Saturday, December 19, 2009

Coming out of the ashes of my life, I am born anew.
Interviews, trips, running about.. getting married and being in love.
Wish someone would hire me, give me a chance.
Want to cook and create, but have no home or kitchen I can run amok in.
Nothing of my own, all stuck in a box inside another box, for which we pay money for.
Hold on to it for me.. I will be back.

Scared of life, scared of the unknown and too fearful to go towards it.
Willing to move... things all packed and ready for a new challenge.

By the Grace of God... GIVE IT TO ME!
I pray, even though I am not all that spiritual. Seems that there is a Catholic still struggling inside me to get out and renew my faith. But I am not sure I want it renewed.. I am on the wait and see program... Wait and see if anything happens after all the prayers that have been lifted up to God in my name. The unknown again.

in God?

Monday, November 30, 2009

stuck in a vacuum

worried about getting on a plane and flying somewhere I have never been to interview for a job that I am more than qualified for... This is life changing...and all I can do for the moment is go lie down on the couch while this stomach thing subsides.
I will take tons of pictures, from the air and land
I am landing tomorrow morning in a seaplane!
On the water!
Adventure is back...and we are going to thrive.
I am so excited-nervous-anxious-and want to vomit a little in my mouth.
Wish me luck!
Pray for me
Add me to your list of needy...

We are homeless... jobless and broke. Just like 50 million other people.
Living in the backroom, out of suitcases, the cats are happier than we are, but even they are still nervous. What to do what to do...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Back to the beginning

staring at the screen, I don't know what to write.... the last 4 months have been frightening not in a horror movie way but in a "my life is crumbling and I have no idea what to do" kind of way, which I think is worse. It is a different kind of paranoia.
People tell you what to do, and don't think about it...just do. And the situation is such you can't wrap your head around it, there is no rational thinking and trying to get to the rational thought is a labyrinth. Nothing makes any sense, I want to make a decision, but lack the gumption to do so. WHAT is the RIGHT thing to do? I don't know. We can't stay where we are...and we don't want to lose anything so, taking the first step towards something is fearful, and the what if's....the come into my brain and terrorize me...reminding me of Shel Silverstein...then I think about my childhood, and the fear of adult life goes away for a minute. Then it all comes rushing back in waves....what are we going to do?
We came back to NorCal, see if we can start over, back to the beginning...make my connections and talk to some people. Collect unemployment and keep a low profile. We need to heal. Not angry at anyone... disappointed. Rub Jake's belly and breathe in familiarity.

"Watch out for that first step,'s a doosie!" Bugs Bunny

Sunday, September 13, 2009

9 items to play with

I have a tasting on Wednesday in Burbank that I am thrilled about doing. They are opening a new tapas/mezze restaurant and a 400 seat banquet facility in Pasadena...and I am trying out to be the Executive Chef. A lot of work...they have just begun demo on the old and think they will open in January or February. I say think because I have done this a couple of times and it rarely goes as planned. Even if there is a ton of money behind it.
So, here is what I am planning...

9 Items for which to taste:

1: Hummus with Roasted Red Peppers
2. Tabbouleh (with a mix of quinoa and couscous, a little nuttier)
3. Caprese on a skewer..simple straight forward app
4. Lemon and Mint marinated Grilled Lamb with cranberry-mint Israeli couscous
5. Taglitelli with roasted butternut squash with sage and browned butter
6. Porcini Crusted Salmon over sauteed garlic spinach
7. Spaghetti Amatriciana with zucchini, yellow squash and pancetta
8. Roasted Chicken Roulade with prosciutto and ricotta and fresh tomato sauce
9. Dessert...something chocolate...decadent...pots du creme?

I prep everything here and take it to Burbank..I am going to be there by 2pm on Wednesday. 3 hours should be plenty...including cleaning up. I am excited and nervous and just want people to taste my food...I was good at this shit 4 years ago..feel like I am rusty. Creaky.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Ideas in my head that I can't seem to pin down... write down one thing yet while in the middle of it, it comes out something different than you imagined, and WAY better.

BleuBerryBacon Burgers, with a toasted, brioche bun, alfalfa sprouts, avocado and a couple leaves of butter lettuce...and a light smear of blueberry bbq sauce.

Those luscious Brussels Sprouts that I learned a long time ago, that just improved as I tweaked it.

Southern Fried Quail Legs with Corn Cake and Radish-Apple Slaw, and Quince Vinaigrette

Spanish Chorizo in Malbec with Papas Rojo

Pan Toasted Green Beans with Sea Salt and Pink Peppercorns

Curried Duck Confit-Bok Choy Wontons

Bar Food....Skewers, things on sticks. Sweet, savory, make them DRINK MORE.

Paint brushes the sauce on the plate..same stroke over and over..sliced avocado
fanned out at 11 oclock..charred and blackened duck breast, cooked rare, and bloody, sliced on the bias fanned across the middle of the 9in square...chopped daikon-cucumber and Thai-chile-vinaigrette in the 5 oclock...rough chopped cilantro litters the plate. Maybe a stray Lemon verbena leaf, or kaffir lime chopped....

I'm fixing a hole where the rain came in to stop my mind from wandering...

Monday, August 24, 2009

What if I...

So, here I am..landed again in Southern California. Mission Viejo to be exact.
The weather is here, wish you were beautiful. (Thanks JB)
Plans went awry in Texas and I am having to start over again. Seems I go around a couple times and the record starts over...sometimes at 33 1/3rd, others at 78 rpm.

Tonight for dinner is
Filet Mignon, cos I got it real cheap ($5.99 a lb!!!)
and Potatoes Anna... and a nice glass of wine and good company.

So, there is a lot I could be doing.. like making cute little cooking videos for you to see. Maybe I will start next week. Have to be real careful though, starting to run out of money. Makes things somewhat scary.

Recipe of the Day...or week, we'll see how I am feelin' it later

Filet Mignon with Anna Potatoes
Yup, that is what we had.

I made the Filet like this

I have a cast iron grill pan, which is awesome.. DR has the last one I had in CA before Texas. Anyhow, I cut the filets off the 2# piece I got yesterday at Ranch Market (@ Marguerite and Trabuco) for hella cheap...Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Fleur de Sel and Tellecherry crushed peppercorns rolled them in it and let it sit for a good hour. It has been said that salting the meat well in advance of cooking it toughens it... not tonight but it was beef TENDERloin.
I got the pan good-n-hot smokin' and put in the filets and promptly put it in the 425 oven.
7 minutes later I pulled it out and set it one the stove to rest...Lamar opened a bottle of wine, poured the 3 of us a glass and we rested.

The potatoes went like this:
2 small russets, peeled and sliced 1/4in thick
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp each white pepper and fleur de sel (s&p)
1 tsp garlic, in the melted butter
1/3rd cup shredded cheddar

I sprayed a 9 in pie pan with Pam and laid out in a circular manner the potatoes in one layer, poured a 1/3rd of the butter-garlic mixture around, the s&p, laid another layer, more butter, more s&p, and a final layer with the last of the butter and s&p.
I put this pan over a burner to brown the potatoes, about 15 minutes med heat, I then put it into the oven @ 425 for about 20 minutes, covered. Remove the foil, add the shredded cheese and cook for another 15 minutes. You want the potatoes soft and creamy, crispy around the edges..I made them well before the filet because..well, it took a while.

We ate it and it was good. We ate talking about a bunch of crap, just words falling out of our mouths.. in between bites of $5.99 filet mignon, cooked perfectly medium, with bastardized anna potatoes...for a few minutes.. life was okay.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday Blues

It's Monday and I think I need a little good in my life for a while.
I have had a lot of bad luck and I am sick of it. What can I do to change it? I try to think positive and always going forward. I have tried talking to "god" and listening with my heart.
Steven and I get close to making it, close to being able to get married (how we would love love love to be together), close to being contributing members of society, and shit happens. I am sick of it. It depresses me because I have a lot to offer and no ones buying it. How do I make people want what I have? How can I become a commodity? How can I market myself in such a way, people cannot say no?
So, for a Monday, depressed and dark...chocolate. Isn't that always what makes women feel better? Even if just for a moment?
Something French. Smooth, decadent...with a little orange zest or toasted coconut, a little pot of chocolate will help the blues go away...

Pots au Chocolat

Eq needs:
double boiler or a stainless steel bowl over a pot of simmering water
6-4oz ramekins


2 cups milk or cream
8 oz milk or dark chocolate (by weight not volume), chopped
1 TB (fat) vanilla extract
1 zest of one orange
2 TB sugar
6 egg yolks

Place milk, chocolate, vanilla and orange zest in top of double boiler, cook and stir these until chocolate melted and milk scalded. In a separate bowl, whip the eggs with the sugar until eggs are lighter yellow and can hold a steady ribbon when the spoon is extended from the mixture (au ruban). Before adding the egg mix to the hot chocolate mix, it is best to temper the eggs by stirring in 1/4 cup of the chocolate into the eggs. You must constantly stir the eggs while adding this or you may end up with egg chunks in it. Pour eggs into chocolate stir until it begins to thicken, strain, and put into ramekins. Allow to cool at room temp before covering and refridgerating.

You can always substitute 1/2 the milk for coconut milk and add in chopped almonds and toasted coconut for an Almond Joy... or seasonal fruit: bananas, strawberries, raspberries...dried fruit works too!
So, I'll try to get out of these Monday something chocolatey and try to live for now.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sometimes I just prattle on....

I had an anxiety attack last night while standing in front of the cookbooks at Barnes and Noble, and I came to realize just how many recipes there are for the same stuff. Also, how much I really don't know. There are so many techniques that I want to use and learn, and equipment that I want to buy. When I was at Concetta in Modesto, CA. Paul allowed me to do whatever I wanted, just keep the costs down and the customers far it has been the best cooking job I have had. I made up my own stuff for a year, rotating the menu weekly and putting stuff on that people really liked and would come in for. Things people wouldn't eat regularly. I don't know how many times I have heard "I hate Brussels sprouts!!" Then after the Concetta special Sauteed Brussels Sprouts (with cranberries, bacon, manchego cheese) that would be their only way to enjoy them. Of course EVERYTHING is better with a little bacon!
Being a chef is a lot different that people think. It is way different that what I imagined ever, too! I am sure there are a lot of us who just long for the days of crazy Friday nights when the tags are hanging, the printer screaming along with the expiditer about "where the hell is the t-bone that goes with the duck breast"...I know I do. The organized chaos of the kitchen. After working in boutique and large hotels, fine dining and steakhouses, I like the "quiet" of being a consultant. Assisting people who have never done something this risky, to take the risk. To give them tools to make their place successful. Then again, what if they don't listen? I have had them a lot too.
So, what am I to do now? Carve my own niche out utilizing the ideas of others? The answer is yes...everyone else has. One of TV's biggest chefs, Emeril LaGasse, said everything has been done, it's just how YOU do it that makes it yours. With that said, I am going to include my Verry Berry Bread Budding with Blueberry Rum Sauce. I made this the other night utilizing a bunch of leftover hotdog and burger buns..."cross utilization". Blueberries are cheap(ish) right now so they have been in everything: on pork chops, in hamburgers with chipotle..etc. I also had a bag of frozen mixed berries...I am trying to clean out the freezer. Anyhow, here's the recipe:

Verry Berry Bread Pudding

Preheat oven to 350F
1 1/2 loaves day old bread, cut into 1/2inch cubes, set aside
4 cups milk
2 cups sugar (or 1 1/2 c. sugar sub)
5 eggs
8 oz frozen berries (1/2 bag)
1/4 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup mixed dried fruit (I use cherries, apples, golden raisins)
1/8 cup dried cranberries
1 tbsp pumpkin or apple pie spice
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp ground ginger
1 TB vanilla
1 TB lemon zest (optional)
1 TB butter, melted
1 13x 9 inch baking pan

Cut the bread and place in large bowl. Mix the all the other ingredients. Pour over bread and allow to soak up mixture, squish mixture through your fingers to mix throughly and to break up any larger bread chunks. Place butter in baking pan and make sure the butter coats the inside of pan evenly. Pour bread pudding into pan, pressing evenly into the corners. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. Place in center of oven and bake for 45-60 minutes until edges begin to brown and start to pull away from sides. Remove and rest before cutting.

Blueberry Rum Sauce

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup dark rum (I recommend Myers or Capt Morgan's Spiced)
1/2 water
1/4 cup fresh blueberries

Place all ingredients into saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce by 1/4 or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Taste for alcohol, keep stirring and reducing if if still too "rummy" (technical term).

To serve:
Warm hunk of bread pudding and just a tablesppon of sauce...good with whipped cream or homemade vanilla ice cream too! (or store bought!)

Monday, July 20, 2009

My first cooking experience

Scrambled Eggs.
That is the first thing I learned how to cook. I was eight and I can remember standing in the kitchen at the old O'Keeffe and Merritt stove my mom had (still has). Cracking the eggs into a bowl, fishing out the shells, the sizzle of butter in the pan and the sound of the eggs as they spread across the pan bottom and bubble because I had the heat too high. I like my eggs a little over cooked, the bottom browned a little and dry. Cooking eggs is a test of skill in the kitchen. Most think that if you allow a chef to make eggs, over medium (the hardest to achieve), an omelet or the perfect hard boiled egg, you get a sense of their talent in the kitchen. Omelets are hard, especially on a flat top. I can do it in a saute pan, no problem. Hell, I can fry eggs and get them over and easy with a flick of my wrist....but I am NOT a short order cook. Short order guys are talented. But they end up stuck in it because they do it over and over becoming second nature to them. I have seen guys try to step up to working a saute station and they lose it.

The next thing I learned...My Aunt Marcy is credited to this, because she taught my mom.
We slightly fry the corn tortillas and put them into the enchilada sauce, remove, fill and roll. It is a process and my mom was happy when I was tall enough to help. We would make 2 13x9 pans, which became 1 and now she rarely makes them. If I go home I should make some for my Dad, he loves green sauce...And my enchiladas ROCK! It's all in the sauce making. However, we never did that. A big can of La Victoria was what we used. I make red or green sauce today. My green sauce is probably the easiest.

Connie's Salsa Verde

10 lbs tomatillos, peeled and cleaned and cut 1/2
5 whole jalapenos (will provide good amount of heat, reduce if sensitive)
olive oil
salt and pepper

Toss tomatillos and jalapenos in olive oil and lay cut side down on baking sheet,
sprinkle with salt and pepper, roast in hot (400) oven for 15 minutes, until skin begins to split and brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

2 bunches cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup FRESH lime juice
salt to taste (do not add until processing is done)
crushed red pepper, to taste (add last for another layer of heat if you choose)

Once everything is cool to touch, place tomatillos, jalapenos and above ingredients into a blender.
Do it in stages if you must, trying not to make a mess. Once you get it all processed, refrigerate and that's it!!
You can add sour cream to it for a dip, braise a pork butt in to to make Chili Verde...whatever. It will last a long time in the freezer.

So, now I have posted my first recipe...if you use it, let me know how it works out for ya.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


HI!! okay, so this is the first sentence of what I hope will be a good, entertaining and funny story.
I am a chef.. I am unemployed, I live with my in-laws and I have a lot of cookbooks. I also have a lot of music. SO, that said, I am going to spend the rest of the summer cooking, writing and talking about music and food. I am also going to tell you about my life. While it isn't particularly any more interesting than anyone else's story, it was fun. It has also been sad and disheartening. But, we are not going to talk about that...we are going to talk about my favorite dishes, why and what music goes with them or inspires me or whatever I feel like at that moment. I may talk about the sad stuff. But my goal here is to talk about me. And my friends and family and to tell stories...and probably be told "that's not what happened" and to cook what I feel and listen to what makes me feel like a human being and to share all that stuff with everyone. As we all know now, the world is very small, all bound up like a rubber band ball, and sometimes the band get too tight, and too worn and maybe they will **SNAP**