Thursday, June 30, 2005


Sam of Becks and Posh is hosting the online event called Utensibility. By Friday, July 1st, we are to post about our favorite kitchen utensils, the items I just couldn't live with out. Two cost categories should be chosen. One which she describes as 'money no object' splurge kitchen gadget and, the second a smaller, cheaper item. In her announcement she suggested that we “wax lyrical” about the items chosen.

Global Knives Posted by Picasa

I have many kitchen gadgets as I am obsessed by all types of kitchen gear. The choice was very hard. At first I thought I’d write about my Wolf Range. I love it dearly, use it daily and feel like it is part of me. I then came down to earth and just thought about the basics. For this event I selected my Global Knives as a reasonable high dollar purchase. Yes, most foodies already have a set of very good knives and what kitchen could do without them. Anyway, I first decided to purchase these knives after reading Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. He describes them as a “very good Japanese product that have--- in addition to their many fine qualities (lightweight, easy to sharpen and relatively inexpensive vanadium steel) —the added attraction of looking really cool.” Now he probably got some financial incentive for those fine words but regardless, I love the knives. Cost for an 8 inch chefs knife is about $86, a 5 inch utility knife is about $54 and a 4 inch paring knife will set you back $48.

Rabbit Ears Posted by Picasa

My inexpensive everyday gadget is my professional corkscrew (also known as rabbit ears) for opening wine bottles. At $12.97 at Costco, what a bargain. The highlight of this gadget is that it makes removing the cork a simple and easy task.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Asian Kitchen- India and Pakistan Food

We were driving down Venice Blvd on a Friday night in search of Versaille Cuban Restaurant without a line. No such luck. Another long line outside the door. No garlicky-lemony chicken this time around. G and I had just passed a mini mall with a little restaurant named Asian kitchen tucked away in the back. We looked at each other at the same time. What the heck, we're hungry and it's nearly 8:45 PM.

We drive into the parking lot. Not many cars but there is a County Health Department rating of "A" in the window. We thought, "it won't kill us". There was one other couple seated and one patron at the cashier possibly ordering "take-out". There was no big greeting from the wait staff. We asked where we should sit and were told, anywhere you like.

This place doesn't get an "A" for decor. G comments that the tables and chairs probably were bought from some other business gone sour. We were seated in a booth in which the table was too high for the seats. Oh well.

We look over the menu. Some good Indian and Pakistani choices at resonable prices. We chose to order an appetizer of Beef Samosas and a Lamb dish with a spicy tasty cilantro rich sauce. My entree was the chicken tandoori with kebabs and G ordered another lamb dish with tomato and spices. We also ordered garlic naan and palak paneer (pureed spinach).

While we waited for our order, the couple in the booth next to ours was served the most aromatic mouth watering dish we could imagine. The waiter told us it was the same thing I had ordered. Can't wait.

We ate our appetizers. They were very good. So far so good. This is turning out to be a great find. Our entrees arrive and we are very happy with the presentation. After my first bite of the chicken tandoori, I was in love with this place. Tender, moist, flavorful and better than I have had at higher end Indian restaurants. Everything we ordered was met with approval from us. Very generous portions and flavor to go with it. We couldn't finish and asked for a take home container. Our check arrived. All that for under $32.

We will return Asian Kitchen in Culver City on Venice Blvd and Motor Ave.

P.S. Sorry I forgot to take pictures of the appetizers.

Palek Paneer

Garlic Naan


Tandoori Chicken snd Kebabs Posted by Hello

Friday, June 24, 2005

Is My Blog Burning #16- EGGS!

Seattle Bon Vivant is hosting Is My Blog Burning? No. 16 and the theme she chose was the incredible, edible EGG! This egg event opens up an almost endless array of possibilities. With so many choices, I went back to basics with a little twist. It is summer and what backyard BBQ or picnic is without “Deviled Eggs”.

Crabmeat Deviled Eggs

Crabmeat Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs Posted by Hello

Crabmeat Deviled Eggs

1 dozen eggs
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 tsp salt (or more to your taste)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (alternative is ¼ to ½ tsp hot sauce)
1/2 pound lump crabmeat
1 tsp paprika (optional)

Place the eggs in a pot of water. Bring to a boil for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and run cold water over eggs until you can handle them. I sometimes place eggs in cold water with ice to speed the cooling process.

Peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks from the whites and place yolks in a medium size bowl. Use a regular table fork to mash the yolks and then add all the other ingredients except paprika. Mix well. If the consistency is not creamy enough, add more mayonnaise as desired. Fold in the crabmeat to try to maintain the lumps.

Spoon equal amounts of the yolk mixture into the egg white cups and dust tops lightly with paprika (optional). Best when chilled before serving.

Alternative for a more eggy treat: The prepared eggs may be topped with salmon roe or caviar for a more formal presentation. For this you might want to leave off the paprika dusting.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Wedding Anniversary and Fathers' Day Celebration

This past weekend, G and I celebrated our 23rd Wedding Anniversary. As this was also Fathers' Day weekend, we also honored the heads of our households (G, R and B). We decided to celebrate with friends at Pechanga, an Indian Casino in Temecula. R and P selected Kelsey's for dinner. B, G and E met us there for a nice dinner and conversation to be followed by a night of gambling (losing).

Appetizers included bacon wrapped shrimp which was very tasty and nicely presented. Fried Brie with Pita Bread was a creamy treat. The Taco Bites looked great. I didn't get to taste but all assured me I would have loved them. I have a passion for ceviche. A hefty amount was served with toast. Some at our table are not into ceviche which left more for me.




Fried Brie

Taco Bites

Ceviche Posted by Hello

G opted for the house salad and P had the Fancy Salad. Greens with a dressing, what more can you say.

The entrees varied from Lobster Bisque which G described as tasty but quite watery, nicely presented with a flaky crust to medium rare Ribeye Steak with French Fries- tasty. G and E both ordered the Seafood Pasta which they both enjoyed. B ordered the Salmon which was disappointing in that they did not remove the bloodline. (Did I mention that all these great dads are avid fishermen who have specific requirements for their fish [fresh with properly dressed fillets].) Fish served with the bloodline is not acceptable as it destroys the fresh fish flavor. P splurged that night, giving up Jenny Craig for Fried Onion Rings and Ribeye Steak on a Bun. It goes without saying that comparatively, the fried fare won out over diet food. R had the Halibut. It's his favorite and it went down quite well. Ony compliments were offered.


House Salad

Ribeye and Fries


Seafood Pasta

Ribeye Sandwich and Onion Rings


Lobster Bisque Posted by Hello

An end to all- P requested a Mudslide which consisted of vanilla ice cream, chocolate ice cream, peanut butter ice cream, nuts, chocolate syrup and whipped cream. Yum! This was a very huge slice which we all shared and enjoyed.

Mudslide For  Posted by Hello

We all left the restaurant in pursuit of riches to be won. I love the slots but this was not the night for winning. I did enjoy trying.

Love you G

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Backyard Avocado Grove

Backyard Avocado Grove Posted by Hello

This past weekend we visited friends in Temecula, California. In their backyard is a Haas avocado grove. Temecula is located in the what is part of the avocado capital of the world.

The Haas avocado is a California variety loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Half of a Haas Avocado contains 6 grams of total carbohydrate with 4.2 grams of fiber for a net carb load of 1.7 grams, 1.8 grams of protein for 153 calories and 15 grams of “good” fats. Great for low carb dieters.

The avocado is great sliced on sandwiches and salads. The most common use is in guacamole.

From a recipe adapted from the Food TV Network


1/2 small onion, very finely chopped
2 to 3 serranos or 1 to 2 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and very finely chopped
1 ripe, medium-large tomato, cored and very finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and very finely chopped
10 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped
3 ripe, medium-size avocados
Salt, about 1/2 teaspoon
1/2 lime, juiced,

In a medium-size bowl, mix the finely chopped onion and chiles with the tomato, garlic, and cilantro.

Close to the time you are going to serve, halve the avocados lengthwise by cutting from the stem to flower ends, around the pits. Twist the avocado halves in opposite directions to loosen the meat from pits, then scoop out the pits. Scrape the avocado pulp from the skins and add it to the bowl.

Using your hand or a spoon, roughly mash the avocado while mixing in the other ingredients, making a course, thick mass. Flavor with salt, then enough lime juice to add a little zing. Set aside for a few minutes to let the flavors blend.

It is thought that if you return the pits from the avocado to the guacamole and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface of the mixture it will prohibit the guacamole from turning dark.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Cookbook Meme- "I'm Tagged"

Rachael from Fresh Approach has tagged me to do the latest cookbook meme that's been going around.

Cookbook Meme Posted by Hello

I am to answer the Five Favorite Cookbooks questions below.

1. Total number of (cook) books I’ve owned: This was my opportunity to actually count all the cookbooks I have currently. I counted 277 books and 3 of my personal binders filled with recipe clippings.

2. Last (cook) book I bought: Desserts, Wiliams-Sonoma, The Best of the Kitchen Library 2005.

3. Last (food) book I read: The New Taste of Chocolate, A Cultural History of Cacao with Recipes by Marieel E. Presilla

4. Five (cook) books that mean a lot to me:

 Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom- Essential Techniques and Recipes from A Lifetime of cooking- Julia Child. This book means a lot to me simply because it is personally signed by Julia and was probably her last.

 Sylvia’s Family Soul Food Cookbook, From Hemingway, South Carolina, to Harlem- Sylvia Woods and Family. One might think that I love this book for first name sake. My love is one of respect for Sylvia Woods who from poverty built a soul food empire from hard work, commitment and strong family support. I use many of her recipes as a base for many of my own meals. She is nicknamed the “Queen of Soulfood” which is most fitting as her notoriety has opened the world to a style of cooking which was for many years only familiar to the Black American lifestyle. Sorry to say, I have never eaten in her restaurant but I did receive as a gift, a can of Sylvia’s Black Eye Peas. I also own one of her other cookbooks, but this meme limited me to five books. The story would be the same.

 Mess Management Specialist- United States Navy, Navy Education and Training Command. For those of you familiar with my background you know I have a son in the U.S. Navy. He is a CSSR which translates to Navy Cook. He also has a deep love and passion for all things food. During his mess training, they used this manual as the primary text. Upon completion, he gave it to me. It is close to me primarily for this reason but in addition, the wealth of information from conversions, inventory and stocking galleys, equipment use and cooking for the masses, etc is all-inclusive in this manual.

 The Bombay CafĂ©- Neela Paniz. I took a class taught by Neela Paniz at the Culver City New School of Cooking about a year ago. I thoroughly enjoyed the simplicity which Neela presented Indian cooking and the passion she also has for the food. The recipes are easy, authentic and tasty. By the way, this is also a personally autographed copy from Neela to me.

 Bouchon- Thomas Keller with Jeffrey Cerciello. I found an autographed copy at a local Barnes and Noble. I missed the actual appearance of the authors I am told, by one day. This cookbook is just as special as The French Laundry Cookbook (not autographed) simply because they provide an opening into the world of Thomas Keller, a master.

5. Which 5 people would you most like to see fill this out in their blog?
I don't know who's done this already, so if you've already written one up, let me know.

Big Lu

Friday, June 17, 2005

Beautiful Day In L.A. - Shake Shake Shake

How many earthquakes have occured in California this week? Too many. As a native Los Angeleno, you would think quakes were common place to us. They use to be, however over the past 10 years, the number of significant quakes have decreased. In stead of getting use to feeling quakes, we began to not remember they can occur here.

The geologist tell us that the probability of a quake today is the same as it was last month. Just because there is a lot of activity this week, doesn't mean the big one is any sooner on its way.

Anyway, it was a beautiful day in L.A. The sky was blue and temperature around the upper 70's along the coast and a bit higher inland. With this beauty, we again anticipate a large tremor at any moment. Wake up call to purchase all those earthquake food supplies (this is a food blog after all).

Monday, June 13, 2005

Figs Posted by Hello

My neighbor has a large fig tree in her front yard. Every year this tree bears lots of fruit from which she makes jams, jellies or just gives away. The fruit is still green. By the end of summer, they will be ripe and ready to harvest.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Friday Night Out At Jerry's Famous Deli

Last night my husband and I decided to go to Jerry's Famous Deli for dinner. Friday nights we try to set time aside from both our hectic schedules to spend time with each other. We often go to Jerry's Deli for the variety and because of the location (Easy to drive to in traffic jammed L.A. on Friday evenings.)

We entered the Deli noting that there is an ongoing remodel on the outside and inside to update the look of the building. The entry is now black, grey and stainless steel cold in appearance. I thought maybe that the entry wasn't complete yet. We are escorted to our table booth and seated.

I noted the table decor was also a bit different. The salt, pepper and sugar substitute were now in this triangular looking plastic box which had a button on top of it and a picture of a seemingly happy couple obviously in love. My husband is the curious type. Always trying to figure out how things are put together and basically just why is this thing on our table. He pressed the button and a light glowed. We thought maybe that this was a mood light that no longer worked. He picks up the thing and pressed the button a few times more and in the process, caused the salt shaker to fall out and spill over the table. Before we could clean it up, a jolly personable waitress appears to assist us.

Contraption Button Posted by Hello

We comment on the new little gizmo. While cleaning up our mess she tells us that this little contraption is a wait staff call device. Each press of the button on top of the device results in a light going off in back noting that for example table #24 requests attention. Yea, there was some writing by the button stating this, but who read it. She also told us stories of how this little gizmo is the worse thing they could have placed on the tables. Parents give it to their kids to play with. This resulting in endless lights going off in the wait staff area. Just as we did, patrons push the button trying to see what will happen.

Gizmo Posted by Hello

Anyway, to make a short story shorter, our waitress goes on to tell us that some advertising company pays the deli $3.00 per contraption per table per day to place the device. It is an advertisement for a dating service. Remember the picture of the happy in love couple. Not very clear on the photo was a website address called J "something".com. The "J" was to indicate it was a Jewish dating service and not "J" for Jerry's Famous Deli. Duh! The waitress beckoned us to look around the deli. She asked, "Look at who is eating here? Do any of these mostly coupled off, older people look like they need a dating service?"

Good point. Then why would an advertising company pay for the placement of this thing? We estimate there are a minimum of 50 tables, at $3.00 each per day that is $4,500 per month paid. I'm sure that this is not the only restaurant with these devices on the table. How much could an ethnic group specific dating service generate anyway?

Dinner At Jerry's Famous Deli Posted by Hello

I included pictures of our very enjoyable evening at Jerry’s Famous Deli. By the way, the food was great, too much of it but good. I had a Cobb Salad with Bleu cheese Dressing on the side. My husband had a Bleu Cheese Hamburger with Onion Rings. After dinner, we saw a movie- "Mr. and Mrs. Smith".

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Added A Few More Herbs and Vegetables Today

Day 2 Garden with Additions

Garden  Posted by Hello

I went to the Home Depot in Marina Del Rey today to see if they had a better assortment of herbs and vegetables. Amazing how busy that store was. It's Thurday around 11 am and the garden shop line extends to the back of the department. It was at least 20 customers deep. I'm in no hurry so I browse around and find a shallot, sweet basil, red, green and yellow bell pepper, curled parsley, Italian parsley, tarragon and cucumbers. There was no zucchini nor cilantro. I have to have cilantro to make salsas and ceviche.

I roll my cart inside the store to the regular lines to find there was only one customer ahead of me. I wondered why some people will wait in that long line instead of walking a small distance to where there are more cashiers and fewer people in line?

For the zucchini and cilantro I went to another local garden store. I purchased the two plants which were more costly than comparable plants at Home Depot. The quality was ok.

I headed home to do more digging in the dirt.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Garden- It's Never Too Late In L.A.

Just Starting My Garden- Day 1, 6-8-05

Day 1- Plants In Posted by Hello

After a winter of the highest rainfall in L.A. for quite some time, I got a very slow start in starting my garden. Usually I have everthing planted by the end of March. The rain and my procastination resulted in an overgrowth of weeds which only added to my hesitancy to just get in and dig.

Well, it is now June. We succesfully completed a major survey at my day job (JCAHO) last week so I took a few days off this week to do all those things I didn't have time for over the last few months. (Notice, I did have time for this blog. This was my my primary link to sanity.)

What did I plant? From my local Home Depot, the pickings were thin.
I bought 5 varieties of tomatoes: Yellow Pear, Lemony Yellow, Beefsteak, Brandywine and Betterboy. In the pepper category, I bought 3 varieties: Habanero, Serrano and Jalapeno. I replenished my herb garden with a purple basil, cinnamon basil, chives, and hot spicey oregano. Note, I was surprised by some of the apparently new varieties. I already have oregano growing so I am curious to see what the difference will be with this hot and spicy oregano. I also planted a lone zucchini plant. Other herbs already in residence include the Rosemary bush which is out of control and growing at a fast pace despite not being watered for quite some time. The thyme is looking a liitle battered as well as the tricolor sage and lemon grass. Hopefully water and some TLC will bring them back.

Tomorrow I plan to go to the Home Depot in Marina Del Rey hoping to find Cilantro, Roma Tomato, Parsley, another Zucchini and Sweet Basil.

I will miss having tomatoes and Zucchini in June and July. I'll just have to wait until August.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Paper chef # 7 Roundup

The roundup to to this months Paper Chef is in. Visit Owen at Tomatilla for a great writeup.

There were some very creative and yummy looking entries.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Paper Chef # 7

Date Nut Pudding With Honeyed Whipped Cream Posted by Hello

Paper chef # 7 is sponsored this month by Owen at Tomatilla with the final ingredients:

1)Buttermilk (I guess you can substitute a mixture of plain yoghurt and milk if buttermilk is not available). For the lactose intolerant substitute any milky analog you like.
2)Medjdool dates - again, if you can't get the specific medjdool, any other date will do
3)Honey - any kind - and if honey is not possible for some reason (allergies?) then any sweet substitute will do (splenda etc for diabetics)
4)And the topical/seasonal ingredient? Not terribly topical or seasonal but I made a decision about using the first ingredient I ran across in a news story today - and it is eggs...again, if eggs are a dietary no-no then substitute whatever non-egg substitute you normally use.

In that dates are not a staple in my pantry, I had to search hard for a recipe which I would eat. Food TV listed a recipe for nut-date muffins with a honey butter. That just seemed too obvious and it was apparent to me that muffins would be a choice by many. I finally found an obscure recipe for Date Nut Pudding. Yea, I know, it’s a winter dish, but I didn’t pick the ingredients. Here it is. Of note, this is an extremely sweet nutty pudding. The taste was similar to a Pecan Pie. Make sure you have a glass of milk on the side.

Recipe adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook, Julee Rosso and Shiela Lukins

Date Nut Pudding

1 stick butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 ½ tablespoons all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 cup pitted coarsely chopped dates
1 cup shelled pecans coarsely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons creamed honey

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Well grease a glass or ceramic baking dish 9X9.

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy and light.

Add eggs and buttermilk, flour and baking powder. Mix well.

Fold in dates and pecans.

Turn into the prepared baking dish and place on middle rack of oven. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until set.

Whip the heavy cream to soft peaks. Fold in the honey until blended. Chill.

Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with a spoonful of the honeyed whipped cream.