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Everything posted by FabulousFoodBabe

  1. When I'm kinda lazy, I use the 1-2-3-4 cake recipe from Classic Home Desserts. I use buttermilk and regular milk (no lemon), and a little extra vanilla, because we looove vanilla. I also use APF to get a slightly denser crumb. On those rare occasions I'm not lazy, I use a recipe we got in school, which I've scaled down for one, 2-layer cake.
  2. Women who can break down their own meat are Breakfast is one time of day we can all be sure to have a few minutes together, and I like to cook for whomever wants someething. Most days, it's omelettes or scrambled eggs; I make a pot of oatmeal (McCann's steel cut, which I start in a slow cooker with a timer), or Cream of Wheat, in the cold weather. They also love fresh cake donuts -- I cannot wait to have a reliable oven and refrigerator for overnight proofing so I can start that again. The high school and middle school have pretty decent lunch programs, with hot and cold choices. It's okay -- just okay -- and it's only one meal a day. They can get food any time of the day; breakfast is served until maybe 9:00. If they come home immediately after school, they pretty much go after whatever is in the refrigerator. Whatever I've baked or tested during the day is available for them and their friends and if they have a workout or practice, they need to fuel before they go.
  3. A few odds and ends before I wrap up: Mizducky, I'm with ya on the age thing. I have to say, though, that the really good chefs out there don't behave this way, nor did my school chefs. And one interview was so bizarre that I giggled with glee over how I'm going to use this story one day! One reason I'm so loyal to a few that I've worked with and for, is because they've treated me just like they do their 23 year old cooks, including kicking my fanny hard when I need it! Liz, the reno is finally getting off the ground. I'm thrilled to death with everything and the contractor I got is truly a gem. As a matter of fact, everyone is. We need to get a variance from the town before we can start, and will know in a couple of weeks. Hey, everyone -- wanna see the plans? Eilen, Megan et al -- Jean-Luc is already on a doggie diet! He was getting too fat a couple of months ago, so we had to cut him down. And now he's got a bit of a rash and he's on prescription dog food, in case that was causing problems! Just like Josie, in fact. Anyway, Jean-Luc will do anything for a bit of rawhide. He only 8 months old, but long enough that if he stands on his hind legs, he can get to things on the kitchen counters. So far this week: A hamburger, a piece of pizza, some banana dessert (he rolled the cherries around in his mouth and spit them out; that's how I figured it out). I give him bits of leftover fish, and before he went on his diet, I'd let him try whatever I was cooking. He loved the filling for pea and pistachio ravioli! He's also gotten fish food (we have a saltwater tank and they get plankton and krill), and loves to chase and eat stray crickets (the skink gets a dozen every week). Other things he's brought in have had little claws and teeth and fur. ::shudder:: Which is why I'm no longer a princess. If I stayed totally princesslike,I could neve have dealt with watching a four-foot long corn snake eat live mice, much less purchase them and bring them home in my purse, and pull them out of the cat's mouth when necessary.
  4. Dinner tonight, as I'd said earlier, was selected by the young men. It's funny, though; this is one of their favorite meals and it has lots of sentimental value attached. When I first started my catering business (and that "ah-hah!" moment was one for the record books), one of the takeout meals was called Stuffed Steak. It was a buterflied, marinated flank steak stuffed with herbs,sauteed mushrooms and Monterey Jack cheese, and I sold it by the half-ton, practically. Part of the reason was the beef marinade; it's soooo good and I learned to make it when I was in my 20s. A guy taught me -- one of those guys who took time off from getting his MBA from Wharton, because he played bass in a band that waas opening for some big name. Anyway, I booted the guy and kept the marinade. He was a lunatic but I've made a lot of money off the marinade, and off the Caesar salad dressing (egg-free) that he taught me, too. Hee hee. So. The young men aren't too fond of the stuffed steak; they like their flank nice and rare. I grill it first, and then finish it off in the oven which was not cooperating tonight. But there wasn't any left over, so I guess it was okay. I made the stuffed steak for my husband, along with his favorite green beans: blanched, shocked, and reheated in butter, shallots, salt and pepper. Please don't tell his mother! She cooks her green beans for a week in pure bacon fat and thinks that's the way he likes them I had this wild French chef in school who always told me I couldn't cook green veg. Zees are no goot! Do again! " I'd get all mad and do them again and again ... anyway, I channel him every time I cook green vegetables. And yanno what? I'm getting okay at it! Last is the yellow cake. My boys like it plain, with white frosting (I made butter only frosting this time, no cream cheese). But when I want a little bit, I drizzle the Luxardo cherries and wish I had some Scharffen Berger chocolate sauce, too. Hey, the week is still young! And on that note, I'm going to bed. The kids leave for school before 7:00, and I like to get up in time to cook for them, if they want.
  5. Okay. Another rainy day in Chappaqua, the last before school starts for my sons. I let them decide what meal I'll cook on such occasions -- they chose flank steak with mashed potatoes and green beans, and a yellow cake for dessert. I went into what the locals call "town;" there's not even a stoplight or flashing light in Chappaqua. Since it was raining, it was hard to get a good shot so I'll take some later in the week. Anyway, during heavy traffic times, which we can always predict, the most adorable young policemen come to direct traffic. But I digress. Here's a shot of the Chappaqua Village Market, aka CVM. It's tucked away down a side street near the train station I buy meat here, Dufour's puff pastry, fresh herbs, etc. The store also gets a truckload of breads and bagbels in the morning. The shelves behind the counter here are overflowing until noon. Lots and lots of pies and cakes, by the slice or whole. Here are just a few -- The CVM makes lots of sausage in house, breaks down your meat for you if you want, etc. Prices are a little high, but the counter guys know what they're doing and are always a joy to deal with. I don't buy whole tenderloins here, though; they charge nearly $30/lb trimmed and peeled, and I can do that myself. The store also carries lots of prepared-there foods, and they do a good business with the commuters. Fish, too, is pretty good -- but I usually buy mine at a fish store in the next town. I'll show you that place, tomorrow.
  6. It's my crabbed hand, saying 'etc.' Racheld, this is too much! We have a little shorthand in our household, on our grocery lists -- FOSS is Fruit of Some Sort, VOSS is Vegetables Of Some Sort, etc. From now on, we'll put "E.R." on all the lists. thank you in advance for another tradition!
  7. Lunch today was the infamous Rocky's Millwood Deli, which is just a few miles from my house. It's the tiniest space, right next to a hardware store. When we had an area-wide power outage in 2003, Rocky's switched to the generator and didn't miss a beat. It is take-out only and does a lot of business. Went in late'ish today, at 1:30, and this is what it was like: The place is maybe 50 feet long, and this is during a slow time. Besides sandwiches posted on the boards above the counter, they keep a few things in the case We always go for the sandwiches, though. Firstborn son always gets the same thing: American Combo with provolone (roast beef, turkey, ham, provolone) Secondborn went with a steak and cheese this time, no onions or peppers Today, I had a chicken cutlet. I don't know why, but this is really, really good. And honestly, I really do cook! You'll see, in a couple of hours, when I start dinner.
  8. As a matter of fact, that's EXACTLY what I have right now! OMG is right. I lovelovelove the flavor and if Mr. FB doesn't want it, well, more for moi.
  9. Yep, coquus. Josie left us a few months ago, after 15 years. Jean-Luc is a hellion. Feeding animals is a big part of my life as well, but I won't yak much about them except when they're noshing or dining. And coquus: In my new kitchen, I'm having one cabinet designed to hold a bun rack, counter height; I think 7 or 8 full sheets will fit in it. The rack will be on casters, of course. I saw one in a photo spread of J-P's kitchen and just had to have it. Is it plagiarism/copycatting if you give credit where it's due?
  10. Oooh, ohhh. I know the answer to this one. That's Jean-Luc. ← You are correct, sir! You win the prize -- to babysit him for a week. He'll be on the next flight to Lunken. Walking this dog is like walking a vacuum cleaner; I can tell he's got something when the flaps on the side of his mouth bulge out. Today: a pine cone, a piece of wood, and a dead bird.
  11. I can answer that one since my favorite is Jiff. I'm assuming he means any pb other than the natural stuff( just ground peanuts) ← Yep, Jif it is. Extra crunchy.
  12. Currently in the industry? Sort of. For most of my adult life, I've been a food writer, cook in restaurants and markets, owned my own catering business with a gourmet-to-go; I've also been a teacher and a consultant. I've enjoyed an interesting career as we relocated and relocated again, and I'd travel to the CIA to take Continuing Ed. classes whenever I could. Once we moved here and knew we were not moving until the youngest graduated from high school, I decided to get a degree. I first stumbled across eGullet when the food boards on a different site went from fun to really odd. I remember posting a question about what culinary school to go to, for someone who'd been doing what I'd been doing for so long. I got lots of good direction from there, and wound up enrolling in the CIA, which was 'mecca' for me. I loved being in school, had really great professors and chefs and some good classmates. I'd always been known as a thorough researcher and very knowledgeable about food, but within a week of starting class, I realized how much there was to learn. I learned from the best and still channel my chefs -- can't look at a whole fish without hearing Chef Clark in my ear ... "start with a clean dry fish on a clean dry board, a clean dry fish on a clean dry board ..." I'd always wanted to write, teach, and eventually own my own cooking school and figured I could do that until I keeled over. I do a lot of teaching in our town's Continuing Ed courses, and in private homes. The kitchen we're putting in will allow me to do classes in my home. I also want to write more, and have been pitching a cookbook. It's little and charming and I can't get anyone to read it, so I'm going to pull some strings to have it looked at. Working in the industry for someone else would give me credibility and better skills, and keep me sharp. Plus, I love it: The heat, the pressure, the focus, though I don't want to be a chef. I just want to cook, and I'd be thrilled with a few days a week. Believe it or not, I have had my age flat-out cited as a "concern." Hmmm, maybe I should put my teeth in before interviews, and quit calling the chef "sonny boy" and "whippersnapper." Good Lord. Oh -- and these concerns are cited without seeing me work in a kitchen. Those are not the right environments for me, but there's a place for me. Oh -- I'm 48 now and am pretty energetic. I'll find my place but until then, I'm having fun, staying in touch, and always taking classes and looking for something new. And that cookbook ... its time will come, too.
  13. It's Tuesday, our Labors are over and the school year starts for my sons tomorrow. I'm not much of a breafast-eater early in the morning, but I generally need something to jump-start my day, besides coffee. I started having this when I was expecting my oldest. I had gestational diabetes with both pregnancies and wanted to control it with diet and exercise. This a.m. meal is a good combination of fiber, protein, and a little sweetness and fruit on top. Plus, it's fast and portable. Yes, folks, that's an Eggo toaster waffle! It's spread with natural peanut butter and has a smear of Polaner All-Fruit on the top. To start the day, I make a list. Sometimes my husband emails me something to add; when I'm cranky, I let him know that "today is not a day to pester me via email." But today, here's what he sent: Sigh.
  14. Sandy, on my Externship I learned to poach salmon in duck fat. The color was beautiful; unfortunately, some customers thought it looked raw and wouldn't even try it. Grilled cheese sandwiches -- maybe grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches. Sounds like a plan.
  15. Have you any idea how much that means to me? Thank you, Pastry Princess. Here's a bit of trivia: My husband was the VP/GM of North American cookie brands for Nabisco, during the time that Chips Ahoy! were called out by that fifth grade class for not having all the chips they claim to have had. Remember the Snackwell's commercials -- when those ladies were chasing him, calling him Cookie Man? I have a pair of Snackwell's boxer shorts autographed by Himself. I'll dig 'em up and show you all if you want. I also have a an autograph from the Dr. Pepper guy, who was in "American Werewolf in London." There are some interesting benefits to being a corporate wifey-type!
  16. No, but if you hum a few bars, maybe it'll come to me ... thank you, I'll be here all week ***** dvs, because you live in such a beautiful place full of people who have welcomed this right-coaster many times, here's the first turning leaves for you. My split-leaf maple sends you her regards.
  17. So, tonight's cookout was back at our club (which is not far from our home). Lots of tables are set with soups, salads, cold plates, and a few chafing dishes. Heirloom tomatoes are grown on the premises, as are lots of herbs. Can you identify the items on this plate? And how about this one ... We call it the "Carnivore Plate." More about this kid's eating habits later. Sigh. In the back corner of the patio is a grill setup where Chef Carey (closest to the camera) and his Sous, Randy, do a la minute plates. Both are CIA graduates and very, very big on the school -- at one point, I wasn't sure if I would return after externship and they spoke firmly to me about it. Tonight, we could have any or all of the following from their station: Venison sausage made in their kitchen, pulled pork sandwiches, ribs, and tenderloin. I had pulled pork and a Caesar salad. I was full from all the food today, and knew that bananas were calling.
  18. After a grueling front nine, although the 4Hybrid I was demo'ing worked out nicely, we still weren't hungry, but the halfway house beckoned. Unfortunately, Mary wasn't in today -- her husband owns a restaurant and she works for him more and more these days. Here's the halfway house and my husband gesturing about something. Probably Gatorade. Even though I wasn't hungry, I had to have some of that hot dog. It was pretty good anyway: parboiled, split and grilled. Ahhhhhh. Mine are always the same: Lots of hot brown mustard, and sweet relish. The Diet Pepsi is one of my must-have's. Gave me a nice kick for the rest of the game, which we finished in record time. Back home again to see my new baby, and get ready for tonight's cookout.
  19. So, today was a glorious day in Westchester, and I went out to play some golf. Our club is golf-only and on some beautiful grounds. The chef, as I said upthread, is really amazing. He does some pretty wild stuff (wine dinners, amuse dinners, molecular dinners), and takes care of the regular everyday things with style. On the weekends, before lunchtime, we can sit and have some eggs in the bar room. Today, one of his cooks, Harold, was preparing omelettes. Dude moves fast, and keeps a nice bit of chatter going at the same time. My omelette today was tomato, mushroom, bacon and cheddar. Our favorite waiter, Tony, didn't want to be photographed. He's 75, looks 50, acts 30, and is raising his grandsons, along with taking care of all of us four days a week. Not a bad way to start the morning!
  20. No chipwiches ce soir, fou. I did the banana dessert, and here 'tis: I'm still getting the hang of this food photography thing. The dessert base is some leftover almond-buttermilk pound cake with lemon glaze that I made with organic pastry flour. I dont' like the color or texture nearly as much as when I used regular APF, but it eats good anyway. Bananas were caramelized and placed on top of the cake, with a few Luxardo cherries and syrup here and there. It was a very, very rich dessert and too much for one, but still I didn't share. I think with a tart sorbet to cut the richness, it might be better still. Maybe buttermilk sorbet ... yeah, that's the ticket.
  21. Mizducky, I'm touched that you curtsied! :::let me help you up::: I'll try to get to Nyack; it's not too far. Last time I was there, we were amazed at how happenin' it is.
  22. I'm ashamed to admit that I only have three pairs of Danskos, all black. One pair oiled and two, shiny. What? No Choos in the kitchen? I shouldn't tease - we all prefer to see fabulous footwear without food stains on the satin. Which of the Peet's blends do you drink? It looks like Major Dickason's, but I couldn't be sure. I love Peet's coffee - it was the coffee that turned me into a coffee drinker (though it only took a decade or so between first tasting it and being able to get it on the east coast ... ) ← Ack! Choos are for the town car, honey! (Oh, who am I kidding. The Volvo.) The few times I watched Top Chef, I laughed at the girl in the cowboy boots. I can imagine taking a slide across the floor in them. Yowch. The current kitchen floor is tile ... when we went to the Beard Foundation shindig a few weeks ago, I wore them on that concrete flooring at Rockefeller Center. Wound up walking barefoot to the train. Peet's makes my mouth smile. I love Major Dickason's, and the Peaberry they get every so often. We get a monthly shipment and when I'm in the mood,I have them toss in a jar of Scharffen Berger chocolate sauce. I LOVE Peet's.
  23. Chipwiches ... the ice cream, when it softens, gets kind of spongy ::shudder:: My husband likes the BadaBing Cherry variety. Ling, they are also rolled in little mini-chocolate chips. I've made my own version of these for the family and they don't like them as much as the Chipwiches. I give, and I give ....
  24. Oh, yeah. Dodge Ridge! I learned to ski there. We also went sledding in Strawberry; I remember the "Bigfoot Sighting" tote board in the little general store in town. There was one woman who saw Bigfoot at least once a month!
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