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Everything posted by FabulousFoodBabe

  1. Done! ACK!And I'll be careful about not letting any glitchy things go unchecked. Thanks for that bit of advice. No breakfast for Fabby (snif) andit was nearly lunchtime when I got home from the Doc. And then I had someone here working around the kitchen and I just didn't eat anything. I can hear my trainer bitching at me for this!For dinner, I whipped up some chicken and rice with cherry tomato, shiitake, and gorgonzola sauce for Mr. FB. Bambino wanted a burrito, but a yicky beef one. No photos of that but honestly, they're not real photogenic
  2. Nope -- it's Pedalworks, and the faucet is KWC. I think it's actually pretty easy to install, if you feel like going back through renovation the fun again! (As if -- of course, you had one of the fastest renovations I have ever known and I salaam to you ) (I was not clear earlier -- I worked in a fancy restaurant kitchen that had no foot pedals on the sinks. Anywhere. Weird. )
  3. Today was Cake Day -- I tripled the aforementioned Devil's Food Cake recipe and used an 18 x 12 pan. We're going to have 30-40 people on Saturday, so I'll probably make another layer cake or something. I dunno. I used to think that when my boys grew up, I would be able to work uninterrupted for more than 5 minutes. Here's what distracted me during cake-time: He's holding Mr. Piggy, who oinks when he bites down on him. He stands there making MP oink, and when I look up, he wags his tail and growls, which is basset talk for "chase me around the house." I was way stricter with my kids. Afterward, I made my favorite pan prep, which was taught to me by the ladies at Edwards Cake Supply in Modesto (my shop was down the strip mall from theirs). Equal parts by volume APF, corn or veg oil, and shortening. Mix it together. I use this on the pan's bottom, line it with parchment (just the bottom), and then prep the top of the parchment as well. Nothing on the sides. Then, I mixed boiling water into the cocoa, and whisked until it was smooth. While it was cooling to room temp (which took for-freaking ever, it seemed), I whisked eggs and vanilla together. When the cocoa-water mix was at room temp, I whisked about 1/4 of the mixture into the eggs/vanilla. Flour/sugar/salt/soda went into the KitchenAid bowl with a paddle attachment; I added the butter and beat the heck out of it! After beating in the eggs/cocoa mixture in three portions, the batter was ready to be tested (mmmm!). And then, into the prepared pan. I baked it at 350 for about a half hour, and then at 325 for 15 minutes more with the convection fan on, and then gave it another few minutes without the fan. It looks dense and beautiful. It's cooling now, and I'll give you all a peek of my freezer when it's time to wrap it and put it in.
  4. Storage! Separate work spaces! This baby has it all, and I'm getting used to it slowly. This area which we alternately call the wet bar and pass, has a Miele speed oven (wonderful!), a Miele coffee center that I've already showed, and a Thermador warming drawer, all stacked on one side with cabinets above, below, and to one side. Directly next to the sink is a Fisher&Paykel diswasher drawer, which we use for overflow, crystal, and some barware. We also have a three-zone wine storage refrigerator and a beverage cooler on the side facing the oven/coffee/drawer: And, of course, the pass-through into the cleanup area. It's a very cool setup; I don't get in anyone's way and they stay out of mine when I'm working. Plus, this area has all the fun appliances that talk to the user and beep and look really nice, so Mr.Foodbabe and the Bambinos love to use it. We also store some dishes in this area, and I love these Blum Orga-Line Dish inserts ... Since about half my dishes are square, I'd love to find one of these that isn't round but this works fine for now.
  5. It's something I've wanted for a long time. Basically, it has a faucet (and handles, more for effect than anything else), and the foot pedals under the cabinet control the water. I don't have to touch anything when I have gunk on my hands, or when I'm holding something else. I'm sure you have seen them, in doctors' offices I worked in a very fancy kitchen with a gazillion cool things in it, but there was not one single foot pedal sink in the place. All the sinks in the cooking and cleanup area are integrated stainless. There had to be a cutout for the pedals (which were designed to comfortably fit my Danksos), but the plumber said it wasn't a big deal to install -- and I'd heard nothing but NO from the last group of contractors I worked with. It's really one of my favorite parts of the kitchen.
  6. Good news! The puffer fish survived its first night in our tank and is now safely in the tank at the high school. I can't say the same for our rug and floor; I think the kid spilled 10 gallons of sea water on it getting the fish in and out. (he mopped it all up; time will tell the effects). Anyway, houses are for living in. No new rugs until the puppy is trained, anyway One of the things that was important to me in this new kitchen is the cleanup area. I originally wanted something closed and away from the cooking/living areas, but in order to do that, we'd have to add a boxed-in area in the current space, or go out the back of the house. No, and no. Here's what the architect came up with: On the left is a pass-through, so we don't have to walk around the end of the cabinets to put glassware into the wet bar area, or to bring dirty dishes to the cleanup sinks. (The sinks are very deep, so the top handle is on a dummy cabinet. One of Firstie's buds pulled on it and popped it -- no biggie, I thought. I was ready to use some putty to keep it there, but then the architects swooped in and the contractor concurs: they want to fix it the right way. Shriek! I'm inclined to stick some putty in it and forget about it.) I also love my hand sink with a foot pedal. That's another thing that every other architect and contractor I met told me I couldn't have. It's one of the best decisions I made. One that was a so-so decision, but which I insisted on, is the thing I stole from Jacques Pepin's kitchen -- the speed rack in the area next to the range. If I didn't have a dog who is a pleasure-seeker, this would be ideal for cooling baked things. Putting a door on it kind of defeats the purpose. As it is when I have to use it and the dog is awake, I just roll it into the cleanup area of the kitchen and block it off. I still love it, with a great big however attached.
  7. Tomorrow, I start cooking for the party in earnest. I've got some appointments out in the morning, and hope to swing by a crepery that opened last year, and grab some brunch. One of the things we had to solve in this kitchen was how to store my recipes and workbooks. I didn't want bookshelves; my office is about 20 steps away and is loaded with cookbooks, workbooks, notebooks, clippings, you name it. But I did want a place where I could put a book I was working from, and some way to keep the hundreds of index cards I use close at hand. The side of the refrigerator closest to the range wasn't being used, so I asked the architect to find a way to use that. Here's what they did: The shelves are of the same etched glass as the cabinet doors in the wet bar. The rods hold s-hooks, which hold my recipe index cards (the rods can flip up and out of the way if necessary). The shelves are shallow; perfect for my clipboards and notebooks, and smallish cookbooks, too. It's lit on the sides and the top; when I turn them on, the photo isn't as sharp as I'd like. It's beautiful. Since I'm a little height-challenged, the top shelf could be used for whatever I wanted. I love this clock: The tongue wags back and forth, like a second-hand! Until tomorrow, Fabby
  8. Allrightie then. Enchiladas for dinner. I'm sure these are not authentic, among other things, but my family loves them. This recipe makes a 9x12 pan, 12 corn tortillas. The sauce is a quart plus one cup. For the sauce: 1 1/2 c half & half 1 large egg 1/2 cup salsa, or tomatillos and salsa Lookie! I got TWO double-yolks in two eggs in a row! This is almost as good as the red pepper within a red pepper I found last month. Anyway. Beat the eggs until foamy; be sure that the eggs are completely blended; no streaks of white should remain. Then, whisk in the half & half and stir in the salsa. This can be done early in the day; cover and keep cold. Ladle some of the sauce to cover the bottom of a greased baking dish before you start with the tortillas. For the filling: Shred 4-5 chicken breasts. Add cheese and minced onion. I don't measure; I used parmesan, cheddar and jack, and about 1/2 cup of onion this time. Get 7 or 8" corn tortillas; heat some oil on a griddle or in a pan, and fry them until they become pliable. Put about 1/3 cup of filling in each tortilla, roll up, and place it seamed-side down in the dish. When i'm done, I scatter any leftover filling over the filled tortillas and ladle the remaining sauce over the top. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes; if it gets too brown on top, cover loosely with foil. I can smell them now. With brown rice and black beans, mmm!
  9. what do you mean, "now"? You know I'm a pretty vanilla type. Kind of, well, like you. BTW, the puffer fish is lovely. The others arrive tomorrow. [edited because therese is many things, but vanilla sure ain't one of them!]
  10. I have a long baseball history; wont' go into it here. But ... I remember when Clemente's plane went down (a dark day). I was there when Pete Rose hit his 4000th, and Johnny Bench's last game was my wedding day.
  11. Snakey Boy is the name for our pull-down faucet (racheld, the pots drip onto a stainless steel surface, but not much). When I was desining my kitchen in Atlanta, I really wanted a pull-down faucet, and when we were looking at them, my sons named them Snakey-Boy. The name stuck, and even the architects refer to the pull-down faucet as 'Snakey Boy." You may wonder how we arrived at the name. My younger son (who is 17, a Junior in high school, and the only one left at home) has always drawn, a lot. His comic strips include "Nun Racers," "Woodchucks with Nunchucks," and "Cranky Mom." Once he started becoming more aware of what I did besides relocate the family and try not to get lost in a new town, he created Snakey Boy. Snakey Boy is a pit viper. He wears a toque and an apron, and only bites when he is provoked and no other methods of resolution work. Snakey-Boy works at a snack bar. I think he owns the place. He feeds the homeless for free, he discounts his prices for poor people, and only uses the finest ingredients for his offerings. After every episode of Snakey Boy, he gives the big thumbs-up to the readers. All Hail Snakey-Boy! He often hung out with Cool Flame, a sunglass-wearing bit of fire who regularly drank gasoline and burped his opponents with a firey blast. I'm very sure I'll be blamed for this one day.
  12. I have been home since 11 a.m. waiting for a delivery that I had to sign for (a puffer fish, some damsel fish and chromas), and it's not here yet. to entertain myself, I timed the griddle on the BlueStar: Five minutes to get water drops to dance on the center of the griddle, and ten more to get the perimeter to hold heat. I really do need to get a surface thermometer -- the heat is still uneven. Anyway, here's my lunch: honey-wheat bread, an okay tomato, and some monterey jack cheese. Grilled. It was okay. Dinner tonight is going to have all three of us in one place by 7:00ish; at my son's request, we're having enchiladas. It's a great recipe for cold nights like tonight (and rainy, ugh), and the leftovers freeze beautifully, so I make as much as I can at once. Since the kid really hates onion pieces, I poach the chicken in stock with onions, bay leaf and pepper and go easier on the onion in the recipe. they cool in their poaching liquid, and I shred it when I can handle it easily. And yes, these are the dreaded BSCB! Just didn't have time or freezer space this week to break down all the chickens we'll need for the party, and to store the carcasses for stock. Next week, though. Last, I found some cookie dough leftover in the freezer, from a bake sale a few weeks ago, and baked a dozen The are a deep brown but still have some chew in them. Good stuff. I'll show the enchiladas when I make them.
  13. About the cake: I'm making him a sheet cake, no filling (he specifically requested Devil's Food with white frosting). I make the standard Wilton buttercream for decorating, and will probably make a few white-chocolate-tinted-blue decorations for the top. I think I'll make the cake tonight or tomorrow and freeze it; I like the crumb on this one best when it's been frozen. I love to make cakes. I wanted to be a pastry chef at one point. Maybe for my next "next career" ...
  14. Crisco -- too funny! My husband is a Blue Devil! I wonder when he's going to suggest we name the puppy Duke, or Coach K. I really like the Cake Bible, too. Not a stinker recipe in the whole thing, that I've seen.
  15. Pierogi, nice idea about the name! Or, he could be Jimmy (Choo). ::adding to the list:: christine007, my son had three scorpions named Whiskers, Mittens, and Paul. He was going to name one Fluffy, but said it just looked more like a Paul. Whatever that looks lik! dvs, I'll tell more about the cooking classes later today, when i'm at home waiting to sign for the fish who shall arrive in the afternoon. Not the eating kind, unfortunately. marmish, what a sweet pea! He looks like Cisco one of J-L's buddies in the 'hood. dockhl, LOL about the exacting nature of this kitchen. I had a whole schematic done for what went where ... as you can see from this photo, the Post-its on the shelf pans prove that I'm not even ready to P-Touch everything! This is great; I just scrub the pans and hang 'em up. I am making Mr. FB's cake for the party as well, and am trying to decide if I should bake it today and freeze it to decorate Friday. Any thoughts? It'll be Devil's Food (using The Cake Bible's recipe), and decorated in white and (of course) Duke Blue. Any ideas on what we can put into a pinata are also very welcome! When I come back from the errands, I'll tell the saga of Snakey-Boy.
  16. Augh! I keep getting a database error when I try to upload photos from dinner. Believe me, though, you're not missing much. Mondays are wild around here: Kid has after-school stuff and didn't get in until nearly 6. He asked for pizza tonight (mine, not delivery! Aww ...) so I whipped one up for him. I had some dough in the freezer (Note: Pizza dough is DOUGH. Other dough is FOUGH.) The Miele speed oven we have has a great defrosting function that made quick work of that. I also keep some sauce around for just this reason. Marinated a couple of chicken breasts in lemon juice, smooshed garlic and s/p and grilled em. Had mine as it is; Mr. FB will probably put his on a sandwich with cheese, mayo, and have a beer with it, and lose weight. Sigh. They were all over the place when I lived in California! Shoot, I was at a butts 'n' guts class and the person sweating next to me was one of the wives (not telling which one -- but she was terrific, always). After spending ten years in the P&G corporate structure, the thought of one of those types donning a leotard and sweating with the masses just did not compute. Yep, California was laid back and I loved it! Glad to be of service! The pans in the back of the drawer aren't easy to put in or pull out as the setup is now; I had to change them to 3" depth (the others are 6"). The cabinetmaker made a frame that holds all the pans in place at the same height. When I remove the front pans, the rack pulls out and the rear ones can come out if I need to clean or remove them. I had an extremely detail-oriented designer working on this project. Wait till you see my recipe racks!As I go through the week, I'll give some detail on all the different things we have. I'd say for each thing I had to give up (a lowboy, a trough sink), I got something amazing in return (a speed rack space, a huge kitchen island). Oooh -- wait till you see my pot storage! And MizDucky ... you will love the theme of the party. It's this: Fifty is the new Thirty. (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!) (do note the Duke Blue color for the lettering!) We're putting all your basset name ideas on a list with ours, and marking off the ones we can't do for one reason or another (like baby names!). Example: Carlos is great, but it's a friend's husband. So is Bernard, and Nigel. We all love Brian but (a) it's one of my husband's partners, and (b) we don't want to copy too much off Family Guy.
  17. I love all the Basset talk! And I'm about to take mine out for our afternoon walk, but wanted to share a few other things. First, when I did the design, I told the architect that I do not do cannisters on the counter and here's what they came up with: Two drawers, three 3-pans and three 6-pans in each, with covers. The 3pans hold about 7 or 8# of flour each. The 3-pans hold sugar, semolina, cornmeal, etc. I love it. And I'm having an amazing time with the BlueStar. Lookie mcLook: I'm having a weeeee bit of trouble with the griddle on the thing. Did the burn-in twice and it just takes for-freaking-ever to heat well and evenly. I've been using my All-Clad griddle for pancake mornings. Any advice on using the griddle is welcome! Time to walk the doggie. I'll take the camera in case he eats anything interesting.
  18. The Saga of the Pate Dough. When I was a culinary student, it became my responsibility to make Pate dough for the Pate en croute. I felt pretty cool about it; I'd been cooking for a long time and it didn't seem too hard. Chef Turgeon walked by my first (yes, first!) attempt and said, "something's not right with that." I said I had measured carefully. I said I had measured twice, dumped once. And that I couldn't think of what it could be. Of course he was right, so I did it over again. This time, I was even more careful, it got to the rolling stage when he said, "what did you do with this?" The dough was a mess. It seized. It behaved like something that had been overworked. It was cracking in some spots. It had to be patched into the mold and that pissed me off more than anything in the world. There was no time to redo it and Chef told me to relax. I couldn't. I hated that damned dough. I still do. To this day, I can't figure out what I did wrong. My cooking team labeled it in the refrigerator, "Ducking Fough." It was soon shortened to "Fough." "Yo, Fabby -- got any of that fough left?" LOL (not). So when I decided to make tartlet shells for the party this week, I thought it was time to revisit the Fough. 20 oz. bread flour 1 1/2 oz powdered milk 1/4 oz baking soda 1/2 oz salt 3 1/2 oz shortening 2 1/2 oz butter 2 eggs 1 T cider vinegar 8 oz milk (more or less) Mix the dry ingredients; cut fat into them (I used a paddle attachment on my KitchenAid). Add the vinegar and eggs, process a little longer. Switch to a dough hook, and add about 4 oz of the milk -- the rest if necessary. Finish on the bench, square, wrap tightly and let it rest for a half-hour. not bad, eh? (No photos except for the end product -- I lost my camera for a while. Heh.) It's easiest to roll this dough out on a pasta machine if you haven't just done a renovation and are still trying to find things. Luckily, I have a rolling pin or two: Roll the fough very thin and cut it into rounds. The rounds go into mini muffin pans if you don't have a zillion tartlet pans; tamp the bottoms with the end of a wooden spoon and bake at 350 for about 5-7 minutes, until they brown. The finished product: Take that, fough!
  19. I hope the person tunes in; I think I'm not supposed to say the name on the board. Visalia girl -- you still there? Thanks for all the good wishes for Mr. FB -- he's the true babe in the family. Anyone else read that endpiece in Time Magazine a few months ago, where it discussed marrying out of your "hotness" class? that's us!
  20. Oh! Like Jean-Luc Picard! Gotcha. Wow. This is making sense out of a lot of things people have said to us over the years we've had J-L. Gawd, I'm a dork.
  21. Today, we all slept late (5:30). The backup alarm clock didn't go off -- apparently, by taking it to the golf course yesterday and letting it chase geese off lead for a couple of hours, it was too exhausted to do the usual 4:30 a.m. wake-up. Since breakfast has always been the meal we have together, I like to do requests for the boys. My son wanted pancakes and bacon, with a hot chocolate (no espresso shot). We didn't have much time so I wasn't able to get a good photo of that. He can't have a car at school yet, so he drives in the morning; I ride along and really cherish that 20 minutes of alone-time where we either listen to his music, or he tells me his latest thoughts on politics, Scientology, and marine life. When I got back to the house and the first cappuccino of the day, in my very cool Miele Coffee Center. It has a little panel that tells you what to do First, the milk froth And then you're prompted to move your cup under the espresso dispenser With a slice of honey-wheat bread that I made yesterday, and some strawberry preserves, we have breakfast. For the first time in a long time, no workmen are scheduled! Immediately after the renovation completed and the punchlist was done, we had the housepainters do the rest of the interior. (I guess this is what you do when you live in the same place for more than 24 months? ) They're finally done, and we finally have our garage back.
  22. Bassets are like potato chips, don't you think?. San Diego is his birthplace. We lived in Modesto -- when Mr. FB worked for the Gallo Winery. Good people, good place. Is that Kismet or Karma or Fate? LOL -- (I still have purple suede Hush Puppies from when they were cool.) Let's see: Johnny (kitty -- hey, two syllables is right! ) is battling Feline Obesity, so he's on diet cat food. Jean-Luc has a very sensitive stomach; we learned the hard way to keep him on the Eukanuba The skink, land crab, and fish are all on live food. I do need to make some dog biscuits this week for Jean-Luc's best friends in the neighborhood (two whippets and a greyhound, all in one family). If I find the time, I'll show that.Marya, therese -- yeah, French! Gerard is very good. And thank you, therese, for not doing as I asked you a year or so ago: to smack me upside the head if I ever talk about getting a new puppy again. racheld -- what the heck are you talking about? Back to human food.
  23. At the risk of making basset-talk the focus of this blog, I want to say: Sebastian! LOL! And Winston is just as good! Wein, what is yours named, and Cali, you love long dogs because you have a : _______? I love dogs. Barney, Bernard, Winston, Sebastian, Harold, and Moe. Hey, the breeder has another litter coming ... Yeah. I'd be catapulted out of my neighborhood so fast we couldn't capture it for the blog. But one can dream!
  24. Awww, thank you all for the warm welcome! I curtsy to you and hope I can give a good show. I'm very glad to be here. I'm really loving these names! The one I had picked out, Carl, can't be used because you need two syllables to call a dog (my husband is fixated on that). He still thinks that one day, a basset hound will come when he's called without a major bribe. I've got another week or so to decide. Here's a little shot of the kitchen the night we had some friends for dinner: Yeah, that's the birthday boy. He looks like he's about 30, and eats yucky stuff all the time. He finally got some gray hair a few years ago. I've mentioned all the creatures in our house; Jean-Luc has already dined. The snake, land crab and skink eat on Mondays so I'll get some photos of that tomorrow (shudder). Fishies eat every night but are harder to photograph. They eat plankton, brine shrimp, and some nasty green flake stuff that my kid can talk about for 30 minutes. Here's a portion of our aquarium See that clam on the left? It was a tiny thing when we got it in 2003. Now, we expect to see Esther Williams swimming out of it any day. So, the party. I'm doing exactly what my husband wants, and he's being slightly cooperative. He refuses to wear a crown or a robe! Geez. OH well. We're having passed hors d'oeuvres, and two food stations. No foie gras, not even a pate or mousse, no lamb, and no Jello shots! (I may go ahead and do those anyway. I had suggested oyster shooters, but he nixed that as well.) As I make the hors d'oeuvres, I'll tell more about the menu. I'm starting tomorrow, with tartlet shells for the sea bass tartare. Sandy, too funny! I had threatened to have only his "favorite" foods served at the party, like Cheeseburger Helper, pimento cheese on white bread, green beans, All Bran, creamed chipped beef on toast, boneless skinless chicken breasts, salad with Kraft Fat-Free Ranch Dressing, and salmon. He thought I was making fun of him. Moi? Nevah. And yes, we live in Chappaqua, via Atlanta, North Jersey, Central Ohio, Central California, and Southern Ohio (for me) and for my husband, add North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina; and he was born in California while his Dad was in the Navy. We moved into our house in late July, 2001. I have never in my life lived anywhere for six years, or even five. I love it here and with God as my witness, I will see a Clinton before the election! Until tomorrow, Fabby
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