Archive

Archive for April, 2011

Too Many Tailgaters On The Road Lately: Gone BBQ’ing Again.

April 29th, 2011 No comments

Previously posted and sent many places, it’s time for this BBQ to resurface.  It’s getting hotter.

Pascal Patchwork At Happy Hour: It’s All That & A Bag Of Thyme Fries.

April 27th, 2011 No comments

Finally reported about Brasserie Pascal as Orange County Food Examiner, as I said I would.  It’s a worthy restaurant indeed, but still contemplating continued involvement with, and value of, the Examiner gig.  It seems that most find us here or through I Need Text, not E.  And then there’s the pop-up and photo size issues.  No bueno E!  Is it appropriate to be jeering ‘em here?  Well, it is my party.  Maybe I’ll get kicked off the big paper. ;)

Southern Living’s Big Book Of Cupcakes: Monkey Bread Jumbo Cupcakes.

April 25th, 2011 No comments

I appreciate the opportunity to test out Southern Living’s Big Book of Cupcakes.  It became available April 12th and timely arrived, as I had just begrudgingly returned Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes cookbook that was loaned through Bookswim.  And I’m still not done with Cupcakes.

The Big Book of Cupcakes bakes up 150 recipes and provides tips to satisfy any sweet tooth.  It’s reported that its author, Jan Moon transforms basic Cupcakes into brilliantly creative Dreamcakes with the whip of a whisk, although no whisk was needed for the pictured.

I have several pages tabbed, but started with the Monkey Bread Jumbo Cupcakes.

I first chose the Monkey Bread Jumbo Cupcakes, due to ease and the love of Monkey Bread.

No batter is prepared, since they’re made with Biscuits cut into fourths.

The recipe says to spray the Cupcake liners with a non-stick spray – I’m not sure if it’s necessary, but did it anyway.  If I didn’t, would they stick to the paper?  I’m not sure.

The Caramel Sauce aka Syrup mixture is made with Orange Juice, Brown Sugar, Butter and Cinnamon that thickens after boiling – The Biscuit quarters are then coated with the Syrup.

And then placed into Cupcake liners, as shown.

Instead of making 24 Monkey Bread Jumbo Cupcakes with (3) cans of Biscuits, I tested the recipe using (1) can, which produced 6 Cupcakes and leftover Syrup for another batch or two.  Since unsure of its yield, I sprayed more Cupcake liners than necessary.

I saved the Syrup for the next Biscuit purchase — I’ll update this, if something new is learned.

After assembly, they’re baked in the oven for 20 minutes at 350°.

And they’re more beautiful in person than in the book — My co-workers fought over them.

They were easy to make, but a little messy when dunking the Biscuits into the thickened Syrup.  The recipe says to shape the Biscuits into balls, but I found that step unnecessary, since the shapes change when dipping ‘em into the Syrup.

Like all Southern Living cookbooks I’ve tried thus far, the Big Book of Cupcakes is a winner.  If you want to make these Cupcakes, the recipe is pictured above, or I recommend buying the cookbook for it and other delicious looking recipes.  Thanks for the review copy!

Happy Easter: But For The Grace Of God, Music, Food & Love Go I.

April 24th, 2011 No comments

And silently I say a little prayer, yes I do, But For The Grace Of God go I, I must’ve been born a lucky [gal], Heaven only knows how I’ve been blessed by the gift of… that song by Keith Urban, and many other things in this short life on earth.  I’m grateful and hopeful.  Happy Easter.  Say hello to that old man passing your door, cause he might be rich, but truly poor.

My Bad For The Bad: Exemplar For The Good, The Bad And The Funny.

April 23rd, 2011 No comments

I burnt the crap out of these Chicken Thighs and didn’t want to show it, but since Nibbles of Tidbits is about the good, bad and funny, I hereby present “The Bad” – Had no propane for the grill, thus opted for a grill pan that got too hot, and the marinade had a lot of sugar.

The combination created a burnt mess.  I thought some pieces might have been salvageable, but no.  It was texturally bad too.  Sorry Chicken – Always learning.  While tossing all in the basura, coincidentally (and luckily) a friend called to ask if I wanted to get a bite to eat.  YES!

Grateful For The Many Food Blessings On This Good Friday.

April 22nd, 2011 No comments

Thank you Lord for the magnificent ocean and all the Fish in the sea.  With a speck of your many blessings, Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale’s South Coast Plaza made the pictured Crisp Pacific Sea Bass with a Miso Orange Vinaigrette and Edamame Shitake Ragout. :)

Perfecto Racko Of Lamb: This Recipe Goes In The Public Vault.

April 21st, 2011 No comments

Before cooking this Rack of Lambo, I watched a couple short videos and read a few blogs.  Since Lamb isn’t cheap, I wanted to cook it right.  Although I didn’t trim ‘em that skillfully, they could not have tasted better.  I’m now saving this recipe for a special occasion. 

A perfect Rack of Lamb step-by-step (loosely) in photos – S & P and sear the meat for a minute on each side.  Next time I’ll get the pan hotter.  Remove Rack from pan and set aside.  Prepare an Herb Bread Crumb mixture to crust the Lamb.  Preheat oven 375°.

The ingredients… Dijon Mustard, Bread Crumbs, fresh Garlic, Thyme and Rosemary and Olive Oil.  I just so happened to have Homemade Bread Crumbs on hand (as presented), in a makeshift package comically fashioned for a competition a few months ago.

Combine the Bread Crumbs with chopped Garlic, Rosemary, Thyme, S & P and a little Olive Oil.

Mix.

Paint a layer of Dijon Mustard on the seared Rack of Lamb.

Then press on the Herb Bread Crumb Crust.

It’s then ready to be baked in the oven for 20 minutes at 375° — It sounded a bit long and high to me, but worked perfectly, if you prefer Lamb medium rare, as pictured.

Into the oven.

Out of the oven.

Cut Rack into Chops, then onto the plate, after resting 5 – 10 minutes.

This Rack of Lamb was made in attempt to finally have a satisfying amount of Lamb Chops in one sitting.  It’s never happened before, since they’re usually shared as an appetizer and dinner plates generally max out at 5 – 6.  I thought this would be enough to satify the challenge, but it surprisingly wasn’t.  This Mary could’ve had 2 - 3 more little Lambs, sorry.  And it’s good to know that I can easily make more.

On The Quest To Make Everything Once: Perfect Rack Of Lamb On A Whim.

April 20th, 2011 No comments

Perfecto! Rack of Lamb pictured on Few Words Wednesday more for Show & Tell Thursday.

Merci Pascal Times Three, More Still Yet To Be: Examiner, Not So Sure.

April 19th, 2011 No comments

Since our meal was so fabulous at Brasserie Pascal, previous visits to Tradition by Pascal and Pascal Epicerie & Wine Shop are linked in appreciation of consistently great meals.  Merci.

Another reason for this post is that I’m still sidestepping an Examiner report — I’m not a fan of pop-ups and would never put them here.  And I don’t appreciate them there, especially as a writer.  It feels like swatting flies.  Back to Pascal, I’ll soon be writing about the Brasserie Pascal Perfect 10 Menu as Orange County Food Examiner.  And after that will re-examine.

To Continue As Orange County Food Examiner, Or Not To Be? That’s The Q.

April 18th, 2011 No comments

I’ll soon be posting something new as Orange County Food Examiner, but would rather write for YOU!  Inquire within regarding available Freelance Writing Services — The rest here is FREE.

Recipe used to make the pictured Candied Orange (County) Slices.

Brasserie Pascal In Newport Beach: See Mom It Isn’t A Whore House.

April 17th, 2011 1 comment

Falling in love doesn’t happen often at a Whore House — What a meal and deal at Brasserie Pascal in Fashion Island.  We loved everything about it.  I tell my Mom it isn’t a WH, because she laughingly called it that when I tried to get her to eat there before.  We peeked in from the outside to a sea of leather and red, part of its appeal to me.  We went elsewhere that day, but I knew I’d be lured back.  This day I finally had a Perfect 10 and more with another.

It started with a Hot Mess, a Dirty Vodka Martini with a Blue Cheese Stuffed Olive and Cajun Spiced Rim, and a Lychee Raspberry Martini times two, since only $5 during Happy Hour.

And the Perfect 10 Menu offers a selection of complete, high quality meals for $10, 7 days a week — The price and convenience make this fine dining experience repetitively tangible.

It’s beautiful and jazzy inside, don’t be afraid.

Before diving into the Perfect 10 we started with the Pascal Patchwork, because it’s only $10 too, and happens to be an exclusive variety of remarkable food, a sampler tray of the ‘Best of Happy Hour’ — Blue Cheese Beef Sirloin Sliders, Homemade Pate, Grilled Cheese with Truffle Oil, Thyme Fries, Buttermilk Onion Rings, Charcuterie and Gourmet Pizza.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Baked Brie Cheese on the Perfect 10 Menu for $5 sounded too good to pass up – When our meal selections arrived, our kind banquette neighbors were compelled to comment on the seemingly endless food that kept coming our way.

We were a bit out of control, but hungry and free to sit back and enjoy the food and live music.

And now the original enticement, the meal deal we heard about — We opted for the “Duo De Crevettes Croustillantes” aka Jumbo Tempura & Grilled Shrimp with Moroccan Style Tabouli and a Tomato Saffron Emulsion (pictured topmost), and the USDA Choice Aged Filet Mignon with Roquefort and Cabernet Sauce, Potato Au Gratin and Vegetables (directly above).

We usually don’t show off a bill, as who wants any, but it’s a genuine deal for all that’s pictured, with 4 magnifique Martinis – A votre sante!  Are you ready now Mom?  Brunch at Brasserie Pascal (11:30am – 3:30pm) includes free flowing Sparkling French Wine.

And leftovers to stretch the deal a mile – LOVED everything about Brasserie Pascal.

Easter Cookie Drive By To Get You On The Way.

April 16th, 2011 No comments

Since Easter is upon us and the current most popular search here is “Easter Cookies” and it’s looking like we’re not going to be decorating new ones this year, we post an Easter Cookie Drive By linking photos of Easter Cookies gone by — Baked naked and amateurly dressed.

Final decorated Easter Cookies are linked here.

And more decorating ideas can be found here.

This post is probably more like an Easter Cookie drop off than drive by. ;)

Quick Dip Mickey Moused Chocolate Dipped Oreo Cookies.

April 14th, 2011 No comments

Quick Dip — Is that an oxymoron?  Chocolate was melted in the microwave and Oreo Cookies were being dipped 5 minutes from commencement.  And Mickey Moused, because Chocolate wasn’t tempered, nor mixed with wax, cream or butter.  Instead, Milk and White Chocolate Chips were separately melted at 50% power, in approx. 50 second intervals and stirred in between.  It was fast and turned out good, but not as great as those you buy, or the ones my friend Loretta makes.  I don’t think she’d approve of these, but we’re always experimenting.

I was most proud of the design I created on the White Chocolate Dipped Oreo above.

Dippin’ leftover Oreos in Chocolate, from the Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes we made.

Haphazard about thickness and decoration, but wanted to make ‘em quick.

All was made in about 10 minutes, which is obvious looking at some.  Next time I’ll pipe the Chocolate through a baggie tip rather than use a spoon — Better design control, less sloppy.

Funny thing, growing up I wasn’t an Oreo Cookie fan and when I did have them, I’d eat the outsides and throw away the middle.  I hadn’t purchased them in years and this time didn’t need to ditch the middle.  Is there less than there used to be, like too many things?

Oh Oh O’ReeO: Martha Stewart’s Cookies And Cream Cheesecakes.

April 13th, 2011 No comments

Have you heard of Bookswim?  It’s the Netflix of books.  The library that comes to you.  I love it.  It’s a great way to test out books, or read a lot of them for less money.  Through Bookswim I checked out Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes cookbook and chose to make the Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes.  The recipe is in her book and it’s also been reported about by several food bloggers, as found here and halved here.  It’s an easy and luxurious dessert.

Since I REALLY didn’t need 30 Cheesecakes, I halved the recipe, which worked very well.

Start with a Muffin tin with paper liners and an Oreo Cookie for the bottom Crust.

Combine the other ingredients as specified and pour over each Oreo Cookie and bake.

They look special in B & W, color and upside-down, and taste great too.  I’ll make ‘em again.

Quick Tender Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs & A Preparation Experiment.

April 12th, 2011 No comments

Have you tried Houston’s BBQ Pork Ribs aka Knife & Fork Ribs?  They’re some of the best I’ve had and a model for how I want my Baby Back Ribs to be.  And I’m content knowing I’ve previously accomplished it, BUT sometimes there’s not the time, nor grill, then what?

The above Baby Back Ribs were baked in the oven at 400° for 1 hour wrapped in foil (fat/meat side down), then unwrapped, turned over and lathered with BBQ Sauce and cooked 20 – 30 minutes longer unwrapped.  Below is how they looked, prior to turning to sauce.

And separately below we experimented with a Dry Rub on a different slab of Baby Back Ribs.

Last year at the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival in San Francisco, I was given a Brown Sugar Pork Rub developed by Tyler Florence.  I finally tried it on this second slab of Ribs.  And to compound the test, we cooked them as described above, but at 225° for 3 hours.

The consensus, the slower cooked Dry Rub Baby Back Ribs fell apart while cutting, not attractive for serving, and unnecessary since the top Ribs cooked in half the time and were perfectly tender.  That recipe is from Delicious House.  It’s a keeper happily collected, posted and linked here for future use.

And I’m sorry to report that I wasn’t excited by Tyler’s Brown Sugar Pork Rub, and it sounded so good too, but Salt and Pepper worked better on the first slab of Baby Backs, a winner.

Back To Baby Back & On Track Looking For Food In All The Right Places.

April 11th, 2011 No comments

Categories: Food Pictures & More

All Is Safe Here, But Temporarily Annoying To Hopefully Just Us.

April 10th, 2011 1 comment

Announcement:  We’re aware that certain pages appear to keep loading.  Viewing content here is safe, but the constant reloading of pages, in some instances, is certainly annoying, especially to me.  We’re working to resolve the issue as soon as possible and apologize for any inconvenience.  We’ll get back to the Baby Back Ribs shortly.  Thank you.

Categories: Food Pictures & More

Speechless Sunday: Uniquely Created In Inspiration Of Wordless Days.

April 10th, 2011 No comments

Mock Caesar Salad Dressing With Toasted Parmesan Cheese-Tons.

April 9th, 2011 1 comment

I love a well prepared Caesar Salad, but when it comes to making one at home, I don’t want to work with Anchovies or raw Eggs, if I don’t have to.  In search of simplicity and flavor, I found a Caesar Salad Dressing I’ll keep forever.  It satisfies all criteria perfectly.

No-Egg Caesar Dressing (Rachael Ray’s) – Just mix all ingredients in a blender & enjoy!
1 Garlic Clove, finely chopped
1 Lemon, juice of
1 teaspoon of Tabasco
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard
1/3 cup of Olive Oil
1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese, shredded or shaved
Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

This Salad Dressing doesn’t lack for anything and can be tossed with any greens.

Once the Salad Dressing is prepared, only two more ingredients make this Caesar amazing.

Toasted Parmesan Cheese sprinkled as Croutons put this homemade Caesar over the top.

To prepare the Cheese-Tons, just add grated or shredded Parmesan to a dry skillet on medium.  Heat until each Cheese consortium crackles and pops together, then remove from skillet to cool on a paper towel.  Crumble over fresh Romaine tossed with this delicious mock Caesar Salad Dressing.  It’s made in minutes and tastes like it’s from a restaurant.

Did You Know The Sun Never Goes Down For Cool People?

April 6th, 2011 No comments

This story isn’t food related, except for the California Pizza Kitchen in my car when it happened.  A few years ago, I was driving home from work with CPK, irrelevant to the story but continue… I was wearing prescription sunglasses when I left the office, then was later at a stop light after the sun set.  I didn’t switch to regular glasses, since I was almost home.  And while waiting in the left turning lane, I noticed a guy in a car on my right frantically trying to tell me something.  A little sketchy, but I cracked the window to hear what he was revving to say.  And it was simply this… “I guess the sun never goes down for cool people.”  Although he dissed me, I thought it was one of the funniest things I’ve heard.  That’s right, I’m a So Cal native with CPK in the car and now the sun never goes down for me.  Cool!

Turn A Can Of Garbanzos Into Hummus In Minutes: An Any Day Snack.

April 4th, 2011 No comments

After much experimentation, I found the best combination/ratio of ingredients to make Hummus using (1) Can of Garbanzo Beans aka Chickpeas.  I always have at least one can on hand, plus all necessary components to prepare a flavorful Hummus — Garlic (1 Clove), Tahini (2 Tablespoons), Lemon Juice (3-4 Tablespoons), Olive Oil (2 Tablespoons), Salt (1 Teaspoon) and Pepper (to taste).  And the best part is… All is simply blended together to produce instant homemade Hummus in minutes.  With warm Pita Bread, it’s my current snack preference.  Recipe doubles well, if you want more.  Opa!

Grateful For Liberty And The Ability To Seek Out New Food Frontiers.

April 3rd, 2011 No comments

I’m grateful for American liberty and the ability to seek out never-ending food frontiers.

The Balboa Fun Zone – A nearby attraction that’s filled with amusement and food.

Improvised Mini Tongs: Another Use For Clothes Pins, Not Just A Chip Clip.

April 2nd, 2011 No comments

   

Somehow I ended up with several wooden clothes pins that come in handy as Chip Clips and various bag sealers.  And I’ve recently discovered a new use — They work well as Improvised Mini Tongs, while cooking Tortillas in the toaster oven.  Can you think of another kitchen use?