Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A hair raising experience...

And so this is what it comes to. Day three and we've already gone round the bend.

I've gone back and added a few explanations to the previous posts. I have a new phone and I am working on how to post from the phone. I got the "photo" aspect down, but for some odd re son anything I write gets lost between phone and blog.

I am working on a campaign for January. It is a 7 day on set photo shoot. I've worked about 5-7 days in prep on my own, then one day on set prep (the location is very dirty and abandoned feeling. Thank god we're not closer to Halloween.) and then I will have one day of post. So this project has just taken over my life. I used to like my life. My life didn't involve so many stairs.

Since the campaign doesn't come out until January, I can't show you or tell you all of it. But I did get permission to show you some backdrops. No, I won't be mugging for the camera in them, stop asking.

Since I am not home all day with the dogs, we have had to ask friends to check in on them and we've hired a daytime dog walker. It costs me money to leave my house, thankfully I also make money while gone.

The location is so dirty I can't wear flip flops. My feet are unhappy with me. I shower when I get up to go to work, I shower when I get home. My ankles are black with dirty. I feel like Pig Pen from Peanuts.

Don't get me wrong, I am feeling very fulfilled and creative. Today (Tuesday) is the day of rest. Three days down, four to go. I can't imagine what I feel like on Saturday but I am certain I will sleep on Sunday.

More random photos will follow without explanation. But at least now you know why.

Monday, September 29, 2008

One step too far...?

We are shooting in an old (FILTHY) warehouse. This door was boarded up at the bottom, but for the look we wanted, we removed the plywood. Now its a deathtrap just waiting for someone to walk off and plunge to their death two stories below. I know, it take at least four storied to actually kill you but it would still really hurt.

When we are done taking the photos I promise we put the plywood back.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cha Cha Chandelier-O-Rama

I love this. Chandelier, chandelier, chandelier...

I can also tell you that my friends had a day bed like this and it was less than comfortable to perch on for cocktails. Form follows function... ha! But I still think it looks marvelous.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I've got some big balls

This is the set of "Behind the scenes" in the dressing room.

Though I do not own those giant disco balls, I know where to find them. I also know how to use them so back off...

Boss in a can

I took this photo at 99 Ranch Market in Van Nuys, where the seafood is so fresh they have signs warning you the crabs will pinch and the fish is still swimming. I kid you not. Personally I like a little distance between me and the murder of my food. Just sayin'.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wicked - ahem, The Musical.

As busy as we are I decided this was the right time to go see a show! I got a good deal (half price!) on tickets to see "Wicked" at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles.
Let me give a little bit of back story. We saw the Lion King in New York, and then saw it in Los Angeles. It was a tad disappointing. "Why?" I wondered, "doesn't the same talent pool exist here in LA?"

When Wicked came to LA I was gun shy of another disappointment. I'd just go see it in New York I told myself. Then our neighbor apparently saw it. I don't know for certain, he was a nutter and we tried to not engage him in any way shape or form. But one day, out of the blue, we were in our backyard when some crazy musical theater nonsense came blasting out of his house and over our fence. Being predisposed to disliking him, I took an immediate dislike to whatever he was playing. It was Wicked. It was LOUD. Me no-likey.
Now that was over two years ago. Everyone I know has seen it. Most of them more than once. Some of them more than 5 times. Some of them in different cities. I think they are nuts.

I read the book "Wicked" and I didn't just dislike it, I hated it. Yes, I finished it. But no, I did not like it at all. Well written. Well crafted. NOT MY STYLE.

When I heard that the Los Angeles production will be closing in January I decided, well heck, I may as well see it while it's here, clearly I am not getting to New York soon enough, and I got us tickets.

Lyle was apprehensive. "We're seeing what? That music the nut job was playing so loud over the fence? Uh... I guess if you're forcing me, I'll go."

Well shut my mouth. We both liked it!
Certainly the Gin & Tonics prior to, and during intermission helped.

The performances we saw in Los Angeles, though unique to the performers themselves, were still quite evocative of Kristin Chenowith and Idena Menzel who originated the roles on Broadway. Only in as much as I have seen clips of their performances on TV.

Upon learning that I had popped my "Wicked" cherry, the "Wicked heads" all wanted to know what my favorite number from the show was. I hadn't really thought about it, but I can say with all clarity that what I said to Lyle during the show was the I loved the number "Popular".

At our performance the role of Glinda was played by Erin Mackey and Elphaba by Marcie Dodd. Marci Dodd was the standby for her role but I never once felt underwhelmed. And while I feel that Los Angeles audiences can sometimes leap to their feet for what I felt was good but not great performance, I had no problem rising to the occasion on Tuesday night. It really was a great show.

Now for a little too much information: As a child I watched "The Wizard of Oz" as often as I could. Whenever it came on TV, whenever I played at a theater. But without fail, even in my 20's, one part of that movie haunted me in my dreams. Those damn Flying Monkeys. And though I know we had come to see the musical based on the same story the thought of those monkeys never crossed my mind... until they appeared on stage... YIKES!!! (to be fair, I am the same person who saw the Musical "Titanic" on Broadway and was so sad at the end because I had hoped they would focus on a happy ending where more people lived.)

Next up, 9 to 5 the musical on October 14th. I hear it's phenomenal!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I have been busy. Boring busy.

I am working on a photo shoot for a corporate campaign that doesn't come out until January so I can't really share much about it. But I promise to show you when I can.

I've got a week of lead up prep. I've been knee deep in lingerie and women's shoes. Oddly, I still find a moment or two to run over to men's shoes and check them out. Okay fine, and buy a pair.

Then I have 7 days of shooting at a warehouse in downtown LA. I've seen the site and I guarantee I won't wear my flip flops next time. FILTHY floors.

All of this means that anything I would normally need to have ready during these two weeks needs to be done by Thursday.

Sorry, this space may be sparse for a bit.

Interesting thought I've had about the blog - recently a friend commented that lead such an interesting life. I realized that my life is interesting by omission. Some stuff you may have missed:

After those grand dinners the dishwasher runs at least three times.
It usually runs three times during the day of prep as well.
Those cute puppies on the blog poop a lot and it gets cleaned up as well. I have learned just when to breathe in and hold my breath as I stoop to scoop.
I watch a lot of tv. All of it recorded on my Tivo. It's my quiet time at night.
I woke up at 5 this morning with my head too full.
Don't give your dogs steak bones as a treat. They have both been puking all night. Boiled over ham bones seem to agree with them much more.

I'm sure there is a ton of stuff I could dull out with, but I just don't want to spoil the magic.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Our niece is in Japan for ten days and is blogging about it, Dreaming In Red.

Normally I haven't read her blog because we live in the same house and that seemed odd. But since she emailed me and told me she decided to blog while in Japan and that she was using photos (photos always get me) I dove in.

I've added her link on the right hand side, but just for her tour.

This is her 3rd or 4th trip to Japan. She lived there and taught English for 9 months a few years ago. I think she is reincarnated from somewhere in Japan. She has an natural ease and affinity for all things Japanese.

So, check her out! Dreaming In Red

Friday, September 12, 2008

Shrimp on the barbie

Bon Appetite-O! For last weekend's Sunday meal we had Shrimp on the barbie, gnocchi and a plum tart tartin.

But first, I didn't know where to put these pictures. Mid week we also had shrimp on the barbie. The photos turned out nice, so I decided to show them to you as well. Our mid-week meal was a light affair. Fresh shrimp, cleaned then skewered on a rosemary stick with peppers and onion, seasoned with salt and pepper.
Served with a side of sliced heirloom tomatoes layered between a buffalo mozzarella (made with water buffalo milk not cow's milk - there's a difference) then topped with a chiffonade of basil and chopped black olives, salt and pepper.

Without further ado, on to the weekend.

Lyle's menu called for homemade gnocchi which he kept trying to get out of making and I kept telling him he had to make just to see if he could. We had already purchased some frozen gnocchi from Trader Joe's in case they failed.

In keeping with my policy of not re-printing a recipe that isn't offered on-line already, this is where I found the adaptation of today's recipe and here it is (Lyle enjoys listening to Melinda Lee on the radio on weekends):


2 extra-large eggs
2 cups, all-purpose flour (plus extra for rolling out the dough)
1 pound, whole milk ricotta – drained if wet
3 tablespoons, extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Beat the eggs together in a small bowl. Place 2 cups flour, 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and the ricotta in a large mixing bowl. With a dinner knife in each hand, cut the ricotta into the flour. When the flour and ricotta are combined, make a well in the center and pour in the eggs.

Use a fork and, starting in the middle of the mixture, incorporate the eggs into the flour and ricotta. Knead the dough with your hands briefly, just to bring it together while being careful not to overwork it.

Shape the dough into a ball, and place it on a lightly floured cutting board. Cut the ball into four pieces, and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.

One by one, take each piece of dough out from underneath the towel, cut it in half, and roll it into a 3/4-inch-thick rope on a lightly floured cutting board. COOK’S NOTE: The amount of flour on the board is very important: if you have too much the dough is difficult to roll, and if you don’t use enough, the dough will stick to the board.

Cut the ropes into 1-inch-long pieces, and sprinkle a little flour over them. Using your thumb, roll each piece of dough over the back of the tines of a fork, leaving an indentation from your thumb on one side and the markings from the fork on the other.

Plunge the gnocchi into the boiling water in batches. Once they rise to the surface, cook them for 1 minute more. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a baking sheet or platter. Drizzle the cooked gnocchi with the olive oil, and toss to coat them well.

Gnocchi completed and set aside to add to...

Chanterelles, Sweet Corn and Sage Brown Butter

1 1/2 cups, fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup, extra-virgin olive oil
7 tablespoons, unsalted butter
3/4 pound, chanterelle mushrooms - cleaned
1 tablespoon, thyme leaves
1 tablespoon, sliced fresh sage leaves
3 cups, fresh corn kernels (from about 4 ears)
2/3 cup, diced shallots
1 recipe ricotta gnocchi* – blanched (*recipe follows)
1/2 cup, chopped flat-leaf parsley
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the breadcrumbs with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Spread them on a baking sheet, and toast 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden brown. [Set the toasted breadcrumbs aside.] If the mushrooms are big, tear them into bite-size pieces.

Heat a large sauté pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and heat another minute. Swirl in 1 tablespoon butter, and when it foams, add the mushrooms, half the thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a healthy pinch of pepper.

Sauté the mushrooms for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they’re tender and a little crispy. Don’t be tempted to move them around in the pan too much in the beginning: let them sear a little before stirring. Transfer the cooked mushrooms to a platter.

Return the pan to the stove, and heat it on high for 1 minute. Add the remaining 6 tablespoons butter to the pan, and cook for a minute or two, until the butter starts to brown. Add the sage, let it sizzle, and then add the corn, shallots, the remaining 1/2 tablespoon thyme, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and some freshly ground black pepper. Sauté quickly, tossing the corn in the hot butter for about 2 minutes, until the corn is just tender.

Add the blanched gnocchi and toss well to coat with the corn and brown butter. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt, and add the mushrooms. Toss to combine, and heat the mushrooms through. Add the parsley. Arrange the gnocchi on a large platter, and shower the toasted breadcrumbs over the top.

This is probably where I should mention that the recipe says it serves 6, and there were just three of us for dinner. Lyle and I had left overs twice later in the week so technically that would 7 servings.
For tonight's purposes Lyle divided the skewers by item to get more uniformity per item. You know, sometimes you want your peppers cooked more but the shrimp is already done and so you compromise and get over cooked shrimp and under cooked peppers. Not this way.
The gnocchi was harder and easier than Lyle had thought it would be. He complained while dong it and then when finished said, "That wasn't so bad." But oh my, the taste. The taste was worth it. The gnocchi alone was delicious. Light olive oil with some salt and pepper. Consider that good and done. But then we added the chantarelles, corn and sage brown butter. We decided it could have used either more mushrooms or less corn. And I could have had more of the delicious sage in brown butter. Well just the term brown butter made you know I would like it.

And now for dessert... Plum Tarte Tatin. Lyle started cooking dessert and when his caramelized butter and sugar mixture went awry he announced that he was throwing it all out and there would be no dessert. That's when I took over.


I hate to fail. Why do I keep subjecting myself to these experiments in the kitchen? Why, when Lyle - who is taking a professional cooking class - gives up, do I think "Oh well, I could still do that better..." Why do I share the rest of the tale with you even though I think we all know going in to this, that it is not going to end well?

Plum tarte tatin with creme fraiche

3 pounds plums, halved and pitted
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 sheet frozen all-butter puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
1 cup creme fraiche

1. Toss the plums with 1/4 cup sugar and let sit at least 30 minutes. Drain, and discard juice or use for another purpose.
2. In a 10-inch cast-iron or other oven-proof skillet, heat the butter until foaming, then add 3/4 cup sugar. Cook 6 to 8 minutes, swirling the pan often, until caramel is a deep brown. Remove from the heat.
3. Arrange the plums, cut side down, in tight concentric circles, in the pan, overlapping them slightly if necessary.
4. Return the pan to a medium-low burner. Cook the plums without stirring for 20 to 30 minutes, or until soft. Allow to cool completely. (For best results refrigerate for at least 2 hours.)
5. When ready to bake the tart, set the oven at 375 degrees. Remove the puff pastry from the freezer and leave to thaw just until you can handle it. Cut an 11-inch circle from the pastry, pierce it in a few places with a fork, and place it on top of the plums, tucking in the edges. Brush it with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
6. Bake the tart for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the pastry is deep golden and cooked throughout. Cool it on a rack for 30 minutes.
7. When ready to serve, invert the tart onto a serving plate, readjust plums if they have fallen out of place, and serve with creme fraiche.

Adapted from "Sunday Suppers at Lucques"
Recipe from an article at Boston.com "what I cooked on my summer vacation"

I swear I followed the recipe.

The caramelizing of the sugar also went poorly for me. I kept going. The plums felt very ripe. I kept going. The puff pastry didnt' go all the way to the edge. I kept going. I followed each and every step of the recipe. At the appropriate hour I pulled out my tarte et, Voila! The picture looks amazing!!!
We looked at it and breathed in the aroma of baked fruit, sugar and filo dough... and we all agree, "I'd eat that." Lyle dips a spoon in on the side and says, "I think the sugar stuff got burnt. It's not horrible, but it's definitely burnt."

Well shit.

We go back to finishing our meal and I let the tarte sit in the pan to cool and set up.

Dinner done, the half an hour "setting time" completed I decide it is time to flip the tarte and see what will happen. I make everyone at the table promise to stay out of the kitchen and let me live or die on my own with this flipping tarte. I take a large platter, place it over the saucepan and manage to get the whole thing turned over intact. (By the way, the recipe called for using a heavy cast iron pan and if I added that to the weight of the dessert how on Earth would I have managed to flip it over? The saucepan I used was probably a fourth of that weight and I could barely hold all that together and flip it.)

Luckily I did all of this next to the sink. Even before I removed the inverted saucepan the liquid was seeping out and began to run all over. Once I removed the pan all hell broke loose, a gusher of stickiness flooded my platter, my hands and my counter space, my everywhere. I broke into giggles. It looked like shit!
I tried to pour off excessive liquid, but the tarte slid fast and hard for the edge. I righted my platter, gathered about 6 tea towels to sog up the on going onslaught of goo and made my way outside to the dining table. Along the way I left a trail of sticky tears that later looked as if I had sliced open my hand and bled my way to the table.

I served it with ice cream because I am not a fan of creme fraiche.

It wasn't as bad as I thought. We all finished our servings. We all agreed it wasn't the best dessert we've had, but then again, we all finished our servings.

At Lyle's cooking class on Wednesday they were doing desserts. Lyle got to choose which recipe he wanted to do and he made.... wait... you know where I'm going don't you?

Apple Tarte Tartin.


He said he wanted to figure out how to make that damn dessert and that no dessert was going to beat him. See, someone else likes to win.

And how did his turn out? Not very good.

Do not expect a Tarte Tartin at my house anytime soon.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hi there, Hawaii?

I was talking to Carolyn about flying the other day about her fear of flying. I asked how she would ever get to Hawaii if she didn't fly. And her response was "Hawaii?"

It got me to thinking about where we go when we go to Hawaii. We've been to Waikiki and done Honolulu. We've gone to Maui and skipped the road to Hana because it was raining. The place that keeps bringing us back for more is the Big Island, Hawaii. We love staying on the Kohala Coast outside of Kona (you know I had to look up how to spell all that).

We have always stayed at the Hapuna Beach Prince Resort. We love it because there is nothing to do. Except of course eat, swim, eat, snorkel, eat, walk, eat, lay in a hammock, eat... did I mention we eat?

We missed this year because the Earthquake in 2006 damaged the sister property of the Hapuna Beach Prince Resort, the Mauna Kea. We were there just after the quake and the damage wasn't too awful but the hotel decided to close and renovate to come back safer and stronger. They will be opening next January. The bad part was it pushed everyone who would have stayed over there, to the hotel normally stay in. Too many people. Too much demand. No specials!

In trying to explain to Carolyn what is so special about Hawaii to me I found this movie from our trip in 2005:

They don't show up very well in this resolution, but try and see if you can spot all the rainbows...

How many times do you think I need to type the words "Hapuna Beach Prince Resort" and mention how much I love it there before they contact me and offer me a special rate?

I love to stay at the Hapuna Beach Prince Resort!
I love to stay at the Hapuna Beach Prince Resort!
I love to stay at the Hapuna Beach Prince Resort!
I love to stay at the Hapuna Beach Prince Resort!
I love to stay at the Hapuna Beach Prince Resort!
I love to stay at the Hapuna Beach Prince Resort!
I love to stay at the Hapuna Beach Prince Resort!
I love to stay at the Hapuna Beach Prince Resort!
I love to stay at the Hapuna Beach Prince Resort!
I love to stay at the Hapuna Beach Prince Resort!



February is a lovely month for travel...


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Lost & Found

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was working for a retailer helping to clean out their visual warehouse. This got some of you got very excited. Maybe it was the idea of me doing actual labor. For those people I will mention that in the morning I would shower before I went to work, change my shirt at lunch time and shower as soon as I got home because I could not sit down in my own house due my complete filthiness. Still excited?

But that is neither here nor there, I know what you are really curious about is "What did I get!?" Here is a sampling:

A box of drapes that used to cover dressing room doors. These will look good with my house exterior color. I have yet to open the box to see how big (or small) they are. I do know they are heavy so there must be quite a few, or just one really, really large drape.
An old French door. I needed this for the privacy screen on my deck . I pulled it out of the garbage at the warehouse.
A carpet remnant. I thought it was a whole carpet. I was tricked into taking it thinking it was something good. But I haven't thrown it away now either, have I.
A large basket. I thought this was an amazing find... until I took everything out of it at home to discover...
an enormous hole in the bottom. So it sits outside.

LARGE down filled pillow forms. There is one more, but it back by the dryer. I put every pillow form in tht dryer for a dirt dust off tumble on the highest heat setting to kill anything trying to live in it. That last one has a hole in it and has to be fixed before it can tumble. It can not join its friends until after because I wont' have cross contamination in my down sector.

Next I will need LARGE pillow covers.

Perhaps in this fabric? I saw this fabric on the left, and turned it down. Then I saw this pillow (on the right) and grabbed it saying, "Any more of these?" At which point my friend pointed out I could make my own from the fabric I just threw in the trash pile. Huh? That gold edge really threw me. I took the fabric as well, but have no intention of sewing my own covers. They would never look this good.

Active life in a garage

Metallic finished table in silver/gold tones, VERY HEAVY.
In the box on top a 16' x 10.5' carpet pad. I do not have a carpet that size. I have two carpets that are 8' x 10'. Great, now I have a project to cut down carpet pads.

I already had the dog.

Antique clock fixture, missing clock. Lyle says it looks like its from Beauty & The Beast.

Great, now I have to re-think my entire Christmas trim...

Four padded bench seats in gold leather

My friend graciously pulled them for me when she heard they were referred to as "Hermes Gold Leather Cushions".

Two crystal chandeliers. I found these in a very large pot buried under (seriously) two tumbleweeds. They were twisted together and I was told to toss them out. I did. Right into my car. I've already stripped both of them of their crystals, painted them out chrome, redone the crystals on one and added black lampshades. It now sits on the floor in the house waiting for a very sturdy hook to hang it from the ceiling.
This one is kind of hard to see. So you may want to click on the photo to see it bigger. The photo shows 3 of the 9 painted panels of a Polo match (perhaps in Palm Springs?). The panels aren't "exact" matches end to end, but they were certainly painted to go in an exact order. Discovering that order only took about an hour on Sunday, arranging, rearranging, waling panels back and forth... The panels are about 3 feet tall and go for about 20 feet. I will need a new house to fit these down one continuous wall.

Now normally I crop all the photos I use to just show you what I think is most important to the story. But here I left them mostly "as is". I walked into my garage at the end of day 3 to dump more crap from the warehouse job and was taken aback. I had forgotten what a display hag's garage looked like! It had been years since I had a bolt or two of fabric or wallpaper leaning in the corner. A narrow path through the boxes to put away another frame with broken glass, chandeliers hanging with snorkel fins and masks, a table with three legs... Holy Shit! It had been years since I had amassed so much fabulous useless crap...

Monday, September 08, 2008

A jarring experience

My neighbor has a fig tree. Right over the back fence. Which means that I have a fig tree spilling over my back fence. And I mean that, SPILLING. I'm not complaining, but as the figs ripen, they drop and make a nasty gooey mess all over the yard that attracts insects and is a mess.

So I decided to do something with them. The first year the tree didn't do much and I picked all 20 and made some jam. THE second year the tree did a lot more and I made more jam and some desserts.

This year it seems out of control! I still have jam left over from last year in the freezer. I don't have much more room in my freezer for more jam. What will i do!?!

I decided to do some home canning.

First things first I had to visit four stores. To find jars. This is Los Angeles not Mayberry R.F.D. but I found them. And in a fit of over-reaching, bought two boxes of small jars for a grand total of 24 jars.

Here is the full recipe from Epicurious.com

1/2 lemon (unpeeled), thickly sliced, seeded
1 1/2 pounds fresh ripe figs, halved (about 4 cups)
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
2 1/4 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Finely chop lemon in processor. Add figs. Using on/off turns, process until figs are coarsely pureed. Transfer mixture to heavy large saucepan. Add 2 1/4 cups sugar, cinnamon stick, 2 1/4 teaspoons minced ginger and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves. Simmer until mixture thickens to jam consistency and candy thermometer registers 200°F, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick. Divide hot preserves among hot clean jars. Cover tightly and refrigerate up to 2 months.

And then where I went with it...

I am not a big fan of ginger, so I dropped that from all the batches. I didn't have fresh ground cloves, so I substituted a splash of "pumpkin pie spices" which had cloves and cinnamon already in it. I still did the cinnamon stick however.

In the first batch I took out the half lemon and put in a whole orange (seeded) peel and all. It is tasty in the winter with pork chops, very fall flavorful.
Mixed Berry Batch on stove

Second batch I had some strawberries about to turn bad. I cleaned them up and since I was adding so much more fruit, I did a whole lemon (seeded) peel and all, then added about 2 pints of strawberries.

Third time at the pot I had blackberries. I've been craving blackberries for a whole month so I had them right here on hand. Again I did a whole lemon since I was adding so much more fruit. I only had a pint of fresh blackberries, so I added a bag of frozen. "MORE! MORE!" was my rallying cry.

(two days later I did a fourth batch of the figs left int eh fridge and any fruit left in the fridge which were blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. I call it my medley.

Hot fruit in pot, I placed my recently sterilized in the dishwasher jars in a cake pan and poured boiling water around them for a hot water bath. I placed a funnel in the top and began my ladling. Jars full, I placed the lids on the clean jars and used my heavy leather barbecue gloves to pick up the jars and give them the tightening of their lives. I repeated this process until I was out of jars.
Hot water bath with funnel

The jars were placed on a cooling rack and we spent the next 2 hours listening to the delightful "pop" of each lid being sucked down to a perfect tight seal.
Orange, Strawberry, Blackberry

Since I put all of this in JARS why is it called CANNING?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sunday Supper 02

I think kicking this post off with the above photo tells you a lot about the meal. Grilled bacon. Did you see that? Bacon on the barbecue? I probably don't need to mention, but I will anyway, that it set my mouth watering like a dog waiting for dinner that had been delayed for 2 days.

Tonight's meal starts off with: Soft-shell crabs with lima bean salad, grilled bacon and cornbread, from Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin (pg 127).

First things first, you'll need to make the cornbread, grill your bacon. (drool....) and clean and cook your soft-shell crab (or have the place you bought it clean it as well).
The crabs are dredged in flour, seasoned in pepper, then fried in vegetable oil.

The cornbread is sliced and given grill marks on the barbecue and topped with arugula.

The dish is built on the plate and topped with a mustard creme fraiche. We couldn't find fresh lima beans so we substituted fava beans... you know, they are my fava-rite!

Then came the main course. For this Lyle was winging it combining his own prefer ed recipes and tastes. A seared Ono fish steak, Parmesan pudding and an avocado, golden beet, onion composed salad.
The salad is pretty self explanatory, the fish is one of my favorites to order in Hawaii, "I'll have the O NO!!!!" I know, hard to believe. The Parmesan Pudding is, as described by Lyle, like scallop potatoes without all those annoying potatoes.

I found this version of the recipe here at "cookin' in the 'cuse":

Parmesan Pudding

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk (or low fat milk works great too)
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat a medium pot over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the butter, and when it foams, whisk in the flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and cook for about 5 minutes, being careful not to let the flour burn. Slowly pour in the milk and cream, whisking constantly to incorporate it. The butter and flour will seize up and get pasty first. Continue whisking vigorously as you add the liquid, and the mixture will become smooth. Cook a few more minutes, until warm to the touch. Remove the pan from the heat.

Whisk the egg and egg yolk together in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle the eggs into the cream mixture, whisking continuously until combined. Stir in the cheese, and season with a heaping 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pour the mixture into an 8x6-inch (or equivalent) baking dish, and cover tightly with foil. Place the baking dish in a roasting pan, and add hot water tot he pan until it comes halfway up the outside of the custard dish. Place the pan in the oven and bake about 1 hour, until the pudding is just set.

And just to let you know, if there is any left over (that's a big IF) it re-heats really well the next day.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Weekend Wieners

It was a quiet weekend around our house. That was nice.