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Preview: better bitter blonde

better bitter blonde

telling my story as a food writer, recipe developer and culinary instructor. recipes included.

Updated: 2017-09-05T06:49:54.304-07:00


Parmesan Polenta with Garlic Kale and Poached Egg


This is my absolute favorite breakfast/brunch dish ever. Screw pancakes, Belgian waffles, quiche - all that stuff is crap in comparison. It's not quite "last meal" quality (I'm having Steak Bearnaise with creamed spinach and duck fat fries at that meal. A girl's gotta plan ahead) but it's super tasty and one of the only dishes I make on a regular basis. I prefer to eat it alone, in my pajamas, while watching TV when I should be working or folding laundry. I also eat it alone because the sight and smell of poached eggs make my husband gag. (Marriage is about compromise, even when you're right and they're very, very wrong) I make it pretty much the same way every time, but never thought to write it down until I found out that my upcoming foot surgery (aka Ortho-pocalypse 2012) would take me out of the kitchen for several weeks. Which means that I won't be able to make my absolute favorite breakfast/brunch dish ever and I'll be dependent upon someone who claims to be allergic to eggs for my fix.  Doesn't the egg look like Pac-man? Parmesan Polenta with Garlic Kale and Poached EggServes 1The object of poached eggs is to keep them round and compact with firm but tender whites and warm, liquid yolks. To help this occur, always make sure to use Grade AA eggs since the yolk and white are firmer. Distilled white vinegar will help the white coagulate, which will also help your poached egg stay compact. 1 egg1 tablespoon white vinegar1 teaspoon olive oil1 clove garlic, minced1 cup lacinato kale, loosely packed, shredded3 tablespoons polenta3/4 cup water, chicken or vegetable broth1 teaspoon unsalted butter1 1/2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheeseKosher salt & black pepper to taste Using 1 tablespoon vinegar to each quart of water, bring water and vinegar up to a simmer in a shallow, wide pan. Break egg into a small bowl or dish. Using the dish, slide the egg into the simmering water. Simmer for 3 minutes until the whites are cooked and firm, but before the yolk becomes solid. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and pat dry. Quickly dump out the water and wipe out any egg remnants from the pan. Put the pan back on medium heat and add olive oil. When shimmering, add garlic, kale and a pinch each of salt and black pepper. Saute for a few minutes (2-4) until kale is just wilted. Meanwhile, heat water in a small saucepot. When at a simmer, add polenta and whisk vigorously to combine. Polenta should thicken up almost immediately. Stir in butter and cheese, and add salt and pepper to taste. To serve, pour polenta into a bowl and top with garlic kale. Gently place poached egg on top and sprinkle with cracked black pepper if desired. Serve immediately. [...]

Christmas in July Champagne Punch


Every July, I throw my husband a birthday party. I hear that's what many wives do for their doting spouses. But Bob's birthday is just a little bit different. In fact, it's not just a single day anymore - the entire month of July is "birthday season." Some call it crazy, we call it "Bob-a-palooza." There's staff, copious amounts of booze, a decoration budget, costumes, pinatas, prizes, goodie bags. And although I remind my husband every year that most men in their 30s have outgrown the themed birthday, he reminds me that he's not like other men (i.e. mature).  I don't even bother asking him what he wants for his birthday anymore, I just inform him that the party is his gift. Planning for Bobapalooza starts 10 to 11 months ahead of time. It's like painting the Golden Gate Bridge - you paint from one end to another, and when you finish, you just pick up your brushes and buckets and head back to the other end. So when discussions for 2012's theme began in late 2011, there was no theme too bizarre, to0 wild, too inappropriate. And then the rallying cry came flying from Bob's lips, "Christmas and my birthday have been apart for far too long!" Seriously? Yep. Bob-a-palooza 2012: Christmas in July It was a really, really good party. I highly recommend the projects, recipes and decorations we used. Whether you do it in December or July is entirely up to you. Christmas in July Champagne Punch (we should really call it knock-you-on-your-ass-deliciousness, but that was a little wordy)Serves 20-24 4 bottles champagne, sparkling wine or prosecco, chilled 36 oz pomegranate juice, chilled  36 oz Trader Joe’s cherry cider, chilledHomemade Ice Mold Garnish: 4 sliced clementines and/or tangerines, fresh pomegranate seeds Combine all ingredients in the order listed to your punch bowl. It's important to add the sparkling wine first, as if you do it the other way, it may foam up and make a big mess. Homemade Ice Moldtime: 24 hours, largely unattended1 bundt pan, or similar shaped tube pan1 cup fresh pomegranate seeds (I got mine from Trader Joe's)8 sliced tangerines, thinly sliced in rounds8 cups waterFill the pan 1/3 of the way up with water (about 2 cups) and drop in 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds. Lay sliced tangerines on top so that they float and just barely overlap. Freeze until mostly solid, about 6 hours. Repeat, until all the fruit is used up and/or the bundt pan is full. To unmold, fill large bowl with warm water and dip mold into the bowl, being careful not to let warm water into the bundt mold. After a few dips, it should loosen up significantly. Place directly into your punch-filled bowl. [...]

Whole Wheat Pearl Couscous Salad with Feta


I was on the phone yesterday with the lovely Susan of The Home Artist. We were chatting about recipes, and I mentioned that the teriyaki meatball recipe I'd given her was "wonky." Some students in the past had found it a little bland, others thought there was too much green onion. I suggested playing with it - cooking a mini-patty and sampling it for salt and spice. She suggested fixing the recipe. And then actually writing the changes down. Uh. Yeah, why didn't I think of that? I did. Think of it, that is. I actively chose not to write down my personal changes. I, like most people, only like food that tastes good to me. Unfortunately, not everyone in this world is like me. (Wouldn't that be glorious?! Don't answer that - rhetorical question.) I tell my cooking school students all the time: Food is just like wine. It's only "good" if you like it. So this is my "good." You'll rarely see me put salt and pepper measurements in my recipes because it's such a matter of personal taste. This salad is tasty just as it is, but it's also really good with farro. Or orzo. Asparagus tips would be nice, or maybe some grilled corn and cilantro instead of olives and basil? Go ahead and tinker. Let me know how it works out for you. Whole Wheat Pearl Couscous Salad with Feta Serves 8-10 as a side 1 lb whole wheat pearl couscous (I used Bob's Red Mill)2 teaspoons salt1 bell pepper, small dice ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped                                            ½ cup Kalamata olives, sliced ½ small red onion, small dice                                                                    ½ cup feta, crumbled or cubed ¾ cup grape tomatoes, halved (quartered if large)                            2 cups baby spinach, chiffonade  ¼ cup fresh basil, chiffonade                                                                      salt & pepper to taste Bring a 4 quart pot of water up to the boil. Season the water with the 2 teaspoons of salt. Drop in Israeli couscous and cook according to package directions.   When cooked, drain the couscous well and transfer to a large bowl to cool. When cool, combine all other ingredients and drizzle with a double-batch of Lemon Vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving. Let sit for 20-30 minutes for pasta to absorb vinaigrette before serving. Note: Any longer than 30-45 minutes and the basil and spinach in this recipe will start to wilt. If you're bringing this to a party this summer (and you really should), I suggest assembling the bulk of the salad at home and bringing the spinach and basil in a separate container. Toss it all together when you arrive. Another Note: Many thanks to Andrew Wilder at Eating Rules for the free sample of Bob's Red Mill whole wheat pearl couscous! Lemon Vinaigrette Serves 4-6 as a light salad dressing. This much couscous requires a double batch. ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice &nb[...]

More Guest Blogging for Taste of the Nation


More guest blogging at Taste of the Nation. Just posted the interview with Meredith Manee at Culina, Modern Italian. click on Meet the Chefs!

Guest Blogging over at Taste of the Nation Los Angeles


I'm doing some guest blogging over at Taste of the Nation Los Angeles. Over the next few weeks will be interviewing loads of LA area chefs about why they volunteer for Taste of the Nation, what chefs and restaurants they're looking forward to sampling and whether they prefer red or white wine.

It's some hard-hitting journalism, folks.

Check it out: Taste of the Nation Los Angeles. Click on Meet the Chefs. Now up: Chef Susan Feniger of STREET and Border Grill.

Cheddar-Chile Biscuits


So it all started with a bowl of chili. It was meant to be vegan and three-bean. It ended up being beef with chipotle. I was going to make cheddar biscuits to go alongside, but I was running late, the husband was on his way home and I had some fingerling potatoes in my grocery bags. You can probably guess how this went.

We had homemade chili cheese fries for dinner. It was awesome.

But you know when something gets in your head and you can't get it out? Or when you have several hours to kill so you decide to make a gigantic mess of your kitchen?

No? You don't do that? neither.

Cheddar-Chile Biscuits
9 ounces (2 scant cups) all-purpose flour + more for rolling out
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chile powder (optional)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
2-3 dashes Tabasco (optional)
2 eggs, beaten + one for washing
1/4 pound (4 oz) shredded Mexican cheese blend (or cheddar, or whatever)
4 ounce can of green chiles or jalapenos, drained

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and chile powder in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to mix together. Add butter and pulse in short bursts until the butter is chopped up and the size of lima beans. Open the top and dump in the wet ingredients: sour cream, buttermilk, Tabasco and 2 eggs. Pulse until it starts to come together and form a wet, shaggy dough.
Looks pretty gnarly at this stage...
Open the top one more time and dump in the cheese and chilies. Pulse a few times more until it is thoroughly combined. Ideally, you'll still have visible lumps of butter in the dough. Remove dough from processor to a floured cutting board and pat the dough into a square about an inch thick. You may need to flour your hands if the dough is particularly sticky. Cut the dough into squares and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Brush the biscuits with the last beaten egg and then put in the oven. Bake until puffed and golden, about 15-18 minutes. Serve with chili, or any other stew dish that needs bread for mopping up.

Carrot-Zucchini Bread


I've got a lot of really dingy looking produce. Not just bashed around and beat up, but really questionable "this might be growing hair" veggies. How did this happen? I forgot about them. Well, actually, I conveniently forgot about the juice cleanse I was going to use them all up on. Normally, I'd toss the vegetation, lament my failures as a wife and secretly hope that none of those starving children in China hear about this little oopsie. But then two weeks worth of freelance work up and walked away and I had a little more in common with those starving children in China than I wanted to. So, in the words of the oft-misquoted Marie-Antoinette, "Let them eat cake made with vegetables (that very closely resembles bread)!" That's not what you learned in high school? Well....I did go to private school. It's not your fault. This is a regular old quickbread, that takes a couple of cues from carrot cake - namely the raisins and chopped walnuts - and combines them with the ever-popular applesauce/oil swap out. You could easily use applesauce instead of the carrot applesauce that I used, but it'll taste more like apples and less like carrots. And that's OK. 1 cup carrot-applesauce (I used 3 packs of Trader Joe's Crushers)2 eggs, room temperature1 cup brown sugar1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract2 1/2 cups all purpose flour1 teaspoon baking soda1 teaspoon baking powder1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt2 teaspoons ground cinnamon4 small carrots, shredded (about 1 cup)3 small zucchini and/or crookneck squash, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)2/3 cup raisins1/2 cup chopped walnuts Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a loaf pan, and line it with parchment paper. Whisk together applesauce, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth and well-combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking soda and powder, salt and cinnamon.Now, what I did next is not "proper." You're supposed to add the dry to the wet and mix until just combined - which means no white streaks of flour/don't beat the hell out of it. But I did it backwards because I had two different sized bowls and the dry stuff was in the bigger one. It happens. My bread still tasted good. So drop your carrots and squash, raisins and walnuts in the flour and toss it around with your hands. This will keep them from sinking to the bottom of the bread. Think of the flour as little Velcro fingers keeping the zucchini elevated. It works. Then pour in the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Just get rid of the white streaks of flour. Pour it into the loaf pan - it will be very, very full. Bake for 60-75 minutes, until it starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and a skewer inserted comes out mostly-clean. (It's OK if there are bits of bread sticking to it - you just don't want it to be raw or gluey.) Let cool, slice and serve. I like it slathered in butter.[...]

Sorta-Kinda-Almost Good for You Banana Bread


I've spent a lot of time with people in the food biz. Some are all about the fat and sugar - like those crazy Frenchies who developed my culinary school courseload. Others are holier-than-thou, healthy-eating zealots whose single focus hurts my head a little. I've met lots of misfits and ne'er-do-wells for whom the corporate world is just not an option. And luckily, I've met some people who walk the line straight down the middle. I myself have wavered back and forth for years - one year buying my beloved spouse a membership to the Bacon of the Month club, and the next signing us up for gym memberships and waxing poetic about kale and cherry smoothies. I don't know quite where I am right now, which is exactly how I ended up right here, with this banana bread.I had black bananas and no white sugar. I had brown sugar, brown rice syrup, corn syrup - just about every other kind of sugar you could imagine from my run-ins with with the healthy eating bunch, but no regular old plain white sugar. So we got to looking around on the Internet, and one of my favorite blogs - Orangette - had something I thought we could work with. Except for the white sugar bit. So I kept playing - liquid sugar here meant more dry stuff there, and we went with a vanilla bean instead of extract. No white sugar means that it's kind of healthy, right? Trace minerals found in the brown sugar and all that? Yes? No? Whatever. At least I got to use the hammer. Every good recipe should start with a hammer.For your information, whole nutmegs are found inside of a thin shell (mace) which is also frequently ground up and used as a spice. Here in the States you'll frequently find de-shelled nutmeg, but this fancy stuff came from my darling baby sister, a former resident of the Spice Isle - Grenada. Banana Bread3 large bananas, mashed2 eggs1 3/4 cup all purpose flour1/2 cup brown sugar1/2 cup brown rice syrup1 1/2 tsp baking soda1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon1/8 tsp ground nutmeg1 vanilla bean, scraped of seeds1 1/2 cups chopped toasted walnutsBanana Bread Topping2 Tbsp brown sugar1/8 tsp ground cinnamonpinch of nutmeg1/3 cup chopped toasted walnutsPreheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8"x8" square baking dish and then line with parchment. I usually make myself some handles to lift the whole loaf out with. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl), combine bananas, sugars and eggs until well mixed. Add in spices and vanilla bean seeds. I add in the entire bean as well because more seeds inevitably fall out as it gets whipped around by the mixer. Add the flour and mix just until combined. Add walnuts, remove bean and pour into prepared pan.In a separate small bowl, combine topping ingredients. Sprinkle over the bread evenly and then put the bread in the preheated oven. Bake for 45 minutes or so, until toothpick inserted comes out (mostly) clean. Let it cool if you want. I'm not bossy. Eat it straight from the pan if you like. This is a dense, chewy bread that will last in the freezer for weeks, and toasts up nicely if it lasts that long. Ours made it till morning - and my husband is allergic to bananas.    [...]

Massaged Kale Salad


Do you need a massage? I (probably) do. I used to like getting them, until an overzealous physical therapist once sat on me. With his knees. I'm forever scarred. So I'll do the massaging from this point forward, starting with this salad. I find that pairing sweet fruit offsets the bitterness of the kale, and makes it a little more palatable for the uninitiated. Massaging the kale helps break down some of those super-stiff fibers making it both easier to chew and digest. If you can't find lacinato kale, you could easily substitute curly green, but it doesn't chiffonade (slice into pretty strips) as easily. Depends on how important presentation is to you. As an FYI - I have absolutely no qualms whatsoever about neglecting to mention that this salad is made with kale. At a recent gettogether, a friend's husband recently went on a long-winded diatribe about how much he hates kale. His wife reminded him that not only had he enjoyed this kale salad at our home, he'd asked for seconds. His response? "That was kale?" Massaged Kale Salad1 bunch of lacinato kalejuice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil salt and pepper to taste1/2 pint raspberries1/2 pint blackberries1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)Wash and dry lacinato kale. Remove leaves from the stem - I like to hold onto the base of the stem with my left hand and rip the leaf off in one motion with my right. Pile up the leaves, roll them up and slice into 1/4" - 1/2" slices. Put aside. In a small bowl (or your serving bowl), whisk together lemon juice and oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the greens to your bowl and using your hands, toss to coat. Then begin to massage the greens, gently rolling them between your fingers. Do this for 2-3 minutes, then top with berries and feta, if using. Make-ahead notes: The dressing can be made 2 days ahead of time, and the salad assembled1-2 hours prior to serving.   [...]

Party Food: Gougeres


It's birthday season. More importantly - it's my birthday season. Usually, I try to ignore my birthday. Most years, I tell everyone who asks that I want for nothing and it's just another day. Until about 48 hours before my birthday when I start to feel bad about myself and decide that I do want to have a party, or at least a get-together of some sort, and my poor husband tries to scrounge up some dinner reservations and nail down RSVPs. This year, he said he'll have none of it. I'm having a birthday party whether I want it or not.  So, I'm having a party, and I'm going to make all the food myself - because that's not stressful at all - and along the way we're going to take some pictures and document it. Because as a birthday gift to myself, I'm going to re-launch the blog. I'd imagined 31 days worth of posts, but October 1 fell on a Saturday this year and I feel like everything brave and bold should start on a Monday. So maybe we'll get 31 posts, maybe we won't. That's not priority one right now - party food is, and in this case, the magic that is pate a choux. It's both appetizer nibble and when filled with ice cream or pastry cream, a decadent dessert. Let's Party. the crazy piper strikes ... why no straight lines? Pate a ChouxYield: 2 pounds16 oz (2 cups) water5.25 oz (1 stick + 1 1/2 teaspoons) unsalted butter1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar3/4 teaspoon kosher salt8 ½ oz. (2 scant cups) AP flour  6 large eggs + 1 egg for washsmall bowl of water, to pat down dough. For the gougeres (if doing half batch):2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated + more for sprinkling on topEquipment: large pot, whisk, spatula, parchment/silpat, baking sheetOptional Equipment: stand mixer, piping bag and tipsPreheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pot, bring water, butter, sugar and salt to a boil. Once the butter is melted, sugar and salt dissolved and the water boiling, add all the bread flour at once. Turn the heat to medium-low and whisk quickly to incorporate all the flour. Once the whisk is all "gunked up" - switch to a large spatula or spoon and continue stirring to remove all of the lumps of flour. The goal in this step is to cook out the starchy flavor, and you'll know it's done when a light film covers the bottom of the pot. Remove dough to bowl of stand mixer. Turn on low to aerate the dough and release most of the steam. Meanwhile, crack 6 eggs in a separate bowl. Once the dough has released the majority of its steam (the amount of steam will have dramatically decreased), add the eggs one at a time, waiting till the previous egg is fully incorporated before adding another. Once all eggs are incorporated, the dough is ready to use. This step can also be done by hand, or used to punish an unruly child. For profiteroles, or cream puff shells: Take half of the dough and put it in a large piping bag fitted with a large tip. (It's best not to fill piping bags more than half-way, regardless of their size. So much easier to handle) Pipe onto a parchment-lined baking tray in 2 inch circles, lifting the piping bag straight up at the end. This will help you get really round, circular shells. Dip fingers in water and tap down any wayward edges or peaks (they'll burn). Brush with beaten egg.For Parmesan-Thyme gougeres: Add cheese and chopped thyme to remaining dough in the mixer. Mix together on low until combined and then scoop into piping bag. Pipe onto a parchment-lined baking tray in 2 inch circles, lifting the piping bag straight up at the end. Dip fingers in water and tap down any wayward edges or peaks (they'll burn). Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with extra cheese.  much prettier pipingAt this stage, [...]

...and we're back.


Hi there. In case you don't remember, it's me, Chris.

I know its been awhile. I'm sorry, I was busy. 

I got a promotion. I dyed my hair red. I got engaged (you knew that) and dyed my hair blonde again. I lost ten pounds, and then gained fifteen back. (If you want to talk about bitterness...) Then, I quit my corporate job, went to culinary school, was published in The Los Angeles Times, got married, moved 25 miles away and embarked on a whole new food-related career as a writer/caterer/culinary instructor.

Even got myself a fancy new logo:

That's all. I told you, I was busy.

blonde quote of the day


"There's a couple of ways that you make someone happy by putting something inside of them, and that's food and that's sex."

- Mario Batali

Resolutions are for suckers


I'm not making any resolutions this year. I break them every year and having a blog only serves as proof of my shortcomings. So you'll see no grandiose statements. This year, we're trying something old, something new...


There's nothing more motivating than the image of yourself walking down the aisle in a white dress to make you put down the wine bottle and step away from the buffet. Except...the idea of spending countless hours with my mother and an exorbitant amount of money planning a wedding reception.

Pass the Chardonnay.

Cheers to 2009! Best wishes for a year of clean(er) living, love and the quest for The Dress.

herby, mustardy potato goodness


(image) Yesterday's Food Whore blog entry described her obsession with potatoes - she likes them any way she can get them. I feel a bit like a copycat saying I feel exactly the same way, but I do. And as she described her favorite potato dish that she used to make with her grandfather, I knew I had to have exactly that with dinner.

I tried to take photos, but...well, it was gone. Really really quickly. You'll have to take my word for it that these potatoes are divine.

Herby, Mustardy Potatoes
Serves 2

1 lb baby red potatoes
1 tsp grain mustard
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (basil, parsley, dill, etc.)
salt and pepper to taste

After scrubbing the potatoes, place in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring the pot to a boil and cook potatoes till tender. Drain into a colander and then return the potatoes to the pot. Add all remaining ingredients and stir to combine. (Putting the top on the pot and shaking it also works well!) Serve warm.

Photo by avlxyz via Flickr

What you been up to, woman?


Eating cupcakes....

in Brentwood at SusieCakes...

in Studio City at My Little Cupcake...

and you know...chillin'

Cupcakes....coming out my ears!


The latest in the cupcake craze: Dainties Cupcakes

OK, these are reeeeeeaaal good. Virtually impossible to find behind a scuzzy Century City Winchell's, the shop is only open to the public for retail sales on Saturdays. But it's worth the trek. I mean, look at these things:
(image) Next week we're reviewing Yummy Cupcakes. They have two stores - one in Santa Monica and another in Burbank. You'll have to read the article for my thoughts on the place, but if you're deciding between there and Vanilla Bake Shop this weekend - definitely swing by Vanilla.

Photo by pudgeefeet via Flickr

V-Day Countdown


(image) I like to think that I attempt romance most every day of the year.

Oh, who am I kidding? That is a blatant lie. Liar, liar, pants on fire!

I may serve my caviar on roasted fingerling potatoes with French champagne, follow it up with a filet that melts in your mouth and end it with sweet homemade cupcakes, but I'll do it wearing sweatpants and shuffling around in fuzzy slippers. Cut me some slack - my apartment has hardwood floors! It's cold!
If you're also more comfortable in sneakers than heels, you may be interested in my low-cost V-Day day-date, which can be read over on - recent posts


Since I'm feeling a little torn between my new commitment to and my old love, the Better Bitter Blonde, I'm going to have to try and accomodate them both by linking to some of my most recent posts. It's a sad compromise, but I promise that I'll get back to my cooking misadventures very soon.

Where to shop for cooking supplies in LA: Surfas Restaurant Supply

I'm all about the cupcakes these days: Best Cupcake in LA: Leda's Bake Shop?


Hey there boys & girls!

I've recently started writing for and would love to have come on over and join me. I'll be writing a weekly feature entitled "Best Cupcake in LA" for the next month or two (or three?) so stop on by.

In the meantime, I'll be on vacation in the West Indies, saying hello to my baby sister.

Love ya' long time

- c

Bacon of the Month!


(image) Today’s trip to the mailbox delivered something special: The Grateful Palate’s 2008 Gift Handbook.

Oh, my.

Last year, in an attempt at The Best Girlfriend Ever title, I bought my beau a year-long membership to the Bacon of the Month club and a six-month membership to Amazing Clubs’ Beer of the Month. My thought behind these gifts was twofold. On one hand, neither one of us needs any more clutter in our lives and the “disposability” of edible gifts was really appealing to me. It also crossed my mind that if our relationship went belly-up in the next year, every month he would get a tasty reminder of what a great girlfriend I was - and that satisfied my bitter, vindictive side.

It’s December again, and we’re still together only 10 pounds heavier with a freezer full of artisanal bacon. One would think that a pound of bacon could be easily consumed over the course of a month by two culinary-inclined adults. We’ve had bacon fried in the pan, baked in the oven, wrapped around filets and scattered over stew. We’ve had it for breakfast, lunch, brunch, snack-time and dinner. The freezer is stocked, we have a bacon surplus and still I’m tempted once again to order.

The “Field Guide to Bacon” includes roughly 45 different varieties of bacon, all with tasting notes and a 1 through 5 rating system. Some bacons are good for kids, others are best for breakfast and sandwiches. (I’m partial to jowl & shoulder bacon, myself.) The selection and variety of bacon is amazing. But I can’t have any more bacon in the house. I just can’t do it.

Though what I find especially enticing is this:

Pies! Delivered to your door! Every month! With cocktail recipes!

Oh, my. My, my, my.

Phoebe Lawless will make 75 pies a month for The Grateful Palate – which means only 75 members may join the club. At $66.00 a month (not including shipping) it certainly isn’t the cheapest way to get your pie fix, but if you order it for your sweetie and the relationship goes sour…

its not blonde...


but this quote of the day certainly made me laugh:

Happiness is like peeing your pants. Everyone can see it, but only you can feel its warmth.

The latest disaster: Coq Au Vin


I’ll spare you the gory details, but hope that you’ll laugh WITH me when I tell you that my latest culinary adventure was inspired by the following:

But did not result in Coq Au Vin. Instead, the resulting catastrophe could best be described as a pot of blackened bacon fat and a pile of stringy purple chicken with perfectly purple petite pearl onions.

So after several attempts at chewing, we decided to cut our losses. A liquid dinner never killed anyone, did it?


blonde quote of the day


"I am a marvelous housekeeper. Every time I leave a man I keep his house.”

~ Zsa Zsa Gabor, cop-slapper and actress, b. February 6, 1917

Oh my, Omaha!


We're on a mission, and today the adventure began. It started in Los Angeles, and will end in LA - but what happens along the way will truly test the wills and relationships of three sisters. Along the way, we also hope to debunk myths about middle America and their eating habits.

Since arriving in Omaha this afternoon, I've been nothing but surprised. My sister craved a snack and we ended up at the Urban Wine Company. Fine Omaha dining...


at fine Omaha prices.
3 wine flights
3 mini hamburgers
1 cheese "flight"
1 artichoke dip
... $50.

Happy Halloween!


(image) My sister's spooky cupcakes.