Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Warm House, Warm Heart

This is the aftermath in our kitchen of our house rewarming celebration. It really was not too bad to clean up and I credit the ease of the wrap to the design of the kitchen itself.

This is the thing which we celebrate.

Husband of Food and I spent the last year in the midst of remodel madness. We removed some walls, painted the house top to bottom inside and out, removed a half bath, added a full bath, completely replaced all piping, as well as the electrical and the HVAC (heating, venting, and air conditioning), redid the floors, added a deck, added a two story master bedroom and studio loft space, landscaped the yard, and rebuilt the entire kitchen.

We spent the better part of a year away from our home and most of our possessions. We spent every spare penny we had and then went into a deep and stressful debt. We lost our cat. The pain of a major remodel is difficult to believe until you go through it yourself.

When all was complete it was hard not to see the house like a scene in an old noir film, in cold contrasty grey tones, but as the days fill the space between then and now, the beauty begins to creep back into the walls. Like the in the iconic moment from cinematic history, when Black and White turns to Color as you enter the Land of Oz, our house rewarming popped the color back into our frame.

Many friends, family members, artisans, and craftsmen gave their blood sweat and tears to build this home. Being able to thank those who helped and encouraged us gave us a sense of fulfillment and closure.



Now, what did we serve?


Various Chips and Dips

Mini Pizzas featuring pesto made with Basil from our garden.

A tray of Vegetables and Dip.

A bouquet of Fruit flowers to eat from Edible Arrangements sent by Father of Food and greatly enjoyed.

Deviled Eggs with eggshells gently peeled by the tiny fingers of twin twenty-one month old girls... a preparation so sweet they should be called Angeled Eggs.

Mixed Baby Green Salad with Walnuts, Cranberries, and Blue Cheese.

Tri Tip Steaks and a Tri Tip Roast marinaded in a sauce that included Basil and Thyme from our garden and then Barbequed on the grill outside on the new deck.

Chicken marinaded in teriyaki sauce and then Barbequed on the grill.

Crackers and Homemade Cheese Ball made with my prized Kitchen Aid Mixer, the one that matches the electric green kitchen wall, unused until I found the books while unpacking for the party.

Also made with the Kitchen Aid, a large batch of Oatmeal Cookies

and a large batch of White Chocolate Chunk, Pecan, and Walnut Cookies,

and a Berry Cheesecake Mousse.

The Food was accompanied by an eclectic collection of Beverages.



All was devoured. I hope we had enough to fill the bellies of our guests. I know my heart is still filled to the brim with happiness, living in my warm home.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tip of the Day!

If your recipe calls for
1 cup of strong coffee,
they mean 1 cup of strong coffee, brewed.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

PES

The artist PES mixes up several of my favorite arts forms, animation, craft, and FOOD! Here is the latest PES creation, "Western Spaghetti."



Check out
http://www.eatpes.com/index.html for more. I would recommend the short "Game Over."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Family of Food Cookbook?

I was looking for a recipe for pesto the other day and guess where I found it... on our own blog.
For your convienence, I will list the recipes from the Family of Food Blog so far right here. I have also cleaned up the tags a bit on older posts, so you should be able to find our recipes by clicking on the recipe tag to the right.

Pesto

A Marzipan Cake

Lemon Curd Frosting

Birthday Duck - Duck Cake!

Nann - Traditional Indian Bread from Majula's Kitchen

Mini Strata

Potato Latkes

Recipe for Yogurt

Jewish Soul Food - Traditional Jewish Brisket

Crock Pot or Slow Cooker Brisket

A Lighter Kind of Passover Recipe - Weight Watchers Passover Chicken with Tomato Mint Salsa

Passover recipe - Matzoh Brie

Passover recipe - Sweet & Sour Meat Balls

Gribenes

Matzo Ball-o Loco - a host of Matzo Ball Soup Recipes

Spaghetti alla Caruso

Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean: Curry Powder

More Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean: Gazpacho Recipe

Star Wars Recipes

Tiny Little Recipe: Strawberries and Cream for Breakfast

Another Tiny Recipe: Roasted Sweet Potatoes or Yams

Pâté de Campagne


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pâté de Campagne


In the cooperative beef purchase I posted about a few weeks ago I got a little over a pound of beef liver that I've been thinking about. Beef liver is kind of intense served straight up, but inspired by the fantastic selection of terrines I saw at Bar Boulud last week (I had the beef cheek terrine), I thought I'd put the beef liver to use in a pâté de campagne. Combined with pork and chicken the strong flavor of the beef liver is just perfect.

I was experimenting and wasn't sure where this was going to go, but here's a rough narrative. Terrines and pâtés are great ways to use all kinds of things in the kitchen that don't fit anywhere else. In other words, don't ask what goes into the terrine, you might not want to know, but really it's not so bad.

Using the fine disk on my Kitchen Aid grinder attachment, I ground a little over a pound of boneless pork rib chops and about the same amount of beef liver into the mixer bowl. Since the pork was a bit lean for this purpose (about a 2:1 ratio of pork to fat is about right), and I was using chicken as well, I also put the raw skin of a whole chicken (I said "don't ask") through the grinder with the pork and liver along with about eight large shallots sautéed with two cloves of garlic. Then I added the spices--about a tablespoon of kosher salt, and a quarter teaspoon each of black peppercorns, allspice, thyme, sage, and a bay leaf ground together using a coffee grinder with a spinning blade, and about three tablespoons of bas Armagnac. For another texture and flavor, I added about half a pound of coarsely chopped crimini mushrooms. I threw in an egg to bind it all together, and mixed thoroughly using the mixer.

So how do you know if the spices are right with something like this? Take a little of the forcemeat and fry it up in some butter. So far so good.

I had some pancetta in the fridge, so I sliced it thin and lined a buttered loaf pan with it, and filled it about halfway with the meat mixture (if I make it in a metal loaf pan instead of an earthenware terrine, does that mean it's really meatloaf?--maybe). Then came the chicken. I had used the breasts for rosemary chicken with asparagus the night before, and the skin went into the grinder with the pork and the liver, so I layered some strips of leg and thigh meat into the pâté, filled the pan with more of the pork and liver, and covered it with a buttered sheet of parchment paper, and then aluminum foil to hold in the moisture.

I had at least a pound of ground meat leftover, so it went into the freezer for another day. I could use it to make this pâté again, or maybe add it to a stuffing for something else. I also had the bones and back of a chicken, so that went into the bag of parts for stock in the freezer. If you cook all the time, everything gets used.

Terrines are usually baked in the oven in a bain marie--a shallow pan of water--so I set my loaf pan in a casserole with water and baked it at 350 degrees F until it reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees F--about 90 minutes. I let it cool for about an hour and meanwhile cut a sheet of cardboard to fit just over the pan, and then weighted it down and refrigerated it overnight.

The terrine made its own layer of aspic, and it's been so hot here in New York that I could just leave the pan out at room temperature for a few minutes before unmolding it, and it came out neatly.

Last night I served it for dinner, garnished with strips of roasted pepper and chopped parsley, cornichons on the side, with slices of toasted Ukrainian rye bread and a mesclun salad. Even Grandson of Food loved it. He's nineteen months old, and he's not interested in a grilled cheese sandwich, but he likes pâté de campagne.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Truxton's Short Order

As someone who works at the Howard Hughes complex, I am grateful for any new casual restaurant moving in to the area. Truxton's Short Order, however, is a step up from just any casual restaurant.

Good quality homemade American style dishes are assembled to order at the front counter and then taken out to the covered patio for consumption. I say assembled, because one of their big menu items is a sandwich called the "Your Way" which is completely customizable to your taste. Included in your choices is a vegetarian Marinated Tofu Steak, although a friend reports that this was too oily for her tastes. Menu items such as the Slow Roasted BBQ Brisket and the Slow Roasted Turkey Breast are ready to carve and serve with your choice of sides.


The ingredients are simple, homemade, and healthy. My first dish I tried was the Hughes Bistro. This salad is a Truxton's signature dish and the first item listed on the menu. At first I was a little disappointed with the crispness of the lettuce. It looked a bit wilted to me, but then I tried the salad and ate the whole thing up, leaving not a leaf of that soft lettuce. It was delicious. The butternut squash seemed like an unusual ingredient for a salad, but it was the key feature to this plate. I was pleased with the taste and the nutritious qualities of this meal.
I also liked the choices for sides and beverages.

Truxton's Short Order is my new favorite lunch spot at the Howard Hughes. Try it, it might become yours.

Truxton's Short Order (Open for Breakfast Lunch and Dinner)
Howard Hughes Center
6081 West Center Drive Suite 115
Los Angeles, CA 90045
(310)670-4702

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Just About Perfect

2 Bananas
2 Farmer Johns Hot Dogs
1 Panda Express Mandarin Chicken Bowl
1 Diet Coke
1 Bottle of Water

1 Family of Four

1 Beautiful evening at Dodger Stadium
1 Hit in a nearly perfect game pitched by Hiroki Kuroda.

Dodgers 3 Braves 0

Sometimes, it's more about the Family than the Food.

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