Sunday, June 19, 2011

SD Zoo

I love my G12 Canon. I love my EOS Rebel SLR and I will never divorce it, but I am definitely having an affair with the G12. I cannot believe the pictures I can get with an "automatic". The zoom and macro capabilities are awesome too. The animal pictures were all taken VERY far away and settings are just on automatic. Kimmi is mad that I ordered her a kids meal when the sodas are so very small (yet cute!)

Lime coconut cake from Gourmet

I have a ton of recipes clipped from my favorite, now extinct, cooking magazine, Gourmet, that I still miss it terribly. I've never hit a bad recipe. Key lime Coconut cake is another in the pile that I hadn't gotten to but knew it looked wonderful. I decided to try it this week and it was wonderful especially at the start of the summer season. First, toast some coconut... Mix up the batter and bake which is lovely and aromatic of lime. I went with the rum and made self rising flour from scratch because there was none in the pantry.

Top with the lime glaze and coconut...

Then, it will be gone in no time! It was delicious and loved by all with those wonderful coconut and lime summer flavors. The crumb was light and tasty! Another (post-mortem) score for Gourmet. Can't we resurrect it please? And put Bon Appetit out of its misery as a sacrificial offering? Any mag offering Gwynneth Paltrow on the cover as a cooking goddess (and her recipes are frying zucchini and tossing with pasta) deserves to be released.

The recipe which can now be found on

Key Lime Coconut Cake Gourmet March 2008
by Melissa Roberts
Yield: Makes 8 servings

Active Time: 20 min

Total Time: 2 hr
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1 tablespoon grated Key lime zest

2 large eggs

1 3/4 cups self-rising flour

3/4 cup whole milk

1/4 cup fresh Key lime juice, divided

1 cup confectioners sugar

1 tablespoon rum (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Generously butter a 9- by 2-inch round cake pan and line bottom with a round of parchment paper.

Toast coconut in a small baking pan in oven, stirring once or twice, until golden, 8 to 12 minutes. Cool. Leave oven on.

Beat together butter, granulated sugar, and zest with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Stir together flour and 1/2 cup coconut (reserve remainder for topping). Stir together milk and 2 tablespoons lime juice. At low speed, mix flour and milk mixtures into egg mixture alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour.

Spoon batter into pan and smooth top. Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool to warm, then turn out of pan and discard parchment.

Whisk together confectioners sugar, remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice, and rum (if using) and pour over cake. Sprinkle with remaining coconut.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

La Jolla Farmer's Market

It's now in full spring mode with so many wonderful fresh things to buy!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Giada's recipes

Giada at Home had some really great sounding recipes lately, so I did a Giada-fest last week, to rave reviews.
Grilled asparagus with canteloupe and mozzerella in a lemon vinaigrette with toasted pine nuts and crispy prosciutto. Excellent!

My favorite: fusilli with spicy pesto: spinach, arugula, walnuts and jalapeno. Tasted wonderful and a nice change from the usual basil pesto.

Fregola and mint citrus salad. I cut back the mint which was a wise move. Liked it a lot but I'm not a big fregola fan. Next time, I will use Israeli couscous or orzo. But it was really tasty to mix orange and grapefruit in this summery salad.
Thanks, Giada!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Monday

Towards the end of town, there it is on Monday night.
Beets and greens in a lovely vinaigrette. The bacon was crumbled into teeny bits, which made it more delicious in my opinion, as it flavored but didn't dominate the fresh vegetables.

Chive buttermilk biscuits and the guest of honor. Not shown: ratatouille and sausage gravy.

Too full to do much with this: fresh cashews, goat milk gouda and pear jam which tasted for all the world like apricot jam to me.

Chocolate cake with a chocolate nib thingy. The orange sorbet was sublime and was shaped into an orange (hard to see here)

Piggy, yes I was.

Oh my, how lucky we were to get reservations for one of those Thomas Keller fried chicken Monday's. I'm not a real fried food fan but this was definitely the best I've ever had--and lots of it. And the rest was quite excellent too!

I love Napa- photos only!

Ubuntu, my favorite this trip!

Ubuntu is unique. It is a creative, delicious and lovely vegetarian restaurant in Napa which owns a Michelin star. It was delectable and my favorite this trip to the Napa Valley, which is saying something! The waitstaff was charming and very helpful and the food was on another astral plane. This is not the raw kale salad from Whole Foods! The amuse was a fresh, perfectly grilled ramp floating on lime creme fraiche with a sprinkling of hot pepper. What an amuse!

Everything is small plates and between two of us we had four, more than enough and dessert. First we had:
BASIL BUD marinated beets and ‘udumalapet’ EGGPLANT
WAX BEAN vinaigrette, spicy PICKLES, NASTURTIUM panade, ‘poha’ BERRIES.

A really unique/cute/cool/gimicky thing at Ubuntu is they serve the food on the bottom side of the bowl or plate.

Next was undoubtedly our favorite:

rustic rancho gordo ‘yellow eye’ bean stew
ROSEMARY, CHILI, smoked ‘red russian’ KALE . The taste of the kale smoked was like nothing else. We added an Ubuntu farm egg on the top for good measure. The rosemary lent an almost curry-like quality to this stew which was delectable and filling.

Next, another winner:

garden inspired extruded pasta: SPICED fiore, confit ‘gajo de melon’
melted TOMATO, assorted BASILS, ‘midnight moon’ goat’s milk gouda. Could you imagine this combo would be so tasty? The pasta was delicate and home-made and the shavings of goat gouda was out of this world. Also, very filling and warming.

Finishing up the mains with:

“inside out” grits, oven dried ripened and fried green TOMATOES
goat’s milk ricotta, HONG VIT, smoked corn husk. Those peppers looked scarey like a jalapeno/serrano thing but were just flavorful peppers with no spicy bite. Their smoky taste was a nice offset to the creamy, rich grits.

I do not leave without dessert and voila: coconut sorbet float, lemongrass soda
passion fruit tapioca, lime granita, CILANTRO. This was so full of zesty, alive flavors with the fuzzy fizz from the lemongrass soda and the nip from cilantro micro-greens. Refreshing and cool and the perfect ending. Something I would love to have everyday.

Please, please, please Ubuntu, come to my town soon!

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Tartines are just a french way of saying "openfaced sandwich".
They are made on a large slice of toasted hearty bread and usually have something warm and melty on in. Ina Garten has some great ideas: try the eggsalad smoked salmon one for starters. This was my tartine in a cafe in Avignon: melted mozzerella with tomatoes, olives and anchovies with a light salad. A perfect lunch.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 it all that?

Ok, so the origin of classic bouillabaisse is in Marseille and when I saw Bourdain eating it on his show I said "hey what the hell is that dark stuff? but it does look savory".

My first BB was in St. Pete FL and it was exquisite if not authentic. A lovely smooth broth, lightly perfumed with saffron and Pernod and the essence of fennel with the finest of seafoods. But hey, I am happy to try the original when in France. And I know it is supposed to be dense and intense but I am up for trying the original when I loved my Americanized version. But when Michel (Dana's French bf) said in a pseudo-warning tone: You know, in Provence, BB means the soup for the rest of the know, the fish that cannot be served otherwise" well, I just latched onto that. Hell, I like uni and how could this not be great. Then he warned that in France the service of this dish is not as we'd expect. You get the broth and some crusty, toasted bread slices and some parmesan (now the stuff we were served is as pictured...not exactly looking so freshly grated) and some rouille which is basically mayonaisse spiked with some paprika. And ours was not really looking so "from scratch". Yet here we were on Cassis and right at the shore and all that... Worst, you get the broth and bread first and then after a bit (a very long bit) you get the fish (the lesser stuff) and the bread to throw into this now much cooled broth.

So yeah. The fish was ok. I was spoiled by my St. Pete experience but this fish was just fine and fresh. But that broth. Yes, it looked totally like Bourdain's but the taste was bracing. It felt very spicy, in a dirty kind of way. And the overwhelming sense I had from this brownish, grainy broth was allspice/clove and tumeric. No, that did not taste like it had a ton of fact, not too much saffron at all. It had the bite of tumeric.

So, being a mainly vegetarian in my heart, I weeded out the lovely potatoes, dipped some bread into it and had a couple pieces of fish but.....sorry, I know this violates what is "real" but I loved my BB in St. Pete and my BB in the south of France will never be ordered by me again. So I am just going to admit: I do not like authentic bouillabaisse. I prefer the Americanized version or the American cioppino for my fish stews.

Of course, my husband thought it was great......

Monday, August 9, 2010

Croque Madame

The French love sandwiches with ham and cheese. We grew to love the Croque Monsieur (a glorified grilled ham and cheese sandwich--sometimes just a grilled ham and cheese depending on the cafe). I, however, love the Croque Madame--which is the Monsieur with a fried egg on top. A sandwich for dinner? Well, it's a delicious and filling sandwich and with a small salad and a glass or two of rose? That is a delicious French meal!
Please see Ina Garten (my hero!) for a great recipe: