- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.eVyALSMd.dpuf born and raised: December 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Tortillas.  Say it with me.  Tortillas.

Just the name alone should conjure up warm memories of your Mexican grandmother in the kitchen, the sweet smell of corn on the griddle as her worn hands patted together those disc-shaped wonders.  You were a child and she handed one to you, still steaming, perhaps with melted cheese or fresh butter on top, and you sank your baby teeth into it, firm and browned on the outside and so so soft inside, and you could tell: your Abuelita loves you very much.

Unless, like me, you didn't have a Mexican grandmother.  Some of us just aren't born that lucky, so we must make do with what we've got.

In this case, I became my own Abuelita when I made fresh corn tortillas.  You can do it too.  Here's how:


2 cups Masa de Harina (we used Maseca brand)
1.25 cups warm water
A pinch of sea salt
1 tsp shortening or lard (unnecessary, completely optional authentic touch)


Mix everything in a bowl with your hands.  The shortening or lard, if used, should be melted before it's mixed in.  The consistency of the dough should be fairly dry, just enough to stick together without falling apart.  Add water or flour to adjust consistency.

 Use wax paper or a plastic bag on the tortilla press to keep dough from sticking to the metal.  Form a golf-ball-sized ball of dough, put it in the tortilla press, and press that sucker down.

Now carefully peel off the tortilla and throw it on the hot griddle or in a pan.  Tortillas!

 If you don't have a tortilla press, that's okay.  You can use your hands, a rolling pin, or a plate to flatten the masa balls into discs.  Gwen got our tortilla press from a local Mexican market (Lepe's on Sebastopol Road), and it was cheap and has been more than worth it, considering how often I bust it out  for a quick quesadilla, tacos for lunch, or just to show it off. 

When I was a kid, our family was very close with Jose Perez, owner of the Perez Family Restaurant in Roseland.  It was a truly old-school family-style Mexican restaurant, with fresh pozole and menudo on the weekends prepared by Jose's wife, Josie Perez, in the small kitchen in the back.  Each huge bowl of soup was served with a stack of fresh, hot corn tortillas.  Now I can bring that experience to my own kitchen and revive the memory of the Mexican grandmother I never had.  I can be my own Abuelita.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Round Like The Sun. The Days Are Getting Longer!

Where are the best bagels in Santa Rosa?  Small bagel chains in Sonoma Valley simply don't cut it for me.  Nick and I were talking about how a good bagel is SO GOOD, and we couldn't figure out the best bagel place in town.  We mean the best of the best, not-just-good-but-great bagels.  So I decided to try to make them myself.

I had invited my dad and Midori over for a birthday breakfast, and I thought what better Solstice birthday breakfast than a round like the sun bagel.  Also, it is good to try out recipes on your family, because if it is unsuccessful they will still be your family.

Bagels should be golden and shiny to look at, with a crunchy crust and chewy inside.
I gave it my best shot; knead, wait, roll, boil, bake.  The hardest part was keeping my "O" together, the ends didn't want to stick.  However, we noticed they were "G" shaped and decide it was intentional.
I made a few poppy seed, and a few sesame seed varieties, why not?
I think they turned out pretty damn good.
I made quite a spread; cream cheese, lox, capers, onions, butter, jelly, jam...

I wasn't keeping track or anything, but I did happen to notice a few people helping themselves to seconds and even thirds.
They were good. Really good.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Just Thrown Together

One of the most annoying things about good food- or good cooks, or family recipes, or whatever- is biting into something delicious and saying to the cook, "Can I get the recipe?" just to get a reply like, "I just sort of threw it together, there is no recipe"
Now I will freely pass recipes, after all, good food should be accessible to everyone.
Yet I am guilty of "throwing food together" with fabulous results (I am probably equally guilty of throwing food together with inedible results).  I have also gotten familiar with what certain food is suppose to look or feel like, so I "just know" to add more or less flour, for example.
Throwing ingredients into a pot with no rhyme or reason, just to say "dinner was wonderful" does not make for interesting reading, or writing, and we hope people continue to read our humble blog.  So what do I say then, when for dinner I threw it together?

I should start by saying early in the week we usually cook from scraps. That is, we don't want to go to the market, so whatever is lying around the house becomes dinner.  On Monday night we had green chilis, cheese, and eggs on hand,  so I made a chili cheese pie with black beans.
I based this concoction on a dutch pancake, with more eggs and cream, and less flour.
I cooked the green chili's in a oven proof skillet with a few tablespoons of butter
whisked together ABOUT five eggs with PERHAPS a cup of cream, MAYBE a few tablespoons of milk, and AROUND 1/4 cup flour.

I poured the batter into the skillet, sprinkled a handful of cheese on top and popped the skillet into the oven for ABOUT 25 minuets, until the top is golden.

I had cooked up some black beans, so with a dollop of sour cream, there was dinner.  No recipe, but no secret either.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Say Potato

I love potatoes.  I love them cooked any way, I love any variety, I love them all.  Potatoes are not just tasty; they are my favorite comfort food.  Cooking dinner after dark slows me down, and makes me less ambitious.  I want warm and simple meals, because what I really desire is to cozy up by the fire and go to bed unreasonably early.  This time of year all I want is comfort.  This time of year all I want is to eat potatoes.

Baked potato, creamed spinach, and a sausage. Warm, flavorful, buttery... all my winter food requirements.
I blanched some fresh spinach and then tossed it with chopped onions and garlic that had been sauteing in butter.  I added a little cream and a little hard Italian cheese, let it cook down for a few minutes. Ta da!  I don't usually make creamy food, but I couldn't get creamed spinach out of my mind.

This is perfect comfort food.  Rich, easy, potato.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Carrots Are Good For Your Eyes, Better To See Art With

Thank You Thank You Thank You!  Shop Party was an amazing and successful event.  We sold out of everything (minus a few vegetarian sandwiches).  It seemed all the vendors did really well, there were a ton of people that came through, and everyone seemed really happy and excited.  We got so much positive feedback and encouragement, it was wonderful! We are still giddy.
We are also still busy!
We were asked to make some food for this art show, six artist have created wonderful Xmas cards you you to admire and purchase, THURSDAY!
We are making a carrot soup perfect for a cold night.
Bring your thermos, we will be happy to fill it up!  Stock up on Xmas cards!  After the show you can go home and address them to your far away friends and family, and have the most original cards around in the mail before the weekend.
See you Thursday!