Friday, October 28, 2011

dracula dinner

"We left in pretty good time, and came after nightfall to Klausenburgh. Here I stopped for the night at the Hotel Royale. I had for dinner, or rather supper, a chicken done up some way with red pepper, which was very good but thirsty. (Mem. get recipe for Mina.) I asked the waiter, and he said it was called "paprika hendl," and that, as it was a national dish, I should be able to get it anywhere along the Carpathians"
"I had for breakfast more paprika, and a sort of porridge of maize flour which they said was "mamaliga", and egg-plant stuffed with forcemeat, a very excellent dish, which they call "impletata".'
Bram Stoker
Dracula

i'm really not much for horror stories
however
if the opening chapter
references two meals
i become open-minded

for the record
Dracula
it is a well written story
with astounding imagery

we all know
Dracula
is the only vampire
that counts
(get it? count dracula!)

if you are indecisive
regarding
your halloween meal
or this weekend lead

i present to you an idea
both clever and delicious

a
dracula dinner party
using
recipes inspired by
the words of stoker himself
dracula dinner party
chicken paprikash
eggplant implatata-ish
(printable recipe)
hungarian-bacon stuffed corn fritters
(printable recipe)
other recipes coming soon
custard tart with sour cherry glaze 

*the final recipe will be up soon--if you want more fun ideas for halloween...i will be a guest on azmomofmanyhat-radio this afternoon. pull up the archived podcast if you miss it


Friday, October 21, 2011

travelogue spokane {travel}

spokane, washington was my home for 6 interrupted years
interrupted because
the years weren't consecutive
 i attended university here
then left
transferred back for a job
and left again
i return several times each year
for meetings
and i find myself
envious of spokanites
yes
it. is. true.
each time i return to spokane i find new treasures

frozen mornings, warming to crisp afternoons
flaming red leaves of trees readying for winter
a crook of the river, hugging a long forgotten road

along a stretch of highway leading out of town
sits a charming eatery
a jewel of a place
called chaps

walking in the door
is more like stumbling into a magical cottage
i felt a bit like gretel  
following the scent of sugar and spices
to an airy room
dressed in chandeliers, marbled tables
and
incredibly hip patrons

i am a pastry chef
for professional reasons (cough,cough)
i sample
the adorable young man behind the counter {trevor}
recommended
an
apple fritter
and
vegetable omelet with chorizo
(not on the menu)
i added a pumpkin latte

the omelet was overstuffed and oozing with cheese
joined with perfectly cooked breakfast potatoes 
and freshly baked thick toast
the latte was as large as the harvest moon and filled with the flavors of pumpkin pie
it all was delicious, but i must admit
the fritter was my favorite
eschewing the cloying sweetness of a donut, for the mastery of a french pastry
it had me plotting my next visit before i finished my last

if you find yourself with a grumbling stomach
wandering the by-ways of the northwest
seek out chaps
a not-so-hidden treasure
in spokane washington

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

halloween wreaths

guess who is getting 
halloween happy
finally
the mantle is nearly complete
costumes are in full planning stage
and 
the kitchen is awash
in frightful projects
but for me
no holiday is official
until the wreaths are up
this year
i went simple
starting with wreaths
already aflutter in feathers
i  added a little bling
feather wreath, paper crow sprinkled in silver glitter 

feather wreath, styrofoam skulls covered in silver glitter, silk flowers 

i'm linking this up to

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

tuesday night supper club no. 48 {featuring cooking underwriter}

welcome to tuesday night supper club
under our new format, we spotlight a blogger that makes great food.
this month we are featuring mrs. mix it (or as i know her)sheila from cooking underwriter.  
the best way i can describe sheila is enthusiastic.  
she is a busy working mom and wife 
who always finds time to whip something delicious up in the kitchen  
you should also know
she hosts amazing (culinary related) give-a-ways.  
food is delicious, but not fussy.  
last month sheila linked up this gorgeous gluten-free crumble to the supper club
honestly, doesn't it make you want to reach through the screen and dig in? 
yeah, me too
so you could get to know sheila 
i asked her a few questions
she was kind enough to share some favorite recipes as well

How did you start blogging? To be honest, 1. One Fabulous Mom bullied me into starting this blog! I started my career as an underwriter in the insurance industry working my way up to the top. When I would have a bad day at work I always came home and baked a dessert and cooked a special dinner.  If it was a really bad day, it always involved a meal with mashing or mixing with my hands. It was like therapy! As the years went on I would share my recipes whether they were baked or cooked with neighbors and friends. These friends and neighbors always suggested that I start a restaurant or bakery however, it was just not in the cards. So the answer was a blog! I wanted to share my love of cooking with all of you. My recipes are back to basics recipes that are simple and easy and sometimes gluten free but not super fancy.

How long have you been blogging? I started building my blog in my head in September of 2009.  However, it took me another 11 months in order to put Cooking Underwriter together. I am a bit of a perfectionist and I wanted it to look professional. I finally got the courage to post in August of 2010 and have been posting ever since three days a week.

You've transitioned to mostly gluten free recipes because of your daughter's diet restrictions. Do you find yourself adapting recipes or creating new recipes from scratch? Yes, I cook and bake mostly gluten free because of my daughters food restrictions. However, I cook with whatever I have in the kitchen cupboards and freezer. I never plan a meal; I just look through, the sale adds on Tuesdays, in my local area and see what is on sale. If I have a coupon for that particular item and if I do it’s an extra added bonus. Then I freeze all meat, fish and poultry and defrost what I need when I’m in the mood to cook or bake. Since my daughter Miss J has become gluten free and it is so expensive to buy gluten free cookies and baked goods. I have learned how to substitute and make all sorts of gluten free goodies on my own out of necessity. For instance I have a recipe on my blog for Gluten free Ice cream sandwiches. I went into a local Gluten Free Store and bought Miss J one Ice Cream Sandwich, NOT A BOX just one Ice Cream Sandwich! The cashier said “That will be 7.50 please.”  I was in shock I quickly learned to make them and freeze them and stock up.

What three things do you always have in your shopping cart? Butter, old-fashioned Oats, and Milk. , I can never keep any of those items in the house and when I run out a trip to Costco is in order because they now have an Organic section and you can save a lot of money.

Tell us about your greatest food memory. I don’t have just one greatest food memory I have food memories that always include friends and neighbors sharing food on a regular basis.  I have many food memories, especially with the holidays coming around; I love Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving and we have at least two Thanksgiving feasts a year. I can’t get enough of Turkey and all of the trimmings, from creamed cornAcorn Squash Florets with Apple Sage Sausage StuffingGerman Cabbage, I also love all of the desserts and goodies Butter Tarts and Pecan Tarts,pumpkin crunch souffle, and lemon meringue pie . The good thing is I’m married to a Canadian so we celebrate both American and Canadian Thanksgiving with all of the trimmings. 

Do you have a favorite recipe that makes it into your "rotation" often? Yes, we love Home made Pizza and I have figured out how to make the dough from scratch both regular pizza dough and gluten free pizza dough. So depending who is coming over or what’s going on with us we sometimes have both.  Especially when Miss J has a sleep over with her friends; it’s always fun to have a pizza party with friends!
If you were in a cooking competition that provided a hamper with three ingredients in it, what would you dread receiving? There is really nothing I would dread receiving because I enjoy creating and new recipes on a regular basis. Trying new things is always fun and if I don’t know how or what to use with I just wing it. What’s the worst thing can happen, so it taste bad!. That makes you try harder the next time. 


What inspires you outside of the kitchen. The farmers markets and what is in season. I love to go to the farmers market on Tuesdays and Saturdays stocking up on the local produce. That’s where I get creative. I also like to visit these types of open air markets when I travel. I also love to go out to dinner but when I do I always order something that I have never made before at home. That way I can create it Gluten Free at home and share my knowledge with my readers and my family. 
  
What is your number 1 kitchen essential? My Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer I use it all the time and love it!
Dream dinner party--guest list, menu, drinks, music, location? My dream dinner party would be in the Italian Countryside outside with my dearest friends. First learning to cook the meal then sitting down for a feast after we had created the meal as a team. It would not matter what we ate as long as it was Italian and Gluten Free Food with Italian music playing  I would be one happy camper with Wine had by all.

sweet or savory? I have two sweet and Savory meals that come to mind one being Sweet and Savory Meatballs the other Hot Chicken Curry
please take some time to visit sheila
click HERE
to go directly to cooking underwriter

now it is time to see what you are cooking this week.  
remember, i pick my spotlight features from those who link up. 
will it be you? 
if you are new to the supper club, please go HERE  first, then link up

 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

crepe brulee

pasadena
is not all about
rose queens and debutantes
or
penny loafers and posh hotels
along the edges
nearing the fringe

bijouxs and the rippler (that's me)
inspired by
art & culture
the storied past of pasadena
more
underground than paseo
after hours than high tea
pop art than prep school

created an unexpected gem
THE CREPE BRULEE
a confection well loved
in the tea salons of paris
transforms
to lust worthy
in the altier of bijouxs

bijouxs and the rippler
met at camp
and
instantly bonded over
immaculately curated bunk rooms
(think pendleton blankets, leather steamer trunks and vintage oil lamps)
and an
aversion to mingling
it was no surprise to learn
they both hail
from
pasadena

it was an instant friendship
bonding while breaking bread
not clear who said it first
but both agree
pasadena can be sexy
and hip
ahead of the curve
it just doesn't want everyone to know

now the secret is out


lynn and i have collaborated
on an amazing dessert
preppy handbook meets laduree



 crepe brulee
(printable recipe)



lynn gray of bijouxs is an artist in the kitchen
she brings a designer's palate to food

when the light casts like chiffon in my kitchen
i close my eyes
wandering my mind to the bijouxs studio
to watch
my simple dessert of crepes and custard
become art

to learn more about lynn and her classic Bijouxs style
jewels from the kitchen
click here


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