Thursday, December 31, 2009

celebration...

wow...another year...flown by.
i completed a lot of the goals i set for myself in 2009.

and have made new ones.




i'm older, wiser & more opinionated than ever.
but i'm ready for twenty ten.

and i'm taking no prisoners!

if you've looked around my blog.
you know that i like to cook.
so tomorrow i launch a new blog
fork & camera...
dedicated to my loves of food & photography.

since i'm taking 2010 by storm...
i'll be participating in my third 365
and will be posting those images on my other new blog
twenty ten ... a photo a day.

last...but not least...
i have a zenfolio presence.

i'm looking forward to an adventerous 2010.
let's do this!

happy new year!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

holiday goodies...

chestnuts...



roasting in my chestnut roaster...in the oven.

***

making lots of...



headless gingerbread men.

***

putting the finishing touches on...



the raspberry trifle.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

happy holidays...

this morning...we went to marin headlands for a sunrise photo shoot. we left the house a little after six...and arrived at the headlands right before the sunrise.



it was quite nippy out ... 33 degrees as we approached the exit. i'd already had a cup of tea...and had my thermos of hot coffee for the shoot.



after a bit...we went to the other side of the freeway...and took a few photos of the bridge from that angle. we then went to breakfast...and then...on to another location for more photos.



we arrived home in the early afternoon...and it was nap time! i didn't sleep long...as my to-do list was scrolling thru my head...and...i was anxious to get a look at my photos.

***

now...it's time to tackle the to-do list. i have dough chilling in the refrigerator...for gingerbread men; and my chestnut roaster is in the oven pre-heating...as the daughter scores the chestnuts.

tomorrow morning...i've a raspberry trifle to put together...before we head to my parents for the day.

the fireplace is blazing...the christmas music is queue'd...and it's time to finish wrapping my presents...while i sip on a brandy & eggnog.

cheers!

have a wonderful christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

come & get it...

so...today...i made pan-roasted chicken with prosciutto, rosemary, and lemon for dinner. you can find the link for the recipe on yesterday's post.

i cut the chicken in half...and will probably make a moroccan chicken tomorrow.



a few months ago i was intrigued by a corn bread salad recipe i saw...and made my own version of it today.

i bought some already prepared corn bread...cubed & baked it for croutons. the 250 degree oven was pretty slow...and i upped the temp to 350...since that was also the temp for the chicken.



the other ingredients we added were...

  • heirloom tomatoes
  • avocado
  • lamb's ear lettuce
  • green onions
  • olive oil & lime juice vinaigrette



and...here's the finished product.



now...i must go rest because...in the process of roasting the chicken...i FORGOT i had taken the skillet from the oven and grabbed the handle.

all photos were taken one-handed...while the other hand grasped an ice pack.

can you say OUCH?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

tyler's place...

today...my daughter and i went to tyler florence's store for his cooking & knife techniques demo. the store is located on throckmorton in mill valley. the demo was from 1:00 ~ 3:00.

i met some new people. shared a few laughs. met a fellow twitterer. and...learned a couple of new techniques.

***

on the menu,,,
  • roast pork tenderloin w/veal gravy
  • mashed turnip roots
  • roasted cippollini onions
  • fried sage leaves as garnish
here...he's signing my book...and that's his mother-in-law in the background.



***

water w/citrus and cranberries.



tomorrow...i'm going to make his...


Pan-Roasted Chicken with Prosciutto, Rosemary, and Lemon recipe.

i'll let you know how we like it...and i'll probably have photos!



Thursday, December 17, 2009

calendars for 2010...

yesterday we had our office holiday party. my gift to everyone this year is a calendar...featuring my photographs. since they won't arrive until monday...i gave each person the card below...printed on 4 x 6 photo paper...



with a photo of the cover..which i printed on 4 x 6 post-it photo paper...and attached to the back.



here are a couple of the photos featured in the calendar...

~ at play ~



and...

~ birdland ~



the photos i chose for the calendar were all taken in 2009...and i'm looking forward to receiving the finished product.

Monday, December 7, 2009

winter wonderland...

today. in northern california. it snowed.

i'm not talking a little sprinkling. i'm talking...stick to the ground...scrape your car windows...build a snowman snow.



and the snow was widespread. livermore. clayton. dublin. moraga. sacramento. everywhere it seems...except the town i live in.

fortunately for me...i have a view of mt. diablo from my office window...which was blanketed in snow. if it's still there this weekend...i will be too.


mt. diablo gets a bit of snow...pretty much every year. but...i don't think it's gotten this much...this early in a long time.





why will i get there this year...when i haven't gotten there in any of the previous years that it's snowed? well...i have a new-found photography friend...who likes to go 'on location' as much as i do.

so...this weekend...she and i are going to the snow.
photos to follow. but...you already knew that. didn't you?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

exposed...

a couple of weeks ago...my meetup group had a twilight shoot at mare island. long exposures was something i admired...but had never attempted. until that night.

***

carquinez bridge...



settings...
manual. bulb. 3 seconds exposure.

when everyone else was painting buildings w/flashlights...i turned my lens towards the bridge. i like it...but now that i've practiced for a couple weeks...i think i can do better.

***

cloudy sf nite...



settings...
manual. bulb. 2 second exposure.

this is the photo i've always wanted to take. the bridge. the city. now that the buildings are decorated for the holidays...i'm ready to go back.



***

vallejo marina mural...



settings...
manual. iso 400. 10 second exposure.

i went out shooting with a friend...and we practiced light painting.. i had a lot of fun...but the area we went to was a little too well-lit. we plan to go out again soon.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

with pancakes...

remember that chicken i made on sunday? well...today i had it for breakfast...with pancakes.

every since i first had chicken n waffles at roscoes in oakland...i have been a fan. the crispy, salty goodness of the chicken...paired with the buttery, sweet waffles (er um...pancakes) is a flavorful combination!

so...since i worked virtually today...i thought i'd make myself up a batch...as well as getting my photo op of the day.

***

adding the egg to the bowl.



cooking them on the griddle.



stacking them as i remove them. i always make extra so that i can freeze and microwave them for a quick breakfast.



and...1/2 chicken breast to go with them.


yum. yum.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

roasted veggies...

this morning...while watching my favorite channel...the food network...i saw this recipe for roasted carrots and parsnips with thyme prepared by danny boome.

this was not only my first time preparing parsnips...but my first time ever eating them. it won't be my last. they were delish!

***

parsnips & carrots have been peeled, quartered and seasoned.



after roasting.



i also roasted some asparagus. tossed w/olive oil. seasoned w/garlic and kosher salt.



the protein of the day...fried chicken.



frying foods is a rarity for me...occurring maybe...once a quarter. but...since i've been serving so much roast or baked chicken...i thought this would be a nice change.

and tomorrow...i'll have it with waffles!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

day in the life...

today...i participated in the flickr group a day in the life - 110409.

for a photographic change of pace...i used my lensbaby for all of my photos. i've learned a lot about exposure since the last time i used it. now...i just need to use it more often...to gauge more accurately the dof.


***

photo 1 ~ our company sponsored a hunger campaign. i was our local coordinator. today...i sent the checks to the food bank. our company will match at 50%.



***

photo 2 ~ lunch at my desk.



***

photo 3 ~ triple vision. potpourri, reflection & the street below.



***

photo 4 ~ workout time.



***

i was also going to have a photo of my dinner preparations...but...its been a long day.


good-night.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

halloween...

we didn't have a very large turnout of trick-or-treaters this year, so we have a LOT of leftover candy. a LOT! this bowl holds quite a bit...and i have two of them.



the kids that did come by were mostly babies.

when i say babies...i mean...quite a few that probably couldn't even crawl. the rest were barely walking toddlers.

there was this one little tyke (don't think he could walk yet) that was propped next to the door...looking very cute. i put some animal crackers into his little bag and his father reached down to pick him up & carry him to the next house. as the father & son were heading down my walkway...i look up to see that the father's pants were saggin so low that his ENTIRE butt was exposed. i wonder if he understands the meaning history behind his costume.

at about 8:15...i'd had enough of the babies...and was on my way to turn out the light...when the doorbell rang out once more.

i opened the door...commenting as i did that they were my last trick-or-treaters of the night. two teenagers greeted me. one girl. one guy. he was on a cell phone.

she...dutifully held her bag opened...and said 'thank-you' when i had given her a handful of candy.

he...was busy on his cell phone.

i...asked him how was he trick-or-treating on a cell phone.

he...smiled...thought i was joking & continued to talk.

i...started closing the door.

he...quickly figured out that i wasn't joking.

i...waited.

he...put the phone aside & held open his bag. he...then saw the hubby in his mask & remarked at how cool he thought that was.

i...gave him some candy (though not as much as i gave the girl)...and turned off the lights.

next year...i think we'll go out.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

infused vodka...



so...not only do i love to watch cooking shows on television...but i also listen to them on the radio. this is a recipe i heard yesterday morning on the everyday foods show on the martha stewart channel on xmradio.

i substituted vodka for gin, and will be serving it with oven roasted shrimp.

*according to wikipedia...if you substitute vodka...its referred to as a French 76.

***

i served it with this oven roasted shrimp & tossed salad.



***

Shanghai 75

This is a take on the classic French 75 which is a great aperitif and food oriented cocktail. We have infused the gin with fresh Cilantro which adds an extra herbal component to the cocktail.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 ounces cilantro infused gin (see recipe below)
1 ounce simple syrup
1 ounce lime juice
2 ounces Champagne/sparkling wine
Lime twist

Directions:
  • Shake the infused gin, simple syrup and lime juice and strain into a champagne flute.
  • Top with Champagne and garnish with a large lime twist.

Infused Gin:
  • Use one bunch fresh cilantro per 1 liter bottle of gin.
  • Pour contents of the gin into a vessel where the cilantro can be completely submerged.
  • Add the juice of 1 lime and let infuse overnight.

Monday, October 5, 2009

comfort...



roast chicken & sweet potatoes. salad dressed w/lime. fantastic combo.

recipe...courtesy of nigella lawson

***

Ingredients

* 2 poussins/Cornish hens
* 2 tablespoons garlic or wok oil, divided
* 1 sweet potato weighing approximately 1 pound
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 to 2 bunches watercress
* Maldon or kosher salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* Good squirt lime juice

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Put the birds into a small baking tin or foil tray pouring over 1 tablespoon of oil.

Cut the unpeeled sweet potatoes into 2 1/2-inch cubes and put them into another smallish tin or foil tray.Pour over the other tablespoon of oil and sprinkle over the spices, and then toss everything together by shaking the tin.

Cook both the poussins/hens and sweet potatoes in the preheated hot oven for 45 minutes.

Put each poussin/Cornish hen on a plate, with a tangle of watercress and the sweet potatoes alongside. Sprinkle with Maldon/kosher salt, to taste, and spritz with lime juice and go to it!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

sides...



when my daughter first became a vegetarian...and was preparing to come home for thanksgiving...i worried about what i would feed her. her response to me...'think side dishes'. but...it wasn't quite that simple.

being from the south...i'm used to seasoning vegetables. i have a special section of my freezer...reserved for just these seasonings. bacon. ham. smoked neck bones.


i mean...i put giblets and turkey stock in my dressing...and bacon in my baked beans.
well...i used to. i mean...i still do. but now...i make two dishes. one for her...and one for everyone else.

the one for everyone else is about to go away. why??? you guessed it. everyone else eats the vegetarian food...and loves it.

because i love to try out new recipes...i 'create' something for her when she's home. she usually enjoy's my creations...but last year's dish...pumpkin soup...didn't go over that well.



this year...i'm into butternut squash. tonight...i roasted it with garlic and herbs...and i enjoyed it so much...that i will make it for her this thanksgiving.

now....i need to go write the recipe down...so i don't forget the seasonings i used. one thing i do know. none of them came from the freezer.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

via...



finally!!!

so...i've been excited about the new starbucks ready brew since i heard of it. of course...it wasn't available everywhere. until today.

no...i can't tell you how it tastes...because i haven't tried it yet. i just wanted to be able to purchase it. and now...i have.

i will have a cup tomorrow...and let you know what i think of it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

chopped nicoise salad...

last saturday morning i saw this being made on the food network. it is a salad i eat a couple of times a month when i'm out. so...i thought i'd try my hand at making it at home.

steaming the potatoes took forever!!! perhaps i should have cut the potatoes...or used smaller ones. the recipe says to steam them for 12 minutes...but i steamed them for over 20 before adding the green beans...and could have probably gone to 30.



Ingredients...
  • 4 small red potatoes (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1/3 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 12-ounce can light tuna packed in water, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted Greek or Spanish olives
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 5 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
Directions...

Boil water in a large pot with a fitted steamer basket. Put the potatoes in the steamer, cover and steam for 15 minutes. Add the green beans and steam for 6 minutes more. Put the cooked potatoes and beans in a dish and set in the refrigerator to cool, or plunge into a bowl of ice water to cool quickly.


Put tuna, olives, onion, tomato and lettuce in a large bowl. Dice the potatoes and green beans, add them to the bowl and toss.


In a small bowl whisk together the oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad, toss well and serve.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

good for what ails ya...



this morning...i woke up with what i thought were allergies. i'm still not 100% sure they're not. i've sneezed a kazillion times...and either i have a temperature...or i'm having hot flashes. but...i promised my mother homemade blueberry pancakes...so...i've no time to be ill. at least...not yet.

i gathered my ingredients together. measured out the bisquick & put the milk and eggs into a portable measuring cup. so that i wouldn't have to look around my mother's kitchen to find the tools i needed, and didn't want to chance that she might not have any of the ingredients...i took my own. measuring spoons and microplane...lemons, blueberries, vanilla and nutmeg. my recipe also called for a tablespoon of sugar...but i know they have splenda blend in the house...and i will use that instead.

i phoned ahead to make sure they hadn't eaten. my mother didn't answer her cell...so i called my father. i inquired about breakfast, and he replied that my mother told him i was making pancakes. i put him in charge of 'bacon'...and told him i was on my way.

when i arrived at their house...i chopped the blueberries, grated the nutmeg and combined the rest of the ingredients.
with each passing minute...i seemed to be feeling worse. my head began to pound...and i was feeling faint. between flipping pancakes...i was going to stand in the doorway...hoping to catch a breeze.

with the breakfast preparation complete...i went to lie down. i awoke feeling better...but knowing that it was more than allergies. my daughter concurred that i was sick when she saw a couple of tweets i'd done...and told me that i'd responded to myself on my facebook page.


i'm writing this post in the car on the ride home...and i plan to have a healthy dose of cherry nyquil upon arrival.


depending on how i feel tomorrow will determine when i arrive in the office. the movers are bringing our furniture...and unfortunately...i have all the keys...so i must make an appearance.


it's raining out...football's on...and i'm gonna go grab a bowl of chili before this nyquil kicks in.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

eight-ball zucchini parmesan...



2 slices whole wheat bread, diced & crumbed
1 eight-ball zucchini, halved lenghtwise
4 basil leaves, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 small onion, peeled & diced
olive oil
1/4 cup chopped tomato
1 chili pepper, minced
salt, to taste
1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese

preheat oven to 350.

place bread in food processor. pulse until crumbs are coarse. set aside.

cut zucchini in half lengthwise, scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4 inch thick shell. set pulp aside. steam zucchini shells.

saute zucchini, basil, garlic, onion, pepper and tomato in olive oil. salt, to taste. remove from heat, stir in breadcrumbs.

fill each zucchini half with 1/2 of mixture. top with prosciutto and grated parmesan cheese. drizzle olive oil over top. bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until cheese melts.

*this is my altered version of a recipe i found online.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

homemade pesto...

last year was the first time i made my own pesto. why? because i had a lot of basil. well...this year...i planted a lot of basil on purpose!



this morning i went out and picked basil and cilantro for today's pesto. i'm not particularly fond of pine nuts... so i used unsalted cashews.



and some fresh-squeezed lemon juice. since i will be freezing the pesto...i did not add the cheese.



my herbal olive oil gave it just the kick it needed to send this batch of pesto over the top!




i can't wait for the basil to grow again so i can make some more. or...maybe i'll pick some up at trader joe's.