Apr 26, 2010

What My Entourage Does In Their Free Time

Ole Potatoes

Safari Potatoes

Cookbook Potatoes

Totem Potatoes


Potato Salad

Tanning Potatoes

Clubhouse Potatoes

Convertible Potatoes

China Doll Potatoes

Clamming Potatoes

Mani Pedi Potatoes

Nutty Potatoes

Skateboarding Potatoes

Rodeo Potatoes

Puppet Potatoes

Puppet Potato Close Up

Throne Potatoes

Naked Potatoes

Click here to see what they do for me!

Apr 25, 2010

My Entourage at IACP 2010

Duet of Potatoes

Purse Potatoes

Resting Potatoes

Dressy Potatoes

Hangover Potatoes

Mad Potatoes

Make Up Potatoes

Award Potatoes

Dantastic Potatoes!

Book signing Potatoes

Seminar Potatoes

Lost Potatoes

Author Potatoes

Threesome Potatoes

Lunching Potatoes

Powder Room Potatoes

Restaurant Guide Potatoes

Lilac Potatoes

Studying Potatoes

Chocolate Potatoes

Packing Potatoes

I will be auctioning these babies on eBay. Starting bid is 100K. Not really, but I may leave them to one of you in my Will. So be good.

Click here to see what they do in their free time!

Apr 15, 2010

Signing Books At IACP Conference in Portland

Denise will be signing The Entertaining Encyclopedia on Friday, April 23, 1:30-3:30pm at the Oregon Convention Center. She would LOVE to see you there!

Click here for all the details.

The book fair is part of the International Association of Culinary Professional's 32nd annual conference that promises to be incredible. Check out the highlights!

Apr 5, 2010

Jimmie The Pig

I'm not sure when we started calling Mr. Piggie "Jimmie". Cindie named him.

Working on a Cuban cookbook last week, Jen had to go to a Mexican market and order a whole, dressed pig.

It's not as easy as it sounds...and many a market later, Jen brought home Jimmie.

Dressed means his innards were gone...with a split up his belly. But all his trotters and snout intact.

Jimmie was a big, suckling pig. There were rumors that he wasn't a suckling pig at all (people can be so cruel).

Regardless, he was a beauty.

As a food stylist, I picked a beautiful wood background for Jimmie to lie on for his photo shoot. Why? Blondes look great on brown, and with his "pink glorious pink " birthday suit popping, Jimmie was photographed from every direction. Kind of felt like a food segment done by Dexter.

These photos of Jimmie were taken at Jon Edwards studio...and his essence was captured.

All of this went so smoothly, until the the publisher asked me if I could cook Jimmie whole for the cookbook party happening the NEXT Sunday. I had to think. No oven, owned by any of us, was big enough for Jimmie.

Not wanting to waste Jimmie (respect the pig!), Jeff wrapped Jimmie in a black garbage bag and we placed him in the studio freezer. Night, night Jimmie.

It took a few days and then I saw Jimmie's future! I called the caterer of the Sunday bash and asked if he might be able to cook Jimmie.

Well, he was hesitant at first, and warned me that he would have to cut Jimmie into two pieces...oh my.

Cindie assumed we'd eventually have to put Jimmie back together for the finished photo, and murmured to me "That's a lot of Poligrip." Such a problem solver.

But after speaking to Lazarro, the Cuban caterer, I knew Jimmie was going to his final resting place.

I did not mention to the caterer that Jimmie was frozen, it was only Friday, and he should be thawed first...details often have a way of killing the sale. That was a poor choice of words. Forgive me.

I asked Katie, our latest intern, to deliver Jimmie. I told Katie the truth; the caterer did not know that Jimmie was frozen and it was best not to mention it, and if at all possible, just drop Jimmie at the back door of the kitchen, ring the delivery buzzer and then run like hell.

No matter what, do not return with Jimmie.

Katie is one smart girl. She played dumb about Jimmie's temperature and as the caterer and his wife had a fight in Spanish, Katie turned slowly away singing and waving goodbye. I love a girl who completes a task.

At the end, it was all good. Jimmie was the talk of the party. Truly the guest of honor. I knew he had it in him.

Apr 2, 2010

Get Your Cuban On

Food Fanatics had the pleasure of working with best selling author, Cecilia Samartin. Her passion for Cuban food is evident in all of her books and has resulted in the development of her first cookbook! Cecilia is sharing family stories and recipes that span many generations, and are ridiculously delicious.

Denise and Cindie could not stop eating this fabulous concoction, and Denise proceeded to make a batch at home the following weekend.

The trick is sweetened condensed milk, which we don't think to use much in California, but makes perfect sense in hot, tropical climates because it holds so well. Sweetened condensed milk is our new BFF.

Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding)

1 cup short grain rice
4 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 cups whole milk

1 cinnamon stick

Lemon peel

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons sugar

Ground cinnamon

Place rice and water in large saucepan for 30 minutes before cooking. Add salt and cook over medium heat to boiling point until rice is soft and water looks starchy.
Add milk, cinnamon stick and lemon peel and cook for approximately 10 minutes. Add condensed milk, vanilla and sugar and continue cooking for 30 minutes, stirring frequently until it thickens. Pour into serving dish and dust with cinnamon. To serve Arroz con Leche in the Spanish tradition, dust sugar on top and caramelize using a torch or salamander.

Serves 8-10

Apr 1, 2010

Gracie Allen's Roast Beef

Recently, a friend reminded me of the genius that was Gracie Allen. Happy sigh. This is one of my favorites...

Gracie Allen's Classic Recipe for Roast Beef

1 large roast of beef 1 small roast of beef
Take the two roasts and put them in the oven. When the little one burns, the big one is done.

Years ago I got to meet George Burns in Palm Springs.

Ah, the people you meet at Bob Hope's house...

The day I worked with Betty White, she told me stories of her years working with George Burns. She said like all good Jewish comics, once his pants were pressed he'd never sit down before going on stage, so his pants weren't wrinkled (too adorable).

Betty White adopted the same trick on the Golden Girls, so her pants never looked rumpled.
Why make more work for wardrobe? Now THAT'S class.

All this sentimentality makes me hungry. Here's our Classic Pot Roast from The Entertaining Encyclopedia. Just don't get any on your pants!

Classic Pot Roast

Serves 6
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
You will need a dutch oven or oven safe pot with tight fitting lid

3 lbs boneless beef chuck roast
salt and pepper
8 oz pancetta, coarsely chopped
2 cups small onions, peeled
4 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 large carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
2 cups reduced sodium beef broth
3 cups cubed Yukon gold potatoes
Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper on all sides.

Heat Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Saute pancetta for about 4 minutes or until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove pancetta to a plate lined with paper towels.

Place roast in Dutch oven and brown on all sides. Remove roast to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium, add onions, celery, carrots, thyme and bay leaf to Dutch oven and saute for about 5 minutes, or until onions begin to turn golden. Add wine, stirring to scrape up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer vigorously for about 10 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half.

Return roast to Dutch oven and add broth until liquid comes two-thirds up the sides of meat. Cover and roast in preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours. Add potatoes and pancetta, cover and roast for about 1 hour or until potatoes are tender. Discard bay leaf. Serve roast and vegetables drizzled with cooking liquid.

Blog Mistress Mandy took our recipe for a whirl and in her words, "it did not disappoint". Yum. So hungry now.