candy bar. You just ate a big melty blog of chocolate?"

"Yes, " he said (with an enormous amount of pride).

"So you basically did not eat it, because you can't resist chocolate? You ate it to save it from an untimely, melty chocolate death?"

"Exactly."

"I was going to do a taste test on that, honey. Great! Well can you at least tell me how it tasted?"

"Good. Milky. Chocolate-y"

I mean do you really need any more of a review than that? I don't think so. In fact his simple review of the chocolate inspired me to create my own simple review. Here it is:

All of the 3 chocolate bars: Good. Milky. Chocolate-y (the white chocolate reminded us both about our childhood. i remember feeling very sophisticated when i ate white chocolate. Oh, and I guess that one wasn't chocolate-y, but it was creamy)
Hello Kitty Soda: Looked like coconut milk, tasted like sprite.
Hello Kitty Apple Marshmallows: Better seen, not tasted.
Corn Dog: My brother was in charge of that review. "I think it was the best corn dog I ever had."
Pocky Almond Crush: Good. Milky. Chocolate-y. Nutty. Addictive!
Lollipop shaped like kids faces: Couldn't bare to eat it. Too darn cute.
Pirate's Booty: Yum. Always, Yum.

Off to a shoot. Be back tomorrow with a Drink of the week.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

$13.14


I know. I know. I have some explaining to do. I have a couple of reasons for the low number that sits above this entry. Actually, I have three.

1. I was feeling guilty for going over the last couple of weeks.
2. I had a stomach ache and didn't much feel like buying food.
3. Paris is just around the corner - - I'm hoarding.

That being said, I still managed to get some good stuff over at Famima. A very cool convenience store that stocks some interesting things (unless, of course, you don't find hello kitty soda interesting). Although I had that stomach ache I was telling you about, I still managed to pick up 3 different chocolate bars, a corn dog (that was for my brother. he had been craving corn dogs.), pirate's booty (that was all I felt like eating), hello kitty apple flavored marshmallows, some cute little chocolate lolly pops in the shape of kids faces (one melted on the way home, because it was too close to the corn dog. I knew that was going to happen. poor little guy. at least one survived. she's in the photo above), and Pocky almond crush. Now I just need to find the strength to eat it all. I'll be back tomorrow with a review. Well, a partial review, I already ate some of each of the chocolate bars. Yum, yum and yum.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lunch


Can you think of a problem that some radishes and avocado can't solve? I can't. Off to spend twenty bucks somewhere today. I'll let you know where I end up. Totally open to your suggestions.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Success!


Determined not to be beat by the semi-failure of last week's Drink of the Week, I experimented with perfecting it. Molly (and Brandon) - - THANK YOU! Brandon suggested to Molly that I don't need to juice the cucumber (which I was absolutely dreading), but instead I should just muddle the cucumbers with the other ingredients and it would work fine. Fine? It was Perfect! I got out one of my nicest pitchers (I just knew this drink was going to deserve to be in a fancy pitcher) and filled it with cucumber slices, mint leaves and a little bit of sugar (I thought maybe the grit of the sugar would help with the muddling. No idea if that is true. I often do stuff like that) and muddled away. And then muddled some more, and some more. Then I squeezed half of a lemon over the muddled mess and poured tonic over the top almost filling the pitcher. I used tonic rather than club soda, since it has sweetness and bitterness - - just like me. A splash of rose's sweetened lime juice and a big hearty stir and we were ready to go. I took a test sip (uh - yum!) and popped it in the fridge. Now I was giddy with excitement. This was good. So much better. Dumb Mr. Q Cumber soda trying to screw up my Drink of the Week. I'll show you. Lisa and Jeff arrived about an hour later (plenty of time for the drink to chill to perfection) and I quickly served up a round of elixirs. Andrew said that he didn't want one quite yet, but I poured him one anyway. I was just that confident. For it is quite possibly the drink of the summer (I know it's not summer yet, but it was 92 degrees yesterday so that must count for something). We drank the whole pitcher quite quickly and then mourned the fact that I was out of tonic and cucumbers so we would have to switch to somethin boring like beer. I'll definitely be running out to the store today for more cucumbers, and you, my friend, should do the same.

New and Improved Cucumber Lemon Elixir

1 medium cucumber (not the fancy kind, the old school kind)- peeled and sliced
1 lemon
1 big handful of mint leaves
1/4 cup sugar (any kind will do, just don't use powdered sugar, silly)
1 liter tonic water
gin or vodka (tried 'em both and they both taste great)
rose's sweetened lime juice

In a large pitcher muddle the cucumber slices (make sure not to slice them too, too thin), mint leaves and sugar. Then add the juice of half a lemon (slice the other half for garnishes). Top off with tonic water and a splaaaaaaaaash (that's a bigger than normal splash) of rose's lime juice. Stir and chill.

To serve: Add one ounce of vodka or gin to an ice filled glass. Fill glasses with the cucumber mint mixture. Stir. Garnish with mint and lemon. Drink. Enjoy. And don't forget to eat the cucumber pieces - - they are delicious.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Cucumber Lemon Elixir


Oh my God, I know. What a boring name. At least it will help you remember the ingredients. Also, this drink comes with a proviso. You can only drink it if you promise not to hate me when you discover it is not the most awesome Drink of the Week you have had. Ok? Because it could be better. Aaaaaaaand, I'm gonna fix it. I'm gonna make it better, but you might not like how I do that. I'll explain. After the soda tasting I decided I had to use Mr. Q Cumber soda for a Drink of the Week, which was a brilliant idea (sort of). Mr. Q Cucumber soda has one fatal flaw: it's just too sweet. So the drink, although good, is not great or awesome or any other adjective that implies above average. The entire time I was making it I felt a little unsure, but I knew I had to see it through, and hey, maybe you like sweet. Maybe it will be just perfect for you. I don't know. My usual taste tester (my brother, Jason) informed me (after I slaved over this drink) that he does not like cucumbers. I think he gets it from our Dad, who also doesn't like cucumbers, except he would never admit that. He would always say that he was allergic to cucumbers and I remember thinking there must be something seriously wrong with him because cucumbers are a very funny thing to be allergic to. I once had a boyfriend in college that gave me some horrible smelling perfume for my birthday. Old lady perfume, I mean, come on. I told him that it gave me an allergic reaction and I would not be able to wear it, but assured him that I am heartbroken over it, since I loved it so much. So I guess we all have our "allergies." Fortunately for me, my other taster (Andrew) has no cucumber allergies and was able to sample the drink. "Mmmmmmmm. Honey, this is good. Buuuuuuuuuut. I think it is a bit too sweet for my taste." This comes from a man that can eat all of the candy in his Easter basket (yes, he still gets an Easter basket) in one sitting. So, I knew at that point it was definitely too sweet. Well my plan is to (this is the part that you aren't going to like, because it will make this drink a total pain in the ass) juice some cucumbers, add club soda, a bit of simple syrup and all of the rest of the ingredients. This way I can control the sweetness. I can't imagine you will want to do this, too, but I feel like I have to. I will let you know how it goes. For now, try to enjoy this, and if this isn't your thing or you are allergic to cucumbers (wink, wink), try this or this.

Cucumber Lemon Elixir

6 oz Mr. Q Cumber Soda
1 oz Vodka
1/2 Tbl Robert Lambert Meyer Lemon Syrup (who am I kidding?)
Juice of one Lemon
6 - 10 mint leaves
Cucumber slices for garnish

In the bottom of a sturdy glass, muddle the mint leaves. Add soda, vodka, syrup, lemon juice and stir. Pour over ice. Garnish with cucumber and try to enjoy.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Official 2008 Spring Soda Tasting: Part Two


Okay, so before I go any further I have to tell you that Andrew decided to partake in the soda tasting. When I woke up the morning after the tasting I found the sodas arranged quite methodically on dining room table (photo above). Since he didn't have an Official 2008 Spring Soda Tasting ballot he created his own ranking system. The sodas in the front row were his favorites, the second row he liked but didn't love and the back row he either hated or refused to even try (He hates root beer for example, so rat bastard was out of the question. I actually thought the name might draw him in.). He also mentioned that he loved the cucumber soda, the mint julep reminded him of his childhood (although he had never had a mint julep or mint soda before . . . hmmmm?)and the rose petal soda, although pink (not very manly) was good, too.

Now back to the results . . .

Faygo Vanilla Cream Soda: I thought it smelled like bazooka bubble gum and Lisa agreed. We both thought it tasted good, had a bit of a bite, but frankly, I really like IBC Cream Soda better.

Blenheim Ginger Ale: It lived up to it's name. I just wanted to say that. I don't know what it's name means, but when you read it, don't you think it's gonna pack a punch? It did. It made Lisa cough and sneeze and she said it tasted like "black pepper ginger ale." It made me crave a corned beef sandwich on rye and a kosher pickle.

Sweet Blossom Rose Petal Soda: It's pink! What's not to like? It was actually delicious. It smells like tuberose perfume, which my aunt used to wear, so it made me think of my aunt. That's the first time a soda has made me think of a relative. Strange. It was yummy, subtle. I was kind of scared to taste it after I smelled it because the scent was so strong. I thought it was going to taste the way perfume does if you accidentally get it in your mouth (or even if you get it in your mouth on purpose, although I don't know why you would want to do that). Perfect for a bridal shower with those little cucumber tea sandwiches. Yum.

San Pellegrino Chinotto: "YUCK!" (Jen) "Disgusting!" (Lisa)

San Bitter: Just the cutest little bottle of soda you have ever seen. Better seen not tasted. I just read Lisa's tasting notes and they say, "sickening bitch!" Need I say more?

and finally

Dry Lavender Soda: As good as I remember it. So subtle, not very sweet. Like a little aromatherapy treatment in a soda. We both wanted to get massages after drinking it, because it put us in a "spa" mood.

So that's it. That's the tasting. Oh yeah, we revisited our favorites in order to award first, second and third prize. Mr. Q Cumber soda was a shoe in for third place, but it was a heated battle between Rose Petal and Lavender for the title. Rose petal won, but I think that was because it was pink.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Official 2008 Spring Soda Tasting


That is what I named our little soda tasting. I even made official tasting sheets with room for comments. It was going to be a couples tasting (Andrew and I and Jeff and Lisa), but the boys had to bail for personal reasons. That's fine. Lisa and I were happy to do it on our own. I set up the dining table with all of the sodas, some napkins, little tasting glasses, our tasting sheets and pens, and my favorite bottle opener from Vegas (I bought it the first time Andrew and I went to Vegas - - we fell in love). I felt very organized, but then realized when Lisa arrived that I was missing something. Something very important! FOOD. Yikes. We had nothing. At least nothing that wouldn't disturb our palates. No crackers, no flatbread, not even tortilla chips . . . and then it came to me . . . STRING CHEESE. Ah string cheese. So mild, so soothing, so perfect for our tasting. So we were ready and both a bit nervous. We had a lot of soda ahead of us.

We kind of treated it a bit like a wine tasting. We like to do that with things, since we went on a really fun wine tasting adventure last year and now we are experts (insert sarcasm). So we sniffed and sniffed (no swirling) and then drank, thought about it, and drank again. It quickly occurred to me that we would need a soda receptacle for what was left in the glass (just like at a real tasting), so I grabbed a mixing bowl and put it on the table - - then told Lisa at the end of the night we each have to drink from it. She didn't like the idea, but I thought it would be fun. Kind of reminded me of a drink called Suicide that we used to make as kids where you would take everything out of the fridge (soda, milk, juice, pickle juice . . .) and fill a glass and then drink it (to prove how cool you were). I was always happy to do it (I love proving I am cool), and last night proved no different. It actually wasn't half bad. But I digress. Here's our tasting notes:

Izze Blueberry Soda: We both thought it smelled like blueberry. As it turns out, most of the sodas had a very strong bouquet (lisa remembered that term from wine tasting; made me think of a bunch of flowers). She thought it tasted like grape juice and I said, "No, No it's cranberry." I am always so confident, and I am often wrong. Just as I was in this case. Grape was the first flavor on the list of ingredients. A curious thing for blueberry soda. All in all. Not bad soda. If you like grapes.

Mint Julep: Hmmmm. Smells like gum. Lisa said it tasted like "gum juice." Need I say more?

Mr. Q Cucumber Soda: Yum. Although we both agreed it was too sweet. It still tasted great. Very refreshing and serious mixer potential for Drink of the Week. We also decided it would be fun to make our own cucumber soda using the juicer. I'll let you know how that goes.

Rat Bastard Root Beer: It says on the label that it tastes like "a son of a bitch." I wasn't impressed. It had no bite. Wouldn't you think that Rat Bastard soda would have bite. Wouldn't a son of a bitch have bite? Still good root beer, but definitely not the best. Probably not even in the top 5. I might go back to Galco's and buy up all of their different root beers and get to the bottom of this once and for all. If there are any you want to put on the tasting list, please let me know.

Jeff's Chocolate Soda: Ok, Lisa absolutely hated this one. Direct quote, "didn't agree with my palate, tastes like battery acid with a hint of stomach bile." I actually kind of liked it, but I think that was because it reminded me of the egg creams my dad used to make me with seltzer (out of the cool old seltzer bottles), milk and Fox's Ubet Chocolate syrup. The best! So I wouldn't recommend this, but I would recommend getting the ingredients for a real egg cream and making one (although egg cream really is a horrible name for anything, I assure you, the drink is great).

Yikes, It's 6:30am. This is taking me longer than I thought. I don't want to leave out any details. I have to get ready to leave for work. I guess this is going to be a two-parter. I'll try and post the rest tonight when I get home, including our top 3 sodas. Plus, I'll tell you which soda evoked this quote, "YUCK! It just assaulted my tongue!"

Have a great day.
Jen

PS. I don't even have time to proof read, so I apologize in advance for any errors.

Monday, April 7, 2008

$21.73


Look. I only went over budget by $1.73 (plus I bought a Charleston Chew for 85 cents, so I really only went over by 88 cents - - I was having a bad day. I needed chocolate) Soooooo, Galco's. Such an amazing place. I could have spent my twenty bucks several times over and still wouldn't have bought everything I wanted. I didn't even think of venturing into their huge beer section (which is not a section filled with enormous beers, but a section with a huge assortment of normal sized beers); figured I'd save that for another time. This time I just diligently stuck to the plan. Get in, get soda, get out. And that is exactly what I did. I made sure to buy only sodas that I have never tried before. Ok, Ok I cheated. But only once. I bought this amazing lavender soda. It is just beautiful, and I wanted to make sure I told you about so I bought it. So really I did cheat, but I did it for you. Trust me on that (that is if you can trust a cheat). So here's the list. I'll be back Wednesday with a review. I will be holding a formal tasting on Tuesday night. Should be interesting.

Izze Sparkling Blueberry Soda
Plantation Style Mint Julep
Mr. Q Cucumber Soda
Rat Bastard Root Beer
Jeff's Chocolate Soda
Faygo Vanilla Cream Soda
Blenheim Ginger Ale
Sweet Blossom Rose Petal Soda
San Pellegrino Chinotto
Sanbitter
Dry Lavender Soda (yum).

No food today.


Hi. I just wanted to tell you that there would be no food talk today. I give you flowers instead. I wanted to describe to you the delicious pesto I made last night ( I love pesto, don't you?), but I can't. I can't bear to think about food today.
At about 3:30 am Andrew woke up not feeling well and at about 3:31 am I was frantically trying to find something for him to puke into. He had to settle for the bathroom sink, which I offered to clean when he was through as part of that old "in sickness and in health" promise I made. Photos of partially digested pasta. . . not fun to look at. Actually, hearing about it probably isn't that fun to read. Sorry. Should I delete that? No, you can handle it. Be back tomorrow. For now, I just sit and wait to see if I, too will be struck down. I don't want to be struck down, but it would be great to lose a couple of pounds before Paris.

Friday, April 4, 2008

XXX


Don't let the name fool you. There is nothing salacious about this drink. Plus, it is actually half good for you.

So I was desperately trying to come up with a Drink of the Week last night. Yes, I procrastinated until the last minute, AGAIN. I quickly realized that I needed to go out into the world and get some new ingredients, because one more gin based drink with cointreau or campari will probably make you hate me forever. That said, bear with me (at first i thought it was bare with me, then i looked it up and that would mean get naked, which kind of works with the triple x theme), I have one more drink to offer you with the same old, same old. For the record, I did try to make a drink called "The Dirty White Girl" (how amazing is that name?), but the results were unappetizing to say the least. Apparently if you mix cream soda and bailey's it coagulates like spoiled milk. Oh, and I did try to make a drink using Pernod. I had a bottle someone gave me from a cookbook shoot. I took one sip and then immediately spit it out into the sink - - "Black licorice, eech, yuck, gross, gross, GROSS! I need something to get the taste out of my mouth", I screamed in Andrew's direction, "Help, help, yuck, Oh my god." He was kind enough to give me a spoonful of tomato sauce he was making for some lasagna. It totally neutralized the awful taste in my mouth, so if that ever happens to you, go for the jar of tomato sauce.

Back to the drink. I really wanted to make a drink that Andrew would like. He has been a bit left out the last couple of weeks, since he doesn't like champagne or juice, and then it hit me - - XXX Vitamin water. Yes! Let me warn you, this is not a sophisticated drink. This is not a drink you try to impress people with, or even drink with grown ups. This is a "down and dirty, get drunk, cause you can't stop drinking it, because you can't taste the alcohol and it feels like you are in college again." kind of drink. So the next time you need something like that, here it is.

XXX
6 oz XXX Vitamin Water
1 oz Vodka
1 oz Chambord
1 oz Cointreau
A splash of Rose's sweetened lime juice.

Shake with ice, pour into a plastic cup filled with ice(cause a glass just seems too sophisticated - -i only used one for photographic purposes), drink, enjoy, repeat.

PS. How gorgeous is my new cocktail shaker? I bought it at this fine establishment.

PSS. Andrew liked it!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

$24.03 - - The Review


So as you saw yesterday, I made a really pretty little tasting plate for Andrew and I. Unfortunately, Andrew couldn't join me. I think it is because he saw the olives on the plate (file olives under "Food Andrew Hates."), but he said he was just really busy with work. Fine, so I guess I'll just have to drink both glasses of wine, and eat all of the olives. So I brought everything into the dining room and put the plate on the floor by the window to take a polaroid. After I took the polaroid, I sat down in front of the plate to wait for it to develop. I was planning on waiting to make sure that the photo came out ok, but then I started smelling all of the food and just dove right in. So there I sat on the floor, facing the wall, like a scolded little child, hovering over this plate of food worth $24.03. I'm sure it was a strange site.

The first thing that I realized about tasting stuff is that I seem to be much more critical about the food when I am serving it to myself. Make sense? Probably not. I'll explain. My first bite was a piece of cheese. I smelled it (hmmmmm? not wonderful) and then put a little piece on my tongue, and just let it sit there. I have absolutely no idea why I did that. But that is what I did. It didn't taste great, it was okay, nothing more, nothing less. It was creamy, yes, but a bit too tangy for my taste (kind of the "old shoe" cheese syndrome -- i just made that up ... that's not a real syndrome, but you know what I mean). I thought to myself, "I wouldn't buy that again. Would I? No, nope." Then it occurred to me; If I was at someone else's house, having a tasting or even at a fancy restaurant and this was part of a cheese plate, I may not diagnose it with "old shoe" syndrome. In fact, I would probably say something like, "Ooooooh. Uh huh. Now this is interesting." And I would proceed to eat several pieces of it, liking it more and more with each bite. So I guess I mean that it is somehow more difficult to be objective about the taste of food when you are serving it to yourself. Merely just something for you to think about if you decide to do something like this at home.

Now the olives were good. I especially liked the giant green cerignola olives. They were like eating a tiny piece of fruit. Really meaty and salty, but in a good way, because meaty and salty- - - not always good. The funny thing about olives is that they are a food I hated for as far back as I can remember. Maybe it's because I thought there were only two types; the green ones in the jar with the little red dot and the black ones that come in a can and were served on pizza (which i would pick off, removing half of the cheese in the process). In recent years, my eyes have been opened to a variety of olives, all of which have pits and none of which are served in cans. And now, I am happy to add picholine and cerignola to the list.

Oh. I guess I kind of skipped the crackers. Well, they're not just crackers, are they? They are crisps - - a highly evolved form of the cracker that always comes with a higher price tag. I would buy these again and again. So delicious. So flavorful, and damn if they didn't make the old shoe cheese taste good.

The wine. The mystery wine (sorry about that). I am new to wine tasting. I have been wine drinking for quite some time, and never realized that I was supposed to taste it, too. I still find the whole process quite intimidating. All of those "wine words", it's like an elite club I cannot join. I'm not actually sure that I want to join, because honestly, those "wine people" really bug the crap out of me. Nonetheless, the system does have it's value, and it is fun to appreciate what you drink. That being said, I can tell you that the wine was a really easy drink. Kind of like Bud Light or something (not sure that I am complimenting the wine). A bit watery, very light in flavor, but I still managed to finish both glasses in a record amount of time. Next time I am at whole foods, I'll make note of the wine, so that you can try it, too.

And now, the grand finale. The chocolate. The sweet, sweet little salty butter caramel filled butterflies. Oh, how I have patiently waited to eat you. And now. The time has come. And within seconds I will know how wonderful you are... Uh oh. I was wrong. The little butterfly was not what I thought. It was not delicious and the caramel that I thought would be buttery and salty and creamy (I kind of envisioned myself taking a bite and the caramel would fall out of my mouth onto my chin and I would carefully wipe it off with my finger and then put my finger in my mouth and ingest every last molecule of it). Well this was not the case. It was GELATINOUS. And it somehow reminded me of chocolate covered cherries. I hate chocolate covered cherries. Now don't get me wrong. I ate the whole thing and gave Andrew his (which he devoured in one bite, as I screamed "Wait, wait. No. Oh honey, you're supposed to taste it, not just inhale it). I just wouldn't recommend it. But I won't leave you empty handed. If you want amazing caramel chocolate truffles go here.

Now, I'm off to work on a new Drink of the Week, and laundry. Lots and lots of laundry.

PS. The photo is of my new tasting notebook and today's breakfast (melty ham, swiss and tomato on sourdough).

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

$24.03


Ok, well as I am sure that you figured out from the title, I went a bit over budget. You were totally right. Twenty bucks at Whole Foods. What was I thinking? So let me start by saying, "Wow. That was tougher than I thought." I probably spent an hour in there sipping on my juice, aimlessly wandering the aisles; searching for inspiration. At first I thought that I should get a bunch of healthy, organic stuff. And then I thought "Healthy and organic stuff just doesn't look that pretty," and I wanted to give you a pretty picture. Then I started craving cheese, and the decision was made. Because once I start craving cheese, I then start craving crackers, and then wine, and then chocolate. So I head on over to the cheese section. Cheese is expensive, and overwhelming. I thought rather than let it slow me down, I would just reach in and try and find a piece under five dollars. I came up with a small sliver of Haystack Mountain Dairy Sunlight (what a nice name). Described as "A washed-rind semi-hard raw-milk cheese that’s aged at our farm for 60 days. It has a mildly piquant, somewhat sweet flavor." I'll let you know my thoughts on that in tomorrow's post. I'm not there yet. Oh yeah, I also tasted some amazing parmesan reggiano, and noticed they were selling a bunch of the rinds. Apparently it is great for stews. Who new? Well, you probably did; I didn't. Now some crackers - - I need something exciting. Something flavorful. Something cheap. Well, two out of three ain't bad. $7.99 for a 6oz box or crackers. Yikes. I bit the bullet, because they looked amazing (and they were). Lesley Stowe's Raincoast Crisps in rosemary raisin pecan. Fortunately for me the crisps were within arms reach of the olive bar. Every kind of olive you can imagine, and only $10.49 a pound. Ha! I bought 4. That was all I could afford. Two picholines and two large green cerignola olives. But these were not just any four olives. These were the most beautiful of the bunch. Trust me, I checked. Now my biggest challenge thus far. Cheap wine at Whole Foods. I knew I wanted red wine and I found only one that fit the bill (on sale for $6.99). Here's the problem. I can't remember what kind of wine it was or even what the exact name was. Andrew and I took the wine to Houston's last night and left the bottle there. Oooops. The receipt says "Carignan Old Vine" (it also says "Cashier Confirmed - - Age Over 21" in big bold letters. She didn't even ask for i.d. I guess at 36 I should expect that. Still, it's disheartening. Back to the wine.) I think it was French. There were a lot of words on the bottle that were strange to me. It was a 2006 and was described as "delicate and harmonious . . .a rich, promising wine with a divine finish." And finally, off to the chocolate section I go. Run, don't walk. Chocolate . . .Yum! Chocolate . . .Expensive! I splurged on two of the cutest little chocolate butterfly truffles you have ever seen (I had to get two, because I knew Andrew would get jealous if I only had one. He knows that I don't share chocolate.). And that was all. I headed downstairs (yes, it's a two story Whole Foods)and tentatively walked to the checkout. I was nervous about going over budget. I wanted so much to impress you with my frugality (is that a word?). $4.03 over budget. Not bad. I'll try harder next week. I promise.

Check back tomorrow for a review of the purchases.

Next week I head to Galco's soda pop shop.

Oh, I almost forgot. The butterflies were salty butter caramel milk chocolate.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Carrot, Spinach, Parsley, Cucumber, Ginger


So I went to whole foods today (yes, i am a bit of a procrastinator. i said i was going to go last week. i know, i know.) in search of $20 worth of good stuff. I will tell you all about it tomorrow. But while I was there, I decided to indulge in a fresh squeezed juice. This is what I came up with, thought I cannot take all of the credit. I let the nice guy behind the counter pick the last ingredient. It was really good, and I noticed that he only put in a teeny tiny piece of ginger. Ahhhhhh. Ok. Be back tomorrow.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Oops! Drink of the Week. . . JUICE


I didn't forget about Drink of the Week. I swear! Thursday night rolled around and I just couldn't find any inspiration. I wanted to make some sort of sangria, because the weather has been so beautiful - - just begging for fruit floating in wine. I didn't have any ingredients, and I just felt a bit overwhelmed. Then I thought, "I might be turning these folks into alcoholics. Does the Drink of the Week always have to be a booze fest?" I then answered myself (out loud, of course), "YES!" Well, no booze fest for you this week. Let's take the week to cleanse ourselves while I pay homage to all of you with a fresh squeezed juice. Yes, that's right. I said it. JUICE. All of your comments inspired me to break out the juicer (yes, the one I just had to have, used once, and shoved in the cupboard)! So I woke up Friday morning and I juiced. My friend Jamie was here so she juiced. Andrew - - not so much. Actually, I didn't even ask him, because I thought it might put him off of all juicy liquid substances for the rest of his life. Now let me say that I was scared. Really, really scared. I did not think this was going to taste good and the memory of my first juice laden with beets and ginger - - Gag! But, I persevered. I did it for you. I had to. I'm such a martyr. This is what I used. I think it needs a bit of tweaking. Believe it or not, it was actually too sweet. I will definitely keep you posted, and I promise that next week you will have booze!

2 small apples
2 carrots
3 handfuls of spinach
4 celery sticks
5 kale leaves

ps. the froth is the best part.
pss. our computer was out of commission yesterday, so that is why i am posting today.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thank You


I just wanted to thank you so very much for all of your comments and emails. They have been amazing and I am truly overwhelmed by all of it. Especially all of the Paris info. I think we will have to extend our trip just to see everything you mentioned.
Thank you also for assuring me that it is ok to eat tacos and Velveeta.
Thank you for telling me my drinks sound delicious - - you should try them, really!
Thank you for adding me to your link lists on your own blogs -- Gosh, I really need to update mine. Yikes.
Thank you for liking my photography. That especially means a lot. To answer a question -- I shoot with a polaroid 680 slr -- that's why it looks so good--I think I have very little to do with it. If you want to see more, go here or here.
Thank you for all of the book recommendations, and blog recommendations, and juice recommendations. My to do list is getting huge!
I'm so sorry if I have not replied to your comments on the blog. I got a bit behind with it and now I am scared to even look. If you have a question, please feel free to email me. I am finding the emails a bit easier to manage. I'm so glad you liked the $20 idea. I'm really excited about it. I will unveil my first purchases on Tuesday, and then hopefully every Tuesday after that.
By the way, the shot above is the place in our house that I usually sit to blog. Thought I'd share it. Have a lovely day. Until tomorrow - - Drink of the Week. Oh, the pressure!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Twenty Dollars


So I decided to create a fun little blogging exercise for myself, and hopefully one that you will enjoy as well. I'm giving myself $20 a week to go to the store and buy foodstuffs that look interesting, gross, exciting. When I told Andrew the idea, he said that I should be careful not to sound too much like Rachel Ray. I think I quickly lashed out at him, "I am nothing like Rachel Ray. This is nothing like Rachel Ray." He was thinking about her $50 a day thing. I said, "The only thing this has in common with that is money and food. I don't think she invented money and food." I am so rude. How does he not spit right in my face? Rachel Ray-ish or not, I'm doing it. I think I might head over to Whole Foods this afternoon and get started. Unfortunately, 20 bucks doesn't get you that far at Whole Foods.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Where have I been?


I could swear that I posted something since last Thursday, but I am known for being absolutely sure and absolutely wrong simultaneously. So I give you these lovely Korean candies as a peace offering. I was lucky enough to see my good friend (and amazing photographer) Julie this morning. She gave these to me as a gift (which I guess makes me somewhat of a re-gifter . . . how rude)and I squealed with delight. They are delicious, but more than that, they are so darn cute. The perfect color and size, dusted with the right amount of sugar. Just lovely. I hope they can make your day, as they did mine.

PS. Check back tomorrow. I've got a new weekly posting idea I want to share with you.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Manhattan Transfer


So I realized at about 7pm that I needed to create a drink of the week. Remember? I promised I would give them to you on Fridays now, so you could enjoy them all weekend long. Well, It was a beautiful day here in Southern California. The kind of day that makes you want to sip on white wine, sit in the sun and forget about the fact that taxes are due in less than a month. Unfortunately, I was only able to think about taxes - - the white wine and sunshine never came to fruition. Yet, I was also able to create a phenomenal drink of the week. My inspiration...the enormous orange tree in our backyard that is so fruitful one would think i put fertility drugs in the soil. I didn't. In case you were wondering.
Let me start by saying that I am not super fond of screwdrivers (the drink, not the tool. I actually find the tool quite useful). Screwdrivers were our drink of choice senior year in high school, and as you can imagine, we often drank too many, and we often got sick, and it often smelled. My disdain aside, I decided that the screwdriver would be my basis for this drink. I screamed out the back door for Andrew to pick me a few ripe oranges off the tree. He came back with oranges that did not look ripe to me, but as it turns out they were ripe and they were phenomenal. So I squeezed them all in to a glass pitcher and then grabbed a grapefruit and a couple of blood oranges I had laying around and squeezed them, too. Oh, and yes, I just happened to have blood oranges laying around, that's what foodies do. Now, this is where it gets a bit tricky - - for you, not for me - - because,I just started pulling a bunch of stuff out of the fridge, the pantry and the liquor cabinet. I realized I don't actually come up with drinks that people can just make that day. Noooooooo, that would be too easy. Instead I grab as many hard to find (lets call them aspirational) ingredients as possible, pour them in a glass and then say, "Hey! Hey, you! Look at me. Look what I just made. Jealous?" I'm probably going to continue to do it, but I at least wanted you to know that I was aware of it. Back to the drink. Into a glass of ice I poured the juice mixture to just over the half way point. The glass should always be at least half full, right? Then I added a shot of Grey Goose L'Orange Vodka, and then I started with the splashes.
A splash of:
Rose's Sweetened Lime Juice
Rose's Grenadine
Campari
Robert Lambert Blood Orange Syrup (I know, I know)
Cointreau
Mixed it all together, and without even taking a sip, ( I already knew it was going to be amazing)handed it off to my brother. His expression after his first sip assured me of that. Then it was off to the master drink tester. I wasn't super confident, since Andrew isn't much into juice (unless you count vitamin water as juice). He reluctantly took a sip after inspecting the contents of the glass and sniffing it. I think he said something like, "Not bad. I could see how someone would really like this if they liked juice." Then he apologized for not liking juice and handed the drink back to me. I loved it. But wait, I still had to come up with a name. I proceeded to make dinner, eat dinner, wash dishes, all the while trying to think of a name and nothing. Then I walked myself into the bathroom, sat down to pee and two words popped into my head. "Manhattan Transfer." It was like magic. I have no idea why, or how, but they just did, so I decided to go with it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pasta and Pine Nuts and Butter, Oh My!


I have a horrible stomach ache, but that is not going to stop me from sharing something delicious with you. First I must admit why I have a stomach ache. It's because of you. You told me it was ok to eat tacos, and pizza, and velveeta. What were you thinking? Are you trying to kill me or something? Because since then, since you told me it was ok, I have been eating the junkiest of junk. And now I must pay, with yet another stomach ache.
Was it worth it?
No, not at all.
Do I plan to go on some sort of juice fast or master cleanse starting tomorrow?
Yes!
Will I go on some sort of juice fast or master cleanse starting tomorrow?
No.

Whew. I feel much better now, and while I was complaining to you about this mess you have gotten me into, Andrew was lovely enough to bring me a cup of my very favorite camomile tea. And this is not just any chamomile tea. This is Fleurs de Camomille from Le Pain Quotidien. It's amazing. Grown in Croatia, Bottled in Belgium and a hefty 10 bucks for 16 infusettes (or teabags for us commoners). But I digress.

Spaghetti with pine nuts and browned butter. Ah-may-zing! A major crowd pleaser. It's the kind of meal that everyone likes. Comfort food with a little flair. "Oh this, it's nothing. I just threw it together. I know, I know. Isn't it just grand?" That's how I feel when I serve it, and you will, too. But before you do, here are a few tips.

You have to serve this with oven roasted tomatoes. They have to be on the vine, and it would be great if you could roast them in a white baking dish. They will look amazing when you bring them out to the table all bubbly and hissing. Be sure to coat them a bit with olive oil and sprinkle the tops with good salt before popping them in the oven. Then your guests can fork a couple of those suckers off the vine, onto their plate and then use that same fork to disembowel them onto the pasta. Yum. And yes, I said, "disembowel."

Also, you should serve up some crispy prosciutto to crumble over the top. Another easy crowd pleaser. Just heat a skillet and cook like bacon.

And some chopped parsley in a simple bowl, and some maldon salt, and some fresh ground pepper, and some freshly grated parmesan cheese (I use a vegetable peeler to get really nice pieces). And then your set. Oh, except it would be nice if you had some good wine, crusty bread and a simple arugula salad, too.

Let me know how it goes.

Here is a simple recipe for pine nut brown butter courtesy of Donna Hay's book "Off the Shelf". Just toss with spaghetti (al dente, of course).

Melt 2 3/4 oz butter in a frying pan then add 1/2 cup of pine nuts and simmer until the pine nuts are golden.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

An Oldie But a Goodie: Juice it Up


This was one of my first posts. People really seemed to like it. I was thinking today about how I have been kind of a bad blogger. I've been spending more time coddling my polaroid blog, and in the process have left you with nothing but a drink of the week and complaints of the flu. I promise to be better. Imagine how great it will be after Paris. Oh the stories I will tell. I'll be discovering all of the French foods I love and Andrew will be adding to his list of foods he hates. But wait, that is still over a month away. I better get cracking. For now, enjoy this gem . . . and I am still waiting for an amazing juice recipe. I would do anything to dust the cobwebs of the juicer that I just had to have, used once, and packed away. Help!

Friday, January 11, 2008
juice it up

one of my many christmas presents to myself was a juicer. proof positive that i was becoming a foodie even before i started this blog. don't people that juice seem superior? they do, don't they? i just wanted to be one of them. i bought this amazing cookbook last year that was recommended to me by a real foodie, a gourmet even, named val. the book is called "the food i love" and it is by an australian chef named neil perry. this book is gorgeous. the photography is amazing, the recipes range from simple to exotic (that is if you consider squid ink paella exotic) and it all starts with a page on juicing. no actual recipes (if you stick with this story, you will find that was a problem), just this, "my wife sam and i usually start the day with a fresh juice." they already sound superior, don't they? i can just imagine them in their amazing kitchen with all of their good kitchen stuff like $900 espresso machines, sub zero fridge packed with fresh organic produce, and a counter top with a hole cut out of it so you can swipe in your cut vegetables sending them down a chute and into a compost bin so you can pack your fridge with more fresh organic produce from your own amazing garden that you have in your gorgeous backyard. i digress. mr. perry continues, " it makes you feel healthy on the inside, for the very simple reason that it is so good for you. . . we vary the fruit and vegetables to reflect the season," plus they probably have to see what is growing in their compost rich soil filled sustainable garden i'm sure, "and that always keeps us looking for the next combination." i wish my husband and i did stuff like "look for the next combination" of fruits and vegetables for our morning juice. we don't. he is not a fan of juice, especially not pulpy juice. actually he has a long list of food aversions, but i'll save that for another time. so, you can kind of see the allure, can't you? the new year was coming. i wanted to be healthy, thin, happy, glamorous . . . juicing was definitely the answer.

carrot, beetroot (aka beets), apple, orange and ginger. that was the first of their favorite blends. I don’t have a vegetable garden, so i myself over to whole foods and threw down about 15 bucks for the ingredients minus the oranges, because we do, at least, have the most fruitful orange tree known to man right in our back yard (ha!!). I come home, carefully prep all of the ingredients and then unpack the juicer. this thing looks scary, and as it should. i mean it is going to take a carrot and pulverize it, and turn it into juice for superior people. i kind of felt like i should have some supervision, someone to call 911 when my hair gets caught in the juicer and half of my face is torn off, but no one was home, so i just went for it. i turned the motor on and was both frightened and impressed by its power. now here's the problem. how much of each ingredient do i put in? why can't their “favorite combinations” include quantities? i'll just work it out. i cut an enormous carrot in half and popped it down the feeding tube thing . . . Wow! I swear this thing is not a juicer, but instead some sort of molecular reassembler, cause it went from carrot to juice much quicker than one would think. working my way through the color wheel, i opted next for the orange, but when i read that i had to peel the thing first i omitted it. It would take too long; I didn’t have that kind of time. I wanted fresh juice and I wanted it now. i promptly moved to the beets, three of them, and isn’t the color of beet juice so beautiful? it would make the most amazing lipstick color. then a couple of apples, and then, what i think may have been my fatal flaw, a 3-inch piece of ginger. So there it was, my very first pitcher full of superior people juice. it did look healthy and beautiful and delicious, but you know when you go and get a facial and they hit you with steam, and exfoliate you and squeeze out the badness and then slather you in sweet smelling moisturizer and you feel so good, and you know, you just know that your skin must be glowing, you must look young, and all dewy and then you get that first glance in the mirror and instead your face looks like it has been run over by a truck carrying thousands of angry bees that escaped and then stung you after the truck ran you over . . . that's what this juice tasted like. just like that. So much build up, and then utter disgust. Disgusting, really, really disgusting. I tried to talk myself through it. Come on, jen, you spent a lot of money on this juicer. This is so healthy, so beautiful; this is what superior people drink in the morning. DRINK IT! So I did. I drank it. A little itty-bitty bit of it, then I put the rest of it in the fridge assuring myself that it would taste better once it was really cold.

4 days later I poured the juice down the drain. So if anyone has any good juicing recipes, I’m all ears.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

At The Parker


Before I go any further, I want to thank you so much for all of the wonderful comments and emails full of amazing information about Paris. I owe you . . . big time. Now if someone could just teach me to speak French, I'd be set!

Although this looks like a drink of the week, it isn't. It just some sort of yummy, "pina colada-y, banana, with rum and fun garnishes" drink. Aside from the heavenly (and I mean heavenly) blueberry pancakes with devonshire cream, this was the most amazing thing I digested this weekend. Part of a lovely Palm Springs getaway at The Parker. Oh, The Parker. So cool, so hip, so chic, so expensive. They can have all my money. Actually, I think they already do. The pancakes are $18, but I assure you, it is money well spent. If you're interested, click here to see some other photos I took while enjoying heaven on earth.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Kir Royal


In honor of my upcoming trip. We celebrated the booking of our tickets with something similar. Champagne and a splash of Chambord. The actual recipe calls for Champagne and a splash of Creme de Cassis. Delicious.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Paris


1. Untitled, 2. cafe

I'm very excited to tell you that we booked a trip to Paris. Can't wait to become a foodie there. I would love to hear about your Paris experiences. Any great places we should go? I found some photos on flickr to inspire me. Can't wait to show you mine. We will be there April 27 through May 3.

Monday, March 10, 2008

I used to use these


You guessed it. Still sick. Still without a good story. Still holding an empty fork. Sorry.

Empty Glasses


"Why are these glasses empty?" you ask. Because I have no Drink of the Week to fill them with. I had a relapse. I'm sick again. Mother Nature is officially rude. I was going to throw something together last night, and then I thought "No, I can't do that to them. I can't just throw something together and pass it off as Drink of the Week." Then I thought, "Why is Drink of the Week on Monday? That's a silly day to offer an alcoholic beverage." I was right. That is a silly day. I am now officially moving ( I can do official stuff, since this is my blog) Drink of the Week to Fridays. The day you and I will most need it. Be back soon. Hopefully I'll be healthy then. Cold remedies welcome.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I am disgraceful


I am a disgrace to foodies around the world. Recently, I have done nothing to further myself into foodiedum. I have not cooked, I have not sipped wine, I have not thumbed through the pages of gourmet. I have eaten hot dogs, potato chips, chocolate covered pretzels. I have ordered pizza. Just cheese. Not even any interesting toppings. I am ashamed. And, I once again must ask for your forgiveness. It's becoming a habit, I know. I will do my best to get back on track. I can't promise anything in the near future as I am working the next week straight, but after that, you can hold me to my promise. For now, let's just look at this photo and remember the good old days.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Simply Breakfast


My friend Jen of Simply Breakfast invited me to contribute to her blog's first birthday. She is such an inspiration to be and I was so excited to be a part of it. This is the photo I sent. Check out both of her blogs. Simply Breakfast and Simply Photo. They are both fantastic!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Sore Throat


My throat hurts far too much to type, because after I type a bit, I go back and read it out loud (weird, I know). So just a photo of tea and toast for you.