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Monday, December 29, 2008

boy am i glad THAT'S over!

Gourmet Girl had a gig on Christmas day. My first large party. Buffet dinner for 25 people.

My clients were so thrilled with everything, they have already booked me for next christmas.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

christmas cookie memories...

it seems like a million years ago. i was just a kid. barely 13 i think. my mom used to order christmas cookies by the dozens from someone that she worked with so that we would have them for the season. my brother fred and i would get so excited because we knew there would be a ton of cookies in the house.

mom thought she was outsmarting us by hiding them in this huge tupperware container under the bed in our parents room. as the holiday draws ever closer this year i find that i am more in the spirit this year than in many years past. i find myself wanting to make a ton of cookies, even though i can't find a container to keep them in. i so wanted to find a big flat container of some sort that is airtight like that one my mother used.

i have my annual ornament exchange coming up this sunday. this year i am doing a brunch. but i think i will try to make a pile of cookies too so that everyone can take some home. there is nothing like homemade christmas cookies!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

thanksgiving beans...

happy thanksgiving! i spent the afternoon with my best friend notsoccer mom, her son, and her sister. my contribution to the meal were these delicious country green beans and a chocolate pecan pie with real whipped cream!

my whole life i have said i hated pecans and pecan pie. i don't think i have ever actually tasted it. and then last year i realized that i DO like pecans. so, i made this chocolate pecan pie and notsoccer mom said it was orgasmic! :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

10 items or less - Blogging by mail...

I received a package from Heather at Diary of a fanatic foodie! It was filled to brimming with wonderful things!

A bar of pumpkin and clove body soap, some mulling spices, peach syrup, sun dried tomato mustard, apple and black walnut candy, spanish smoked paprika, cocoa chile spices and veggie glace, some gelatin sheets, oh and a jar of pumpkin butter that smelled absolutley fantastic (sadly, it was broken. :( ).

Heather, I can't thank you enough for all of the fun goodies! I have been wanting to try smoked spanish paprika for ages. I had some of the peach syrup on my pancakes yesterday and it was delicious! I can't wait to try the sun dried tomato mustard as I come from a mustard loving family! I might have to grill up some brats if the darn rain will let up long enough for me to get the grill going.

Thanks again to Stephanie over at Dispensing Happiness for organizing yet another wonderful Blogging By Mail exchange!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

love. without the handles...

have you heard of pop chips?

i picked up a sample bag of the original flavor and one of the bbq at the nike expotique last week. opened the originals tonight. wow! these things are pretty tasty! they are "all natural, no preservatives, no artificial flavors or colors, no cholesterol, no saturated fat and 0 trans fat".

they come in original, bbq, salt and pepper, sea salt and vinegar, and parmesean garlic.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Sweet 100

i saw "The Sweet 100" at kenzie’s kitchen, and i thought it would go well with the omnivoire’s 100 list I did not too long ago.

so here goes:

items i have tried are in bold
items i would not try are not bold.

1. Red Velvet Cake
2. Princess Torte
3. Whoopie Pie
4. Apple Pie either topped or baked with sharp cheddar
5. Beignet
6. Baklava
7. Black and white cookie
8. Seven Layer Bar (aka Magic Bar or Hello Dolly bars)
9. Fried Fruit pie
10. Kringle
11. Just-fried (still hot) doughnut
12. Scone with clotted cream
13. Betty, Grunt, Slump, Buckle or Pandowdy
14. Halvah
15. Macarons
16. Banana pudding with nilla wafers

17. Bubble tea (with tapioca "pearls") - the very thought of these pearls make me want to gag.
18. Dixie Cup
19. Rice Krispie treats
20. Alfajores
21. Blondies
22. Croquembouche
23. Girl Scout cookies
24. Moon cake
25. Candy Apple
26. Baked Alaska
27. Brooklyn Egg Cream
28. Nanaimo bar
29. Baba au rhum
30. King Cake
31. Sachertorte
32. Pavlova
33. Tres Leches Cake
34. Trifle
35. Shoofly Pie
36. Key Lime Pie
37. Panna Cotta
38. New York Cheesecake
39. Napoleon
40. Russian Tea Cake / Mexican Wedding Cake
41. Anzac biscuits
42. Pizzelle
43. Kolaches
44. Buckeyes
45. Malasadas
46. Moon Pie
47. Dutch baby
48. Boston Cream Pie
49. Homemade chocolate chip cookies
50. Pralines
51. Gooey butter cake
52. Rusks
53. Daifuku
54. Green tea cake or cookies
55. Cupcakes from a cupcake shop
56. Crème brûlée
57. Some sort of deep fried fair food (twinkie, candy bar, cupcake)
58. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting
59. Jelly Roll
60. Pop Tarts
61. Charlotte Russe
62. An "upside down" dessert
63. Hummingbird Cake
64. Jell-O from a mold
65. Black forest cake
66. Mock Apple Pie (Ritz Cracker Pie)
67. Kulfi
68. Linzer torte
69. Churro
70. Stollen
71. Angel Food Cake

72. Mincemeat pie - my mother used to make mincemeat cakes at christmas and just the thought grosses me out.
73. Concha
74. Opera Cake
75. Sfogliatelle / Lobster tail
76. Pain au chocolat
77. A piece of Gingerbread House
78. Cassata
79. Cannoli
80. Rainbow cookies
81. Religieuse
82. Petits fours
83. Chocolate Souffle
84. Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)
85. Rugelach
86. Hamenstashen
87. Homemade marshmallows
88. Rigo Janci
89. Pie or cake made with candy bar flavors
90. Divinity
91. Coke or Cola cake
92. Gateau Basque
93. S'mores
94. Figgy Pudding
95. Bananas foster or other flaming dessert
96. Joe Froggers
97. Sables
98. Millionaire's Shortbread
99. Animal crackers
100. Basbousa

Want your own Sweet 100? All you have to do is:
1) Copy this list into your site, including the instructions!
2) Bold all of the sweets you've eaten!
3) Cross out any of them that you'd never ever eat.
4) Consider anything that is not bold or crossed out your "To Do" List.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

it's bbm time again!

Stephanie of dispensing happiness is taking sign-ups for a new round of blogging by mail! sign-ups are open until september 21. so pop over to stephanie's blog and get all the info!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

the omnivore's 100

Here is my list and instructions on how to participate in this Meme.

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at linking to your results.

Chef Barbie's Omnivore's One Hundred

1. Venison
2. Nettle Tea
3. Huevos Rancheros
4. Steak Tartare
5. Crocodile (or was it alligator?)

6. Black Pudding
7. Cheese Fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba Ghanoush

11. Calamari (both fried and not)
12. Pho
13. PB&J Sandwich

14. Aloo Gobi
15. Hot Dog From A Street Cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black Truffle
18. Fruit Wine Made From Something Other Than Grapes
19. Steamed Pork Buns
20. Pistachio Ice Cream
21. Heirloom Tomatoes
22. Fresh Wild Berries
23. Foie Gras
24. Rice and Beans
25. Brawn or Head Cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet Pepper
27. Dulce de Leche

28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna Cauda
31. Wasabi Peas
32. Clam Chowder in a Sourdough Bowl (before i became allergic to shellfish)

33. Salted Lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root Beer Float
36. Cognac with a Fat Cigar
37. Clotted Cream Tea
38. Vodka Jelly/Jello-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail

41. Curried Goat
42. Whole Insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat's Milk (does things made from Goat's Milk count?)
45. Malt Whiskey from a bottle worth $120 or more

46. Fugu
47. Chicken Tikka Masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Donut

50. Sea Urchin
51. Prickly Pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald's Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty Gin Martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob Chips
61. S'mores
62. Sweetbreads

63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frog's Legs
67. Beignets, Churros, Elephant Ears or Funnel Cake (every one of them)
68. Haggis
69. Fried Plantain
70. Chitterlings or Andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini

73. Louche Absinthe
74. Gjetost or Brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang Souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom Yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky

84. 3 Michelin Star Tasting Menu
85. Kobe Beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse

90. Criollo Chocolate
91. SPAM
92. Soft Shell Crab

93. Rose Harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole Poblano
96. Bagel and Lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
99.Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
100. Snake

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Beef Carpaccio

Beef Carpaccio

8 to 10 ounces beef tenderloin from the tip end of the roast
4 handfuls arugula or mixed greens
2 tablespoons Capers
1 Shaved Shallot
Your favorite vinaigrette
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Shaved Parmesan

Wrap the tenderloin in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 2 hours.
After 2 hours, unwrap the tenderloin and thinly slice the beef into approximately into 1/8 to 1/4-inch pieces. Lay out sheets of plastic wrap and place each slice onto the plastic. Top with another piece of plastic and gently pound the meat with a meat mallet until paper thin. Repeat until all of the meat is sliced and pounded. Divide the meat evenly among 4 chilled plates. Serve with greens tossed with vinaigrette, salt, pepper and/or Parmesan.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

another chocolate review...

Blake from blake makes had a giveaway recently.

This time it was chocolate from Amano Artisan Chocolates.

All of the bars were tasty, but I found that my favorite was the Madagasgar. To me it had the smoothest feel in my mouth as it melted and no bitter after taste. My next favorite was the Cuyauga. I found the Ocumare too bitter for my tastes but I know that some people like that.

All of these bars are made with single source beans and real tahitian vanilla beans.

They were all deliciously wonderful. Many thanks to Blake and Bridget, and the fine folks at Amano Chocolates.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

hagen daz sez...

help the honeybees.

in case you didn't know... honey bees are endangered. hagen daz has a new program designed to help raise money for bee research.

if you buy a pint of this

they donate money

if you buy one of these snappy tee shirts

they donate money.

so bee healthy, eat your honey and buy hagen daz!

by the way, that ice cream pictured above is like an orgasm in your mouth.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

have your veggies...

and eat them too!

things like this pan are among the many reasons why i LOVE williams-sonoma!

Monday, March 31, 2008

any book review that starts...

In Sicily they eat ice cream for breakfast. That fact alone was enough to convince Victoria Granof that she had to go there.

is enough to make me want to read it.

Sweet Sicily: The Story of an Island and Her Pastries is available on

Thursday, March 27, 2008

precision knives...

believe it or not... these photos are all real. the sculptures were made using the WMF knives. what a brilliant way to show how precision you can be with their knives.


pineapple and carrot

white beet




WMF knife ads

Friday, March 21, 2008

the incredible, edible egg...

Historically, the egg has heralded the arrival of spring. Hens lay fewer eggs in the winter when days are short, and egg production begins to steadily increase as the days lengthen. Although artificial lighting in most large-scale egg production facilities has eliminated seasonal fluctuations in egg laying, eggs are still associated with spring traditions in many cultures around the world. In honor of the Spring Equinox and tomorrow’s Egg-stravaganza at the farmers’ market, the egg.

Over the past fifty years, the egg has gotten a bad rap because of its high cholesterol content being linked to coronary heart disease and other medical conditions. Today, however, egg lovers can rejoice—egg consumption is on the rise. The ovum is back and better than ever. Why? Recent scientific studies have determined that the dietary cholesterol found in eggs isn’t as bad as originally thought. In fact, it has been shown that eggs actually raise “good” blood cholesterol levels. With that in mind, get a couple of eggs and scramble to your heart’s content.

Cooking eggs
Eggs are portable, versatile in preparation, and can be eaten at every meal. The egg, including the separated yolk and white, serves many important roles in cooking. Whole eggs are used to bind ingredients, such as in meatloaf. When used as a glaze, beaten eggs provide sheen to baked goods. Egg yolks thicken custards and provide the base for emulsions, such as mayonnaise and hollandaise sauce. Beaten egg whites give lift to many dishes, such as soufflés and sponge cakes. The proteins in egg whites also clarify stocks.

Egg terminology
There are a dizzying number of terms on egg cartons these days. What do they all mean? Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers trade descriptions, poultry farms are not required to adhere to labeling standards. Below are some general definitions of the terms.

Cage-free: Hens live without cages in indoor floor facilities and do not necessarily have access to the outdoors. The amount of space per hen varies by producer.
Fertile: These eggs come from hens that live with roosters. Most are cage free.
Free-range (free-roaming): Hens have access to the outdoors, but for an undetermined period of time, and may be, but generally are not, raised outdoors.
Hormone-free: The use of hormones in laying hens was banned in the 1960s.
Organic: Hens are given only certified organic vegetarian feed without pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers or antibiotics. Hens have access to the outdoors. Organic chicken operations must be certified by designated agencies.
Pastured: Hens are raised outdoors on pasture, usually using movable enclosures (hens also have access to a coop for shelter and egg laying). This enables hens to eat a variety of natural foods, such as different grasses, seeds and insects. Some scientific evidence indicates that, because of this diet, eggs from pasture-raised hens have less cholesterol and fat, higher omega-3 fatty acids, higher amounts of lutein, beta-carotene and vitamins A & E.
Vegetarian: Eggs are produced by hens whose feed is free of animal by-products.
One 75-calorie egg provides 6 g protein, 5 g fat, 0.5 g carbohydrates and 190 mg cholesterol. Eggs are rich in vitamins A, B, D and E, as well as omega-3 fatty acids and lutein. Almost all nutrients come from the egg yolk. Egg yolks are one of the richest sources of riboflavin, vitamin B12 and choline, which may reduce age-related memory loss and prevent birth defects. Egg whites are made up of water and protein and contain no cholesterol. Some egg producers are enhancing the nutritive qualities of eggs with feed supplements.

Selecting and storing eggs
Choose eggs with no visible cracks in the shell. According to the USDA, eggs should be used within three to five weeks after the “sell by” date on the carton and stored in their original packaging. Egg whites can be frozen for up to a year and hard-cooked eggs will keep for a week under refrigeration. Egg yolks do not freeze well.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

TCHO Chocolate = YUM!

i was one of the lucky ones. i received a sample of TCHO chocolate to try after reading about the giveaway last tuesday on Blake Makes.

the dark chocolate sample was deep, smooth, creamy as it slowly melted in my mouth. i could taste a hint of citrus in the finish. my brain kicked into overdrive asking for more when i finished the last bite.

the coffee i was drinking at the time only enhanced the flavor. yummy! and TCHO is LOCAL!!! they are on pier 17 in san francisco.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

if i ever utter the word fondant again...

please feel free to beat the snot out of me.

my dearest friend, notsoccer mom is having a birthday tomorrow. usually i buy her a cake from one of our local bakeries that we both like. this year i got the bright idea to try out my mad baking skillz. hahahahahahahaha... she asked for a cake that looks like a present.

honestly, i had NO FREAKIN IDEA how hard it is to work with fondant. duff goldman and his team at charm city cakes make it look so damn easy. well, i am here to tell you that they lie. it was back breaking work kneading and rolling out this stuff. thank god, it came already colored because if i had had to knead in the coloring too, notsoccer mom would be enjoying cupcakes from safeway for her birthday.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Blogging by mail – Little things mean a lot…

I signed up with the delightful Stephanie of Dispensing happiness for another round of Blogging by mail. My surprise package arrived yesterday all the way from Sweden. My swap-mate this go round was Alexandra from

I received so many cool and interesting things. Here’s a list of what I got:
Absolute Vanilla Vodka! (YUM!)
Anthon Berg - Marzipan Candy bar (delicious!)
Jenkki – Finnish Chewing gum (how did she know I am a gum-a-holic?)
Tutti Frutti – Fruit flavored pastilles (I love to nibble on these!)
Viol – Violet flavored pastilles
Zoo – Fruit flavored pastilles
Salta Katten – Salty black licorice pastilles
Cheese Topping – an interesting mix for topping cheese. This one is flavored with honey and truffles. I can’t wait to try it because it looks so yummy!
Wild Chips – 100% real meat jerky… made of Elk, Deer and Reindeer
Salad Tongs from Rosti Mepol. I love these! They are so Danish modern. And a lovely spring green in color!
Ostbollar – Cheese balls. I think these might be a little like American cheese puffs.
And last but not least a jar of a lovely Rhubarb and rosehip marmalade that made me run to Whole foods the minute I read what it was so that I could get some yummy sconehenge scones to put it on!

Friday, February 8, 2008

snapped this picture last night

this is just wrong:

Harry and David gummy fried eggs.

something about the very thought of them makes me want to gag.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

101 tips

i actually paid the $10.00 for The Best of Fine Cooking Winter 2008 magazine.

it has some really terrific tips in it. things that i would never have thought of, and things that i wasn't sure what they meant. if you are a home chef, this magazine is a must to add to your cookbooks.


last night i was wandering around in whole foods. hungry and trying to decied what to get for dinner i passed the gourmet chocolate display in the back of the store near the cheese department. wait, what's that? something caught my eye and i had to stop...

bacon chocolate? i picked it up, drooled over the picture on the front and then turned it over. $7.99 for a 3 oz, bar? that's insane. i put it back down and started to wander away when i saw the mini sized bars. they had all the spicy bars but no mini bacons. that will have to wait until i have more money on me. the last thing i saw was the mini barcelona bar. hickory smoaked almonds, grey sea salt, and deep milk chocolate (41% cacao) .5 oz. for $2.49

i tossed one in my basket. this morning when i got to work i tried it. the chocolate is smooth and creamy, the almonds have just the right amount of hickory smoking. the only thing is that the taste of the sea salt is WAY strong. i love gret sea salt but damn....