Thursday, February 26, 2009

Spring Flowers Bento


Today I was inspired by spring flowers and the delight that are my children.
We have Almond Butter and Strawberry Preserves on Wheat flowers on a bed of Baby Greens, Honeydew Melon (which the girls love) on which Gerber snack stars are sprinkled, and
Cold Cooked Pasta with Caesar Dressing and cut Grape Tomatoes.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Charcuterie



There is a fine line between a meatloaf and a paté, and there are not many books that can tell you how to stay on the right side of that line, whichever it may be in any particular case. To get a creamy, spreadable paté you need more than an ingredient list, an oven temperature, and a cooking time. It’s all about keeping fat suspended in meat and other ingredients. The technique isn't necessarily difficult, but you need to know it. One of the best books to explain such matters, as well as the methods of making sausage, salami, cured and smoked meat clearly and in sufficient detail for the home cook is Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn’sCharcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing.



People say “don’t ask what goes into hot dogs, you don’t want to know!” But you really do want to know, don’t you? If you made them yourself, you would know, and you would learn a lot about the hot dogs you buy. Why do some franks plump up and split? They probably have more water. If you try to make a moderately lean frankfurter, like the ones you see sliced in the photo above, along with my variation on fresh saucisson de Toulouse in a choucroute garni, the texture might be denser than you expect of a factory made hot dog, and then you realize that commercial dogs must have a lot more fat or non-meat fillers than you would use if you were making them yourself--that is, if you knew what went into them. Or you might decide you like the texture of a manufactured product, but you want a different flavor, and you could choose what spices or combination of meats to use, the amount of water, and the ratio of fat to lean.

And how about that Toulouse style sausage? The photo at the top shows a dried version of the white sausage in the second photo after it’s been hanging for a week. There is no recipe for either of those sausages inRuhlman and Polcyn’s book, but the techniques and general proportions are described, and there are similar recipes, and that’s the kind of cookbook that I like. I got enough information that I could make a big batch of pork filling, stuff half of it into casings for fresh sausage, add one ingredient -- a curing salt obtained from www.sausagemaker.com -- and hang the rest in a cabinet to make a cured air-dried salami. If you have the techniques, you can use whatever fresh local ingredients you have available to make things that you like the way you like them, andCharcuterie provides those techniques, if you want to learn.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Prisoner

Anyone who liked my Blog Post "7 Leias! A Big Girl Gets Inspired by Her Inner Child" will enjoy this "He's No Guac to Me Dead" a post about a Man who made a Han Solo encased in Guacamole. I loved it, but I would replace the guac with a 7 Leia Dip!

7 Leia Dip

Black Beans
Guacamole
Jack Cheese
Salsa
Refried Beans
Sour Cream
Shredded Cheddar

Carefully layer the ingredients in a glass pan and eat with chips!

Freebie on Family of Food!!! Today and Tomorrow Only

Family of Food has a gift for you! Today and Tomorrow only we a

In honor of Valentine's Day, and to publicize the MP3 Downloads you can get on their website, Amazon.com is giving away Gaye.
We are featuring the Amazon banner ad at the top of the page which gives you a FREE drm free MP3 of Marvin Gaye's classic "Let's Get it On".

If you've never downloaded an MP3 from Amazon before, they will encourage you to download their MP3 Downloader, but you don't have to, just click the link that says skip the download and get the MP3.

That's it! Free MP3.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bento Stars

My Daughter asked for a star themed lunch. This is what I made...
Almond Butter and Strawberry Jelly on Squaw Bread, sandwiched between Star Crackers.
Peas with Mozzarella Star
Star cut pears
and Star Puff Snacks from Gerber

People say I have too much time on my hands to make these lunches for my kids. Well I do not. I am a full time working mother of two year old twins; does it sound like I have a lot of free time? The thing is that I have to make lunch no matter what and making lunch takes some amount of time anyway, so what's a few minutes more to make something I know the girls will enjoy. Making this lunch probably took me 15 minutes. Having cookie cutters helps, being flexible helps, buying cool shaped foods at the grocery store helps. I don't go in to the boxes with a grand plan. Mostly I just try to make lunch a little fun for my girls. Hopefully, by sharing this with you, you get some ideas to make food fun for someone you love.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Hugo's for Brunch

I had a weird experience at brunch this Sunday. I went to one of my favorite neighborhood places for weekend breakfasts, Hugo's in Studio City. Hugo's is known for quality, healthy homemade food and a wide variety of teas. I don't go much for tea, but I love healthy food. When I was, for health reasons avoiding red meats (for about a decade), I loved the fact that I could order almost anything on the Hugo's menu without the worry of eating a mammal. Hugo's is very accommodating to full Vegetarians and Vegans as well.

Because of the varied yet ever so good for me menu, I like to try different things when going to Hugo's. This time I tried an oatmeal frittata. The menu said it was steel cut oatmeal folded into a frittata garnished with cottage cheese, applesauce, and strawberries. I like oatmeal and eggs... I love strawberries and cottage cheese... This sounds like it could be a really good thing. Well, I can't say this dish was bad, but it wasn't good either, It certainly missed the mark for my favorite breakfast of all time. It was like something the chef might have experimented with one hungover morning in pursuit of a full stomach and a good bowel movement. I can attest that I was blessed with both after this meal, but I have had better tasting food than this at Hugo's. The service was excellent, the pre-meal rolls, delish, and the company I shared the meal with, a true treat. I highly recommend Hugo's especially to those who like to eat from a more enlightened selection on life's menu, but I would stay away from the Oatmeal Fritatta, after all, maybe you can have too much of a "good thing."

Hugo's Restaurant
12851 Riverside Dr
North Hollywood, CA 91607
(818) 761-8985

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