A couple of weeks ago, I attended the last class in the Cafe Pinot The Art of Charcuterie series. If you’ve ever wanted to get up close and personal with fresh meats, intestines and heavy kitchen machinery, this is the class for you. It was a hands-on experience with interactive instruction, group participation and finally a wine and charcuterie reception. The previous classes were led by from Cafe Pinot’s Executive Chef Joe Vasiloff, but the final class had Ray’s & Stark Bar’s Executive Chef Viet Pham and Sous Chef Jake Eaton at the helm. After three hours, I felt prepared to make my own sausage at home. Well, not yet. But soon! I wouldn’t say that I’m an expert, but the charcuterie class armed me with enough information that most of the anxiety has dissipated.
One of the things I never pictured in my life is the explosion of mothers in my circle of friends. It makes sense, but when I was younger, I had visions for my life and how it would look. I forgot to envision everyone else. It’s a strange thing, getting older. Years and years ago, I had a list of all the things I would have completed by 21, 25, 29, and so on. Being married with children was on there, but the age I had in mind has come and gone. Marriage and children haven’t happened, but I do have many women in my life who have been there and done that, or who have just started along the road. Ziploc® brand contacted me about a recipe development and product review opportunity that would be helpful for all the tough mothers out there. I immediately thought of three women who have impressed me with their tough mom abilities.
I don’t know what it is that draws me to posting so many sweets on this blog. Obviously a raging predilection for sugar pushes me in that direction, but I think there’s also something very structured about baking that I enjoy. As much as I appreciate the free flowing nature that comes with cooking, I know that baking requires rules to follow. Steps to obey. And if you adhere to the standard guidelines, you will most likely end up with something good. Here’s a recipe that follows many of the standard chocolate cake rules with just a few changes here and there, and the final result is a red wine chocolate cake. Well, make that a sangria chocolate cake. Continue Reading »
Last year was full of Dole fun. First up, the Dole Blogger Summit, followed by a series of cooking videos starring Ally from Ally’s Kitchen. Finally, the Dole Cook-Off where three home cooks battled to the final buzzer for a chance at winning $25,000. I truly believe in the “better late than never” philosophy. I found myself looking at a few of these photos over the weekend and figured it would be a great time to share them. Continue Reading »
Following a harrowing return trip from Vancouver, BC, I made my way to The Gourmandise School in Santa Monica for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council’s Little Changes Kitchen Challenge. The mission–show how blueberries, or those little blue dynamos, could be incorporated into various recipes, whether they be entrées, hors d’oeuvres or desserts. There would be a savory and sweet category with four chefs engaged in a little friendly competition for the title winning position. Each chef, paired with a local blogger or food writer, would have a couple of hours to create a stand out dish that the judges could not resist. My chef partner was Valerie Gordon of Valerie Confections, and for about three hours we whisked, whipped, and stirred our way to the finish line with our eyes on a win. Continue Reading »
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” That old familiar saying tells you exactly what to do when a hefty lot of negative is flying your way. No one tells you what to do when you have eight or nine perfectly ripe avocados on hand, and we all know that the worst thing you can do with perfectly ripe avocados is let them go to waste. I had this figurative batch of “lemons” in one hand and a bag of cocoa powder in the other. The logical thing to do was make a cake.