Random header image... Refresh for more!

Posts from — May 2019

peonies and a cake

go to site by Linda Hopkins

female viagra jokes new drug These last few weeks have been my favorite time at Trader Joe’s. Immediately upon entering you see and smell the peonies. At $7.99 a bunch, I can not resist. Even when the petals are falling off, they are the perfect still life. When I went to bed the night before, they looked perfect, when I woke up, this was the vision, still perfection.

order usa viagra online Marti, a student in my series at Les Gourmettes, shared the recipe for the cake that I’m sharing with you today. After listening to my constant complaints about baking and my disdain for it, Marti handed me a printout from the January 2019 issue of Costco Connection.

http://realestatelibrary.com/?x=chinese-viagra-drugs The article is about the book The Gown, by Jennifer Robson. The story takes place during WWII. This one-egg cake recipe is one of Robson’s favorite because she imagines it represents the shortages of war and the community spirit of sharing that prevailed. And I imagine that Marti thought I might enjoy making this cake since it has so few ingredients and is simple and quick to put together.

viagra professional online purchase Could Marti be right in that basic assumption? Let us see… Looks beautiful, doesn’t it? Look at those peonies, gorgeous!  But… what are they hiding?

viagra online canadian pharmacy Surely all is well, nothing to see here, move along. I mean, there is nothing to be suspicious about, peonies are edible after all. According to the Thompson and Morgan Edible Flower Guide, the petals taste lovely in fresh salads. I’m certain they would taste lovely on a slice of cake too.

lasix plus st pete Fine, I’ll remove the flowers for cutting.

Seriously! Is it any wonder I hate to bake?

I followed the recipe. I did substitute watered down heavy cream for the milk because that’s what I had available and in the spirit of rationing, that seemed a fair way to go. Also, the recipe did not indicate if you were to leave the baked cake in the pan, on a rack, to cool completely or take it out after 10 minutes or any sort of instruction of that step. As such, I have added it to my recipe below. Maybe it would not have fallen apart if I’d let it cool completely. You can give that a try and let me know because I am not making this again, although it did taste quite delicious.

Marti, thank you for having faith in me, sorry to let you down. xoxo

On a side note: I do know a baking rule or two such as, always check the expiration date on your baking powder before you use it. If it’s expired, run out and get another can. As you can see, I can’t blame my failure on that.

[Read more →]

May 30, 2019   7 Comments

A “tail” to tell

Yes, I’ve used the word TAIL in place of TALE in my title for a reason that you will soon understand. I’m going to lay out the details of this tale in a way to make it easy to follow along, at least I hope it will be easier to follow along in this way.

First, let me show you the layout of the exterior of my home that is pertinent to the story. Here is the built-in grill from the backside. The two openings are there for any possible propane gasses that may leak, hopefully never, to safely escape and dissipate.

This is the front side of the grill with the access door to the underworkings of the grill propped opened. Make a mental note of the high-top round table on the far right end.

Here is the shed that houses all the items in my Miscellany Shed, a business that never really took off, but which still physically exists.

When the shed was built at my new home, the ground wasn’t quite level, so one end is propped up with bricks. So, yes, now there is a crawlspace or living area underneath for creatures of a certain size. Not ideal, but that’s the way it is.

This is the gate to my front courtyard. It has a Ring Doorbell that delivery people and guests are supposed to ring when they arrive, but at least 80% of the people, come in and ring the doorbell by the front door, making it nearly useless as a doorbell. But as a camera, it is very effective, sometimes too much so.

And sadly, yes, the sign I had made is 100% necessary. Even with it hanging there, delivery people (mostly FedEx) still leave packages sitting outside the gate for all to see, thereby leaving them at risk to be stolen. I don’t get it, but that’s another tale to be told.

OK, now that you have the lay of the land, I can tell you my story.  It was about 9:30 last Wednesday morning, May 22nd. I had the windows open because of this weather! Crazy cool and wonderful for late May, seriously wonderful! Anyhow, since the windows were open I could hear what sounded like an animal in distress. I couldn’t tell what type of animal but it was crying and it sounded as though the crying was coming from my backyard neighbor’s yard.  They are winter visitors, and had already left for the summer, silly them! I grabbed the stepstool from my pantry on my way out the back door to look over the fence into their yard.  I looked but saw nothing, then the crying started up again and it was coming from behind me, in my yard. I looked around and saw the tinniest sweetest orange kitten standing on its hind legs trying to get back into the holes in the backside of my grill.

I picked her up and went around the front side, figuring that if she wanted into the grill, she probably came from inside there. I opened the grill door, and sure enough, there were two more sweet little black and white kittens in there.

I put Miss Orange back in and then all three kittens ran away to the far side of the structure, around the corner to the round table part. Now I could not see them. Dang it!

[Read more →]

May 28, 2019   6 Comments

cauliflower is everywhere

Kim made these delicious cauliflower toasts for happy hour this past weekend. I’m not really on the “cauliflower is everything” train, but I do have to admit, these are darn good. Of course, they do include bread and a trio of yummy cheeses; mascarpone, Gruyère and Parmesan, so that could contribute to me loving them. #cheeseislife

Kim found the recipe in the New York Times. The author of the article had adapted an Ina Garten recipe, removing prosciutto and more cheese from the original recipe. I adore prosciutto, but I like these toasts this way.

Cheesy Cauliflower Toasts

  • 1 head cauliflower, leaves and thick core removed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces mascarpone
  • 4 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated  
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 6 slices rustic sourdough type bread
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, for topping
  • Sweet paprika, for topping
  • Finely chopped chives or parsley, for garnish (optional)

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the cauliflower into 1/2-inch clusters. Transfer to a sheet pan and toss with the olive oil, red-pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Spread florets out into a single layer and roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until tender and browned in spots, 25 to 30 minutes.

[Read more →]

May 22, 2019   1 Comment

shocking

Sometimes when I look back at this nearly 10-year old blog, I find it shocking what recipes I DON’T have on here.

Today’s recipe is the perfect example. I’ve been making these nachos since 1993, a year before the cookbook that they are printed in even came out. That is because I tested the recipes in the cookbook, Southwest The Beautiful Cookbook by Barbara Pool Fenzl.

roasted Anaheim chilies

The recipes for the second week of my cooking series at Les Gourmettes Cooking School all came from the book. And this recipe is one of my absolute favorites. I’ve made these nachos dozens of times. Everyone loves them! So how it is that they’ve never made it on here? It blows my mind.

A funny side note: when I was purchasing the ingredients this past weekend so I could blog and photograph the recipe, I accidentally grabbed sour cream with chives. It works in this application – the funny part is that I didn’t even know that existed until I got home and opened the container. I practically live in grocery stores, how did this slip past me?

One thing that hasn’t slipped by is the fact that Tostitos Scoops are great tortilla chips. They were not introduced to the market until 2003, ten years after this recipe was developed. But by all means, use them because they are perfect for these individual nachos such as these.

[Read more →]

May 20, 2019   4 Comments

reboot

I am typing this in the late afternoon on the Monday after Mother’s Day. I haven’t left the house or talked to more than two people all day and you can’t believe how much joy this brings me. The previous five days have been a whirlwind. It began on Wednesday with the second of my series classes at Les Gourmettes. Thursday I made some last minute Harmony Boards that a customer begged me to do, even though I explained that less than 18 hours notice was not nearly enough notice.

Thursday was meant to be spent shopping and prepping for the more than 27 boards that were already on the books for Friday and Saturday. But I made these two Harmony Boards for her on Thursday anyhow. Why is “no” so darn hard to say?

I did insist that she pick them up, I had not an extra minute for deliveries that day. It turned out to be good practice since the mini Harmony Board pictured above which I made for her was very similar to the ten I made the next morning.

I started with the minis on Friday at 4:30 AM since I had so much to get done before noon. I made the 10 boards above and then Kim came to the rescue and helped make four more medium monochromatic boards that were needed to feed customers at the Pop-Up Market that evening.

I worked the Pop-Up from 5-8 PM on Friday night and then started the process over again on Saturday morning. I again got up early to make more Mini Mother’s Day Boards to sell at the market.

Then Kim arrived and together we made two more of the green monochromatic Boards for the Pop-Up Market and an additional three medium boards for a 50th birthday party that evening in my old neighborhood. (Happy Birthday, Denise!)

I went to the Pop-Up and worked from 11:00 until 3:30, when Kim arrived to relieve me so that I could go home, pick up the three boards, deliver and set up for the birthday party.

[Read more →]

May 14, 2019   12 Comments

Pop-Up Market

I’ve been MIA this week because I’ve got a few too many irons in the fire. That phrase can be taken literally since I was branding dozens of Harmony Boards Thursday morning!

After shopping for my Wednesday night cooking class and delivering Harmony Boards, I worked at Les Gourmettes on Monday night.

Tuesday, I prepped for Wednesday’s class and made more Harmony Boards. Wednesday, I finished prepping, packed it all up and taught my second of three series classes. The very special treat of this week was that Connor took the day off from work and came to Les Gourmettes. Marissa had attended a class late last year and was so happy that she had the opportunity before Les Gourmettes closes its doors. I wanted Connor to have the same experience. Both he and I are so happy he did!

[Read more →]

May 10, 2019   2 Comments

a torte and a little history

Linda and Barb in 2007

For the first week of my final series of classes at Les Gourmettes, I chose the menu from recipes from the very first series of classes I took from Barbara Fenzl more than 30 years ago.

Barb, Anne Willan and Linda in Barb’s kitchen

I’m not sure if I’ve ever shared the story of how I came to work for Barb at Les Gourmettes Cooking School. With these next two weeks of classes being the last, now seems like a good time.

Linda, Lydie Marshall and Barb in Lydie’s kitchen in NYC

In the fall of 1988, when my daughter, Marissa, was not yet 1-year-old, I first learned that there was a cooking school in Phoenix called Les Gourmettes. Our local newspaper, The Arizona Republic, used to have a glorious Food & Dining Section. It was massive compared to what you find in the paper today. At least once a month, there was a “Food Calendar” and Barb’s school was listed there. It was one of, if not the only, avocational cooking schools in town back then.

Barb, Linda, some dude and Julia Child at James Beard Awards in NYC

We didn’t have much money to spare, but I splurged and signed up for the series of three classes. I loved it! I was hooked! Now I was on the mailing list, so when the schedule for the next semester came around, I not only signed up for Barb’s series again but also for Jacques Pepin’s class.

This photo was taken in 1998 in San Francisco, 9 years after I first assisted Jacques at Les Gourmettes in 1989.

I adored Jacques. I had several of his cookbooks and Jacques would come to the Scottsdale Culinary Festival in those days and I went to see him whenever he was in town.  The series was first, and after each class, I would tell Barb that I was a stay-at-home mom, and if she ever needed anything, I would run around town to get it for her. I assured her I knew how to cook, that I had worked for a respected caterer in town and that I personally catered on the side. I had a growing cookbook collection and I rarely made the same recipe twice because I loved to create and experiment. Basically, I was not only passionate about cooking, but I was also good at it.

During the time between Barb’s series and Jacques’ class, Barb’s assistant had to leave and get a full-time job. All my offers of help had paid off! Barb called to see if I’d be interested in apprenticing as her assistant, starting immediately. I was over the moon!

Not only was I going to work in a cooking school, but I was also going to assist Jacques Pepin! And the cherry on top – I was going to be refunded the money I had paid for Jacques’ class. That was huge for us back then! We had a new baby, I had recently been in a serious car accident and bills were piling up. Dave had just been made a partner at his CPA firm and we were making very large monthly payments for his buy-in.

Julia Child and Linda at an IACP conference

As they say, the rest is history. I’ve been with Barb for 30 years. Working there lead to me opening my own children’s cooking school, to dozens of articles in the newspaper, in national parenting magazines, local TV appearances, starting this blog, meeting and working with the likes of Julia Child and Emeril Lagasse, teaching Larry Fitzgerald to cook and so much more. So yeah, I have a lot to thank Barbara Fenzl and Les Gourmettes for, including this recipe. Enjoy.

[Read more →]

May 6, 2019   1 Comment

winner, winner…

…will something from Trader Joe’s or Target be on the table for dinner? I bet you thought I was going to say, “chicken dinner.” Nope, I’ve done that before for a contest. Got to be creative over here! Today is the day to draw the name of the winner(s) of the 2,000 Post Contest. There are two $100 gift card prizes up for grabs.

Whether you left 12 comments or one, I truly appreciate you. There were eight of you in contention for the first $100 prize. To qualify for that prize, a person had to have left a comment on every blog post for the month of April.

The eight ladies in the running are Shelley, Betsy, Lisa, Anne, Lina, Debbie, Marilyn, and Shirley. Many thanks to each of you for playing along so faithfully! I would love to share with everyone just how I know each of you.

Shelley’s daughter, Elizabeth, attended my children’s cooking classes at Les Petites Gourmettes for years and truth be told she was one of my favorite students. Is it OK to admit that? I don’t teach kids any longer, so I’m going to say that it is OK. Elizabeth is now a student at Tufts University. Amazing!

Betsy is a long time and loyal follower of this blog. She regularly comments, even without a contest! We’ve met in person while grocery shopping and I found out she is related to a high school friend of mine, whose daughter was a grade school friend of my daughter’s. Small world!

Lisa and Anne are dear friends of mine. Lisa was my neighbor in Equestrian Manor for the 18 years I lived there. The first time we met was when she asked me to teach a cooking class for her 7-year-old daughter, Emily’s, birthday party. Emily is a grade school teacher now. Heck no, that doesn’t make me feel old at all.

Anne and I have been BFF’s since our boys met in 2nd grade. Those boys are 28 now. OK, feeling older now.

Debbie, Lina, Marilyn, and Shirley are all wonderful women I have been very fortunate to meet because they have been students at Les Gourmettes. Marilyn and Shirley are currently in my series classes, the first of which was on Wednesday night.

I took a video of myself drawing the winning name, but it won’t load here. So I had to go back and take still shots to reenact it. I’ve loaded videos on here before but I can’t figure it out and it’s after midnight, so I’m giving up and posting this for the morning. Sorry for being technically challenged today.

[Read more →]

May 3, 2019   9 Comments

this and that

I’ve been busy with personal stuff this week, so not much cooking going on. Except for last night when I taught the first of my 3-class series at Les Gourmettes. Today I’m going to catch you up on what’s been going on around my house and give you a valuable tip for cutting fig leaves and branches.

I have four fig trees in my backyard, which is three too many for my needs, but I’m going with the flow. I use the figs, of course, but I also put the fig leaves to good use on the Harmony Boards. They are best used under very soft cheeses and also when mixed in with other greens for the base of our Crudités and Frudités Boards, as seen above. All of the leaves on the board above are from my yard. We’ll talk more about the garden in a moment. First I want to tell you about the issue I was having with the fig leaves.

When fig leaves or branches are cut, they immediately begin to wilt, even when quickly put into water. I don’t know if this is caused by the milky fluid they put out when they are cut or exactly what it is that causes the wilting, but it’s annoying.

I discovered that if the stem gets a fresh cut under cold running water or is cut while immersed in water, the leaves are quickly revived. They will look great for days. Amazingly, the leaves will even stay unwilted when pulled out of the water several minutes later when I use them for a board.

Here is that same wilted branch, come back to life, only 35 minutes later.

When I was getting ready to post these photos I was thinking, “why should my readers believe that the wilted photo was taken first and the revived photo of fresh looking leaves taken after?”

Why, indeed?!? To prove that this is the case, here are the same photos with their timestamps. The photo above was taken at 8:06 AM and the photo below was taken at 8:40 AM. See, wilted and then refreshed after being recut under cold water. Like Magic!


[Read more →]
Related Posts with Thumbnails

May 2, 2019   8 Comments