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Posts from — November 2010


I was treated to a fabulous lunch at T. Cooks at the Royal Palms yesterday by my two “cooking cohorts” Barb Fenzl and Kim Howard. Kim told us about a delicious martini she’d had over the weekend at Modern Steak, called Retail Therapy.  It sounded so good and I knew I’d want to re-create here, but hadn’t thought I’d be doing it so soon.

I brought home an unwanted souvenir from my recent travels – a furious head cold! I’ve been downing the Sudefed and Nyquil like candy, but last night didn’t think I could stand even one more dose. So instead, I opted for my own remedy, which I shall rename Head Cold Therapy! It worked like a charm – I slept like a baby. This may not be the perfect remedy for everyone, but it is one great martini!

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November 9, 2010   4 Comments

flower girl’s wedding

This past weekend, we were traveling yet again, this time to Illinois for our niece’s wedding. This particular niece, Katie Hopkins, who is Dave’s brother’s daughter, just so happened to be our flower girl, 25 years ago, at our wedding. She made an even more beautiful bride than she did an adorable flower girl – hard to imagine!

Thankfully, my jet-setting days are over, done with, and finished, for the rest of 2010. It is exceedingly difficult to put up new blog posts about cooking when one is spending countless hours in airports, having items confiscated by the TSA, and visiting faraway lands all the time! Maybe Canada and Illinois aren’t exactly exotic, but travel is not only exhausting – it is expensive and hazardous to your health! Expensive not only because of ticket prices but also paying for bags (which was necessary on the week-long Canada trip – luckily not so on the Chicago weekender) and having to replace those confiscated nail scissors and hairspray -oops! Unhealthy because I (and only I) had to go through the x-ray body scanner, 3 out of the 4 trips through security, these last couple of weeks. That just can’t be good for you. Even at the dentist, one is shielded from the harmful rays – but not at the airport – “Here is a tasty plate of cancer, cooked up, especially for you, Bon Appetit,” is what I imagine the TSA is saying to me!

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November 8, 2010   1 Comment

stand by me

When I am at a loss for what to make for dinner, taco salad is a go to recipe. It can be as easy or complicated as you choose. After being out of town for a week and eating out each night, homemade dinner was a must. The problem was I was short on time, I’d driven up to Flagstaff to retrieve Connor, rushed home to get the four of us ready to fly out the next morning for an early flight to Chicago. Normally I wouldn’t even bother making dinner on such a night, but Connor hadn’t had a home-cooked dinner for nearly 3 months, so taco salad it was.

This was the first time the kids were together in 3 months too, so they gave me my birthday gift. These darling herb garden markers! Marissa found and ordered them online from Etsy.com.

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November 6, 2010   No Comments

signs, signs, everywhere are signs

One of the many things I love about Europe, and now Quebec, are the adorable store signs. The one above wasn’t one of those, but I just couldn’t pass it up. It was painted on the side of a building in Montreal and I think it is the cleverest thing. I have saved the best for last, be certain to scroll to the end… enjoy!

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November 5, 2010   No Comments

5 ingredients?

For my upcoming appearance on Valley Dish, I was asked to create a dish out of 5 ingredients that a viewer had suggested. That sounded like fun, and it was, but it wasn’t exactly what I would consider 5 ingredients. I was emailed the list from the program producer, Cassie, as follows:  Swordfish, Cherry Tomatoes, Risotto, Arugula, and Buffalo Mozzarella. Does anyone else see the problem here? The answer – risotto isn’t what one would consider an ingredient, but rather a dish that stands alone.

Risotto is a classic Italian dish consisting of rice cooked in broth. The broth is added slowly, so that the rice absorbs it completely, creating a creamy consistency. Parmesan cheese, butter, and onion are the classic additions.

Therefore, rice is the ingredient. Specifically a high-starch, medium to short-grain rice. The varieties of choice are Arborio, Baldo, Padano, Roma, Carnaroli, and Vialone Nano. Arborio is the most readily available, while Carnaroli and Vialone Nano are considered the best and not coincidentally the most expensive. Here is the recipe I created and will be making live on Valley Dish (NBC Channel 12) next week. Hope you’ll tune in (or TIVO it – as I TIVO absolutely everything I watch) at 3:30 on Tuesday, November 9th.

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November 4, 2010   1 Comment

Montreal Meat

For my actual birthday dinner a week ago today, Dave and I went to Chef Martin Picard’s world-famous Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal, Canada. Au Pied de Cochon which translates to “The Pig’s Foot” was famous even before it went into the stratosphere of “famous” after Anthony Bourdain featured it on his show over 2 years ago. The entire video is quite fun to watch, but if you want to cut to the chase, go to marker 9:05 to watch the “duck in a can” being served to Mr. “already stuffed beyond imagination” Bourdain.

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November 3, 2010   1 Comment

Exercise your right


November 2, 2010   No Comments

bravo Barbara

This recipe comes from my friend, boss, and mentor, Barbara Pool Fenzl, owner of Les Gourmettes Cooking School in Phoenix.  Barb and I have worked together for 22  wonderful years. She made these bars for the classes she taught at the school this year and agreed to allow me to share them with you.

These beautiful and delicious bars are the perfect autumn and holiday treat. They are a gorgeous rich dark and light layered caramel-colored indulgence.

Dulce de leche is a rich caramel sauce that can be found in 13.4-ounce cans in the Hispanic section of most grocery stores.  You will divide and use the entire can for this recipe.

The picture just below and before the recipe is from when the Superbowl was in Arizona for the first time in 1996 at ASU Sun Devil Stadium. Barb was asked to come and cook on the Today Show and she took me along to assist, the picture is with Bryant Gumble, who was the host at that time. In front of the photograph is one of my favorite things in Barb’s kitchen – a little clock made from an empty thyme tin can. I am going to dig through my old spice cans and make one for myself… someday!

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November 1, 2010   3 Comments