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 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. 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. . . . :(
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