Category — Random
I had fully intended to post my Thanksgiving tablescape today but I can’t let the opportunity slip by without wishing my most loyal follower, most frequent commenter, my best friend, one of my two favorite people in the world, my beautiful (inside and out) daughter – a Happy Birthday!
Marissa Lynn, I love you to the moon and back! Ever since you’ve lived away from home, basically since your freshman year in college, my favorite thing about Thanksgiving has been that it is so close to your birthday. You always come home for Thanksgiving, which means I always get to celebrate YOU!
Since flowers are a traditional birthday gift, I’ll keep with the Thanksgiving posts and show a few photos of the Thanksgiving centerpieces I made. How gorgeous are these Velvet Queen Sunflowers!
They really do look and feel like velvet. I found them at Trader Joe’s and went crazy over them.
I used my orange and green pumpkin soup tureens as the vessels for the flowers. I then set those, along with their lids, atop wood slabs that were set on top of dyed and natural burlap runners.
December 1, 2016 3 Comments
I know that I’ve been a slacker when it comes to posting lately. Things are finally getting back to normal around here and to be honest, I’m just enjoying the calmer feeling.
With Thanksgiving two days away, I’m loving focusing all my time and attention on the big day. Next week, I’ll return to blogging on a more regular basis.
In the meantime, I want to remind you about the Complete Recipe Index, over there on the top left. Click on it, scroll to “Holidays” and click again. Then, scroll down to “Thanksgiving.” It is there that you will find over 45 recipes for not only the feast but also recipes using the leftovers after Turkey Day.
Lastly, I want to share with you a few video segments I filmed with my friend and 12News anchor, Tram Mai. They are part of a “how to” series the station has run. Some are in my cooking and entertaining wheelhouse, a couple of the others, um … not so much, but I gave it a good college try. What I think will prove to be my favorite segment, “Setting a Proper Table” will air on Thanksgiving morning, I’ll post a link, after it airs.
November 22, 2016 1 Comment
You know that feeling when you are, or you think you are about to, fall down a flight of stairs?
That “heart-pounding, can’t catch your breath, your world is spinning completely out of your control” feeling.
Yeah, that pretty sums up how I’ve felt for the last two weeks. I’d say since my birthday, things have felt like they are constantly getting away from me and I’ll never catch up.
For instance, my birthday was Thursday the 27th, on Sunday the 30th, we had our neighborhood Fall Festival. I was in charge of it. I was in charge of it two years ago too but it didn’t feel like as big a job as it was this time. Granted, my committee was larger and more available in 2014, but this year it felt like a two-woman-show when it should have been a ten-woman-production. I worked for weeks leading up to it and for 16 straight hours on the day of.
As if being bone-tired wasn’t bad enough, I tore, chipped and cracked three fingernails of my 2-day-old, absolutely perfect, best-ever manicure! The photo shows the left hand before and after with the index fingernail ripped clean off. On the right hand, if you look close, you can see the tear in the middle finger and by the end of the day, the ring finger was broken off too.
The next morning, Halloween, I was up with the sun to get everything “Festival-related” cleaned up and put away and get ready for our traditional Halloween pizza-grilling festivities. Trick-or-treating with Zak and Zoey was so much fun!
My continuing birthday-celebration-mode complicated things further, as I had lunch and dinner dates still lined up the week after. Not that I’m complaining! I am not! I’m touched and love being loved by my friends and family, but this year, the timing took its toll. Yes, that is a screenshot of my calendar for the week. It may be too small to read, but you get the idea.
The next day was the first night of my 3-week cooking classes at Les Gourmettes. Shopping, prepping and teaching occupied all hours from dusk to dawn on Tuesday.
Add to that, on Thursday morning, Connor and I went to take part in early-voting and waited for 2 hours! I don’t have time to sit for 2 hours! But we did and we voted.
The one thing that had weighed especially heavy on me was a charity dinner I was cooking for guests at the Frank Lloyd Wright Price House on Saturday night. It was five courses; a signature cocktail, 3 appetizers, soup, salad, main course with two sides and dessert for a total of 10 recipes, most of which had three components to each dish. For instance, the dessert was a bread pudding with sautéed apples and crème anglaise and the soup had an avocado cream garnish and cheese puffs. Thankfully, my friend and colleague, Kim Howard spent a good part of the morning in the kitchen with me. Thank you, Kim!
November 7, 2016 7 Comments
Tomorrow is the drawing for the Free Cooking Classes, so be sure to get your comments in today!
In the meantime, I have some delicious photos from Sunday’s Les Dames d’Escoffier “Afternoon at the Farm: Cultivating Culinarians” fundraising event to share with you.
Hopefully, you’ve eaten before you see this because if not, it will have you drooling and running for the refrigerator!
Some of the photos are mine, some are lifted from Facebook and all the food photos from the sit-down portion of the afternoon were taken by Chef Stacey Schulz-McDevitt, who flew in from NYC to cook at the event. Thank you Stacey for allowing me to share them here!
I’ll put up the photos of the dishes in the order they are listed on the menu below. I’ll post portions of menu as we go to help you keep track and identify the dishes and the talented women who made them.
Be ready to be amazed! Here we go…
Those were just the hor d’oeuvres … and the salsa station, above, wasn’t even listed on the menu. Each of the stations was accompanied by a different margarita and all the food for this portion of the afternoon was cooked and served by the students of C-CAP Arizona.
Now time for the sit-down, family-style lunch which was cooked on site by some of the most talented and generous female chefs in Arizona.
October 25, 2016 4 Comments
It’s contest time!
To be entered to win a free cooking class, all you need to do is leave a comment on ANY post on this entire site. You can leave a comment on a recipe you’ve made. Or one you want to try. Or on a party theme you’ve enjoyed. Or on this very post. You can say whatever you want. “This is great!” or “I want to win.” or “Come on pick me, I never win anything!”
Here is the low-down:
You are entering to win one of four (1 of 4) spots in an evening class that I teach at Les Gourmettes Cooking School.
It would probably be best if you actually lived in the Phoenix area, since that’s where the classes are held … because airfare and lodging are not included. 🙂
Classes are demonstration, they begin at 6:30 p.m. and end at 9:00 p.m. At the end of the cooking demo, we move to the dining room to enjoy the meal prepared in class. The classes are held at:
Les Gourmettes Cooking School
6610 North Central Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85012
October 21, 2016 15 Comments
I’ve been out of the practice of blogging over the weekend for quite some time now.
Today is an exception because I want to invite you to something wonderful!
October 15, 2016 1 Comment
I know it was just one week ago that I said I wasn’t going to continue with the Travel Tuesday feature, but I forgot about something I promised to report back on.
Nearly three months ago, when I was about to board our flight to Europe, I wrote about these adorable carry on cocktail kits.
Well, I’m here to report that they were as adorable and fun as expected, with one exception. Let’s just say that there was a Lime Situation. More on that later.
The first cocktail I made in-flight was the Old Fashioned.
I “procured” our mini-bottles of alcohol from the complementary stash in our room on the cruise.
So all I need to ask the flight attendant for was a cup of ice and another empty cup.
The drink was fun, easy to make and ever so refreshing.
October 4, 2016 No Comments
So many people to thank, so little time.
First, I want to thank you all for the comments and encouragement on my new venture, Miscellany Shed. It took less than 24 hours for the Miscellany Shed Facebook page to get 100 likes and that is in big thanks to these lovelies for sharing, posting, tweeting and inviting others to like the page: Marissa Sandell, Tram Mai, Beverly Bertrand, Sloane Hansen, Whitney Cody, Sydney Wigle, Amy Kilpatrick, Lisa James and Cyndi Greening. You are all amazing and wonderful friends and I can’t really thank you enough.
Speaking of someone I can’t thank enough, at the very tippy-top of that long list is Cyndi Greening. Cyndi is the “Blogmaster” who set up this very site for me back in 2009. She has been my dear friend since we worked together on the Beach Balls for Phoenix Children’s Hospital in the mid 90’s. Cyndi taught me how to use my first desktop personal computer, the first computer we had in our home. I know, hard and strange to remember NOT having a computer. Flying Toasters, anyone?
September 19, 2016 2 Comments
At the beginning of June, Kim, Barb and I took a field trip to the new AZ International Marketplace on the corner of Dobson and Broadway Roads in Mesa.
I meant to blog about it back then, but then … I didn’t. When I was making room in my freezer to freeze the rosé wine for the Frozé cocktail, I came across a package of flap steak (also known as Bavette steak) that I bought at the Marketplace. No better time than the present to cook up the beef and blog about the store.
When I go shopping to check a new place, mainly when it’s far out of my neighborhood, I call it a Field Trip. This was an especially good one! There were plenty of the things you would expect to find. Such as shelves upon shelves of dried mushrooms.
Aisles upon aisles of noodles, rice sticks, rice paper and the like.
And of course, many interesting finds – “Hello Kitty” seaweed anyone? (Oh, and we’ll be talking about that popcorn later, believe you me!!!)
There were sweets of every variety, plus corn starch in lovely old-fashion boxes and even cooler looking boxes of psyllium husk. Love the packaging on that, even though I had no clue what it was used for. Turns out it’s a laxative. Well then, there you go!
The produce department was the most fun!
So many exotic and tropical items to temp you.
Kim and I were extra excited about the jackfruit. Some of them are triple the size of your head! No joke! What to do with all that jackfruit? I have no idea. Before I go back, I’m going to figure it out and buy one. For sure.
Not to worry, I still filled up my cart. Here is what I brought home on this first trip.
A wide range of coconut waters and milks. Some are roasted, others have pulp, all were delish.
A can of sweetened condensed milk with a pretty label, fish sauce in a smaller bottle than you’ll usually find and three interesting drinks; Korean ginseng drink with root, royal milk tea and macadamia nut iced coffee. Thus far, I’ve only tried the milk tea. It was good and how cute is that blue can?!?
Cool triangular-shaped rice paper, Chinese honey in a sweet little glass, chrysanthemum drink, super cheap thin white candles, candied ginger and three pretty little boxes of ginger candies. I haven’t tried the chrysanthemum drink yet, I haven’t been brave enough. The candies are good though. 😉
Two flavors of sardines (for my dad) a lovely can of Café du Monte coffee, a large tin of Madras curry powder, Korean BBQ sauce, green and red curry paste and sweet chilli sauce. One can never have too much sweet chilli sauce!
An inexpensive jar of tahini, garlic hoisin sauce, extra-thick noodles and panko.
Next up: A cheap hat for yard work and the pool, a cool “ice stick” ice tray (which I used along with the candied ginger for THESE Peach Mules) and the very best thing that I bought – SRIRACHA POPCORN! It is amazing! I can’t wait to go back and buy a case of it! Seriously addicting! A case may not be enough! I may go out there this week since now I can’t stop thinking about the popcorn!!! Anyone want to take a field trip with me?
Finally, the last tray displaying my purchases; frozen dumplings and pork buns. These were nothing special, I’ve found similar items at Trader Joe’s and they were about the same. And the flap steak.
Here is a great recipe for flap steak. I did not create it, it comes from one of my all-time favorite chefs and cooking teachers, John Ash.
Chef John Ash’s Grilled Flap Steak
- 2 tablespoons green curry paste
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce, or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons coconut milk
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Pinch ground cayenne pepper
- Pinch salt
- 2 pounds flap steak, trimmed of fat
August 24, 2016 9 Comments
Thank you to everyone who participated and left comments for the 7th Blogiversary.
My special guests arrived yesterday morning to draw the winning names out of the saucepan. I made two videos, one for the Grand Prize Winner and the other for the Seven Individual Cookbook Winners. Unfortunately both videos were too large to post here and I have not idea how to fix that, so I’ve posted them to YouTube. They are fun, so be sure to click on the links and watch.
The special guests were Tram and her sweet twins, Zoey and Zak.
We’ll begin with the Grand Prize Winner drawing.
The eligible contestants are: Amy K., Nancy B., Amy G. and Sheila C.
Please click on THIS LINK to watch the drawing and discover who won.
August 19, 2016 6 Comments