Thursday, January 21, 2010

This Blog has Moved

This blog has officially moved.  Please go to to find current and past posts.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Change is Gonna Come

I'm sorry that this blog has been quiet for the last week.  I have so many new recipes to show you.  However, I'm in the midst of moving both of my blogs to a new home.  The new  site will allow me to better present both my recipes and my photos.  The moving process should be finished in the next week.  This blog's new home will be  I'll let you know as soon as the new site is up and running and once it is I'll have lots of great new recipes and photos for your viewing and cooking pleasure.  More soon!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Just Fudge

Grandma Sofia's Fudge

I used to sit in my grandmother’s kitchen in Goleta, California and stir and stir this fudge.  I remember complaining about the constant stirring.  I didn’t complain about the end result.  If you don’t cook the marshmallow/sugar mixture long enough the fudge won’t set.  You’ll have mushy fudge that cannot be sliced.  It won’t be tragic, you just won’t be able to give them away.  You’ll have to eat them standing at the fridge with a spoon.  Really not such a bad outcome...  I made a batch recently with organic marshmallows (yes, they really make such a thing).  My sister thought that it “didn’t taste like Grandma’s fudge.”  Apparently if you want the “real” 1970s version you must use non-organic marshmallows.  Pick your poison.

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 package best quality semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ cup stick margarine or unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 ounces evaporated milk
20 regular sized marshmallows (not the eency-teency ones)
2 cups sugar

Place first four ingredients into a bowl.
In a heavy saucepan put the evaporated milk, marshmallows and sugar. Cook for six minutes AFTER the mixture starts to boil, stirring constantly.

Pour the hot marshmallow mixture over the nuts and chocolate chips. Mix until blended. Pour mixture into a greased 9x9 pan. Refrigerate until set. Slice and serve.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Stuffed Artichokes

What a way to begin!

There is a wonderful, homey restaurant in Santa Barbara call Pan e Vino (no connection to the one in LA). They have been serving an appetizer like this one for years. We liked it so much that we begged my father to try to replicate it at home. This is his version.

4 artichokes, washed and trim the leaves - with a very sharp knife cut off about 1 ½ inches off of the top of the leaves. With kitchen scissors remove the sharp portions of any leaves that still have tops.
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon onion, finely minced
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons best quality extra virgin olive oil
juice of half a lemon

Boil all four artichokes until tender, approximately 30 minutes. I boil artichokes by placing them in about ½ inch of water in a large covered pot. Each artichoke should rest on the bottom of the pot. They should not be stacked on top of each other. Add a small amount of lemon juice to the water and the artichokes will maintain their color. Once they have been boiling for 30 minutes pull a leaf off and taste it. Make sure it is tender before you stop the cooking process.

Take two of the artichokes and trim off all of the leaves and the fur. Finely chop the artichoke hearts.

Take the remaining two artichokes and remove all center leaves and fur down to the heart. Leave the exterior leaves attached. Spread the leaves outward so that there is a center cavity.

Blend the tomatoes, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice in a small bowl. Fill the center cavities of the two artichokes with the filling, and spread the filling into the spaces of the surrounding leaves.

Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gotta Have S'More

I know thus far this food blog has been devoted to things you can prepare at home.  However, this weekend I had the most incredible dessert and unfortunately, or fortunately - depending on your perspective, you'll have to buy this one.  I was at the P.S. Arts fundraiser "Express Yourself" and one of the generous vendors who was there giving away her baked goods, was Carmen Lindner, the CEO of a new company called "Gotta Have S'More."  She makes a product called a S'Muffin which is basically a S'More in the shape of a muffin.  It was really good.  Seriously.  A nice crunchy graham cracker crust, semi-sweet chocolate in the middle, and toasted marshmallow on the top.  Stuff this good should be illegal.  If you're interested check out her website, Gotta Have S'More.  Don't blame me if you gain ten pounds.  Oh, and she's already agreed to come to Planned Parenthood's Shop for Choice and Planned Parenthood's Food Fare.  Is she great or what?

Simple Salad Dressing

We eat a lot of salad at my house.  My husband and children truly love salad.  I know most people buy salad dressing.  It’s one of those things that just seem silly to make at home given all of the options that are available in the stores.  Let me just make a counter-argument for one moment.  Simple vinaigrettes made with high quality olive oil and high quality vinegar just cannot be beat.  They taste qualitatively better than any commercial dressing.  Go to your neighborhood market and buy one bottle of better quality extra virgin olive oil and one bottle of better quality red wine vinegar and give this dressing a shot.  I think after you try it once, you’ll be hooked.  You can buy nearly the best olive oil on the planet and your homemade dressing will still be cheaper than commercial dressing. 

1 C best quality extra virgin olive oil
C best quality red wine vinegar
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp dijon mustard (or dry mustard)

Dissolve the salt in the vinegar.  Keep stirring until all of the salt granules have disappeared.  Add the olive oil and the mustard.  Whisk until blended.
The dressing can be kept in the refrigerator for many weeks.  Take out 15-30 minutes before using.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of my favorite cookie cookbooks EVER is the Mrs. Fields Cookie Book, currently out of print but available used at for $2.26 – and let me tell you it will be $2.26 well spent.  Log on and buy one before they are gone forever.  Yesterday we made her perfectly chewy, fabulously tasty peanut butter cookies.  The only change I make is that we feed our family chocolate obsession by adding high-quality bittersweet chocolate chips to the batter.

Mrs. Fields Peanut Butter Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1 ¼ cups white sugar
1 cup salted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 cup creamy peanut butter (we used Kirkland Organic Creamy Peanut Butter)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups best quality semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (optional but SO GOOD)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In a medium bowl combine flour, soda, and salt.  Whisk until blended.  Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer blend together the butter and sugars until it they form a grainy paste.  Add eggs, one at a time until just blended.  Add peanut butter and vanilla and mix on medium speed until the batter is light and fluffy. 

Add the flour mixture and blend at low speed until just mixed.  Do not over-mix.

Take the bowl out of the mixer and hand blend in the chocolate chips – well, not actually with your HANDS, I use a large spoon, but you knew that – right?

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  If you find the batter is too soft to handle you can put the bowl into the fridge for 15-20 minutes first so that the dough hardens a bit.  It will make forming the cookies a bit easier.  These cookies SPREAD so leave lots of room between them.  Bake for 18-22 minutes until they are slightly brown around the edges.  Do not over-bake or they will be crunchy, rather than chewy.  Transfer immediately to wax paper to cool.

I find that if we bake a lot of cookies, we eat a lot of cookies.  It is some sort of immutable mathematical theorem.  My solution is that we bake only eight cookies and we divide the cookie batter into small containers and freeze the remainder.  This recipe will produce 2-3 containers for freezing in addition to the eight you bake right away.  Enjoy.