I want to pull up a seat in front of this setting — Looks like much is about to be served.
Most are familiar Avocado favorites and some ideas came from others linked throughout.
We made them all from top down — Starting with Snow Crab Stuffed Avocados made with Mayo, Lemon Juice and Zest, Red Bell Pepper, Dill and Red Onion. Simple, rich and amazing.
Continuing with a Veggie Croissant Sandwich made with Salad Bar Vegetables, Avocado, and Cream Cheese instead of Mayo. An Egg Baked in an Avocado — Have you seen that one before? It’s different and not bad. And I could eat an Avocado with Good Seasons Italian Dressing (above) everyday. It’s ready in minutes and always satisfies. On to Mango Salsa.
Mango Salsa ingredients, plus Jalapeno are pictured above and combined below.
BLT Sandwich, plus A+, minus the L & T on this day.
Open-faced BLT, plus A, minus L — Avocado was mashed with a little Mayo.
Avocado Pizza (if you will) made with a Flour Tortilla, mashed Avocado drizzled with Olive Oil and Lemon Juice, topped with a Fried Egg, Cumin and Salt & Pepper. I overcooked this Egg.
It could be better next time — The original is much more impressive.
Black Beans, Corn, Red Bell Peppers, Avocado, Red Onions, Jalapeno and Lime w/EVOO.
Cucumber Avocado Salad with Tomatoes, Green Onions, Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil.
Avocado on Toast with Sriracha and Olive Oil — An unexpected new favorite.
Avocado with Grapefruit — Many say how well it goes together. It’s okay.
And would you believe Avocado Ice Cream?
Ours was made with Avocados, Coconut Milk, Milk, Lime Juice and Lime Zest.
I didn’t think I’d like the Avocado Ice Cream, but did and would make it again.
Ahhhhhh Avocados, they’re wonderful to eat and moisturize well — Cheers to Avocados!
Dogs apparently love them too — I can’t believe we ate ‘em all and still want more.
A gift from the Grandkids (Kids in the Kitchen) who know their BBQ’ing Grandpa (aka Mad Dog) well and it’s definitely Budweiser in between his grilling. Always marinate and never use a recipe it also states — I concur with that. October still feels like July in Southern California. The ten minute rule seems doable in this record heat. Pop open a Stella for me, sorry Dad.
My Orange Zest Cheesecake with a Milk Chocolate Ganache recently won a 2nd Place Ribbon at the Orange County Fair. I plan to submit its recipe for the 2012 Orange County Fair Cookbook and will subsequently link to it here. Until then, stay tuned for snapshots of our recent OC Fair Foodie Tour. We found several healthy options in addition to the indulgent.
And did you know that July 4th also happens to be Sidewalk Egg Frying Day. Try it.
I still have questions for my Grandpa, especially these days, and sure wish he was around to ask them. He was a Butcher for decades and a very special man. He lived past 90, so I’m thankful for that, but now must post the above chart for future Beef cut reference. Boo. Moo.
Enlarge chart for a better view — Do you know your Beef?
Where’s the FOOD? It’s here. And you thought it meant something else…
What’s your State Food? And do you agree? Can you even read the list? I’m not sure I can. The photos definitely help. CA Grapes for Wine sounds especially right with AK King Crab.
Have you visited Local Cuisine? It’s an excellent resource to find the best restaurants in Orange County. Search by restaurant name, cuisine type, city, zip code, or browse its specially selected list – Featured restaurants are voted on and off the Local Cuisine list by Local Experts, and I’m humbled to be one of them. Our first meeting took place at The Playground. Be sure to keep an eye on Local Cuisine for the latest and greatest restaurant additions and list of local food-related events, and create a profile and write a review, if you so choose.
Worlds collide — I remember David Rosengarten. In the early days of the Food Network, he was one of my favorites. I learned a lot from him during several years of Taste, and thought he was so conversant and educated so thoroughly. I truly understood whatever the principle.
I hadn’t thought of him in a long time, until given The Rosengarten Report by a friend.
A friend whose Mother’s Estate produces Mardesich Extra Virgin Olive Oil in Paso Robles.
And The Rosengarten Report wrote about it, which means it’s something special.
Terrific for them, you and me, since I recently tried a bottle of Mardesich Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It tastes better than any I’ve tried in a long time and I’m not just sayin’ that because it’s harvested by a degree of separation. It can also be purchased at We Olive in Paso Robles and Long Beach, another reason to visit Belmont Shore. I’m glad to like it so much.
It’s most excellent for full-flavored food and perfect with Sourdough Bread.
Our freshly dubbed Parade of Colorful Food series “gives new meaning to food coloring,” said Steven Woo, DC Contributor. In contrast to the yellow, orange, green and purple food currently on display and linked here, not much in the food world is naturally blue.
Blue is otherwise a surrounding color in nature — In the oceans and wondrous sky, and it also seems to be the favorite color of most. Mine will be in the spotlight next in the series.
We like the posted photos because they’re aesthetically pleasing, interesting, idealistic, unique, inspirational, educational and fun – Credit for all is linked throughout.
Learn about Five Ways to Raise Seafood here and above.
Does anyone eat Jellyfish?
If fried, would they disintegrate or crisp up? I’ll look it up later.
And couldn’t feature blue food without Blueberries, my preferred fresh Berry.
It’s blue and relates to food — Always had an interest in vintage documents and photographs.
The best Cookie Monster Cupcake I’ve seen. It doesn’t look too difficult to prepare.
The photo below just trips me out, especially the Banana – Crazy for blue food perhaps?!
The first to identify these blue eyes wins a prize, said the brown eyed girl.
Where the folks are fine and the world is mine on Blue Bayou with a BBQ.
I get asked to review a lot of cookbooks, which is pretty cool. Some I love and have used over and over, and others I’m not so sure about. Just because a recipe makes it into a cookbook doesn’t mean it’s going to be good. I’ve learned that the hard way many times.
I was recently reminded that all are not created equal, after a review of The Unknown Cookbook. I appreciate the opportunity to try it, but the Chorizo (Mexican Sausage) recipe within tasted nothing like it. Aside from that, it just wasn’t good. Though the book will never be a favorite, I learned from the process. In other words, it’s nice to know that I can make Chorizo without Salivary Glands, though this isn’t the recipe to do it.
All is posted to show that the method is easy with the right ingredients.
The pre-rolled Catfood-ish looking “Chorizo” (below) was a bit of a turn off.
Chorizo is better wrapped in plastic than intestines.
We were excited about it, before we tasted it — Blah.
After being refrigerated for two days, we sliced it into patties and cooked it, then took a couple bites and tossed it in the trash. I’m calling this the review of The Unknown Cookbook, so not to make the author feel bad. We prefer to emphasize the positive and not hurt the sales of others with a bad review. I’m sure there is something worth making in the book. With respect to this recipe, we’re sticking with Soy Chorizo for now – We know it’s good.
Have you seen the California Pizza Kitchen Original BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad Kit?
It’s sold at Costco, unsure if exclusively — And my Mom loves it.
She and Chef Niece Bailee of Kids in the Kitchen mixed it all together.
My thoughts… It’s not bad, but I don’t love it. For its cost of $9-something, I’d rather go to California Pizza Kitchen to have the real thing, or make the Salad from scratch using my CPK Cookbook, as I did once before. The Salad Kit comes with everything the Original BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad does in the restaurant, except Romaine — You’ll need to purchase and add it separately, which ultimately adds to its cost.
What do you think about it?
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!
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.
BookSwim, known to some as the Netflix of books, is a fabulous last-minute printable gift idea that delivers thousands of New York Times bestsellers to your giftee’s door! You rent, read and return, cutting down on clutter and amping up time curled up on the couch. You can purchase Gift Certificates in any denomination, but BookSwim is offering a holiday special right now — Any $50 Gift Card purchase comes with a $50 Gift Certificate to restaurant.com, and you even choose which greeting card to send. It’s a great deal for the readers and eaters on your Christmas list, or for any time of the year. I have it and still want it.
For the past month, I’ve been testing out BookSwim – It’s been all cookbooks for me and I love it! When my first three cookbooks arrived, I was a little taken aback that the books are indeed used. Unless purchasing through Ebay, I think most people are accustomed to receiving new books and items in the mail. I have no complaints, as they are certainly in fine readable condition, just not pristine, but who cares — I’m borrowing them until done.
Just like Netflix, you select your desired books (instead of movies) ahead of time and then they arrive in the mail. My BookSwim plan allows me to keep three books at a time and return two or three to receive more. All are shipped with a postage paid envelope for easy returns and the next delivery arrives fairly quickly. Some books are so good that I now want to buy ‘em and others I’m glad I can return for others. It’s quite terrific actually and highly recommended by me and Nibbles of Tidbits.
Above is my current favorite I haven’t been able to give up — It has the most amazing Cupcakes, ideas and photos. I just keep sending back two books at a time. It’s all good.
Bobby Flay was at Williams-Sonoma South Coast Plaza yesterday signing his new cookbook — Bobby Flay’s Throwdown!: More Than 100 Recipes From Food Network’s Ultimate Cooking Challenge. Since the line was way too long and my patience and available time too short, Jennifer provided her adorable photo for posting above. Thanks Jennifer (and Bobby).
Just a fraction of the line going in to Williams-Sonoma to see Bobby Flay.
Since the book includes recipes from Bobby Flay and a few hometown challengers, we’ll soon be hosting our own Throwdown! We plan to make competing recipes and have a blind taste test to see if we agree with what went down at the Throwdown.
Check back to see Nibbles of Tidbits Testdown! results.
Circa 10+ years ago, I was subscribing to all the popular gourmet cooking magazines – Gourmet, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Saveur, Cook’s Illustrated, etc. And for Christmas my Grandma got me a subscription to Taste of Home. I hadn’t known of it and remember her saying… ”It’s not a fancy gourmet magazine, but I’ve liked it for a long time.” She was indeed on to something, because it turned out to be one of my favorite magazines too. My Grandma (now 89) and I have enjoyed many recipes from Taste of Home magazines over the years. Thanks Grandma. And now Taste of Home is having a CONTEST you could possibly win. It’s a Win-Win Contest, as you’ll learn by reading below.
WIN UP TO $20,000 FOR YOUR SCHOOL, PLUS ANOTHER $20,000 FOR YOU! ENTER THE TASTE OF HOME TEACHERS RECIPE CONTEST PRESENTED BY BOOKS ARE FUN™
Bake sale blockbusters, popular potlucks, teachers’ lounge favorites, fabulous finger foods, delicious desserts, good for you goodies… The stomach often rules the mind at school. Now, Taste of Home, the world’s most popular cooking magazine, and Books are Fun™ have teamed up to put some money where that food goes with the Taste of Home Teachers Recipe Contest.
Books Are Fun will award more than $70,000 in cash and prizes for the best original submitted recipes chosen by the staff at Taste of Home, with $20,000 awarded to BOTH the grand prize winner and the affiliated school.
“Taste of Home is thrilled to work with Books Are Fun to celebrate our teachers and all the wonderful people who help make our schools so special,” said Catherine Cassidy, editor-in-chief of Taste of Home. “We’ve all heard the news stories about budget cuts. This is a chance to do something positive for schools.”
The Taste of Home Teachers Recipe Contest has six categories for submissions:
- Appetizers & Snacks – Finger foods are always popular in the teachers’ lounge. Pick the spreads, snack mix, and other savory bites that keep the staff happily munching!
- Soups, Salads and Sides – What recipe do you grab for your potluck? We’re looking for dishes that travel well and steal the show, like salads and pasta creations among others!
- Entrees – What’s your best main course outside of school? We want to see your bubbling casseroles, slow-cooked specialties, family-favorite main dishes and even party subs!
- Desserts – Enter everything from cakes and pies to trifles and tortes in this tooth-tingling category!
- Bake Sale – Send us your favorite cookies, cupcakes, bars, brownies, spiced nuts and home-made jams, whatever clears bake-sale tables the quickest!
- Healthy Recipes – Healthy is huge in school these days. Submit your favorite recipe that is so good, no one ever guesses it’s lower in fat and calories.
The Taste of Home tasting panel will pick three winners from all of the submissions. The grand prize winner will win $20,000 and $20,000 for the school affiliated with that winner, plus a free one-year subscription to Taste of Home magazine for all paid full-time teachers and staff at the school. The second-place winner will win $10,000, plus $10,000 for the school. Third place will take home $5,000 plus $5,000 for the school.
Everyone I know loves California Pizza Kitchen’s BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad, including myself, especially the Garden Herb Ranch Dressing. I’ve had CPK’s Cookbooks for a few years now and have made several dishes from them (pre-blog), but hadn’t yet made one of their best Salads, mostly due to the number of ingredients – But since I happened to have Buttermilk on-hand (a rarity and ingredient in the Dressing), I took another look at the recipe and determined it was finally a good time to make it. I’ve now had this Salad three days in a row. The recipe makes a lot of Dressing and since all ingredients are finally in the house, I might as well keep enjoying them. If I close my eyes when I eat it, I’d guess I’m at CPK. It tastes just like it. To simplify a little, I use chunks of a Rotisserie Chicken lightly tossed in BBQ Sauce, rather than make the Chicken in their recipe. It doesn’t seem necessary to capture the full flavor of the Salad.
I discovered the best Strawberry Buttercream Frosting in Southern Living’s Classic Southern Desserts Cookbook. And the interesting thing about it is… I don’t even like Buttercream Frosting. All my life I’ve dumped Cake slices upside-down on the plate to have the Frosting stick to it — That way I’d eat the Cake and the Frosting would be left behind. After making the pictured Strawberry Cake, I’m converted, at least with respect to Southern Living’s recipe. It yields a perfect balance of fresh pureed Strawberries, Powdered Sugar and Butter. I brought this Cake to the office and everyone raved about the Frosting. The Cake is a different story, since I used my own recipe that wasn’t that terrific. Fortunately the Strawberry Buttercream Frosting made up for it. Did I just write that?
Nibbles of Tidbits highly recommends Substituting Ingredients, The A to Z Kitchen Reference, by Becky Sue Epstein. We’ve only had it a few days and already love it. It’s clear and concise, easy to use, and so far it includes everything we’ve ever wanted to find a substitution for. Wish we had this book years ago – We had marked several ingredient substitution pages in certain cookbooks, but it’s nice to have all the information (and more) in one crisp book.
We’re HAPPY to have this necessary book as an important part of our cookbook collection.
Our Banana Split Cake started out as a fun idea, but unfortunately it didn’t quite cross the finish line. Good thing we’re testing out recipes before entering ‘em into the 2010 Orange County Fair Culinary Arts Competition — This one certainly wouldn’t win a ribbon. The concept is entertaining and it tasted really good, but one can’t submit a Cake looking like this.
With ripening Bananas and Strawberries on hand and the recent receipt of Southern Living Classic Southern Desserts Cookbook, we created a Banana Split Cake. We started with a prepared White Cake Mix evenly divided into 3 round baking pans — Then mashed a Banana, pureed a few Strawberries and got out the Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup. As shown below, we added each respectively to the divided mix.
We baked the Cakes, then set them aside to cool completely — We did get that part right, although it may not look that way. We made an amazing Cream Cheese Frosting from the Southern Living Classic Southern Desserts Cookbook. It’s called Nutty Cream Cheese Frosting (p. 37). Before adding the Pecans that are called for in the recipe, we reserved and divided a portion of the Frosting to mix pureed Strawberry into one and Chocolate Syrup into the other, and then added Pecans to the remainder and chilled all in the fridge.
To build our Banana Split Cake, start with Chocolate Cake on the bottom, then add a layer of Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting, followed by Banana Cake, Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting, and ending with Strawberry Cake on top. We then smothered the assembled Cake with Nutty Cream Cheese Frosting. It held together at first, but then you see what happened. We ultimately separated the layers and frosted each separately with the Nutty Cream Cheese Frosting. Office co-workers usually don’t care what it looks like.
Next time we’ll add less Strawberry puree and Chocolate Syrup to the Frosting and less Frosting in between the layers. We might also want to chill the Frosting a little longer or make more Cake, so the layers aren’t as thin. Perhaps we’ll add sliced Strawberries and/or Bananas in between the layers to avoid sliding Cakes. Again, it tasted pretty good, therefore it’s worth another try.
Note: So far we like what we see in Classic Southern Desserts Cookbook by Southern Living and look forward to making the recipes we’ve tabbed in it.
Nibbles of Tidbits was recently invited by the California Avocado Commission to attend a gourmet, interactive lunch and cooking demonstration with chef partners Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger of the Too Hot Tamales. Since I was unable to attend, but didn’t want to miss it, Nibbles of T sent its resident Guest Blogger, Bonnie of Bonnie Joy Designs. She always provides an interesting angle to a story and was excited to receive a personally signed copy of Cooking With Too Hot Tamales (below).
Ahhhh – Those Avocados were Awesome!
Avocado advocates Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger (a.k.a. The Too Hot Tamales) along with the California Avocado Commission hosted a rousing, festive Food Blogger-only event ahead of Cinco de Mayo at their downtown L.A. restaurant, Ciudad, last Saturday. The afternoon began with a surprise. Actually, it was the “interactive” portion of the show, which turned out to be a “Top Chef” style competition featuring the Food Bloggers themselves as the chefs along with California Avocados, and a very long table full of potential accoutrements.
The Food Bloggers were given only seconds to pair up (I assume none of the Bloggers had ever met one another before, which made what came next even more amazing), then they were given just 3 minutes to flesh out (pardon the pun) their best recipe for guacamole. Then they got a mere 5 minutes (yes, there was a timer!) to execute their dish and 2 more minutes to give it a definitive name. I can report that the Food Bloggers took this competition very seriously, even if it was all in fun.
And I don’t think I need to tell you who the judges were… But what I can tell you is that even they were impressed at how well all 10 recipes turned out. Bravo! (Sorry Susan, that’s actually not a plug for the network you are on as one of the final “Top Chef Masters” on May 5th…or… maybe it is). I think I got to sample all ten dishes, and they really were all tasty and creative, so everyone was a winner.
The next hour featured the Too Hot Tamales doing what they do best – whipping up a four course meal with each one featuring avocados as the core ingredient. If you want to see poetry in motion, then you need to experience Susan and her long-time business partner Mary Sue as they whirled and twirled their way through a menu that included a Crispy Avocado Taco, an incredible salad with fried (yes, fried) capers, Chicken and Avocado Chilaquiles and for dessert, Avocado and Mango Slices with a Creamy Yogurt Dressing. They even managed to blend an Avocado and Orange “Liquado” to drink. Needless to say, each dish was a masterpiece.
Ciudad Executive Chef Jeremy Tummel and Jan DeLyser from the California Avocado Commission also joined in the fun that happened at this invitation only event. If you came away from this afternoon hungry, then you did not attend the same event that I did. The attention to detail was impeccable – from the beginning Margarita to the personalized cookbooks at the end – and was well appreciated by the interior designer in me.
I now have a fresh appreciation for a fruit that is locally grown and nutritionally packed. So be sure to add Avocados to your daily diet, and not just on special occasions or on Cinco de Mayo!
Thanks Bonnie. I love Avocados too and my parents eat ‘em almost daily. It looks like I missed a pretty cool event, but I’m happy to have the exciting report and photos.
Note: Bonnie bought a new camera for this event — As I write this, it’s in the process of being returned. We like what was captured, but weren’t happy with the graininess of the photos. What’s posted here is the best of the worst. Click on the Blogger links above to view better photos.