Saturday, December 31, 2005

Weekend Dog Blogging -Week 15- Sleepy Time

Weekend Dog Blogging resumes with week number 15. Hosted by Sweetnicks.

Ziggy got his first airplane ride this Christmas holiday. For one of the most outrageous airline overcharges, it cost $80.00 each way for Ziggy to be housed in an under my seat carrier. No airline personnel had to do anything to facilitae this process except for the processing of my credit card for the $80.00 fee. Ziggy's own carrier occupied my already paid for leg room so what is this fee for? Simply, the right for him to go with us. I would like to also add that the airlines required a health certification done within 30 days of travel in order to comply with interstate and international movement of animals federal law. This was a vet bill of $65.00. We were never asked for this documentation during the whole trip.

Ziggy traveled very well. Without any sedatives or calming agents, he slept the whole way. Not a whimper or bark. I must admit that it was totally worth the airfare for Ziggy to go with us. He was the center of attention with all his cuddly, friendly love and affection. Best of all for him was the wide open yard for him to joyfully play.
T especially missed Ziggy as he hadn't seen him since last March.
More Sleepy Time

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Country Christmas

After a very loving, heartwarming and enjoyable week with family and friends, we are back in Los Angeles. We spent the week with my husband's family in North Carolina. My son and daughter also joined us making this an exceptional week.

I must admit it is nice sometimes to not have to be responsible for the menu planning and cooking. I ate and enjoyed. I regret that I didn't take many food related pitures so you'll just have to take my word for it that Christmas Day Dinner was fantastic. We had turkey, sweet potatoes with marshmellows, collard greens, dressing, gravy, sweet corn, baked salmon, dinner rolls, bread pudding and pound cake. Our Navy cook, T, sliced the turkey.
Moist and delicious after a night marinading.
Carved Turkey
The day after Christmas was spent at our cousin's home where we ate, drank and played many a round of Bid Whist. M and B did all the cooking and grilling.
Marinaded Grilled Beef
Grilled Chicken Wings
M's Holiday Cookies
Potato Salad
Cole Slaw
Smoked Pork loin
Smoked Tuna Dip

We also had the pleasure of spending a day in Greensboro where dinner was a wild game treat of stewed rabbit and BBQ venison ribs. Now keep in mind that though the presentation and picture may not have come out fancy, this meal was lip smackin'.
Stewed Rabbit

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year

Knowing that all of us are so very busy during this time of the year, I want to offer my excuses now for possibly not being able to post for the next week. Many more gatherings of friends and family are planned and the time to dedicate to my blog will be limited.

I want to wish each and every one of you Happy Holidays, Peace in 2006 while we all offer goodwill to our fellow man.


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Holiday Party At Ruth P's House

My neice, P., wanted to have a Christmas party at her paternal Grandmother's home. Ruth P loved everything Christmas. Over the years she accumulated boxes upon boxes of the most most unique and tastefull ornaments, figurines, stuffed animals and all other things Christmas. Ruth P passed away in May 2005 but her grandaughter wanted to display her collection in remembrance.

Anyone who had ever attended one of Ruth P's parties experienced an evening of warmth, excellent food and hospitality. In that P is not culinarily inclined, she called upon family and friends to help her in the kitchen. I had the pleasure of cooking a New Orleans Style Gumbo for 30 people. I adapted my recipe from one by Emeril Lagasse off the Food TV recipe web site. I increased the ingredients to serve 30.
Ready To Serve. For some reason, I missed taking a picture of the Gumbo as served over rice in a bowl. You'll just have to trust me that this Gumbo was jam packed with meats and so very good. Monkey bread was also served. Now I had to accomodate the palates of children and heat sensitive adults, so I limited the cayenne. At the end of the evening, this pot was nearly empty. Did I mention, this Gumbo was off the charts good.

See Flickr Photos for complete Photo Set

GUMBO- (Adapted from recipe by Emeril Lagasse- Food TV Network)
12 servings

3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup flour
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped bell peppers
1 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon Essence

Emeril’s Essence- Use only 1 tablespoon of this recipe for the Gumbo:
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon cayenne
5 bay leaves
8 cups clam juice or chicken stock
1 pound fish pieces (any white fish )
1 pound Andouille Sausage
1 can (28 ounce each) whole or diced peeled Tomatoes
4 lbs boneless chicken (thighs or breast or combination)
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound crabmeat canned or in shell or both
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

Serve with:
File powder sprinkled over gumbo to thicken before serving (optional)
cooked white rice
chopped green onions

In a large heavy pot, heat the oil. When the oil is hot, whisk in the flour. Stir the mixture constantly for 15 to 20 minutes, for a dark brown roux. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, salt, Essence, cayenne, and bay leaves. Cook for 12 to 13 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are wilted. Add the stock and mix to blend with the roux. Add chicken and Andouille sausage. Simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the fish pieces and continue cooking for 15 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for 15 minutes. Add the crabmeat, green onions and parsley and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the File` powder to thicken at the end.

Ladle the gumbo in a shallow dish. Place a heaping portion or two of the rice in the center of the gumbo. Sprinkle the green onions over top.

At this point, the roux has been made with the celery, onions, bell pepper and herbal seasonings added.
I added the Emeril Essence to the diced boneless chicken prior to adding to the pot.
In place of Andouille sausage, I used a smoked chicken with herb sausage from Trader Joes. Note the jar of Essence to the right of the sausage.
Canned Crab Meat.
For the White Fish, I used Orange Roughy.
Frozen Snow Crab and Shrimp
Fresh Parsley and Oregano
Simmering Goodness

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Who Stole The Cookie From the Cookie Bag?


Who stole the cookie from the cookie bag, guess who? He knew he was wrong but how could he resist Christmas cookies.

Weekend Dog Blogging- this time with food. Hosted by Sweetnicks

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Eleven Days Until Christmas

I pride myself in usually shopping early and having all my presents wrapped and ready for Christmas gift giving. For some reason this year, I am at a loss. I have not purchased a single gift and I have no clue what I would shop for if I even ventured walking into a mall, searching on-line or even browsing through a something for everyone type store like Costco.

This post has nothing to do with food other than my attempt to stimulate my creativity. In these times of so much need and charity, one would think maybe giving a donation in the name of a loved one would suffice. I would donate anyway, so saying a donation is in lieu of a gift wasn't (isn't) very safisfying to me.

I'm the only foodie in the family, so something for the kitchen won't work. Cash works for some and gift certificates for others. Ties, underwear, socks bath and body sprays, perfumes, gels or lotions are so blase and who doesn't have umpteen bottles of unopened shower gel already? Jewlry works for a few more, but what piece haven't I already given over the years?

Clothing? Then you have to worry about the size. I don't want to be responsible for anyone having to wait in the department store return lines after Christmas. Electronic gadgets? What doesn't any of my recipients already have?

I watched those QVC and the Home Shoping Network programs hoping for some ideas. Nothing was convincing even with easy pay.

Eleven more days til Christmas. This weekend I think I'm going to be one of those last minute shoppers hoping for the right gifts to land in my shopping cart. Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

More Holiday Cookie Decorating

I was out town for the past week and thus unable to do any posting except for adding comments. Great time had. I attended one of the major conventions for my profession held in Las Vegas. Despite being in a town filled with many great food venues, I have no food pictures to share. No more to say about that.

Anyway back to the subject of my post,I spent today baking and decorating more cookies. They came out so nice, I just had to share.

These cookies were prepared for a Christmas party to be hosted by my neice. She requested simple sugar cookies with just some green and red sprinkles. I sort of went overboard.

See Flickr Photos for complete set

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Cookie Swap Roundup Part One and Two SHF/IMMB

Please take some time to check out the Cookie Swap Round-up, a joint SHF and IMMB event. There are some wonderful holiday cookie treats which make up a great reference source for the season's cookie baking.

See Part One (Sites A-K) at Domestic Goddess and Part Two (Sites L-Z)at Il Forno. They have done a fantastic job at compiling all these recipes and pictures.

Traveling With Ziggy- Seat With a View

Ziggy, just like most other dogs, loves to look out the window when we are going someplace in the car. Because he is so small he can't comfortably look out the window without falling to the side when I turn corners or stop- oops. While on one of our many excursions to the pet store, I came across this doggy car seat basket which hooks onto the front seat and provides the elevation he needs to look outside. I think it helped some. He didn't fight to get out of it which leads to me believe, it might be ok. I'll have to play around with the height to give him a better view.

Hosted by Sweetnicks.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Blogging L.A.

Todays Weekend Calendar of the L.A. Times features an article on Blogging L.A. Three of our bloggers are noted as "...jewels among Los Angeles' thousands of blogs".
Big Lu at BBQ Junkie
Sarah at The Delicious Life
Professor Salt