Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Half Jewish Italians?

Nothing brings family together quite like food. It was important to me that while in Los Angeles Paul got to meet my uncle, Stormy. We hooked up at an Italian country style restaurant on La Brea called Ca'Brea. I have been here once before when my family from New Jersey visited California prior to me relocating to Fort Wayne. You can only imagine the ruckus of Jewish family members in a Soprano type environment....oy vey.

This salad caught my eye simply because it was tossed in a prosecco viniagrette. Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine. Frisee, fried potato threads and gorgonzola. Heavenly angels sang.....
The main course - handmade spaghetti with a light tomato sauce surrounded by slipper lobster, blue crab, clams and shrimp. Simply divine. My uncle brought my attention to this entree and therefore is responsible for this culinary decision. Excellent taste! The tomato sauce was so simple and a dash of cream added a silky quality to its texture.

I had to take a photo of Dad's dessert, simply because the presentation was to die for. Twas' a warm ricotta custard like cheesecake (no crust) swimming in a sea of vanilla sauce, blueberry sauce and strawberry sauce. I think it actually tasted better than my tiramisu.

Tiramisu, the Italians master dessert triumph in my humble opinion.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Womb

Perhaps none us truly remember or recall feelings associated with being inside the womb, for obvious reasons. However, many have heard tales, tried and true, regarding our mother's pregnancies. I surely don't, but thank God my mom's around to tell the stories of cravings, pain, labor and joy. One the stories involving my mother's pregnancy with me revolve around this L.A. hot dog stand, Cupid's. This was a frequently visited establishment while en route to the world at large. It's probably the reason it's one of my favs.
Grease bombs, indeed. Now many may argue as to the best chili sauce, but there's no doubt in my mind where I stand on this issue. Cupid's does dogs right, an everything dog includes chili, mustard and onion. You have the option of relish, ketchup and cheese, but I prefer the simple things in life. Because Cupid's is ALL ABOUT THE CHILI SAUCE.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Hmmmm....Flaky French Toast and Tropical Pancakes

After arriving in Los Angeles, we headed our way to the San Fernando Valley. We were most definitely hungry. ALERT! Don't purchase a snack pack on Northwest Airlines, it's a complete waste of your $5. Back to breakfast, therein resides one of the best breakfast joints in Los Angeles, Jinky's. The original is located in Sherman Oaks and since it's opening they have opened two other joints, one in Santa Monica and one in West Hollywood. Always packed and consistently good, Jinky's is a sacred place. I already decided what I was going to order, prior to even landing in California, the Sierra Mountain breakfast. Flaky french toast (egg bread coated in crushed corn flakes), scrambled eggs and a ham steak. Paul ordered the same with their chicken apple sausage. I also included a photo of Dad's tropical pancakes with mandarin oranges, coconut and macadamia nuts. The photos speak for themselves. A moment of silence for some of the best damn breakfast.

Monday, April 14, 2008

my new obsession: marshmallow frosting.

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to bake something for a youth fundraiser, members of our youth group are going to Panama this summer on a missions trip. Of course, I couldn't say no and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to test out a new recipe I ripped out of my latest Gourmet issue - Devil Dog Cake. Imagine if you will, a made from scratch Hostess cupcake in the form of a cake. I had alot of fun with this one, especially because of the frosting. I'm not a typical frosting fanatic like most, but this one could become a problem. Anyone know where the nearest Marshmallow Anonymous group is located in Fort Wayne???? The consistency was similar if not better than a jar of marshmallow creme. One unique quality to this cake was that the cocoa powder had to be a non-Dutch process cocoa powder. We don't have access to tons and specialty food shops in Fort Wayne, but thought Williams-Sonoma would be a good place to start. At $11.95, it better be!!!! So what is non-Dutch process cocoa powder? Basically it's cocoa powder that hasn't been through an alkanization process. It was new to me and worth trying. I think this recipe is definitely kid friendly too.
On a side note, expect a delay between posts - this weekend my main squeeze and I are heading out to sunny Los Angeles, California for some sunray soaking and good food grubbin', not to mention the fact that we will be catching up with friends and family. When I return, don't be surprised if I dedicate several posts to L.A. eats. It'll be a real treat, trust me!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

close call.

Let today's lecture remind us that we all are human.....well, perhaps most of us. Anyhow, it never fails to amaze me how many times I have avoided major injuries in the kitchen aside from the following two: burns (yes I too think I am invincible and can touch piping hot things without suffering the consequences) and irreversible shirt stains (causing me to throw out many nice shirts). However, I nearly brushed death (okay, I'm exaggerating here) with my Santoku knife the other night while chopping vegetables. Unfortunately my digital camera isn't fancy enough to show you my injury, but trust me, it was a close call. I just grazed my ring finger and the nail, but enough to scare me. No matter what, knife skills are what can often "make or break" us in the kitchen. Never get cocky especially with a knife in your hand.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Saturday Morning Crepes

For some ungodly reason I awoke (bright eyed and bushy tailed) at 8am this past Saturday. I could go off on an "it's my only day to slepp in" tangent but that would a non-food related tangent. Regardless, I planned on making nutella crepes over the weekend. I have to admit that for some odd reason, I have been intimated by the non-elusive "crepe". It's essentially a French pancake, usually stuffed with something sweet or savory. Let me tell you, the French definitely know how to a pancake justice. They were light, fluffy, buttery, thin and sinfully delicious. A few notes for those willing to try making crepes: (1) The batter needs to "rest" for at lease 30 minutes in the fridge. I opted for 45 minutes. (2) The batter should be liquid-like and thin. I added a little more milk to my batter after my first go-round of batter didn't easily swirl in my non-stick skillet as it should have. (3) After the batter "rested", I strained the batter through a sieve, the batter should be smooth, avoid lumps! Overall, it was definitely a "confidence-boosting" experience. The Nutella filling simply made them taste divine. I could really see one going "wild" with filling ideas for crepes.