Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dream a Screamin' Dream of Thee...

Yesterday, outside the sweets shop in Menlo Park, I saw:


My father is a Petrol Head. A Gear Guy. With 3 daughters. I lived with him, a lot like Danny Champion of the World, so from a very young age, we visited all the auto shows together. Some of my deepest desires in life lie in the hands of Bentley, Pierce and Ferrari. I sat in their stunning creations on the concourse year after year; breathed deeply of the perfectly stitched leather, the deeply impossible red paint. OH! When Dad read that year's spec's--the torques, the litres, the horsepower! Then, the year I turned six, how internal COMBUSTION works! And the POOOOWWWWERRRR!!!!! Before I die, I want a 599. Or a 430 if there's a spare hanging round.

I have discovered, after a night of tossing and turning and while dithering over what to eat for lunch, that one can, for a mere *pittance* acquire a mounted vintage crankshaft, chromed exhaust pipes and other F1 or GT car parts. "For True Fans of the Prancing Horse". Please send Check, Money Order or Cash, I've got a dream-- a screaming red Prancing Horse Dream! Please donate today.
Pin It Now!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Finger Lickin' What?

My Facebook Post, 30 March 2011, 10.30 am:

"Late last night, watching Deadliest Warrior, Doritos ad featuring a guy who licked other people's fingers, pants, etc. gave me nightmares... Bon appétit to the rescue!" CHOCOLATE . COVERED. CHEETOS.

Featured in Bon Appétit Magazine's "Kookery" Column, a genius by the name of Cereal Baker:


In which spirit, Jedi Jasmin and I required (notice my arm being adequately pre-twisted to the suggestion) an expedition to Penzey's Spices in Menlo Park. A crucial element of the Magical Meatloaf recipe eluded our memories and as we scrambled to find a JoC Jedi on our contact list within reach of their tome, the Penzey's Goddess says "OH! Well, we just have one here at the desk!" Penzey's is my very own heaven. You may labour under the notion that this is a boutique in a historically higher-income area code.

The voice in your head? I quote it: "TCHAH! a high-end SPICE store????" Seriously. Without diminishing the quality of the shop, the knowledgeable staff and the cornucopia of herbs and spices, this is like buying wholesale from a spice merchant. Take note the next time you stop at your supermarket and price the following--write it down: Cinnamon, Cumin, Basil, Ginger, Pepper and two of your own favourites. Check Penzey's online (they were originally mail order) and notice the precise size/price comparison and begin to apply those differences to the rest of your spice drawer. They do nothing else but buy high-quality stuff you will actually use for ridiculous prices. Worth the drive.

We noticed, upon exiting, a sweeties shop, Sugar Shack. I ran across the street so fast there is no lovely photo of the shop front.

After I ravaged the inside, I snapped one tasteful shot of the lovely front counter:


It is an utterly charming confection of a place, slender and pink as a little girl's birthday chocky box with crisp white gingerbread and latticework framing the candy cart, the back counter and the open pick-mix bins of sours, gummies, licorices, malt balls and fruit slices.

First, I am a Candy Freak. If candy is your zen, you must read Candy Freak by Steve Almond, a fellow OCD from Palo Alto, whose loving yet obsessive pilgrimage several years ago to the last family-owned candy makers in America made my tiny toes tingle. This is a man who, upon finding dark chocolate Kit Kats (check were being tested in his market proceeded to find and buy cases of them and hide them in his house. Props to that, my Chocolate-Coated Homey.

A second, more historic look at the rise of American candy making is Emperors of Chocolate, which is fascinating and focuses mainly on the Hershey and Mars families, but is noticeably lacking in A) Pink and White Striped Awnings and Gummy Worms; or B) Tours of Jelly Belly and Annabelle Lee factories where things might be tasted while the foreman looks the other way.

For Science--SCIENCE!--I obtained a sampling of several types of candy for review:

1) Licorice Pinwheel: I hate black licorice. Always have, as well as root beer. So here's a dark black pinwheel, perfect and shiny, I'll just have to bite the bull-- I LOVE BLACK LICORICE!!! This is thick and slightly salty--maybe floral but savoury at the same time? It's just divine and redeems Licorice as an art form as candy should be, from the weird funky-tasting stuff from the blue-and-white striped box. WIN.

2) Raspberry Licorice Chunk: Extremely fruity, possibly a bit too soft and not chewy enough. Definitely some citric acid in there for bite. GOOD.

3) Easter Corn: I also LOVE Candy Corn. This is also open stock, and yummy. And very very pretty. Which is, well, pretty, but not so good for a Vampire Effect, unless you're trying out for the lead in the school production of Bunnicula, Vampire Bunny. BWOOOHAHA.

4) Toffee Dark Chocolate Pecan Bark: OoooooOOOOooooohhhhhhyaaaaaaahhhh. Salty. Sweet. Darkly developed toffee. Perfectly balanced toffee/chocolate/nuts. Just crumbly enough, so none of that Dentistry Panic. Seriously, in my adult life I have accrued over $10k in out-of-pocket Dental Co-Pay, so a beautifully cooked toffee that doesn't threaten my 401K is: MAGIC.

5) Milk Chocolate Turtle: This is an in-store confection. Light to the bite, not a lot of resistance, despite it's thickness. Also there doesn't seem to be enough caramel presence, the main impression is really the pecan, and a bit disappointing. A turtle should tie you up with dark burnt salty caramel and coat your lips with well-tempered chocolate. BAH.

6) Bounty Bar: From the UK. They have a shelf of UK chocolates, and there are many places on the internet that will explain/expound/complain/compound the differences between US and UK candy. They're different. Wahoo. It's what makes the world cool. First, it is akin to a Mounds bar, and Everyone has an opinion on Coconut. If yours is Wahoo!, then I will further posit the Bounty bar is more pleasantly coconutty in terms of tenderness and natural flavour. It is slightly less sweet, the chocolate is in the UK taste, so slightly smoother and slightly sweeter. I love it.

7) Maltesers: Toss those Whoppers, what you don't know you're missing in a Malt Ball is a slight sour-milk component that Maltesers get better than the Whoppers. And the chocolate thing again. It's just a better combination.

We departed downtown Menlo with a bag chock full of Penzey's goodies and candy, whereupon I realised it was nearly 3pm and I had neglected lunch. Toffee Bark contains Dairy and Nut Protein, for Your Information. Tell your mother The Joy of Cooking Fairy says so.

Pin It Now!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Joy of Flipping Out Fairy

So I'm trying to find my groove. For quite a while, I've popped outta bed, fluffed the duvet and tossed the pillows on the bed, put away any laundry in the bedroom, tidied anything needing it upstairs and, as a new addition this winter, sat down to write in front of my SAD light. I used to LOVE winter, but over the last two years, it's become apparent that the dark is crush-crush-CRUSHING MY HEAD!

Also, I've started writing. Which always sounded really pretentious and incomprehensible to me-- what the hell were all these people jotting down in their little black books with their little coloured-ink fountain pens? Mark Z, I give you props, posting on FaceBook finally cured me of this misunderstanding and paved the way for this blog. So over this last winter I've become Super Housewife, Kitchen Yoda and Fledgeling Writer. I just feel like I can't get the perfect day down to a "T".

Have you picked yourself back up from the floor? Dried your tears of mirth? Possibly had to change your knickers you laughed so hard? Yah. I'm looking for the perfect day, and I thought I was gonna grab that freakin' brass ring for sure today: Up, down for breakfast, check email, start bread, up for shower. Didja see that? I put bread in the oven for 30 minutes and then went upstairs to take a shower. Without the timer.

Holy Crap the rain is so loud outside I believe the Universe is wetting it's pants at what's to come.

Bread is fine, after I run downstairs nekkid with 1min 25sec to spare.

Upstairs, strip guest bed from out of town friend staying the night before. Lovely guest towels are untouched. GingerMan did not apprise his friend that the ONLY other set of towels on the bar, bar his own, were for R, the guest. So R apparently rummaged under the sink and found a couple mismatched grody towels and used those. Anyhoo, all laundry gathered on landing, run to bedroom to dress and make a "moonshot" downstairs for super-efficient Kitchen Diva productivity, to include the afore-mentioned bread, plus banana bread and prep for veggie soup from CSA veggie bag. TaDA! Right?

I paused to look in the mirror, as I had run round the house forgetting my hair so it was now a mostly dry crazy tangled bright pink and dark mahogany mess sticking straight up from my head. I attempt to ameliorate with wide tooth comb and low heat dryer and for once decide good enuf is done, sistah.

Run downstairs, chuck the laundry in the machine and start. I grab the veggies from the fridge, delighting in the organic goodness, and notice an old bunch of parsley, which I toss toward the counter to throw in the trash. I organize everything else in a bag for later, go to tidy my work area for banana bread assault and the parsley had landed in the sink. It was only half a small bunch, and before the grown-up homo-sapien Joy Of Cooking Fairy lobe of my brain kicked in, the one that KNOWS one NEVER throws bunches of any kind of greens, lettuce, rice etc. into your garbage disposal, had already stuffed it in there and turned the whirly-gig on.

Disaster. Great Whirly-Green Cloggy DISASTER. I have no photos of that terrible mess. Say you have been this foolish. I am not *calling* you foolish, I am saying that I am foolish at least twice in every day the sun rises and every other human and most animals and aliens are as well, I guaran-damn-tee it.

So I give you the Garbage Disposal, Pipe and Septic Safe Clog Clearing Combo:


Scoop all the water you can out of the sink. I chuck in a bunch of baking soda, then chase it with vinegar. It will immediately foam like heck, so take that in CAREFUL consideration, and do this BEFORE YOU HAVE USED ANY CAUSTIC DRAIN CLEARING AGENTS. You do NOT want a scary mess. Let it sit for a bit. It may look as though it has not worked. The look is a lie. After about 20 minutes, run very very hot water, or use a kettle full of hot water, slowly down the drain et VOY-OLA! All I'm left with is a stupid green ring round the sink.


And the dry ingredients mixed for banana bread, but no bread. I figure I will clear up stuff I've pre-measured, re-fridge the cold stuff and do it tonight, so I grab the dry goods tupperwa--BOOOOF!!!

High Quality Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, Meet High Quality Flooring

So I suck at perfect. I am about to bop over to my friend Daring Sara's house with her two crazy midgets with NO baked goods on a nasty stormy day. But crazy midgets don't care, if you boop their beebo's and tickle them. And friends will reliably laugh all the way to the floor when they read this. The rain has stopped, so apparently the Universe has gone to change it's pants too. Cheers, and thanks.
Pin It Now!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011



...Oh, pardon me, I'm snarfing some of Evil Shenanigans' Double Dark Chocolate Chunk Coconut cookies.....

It's your basic chocolate chip cookie recipe, with the addition of Dutch-process cocoa powder and melted chocolate in addition to the regular chips. The recipe followed a standard creaming method, etc etc., but hoooooomamamama, when that coconut gets toasting, suddenly your heart starts fluttering. Then the chocolate hits the melt point and it's a double-barrel assault. With these dancing beside you, creaming the otherwise mundane ingredients can't go fast enough, but patience, Jedi! Butter, sweets, salts, till smoooothed out...then pour in that river of dark melted magic and the world goes all brown and glossy. Back to practicality, add the dry works, then gather all your gorgeous brown toasted coconut in a piece of parchment paper and remember to sniff it like a frat pledge in 1979. Dump it in with the last of the chocochips and yadda yadda. Jedi Jasmin loves what we call a Lover's Share cookie, enough for 2, and thus scoops with a #16 ice cream scoop onto the silpat, 6 per sheet pan:


Shenanigans' directions yield 4 dozen from a single recipe, we wrangled 30 double-size cookies from a *doubled* recipe. The dough is a very firm construction, we lessened the sugar because to our chagrin unsweetened coconut was unavailable in the surrounding 50 mile radius. So these are a beautifully sweet-salty balance cookie, and more remarkably, sweet-bitter balanced, which is absolutely delightful. I personally licked the paddle and the spatula. I am greedy.

I have mine on a plate to take home to GingerMan. If an addendum post appears, bearing mostly caveman-like smudges and mono-syllabic grunting, he has stolen the lot and registered verdict. Otherwise, I will elucidate and possibly recommend a few more recipes from the Evil Shenanigans website once I regain consciousness. Ciao for now!
Pin It Now!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Crazy Train of Thought

As Nutty as I am, the following alien will guest star in the next series of recipe posts, but as by way of introduction, we saw Paul Sunday night at the Camera 7 Pruneyard in Campbell, and while I’m corralling the final bits of the Cooking Magazine Project and cleaning for a house guest tonight, my train of thought is chugging away...

Engine: If you are in the area and we are friends/acquaintances AND you have viewed the trailer at least twice AND you are SURE you think it might be your kind of funny, I will happily hop on down and see it with each and every one of you. Individually, even. Multiple times. It's hilarious, and has everything--ET, Star Wars, Alien, Predator, Alien Vs. Predator, Close Encounter, even Jaws fergawshsakes. And Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Two Geniuses, One brilliant team. And Simon Pegg is a Ginger. Did I mention he played Scottie in the Star Trek Redux?

Baggage Car: Having just moved down here to San Jose/ Willow Glen/ Campbell area a year ago, and most of that having been a whirlwind of circumstance, it feels like I've only just begun to explore my own neighbourhoods. Jedi Jasmin has lived here forever, and has always gone to the Camera 7 at the Pruneyard shopping center. While I had mostly patronised larger plexes--most recently the delightful newer AMC Cupertino Square (Vallco to the natives)--we never ventured this far south for movies. Well, not never. Back in the highschool days, I came to the Camera 3 theatre in downtown with a Bellarmine Boy to see 1000 Pieces of Gold. Around the same time there was an animation festival featuring an Italian take on Fantasia with a sequence of starving animals dragging through a desert to Bolero that haunts me to this day.

So this is a true local theatre, small like the Hacienda Cinema in Sunnyvale, CA (my very own first job in 1989). And they have a savings card! Buy 10 movie passes for $60; applicable to all movies and they get first-run movies. Their popcorn is fresh, popped by a 2011 version teenage Laura who will have to hand clean that sucker 15 minutes after the last show starts. Armburnsarmburnsarmburns. If I ever see a Now Hiring sign, my inner 15-year-old is filling out an application. Only drawback is, they do not carry Goobers.

Dining Car: Cooking Magazine Project! Several years ago, I began subscribing to Cooking Light, which has been mostly very cool. I twitch a lot at the sheer amount of “boneless-skinless-chicken-breast-ness” and sauces made of skim milk and flour which I have given more than a couple ol’ college tries and the result being, to quote myself, “BLECH”. I tend to side with Micheal Pollan in believing that the way to nutrition is to turn tail at the first sign of “Nutritional Claims” and run for Real Food. However, there are a LOT of really good ideas in magazines, but the groaning stacks upstairs are not so named for mere whimsy’s sake. So I have taken four years amassed volumes since the last project,


sorted through and culled the stuff I wanted:


put them all in sheet protectors:


and then into the binders!


Caboose: So, as promised last time, a recipe. And some face-up, on my part: BREAD!

NOTE: This will be a freebee, as I have found this 'new-style bread' basic recipe a zillion places, then I will exhort you to toddle into your local bookshop to lay hands on "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe François. This loaf is right up front. The rest of the book is so much delicious bread that is as easy to do that you will NEED their tasty tasty knowledge. Plus, they totally have my number-- I have admitted to never baking bread before because I believed it was soooo hard and that whole yeast thing was soooo the authors state: “Yeast...Here’s another area where obsessing about an ingredient can take all the fun out of baking.” Who’s obsessive? Me?

You have Jedi Jasmin to thank for my enlightenment, and away we go:

“Artisan Free-Form Loaf” Makes four 1-pound loaves

-3 liquid-measure cups lukewarm water-- test it over your hand, it has to feel warmer than yerownself, about 100F.

-1.5 tablespoons granulated yeast (buy the jar, keep it in the fridge)

-1.5 tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt

-6.5 dry-measure cups unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour, measured with the scoop-and-sweep method

-Cornmeal for the pizza peel*

  1. Warm water,
  2. Add yeast and salt to water in a 5-qt bowl-- we did this in a stand mixer bowl cuz it makes the whole process go like stink.
  3. Mix in the flour. Kneading is not necessary, just dump it into the water in the mixing bowl, SLOWLY raise the speed of your mixer fitted with the DOUGH HOOK, or mix it with a wooden spoon in a big ol’ bowl. Do this just until the dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl as one happy ball, then STOP! In the name of loave!
  4. Rising and Containment: You can stick it in a bowl and cover with a towel for at least 2 hours then start using it. THEN: We tend to keep ours in blubbermaid not-air-tight-lid plastic food storage containers in the fridge, where it will keep for about 2 weeks. This makes 4 portions, so using a square or rectangular container means just grabbing a quarter and baking.
  5. Bakers Away! DO NOT KNEAD. Give it what’s called a Gluten Cloak. Grab a chunk of dough from your container and place on a smooth cutting board (or pizza peel if you have one) that you have dusted with cornmeal, flour or whatever your recipe calls for. Do cornmeal here, it makes a nice bottom crust. Take your chunk and lightly stretch the surface so it’s smooth alllll the way round the top and sides and the bottom looks like a sea anemone. It doesn’t matter, it’ll fix itself. Let it sit, set a timer for **20 MINUTES**.
  6. When the timer goes off, set your oven to **450F**, place your bread stone (I happen to have a flat cast iron griddle that worked well) in the middle rack of the oven and set your timer for another **20 MINUTES**. Dust with flour and SLASH! in a nice pattern, hopefully not entirely evocative of Freddy Kruger.
  7. When that timer goes off, place the loaf on the stone in the hot oven. Place a metal pan filled 2/3 with water in the lower rack of the oven, close the door and set the timer for **30MINUTES**.
  8. Remove and place on a wire rack, where it will snap and crackle as it settles. This is normal. Deny the urge to tear into the fresh, hot loaf like a wolverine, you will burn yourself, and means you will not have nearly enough for:
  9. a) Almond Butter and Fig Spread Sammich b) Liverwurst, Caper and Dijon Sammich, c) Chicken Salad, Mustard and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper Sammich. Among other things.

I have now conquered the Bread Bogey Man, recipe’d you and got all OCD magazine filed. As you can see, I need a break, so really, call me, you really want to meet Paul. He’s cool like that.

Pin It Now!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Down Faux With the Nearlys, Or, Food Network and the Battle For America's Soul

The groaning stacks upstairs suffer more than just the sum total of collected and inherited books, but also my predilection for cooking magazines. Oh, the ravishing beauty of Martha Stewart's Holiday Issue. The last 6 years worth. And Cooking Light. And..and...and... one Rachel Ray. Like Paula Deen's accent and Ina Garten's well, Ina Alien-ness (don't pretend you haven't noticed--everyone from to your grandma's knitting circle know she's creepy), "Rach" is a division in the TV Food world as significant as the Mississippi River. She's either The Hasty Pudding Hawtness or The 30-Minute Muppet Meal Master.

So I have made it a third of the way through the teetering tower of magazines, removing only those sections or recipes I want to keep, put those in sheet protectors and recycle the mags. Rachel's top of the pile and I start flipping through. Page after page of ads, fine. Many of them for Food Network related shows or products, yah, fine, it's the Circle of Life.

Then my Nemesis appears. A charming, round-cheeked ebullient couple, Southern in disposition and heritage we shall dub The Nearlys, Himself the Scion of a Down Home-Style family-run restaurant. Their perversion first became apparent two holiday seasons ago when they appeared in a Sam's Club ad. Depending on your geographical location, Sam's is the Walmart of the Costco world. They were shiny, happy people guiding their huge cart in and among the aisles of discount goods and produce, expounding the wonders of saving! Always cool with me, saving. You had me at $10.99 for two gallons of high-quality olive oil. You can find all your Holiday Entertaining Needs at Sam's Club! Spices? Flour? Butter and Ice Cream?No! Real Essentials **INCLUDING: Already marinated, pre-cooked, ready-to-heat meats, ready-to serve baked goods and prepared fruit platters.** Yes, in the real world we, the mortal, sometimes require these things. But you, the HIGHLY PAID RESTAURANT-OWNING-COOKING-SHOW-PRESENTERS are Cheater-Cheater-Pre-Made-Pumpkin-Pie-Eaters!

Especially as this last ad campaign featured The Nearlys adding pre-cooked chicken to Kraft Dinner, sprinkling on some bread crumbs and calling it Home Cooking Like the Restaurant-Owning TV Pro's. To be clear, Kraft Dinner claims a lock-hold on the inner child of my heart, how-EVER>>> What they have done is, I reiterate, CHEATING, and also an abomination to Kraft Dinner. Which these days, thanks to the brilliant deal at Costco, is now Annie's Homegrown Organic Shells & Real Aged Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese. Otherwise known as Bunny Dinner. (Most of Annie's products come in rabbit shape and bear the Rabbit Of Approval. They also bear the Laura's Inner 5-year-old Of Approval.).

Rachel *prides* herself on being able to mix some canned or boxed/prepared items with fresh to get you and your family fed with inventive, tasty, sometimes ethnic and adventurous foods in 30 flat, and by golly that is NO mean feat, cuz cuz, she gets there 9 times outta 10. If she uses a prepared cheesecake, she makes a sauce with jam and fresh fruit, juice, liqueur and other fresh stuff to make it nice but quick. Even Ina may not make her own tortellini, but she buys fresh and makes her own sauce, then spends an hour creating a bizarre table setting and looking blandly smug. They don't lay claim to restaurant chops then do ads and recipes for "the busy cook at home" that are nothing more than Open Packet A, Open Packet B, Combine in Dish and Serve. Or worse, just head for MegaOutletChain and buy someone else's cooking and plop it on a platter and still claim they're a chef.

Thus, We will travel The Third Way. I LOVE to cook. Every day I face a new challenge, sometimes from things which prove to be so simple I turn red with embarrassment because the only reason I never tried it before was, say, there seemed to be so many directions. Bread. I've seen it on TV, my friends do it, but it seems soooo intensive. Until I heard it so many times that a week ago I cracked and realised bread is getting the kind of yeast the instructions ask for, then letting the stuff sit a bunch of times while I go about my business with makeup tips, knitting and Bunny Dinner. Seriously, I was Afraid of Getting the Wrong Yeast. And Rising Time (insert absurd googlie-face here).

So onward to recipes! It may not always be Packet-Simple, conversely it may not always be Fancy and/or Pantsy. But it WILL be Somethin'-- dishy and delish with notes and advice from changes or alterations I have made my veryownself. See you Next Time, and bring your apron!
Pin It Now!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Young Bucks and Magpie Girl

LAST NIGHT Your JoC Fairy made risotto.
So earlier in the week, I made a menu, checked the pantry and fridge, made my weekly shopping list, blah blah and one yaddah to boot. But one menu item gave me pause. It is one my young Kitchen Jedi, Jasmin (Better Than Yarn AND Knitmore Girls, A Certified Jenius), plunged into with the Joy of Cooking: Risotto. GingerMan and I made it as a Couple's Dinner on Valentine's Day, pouring stock and stirring together, adding fresh tarragon and mushrooms to be rewarded with the most heavenly, creamy delicious dish on a cold Monday night. I thought I would branch out, and so delved into The Stacks upstairs to find two Jamie Olivers, three Nigella Lawsons, two Julia Childs, and save Jamie's ......., and the JoC, not a lot of variety, and in some only honourable mention. It was only that night, as I returned with my groaning sacks of booty that I spied Marcella Hazan's required text on Italian Cooking. Bah.

While delving I felt a....something. A Something Undefinable, or nearly so, until I made it to the second Jamie after the third Nigella (she *promised* I would be a Kitchen Goddess!) and heard a wistful sigh emanating from my own self. The sigh of one relishing a bygone era--HA!-- the late 90's! When we were young, daring pirates; when we boldly snatched the kitchen knives and recipe cards from our ancestors as our own cutlasses and treasure maps and RAAAMPAAAGED!!! through the kitchen! We were gorgeous, cute, sexy, perky! There were (artfully choreographed) photos of us in action-- Jamie impish with shaggy hair and silly grin, grilling fennel and prawns in aluminium foil on the beach between rides on the surfboard. Nigella with her thick wavy chocolate hair and dark eyes at the open fridge at midnight. Spooning golden custard from a vintage pudding bowl, she exhorted us to indulge and lavish ourselves and our families in the those things we thought belonged to a bygone era but were really--just a whisk and a dollop!--so very simple.

In culinary terms, we were sleek young veal, juicy in our prime, and as I sat there on Monday, searching for inspiration in braised rice I felt a bit more like aged venison.

GingerMan may be gainfully employed/delightedly entertained and diverted with A Powerfully Playfully Lithesome Electronics Corporation, and as such we may have a house and a couple of cars and a purse and some pockets full of A said C's -PPLE stuff. Not on a churning basis, mind you. We're full of it (erm...yah) mostly because we hold on to the old stuff a long time. But ooohhhhOOOHOHOHOHOHOOOO, what to my wondering eye did appear in my Inbox this morning? The new iPad. In White. With an awesome cover that Comes. In. Colours. Be still my little Magpie heart, didn't that just perk me right up??? Two cameras, portability, cuteness, power? I SHALL RULE THE WORLD!!!

Or at least this bit of it. I now leak my own high-security development concept, coming to a Blog AND Podcast near you: Soon, I will be recording a bi-weekly podcast with segments based on subjects promised in my first blog entry last week, PLUS videos on cool stuff like: Making a White Sauce and The Kind of Trouble That Can Lead To; Makeup Maven and Hair-rific Tips; Beginning Housewisery the Olde-Fchool Waye, Otherwise Known As: Giver Yerself a Damn Break, Girlfriend/Dood.

So! STEAL MY BUTTON! COPY MY ADDRESS! SHARE ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER! And keep coming back, we're going to have a LOT of fun running amok!

Pin It Now!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ninja JoC Fairy Welcomes You!!!

Hi, I'm Laura, and I'll be your Fairy today.

Your Joy of Cooking Fairy, Makeup Fairy, Eating Out Fairy, Knitting Fairy…Anything, really, as it occurs to me. For example:

*Right now I am watching Ancient Aliens on History Channel, otherwise known as My Stories. Preceded by Ninja Warrior 24, Stages 3&4.

*I am halfway through knitting my first shawl in a silk/wool colorway called Transnational Fury by A Verb For Keeping Warm, and I will tell you it wasn't just the automotive suggestion of this red yarn's name, it was the power it evoked to tackle the lace chart and garment.

*I just signed up for a 3-session Anthony Bourdain-founded cooking course at Sur La Table, a cookware shop in Los Gatos, California.

*I am also running a comparison of foundation brushes among 4 brands which will include photos and notes on brand, performance, price and availability.

This being my first blog post, I will explain that many times you will experience these disparate bits of information on Fiber Arts, Cooking, What I'm Watching and Reading; which will, I promise you, gentle reader, come round to a cogent (as far as possible) thought that is my life. At that moment. And several other segments including tips and comparisons on Beauty/Hair/Makeup, Where I'm Going and What I'm Eating.

My husband, GingerMan, and I have watched Ninja Warrior for the duration of our relationship, 10 years. It is a crazy Japanese obstacle course competition most closely described as a Navy Seal and Army Ranger Love Child on Acid. Today's episode of Ninja featured Takahashi-San, a long-time competitor, finally breaking through the nearly impossible third stage of demonic physical tasks. The final stage consists of a couple-hundred meters climb up a rope and a pole in a ridiculously short time. In 12 years, only 2 men have made it.

The day after I was laid off from a law firm two years ago, I walked into a local yarn shop and began a new direction in life. I have met a huge community of very cool people and found an artistic, creative side to myself I had long forgotten about. I cook more, I read more, I celebrate and travel more and do it all with my husband and friends. It's like I was constantly biffing the early stages, but now have advanced to a more challenging course.

Being just shy of 40 now, it has been brought to my attention by the Ineffable Jasmin and Gigi (of the Knitmore Girls Podcast-check them out on Ravelry or iTunes--Best. Knitting. Podcast. Ever.) that what I seem to have is a Masters in Life. I've plunged into Fiber Arts, Drawing and Painting, Housewifery, and soon Sewing. As for my Kitchen Habit, I have always cooked, and loved it. Loved food and the bits that become something that look good and taste and smell heavenly and feel good to eat and share with others. It's a jones, an itch, a Freak Flag to fly.

Oh, Ancient Aliens? It's just My Stories, don't judge.

So now I'm sharing it all here. And why the name Joy of Cooking Fairy?

**LEGAL: I claim absolutely NO connection to the writers or publishers of The Joy of Cooking, The Rombauer or Becker families or Scribner Publishing.

I do, however, claim the legacy and culture of food, of home, of people--of everything we are: Artists, Girly-Girls, Chefs, Housechicks/dudes Extraordinaire, Bad-Asses, Business Babes, Anything that we fill in the blanks with. For me, it all started with the Joy of Cooking, among other iconic American collections, and I enjoy a bizarre continuum with JoC: I own several editions from different eras. Somehow, with moves and deaths in the family, I managed to collect a couple copies of each of the newer editions.

One went to Jasmin, to inaugurate her Americana Education. Ha! One Copy set free! Then, as I cleared out my grandmother's estate last fall, another came to light in the kitchen. So I passed it on to another friend in our circle. Ta-da! Come January 2011 and the estate sale, my mother and I unpack a box from grandma's office. Another JoC. Bugger. Wait! Miss Kalendar of Brass Needles Podcast (also on iTunes!) is next on the list! The circle is unbroken! Two weeks pass, I am tidying my pantry and a two-volume paperback copy pops up. *.......* At Stitches West, Ma Chère Hélène, back from exile in Texas, is the next pledge in the sorority.

I'm now back down to four copies. I'm a bit on tenterhooks as to where the next is gonna sneak up on me, but it's already happened--

"Pssst! Hey, you got any extra JoC's yet??"

So, grab your book, your apron, and join me in the Joy of Cooking. And Life. Cheers!

Pin It Now!