Thursday, November 30, 2006

It does a body good!

Milk does a body good...and so does cheese! Cacique makes these great cheeses that can be found in the dairy section of your local grocery store. My favorite is the “Ranchero” (shown above). They melt perfectly. I love to use them in quesadillas. Great flavor and not too over powering! I like to brown my tortilla in a small amount of olive oil, add the cheese, green onion and chopped tomato. I place another tortilla on top and then flip it over and brown the other side. This cheese is a must try!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Candied Pecans

I went to Gulf Stream restaurant a few weeks ago. We were at Century City shopping and stop in for a late afternoon meal. I really like the Houston’s chain restaurants. (I know (shock) it’s a chain!) But-they do a great job with food, atmosphere and service. For dessert I ordered a hot fudge sundae. This hot fudge sundae was incredible. The chocolate is superb. In fact since this sundae experience I have been trying to imitate the chocolate and have not had any luck. I will keep working on it. Another thing that was special about this sundae is that it had candied pecans on top. The combination of the salty nuts mixed with the extreme sweet is a close to perfect food. So-I have been on a mission to make candied pecans. The candied pecan is so appropriate for the holidays coming up. They are great to eat by themselves or create your own version of a hot fudge sundae. I am going to try them chopped in pancakes over one weekend.

Fer’s Candied Pecans
2 1/2 cups raw pecans
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1/4 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, stir the pecans with the egg white. In a separate small bowl, stir together the spices adding the sugar, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Once the spices are mixed, pour over the nuts and stir until evenly coated. Spread the nuts in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Slide the parchment paper (with nuts) off of the baking sheet and onto a wire rack (or the counter) to cool. Once the nuts are cool, break them up into a bowl. Store the candied nuts at room temperature in an airtight container.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Culture of Yogurt

I found a great yogurt. I have been eating it for a while and thought I would pass on my great find. Spega La Natura Yogurt is imported in only a few flavors: Cinnamon & Ginger; Mixed Berry; Vanilla and Apricot. Although their website shows some additional flavors that are available, I have yet to see them on the shelf. This yogurt is difficult to find. It isn’t carried at that many grocery stores. I have had the best luck finding it at Trader Joe’s.

Yogurt is milk that has had two live active cultures added. These cultures break down the lactose in the milk and produces lactic acid. This is what gives the tangy taste to the yogurt. These cultures benefit the body through enhancing digestion and improve the absorption of nutrients. Yogurt is a good source for protein and calcium.


p.s. O.K. I admit it. I love the glass container!! I use them as votive holders. They look great grouped together. I have also used the glass jar for a single, cut short flower.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Honey Spiced Rum Mojitos

For Thanksgiving, I wanted to do a special pre-dinner drink for my guests. I love Mojitos but I have always contributed that drink to the sunny days of summer. So-why not do a new spin on an old favorite? I was inspired by the Savannah Bee Company. Instead of sugar I used a Tupelo honey. I also used a spiced rum instead of a plain one. The result was a delicious “spicy” version of the traditional Mojito.

Honey Spiced Rum Mojitos
5-6 Mint Sprigs
2 Tablespoons Honey (or to taste)
4 Jiggers Spiced Rum
5-6 Whole key limes
Tonic water

Place 3-4 sprigs of mint into a martini shaker. Cut four key limes in half and squeeze their juice and remnants into the shaker with the mint. Add two Tablespoons honey and four shots of the rum. Add ice to the top of the shaker. Shake the ingredients together. Split the shaker contents between two glasses. Pour tonic water to fill the rest of the glass.You can pour the drink over ice or have it straight up. I always like to add extra lime and a mint sprig to the finished glass. This recipe makes two servings.


*I am curious to make a sugar water with the honey for my next batch. The Topelo honey was great to use straight as it mixes well and does not simply drop to the bottom of the glass.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Pumpkin Pie Picture Show

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Needle Little More Food?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Give Thanks

Tonight I arrived home to hear all of my neighbors going in and out of their homes. The holiday is in the air. I can hear laughter. I can hear long distance calls and friends setting up plans for tomorrow. I can hear people borrowing milk and asking for a recipe. I can hear the little girl next door playing piano in practice for her family dinner tomorrow. My other neighbor is busy chopping food. I can hear dishes being moved and a mixer roaring. I can hear someone running out to the store...again!

All the sounds that bring on tomorrow’s day.


Cranberry Jezebel Sauce

Why Jezebel? I was told it's a Southern "thang" - like grits and Pimento cheese. My mother-in-law Mary passed this cranberry recipe on to me. Each year around Thanksgiving I email her and inquire yet once again for the recipe. It's our tradition and a signal to both of us that the holidays are upon us.

This recipe is more like chutney than a traditional cranberry sauce. I love using it on my post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches. This sauce is great paired with turkey and chicken but also compliments pork tenderloin.

Cranberry Jezebel Sauce
1/2 Cup White sugar
1/2 Cup Brown sugar
1 Cup Water
1 (12 oz) Bag Fresh Cranberries
3 T. Prepared Horseradish (I usually start w/ 2 T. and add more if I want to)
1 T. Dijon Mustard (maybe some other brown-type mustard would be as good; just not yellow mustard.)

Rinse cranberries in colander. Bring first 3 ingredients to boil. Add cranberries. Return to boil. Keep an eye on the mixture as it can quickly foam over. Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer the mixture for about 20 minutes-uncovered. Stir mixture every few minutes. Listen for the cranberries as they will start to make popping noises.(It is part of the fun!) Cook mixture down to let it thicken. Remove mixture from heat and cool to room temperature. Add horseradish and mustard. Adjust horseradish and mustard to suit your own taste by adding more or less of each. Makes about 2 to 2-1/2 cups. Refrigerate.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Southern Belle Lessons

This is a recipe a friend gave me years ago. It is her Mom’s recipe but I renamed it for my dear friend Cookie. Cookie is as Southern Belle as it gets. I once over heard her reply to a compliment someone made about her shoes. I can still hear her reply as clear as it was yesterday. Her reply was: “These ole things, Honey, these are yard shoes!!”.

I lived in the "belt buckle" of the South for several years. During this time, Cookie would give me “Southern Belle” lessons. I don’t know how "Southern Belle" I really became. I am a pure Yankee to the core of my being! But-my friend Cookie sure does know how to cook! Here is her (Mom’s) cornbread dressing:

Cookie's Cornbread Dressing(or as us Yankees call it stuffing!)

¼ Cup Finely Chopped Onion
1 Stick of Butter(salted)
3 Cups Dry Bread Cubes
1 Teaspoon Salt (optional)
1 Cup Finely Chopped Celery
4 Cups Crumbled Cornbread (make before and have on hand)
¼ Teaspoon Pepper
1 Teaspoon Poultry Seasoning
Enough Chicken Broth to thoroughly moisten mixture

Brown the onion and celery in butter. While the onion and celery are cooking, Crumble the cornbread and add the dry bread cubes together in a large bowl. Mix the breads together and add all of the seasonings. When the onion and celery are finished browning, pour it over the crumbled bread and seasonings. Add the chicken broth over the mixture. You need the broth to thoroughly moisten the dressing. Mix well. Place this mixture into large baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes until the dressing is lightly brown

Monday, November 20, 2006

Thanksgiving Herbs

Fresh herbs are so beautiful. My first stop at the farmer's market is to pick up herbs so I can carry them around with me. I love to take the smells in as I walk around the market. Over the weekend, I thought about the herbs I will use for Thanksgiving dinner. There is a bouquet of herbs that can be used to create unique flavors and beauty for your meal. The herbs I will use for my Thanksgiving Day are: (shown left to right) Sage, Chives, Thyme and Mint.

Sage: The recipe for my turkey includes pulling back the skin of the turkey to place whole leaves of sage. After the turkey is browned and baked the skin becomes more translucent and the pattern of the leaves is revealed.

Chives: I usually make a small egg dish for Thanksgiving breakfast. I will use fresh chives, grated cheeses and some mushrooms.

Thyme: I am making a dish of brussel sprouts that requires fresh thyme.

Mint: I am making Honey Mojitos as a pre-dinner drink. A twist on the regular Mojito, this recipe has honey added. Not to worry-photos and recipe to come later!


Sunday, November 19, 2006


People who wander around aimlessly and always seem to get in your way in stores and supermarkets, chatting on their cell phones and paying no attention to their surroundings.

"I would have been here ten minutes earlier if I hadn't been stuck behind that meanderthal".

-Taken from

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Will It Blend?

This is hilarous! Check out these videos!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Food Photo Friday!

When I saw this picture I had to share it-even though it means another post on chocolate!Read full story here.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

CocoaBella Chocolates

My box arrived! Recently I found a chocolate company named CocoaBella Chocolates from San Francisco. They search the world for the best chocolate. The chocolates they sell are all mostly from small, family owned chocolatiers. Their interactive website allows you to create your own box of chocolates from all of the pieces they sell. There is no more need to “sneak a peak” at the bottom of each chocolate before you eat it. All the pieces in the box will be hand selected by you! You can name each box you create and save it so you don’t have to recreate it the next time. I find selecting the chocolates for my box as fun as eating the chocolate. Well-almost!

I tried to choose a variety from all of the chocolate featured. From the French collection, I found the "Palet Au The" from Michel Cluizel delicious. It is an Earl Grey Tea with dark chocolate. From the American Collection, I tried a Rosemary Caramel by Christopher Elbow. It is rosemary and caramel in a white chocolate shell. I like the different flavor combinations that are truly unexpected. I would never of thought rosemary would be used with a chocolate. The rosemary was very strong and offered many layers to the small bite. The use of salt and chocolate is such a perfect match. I am a huge fan of the salty but sweet combination. The “Hannah” from Knippschildt Chocolatier, is a liquid caramel topped with Hawaiian sea salt or I liked the firm "Fleur de Sel caramel". I think my favorite was from the Italian Maglio collection, “Croccante” a crunchy almond praline.

My box of chocolates arrived and I found it to be a treasure chest of inspiring new ideas and tastes. The chocolates are beautiful as well as diverse in flavor and appearance. As the box is quickly disappearing, there is one comment that has stayed constant…”if only we had one more piece like that one!”


"Eating a little bit of chocolate or having a drink of hot cocoa as part of a regular diet is probably good for personal health" -Professor Diane Becker

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Think Big

If you could create a BIG FOOD, what would it be? Your food is so BIG that you will win a Guinness world record for it. I read their website lately. I was wondering what the world’s largest turkey weighed. But, I found there wasn’t anything listed. The only records given in the BIG FOOD category are:

Largest Omelette
Largest Sandwich
Largest Slab of Fudge
Largest Stir-Fry
Largest Tiramisu

I saw the "world’s largest bowl of guacamole" this summer. It wasn’t the prettiest thing to see. But-it was impressive that someone decided to create this BIG FOOD.

I think it would be fun to make the world’s largest bowl of pudding. It would need to be chocolate. Maybe I could make an entire Olympic size pool full of pudding.

I also think it would be fun to create the world’s largest Popsicle. It would have to be one of those “rocket” popsicles-the red, white and blue one. The stick would be 50 feet long and it would have a riddle on it. When the Popsicle melts the answer to the riddle would be revealed.


**Update: On second thought, perhaps the world's largest Popsicle is not such a good idea.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

LA Fruit Carts

Fruit is one of the world’s most perfect foods. It is easily portable, healthy and sweet! When I moved to LA, I went to fruit stands all over this city.

The fruit stands are really little hidden kitchens. I enjoy watching the fruit being chopped and prepared. I named this food as one of my “Top 5 picks to eat before you die.”

The fruit is delicious but the experience is one you will not forget! My recent fruit cart is at Hampton Drive and Rose in Venice. The combination of fruits mixed with the chili pepper and fresh squeezed lime is refreshing. The stands all serve the same or similar fruit. The fruit offered is usually: watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, cucumber, jicama, mango and if you are lucky fresh coconut.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Ohio Chili

It is November and it is time to take out the stew pot! I have been craving chili lately and thought about Skyline chili. It is a style of chili from Cincinnati, Ohio. The first time I heard of it I thought it sounded pretty strange as there is cinnamon in the chili. I have known many people from Cincinnati and they are all crazy about their style chili. The chili is served usually on top of spaghetti noodles and has cheddar cheese and raw onions added on the very top. Or if you want it "3-Way" the chili would also have sour cream. I made up my own recipe version over the weekend. If you would like to give it a try, here it is:

Fer’s Ode to Cincinnati Chili
Serves: 6

2 Pounds ground beef
1 Large yellow onion
2 8 ounce cans of tomato sauce
1 Can tomato paste
4 Tablespoons chili powder
½ Teaspoon allspice
1-1/2 Teaspoons cinnamon
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 Teaspoon black pepper
¼ Teaspoon garlic powder
2 Tablespoons Tabasco sauce
1 Cup water

Lightly brown the beef in a large pot. While the beef is cooking, chop the onion into small pieces. Place half of the chopped onion on top of the beef to get mixed into the beef as it is being browned. Save the other half of the onion for later. After the beef is lightly browned, start adding all of the ingredients above into the pan. Once all of the ingredients are added, mix gently to fold the ingredients together. Cover and cook the mixture for 8 to 10 hours. If you need to leave the pot cooking for the day you can cook the mixture until it is boiling and then place it into a crock pot on low for the day. An hour before serving turn the crock pot to high. Serve the chili in deep small bowls. Sprinkle chili with shredded mild cheddar cheese and the raw chopped onion. If you would like to try it over spaghetti noodles: cook the spaghetti according to directions and drain. Place a small serving of spaghetti inside the serving bowl and then add the chili and fixings on top.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Food Photo Friday!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


A friend of mine recently shared a cookbook with me called “Bill’s Open Kitchen” by an Australian chef named Bill Granger.

The book is great and has many inspiring ideas. One of them is his “bacon curls”. They are very simple to make. The whole time I was making them I was thinking, “Why didn’t I think of this idea first?” It's brilliant. The bacon is wrapped to make the shape of a flower and baked.

Is it too much to say that the bacon looks beautiful? Is that possible? Please see the photo of my flowers above and you decide! The concentration of the bite of bacon is delicious and very addicting. The bites are fun to eat and you tend to forget how many pieces of bacon you are actually eating!


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Can you kick out your carryout?

This was an interesting read.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Eating For One

To only make only one portion of cooked food is almost impossible. I realize that I usually eat most meals by myself except dinner. Dinner is usually my most prepared and thought out meal of the day. I usually cook or do some sort of preparation. The other meals are more simple and don’t require that much work.

My meals I eat by myself are usually the following: I like to eat salad. Salads and fruit are great eats for one. Sandwiches can be a nice meal especially hot sandwiches.

I like to nibble a meal. When I say “nibble” I mean small bites of many things: some cheese, some crackers, a celery stick, a pretzel or two dipped in hummus, some cucumber slices and then maybe if I am still hungry a bite or two from my left-over pasta bowl. How many people do you cook for on a daily basis? If you eat alone a lot what are your favorite things to prepare for yourself?


Monday, November 06, 2006

Joe's Diner

There is nothing like a Sunday late afternoon at Joe’s. It isn’t gourmet. We are talking straight simple diner food. Cheeseburgers, breakfast all-day long and many traditional diner sandwiches.

I think the reason Joe’s keeps me coming back is their shakes and malts. I am from the Mid-West and I know a good shake or malt. I had yet to find one in LA until I went to Joe’s. I asked Joe’s what makes their shakes so special. They told me there was nothing special about them. “We just put the traditional ingredients in and blend it”. I think that is why they taste so good! I love the fact that they serve them in the traditional stainless “mixing can” or “malt cup”.


Joe’s Diner
2917 Main Street
Santa Monica, California 90405
(310) 392-5804

Friday, November 03, 2006

Food Photo Friday!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Bay Cities Deli

Some say it is the “best Italian source on the Westside”. I would have to agree! I often go to Bay Cities to pick up some wine, try a new olive oil or pick up a loaf of Italian bread. The bread is so fresh. Most often when I pick up a loaf it is still hot. I always have fun looking around their wine area. A lot of wine options but rare liquor options too. When I got back from Italy earlier this year I went to Bay Cities to find “Lemoncello”. Not only did they have it but offered a few different brands to try. Bay Cities is the place to find fresh Mozzarella cheese. They are the only place I have found the Burrata cheese that is used in my favorite Heirloom Tomato salad.

The deli is always very busy. You can fax your order in ahead of time if you would like to avoid the wait. I love their hot meatball sub (with extra cheese) or the hot Pastrami. It is a fun shop to browse, as I never know what I might find I’d like to try!

Parking can be a hassle. But-they have a nice parking attendant that usually makes things go a bit smoother.


Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery
1517 Lincoln Blvd.,
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Fax: 310-395-1575

Tues-Sat 9-7 Sunday 9-6 CLOSED MONDAYS

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Food On A Plane

There is a new company that is tapping into a new market. People are always looking for options, right? Sky Meals will deliver made-to-order meals to the airport prior to your departure.

Sky Meals started when their co-founders were coming home from Paris and decided to pick up some food for their journey home. They enjoyed having the food as it prolonged their vacation a bit. They received such a great response from the people around them on the plane for the food. So-they decided to start a their own food business.

The typical meal doesn’t come cheap. It costs around $40.00. They claim that the cost is no more than the cost of a dinner at a fine restaurant (and it includes delivery). They offer meals for kids too. I wonder how business is going with all of the additional security going on at our airports. It is hard to believe that now in the world of "I remember when people use to smoke on airplanes" that in the years to come we might say "I remember when we could eat and drink on a plane".

In regards to the subject of plane food: I came across this website that reviews all airlines. Within each airline review it lists food and drink reviews. It was an interesting read. I like this one on Singapore Air as it had many food photographs. What has been your favorite meal on a plane?