Thursday, January 31, 2008

Relinquishing Control

Every once in a while Andrew cooks dinner. Not because he only wants to cook every once in a while, but because I am only willing to relinquish control every once in a while. Tonight was one of those once in a whiles. I had another early morning, then a shoot, and then prepping for tomorrow’s shoot, so I was definitely primed and ready to abandon my issues and let him be in charge of dinner. I will say that I was a bit worried. Although armed with the best of intentions, he does tend to, well, overcook things. Timing is a difficult thing to master when it comes to cooking. I know that. I have problems with it, too. So I forgive him, and I fill my mouth with a forkful of leathery steak, a swig of wine and swallow the whole thing down with a smile. Then I look up at Andrew, reassuringly, and say, “It’s delicious, honey.” He never believes me. Most of the time I actually mean it, but when it comes to leathery meat, I’m lying. Bygones. After tonight that meat is a distant memory. All I can think of is rack of lamb, (something I didn’t eat until I married an Australian) roasted to perfection, rosemary potatoes, arugula salad and a special green bean recipe he found on the internet (very resourceful). We sat down for this lovely meal that I can take absolutely no credit for, and I was a bit apprehensive. The potatoes looked like they might be undercooked, and the meat looked like it might have been overcooked. But let me tell you, neither was the case. It was all cooked to perfection. After sampling a bit of everything on my plate, I looked up at him and announced, “It’s all perfect. Can you believe it? It is all cooked perfectly!” He beamed with pride. He knew it was a huge success, and then I figured it out. “You’re trying to get on my blog, aren’t you?” He smiled a very guilty smile, but denied my accusation. “Well,” I said, “I’m putting you on.” And I think that made him quite happy, although he said, “I don’t want to be on that blog of yours.” I certainly don’t make a habit of listening to Andrew, and he’d be the first to tell you that. So Andrew, honey, if you’re reading. I couldn’t help myself. Sorry. Sorry I had to tell everyone about the burnt meat. I love you. What’s for dinner tomorrow?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Time. . . is not on my side.

So it's tonight. The "tonight" that I so confidently promised you a post. Wellllllll, there is some bad news about that post. It's not really gonna happen.

I realize now, that work is really going to find a way to disrupt my blogging rhythm. I started my morning quite early. Early enough to wake up and read some blogs, browse flickr, have my coffee and still be at the flower mart downtown at 7:30a.m. It’s now 9:30p.m. And I just finished making about 50 green tea ice cubes for tomorrow’s shoot. The time between the flower mart and the ice cubes was spent running around all of Los Angeles and its surrounding cities looking for tray tables, aprons, coasters and divided tupperware. So now the idea of trying to come up with something funny, or charming, or entertaining for you is so daunting. Will you hate me if I don’t? I really, really hope not. You have come to mean a lot to me, and I certainly don’t want to upset you. I promise to perfect the drink of the week. It needs a little tweaking. I want it to be just right. It may become the "drink of the every eleven days or so," although that title isn’t as catchy as "drink of the week."

My promise to you: to improve on my time management skills, work on that damn wine story and never ever post something just for the sake of posting something.

PS. I’m about to take a step backwards in becoming a foodie. I’m having Andrew pick up “dinner” (the meal that should be eaten sometime between the hours of 6 & 9 - -it's 9:53) from the taco truck down the road. Thankfully, they have the best tacos in L.A. Unfortunately, they are still tacos from a truck.


So sorry. Work just got extremely busy. I owe you some nice photos, a wine story and a drink of the week. I'll post tonight.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Damn. I actually have to work today, so I won't be able to spend hours devoted to blogging and flickring. I am on the hunt for the perfect cupcake seeing as Valentine's Day is on the horizon and Andrew loves cupcakes. Please help.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

quick, while it's still cold out!

I made an amazing, grown ups only, hot cocoa last night. Here's the recipe. I had never actually made hot cocoa from scratch. Ahhhmazing! I think Andrew liked it. It was hard to tell, although we can add "hot beverages" to the list of food stuffs he doesn't like. "It has to be lukewarm, almost cold, for me to drink it." That's a direct quote.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Andrew doesn't like breakfast

Andrew doesn't like breakfast. Add that to the list (i.e., pulpy juice, wet meat, beans, etc). He says that it's important to know what you don't like in life and I say it's important to like exactly the same things that I like so we can live a happy co-existence. I mean how is this supposed to work if you don't like everything that I like? And how am I supposed to become an amazing chef/food writer when my main eating partner only wants pizza & burgers? That's actually not true. He will eat most of what I put in front of him, even if it doesn't taste great. And on top of that, he'll usually say, in his sweet Australian accent, "This tastes beautiful, darling." He's so convincing that I actually believe him. But I digress, for this post is not about Andrew's likes or dislikes, it's about breakfast. It was another rainy morning here and I waited patiently for Andrew to wake up, so I could cook him some breakfast, even though I know he doesn't like breakfast. I'm stubborn. I pulled out all of the ingredients for a delicious scramble (the best egg invention since Easter eggs), including, shallots, spinach, pancetta, heavy cream (I ran out of milk and just happened to have heavy cream - - I love you, heavy cream) and Gruyere. Not only that, but we also had leftover potato fennel gratin from last night, so I planned to heat that up as well. I know, leftovers, well, what can I say? I guess I'm coming around. Then I waited. And waited. And waited, until finally I heard our bedroom door creek open and I ran as fast as I could to meet him at the door and say, "I'm making breakfast!" Well what do you think was his response? Yes, that's right, his response was, "oh, honey, you know I don't really like breakfast." I pouted like a five year old and watched him walk away and disappear into the bathroom for his morning shower. "Well,” I said to myself (out loud), "we'll just see about that." So he showered and I scrambled and toasted and sautéed, and poured all of the delicious breakfast goodness onto one plate, grabbed two forks and headed for the dining room. I waited there until he came out of the bathroom. "Mmmmmmm. Smells good." he said. And I knew I had him. Let's just say that Andrew had breakfast this morning, and he loved it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

wine and cookies

So Andrew just did not have a great day. I think a big part of that is due to the awful grey, gloomy, wet weather we are having today, plus he’s building a guitar from scratch (and here I brag about creating a drink of the week), which apparently is a frustrating undertaking. He left a little while ago for a guitar lesson and then a jam session with a potential band, so I decided to do what any good, floral apron wearing housewife would do. Bake cookies. There is, of course, a catch. I don’t have my usual pre-made cookie dough in the tube stuff, so I will have to make them from scratch. This blog has given me the inspiration and motivation to take these sorts of things on. I knew they would be peanut butter, since there is a tub of peanut butter (chocolate peanut butter, in fact) that has been sitting in the fridge for a month. I bought it for Andrew thinking that he would take one look at this tub of his two favorite things all mixed together and instantly forgive me for any bad behavior on my part; past, present and future. That didn’t happen. He was not enthused and so there it sat, in the fridge, right behind the Dijon mustard. I also new that I had about half of a somewhat sizable hunk of bittersweet chocolate- the rest of which I had eaten in little pieces all day long. “This is my last piece, of chocolate, I swear,” was my mantra today. So I logged on to Epicurious in search of a cookie recipe that included peanut butter and chocolate chunks. I found two and chose the one that didn’t call for dark corn syrup, since dark corn syrup is not something I keep on hand. I excitedly gathered the ingredients, and then hunkered down for a closer read of the recipe. Roadblock! I need an electric mixer. Not good, since it is pouring outside and my electric mixer is in our detached garage. I am definitely not going out in a torrential downpour just to get that damn mixer. So I decide the next best thing I could do would be to create a makeshift double boiler and melt the peanut butter and butter in order to properly blend them with the rest of the ingredients. It actually worked. Now what I don’t know is if I somehow screwed up the chemical makeup of either ingredient in the process, though I figured the answer to that question would be upon me soon enough. The dough, and I use that term very loosely, didn’t taste half bad. Not quite sweet enough so I threw in another handful of brown sugar and a splash more of vanilla. Can you do that? I mean after it is all mixed. Can you just throw extra stuff in? Again, the answer awaits. Currently, the “dough” has been chilling in the fridge for 30 minutes, just like the recipe said, and I’m about to take it out and bake it. I’ll be back.

Ok, I’m back. Here are my concerns: The “dough” became quite crumbly in the fridge. The recipe doesn’t say anything like “chill until crumbly,” so needless to say, I’m nervous. And the other thing is that it tells you to form the “dough” into 1 3/4 inch balls. Are you kidding? Who comes up with that? Just make it one inch or two. Don’t give me fractions. Even better, just tell me to form the dough into the size of a golf ball or a ping pong ball, or something I can relate to, cause I’m damn sure not getting out a ruler to measure them. Well, it’s out of my hands now. I will have my fate handed to me on a greased cookie sheet in about 12 minutes. In the meantime, I’m going to pour myself a glass of wine. I suspect I might need it.

Ok. Two things. One. There is a difference between good, moderately priced wine and bad, very inexpensive wine, and once you know that difference it makes bad, very inexpensive wine that much harder to get down. Two. We’re ten minutes in and I couldn’t help myself. I had to check the cookies. Bad news. They haven’t changed from their original 1 3/4 inch ball shape. That’s not a good sign, right? Oh, the timer just went off. Be back.

When I pulled the baking sheet out (the one with my fate on it), the cookies were still in that shape, so I did the only thing I could think of. I took a spatula and flattened them myself, and in the processed ripped out most of the melted chocolate chunks destroying several cookies in the process. I guess I’ll give them a few more minutes. As an aside, I will tell you that I tasted the cookie residue that was left on the back of the spatula, and although not very resembling of a cookie, it did taste kinda good.

Well, the first batch is out of the oven, and from this point forward I will no longer be calling them cookies. I will now refer to them as peanut butter and chocolate heated dough disks, as that is much less misleading of a description than "cookie." So, first impressions; I think that refrigerating the dough was part of the problem, not sure why, just what I think. I also suspect that they may be a bit better after they cool and harden. For now, I’m going to drink more wine and ponder whether these peanut butter and chocolate heated dough disks are going to make Andrew feel better or worse.

All of the disks are done. I’ve decided that the actual gesture of cookie making will make Andrew fell better, but having to eat the gesture may, quite possibly, make him feel worse. I’m not even sure if there is a lesson to be learned here. It still was a relatively productive and adventurous way to spend an evening. I’ve already eaten three, so they can’t be that bad. Well, on to the next, I suppose. Thanks for listening.

the story of baked risotto

I've been brainstorming about what to right about on my blog. One idea I had for a becoming a foodie blog staple is called disasters & recoveries. So here is my first installment of one of my recent food disasters (and a pretty good recovery).

So our friends Jeff and Lisa have become my official food-laboratory rats. They get a free meal, and I get to try a new recipe. Sounds fair, right? Well, sometimes life just isn’t fair, because sometimes Jeff and Lisa have to eat crap.

Here’s the disaster part. This evening started like any other evening where I was cooking for friends. They arrive at the exact time I told them to and I tell them dinner is running a little late: Like an hour or two. Still haven’t gotten that timing thing down. It was a cold day and a cold night (well coldish, Los Angeles cold. Like 55 degrees or something) and I wanted to make something warm and comforting. “Risotto!” I said out loud to an empty room, and I grabbed all of my Donna Hay cookbooks and started searching. Now I’ve made risotto before. I’ve actually made it countless times and it always gets high marks. I think I even know the recipe by heart. So I thought why not challenge myself. It’s always good to try something new. Well food challenges are really something that should be reserved for Food Network, where there is some kind of prize involved.

Baked risotto with pumpkin (butternut squash, they call it pumpkin in Australia) and
Feta. Did you see the “baked” part? That’s the part that drew me in, as well as the part that defeated me. You see, baking it was the challenge, since I had always done risotto on the stovetop. I mean how incredibly talented and amazing would I look pulling a beautiful baked risotto out of the oven and announcing, “dinner is served.” Let’s just say that it never got to the “me looking talented at amazing part.” Instead, 55 minutes into the 40-minute bake time, I still had rice soup with floaty things in it. So I did the only thing I could think of: I transferred it all to a stock pot and cooked it on the stove top. Just like I should have done to begin with. Thankfully, within minutes, the risotto was done. Damn I’m a genius. I looked at Lisa, quite proud of myself, and said, “Well, we really dodged a bullet there, huh?” Yeah, sort of. I forgot to taste it. And when I did, let me just say that there was not enough salt, pepper and cheese in the world to save this dish. I served it anyway, and Jeff and Lisa insisted that it was delicious and even had seconds. I’m quite sure that Lisa was smuggling large amounts of risotto into her napkin and dumping it in the toilet. Andrew, on the other hand, just said he was too sick to taste it (he had a cold), yet he could taste the berry crumble I made for dessert just fine. I spent the entire meal complaining about how bland it was and how sorry I was for subjecting them to it. We finished the meal, ate a pretty good berry crumble (although there were huge pockets of all purpose flour strewn throughout - - fun surprise), and called it a night.

Here’s the recovery part. I woke up the next day still feeling quite ashamed of myself. How could I let this happen? I have to find a way to fix it. And then it came to me; Giada’s recipe for fried risotto balls (well she calls them arancini di riso, but I prefer fried risotto balls). Basically, you take risotto, form it into balls, shove a piece of mozzarella in the middle, coat with breadcrumbs and fry. So I spent the next 30 minutes picking bits of butternut squash (as well as the pine nuts I had thrown in as a last stitch effort to add flavor) out of the leftover risotto disaster, and then constructed my arancini di riso. Needless to say, they were delicious (when in doubt, FRY). I served them to my husband and brother with a nice little salad and tomato sauce for dipping. We ate them all and went to bed happy. Case closed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Leftovers - - Return of the Blood Orange

Is it wrong to write about blood oranges two days in a row? I hope not, because I’m about to. I started to think, “Why do I even have blood oranges in my house?” and then I remembered, “I’m becoming a foodie, and that’s what foodies have in their houses.”

Hi, I’m Jen; I’m very fancy and sophisticated. I’m a foodie. I have blood oranges in my house for no reason at all. What’s that? You don’t know what a blood orange is? Oh, you are so beneath me.

So last night I was brainstorming, trying to come up with ideas for my blog, and one of them was, leftovers. I absolutely hate leftovers. I don't like to eat the same meal two nights in a row, unless it’s pizza, but not leftover pizza, just fresh, hot, delicious pizza two nights in a row. Then I remembered that one of my damn resolutions was to “waste less”, and I’m pretty sure that throwing out a perfectly good piece of New York strip that cost 15 bucks would count as waste. So I took my new, superior, non-wasteful self over to the fridge and worked it out.

Steak Salad with Blood Orange Dressing

I took the steak and seared it in a very hot skillet (we don’t have a microwave. Microwaves are so last year), then sliced it very thin. Filled 2 dinner plates with Arugula (my brother was joining me. He doesn’t mind leftovers at all and he has a microwave). Topped with the steak, good Greek feta, blood orange slices (skins removed, of course), sliced red onion (you can also use shallots-they are milder than an onion) and sliced radishes. And, covered it with blood orange dressing.

Blood Orange Dressing (very similar to Balsamic Cumin Dressing)

Equal parts good olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Juice of half a blood orange (and don’t be wasteful- use the other half for slices in the salad), pinch of salt (Maldon is the best!), pinch of pepper and half a teaspoon of cumin. I thought about adding some honey, but I didn’t. It might be worth trying.

Drink accompaniment: I’m sure it would be great with a glass of Chateau Bonnet, Bordeaux Rouge Reserve 03’, but we didn’t have any on hand (imagine that.). I drank XXX Vitamin Water & my brother had a Negra Modelo.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Drink of the Week

So I'm realizing that coming up with good foodie blog material isn't as easy as it had once seemed. My friend, Carin, called me this morning and asked what was going on with my blog. Seems it had been a few days since I had posted anything and apparently that is just bad blogging. People (strangely enough) seem to be curious about what I will write about next. Due to the amazing amount of pressure this puts on me, I had to invent a drink to try and get me through this very tough time, and behold . . . a new blog staple was born.

Introducing "Drink of the Week."

So the wine story that I was going to tell had to take a back seat, because this drink, my first d.o.w. offering, is just too good to keep to myself. It is a bloody gin and tonic, which at first sounds like a disgusting mix of bloody mary and g&t, or someone trying to talk in a british accent, but it isn't. It is a gin and tonic (please use bombay sapphire gin, that's important)with a splash of blood orange juice. The blood orange is an orange that some people have never heard of, but i have and i even had some in my house, so i must be a foodie. It has the most amazing "blood" colored flesh, which doesn't sound appetizing, but one look and you'll be sold. So the drink is simple, but very impressive and very, very good. So good, in fact, that it can be consumed in the dead of winter, a time that usually is not very welcoming for a gin and tonic. Enjoy!

Bloody G & T
over a glass of ice, pour one part gin to three parts tonic (remember to use bombay), then squeeze half of a lime into the glass. follow with a large splash of freshly squeezed blood orange juice, stir, and then top off with a lime wedge. Now drink up.

Friday, January 18, 2008

wine is good

wine is good.
let's talk about it.
how about tomorrow?
tonight is no good for me.
i've had too much wine.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I used to hate meatloaf

The above image is of the book "A Very Special Me." It was a gift from my parents on my 8th birthday. Look what i found on page 25.

When I was a little girl I hated meatloaf. I wasn’t a super finicky eater, but I hated meatloaf. Meatloaf and fish sticks. I would cry when my mom announced we were having either for dinner, but especially meatloaf. It just sounds gross. What kid wants to eat a loaf of meat, and then there was like soggy bread in it and ketchup all over the top, and then onions. Yuck. Oooh, I just remembered, I also really hated cooked carrots that for some reason were covered in maple syrup. And, and bologna, especially the bologna with the bits in it, and Jell-O with bits in it, really anything with bits in it. I will never do that to my children.

But, back to the meatloaf; If there was a certain food that I absolutely hated (like meatloaf or fish sticks) when I was a kid, I am now determined to try it again as a grown up and see if I have changed my mind. So far, I have changed my mind about brussel sprouts (recipe to come), green olives, tomato juice and meatloaf (I still hate fish sticks). Actually, here is a list of foods I hated as a child. I’m putting an asterisk by the ones that I have been able to remove from this list.

Foods I hated as a child:
Fish sticks
Salad dressing* (yes, even ranch)
Waldorf salad
Jell-O with fruit inside
Salisbury steak
Brussel sprouts*
Black licorice
Tomato juice*
Corned beef hash

Now, really, back to meatloaf: A few years back I decided it was time to try to move meatloaf off of the “foods I hated as a child” list (known from this point on as just, the list). I heard that a diner in Beverly Hills had great meatloaf, turkey meatloaf in fact and that sounded totally doable. So I did, and it was great, and it didn’t taste anything like the 70’s meatloaf I had once hated. You know foods that kind of taste or even look like the 70’s? Salty, mushy, grey, etc.; Well this was no such food. This meatloaf was very 21st century, and on that day, in that diner, I decided to let meatloaf in. I promptly went home and crossed it off the list.

So last Tuesday, out of nowhere, I got a serious craving for meatloaf. “I’m gonna cook meatloaf tonight,” I said to myself, but not just in my mind, I actually said, out loud (although no one else was in the room, or even within earshot), “I’m gonna cook meatloaf tonight.” I searched every cookbook I had for the perfect meatloaf recipe, but found nothing inspiring. I hopped on the internet and found a great recipe, but I still wasn’t 100% sure, so I called my friend, Carin, to see if she had any good recipes. She said, “Yes, I have a great one, “ and then referred me back to the recipe I had just found. I had to make a couple of minor tweaks, (remove mushrooms & add prosciutto to the top) and then I was off. I called my husband and my brother (my two loyal and kind food testers), and told them we were having meatloaf for dinner. They both sounded really excited, which was a surprise to me. I guess not everyone hated meatloaf the way that I did. Within an hour, dinner was served, and let me tell you, it was the best meatloaf I have ever had, and the testers agreed. Cooked perfectly (which was a bit scary, since I am never really sure when things like that are done and I don’t really want to cut it in half to check), not dry at all and topped with the yummiest, crispiest prosciutto. Comfort food at it’s best.

The moral of the story, every once and a while it’s good to let things in.

Turkey Meatloaf
Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
Arugula salad with balsamic cumin dressing (no real recipe here for the dressing. i do equal parts good olive oil & balsamic vinegar, pinch of salt and pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin)

more about meatloaf:

Monday, January 14, 2008

morning coffee

Three words: chemex, intelligentsia, bodum.

I have loved coffee since I was two. We (my mom, dad & I) lived in the basement of my grandparent’s apartment in Brooklyn. Every morning I would crawl up what seemed to be an enormous flight of stairs and sit and have coffee with my grandma. Not sure what we talked about, or what we ate, but I am sure that I loved the coffee. I loved how it smelled and how comforting it was. By the time I was 4 we had moved from Brooklyn and the basement apartment, and I callously turned my back on my beloved coffee. Instead trading it for stuff like hi-c and chocolate milk. By the time I got to college, I let it back in, but not for pleasure. It was just the best way to keep myself awake to write the term paper that I had procrastinated writing until the night before it was due. After college coffee became more of a social thing. Starbucks was just taking off and my friends started saying things like, “let’s meet for coffee.” So I met them for coffee, and I met blind dates for coffee and sometimes I just went and got coffee by myself never really paying attention to whether it was good coffee or bad coffee. Actually, I’m not sure that I would have been able to tell the difference. And then I was shown the light. A stylist from Australia hired me as her assistant, she was very fancy, always dressed to the nines and ran around town in 3inch manolo blahnik’s (her casual shoes). While I busted my ass working for her, she educated me on good food & great coffee. Starbucks tasted “like burnt ashtray water,” she would say, and then she would take me to get a “proper coffee.” Well, there was a difference. it wasn’t long before I was criticizing the texture of the foam on my cappuccino, and looking down my nose at starbucks. Well, now several years into my addiction I have found the perfect combination when it comes to coffee: chemex, intelligentsia and bodum.

It wasn’t too long ago that I saw this really cool carafe at a friend’s house. It was clear glass, had an hourglass shape and a beautiful wood collar. I asked her where she got it and she told me that it was thrift store purchase, and even better, it wasn’t a carafe, it was a chemex coffee maker. Hmmmm. Ok. It doesn’t look like a coffee maker, but I wanted one because I am in the habit (and business) of collecting “pretty things.” That night I went home and found one on ebay and within a couple of weeks it was sitting on the “these are all the cool things I have, but don’t use” shelf in my kitchen. And there it stayed, collecting dust, for at least 8 months.

Through my work as a prop stylist I get to meet a lot of great people. A lot of people in the know. A photographer friend of mine mentioned this amazing coffee place called Intelligentsia that had just opened. His words. . . “It will change your life.” Well eventually I made it over to intelligentsia, a very hip, and a bit uppity, coffee shop. The second I walked in I knew my life was going to change. Right in front of me on their “these are all the cool things I have, but don’t use” shelves was a row of chemex coffee makers. I bought myself a cappuccino (the best I have ever had), a pack of chemex coffee filters and a bag of their librarian’s blend decaf. I know, DECAF!? Long story short, I found out that chronic insomnia and daily panic attacks are not normal and can be eliminated by kicking caffeine; so I did.

After enjoying my second cappuccino (did I mention that it was the best I ever had?), I headed home and realized, “this is perfect!” I had just used these amazing bodum mugs for a fit pregnancy shoot I worked on and now I can test them out. I arrived home and began preparations for chemex coffee brewing. A bit involved, but if you are interested you can read the instructions here. I brewed myself one hell of a good cup of coffee. Clear, flavorful, not burnt, not bitter - - the damn thing was designed by a chemist, and sits in a museum, so you it’s going to make amazing coffee. Well I felt like a real coffee connoisseur, and I have enjoyed this combination every morning since.

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.

what is a foodie?

ok. so i have come up with this awesome title for my blog, now all i have to do is figure out what a foodie actually is so i can become one. i kind of know what a foodie is. i could name some, but you wouldn't know who they were, cause i would say brian, or justin or liz, and you would say, "who the hell are brian, justin and liz?" so i won't do that. i'm definitely around foodies at work. i am a food and prop stylist, mostly prop stylist, and mostly props for food, i.e., i would pick the plates, napkins, glasses, etc for a photoshoot for bon appetit or something like that. so then, i'm definitely around foodies at work. to me, foodies are the people that intimidate me. they know about wine (other than charles shaw) and flambe and haricot vert. they are the kind of people that i am embarrassed to tell that i enjoy the all you can eat soup, salad and breadsticks at olive garden. they are the kind of people that would probably not associate with me if they knew that. i did a little research, and have come to find out that i am kind of wrong. wikipedia (the best source for information in the world) defines a foodie as "an informal term for a particular class of aficionado of food and drink." and distinguishes them from gourmets in that "gourmets are epicures of refined taste who may or may not be professionals in the food industry, whereas foodies are amateurs who simply love food for consumption, study, preparation, and news.[1] Gourmets simply want to eat the best food, whereas foodies want to learn everything about food, both the best and the ordinary, and about the science, industry, and personalities surrounding food.[2] For this reason, foodies are sometimes viewed as obsessively interested in all things culinary." interesting. ok, so maybe brian, justin and liz are gourmets? had some good news, "Anyone can be a foodie." adding to that, "To be a foodie is not only to like food, but to be interested in it. Just as a good student will have a thirst for knowledge, a foodie wants to learn about food. A foodie will never answer the question "What are you eating" with "I don't know." There are some basic traits of being a foodie, as there are basic traits that come with all labels. Generally, you have to know what you like, why you like it, recognize why some foods are better than others and want to have good tasting food all or certainly most of the time. This doesn't mean that you can't eat flaming hot Cheetos every now and again, but it does mean that you don't fool yourself into thinking that it's a nutritionally balanced meal. Do you have to know the difference between a beefsteak tomato and an heirloom tomato? No, but you might be interested to find out what it is. Do you have to only shop at farmer's markets? No, but you still look for good, fresh produce. Are there some foods you just don't like or weird foods you like? That's ok - it doesn't make you any less of a foodie. Just like food, learn about food and, most importantly, eat food."

i guess in some ways, i already am a foodie. now i'll just become an even better foodie.

follow through

this blog was born of my number one new year's resolution, which is "follow through." how many times have you wished that you had followed through on a great idea, pursued something that inspired you, listened to that voice inside your head. if you are like me, the answer is many times, many, many times. well wishing is for losers and doing is for totally awesome people.

i've always wanted to be a writer. i used to sit at the typewriter at my dad's office when i was like 7 or 8 and just type stories. of course most of them looked something like, "jkldsafno. nmoihfgoiglknfolkj .lkjlijoijlkj smcohsn asdkf .lkjoijoij.jkljpoiaueroekajbaddpfjofnljk/," but at least i was pursuing something. as i went through school people responded to my writing. mostly my mom, and i guess she doesn't really count as "people," but it sure felt like people were responding. i got a's on my papers and even went so far as to major in english. i wrote a lot of stuff. most of it probably pretty ordinary (i actually think that was a comment from one of my professors on a short story i wrote . . . "C- you're work is pretty ordinary.") i always wanted to get better. be better than ordinary. i took a writing class at ucla, but dropped out halfway through. i bought a bunch of books on writing, and countless journals to write in (cause i liked the front covers). never finished the books, never filled the journals. now i've gone ahead and created this brilliant resolution with myself . . ."follow through." not that easy, but i am going to try.

so i have a couple of friends that have blogs, and i read some blogs, and blogs are free, but they feel important, so i thought, "i'm gonna start a blog!" and then i thought, "what the hell am i gonna blog about?" i wanted to start one about owning a home for the first time, but the idea was to start the day we bought our house and that was 8 months ago (i didn't follow through on that idea). then i read (well, half-read, again with the following through) a book called "julie and julia" (the first half of which was great) and that whole book came from a blog about cooking, where julie spends a year cooking recipes from julia child's, "mastering the art of french cooking." i think that book planted a little blogging seed in my head. then came new years, and all of my resolutions . . . the aforementioned "follow through," the requisite "diet & excercise," "take better care of my skin," "take my vitamins," "don't stress." it's a very long list. also on that list was "eat out less, aka cook more." and there it was. an idea for a blog, partially stolen from someone else, as great ideas often are, and part from me. i would cook dinner as many nights as possible and then blog about them. what went wrong, what went right, etc., etc. long story short. "what's for dinner," "what's for dinner tonight," "she cooks," and "my cooking blog" were all taken. "becoming a foodie" was not. so for my blog of 2008, the year of following through, i will become a foodie.