Monday, April 30, 2007

A Blue Gin Martini

Recently, I had my family here for a visit and we picked up some cheese stuffed olives at the farmer's market. If you haven't tried these stuffed delights, go and get yourself a jar. They are delicious on their own and fantastic in a gin or vodka martini.

The first time I had a blue cheese stuffed olive was in a gin martini at Raw Bar and Grill in Wrigleyville(Chicago). Since then, I have been on the search to find these olives and/or make them for myself. The good news is, they are easy to make and you can also find them readily available now at most markets.

A Blue Gin Martini

2 1/2 ounces Bombay Sapphire Gin
1/2 ounce Dry Vermouth

Pour ingredients over ice into a shaker. Shake. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a blue cheese stuffed olive on a toothpick.


Friday, April 27, 2007

It Was The Year 2000...

Strawberries as large as Apples.

Americans will be taller by one to two inches.

Oranges will grow in Philadelphia.

Ready-cooked meals will be bought from establishments similar to our bakeries of today.

This is an interesting read: Predictions for the year 2000.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

People Food Noises

When I was little, my sister use to sing to her food. We called it singing. She would have food gripped in hand and would start singing as her hand was coming towards her mouth. It went something like this:

Yum, yum yum yum, (pause) YUM, yum, yummy, yum, yum....

I can still hear her doing it. It was hysterical. What a wonderful thing to be enjoying the pleasure of eating. Life moves so fast that I often wonder how many of us take time to enjoy our food. I like to think that I stop to enjoy my food but anyone that knows me will attest that I eat fast. I want to give food the attention that my sister did. I want to relax and focus on only what is in front of me and enjoy every bite.

People "food noises" are interesting things. They are so personal and wonderful to hear. I guess my sister tuned me into them as a child and now as an adult I find it humorous to hear people as they appreciate their food. I like to hear the different words people say to express appreciation: "Mmmmmm", "Wow...", "Oh my GOD" or maybe it isn't just a verbal expression. My husband wiggles when he is enjoying his first bites at the table.

What do you find yourself doing when you are happy with what was just placed inside your mouth? I usually find myself closing my eyes and slowly taking in each movement of my mouth as the food is slowly absorbed. Generally, I don't make many noises but I might offer a "Oh my God" once in a while!


Monday, April 23, 2007

You Are What You Grow

There was an interesting article in the New York Times today. The article starts with the question: "Why is it that today the people with the least amount of money to spend on food are the ones most likely to be overweight?". I thought I would touch on a few points.

The article describes eating on a budget is to eat badly and get fat. "Processed foods are more “energy dense” than fresh foods: they contain less water and fiber but more added fat and sugar, which makes them both less filling and more fattening".

These problems begin with agricultural policy.

There is a food bill that needs to be rewritten with the interests of eaters. For quality of food and not quantity of it. There are people who think that food should just be as cheap as possible, no matter how poor the food quality would be. This cheap food costs more than anyone can imagine. Artificially cheap food depletes our health, the land, animals and our economy. Don't you miss life when it was simple?

I encourage you to read the entire article.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Over The Weekend: Kids for Kids Walk 2007

I volunteer for a non-profit organization called Madisons Foundation. After I had the opportunity to meet Marcy Smith and her daughter Madison a few years ago, I knew I wanted to be part of this special cause. Today we had our Kids for Kids Walk. It is one of the fundraisers that we have during the year. It is a day of eating (hence why I have to share it!), laughing, balloons, face painting, playing with lizards, to celebrating the victory of the finish line. It's a day that will make a difference in the life of families across the country.

Madisons foundation is an anacronym for Moms And Dads In Search Of Needed Support. They are dedicated to improving the quality and quantity of information available to parents of children with rare, life-threatening diseases, and to facilitating effective communication amongst parents, physicians and medical experts.

Marcy Smith started this foundation when her daughter Madison was diagnosed with a tumor that was so rare that no information or support was available. The information out there was written for doctors and not parents. She needed help so she created a foundation that would help parents like herself facing these horrible challenges.

Their website is designed as an online community where parents have access to valuable data resources about rare, life-threatening diseases in children, as well as to other parents in similar straits. Their fundraisers keep this website up and running.

It was a good day. A day of hope and a day of fun!


Friday, April 20, 2007

Fer Food Friday

***Fer Food Fridays are a weekly post sharing an internet photo find or a special shot we recently created. We want you to share too! Please feel free to send in your funny food photos or internet finds!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Eat The Music

There is a restaurant in Britain that is serving up an iPod with their food.

This article, I read this morning says that Chef Heston Blumenthal thinks that the Apple music players will help heighten the flavor of a new dish they have called "Sound of the Sea". To go along with the dish, the diner will listen to a recording of breaking waves. Blumenthal talks about a series of tests that he conducted, revealed how much sound enhances the sense of taste.

What an interesting time we live, where food isn't the only thing we eat. It seems that we continue to look at ways to enhance our eating experiences outside of creating better food!


Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Tale of the Giant Leek

I am going to start a story and I thought it might be fun if everyone chimes in and adds to it. So-this is how we will make this work...I will start the first paragraph and then each of you should post a comment and keep the story moving along. Hopefully-as each comment is added, the story will grow, one comment at a time until someone gives it an ending or I do. We will have to see how it goes!

Ready? Go!


The Tale of the Giant Leek

Once upon a time there was a leek named Len. Today, he had missed his school bus and was quite upset. You see, he isn’t just an ordinary leek. He is big. Some say even giant. This problem has followed him everyday of his life. If the bus is crowded, he is too embarrassed to duck and shift his way through to find a seat as everyone points and stares. One bully named Elephant Garlic always calls Len names like “Bulk Head” or “Leaky”.

Len tries to make himself appear smaller. He had horrible posture and makes himself slump in order not to tower over his friends.

Len finally arrived at school, placed his things in his locker and ran to his first class. The last thing he needed was to be late. He took his favorite seat in the back row and waited for his home room to begin. Ms. P had just arrived and was busy writing today’s assignments on the chalkboard.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Since My Last Confession...

I have been working on salad dressings lately. I finally found one that can be one of my staples. It is this lemon juice vinaigrette. I made it over the weekend for a simple salad of red leaf, green onions and strawberries. It is easy and fresh!

Juice of Lemon Vinaigrette

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme Leaves, Minced
1 Clove of Garlic, Minced
3/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground Black Peppercorns

Combine olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. Shake well when ready to serve. Serve at room temperature. Store covered in the refrigerator.



My jelly jars are so fantastic as my container of choice to make and store the dressings. The sealed cap makes it super easy to shake the mixture and be done!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

An Asparagus Tart

Asparagus is in season right now. It was everywhere at the market this weekend. This is an easy recipe that can be made in less than an hour. I made it for Sunday brunch but paired with a salad it would make a great light dinner. Pastry dough is a great back drop for creating your own masterpieces.

Asparagus and Cheese Tart

1 frozen, puff pastry
2 Cups Shredded Gruyere Cheese
1 Pound of Thin to Medium Asparagus
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil (a drizzle)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Follow the instructions on the package to thaw out pastry sheet.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Sprinkle flour down on work surface and roll out the pastry sheet to form a rectangle. (I made mine about 8" x 16". This size worked well with the size of asparagus I had).

Place the formed dough on a cookie sheet. With a knife score the edge of the rectangle about one inch from each side. This will form your outer crust. With a fork, poke inside the scored crust to allow the outer crust to puff in the oven but keeping the center a flat surface. Pre-cook the dough for 15 minutes. Pull out of oven to assembe the tart ingredients.

Wash and prepare the asparagus trimming the ends at least by an inch. Trim it to the proper length to fit within your designed rectangular shape. Place cheese at center of crust and along the rectangular length. Add salt and fresh ground peppercorns. Place each asparagus piece on top of cheese. You will need to alternate between the top and the bottoms of the piece of asparagus to allow the asparagus to better sit on top of the tart. After the tart is assembled, drizzle olive oil on top of the asparagus. Bake for 25 minutes.

The tart can be served immediately or is great served room temperature.

Serves 4.


Monday, April 09, 2007

Stuffed French Toast

I had leftover Easter day bread and decided to make stuffed French toast. When I lived in Chicago, there was a breakfast place called "Toast". They had the best mascarpone cheese-filled French toast. This was my inspiration.

I started with a banana in my food processor bowl. I pulsed it 2-3 times. Add 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla, 2 Tablespoons Cane Sugar, 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon, 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg and 16 ounces of Mascarpone Cheese. Pulse the mixture 5-6 Times.

Slice the Challah bread into one inch slices. Make a filling pocket by slicing a piece of bread at the center. Don't slice it all the way open-you just want to make a three inch slit at the center to slip the filling inside each piece of bread.

Take a small spatula or knife to spread the filling into each slice of bread. Don't make it too thick. Try to spread the filling as evenly as possible throughout the inside of the bread. Once the bread is filled, patch the slit by running the spatula/knife over the opening and scrapping of any remains of the filling. Repeat process to each slice of bread. The filled bread needs to be refrigerated for an hour or so to set. To make this process easy, stack the filled pieces back into the bread bag and seal it with the bag tie.

When you are ready to prepare the toast, crack three eggs into a bowl. Add about a 1/2 cup of milk. The quantities of milk and egg might differ depending on the amount of bread you are using. I made one loaf of bread. You want enough of the milk and egg mixture to completely coat the bread so much that it is dripping.

Pre-heat your griddle and at the same time, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place each piece of filled bread into the egg and milk mixture. Coat each side thoroughly. Grill each side to golden brown. After each piece is grilled, place slices into the oven on a cookie sheet. Bake the pieces for 15-20 minutes to allow filling to warm.

Add hot syrup and enjoy!


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Spring Break

Fer Food is on Spring Break this week! See you next Monday!!