All of my jalapenos have turned red.  
Why, you ask?  
Good question.
Jalapenos will start to turn red the longer they are on the plant, and the later it is in the season.  Also, the red jalapeno peppers tend to be sweeter and not quite as hot.  Mine started to turn a few weeks ago, and I noticed a grower at the farmers market is only bringing red ones as well. 
The reds are great to pickle, and even stuff and roast.  Yum!

"How Easy Is That?"

I've grown to love Ina Garten.  Especially after learning more about where her culinary fame came from.  She was a pencil pusher in the White House's Dept. of Management and Business......when she got the feeling that she should be doing something "more"......
She ended up buying a specialty foods store in Long Island, ran it for 18 years, sold it, and took her pen to paper and wrote a cookbook.  The story unfolds from there.

Inspired?  Want a chance to meet the Barefoot Contessa?
She is doing a book signing for her newest, "How Easy Is That?"

Maybe I'll see you there....
Maybe I can pick up some moxie via osmosis!

Friday, November 12, 2010
Williams-Sonoma South Coast Plaza
3333 South Bristol St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 751-1166


Hot damn! Hot toddies!

Yes, it's that time of year.  For the lucky folks who live anywhere besides southern California, the leaves are changing.  Regardless, the air is brisk, I'm wearing boots again, and there are jack-o-lanterns lit.
More importantly, it's toddy time!
Who doesn't like a warm boozy drink? 
I sure do.  Especially one that has been used for more than fore score to fight a cold or flu. Tried and true! So, since I had the flu I figured now is a good time....and hey, it helped!  Not sure that it healed, but it numbed... and that works for me!
(unless you're reading this in the early a.m....get yourself together!)

Pour a "shot" of Scotch/Whiskey into a cup or mug, add boiling water to it. Add a spoonful of honey or sugar. Add a half slice of lemon, 2 cloves and, if you have one, a cinnamon stick. Let it brew for 3–5 minutes.
Depending on preference, you can remove the cloves and cinnamon stick before drinking, although leaving them in is often said to make a toddy even better for clearing a blocked nose and relieving a head cold....

KICK IT WAY UP and use apple cider instead of water, or through in a tea bag while it brews.   We went with the apple cider since it 'tis the season!


*Artichoke in Bloom*

I've been lucky enough, twice this week so far...
Growers have brought these artichoke in bloom to the Anaheim (Thursday) market, and the Newport (Sunday) market as well.

The whole globe artichoke we are familiar with is considered the flower of the plant.  The individual florets are purple, and is what you see in the photograph.

So, after much reading, this is what I've learned.....
 The edible portion of the buds consists primarily of the fleshy lower portions known as the "heart"; the mass of immature florets in the center of the bud is called the "choke". These are inedible in older larger flowers.  
This diuretic vegetable is of nutritional value because of its exhibiting aid to digestion, strengthening of the liver function, and to gall bladder function.
 Cynarin, an active chemical constituent in Cynara, causes an increased bile flow. (pardon!)  The majority of the cynarin found in artichoke is located in the pulp of the leaves, and in the dried leaves and stems of artichoke.
And, for all of us that like to eat artichoke with butter, 
it can help to raise of HDL/LDL ratio. This reduces cholesterol levels, which diminishes the risk for arteriosclerosis and coronary heart disease.  Cheers to that!

 I pulled the following recipe ideas for using artichokes as medicine.....
Let me know if you give it a try.  I know I will! 
The artichoke tea: The infusion is made from one spoon of mashed leaves scalded in 500 ml of water. The tea should be left for 15-20 minutes in order to become an infusion. The former mug of tea should be drunk in the morning on an empty stomach. The latter mug is to be drunk in 2 stages, namely one half of mug before breakfast and then before dinner. The treatment is to be made in 21-30 days cures with 30 day breaks. 
The Artichoke tincture: It is made from 20 grams of mashed artichoke leaves macerated in 100 ml of 70 degree alcohol for 15 days. 5-15 drops should be taken 3 times a day. The tincture shall be diluted with water or with tea whenever taken..."


From the heart.

Nothing makes me happier than learning more about John Lennon.  Seriously.
He embodied a certain spirit, and I can't always find the words to describe it.

David Sheff's interview with Lennon, 2 days before he passed in 1980, have been recently re-released as an e-book.  In it, there are stories from John about his love of baking bread.
 I wasn't sure it was possible, but my crush with a Beatle (who passed away weeks before my birth) just got bigger.  He goes on the share the feeling of becoming closer to his family, and the importance of the decision to slow the party.

In the interview, John describes how the new and strong feelings he got from joy in the kitchen helped to inspire his music.  The burst of creativity made way for  Double Fantasy and Milk and Honey.
 “All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono” by David Sheff  is published by Macmillan as an ebook ($4.99 at Barnes & Noble and Amazon’s Kindle Store). The paperback published in 2000 is out of print. 

Again with the cute....

My prayers have been answered. 
Yes, it's a half pound gummi bear, on a stick.
Enough said.
Get yours....here.


Because they're cute.

Dirty ol'  Williams-Sonoma, you've done it again!
Halloween pancakes anyone?
I know I can spend my money elsewere, but these babies are cute!  $19.95
Soften the blow......15% off until Oct. 15th.
Enter code: Halloween15 at check out
Visit, if you dare!


I Live Chocolate, too.

I've met a few very stellar people lately, including Patricia Tsai, of ChocoVivo.

I LOVE chocolate, who doesn't?  Although I am still learning to love a bitter 85% cacao, I can sure appreciate a good thing when I see it and taste it.
Patricia makes her rich dark chocolate from bean to bar, which only about 18 manufactures in the US do, including Hersey's.  She's the real deal....and fun too!
She has plenty of amazing and creative flavors like Coffee & Vanilla bar, and the Shangri-La that uses roasted sesame and goji berries.  The Mayan Traditional is a knock out, using guajilla, chipotle morita, pasilla negro, almonds and ceylon cinnamon sticks!
So, I was curious.  How does one start to make their own chocolate and create a successful business from scratch?  Here's what I found out.
Foodeater:  How did you begin making chocolate?  Introduction to it?
Patricia:  It was a five year journey from idea to product. I was truly inspired by chocolate in Oaxaca, Mexico. I quit my corporate CPA job and went to Oaxaca on a culinary tour and soon decided I wanted to learn to make traditional chocolate using old world Mexican stone ground methods. With no idea what chocolate was all about, here was this great educational trip! So I found a teacher in Mexico who would teach me the process from resources to machinery. Within a week of training I discovered I was conned out of my capital. However, I met a cacao grower during the process. While in a restaurant dining with the woman I was training with, a local man, an acquaintance of hers, joined us for lunch and we began talking about cacao and chocolate manufacturing. Needless to say, my “teacher” was very uncomfortable with it. But, after having already exhausted all my previous resources, an international relationship was born with this man who would become my cacao grower and mentor. This grower, who is a trained engineer, built my first stone grinder.
FoodEater:  Do you have any chocolate heros?
Patricia:  Scharffen-Berger, although they got bought out my Hershey’s, they were the largest artisanal chocolate maker in the US at the time that introduced Americans to Bean-To-Bar chocolate and helped pave the way for smaller micro-artisanal producers of chocolate that have opened doors for people like me. 
FoodEater:  Do you have any chocolate advice (for the novice, milk chocolate lover)?
Patricia:   I use to be a lover of milk chocolate.  Realize that milk chocolate has a lot of sugar inside and is very processed.  You aren’t getting the true taste of chocolate from milk chocolate, because it’s masked up by all the other stuff.  Start eating dark chocolate that has more sugar and as your palette becomes use to less sugar, start increasing your cacao content.  Not all dark chocolate is the same as dark chocolate can have just as much crap as milk.  But soon you’ll begin to appreciate the taste of true chocolate. 

FoodEater: What markets are you in?  Where can you find your product?
Patricia:   The link where you can buy product is here and the list of the farmers markets are below:
Tuesday – Culver City:  2 PM – 7 PM,  Main Street between Culver & Venice Blvd, 90232
Thursday – Yamashiro Garden Market:  5:00 PM – 9:00 PM, 1999 N. Sycamore Ave., Hollywood, 90068
Friday – Venice:  7 AM – 11 AM, Venice Way & Venice Blvd, 90291
Saturday – Playa Vista:  9 AM – 2 PM, 6400 Seabluff Drive (in Playa Vista, across from Home Depot), 90064
Saturday – Torrance:  8 AM – 1 PM, Charles H.Wilson Park, 2200 Crenshaw Blvd, 90503
Sunday – Palos Verdes:  8 AM – 1 PM, Peninsula Shopping Center, Rolling Hills Estates, 90247
Sunday – Mar Vista:  9 AM – 2 PM, 12224 Venice Blvd, 90066
Sunday – Malibu:  10 AM – 3PM, 23519 Civic Center Way, Malibu, CA 90265

Here products are also available Foodzie
You can find more at www.chocovivo.com or on facebook here.
Don't settle for bad chocolate!
Viva ChocoVivo!

Day 6

Our carrot sprouts are making their way.  
Soon these guys will be big enough to get planted in the bed.
Carrots are a great companion plant, especially with tomatoes.  If you have fall tomatoes, planting carrots nearby helps the tomato plant produce! (Intercropping)
Otherwise, carrots are typically planted in early spring, which makes them a perfect neighbor to the tomato, after the last frost.
Carrot roots are ready to pick in approximately 65 to 75 days, depending upon variety, so we'll see ours before the new year.

Camping in Big Sur.

Big Sur, California is an amazing place.
We spent the last few days camping in an epic location there, in the Los Padres National Forest.  You can't beat it.  Forest meets ocean, mild weather, and everything that comes along with that.
It was pretty sweet, and we even set up camp under a big olive tree.....lovely!
But besides all of that, I really wanted to stress the EATING part of camping. COOKING too.  You can do it.  Especially if you are "car camping", which basically means you park, set up, camp.  We can discuss long hike backpacking food later, which also doesn't have to be compromised to fit in your sack.
So, car camping?  You deserve more than a can of beans.  With a little preparation and thoughtful packing, you can cook an amazing mean to enjoy in the wilderness.  Big points.
 A good cast iron skillet is an essential item, that can cook almost anything you'd want to make while camping.  And considering you shouldn't use dish soap to clean them, bonus since you're not in a kitchen, with a proper sink, eh?
The picture doesn't do it justice.  "What, my dear, is that?"  you ask?
Only the best Sunday morning breakfast while camping.  Blueberry pancake and sausages.  Quiet simple- just pack the box mix, a bag of frozen blueberries, and sausages.  The can all cook up in the same pan too.  Again, bonus!

Make a big batch of pasta salad ahead of time or chili in the crock- both great and easy.  Pulled pork is a slow cook meal you can do ahead too, and its easy to reheat.
Here we have a beautifully sinful pot of sauteed onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes and little more of that sausage..........
 ....and bacon.....(thank you cast iron)
....all coming together with beans, eggs, cheese, avocado & salsa to make on killer burrito.  This thing was so dang good, and it helped us settle into our chairs for the rest of the night.  Que the sky full of stars, and a little whiskey.
So grab your friends, slow down, cook with your heart, and eat well. 

I'd say!


Checking progress....Day 2.

It's day 2 and we're making progress!
A few have started to sprout.


As the weather changes

Last week's record heat wave was a lovely farewell to all things summer.  
This week, rain. Now it seems like fall.

Like the warm days, my tomatoes are also disappearing, for now.  
It's time to make way for the new season's crops.
I started my carrot seeds inside, since it is way too cold outside.  The sun is no where to be seen either, so I have them under a light to get them going.....
We'll check back on them soon.


Baby it's cold outside....

" [Breadbaking is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony.  It leaves you filled with one of the world's sweetest smells... there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music-throbbing chapel, that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread. " ~M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating
A perfect day to use your oven............