Thursday, August 31, 2006

Corn Mazes

I was fascinated to learn that this exists. I find modern society so busy that to have this happening in the world really makes me happy.

Starting in the Fall, there are farmers that create mazes in their cornfields. They all try to out do each other for the best maze. One of the more known farms to participate is “Mike’s Maze” at Warner Farm. Their 2006 maze of Juila Child is shown above. Mike’s Maze website also has some interesting links for information on the history of mazes and labyrinths.

There is a company called "Maize" that is the world’s largest cornfield maze company. They have completed more than 1000 mazes and they have a Guinness world record. Their website has a map of the United States that show all of the farm locations that participate. It also has direct links to those farms. Check it out.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Guilty Pleasures

“Guilty pleasure” says right away it has to be good! Do you have a “guilty pleasure”? For me, the definition of a GP would be something you are ashamed of admitting you love to eat. A GP food isn’t cool or en vogue. A GP is something you know is so bad for you but you continue to eat it anyway.

Is it Twinkies?? (Come on we must be honest here!) Is it those orange circus peanuts we used to eat when we were kids? What about eating some cake batter with a spoon? What about a big bag of beef jerky? I have to say my biggest “guilty pleasure” is probably those Cinnabon classic cinnamon rolls at the airport. I smell those rolls cooking and all I want to do is eat one. I buy one of those frosted warm rolls and my mouth goes crazy. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. So what is your “guilty pleasure”? Whatever it is-Fer Food would like to know!


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Outside To Eat My Lunch

The other day I went outside to eat my lunch. I have a new office and a wonderful picnic table. It was breezy and beautiful. A perfect 73 degrees. I was among five other people doing the same thing as me - enjoying the day and eating their lunch.

I was struck. In front of each one of us were choices or findings that we had gathered and brought to the table to nourish ourselves. I had a salad (That is what I always have for lunch). My friend had a turkey sandwich. One girl had three small bowls that made up her lunch: a bowl of olives; a small bowl of peaches; and a bowl of mixed nuts. Across from me-there was an avocado being cut into and eaten whole. There was a warmed up bean burrito being eaten with a fork. A woman at the end of the table opened her large sealed bowl to reveal fresh cooked green beans mixed with toasted coconut. I wondered what that would taste like and where she had learned the recipe.

Food reveals so much about who we are. It gives a peak into our own individual experience and influence. I often wonder why we chose a specific food to eat or how that food is prepared. We all have such personal preferences and with this diversity we uncover so many new ways to enjoy food.


Monday, August 28, 2006

Millions of Peaches

It’s summer. You know what that means? It is time for peaches! Peaches are so good right now. I like to slice the peach in half, take out the pit and eat the peach “open-faced”. Another great way is over vanilla ice cream. Or here is yet another great way to use a peach:

Peach Salsa
2 Ripe but not mushy peaches, pitted and chopped
1 Small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced small
1 Small red onion, diced
¼ Cup chopped fresh parsley(leaves only)
1 Medium garlic clove, minced
¼ Cup pineapple juice (fresh is best)
6 Tablespoons lime juice(add a couple more if you really like lime)
1 Jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and minced
Fresh minced mint leaves
Salt to taste

Combine all the ingredients including the salt to taste in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate to blend flavors for at least 1 hour. I like to cook it the night before and chill it until the next day when I am planning to use it. This is great to eat as a salsa option with chips or with pork tenderloin off the grill. This makes 2-1/2 Cups.


p.s. I can't help but hum this song:

“Millions of peaches peaches for me
Millions of peaches peaches for free
Millions of peaches peaches for me
Millions of peaches peaches for free”
-Lyrics from the song “Peaches” by the group: Presidents of the United States

Friday, August 25, 2006

Food Photo Friday!

Train Food.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ice Is Nice

I found something new in the freezer section of my local grocery shop. I needed ice for a BBQ and ran inside to grab myself a bag. I found that they now make ice cubes in citrus flavors. The brand is called “Shivers” and the ice comes in two flavors: Lime or Lemon. They are each great in Iced Tea or Sparking Water. I used the lime variation in Mojitos last weekend. I am going to experiment with making my own flavored ice versions at home. Let me know if you try it too.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

“R” Rockenwagner Bakery

I was thrilled to find this small bakery on my route to work. Watch out for the orange awning or you might miss it. I have had lunch a few times at this small storefront bakery. They have great sandwiches. My favorite is the Turkey and Blue cheese sandwich on the Pretzel Roll (with a side of cranberry sauce). I am in love with pretzel rolls. Rockenwagner does them right. Paninis are also available. The Panini sandwiches are stored in the refrigerated case but the staff will heat them up for you. They have a great ham and cheese Panini with grilled onions. They have a bakery display case that offers various goods from muffins and sconces to tarts and croissants. I had a "Chocolate Dipped Nut Triangle"-so good! They also offer loaves of bread to go. I would like to try their Rye on my next stop. It is cash only so be prepared.

They do all of their wholesale business out of this small shop too. The bakers arrive at 9pm and work until 4am. Rockenwagner is also preparing to open an additional café on Abbott Kinney this summer: “Three Square Café + Bakery”. Hopefully that doesn’t mean I will lose my new favorite fast lunch spot?


"R" Rockenwagner Bakery Shop
12835 Washington Blvd. Culver City, CA 90066
Cross street - Beethoven (Mar Vista)
Open from 8am-4pm Mon-Sat

1/18/07 UPDATE: Read here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Boba Tea

Boba (or Bubble Tea) started as a childhood treat in Taiwan in the late 1980’s at small tea stands in front of schoolhouses. Boba or "Chinese Pearls" is actually a type of tapioca.

I am a huge fan of this drink. It is so addicting! I have to admit it is a little strange at first, as one tug on the straw places a pea-sized “gummy bear” on your tongue. The straws for Boba are made large to allow the Boba to pass through as you drink. The cups are usually sealed and you need to puncture the foil top with the large straw to access the drink.

Boba is usually served with tea. The tea can be flavored an unlimited number of ways. I prefer to drink it with black tea, some milk and a little honey. I recently went to Surfas and purchased some Chinese Pearls to cook at home. It was easy and fun to do.

Boba Tea for one:
½ Cup chilled large Chinese tapioca pearls
1 Cup crushed ice
1 Cup very strong, chilled black tea
1 Cup milk (or to taste)
Honey to taste

Cook pearls according to package. Chill. Brew tea according to package and refrigerate. Place pearls at bottom of glass; add ice, cold tea and milk. Add honey to taste.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Over The Weekend

I enjoyed some roasted corn over the weekend. The corn is picked within the last 24 hours before it is roasted. The corn is roasted with the husk still closed in a HUGE roaster. Once the corn is removed from the roaster, (20 minutes at 650 degrees) the husk is pulled back to reveal the sweet cooked corn. Condiments are offered: butter; garlic salt; parmesan cheese; paprika or good ol’salt and pepper. People went crazy over the condiments adding all that was offered. I prefer most food simple. My corncob was butter brushed and had a lime squeezed over it. I think it was the best corn I have ever had.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Snakes On A Plate

Texas Rattlesnake
1. Find and capture a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake.
2. Kill, skin and remove entrails.
3. Cut into edible portions.
4. Make a batter of flour, cracker meal, salt, pepper and garlic.
5. Roll your snake portions in the batter.
6. Fry in deep fat, heated to a temperature that will ignite a floating wooden match.
7. Fry until meat is a golden brown.
8. Eat it up.

Tennessee Campfire Snake
Catch, kill, clean, and skin a snake. To clean it, cut around at the neck (in the same place where it would wear a necktie) and then cut down along the belly all the way to the end. Peel the skin off. (You can spread the skin, scale side down, onto the side of the house or on a long plank. Secure it with thumbtacks. Spread a thin layer of salt over it. After a week of sun, it'll be dry.) Cut along into the belly and remove the innards. Cut off the head. Clean and wash. Take a green branch, peel the bark off, and sharpen the tip. Poke the neck onto the sharpened tip. Wrap the snake loosely around the stick Shake on a bit of salt and pepper. Roast it over a fire.

Recipes from

Friday, August 18, 2006

Food Photo Friday!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Fig for Fancy?

In my research of figs I found numerous and unbelievable things these little fruits (flowers) can do! Although considered a fruit, the fig is actually a flower that is "inverted into itself". The seeds are the real fruit. Figs are the only fruit to fully ripen and semi-dry on the tree. Figs contain a natural humectant -- a chemical that will extend freshness and moistness in baked products.(I guess this is why I can’t seem to eat only one Fig Newton?)

Figs provide more fiber than any other common fruit or vegetable. The fruit contains a proteolytic enzyme that is considered an aid to digestion. Because of its high alkalinity, figs have been mentioned as being beneficial to persons wishing to quit smoking.

Figs have been cultivated in the Eastern Mediterranean area for thousands of years. Archaeologists think it was one of the first fruits domesticated--as early as 4000
B. C. Sumerian scribes writing on clay tablets around 2500 BC in the reign of King Drukagina mention figs. In 1575,The Spanish were the first to bring the fig to the United States via Florida. The Spanish missionaries later brought figs into California in 1769.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

An Enormous Citron

The world's heaviest lemon weighed 5.265 kg (11 lb 9.7 oz) on January 8, 2003 and was grown by Aharon Shemoel (Israel) on his farm in Kefar Zeitim, Israel.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Blue Bird Cafe and Cupcakes

I finally went to Blue Bird Cafe in Culver City, CA. As I walked in I decided to take a seat next to the window. The help from behind the counter saw me and asked if they could help me. I said yes and then assumed I should order at the counter. I walked up and noticed a stack of menus clipped to the register. I took one and started to read. I ordered. Then, I was asked it was for here or to go. (huh?) I told her it was for here and only then did she ask me to take my seat. She wanted to come around to officially take my order (or re-take it). I just wanted to eat and nothing in life should be this confusing.

Sitting next to the window, I watched the cars pass by on National Blvd. The cafe sits right on the road. You kind of feel like you are in a town off a highway somewhere. There are palm trees and it feels tropical. The locale makes it seem as it is a place that hasn’t been “found” yet. Of’course this is simply not true. The Bluebird Cafe has a huge following. I have been meaning to try it for some time. The coffee is good in a neighborhood diner sort of way. The breakfast is simple and delicious. They serve great sliced tomatoes with a side of fruit with your choice of eggs. The portions are nice.

As I was eating, I noticed a girl about seven was staring at me. She was dressed in a black Karate uniform and was about to mouth her cheeseburger. I had just finished my meal when the waitress came back over and offered me a cupcake. Well-I normally don’t have one with breakfast but I would make an exception. It was 2pm afterall! I noticed they had Red Velvet. The waitress motioned over to the karate girl and said she was was eating the last one. I watched the girl take her last bite of the red velvet cupcake. Her Father noticed my gaze and advised that I probably wouldn’t want to fight her for it! I hadn’t realized that this place was known for their cupcakes. Cupcakes are the rage. Oh how I wish I could make up the next “new” fun food. Cupcakes are a self-contained food. I am a huge fan of self-contained food(more on that later). Anyway-my cupcake was good. The icing was perfect but the cake slightly dry. But good in a grandma-just-made-these-for-you kind of way. I can’t help but compare this cupcake to Sprinkles which according to who you talk to is thee place for cupcakes in LA. Sprinkles cupcakes are lighter and fluffier. They are made to perfection without a knife stroke of frosting out of place and a perfect sugar disc design on top. I think I prefer the Sprinkles cupcakes over the Blue Bird. But-I still have hope for Blue Bird. I always like to give places a second chance. Maybe next time I can try the Red Velvet!


Monday, August 14, 2006

Zero Waste is Not a Waste!

I am one of the 5000 people that attend the weekly SM Sunday Main Street Farmer’s Market. Recently, I have noticed a sign posted at all of the garbage stations around the market reading “Zero Waste”. Most of the market vendors have agreed to switch their food packaging from Styrofoam and other non-renewable products to all biodegradable or recyclable packaging and utensils. The forks are even recyclable! I actually prefer these forks to the plastic. The new forks are made from corn and cups are made from sugar cane. This change over has helped to divert three cubic yards of waste from the landfill each Sunday.

There are now alternatives for the classic paper plate. Bambu makes a plate out of 100% organically grown bamboo. The plates, once placed in compost will biodegrade in 4-6 months. The plates are beautiful and they make some nice utensils too.


Friday, August 11, 2006

Food Photo Friday!

Welcome to FOOD PHOTO FRIDAY! We like to end the week with a photo to ponder for the weekend. Each Friday, Fer Food will display a special food photo. Sometimes we have taken the photo and sometimes we found the photo. Everyone is welcome to send us food photos of interest! We like the photos to be special in someway. Maybe it is a mood, a novelty or something just plain strange! We would like to see it and we might post it for a FOOD PHOTO FRIDAY!


Thursday, August 10, 2006

The History of Toast

Do you ever wonder how the most basic food came to be? I do. For example: Why do we have toast? How was it first made? I investigated its beginning and this is what I found:

The ancient Egyptians, around 6000 years ago, were the first to develop the bread that we know today. They realized that if they let the bread sit out in Egypt's warm climate it would rise, and when baked would retain its risen shape. However, they also noticed that after a few days in the dry desert air, the bread would become hard and unpleasant to eat. Toasting bread in ancient times was a means of preserving it. The Romans spread the idea of toast throughout Europe, even into Britain, and the colonists brought toast to the Americas. The word 'toast,' in fact, comes from the Latin word tostum, meaning scorch or burn. Toast is essentially burnt bread, so the name makes sense.

The Toaster: At first bread was toasted by holding it over a fire or by lying it on a hot stone. Some earlier toasters were wire frames that sat over a fireplace. The invention of electricity led to the invention of the modern toaster. Before the toaster could be built, however, a certain nickel-chromium alloy called ni-chrome had to be developed so that the toast could be heated. This is why the toaster arrived on the scene after other appliances. The first toasters were produced in the early 1900s; the first commercially successful toaster appeared in 1909. The first automatic, or 'pop-up', toaster for the home was the Toastmaster, developed in 1926. There was even a knob that the user turned to determine the degree of darkness. The Toastmaster caused quite a stir, and along with the invention of sliced bread, it helped open the age of the automatic toaster. By the 1940s, most toasters were automatic.

History info taken from:

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Matt Berling's Birthday!

Today is my good friend Matt Berling's birthday. I would sing to him but you can't sing on a blog so I will just send him my best wishes. Anyway-this site is about food. I wanted to share with you a delicious birthday surprise recipe in Matt's honor. His favorite cake is chocolate. Please find below a recipe for "Molten Chocolate Babycakes" . This recipe is taken from the "How To Be A Domestic Goddess-Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking" by Nigella Lawson. Happy Birthday Matt!!

Molten Chocolate Babycakes:
You need the following-
Scant 1/4 Cup soft unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
12 Ounces best bittersweet chocolate
1/2 Cup Sugar
4 Large eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 Cup all-purpose flour
6 Individual 6-Ounce custard cups, buttered
baking parchment

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, putting in a baking sheet at the same time. Lay 3 of the custard cups on a sheet of doubled baking parchment. Draw circles around them, remove, and then cut out discs as marked. Press them all into the base of the cups.

Melt the chocolate and let it cool slightly. Cream together the butter and sugar, and gradually beat eggs and salt, then vanilla. Now add the flour, and when all is smoothly combined, scrape in the cooled chocolate, blending it to a smooth batter.

Divide the batter between the 6 custard cups, quickly pull out the baking sheet out of the oven, arrange the little cups on it and replace the sheet back into the oven. Cook for 10-12 minutes. Tip out the baby cakes onto small plates or shallow bowls as soon as they exit the oven. Serve these with fresh whipped cream. Serves 6

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Make an avocado plant from its pit

I grew up in the Midwest. My parents always had a house full of plants. Beautiful plants. They were all different sizes and shapes. I now Live in CA and with a daily walk down the street I can view those exact plants growing wild. Growing up, we would do different experiments with planting. One of those projects was to start an avocado plant from the pit. We would space out toothpicks on sides of the pit and use the toothpicks as a support. This would enable the pit to be floated over a glass of water allowing only the bottom of the pit to touch the water. I don’t remember ever seeing a plant. But-as a kid it was fun to watch. I thought I might give it a try again and found these instructions. Give it a try and send me a picture if you do find yourself with a sprout!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Over The Weekend

I always enjoy a good tamale. Sunday at the farmer's market I bought some tamales at "Corn Maiden Foods" from Harbor City, CA. They offer many types of tamales. I chose one "Green corn with sweet yellow corn" and one "Blue corn, roasted green chile and Monterey Jack". I chose two sauces to try: "New Mexico Chile & Garlic" (Spicy) and the "Tomato Chipotle" (Medium). You can buy the tamales frozen or fresh. I bought fresh. The tamales were $3.00 each. The price included a sauce of your choice. I liked the "Green corn with sweet yellow corn" tamale best. I tried it with both sauces. I found what I liked most was eating the tamale plain. Although the sauces were both good, I liked the "Tomato Chipotle" sauce the best. It was not that spicy. It had a little kick but mostly it had a nice roasted tomato flavor. I am not a huge sauce fan. I usually like most of my food "on its own". A sauce always seems to cover up the actual flavor of the food. The "Blue Corn" tamale was good but a little bland compared to the other.

Heirloom Tomatoes are back in season. I don't know about you but I love these tomatoes. I do however wonder if I will ever try all of the varieties! There are so many! This week I bought these varieties: Celebrity, Cherokee, Lemon Box, Green Zebra, and a Brandy Wine. I love the Brandy Wine. This week they were really juicy and almost sweet. I like to eat them alone with a little sea salt pinched on top. (I will have to let you know about the others later on in the week).

Sunday, August 06, 2006

That's sum egg

A Chinese 50-yuan bill created entirely out of eggs.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

My New Blog

I started this blog to pass on information about food. I love food. I find food such a wonderful and tangible thing. Food history and its cultural differences are so intriguing.

Our society has moved away from the community table. We don't know our neighbors. We live in a place that we don't have to. In times past-you needed each other in order to survive. Everyone helped each other to gather and prepare food. Now we come home, turn on the TV and then maybe, if we like to eat "healthy", we dump the salad bag into a bowl. We don't even take time to pull and wash the lettuce leaves from the stalk. I don't want to live this way. It is my desire to know food, to experience food and to share it with others.

It is my hope that this blog will give me a place to explore food and a forum to pass on my findings. Sometimes this blog will include a food story, a new recipe, a report on a new kitchen tool or a restaurant review. So-come back and read us again. Stay tuned for more "Fer Food".