3.20.2011

Tomato Season Has Begun!

It’s the first planting of the season!

A blustery day, better spent watching March Madness and hunkered down indoors, but HH & I had to get the first tomatoes in the ground, and a bell pepper too, before the rain sets in tonight.

There will be another planting this season, probably next month, as we still have out Topsy Turvy to plant for the first time!



The season of home-grown, heirloom variety, fresh sun-kissed tomatoes has begun!



Oh, and a little bit of basil thrown in for good measure.

3.18.2011

Chocolate Cake

There have been no fresh baked goods at the Diner since Christmas! And with all the fresh baked goods during Christmas, the Diner was starting to have withdrawals.

So I told HH I was going to make flourless chocolate cake and red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. What HH heard was “chocolate cake with frosting.”

As HH tended to the outside of the Diner, I spent the afternoon baking. At one point HH realized that it was a cake and cupcakes. HH now appreciates red velvet cupcakes because he has realized they have cocoa in them so they are chocolate-ly, not just red.

Anyway, the cake and cupcakes were cooling; HH walked by and looked a little perplexed but didn’t say anything. Then I made the cream cheese frosting for the cupcakes, frosted them and started the quality control part of the day – taste testing.

HH walked by again and noticed a slice had been cut from the chocolate cake and that it was very flat. He said, “Just one chocolate cake?” I told him yes, that’s how a flourless chocolate cake is made. He said it was flat, I said, yes, that’s what a flourless chocolate cake looks like. He said, “When are you going to frost it?” I said I’m not, it doesn’t get frosting. He looked at the chocolate cake in front of him that didn’t match his expectations and said, “Bad Chocolate Cake! No flour, no frosting, you must have been really bad!” I laughed so hard I cried.

Next thing I knew he was scraping some of the frosting off the cupcakes and trying to frost at least half the chocolate cake. Then he cut a piece, sat down to enjoy and…not so much.

Flourless Chocolate Cake will not be on HH’s wish list for baking any time soon.

3.11.2011

Pinks

PINKS!

I ate at Pinks! By accident, I was at a hot road show (if you are running a cyber-diner, a hot rod show is a natural), the Grand National Roadster Show to be exact, and while cruising around the grounds there was PINKS!

If you have never heard of it, Pinks is a Hollywood Legend best known for serving hot dogs of all types. Oooh, I was sure I was going to love it!

I ordered a chili cheese dog and it looked perfect. The dog was a little longer than the bun. The cheese was a slice of American that was laid out on the bun, and then the dog went on, and then covered in chili. I could still see the tips of the cheese melting into the bun, and knew the rest of that cheesy goodness was lying under that mountain of Americana.

The first bite…the casing on the dog popped – perfect. The dog, cheese, chili and bun were in every bite, and the chili was thick enough that it didn’t drip all over.

It was delicious, worth all the calories and badness. The best part, I didn’t have to go to Hollywood to experience it.

3.02.2011

The Quest - Epilog

HH and I were browsing Barnes & Noble recently; we were looking for some non-food reference information. As HH kept looking, I wandered over to the bargain book area, the cookbook section.

I scanned the top shelf moving to the right, and then scanned the bottom shelf moving to the left, then back one last time just in case I missed something. And suddenly, just like the book hanging over the kitchen shelf at the Diner almost a year ago, there in front of me was Mastering the Art of French Cooking (MTAOFC). This time in a box set.

The set was sealed in plastic and I noticed that it was at the bargain price of $24.95. I started moving it around and noticed there was another set behind, this one with no plastic, this one I could take the books out and look at. It was a fortieth anniversary edition of Julia’s MTAOFC prepared especially for Barnes & Noble in 2001 with a new forward by Julia and some of her contemporaries – book 1 and 2. Wow!

As I put the books back in the case, I noticed the original retail price for the set - $100. Then I turned it around to see the bargain shelf price - $12.95!!! Oh My Gosh! When I was looking for MTAOFC and thought about getting a new copy, they were $40 at Barnes & Noble and about $25 at Costco. This was a SET for half that!

I tucked that set under my arm as fast as I could, just in case someone else spotted my find and wanted it for their very own.

HH and I reconnected, saw I had found something, I told him the story, he smiled, and I paid. The new set is in the bookcase; the amazingly wondered seasoned first edition copy HH surprised me with almost a year ago sits on the kitchen counter so I can look at it all the time.