Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I <3 gadgets!

My Husband knows more about coffee than you do. It's true. He actually took me to a "cupping" one day. Those with the funny looks on there faces, I was once you. I will now explain what a cupping is. Coffee grains are steeped in a large mugs with no handles that look like cups. The grains are then gently spooned off of the top of the cup, and when all visible signs of grains are gone, your cup of coffee is complete. It's a far cry from my stainless steel brewer, and a lot more time consuming. But for the conossiour it is worth it. Okay, so for those not as into a cupping, THIS IS SOOOO AMAZING. A hand held esprsso on the go maker. Yes it does exist! If any of you are looking for a gift for me, here it is on a silver platter. Can you imagine being in traffic with this device! :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Upcoming Cooking classes!!!!

Mark your calenders! Due to the success of Cooking 101, more dates have been added! Classes fill up quickly and there is a 7 person limit to each class. If interested please e-mail Lydia Williams at Chef4L@aol.com. Information is below:

Date: May 12th 2009 7:00 P.M.-9:00P.M.
Class: Recession Dining!
Inexpensive, and tasty dishes. We will discuss and sample which foods pack the best flavor and give you the biggest bang for your buck! Gourmet doesn't always have to be expensive. We will also feature fantastic wine pairings recommended by a local somollier for $10.00 and under. Yes it is possible!

Date: May 26th 2009 7:00p.m.-9:00p.m.
Class: Which sauce goes with what?!
Sauces can be a little intimidating, but it shouldn't be that way. Lydia will show you step by step methods on making a good sauce, and what meats/fishes pair best with them!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

sad meal. SAD.

I'm not one to use my blog to vent. But tonight is deserving. My lovely friend Karla aka Koko and I had a fabulous adventure today. The day started wonderful with the two of us sneaking into the San Francisco Jewelry mart and making some pretty fabulous purchases. On our way out, we decided to stop at a fabric shop in Berkley, but first we would eat. I see this Thai place that looked pretty modern and attractive from the outside, ask Karla if she wanted Thai, and she agreed. I had not had Pad Thai in sooooo long, so I was super excited to have it. I was super disappointed. It was hands down the worst pad Thai I've ever had! It tasted like straight fish sauce! Lucky for me Karla ordered Curry, which was good. But now that I'm home and thinking about the meal, I realize how sad I was about my Pad Thai. Don't you HATE when a meal expectation isn't even slightly met? It got me to thinking, what's the worst dining experience you have ever had??! Tell below in comments! This wasn't AT ALL my worst. Just unsatisfying. :(

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pizza inperation!

First of all, sorry for the lack of blogging the past few days, I am still arranging photos from our wonderful cooking class on Monday night. Blog to come! My lovely students did a wonderful job, and all in all it was a lot of fun! OK, so today's topic: Pizza. I got the oddest craving for it last night. Like STRONG craving. First thing my Husband asked me when I told him I wanted Pizza was "are you PREGNANT?!" The answer to that is no. At least not yet. . . . Anyways back to food! When any craving of mine is fulfilled it makes the food all the better. We did a pick up last night, but when making your own Trader Joe's offers great dough. For $.99 fresh dough, plain or herbed, is at your fingertips. One day, I had a client in the middle of a party tell me that her five year old wanted to know if I could make her a pizza. I loooove a good challenge, so I asked her If I could run to get the dough. She said yes, and when I came back I fired up the grill and that kindergartner got the best peperoni pizza she's ever going to have. (Hey, it was some running around for me, so I'm gonna give my self two pats on the back for it!) Get creative with it! As long as your grill is hot enough, the dough won't stick I promise. If you prefer the traditional method of baking a pizza that's swell too. I love making a breakfast pizza. Take your dough, roll it out, season with oil, white cheese and ham. cook halfway and right before the crust browns (the funnest part of all!) crack an egg on top. place back in the oven until the egg as finished cooking. Sound crazy, but tastes amazing and looks even more. So get cooking, and for your viewing pleasure: below is the future of the pizza box! Yay for helping the envornment in such a simple way! :)

Friday, April 24, 2009


At culinary school I had the great privelage of being trained by a master chef. The qualifications to be a master chef are pretty intense so any training I recieved from him, I knew would be worth the rediculous tuition fees. He began the first day of class with this :
"Today, as new chefs, you are going to cook the most difficult product to master in the world." I thought I was going to pass out. I was already intimidated and now I get to embarrass myself by cooking something that even he thinks is hard. I was expecting him to open the box on his counter and it be turtle meat, or ostrich. . . . anything exotic. Well world, It was an egg. Yes an egg. I soon came to learn that most chefs will tell you that if you can properly execute the cooking of an egg, you can cook anything. The egg is delicate, temperamental, and can be ruined in a matter of seconds. It deserves more respect in my book than any other food item.

I love cooking poached eggs. A simmering, (not boiling!) pan of water with just a little vinager will create the perfect poached egg. Poaching leaves a creamy yolk, and is much healthier than frying. On top of a bed of fresh spinach with a balsamic vinagrette. Yum! So get eggy with it. ;)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

soup in a snap!

For whatever reason, my husband and I got into this weird debate about how he hates tomatoes but loves tomato soup, marinara sauce, pizza. . . . . You get the point. I thought it was weird. So of course like most times I talk about a food it gets me hungry! Tomato soup and a hot grilled cheese has to be a favorite pastime of mine. Not really fond of straight out of the can, so I have gotten a little creative with ways to make it fast and easy. Whenever I make a tomato based sauce for pasta, I always freeze some for later. When that tomato soup craving arrives, I pop it out and get crazy. With about 4 cups of sauce I bring it to a simmer. I add 2-3 cups of chicken stock. Season well. I then place my concotion in the blender and VOILA! Tomato soup in a snap. If you are one to cut corners, a jar of tomato sauce or some from a local restaurant will do. Enjoy friends! :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Short Blog, great ending.

Can Anyone tell me what this dish is? Let's test your culinary skills people. Make me proud! ;)

Monday, April 20, 2009

The powers of buttermilk!!

I felt like Paula Dean reincarnate. Deep fried crispy buttermilk chicken. The most obvious question arose while I was cooking last night. "Lydia, why is buttermilk chicken better than other deep fried chicken?" Answer: The buttermilk not only has fabulous flavor for marinating, but it has chemical properties in it that force the chicken to remain tender. And that it was. My marinade consisted of garlic, chili oil for a little heat (hence the weird pink color) and buttermilk. Cover all your chicken pieces and marinate for at least 8 hours. Then I combined flour, salt, pepper, and a little bit of cornstarch. I took my marinated pieces and shook them in the flour mixture. Heat a skillet with 1/2 inch of oil and fry away! We are going to the beach today, and having it cold. I'm so thrilled. I loved cold fried chicken, I hope i'm not the only one. . . . ;)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Let's get cooking

Come join us for a fun filled night of learning how to cook something new and tasty! Chef Lydia Williams wants to help you learn basic Techniques to throw a classy (and best of all easy) cocktail party. With a few simple preparations, and some savvy knife skills you will be a star in the kitchen. For $45.00 you will be provided with the following:
* A printed copy of all your recipes
* Printed lesson plan to guide you through the evening
*wine for pairing
* Tasting of all the cooked items (There will be lots!)
* A 2 hour lesson taught by Lydia Williams
We do have a limit of 12 persons per lesson and we are already filling up quickly! All lessons must be confirmed and payed for by April 24th 2009. Cost is $45.00 per person. You can pay through pay pal, by clicking the link above! :) If paypal does not work for you, email me at CHEF4L@aol.com and I will send you an invoice.

When?! April 27th 2009

Time: 7:00 P.M.

Jeff's Kitchens
2259 San Ramon Valley Blvd.
San Ramon, CA 94583 US

A sweet game. . .

Do you like soccer? Better yet, are you passive aggressive?! Do you enjoy kicking things and being slightly destructive? If you answered yes to any of those questions, and enjoy ice cream then read on friend! I'm sure this contraption has been on the market for a while, but I guess i'm a little behind the times in that department. As far as i'm concerned this is hands down the best invention next to electricity. It's called The Play and Freeze ice cream maker. You simply place all your ingredients on the inside of the ball, add rock salt and ice to the outer layer of the ball, then screw on the cap. Kick that sucker around for 10-15 minutes and you have yourself a delectable treat! The combination of food and play will always win in my book. :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Snobby Popcorn and a movie! YUM!

I looooooooove popcorn. I am going to go ahead and be a snob and let you know that you will never see pre-packaged popcorn in our home. I'm slightly obsessed with the fresh kernels. Another snobby like of mine is Truffle Oil. But not just any Truffle oil. . . . The one with the higher truffle oil ratio to olive oil is my personal preference. For those that are really lost right now as to what a truffle is I will explain. A Truffle is all things perfect in a fungus. Sounds gross but if you tasted you would understand. These rare mushrooms are found deep in the ground and grow beneath the earth. The traditional method of finding these little morsels of joy is with a pig. Yup a pig. For whatever reason pigs are able to smell truffles better than most other animals and humans. My reasons for explaning both Truffles in my popcorn blog is their fabulous combination. Just a small drizzle pumps up this otherwise simple snack. Okay, let's go even more over the top. A glass of champagne. I have let you into my guilty indulgences so what are yours?! Tell me below in comments!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

~Springy garnishes~

So after my stint at the Ritz Carlton, one of my favorite cooking tips was the use of the edible flower. Nothing is more beautiful than the garnish of a few petals. It's amazing what it can do to a plate! It's also amazing that flowers are edible. I say that because not many people are aware of this fact. This site offers a full list of beautiful flowers that are safe to eat. My personal favorite is the pansy. It's peppery flavor adds a fantastic dimension to meat dishes, as well as flowers. Being that it is the time of the season to plant, I encourage you to do just that! Get one or two of these great flowers and you will have garnish and flavor year around! If you are not the best cake decorator in the world, a plain white buttercream decorated with flowers makes a masterpiece in seconds. So enjoy your newfound floral friend. :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009


With the warmer weather upon us refreshing desserts are all the rage. A great treat with half the calories of most is especially attractive to me! want one that gives you a little caffeine buzz?! Alton Brown of the food network has provided us with this recipe that satisfies and creates the kick we all might need every once in a while.

2 cups lukewarm espresso or strong black coffee
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons coffee flavored liqueur
1 teaspoon orange or lemon zest
Combine all ingredients and stir until sugar melts. Pour mixture into 9 by 13-inch metal pan and place on level shelf in freezer for half an hour. (Mixture should only come about 1/4-inch up the side of the pan.) Remove and use a dinner fork to scrape any ice crystals that have formed on the side or bottom of the pan. Return to freezer and repeat scraping every 20 to 30 minutes for 3 to 4 hours. Once mixture is thoroughly frozen, fluff with a fork and allow flakes to "dry" in freezer another half hour before serving. When served, the granita should look like a fluffy pile of dry brown crystals.

Scoop into goblets and top with barely sweetened whipped cream, add additional citrus zest if desired.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

shaken not stirred. . . . . . .

It's not so much the drink itself, but the art of making it that I love. The Martini has long been a drink affiliated with class, sophistication, and my personal favorite: fun. I did a little research and found this snippet of history curtousy of wikipedia:

During the days of the California Gold Rush, in 1849, a miner struck it rich and was returning to San Francisco. The miner, arriving in Martinez, the first large town he hit, wanted to celebrate. He walked into our leading bar and asked for Champagne, a beverage which was not available. However, the bartender told him (the miner) that he had something much better than Champagne and served a drink which the bartender said was a "Martinez Special". The miner liked the drink and ordered for the house. After he woke up, some time later, he proceeded on to San Francisco where he immediately went to a prominent bar and ordered a "Martinez Special". The bartender of course had never heard of the drink and asked the miner how it was made and where he had heard of the drink. The miner said that the drink was made with one part of very dry Sauterne wine and three parts of Gin, stir with ice and finish with an olive and was made in Martinez. The bartender tried the drink himself and liked it and of course had his friends drink it. Over a period of years the name Martinez became Martini.

How great is that?! My personal absolut (no pun intended) favorite martini has to be the sidecar.It's ironic because this drink is not technically a martini, yet it seems to always be served in it's glass. Here is a recipie for my newfound fav drink!
3/4 oz triple sec
1/2 oz cognac
3/4 oz lemon juice

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Spring is HERE! It's time for snap peas and lamb. I know for most that may not be the first thing that comes to mind during this season but let me enlighten you on the glory of this pairing. Snap peas still in their pods are delish. So good in fact, I usually finish half the bag on the way home from the grocery store. But once paired with some caramelized rack of lamb, a food coma is sure to follow. A wonderful chef taught me one of his favorite broiled lamb recipes on my 15 minute break at work. Simple, classic, and obviously memorable. The recipe is as follows:

One Rack of lamb sliced into single rib portions ( evil I know to pre-slice, but trust me please!)
For Lamb:
1 TBS fresh rosemary chopped
1 Tsp fresh sage chopped
Olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

For snap peas
1 LB. snap peas shell on, blanched
1 Tsp. fresh lemon zest
1 Tsp. Garlic thinly sliced
1 Tbs. Oil

Lamb: Season both sides of lamb segments with oil, salt, and pepper. Prep broiler to low. Place lamb on sheet pan lined with foil and greased. Broil for about 4 minutes on first side. Take out lamb and turn to other side. Broil for 1-2 minutes. After broiled take out and season with chopped rosemary and sage. I have found that if I do this earlier, the herbs burn. Place back under broiler and finish cooking to your liking. I like mine rare, so about a minute. Remove and let rest.

Peas: In a saute pan on medium heat add your 1 Tbs of oil. Tilt pan so all the oil puddles to one side and add your garlic to the oil. This puddle will prevent burning of the garlic. Once Garlic is browned add snap peas until warmed through. Finish with lemon zest and voila!

Enjoy your springy meal! Hope it adds some spring to your step. ;)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

munchbox lunchbox

So yesterday I was kindly asked by my mother to fill in for her at the office. I love being active, on my feet and moving around! This is pure torture being here alone in a cubical and doing nothing culinary related. But, to make matters worse I did the unthinkable. I forgot my lunch. Being the only person here, and not being able to leave to get a tasty meal caused my mind to drift to memories in childhood when forgetting your lunch was the equevilant to crisis and temper tantrums where expected. Allthough I do feel like kicking and screaming, I have decided to instead be much more mature about the situation and do a little research on the good ol' lunchbox. www.lunchboxes.com offers adorable and green ways to transport your food in a very delightful manner. Have fun! Maybe if I had one like this, I wouldn't be having such vicious hunger pains. . . . :(

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Land of the free!

Whoever said, “there is no such thing as a free lunch” did not do his homework. With a little digging, finding a complimentary meal isn’t as hard as you may think. Some may require a little bit of elbow grease on your part, but at least your bank account remains untouched. With a few of these tips, you may actually end up with money!

Social events and festivals are a great way to fill your belly without working to hard for it. Small artisan businesses actually want you to try their new bbq sauce on hot dog or burger samples. With the high foot traffic, getting seconds or thirds will probably remain unnoticed. Want a whole meal? Offer to help for free in the booths. Meeting new people, probably getting a tan, and dinner sounds like a great day to me.

Want to get paid to eat for free? Become a taste tester. There are food labs all over the U.S. that want your opinion, and are willing to shell out up to $50.00 an hour for it. Large corporations rely on these companies to find out if their food is even worth pushing on the general public. Be aware that you have to fit specific requirements for that test. Age, tax information, and where you live may be asked of you.

Hit up your local farmers markets for fresh goods on their last leg. Farmers often have produce that cannot be sold for regulatory reasons. If you are willing to take a little risk than ask for what they can’t sell. If they say no, than move on to the next willing soul. Most people with a heart would rather see it go to you than the trash.

So step out of your comfort zone and eat on less than your budget for once. With these ideas and little creativity on your part, you might even be able to eat “on the house” permanently. Free just tastes better anyways, doesn’t it?


This blog is about to get viral! whoohooo! crazy things in store for the future, and I want to tell you soooooooo badly. but alas I need to keep my keyboard quiet. I hope you enjoy it! ;) Here's a hint. . . . .

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Espelette. . . . Espewhat?!

That's what my roommate said to me this evening while I was explaining what was going into my butternut squash soup. I learned about the spice Espelette through a fellow chef friend of mine who works at a hotel in Manhattan Beach, CA. He told me if I could ever find it, to pick it up for you don't need much of it and it has a crazy complex flavor. Most of you know i'm alllll about that. Espelette is a pepper cultivated in France. It is primarily used in Basque cuisine. Now their Cuisine deserves a few articles within itself. The reason for it's growing popularity is the mild flavor, but the peppery heat doesn't hit your palate until the very end. I knew it would be perfect in a butternut squash! The sweet flavor of the vegetable deserved a little heat. I purchased the spice through a company called whole spice. They are located in Peteluma, CA and offer so many different spices at very reasonable prices. I highly recommend getting their Harissa Blend as well. Spices are so fun so don't be shy with them. Give it a chance! :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

ohhh saucy..........

I have noticed that when I cook a sauce, and people are watching, there is a trend in the commentary of those observing. "I can never make a good sauce." These tend to be the words of choice. Sauces can be complex. but I have found that the simple ones tend to still pack a ton of flavor. If you have just baked a chicken or even seared off a piece of beef, those leftover goodies at the bottom of the pan should be treated with the same respect as the meat itself. Take your pan and place over a medium heat. add a little flour to thicken those goodies. This Will thicken your sauce and create a base. Add some good white or red wine, and butter. Maybe some finely chopped shallot? Season with salt and pepper. Remember to add a little more salt than you usually would. Keep in mind that your dish is going to absorb a lot of that seasoning. So while it may taste slightly salty on the spoon, your plated chicken might tell you otherwise. For you foodies feeling a little braver, below is a recipe for a wonderful apple and pinot sauce. You stay saucy friends. ;)

1 small yellow onion roughly chopped
1 celery stalk roughly chopped
1 granny smith apple peeled, cored small dice
2 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
1 bottle of pinot
1 cup of chicken stock
butter to taste

Saute onion, garlic, and celery until slightly translucent. Add apple, and continue cooking until all is soft. Add 1 bottle of your favorite pinot noir. Let reduce by half. Add 1 cup of chicken stock and bring to a simmer for 15-20 min. Take all, and emulsify or place in blender. strain. Place back in pan and add about 2 tablespoons of cold butter for sheen. This sauce is wonderful on pork, or beef dishes! Enjoy! :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's It!

Today I have had the most random of cravings for one of the bay area's little treasures. An It's It. I can't exactly leave work to go get one, so I thought I would do the next best thing and search the internet for a photo. Well that didn't ease the craving at all. In my photo search however, I did gain a lot of knowledge about this tasty morsel. In 1928 a hero (At least I think he is) sandwiched vanilla ice cream in between two oatmeal cookies and dipped it in chocolate. It's It was exclusively sold at San Francisco's Playland-at-the-beach for over 40 years. When playland was torn down, It's it was gone with it. In 1974 they were resold again and took off to remain a part of every child's happy memories. I love foods that have memories attached to them, and It's it was always the treat my father bought me at the end of our days at the lake. So do you have and great food memories? Share in comments! Gosh I'm hungry now. . . .

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I am so happy these wonderful people exist

You have no idea how many large catering events I have done, and had to throw away copius amounts of food due to legal reasons. Knowing that this is going on every day across the country is dishearteneing. Well the wonderful people of City Harvest have lifted that pain a little. They come, pick up leftover food, and deliver it to those in need. What a beautiful concept! The excess food goes to soup kitchens, senior centers homless shelters and beyond. We don't have one where I live, but I will donate to their cause. Here is their website for more information if you feel a little tug on your heartstrings. Go to www.cityharvest.org.

You put the lime in da coconut

So this is possibly one of the best crowd pleasing recipes I know. I love the sauce because sweet and spicy never contrasted so well. Have fun making it, and let me know what you think in comments!

Coconut shrimp
1 1/2 lb fresh shrimp (love florida pinks, but they are kinda expensive so whatever you find will do!) peeled, devained, tail on
4 whole eggs
3 Tbs cornstarch
2 cups flour or more if needed
2 cups coconut flakes
2 cups unseasoned breadcrumbs
1 cup olive oil (fatty but so worth it!)
salt and pepper to taste

Dipping sauce
1 half small red onion rough chopped
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/2 jalapeno pepper seeded and rough chopped
1 bunch of Cilantro
1/4 cup of lime juice

Combine flour and cornstarch in seperate bowl. The cornstarch is like the "glue" for your coconut. It will help the batter and the coconut to adhere to the shrimp. In another bowl whisk eggs until the yolks and whites are combined. place coconut flakes and unseasoned breadcrumbs in a third bowl. I like to create a little assembly line. Place all three bowls next to each other. Now this part might get weird but I have faith in you! Dredge (lightly dust) shrimp in flour and cornstarch mixture. Place shrimp in egg mixture. Place shrimp in breadcrumb and coconut mixture. Place oil in hot pan on medium heat. The oil should cover about 1/4 of the shrimp. I never said this was healthy. Place shrimp in pan and like mom always said: DO NOT TOUCH! let the crust develop before you move them around, otherwise you will have a big battered mess on your hands. You will see the coconut start to brown underneath, and thats your signal to flip. Place finished shrimp on plate lined with paper towels to remove excess oil. Now its time to get saucy! Are you ready for the directions to a perfect sauce all in one line? Combine all ingredients in Cuisenart mixer and pulse until combined. Done!

There is a method to his madness

Chef of the day:
What does it take to be the most innovative chef of your time? I bet sleeping in a cot on your restaurant kitchen's floor was the last answer you would give to that question.  Chef Ferran Adria has been captivating guests for years holding the lead in "molecular gastronomy" cooking. His famed restaurant El Bulli is open only six months out of the year. The other six months of the year, he spends perfecting his recipes.  He is quoted saying "the ideal customer doesn't come to El Bulli to eat but to have an experience." With a 30 course meal, I wouldn't expect less! Noted for being obsessed with the use of science (N2o is his flavor of choice) in his cuisine has caused much controversy.  
When I was in Culinary school, I became quite enamored with his book El Bulli 2003-2004. Now it wasn't so much for his cooking, but his style and blending the most unlikely of flavors. With items like frozen whisky sour candy, white garlic and almond sorbet, and tobacco flavored- blackberry crushed ice you can't help but be surprised.   A person willing to step outside of the norm for his passion certainly deserves my respect.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

viva la recession!

So like most people, I am really having fun in this recession.  No really I am! I am typically not one to back down from a challenge. Let alone a culinary one.  Being that I don't really have much selection in my grocery shopping any more due to the lack of dollars in my bank account, I have decided to embrace my economy and have fun with it! Low and behold, my food actually tastes just as great as it did before. Here are a few tips to help your pinch. 

*Farmers markets are typically the freshest and least expensive place to find produce. So quit those huge one stop shops and embrace your local purveyors. With the money you save, by a big bouquet of golden sunflowers for your bedside. Look! you just saved money, made better meals, and have a little greenery to brighten your mornings for at least a week.

* Coupon it up! This clickable site offers great national coupons, shows your grocery stores weekly specials,  and offers the best online deals.  I figured out a way to get my husband's favorite $5.99 "designer" orange juice for just $.99. It's worth at least a look.

*Don't hate on canned goods. I know you foodies out there are squirming at the thought, but my friends desperate times call for desperate measures and I have no shame. Canned  black beans, tomatoes, and corn, last a lot longer than most fresh goods. So although straight from the ground might taste better, 10 for $10 sounds a little better. 

So go ahead and throw yourself a fab dinner party. I mean, you have the money to do it now right?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I dunno about this one. . . .

Visiting my Husband's Grandmother in Napa is always quite the experience. I have never met anyone with such a great sense of humor as well as someone who is always on the "cutting edge" (no pun intended) on new kitchen gadgets. You name it, this woman has got it. From electronic wine openers to the perfect garlic peeler.  One thing, however,  in her treasure trove will always confuse me on whether it is funny, creative, or downright weird. So tell me below in comments! What do you think of the voodoo knife holder?

The slower the better.

With the cold weather out It reminds me of all things comfy, cozy, and warm. Stew has got to be one of my favorite meals. It encompasses all things that I love. It's Healthy, it makes your home smell delicious for hours on end, it's super inexpensive,  and it's quick to make. Well at least the making part is. The longer and slower you cook your stew the better for sure.  I have also noticed that I don't think I have ever met anyone who hates a good meaty stew.  Perfect for entertaining a crowd, or when your snuggled on the couch with your puggle watching HGTV all day.  So google a great recipe and try something a little crazy for me. add a little cocoa powder in the mix. It gives a great dimension of flavor as well as a "je ne sais quoi" to the meal. For your stovetop (or crockpot!) pleasure. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tis' the season . . . .

Winter is coming to a close, and spring is soon to come! I feel February is a pretty random month for seasonal fruits and vegetables, but it does have some sweet surprises.  

Citrus for example is at it's best.  Mandarin's right now are super sweet and yield a lot more juice than usual. During my trip to Costco (don't judge), I came across a large box and decided that with my purchase  I would get a little crazy and creative with them alll this week. 

Last night I made a mandarin, and chinese five spice simple syrup.  A simple syrup is just that. simple. It's equal parts water to sugar, boiled down  and reduced.  I boiled 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, 1/2 tbs of five spice, and 1/2 cup of my freshly squeeezed mandarin juice.  With this little concoction I made some pretty fun martinis. But that's not the end of it. tonight I'm going to use it in a  french toast batter.  I hope this inspires you to go out and get yourself some great citrus. squeeze the fun out of it. Ha! 

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Liquid love <3

With Valentine's day behind us, I began to reflect on what exactly I love.  So I compiled a mental list of things I knew I could not live without. Of course there was the obvious such as family and friends, but what about the items that make each day more "lovable".  Thus my blog about coffee.
Now I am faaaaarrrrrr from a morning person.  So naturally a legal stimulant is a fabulous excuse to become one right?  Caffine used to be the only reason  that I would partake in my daily cup of Joe. But, as I became more aware of the sweat and toil that goes into creating a great bean, that quickly changed. 
 We have so many options now, but this past month I was introduced to (forgive me for being so cliche) Starbucks casi cielo.  Wow wow and wow.  The name means almost heaven and it holds truth.  The bean was first roasted exclusively for only the finest restaurants in the world, but is now available for your pleasure.  
I hope this blog encourages you to sit back relax and take part in a bit of liquid love today! 
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