Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Joy of China, Part One: Contest!

Joy of Cooking Sightings! Both at shops GingerMan and I scoped for china cabinets. First, Whatnots & Doodads in Willow Glen, on Lincoln Avenue near Minnesota. Two hard copies of the 1975 edition for $6 each, one two-volume paperback set, also for $6. Second, Not Too Shabby on South Bascom in San Jose. It’s a huge space with multiple venders, I spied this gorgeous copy all the way in the back:

IMG_2905 IMG_2909

It’s a 1943, well-loved and re-taped. Wonderfully gift inscribed, it's $38. As a special gift, with your personal inscription added it would be a touching gift so it’s actually worth it. The rest of the shop is fab.

Shabby is where we finally scored the right breakfront after a year of looking, where the *three* full officer’s sets (e.g. double sets of serving dishes and tea sets) of inherited china hiding in my cupboards will now be accessible. I’m really excited because they’re all completely different, of different eras, but they mix-and-match beautifully and as we’re not anticipating any Popes or Presidents for dinner, look for Tuesday night meatloaf on china from now on!

One set are the Noritake Duetto my father bought while stationed in Vietnam, with delicate gold scrolls. The next are Grandma's beautiful 40's-streamlined leaf motif Rosenthal. Finally, a hidden set of of Haviland from Grandma's friend, tucked into a storage space for 15 years. All of these to be set on our ***finally!FINALLY!!*** soon-to-be-delivered grown-up dining table and chairs! Next thing you know, we’ll get crazy and actually paint walls in a house we live in. Before we move out!

Cool Dinner Time Show: Ebert Presents At the Movies. I’ve watched his shows since I was small. It shaped my view of movies and informed my to-watch list for nearly 30 years. This newest iteration airs on PBS, which is cool. In the last 5 years ABC really jerked the show around, especially after Roger Ebert bowed out for advanced medical treatment, leaving his last cohort, Richard Roeper, to spar with guest critics. The guests were still well-chosen, most notably A.O. Scott of the New York Times. It was lively, wide-ranging, boisterous.

The spirited discussion was balanced between knowledge of classics and a willingness to embrace the new, the fun, the absurd and squarely B-genre. The newest pair are Christy Lemire, who, with quirk, wit and humour, would have fit well with the old guard. But she’s been set (I say with some reluctance) poorly against Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, who seems like a squeeky-fresh college grad, chagrined to be saddled with viewing plebian popcorn flicks shot for more than $200,000 by other than obscure foreign directors.

No, that's not fair at all-- small foreign films are great--like my favourite gem I stumbled on by way of Netflix on AppleTV, Mary and Max. It's a beautiful, tender, hilarious story of accidental pen pals between Australia and New York, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as the stolid Asperger's-enduring Max:


and Toni Collette as the compressible, eventually irrepressible, Mary.


Ignatiy is usually obstinate, poncey and derisive. This week, however, She gave Thumbs Down to Hobo with a Shotgun. He gave it Thumbs Up. HAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!


So! Cooking Fairies, let’s queue up a movie, break out the china and dish up something great! What would YOU serve on the Wedgewood for Tuesday dinner? Chime in and you could win Bragging Rights and a Shorty Trio of Baking Spices OR a 1/2gram jar of high-grade Saffron (aquired myownself, from Penzey's Spices in Menlo Park, California)!

-Entree Period Runs from Monday 09 May 2011 to Monday 23 May 2011. Judging period follows, with winner to be announced on Friday 03 June 2011.

-Entrees must be posted in the Comments section and include your name, email address, and full recipe.

-ONE winner will be chosen by me.

-The winning recipe will be posted with photos and the Winner presented here as an Official Kitchen Jedi!

-Now Get Cooking!

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  1. Hmmmmm...I believe I would HAVE to go with my mom's version of MolE (I don't know how to do an accent on my keyboard, how lame!)

    It's less a recipe, and more a...concept. But it is DElicious. And it's a super quick dinner, amazingly enough. This is my, "I have nothing in the fridge, and dinner needs to be ready in an hour," dinner. So, here ya go:

    Heat a 1/4 cup (or so) of oil (just canola) in shallow "soup" pot
    Add approx. 1/4 cup of all purpose baking flour to make rue.
    Cook, while stirring constantly, until flour mixture just begins to brown (you don't want the taste of flour, browning it will make it taste nuttier)
    Add to this:
    2-4 chopped garlic cloves (can use garlic powder, in a pinch as well)
    And spices:
    Cumin (I use "lots")
    Chili powder
    Ancho, and Chipotle or California

    Once well incorporated, add chicken broth
    This will thicken almost immediately, so add until "sauce" becomes thin again, then continue stirring on low-ish heat until sauce is hot and thickens.

    To this add Mexican Chocolate, cut into bits, about two TB of granulated sugar, and salt (to taste).

    Then you can add either cut up chicken (thighs or breasts) or whole thighs with bone. Personal preference.

    Simmer with lid on until chicken is cooked through. Serve with white rice, flour or corn tortillas and various other condiments, like guacamole and sour cream.


  2. Because I'm me, I think there's nothing better than homemade ice cream for dinner, *especially* on my good china.

    I take the Ben & Jerry's sweet cream base (, and then, I add a little flair.

    Once the mixture has cooled, I pour the ice cream into the machine, and let it run for 25 minutes.

    During those 25 minutes, I chop 1/4 cup each: semi-sweet chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate. Of the 1/4 cup of each, I chop 2/3rds finely, and leave that last 1/3 coarse. (Did that just make your math brain explode?)

    Slowly add the chocolate to the mixture, and let the machine run for about five more minutes. Scoop it into an container to be frozen, and make sure to get every last bit out of the ice cream bowl. Preferably with your fingers, because it tastes better that way.

  3. I was directed here via Jasmin's blog! All of these measurements are pretty lenient, so if you don't want to die from a heart attack or ward off vampires on a different continent, use less butter and garlic. I'm not so good with that moderation thing ;)

    Fettuccine Alfredo with Mushrooms. Mmm!

    2 Tablespoons olive oil
    A few (or five) cloves of minced garlic
    1-2 cups chopped mushrooms
    1 1/4 cups heavy cream
    1 1/2 cups parmesan
    3/4- 1 stick of butter
    Salt and Pepper to taste
    A metric ton of parsley
    Fettuccine noodles

    Cook that fettuccine! Drain and return to the pot to wait for deliciousness.

    Next, heat the oil in a pan over medium heat, and toss the mushrooms and a pinh of salt in. Cook until brown and delicious. Toss in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Remove from the pan.

    Melt the stick of butter (or less if you don't want to die of a heart attack before the dinner is over) and toss in the parmesan and cream in at the same time. Whisk until smooth, then heat until boiling. Season with the salt, pepper and parsley. At the last second, return the mushrooms and garlic to the pan and serve.

    This goes especially well when served with a big salad and homemade croutons. Be wary of clueing people in as to how unhealthy it is, they might not forgive you ;)

  4. Hi lizzlizzlizz! Thanks for joining us!! We are a Buttah-Positive Fairy Team here, and we're tickled, well, Pink, you've followed Jasmin to our table!

  5. Thanks to Jasmin for the connection to this fabulous blog!

    In the spirit of the Royal Wedding and The King's Speech, I have to shout out to the Brits for knowing how to take tea. I for one, put everything down at 3pm and have myself a lovely moment with something delicious and some fine toys - like Wedgewood - to play tea party with.
    How about...

    Baby filo cups filled with a sliver of smoked salmon and some finely mixed egg salad (add enough mayo to bring together) laced with grainy Dijon mustard and some fresh dill.

    White gloves and a hat optional on weekdays but highly recommended on Sat and Sun.

  6. I, too, am here via Jasmin's blog!

    I would serve my standby, the one dish that everyone requests until I almost (but not quite) get tired of making it.

    Lasagna Pizza

    Lasagna noodles.
    Tomato sauce
    American cheese slices
    pizza toppings (cheese, pepperoni, etc)

    You need a lasagna pan or a deep cake pan.

    Cook the noodles as instructed. Once cooked, drain and set aside.

    Spray a nonstick spray on the bottom of the pan and then add a single layer of noodles.

    Cover that later of noodles with one layer of cheese slices.

    Another layer of noodles

    Another layer of cheese slices

    (do as many layers as you want). End with a layer of noodles

    Next add the tomato sauce over the last layer of noodles. I sometimes add 2 cans just to get it gloppier.

    Now finish with whatever pizza toppings you want.

    Bake at 350 until the cheese toppings looked melted and brown.


  7. Well I'd enter my Creamed Spinach from Scratch:

    Creamed Spinach:
    2 pounds fresh spinach, washed and tough stems removed
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
    1 teaspoon minced garlic
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat.
    Add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes
    Drain in a fine mesh strainer, pressing with a large spoon to get as much water out as possible
    Finely chop and set aside

    Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium high heat.
    Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
    Add the spinach and cook, stirring, just until the liquid is released.
    Add the cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and cook until the cream is reduced by half, about 4 minutes.
    Remove from the heat and serve immediately.