Monday, September 21, 2009

Crazy !

This past weekend was just nuts. I am still working away at the chocolate shop trying to get caught up (people sure do seem to need a lot of chocolate these days) and Billy was consumed with visiting the big art expo which was going on at the new Santa Fe convention center. They had art supplies at wholesale pricing and a lot of demos and workshops. Right up his alley. The expo was also featuring an opportunity to audition for a PBS program called Passport and Palette about master artists traveling the world painting on location (in obviously fabulous locations.) Billy auditioned and did really well. The producer really seems to like his art and was excited about our story having traveled the past three years in the Airstream painting all over the USA. After his interview on Friday the producer asked Billy to bring me by on Sunday and also wanted to see the Airstream.

So on Sunday morning we hitched the old girl up and towed her down to the convention center. Crazy! We parked in the loading dock area and the producer, Theodore... who is a really cool guy, filmed us in and around the trailer. Super, super fun stuff people. Apparently the footage will be up for review with the other producers and decision makers involved in the show back in New York. Tons of folks have auditioned... but I think we have a good shot at making guest artist on the program. Hopefully final word will come down within the month. So cross your fingers, toes and eyes for us! We are basically stunned by the idea of the opportunity... and would just about die to have the whole thing pull through. Hear that Theodore? Are you out there? We are dying. We are almost dead. You are the only one who can save us now. I'm listening for my phone to ring........................ ! Huh. Nothin' yet. I am ready for my close up Mr. Johnson.

Ahhhhhhhhhh. So there you have it. This weeks big, crazy news. Which could end up not being as crazy as it feels right now if nothing ever comes of it. (Psssssst! Theodore!)

In other painting news... here's Billy latest, totally fabulous little water color painting of a beach in Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard.

Good stuff eh? I love his watercolors. I think he should do more of them.

Tomorrow at the shop I hope to pull off the grand finale on The Chocolate Turtle Construction Event of 2009. I have 85 left to create. Whew. Never saw that one comin' back a few months ago when we were still wandering around in the fog up in Mendocino. Suddenly there are 225 caramel pecan turtles blocking my way on the road of life. Rascals.

Well, peeps I am as tired as a gal can be tonight. Time for jammies and tea. Good night y'all!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Addictive Nature of Baking

I think I just plain have baking in my blood. I can't help myself. Growing up I saw my Gram bake something pretty much every single day... it may have been anything from a grape pie to dinner rolls to sugar cookies. Most all of these things she did not even need a recipe for she just knew how to do it. Rock solid. My Mom is (of course) a mean baker too.... whipping out cheesecakes, German chocolate cakes, molasses cookies (the best ones you ever had) and too many items at Christmas time to even start to try to list. Ask anyone who is a recipient of one of the famed Christmas Cookie Trays and they will tell you, it's an easy 5 pound weight gain situation no matter what. There is no escape. But it's worth every pound. You can work it off after New Years.

There is just something so indulgent about the actual experience of baking... it's all about the smells and textures and watching the ingredients melt together. Sweet cream butter, sugar and Madagascar bourbon vanilla in a bowl? Pure heaven! Having your house filled with the scent of a Nectarine Golden Cake (which is what happens to be in my oven right now) is totally soul soothing.

The only problem I run into here is that there are only two of us to eat whatever we bake. Well, three if you want to count the small, furry scavenger who is addicted to pie crust bones. This is dangerous ground to tread on unless you really want to look like a muffin top in your jeans. Sigh. I guess I just have to look to the fact that my Gram is well into her 80's and spent her life eating fresh baked goodies.... she lived to tell and hopefully so will we.

So again with this month's issue of Gourmet magazine. I'm tellin' ya it's a humdinger loaded with great recipes. Tonight I made the Nectarine Golden Cake which was exceedingly easy to make. Nectarines are at their peak for flavor right now... the ones from California are just fabulously sweet and perfect. Grab some and whip out one of these beautiful little cakes!

Of course you have to make fresh whipped cream to go on top. It's the law.

In other news... Rudy is still a pain in my butt. His new thing is to stand around growling at me and tapping his empty food bowl with his toenails. This has been going on for hours tonight. At first I kept giving him more food and he kept on eating it... but now all bets are off. I'm done. He has got to be kidding me, right? He just did it again! What a weenie.

Billy is painting away as always. He spends his days pouring over cookbooks in between painting sessions and then when I get home from work there is always a beautiful table of food waiting for me. Here is his latest... this is a scene from the Scarborough Marsh area just south of Portland, Maine. We really love this place... I can't wait until we can make it back up there in the Airstream in the early summer time.

Tomorrow I head back to work for a three day stretch that is guaranteed to kick my ass. I'll try to catch up again with y'all come Sunday.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I May Have to Change the Blog Name to....

Full Stomachs. For real. It seems like every single time I sit down to write a new post it is about what we have been eating and not much else. And here I am again about to do it again.

So what HAVE we been eating? Some good shit people.... some gooood shit. Last night we had three things made from the September issue of Gourmet magazine. Billy made the Italian parsley and beet salad with fresh ricotta while I made the cold cucumber and cubanelle soup with cashews and chives. They both turned out to be fabulous recipes and I would make both of them again for sure. We lucked out and had a great wine to drink with the meal... 2008 Fetzer Gewurtztraminer. It could not have been a more perfect match up. And it is an inexpensive bottle of wine which makes it even better.

Our third recipe form the Gourmet mag was the indulgent one... the apple pie with cheddar crust. I can't find the exact recipe online to link up to. Anyway, Billy made the crust and I made the filling.... then I assembled the pie. Due to the influence of the Gewurtztraminer and the fact that I was listening to my George Michael/Michael Jackson station on Pandora I neglected to add the 3 tablespoons of flour to the apple filling which resulted in a pretty watery pie in the end. It is still incredibly delicious but I was pissed at myself for flaking out and messing it up. Oh well, it will not stop us from eating it! And allow me to say this... do not be skeptical of adding a half a pound of sharp cheddar to your pie crust. People, it is waaaaayyy better than you can imagine.

What have we been doing other than cooking up a storm and eating? Well... working, that's what. My work at the chocolate shop is insane busy right now. I can't even keep up. The owners are out of town for a few weeks and the whole sale orders just keep rollin' in along with the fact that the walk in traffic is three times as much as what would be traditional for this time of the year. All this adds up to mean one thing... my co-worker Marie and I are getting our butts kicked.

Billy snapped a few shots of what I was working on today. Here I am dipping Spats which are caramel (made by Billy) topped off with tamari roasted pinon nuts and dipped in dark chocolate. I am doin' the dipping here....

And here is a close up to really get your mouth watering...

I am also knee deep in a special order for a couple of hundred turtles. Normally we do a caramel with toasted pecans dipped in chocolate called a Don Juan Pecan but these are amped up a notch to look like an actual turtle. You get more pecans... which is always a good thing.

So there you have it! Food seems to be the dominant theme in our lives of late. I have been missing the Airstream these past few weeks so we are hoping to take a long weekend in October and head up into Northern New Mexico to a lakefront campground with the trailer and kayak and get one more go at it before the real cold weather sets in.

Drop me a quick comment and say HI readers! How is everyone doin'? And thanks for staying with me through these slow posting times... Cheers!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

And the Pot Pie Saga Continues....

So I think I mentioned in the last post that we were on a pot pie brain storming bender right? Well today we knocked out pie number two. And it was a home run...

This time we made chipotle cheddar mashed potatoes for the base (kind of like shepard's pie) and then put in a layer of black beans cooked in maple syrup and cinnamon, next came our fave fake chicken (Quorn brand) cooked with heirloom tomatoes, onions, Hatch green chili, cilantro and garlic. We sprinkled some more cheddar on and laid the top crust dough on and popped that baby in the oven for 1/2 on hour. Soooo good! I have a feeling that this is the first of many more experiments to come. Perfect cool weather food comin' down the pike.

I love that Fall is sorta, kinda in the air... I found this antique basket at the thrift the other day and doesn't it look perfect with apples in it?

The farmer's market reaped some seriously good rewards again this weekend as well. We brought Chelle down there with us to brave the crowds and we all three left so loaded with produce that it was a ridiculous and painful walk back to the truck. I got these enormous, fabulous peppermint dahlias for our table...

They are seriously the size of a salad plate. Huge!

Ok. Sorry to be so short and stupid tonight but Billy is waiting on me to watch a movie. I just did not want to let the weekend pass without saying YO. So YO. See you again in a few days.