Archive for April, 2011

Cheers to William and Katie

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

I remember watching Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding.  Mostly because it was on early, it was summer vacation, and it was my birthday (I’m not telling what year).  A royal wedding is certainly historical and my daughter and son have started asking about “real” princes and princesses.  So I’m taping the pomp and circumstance and we’ll watch a bit.

 

In the past few days I’ve seen a few articles speculating about Prince William’s special dessert, which will reportedly be served along with the wedding cake.  Who knows if this is true or not.  But it sounds yummy and easy, so I’ll be making one for the occassion tomorrow, and my own royal family can celebrate.  Here’s a recipe for the biscuit cake from New York City’s,  Tea and Sympathy.

 

Prince William’s Chocolate Crunch Cake

Tea & Sympathy’s Easy Recipe

Serves eight

Ingredients For the cake

1 box graham crackers

¼ c. raisins

¼ c. nuts, chopped

5 oz. dark chocolate

5 oz. milk chocolate

1 stick butter, room temp.

1 14-oz. can condensed milk

 

For the topping

5 oz. dark chocolate

1 tsp. milk

 

1. In a large metal bowl, crumble graham crackers into bite-size pieces. Add raisins and nuts.

2. In a saucepan, melt chocolates, butter, and milk. Stir frequently so chocolate doesn’t burn.

3. Add melted mixture to crackers and stir until dispersed.

4. Line an 11-by-7-inch pan with waxed paper. Pour mixture into pan; spread evenly.
Refrigerate for 2 hours.

5. For the topping, combine ingredients in a saucepan; stir until melted.

6. Remove cake from fridge and cover with topping. Cut into squares and serve.

 

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Which Came First…The Dye or the Stickers? With Deviled Egg Recipe

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Last year I dyed Easter eggs with natural dyes.  I was so excited and felt so green, as I boiled onion skins, tumeric, greens and blueberry juice for my hard boiled eggs.  The thing was I was lonely.  This is because it takes so long for the color to appear (some over 30 minutes) and needs to be done over a hot stove.  I thought the eggs came out lovely and like real hen eggs (pastel yellow, purple and green), but my kids lost patience and interest.  Most families are used to the plopping the egg into the fake dye and getting instant color…bright color.  My kids were dissappointed last year and the grandparents answered their call for “the fast, bright colors” this year by sending a princess dye kit and a star wars dye kit.  The farthest thing from natural you could get.  Luckily the kids arranged the dyed eggs in my real nests for photos, and skipped the yoda and tiara stickers.  So the eggs weren’t “natural and green”, but my family had fun and they still became yummy delived eggs.

I decided to try a new deviled egg recipe which incorporated fresh crab.  I’ve had the recipe cut out for some time and never made it (I do that a lot).  My husband and I loved them, but my kids not so much.  They wanted the “regular” ones.  I guess you never know how your crowd will react when messing with a holiday.  Oh well, there were more for my husband and I.  Happy Easter.

Crab Deviled Eggs, Inspired by MarketBar Restaurant in San Francisco

6 hard boiled eggs, peeled

2 cups spinach leaves, well rinsed

4 ounces fresh lump crab meat

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon white ine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon suagr

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon finely ground pepper

Place wet spinach in a small saute pan and saute over medium heat until wilted.  Press out liquid with a tea towel and chop.  Set aside.

Cut hardboiled eggs lenghtwise and keeping white intact, carefully remove the yolk with a small spoon.  Mash the yolks in a bowl with a fork.

Add remaining ingredients (including spinach) to egg yolks and mix well.  Adjust seasoning.

Spoon heaping teasoonfuls of egg/crab mixture into hollowed egg whites.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Matzo, Matzo Man.

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

This week marks the celebration of Passover for many families and children.  Making holiday foods (eventhough it may not be “your” holiday) is a great opportunity to introduce different customs, cultures, religions and traditions to your children.  The first time I made this my son cried “wow a giant pancake!”

Matzo is packaged in a box and found in the ethnic sections of grocery stores and is a large wheat cracker, made with only wheat flour and water.   Commonly served for Passover breakfast, snack or side dish.  It can be made both savory or sweet.  This version is sweetened with the addition of powdered sugar, cinnamon and fresh berries.

 

Makes 1, 8 – 10 inch pancake

6 pieces matzo (I use Tahova)

1 cup boiling water

2 cage-free organic eggs

2 tablespoons butter

¼ teaspoon Kosher salt

 

Sprinkling (optional)

2 teaspoons powdered sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup fresh organic berries – raspberries, blackberries, blueberries or combination

 

In a large mixing bowl, break the matzo into small (1-inch) pieces. Bring the water to a boil and pour over the matzos to soften for 1 minute.

In a small bowl whisk eggs together with salt.  Mix the eggs and salt into the matzo.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter.   When the foam subsides transfer the matzo mixture into the pan and flatten with a spatula.  Fry until crisp and golden (about 4 minutes).

Carefully flip over with a spatula to fry the other side (about another 4 minutes).

Slide matzoh brei onto a large plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon and top with fresh seasonal berries.

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Fun Find: Hungry Bunny Store and Website

Monday, April 18th, 2011

I love discovering new things…restaurants, books, hotels, foods, activities, shops.  So when I walked into a new (new to me, it’s been there about 6 months) store in San Francisco called Hungrybunny, I fell in love.  This store has unique and fun gifts and products all having to do with food.  Everything from stationery, toys, books, gadgets, crafts, aprons and games.  Want to play a game about food?  Get Wasabi! or Food Fight.  Need a fun baby gift?  I couldn’t resist a soft , plush roast chicken with removable drumsticks.(see above – hysterical right?)  Then there’s felt food sandwich and sushi making kits for toddlers.  Aprons and cooking sets for helpers in your kitchen.  And food craft kits for older kids who want to create their own cupcake pillow.  And even well designed kitchen tools, funny notecards (below)and interesting reusable water bottles and food carryers for yourself.

 

This is my new go to place for gifts for people of all ages.  There’s also a carefully chosen selection of local condiments, confections, teas and spices – great for housewarming presents.  If you’re not in the Bay Area, luckily you can shop Hungrybunny online.

 

 

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Where Did Your Fish Swim? Possible Radiation in Fish and Other Foods…

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

There is certainly increasing concern over the safety of the food chain in the wake of the Japanese nuclear reactor breach, especially in regards to fish.  Governments and private restaurants are taking precautions with fish screening and bans of Japanese food products.  Click here to read an article from the NY Times about the latest screenings and potential risks.

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FDA to Study Food Coloring Additives…Finally!

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Where has the FDA been?  There have been concerns over food additives, especially coloring for years.  Studies in other parts of the world and even banning of certain dyes as far back as the 1950’s (red 32, orange 2, etc).  I even wrote a blog in 2007 that cited a NY Times article and study by Britain’s Food Standard Agency, about the link of ADHD to additives.

So finally this week in response to a 2008 letter, an FDA advisory panel will decide whether available data links artificial food dyes and ADHD.  The results could lead to new warning labels on many colored foods.  The article lists Jello, sugared cereals, and macaroni and cheese (what color would fake food be without coloring? – that’s the real question).  But what about a ban?  Wouldn’t that be safer for consumers and children?  According to an npr.org article, “Food dyes are added simply for their color to make foods fun. They serve no health purpose whatsoever,” says Michael Jacobson, director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.  CSPI wants the FDA to ban eight artificial food dyes. Jacobson is particularly concerned with Red No. 40, Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6, which make up 90 percent of the food dyes on the market.  Their use has gone up fivefold in the past 50 years. “That’s a good indication of how much junk food we’re consuming,” he says.

According to this week’s CBS news article, the government previously ruled that there is no proven relationship between food dyes and hyperactivity in most children. And the panel is unlikely to ban the petroleum-based dyes in question, such as Yellow 5, Red 40 and six others.  But consumer advocates and a growing body of scientists say evidence is mounting that processed foods – including those with artificial dyes – may play a role in the inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsivity that characterize attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

I guess we’ll just have to cross our fingers and wait and see what the panel says.  However, no matter what they decide, I’ll continue to read labels and limit additivesand colorings whenever possible…and make my own macaroni and cheese (real, please!)

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