Sunday, January 25, 2009

January in So Cal

Beautiful and we love it!

This is not to make you jealous if you don't live here but to show my appreciation

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happy Bday from scratch

No formal quinceaneras here. Just a family day and nice dinner out. So I will make 2 kinds of cupcakes from scratch...on a very hot SantaAna day here in SoCal. Found the carrot one by googling (forget which site it was) and red velvet ones courtesy of the RecipeGirl of course.
Mise en place? Sorta--I pulled the ingredients out at least.

It's not a birthday without candles.

I could eat this right now, but I won't

Composter gets fed too.

Carrot cupcakes sans icing.

Gifts, cards and cupcakes!

And balloons. Happy Birthday, sweeties!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Food Poisoning sucks

Ok, no photos for this one and you are thankful.
We flew back from NY on NYEve. We all had different things for b-fast and on the plane the kids had Zone bars and coke and we just had different airport common denominator.
Got home around 6 and it's just too late to pick up salmon from El Pescador so we decided to do our fave local Greek place. But they are booked, so I order takeout. Well, as it ends up only one kid had her own special dish and the rest of us shared all the same stuff. Bill ate the most and by 11pm, he was barfing big time. Next gal goes down around 1am after keeping me up with her misery for an hour or so. By 5, I who ate the least, am worshiping at the porcelain god. Gal 2 and I are fine after the initial insult come Rose Parade time but Bill is a mess until well into 2009. Gal 1 is unscathed having only had her special dish and no sharing.

It doesn't take 2 MDs to figure out it's food poisoning and by the timing, it's likely Staphylococcus. Google it to find out how it gets into food and then you will feel sick too.
So no NY champagne and basically Gatorade, jello, bananas and chicken broth until Jan 3. Nina wonders how she lucked out to only love the gyros.

I got a nice response from the manager although it was to offer another free entree and not to fire the loser who was contaminating the food as I'd asked. I wrote him only to make sure it doesn't happen again. The worst thing a restaurant can do is to poison their customers (not to overcharge during restaurant week). And (I understand why he had to do this) he said his restaurant was perfect and maybe we ate something else or even had a little too much bubbly. No sir, no bubbly for us this year...we were too busy returning the Greek food in the bathroom!

So for the second time in my life I have gotten food poisoning that I am sure of and it is awful. Sucks because I loved their food in the past and we rarely eat out so this is a double insult.

If you can, just cook yourself---per Bittman--it's so much nicer. Although I am happy having survived the "barnyardish" wontons at Big Wong King in Chinatown over Christmas!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

In the pantry

Yes, that's premade chicken stock there!

In the icebox, yes, premade pie crusts too!

I love Mark Bittman and I love him on the "Spain on the Road again" PBS series with Mario (Gweneth not so much at all). He has a great article in the NYT this week on what you need in your pantry.

I am happy to see I have everything he lists and then some. But there are 2 things I just must disagree on: dried beans only and no premade pie crusts. With 2 kids that are really liking to do some cooking and long job hours for me, these 2 are life savers. Sure, I could put those dried cannelini in the pressure cooker but that is still 45 minutes and yet another pot. So I will use dried beans when I can but never will I ban the canned ones from the pantry.

Premade pie crusts? My MIL made a lovely pie once and knowing she is one of ultimate convenience, I wondered how she had the patience to make such a good crust. She revealed her secret of Pillsbury in the refrigerator section. They are good, yes they are. When I was on call for the entire 4 day Thanksgiving weekend, Nina went into high gear and made the pies and she did a great job with the pre-made crusts. And a little less cleanup when I did get home (yes, they haven't quite mastered the cleaning up after cooking part!) They do have their place and I do have a pack in the freezer as I type.

So, yeah Bitty, I do agree almost all the way, but do not take away these two. I'm also coming around to the homemade stock concept. I had to figure out, however, you do not just pitch the bags in the freezer. They conform to the shelves and you can't get them out without thawing the whole freezer!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

December in NYC

Outside of Central Park by the Essex House

Central Park

Fifth Avenue--interesting store

The Plaza

Ave of the Americas

Big Wong King in Chinatown.