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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 amazon.com.

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.


strawberry

pineapple and carrot

white beet

pear

cantelope

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 souffl├ęs 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.
Nutrition
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
Boybeater.

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!