An Exercise in Frequency

Okay…I’m going to give myself a little test.  Since I spend a lot more time on my other blog and I’m feeling guilty about the lack of time I spend here, I’m going to try a little experiment.  I have seen on quite a few blogs around the internet that once a week the bloggers post a Top Five or Top Ten list.  It varies from their favourite recipes of the week to things that inspire them or any top lists of favourites.  I like that idea.  If nothing else, you may learn a little more about me and you might find yourself tempted to comment (which is always welcome!).  And with a little nudge on my end…it should get me in gear to write more here.  Sound good?   Good!  Let’s go!

My Top Five 20 July 2013

1.  Summer tomatoes.

Are there really any other kind of tomatoes?  I went to the farmers market this morning and came home with half a dozen heirlooms and a handful of grape tomatoes.  I was popping those little ones into my mouth in no time.  I am trying my hand at growing tomatoes for the first time this year and I have three on my vines, one that is well on being ripe soon.  I cannot wait.

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2.  A touch of East Coast weather in Los Angeles.

The humidity has been a little higher here than usual, though not too bad.  But today, the cloud cover came in mid-afternoon, the breeze kicked up big time and at one point I looked outside and thought to myself, ‘This could be rain.’  Alas, it wasn’t…at least not here.  Redlands, San Bernadino…yep…they got a thunderstorm or two.  I’m a little jealous.

3.  White, twinkling Christmas lights.

Of course, strands of white Christmas lights aren’t just for the Christmas tree anymore.  I have a strand along the archway between the kitchen and the living room.  Some nights I don’t put on the lamp in the living room and just have the glow of those lights.  They may not twinkle, but I love their ambiance.

4.  Ladyfingers.

Not only are they vital for tiramisu, but they are delicious right out of the package.  I’m partial to the imported Italian ones.  They are fabulous used as a crust for little pies or for a crumb topping.  My favourite way to use them though is right out of the package, dipped in homemade jam, and put right into my mouth.

5.  Vintage flatware.

It’s not that new flatware doesn’t have great patterns, but there’s something about the look, the feel, the patina on older pieces.  Though why is it so difficult to find spoons?  Plenty of knives and forks to be found.

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Citrus Burst

Los Angeles has been experiencing a cold snap for the past few days.  I’m not talking about a slight chill in the air, but a frost advisory night after night.  The lettuces that were growing in my window box have all but wilted thanks to this weather and I have been wearing layers and long sleeves…and that’s indoors!  Now today, it’s wet and rainy with a canopy of grey clouds.

So in the midst of all this Winter weather, I tried my hand at marmalade.  The grocer’s produce bins have been chock full of citrus fruits.  Navel, Cara Cara, and Moro oranges are aplenty.  With an Ina Garten recipe that was easy as pie, I have two jars of marmalade at the ready–blood orange and orange marmalade from Navels.  I halved the recipe for my use and didn’t let it sit overnight before the second boil.  I let it cool for 5-6 hours only.  My new favourite breakfast is toast topped with homemade ricotta cheese and marmalade.

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Good News…

…for Californians who are considering starting a food business.  Governor Brown signed AB 1616, also known as the California Homemade Food Act.  This gives people the opportunity to use their own kitchen to make goods and sell them at farmers’ markets, to restaurants, or grocery stores.  There are limitations:  nothing made with dairy or meat can be made in a home kitchen (you’ll have to use a commercial space), but it’s a start.  

Bakers of bread, makers of jam, mixers of spices or salts, if you’ve been playing in the kitchen with ingredients dreaming about starting a little something but couldn’t afford the cost of renting kitchen space, here’s your chance to give it a go.  

You can read AB 1616 here.  

As for me…this past weekend I had overripe bananas and a bag of chocolate chips to do something with.  A muffin with Sunday brunch is an excellent way to begin the day.Image

A Taste for Mom and Dad

So I Skype’d with mom and dad last week and they said they wanted me to make something for them.  And they’d pay me.  You know, since I set up the Etsy shop, my brother has ordered twice.  Is it bad form to have your family pay for your goods?  I kind of like that he put in an official order and all.  Though for mom and dad…well, I’m not going to take their money for an order…but I am very happy to make something for them.

Mom wanted raspberry.  So raspberry is what she’s getting.  She is also getting a taste of my second cookie obsession…shortbread.  How can you not love a cookie completely laden with butter?  I know I can’t.

Raspberry Shortbread for the Parents