Apr 15

Vesper Martini

Vesper Martini

James Bond orders his first Vesper, an extract from Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale (1953):

‘A dry martini,’ he said. ‘One. In a deep champagne goblet.’

‘Oui, monsieur.’

‘Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel. Got it?’

‘Certainly, monsieur.’ The barman seemed pleased with the idea.

‘Gosh, that’s certainly a drink,’ said Leiter.

Bond laughed. ‘When I’m … er … concentrating,’ he explained, ‘I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink’s my own invention. I’m going to patent it when I can think of a good name.’

He watched carefully as the deep glass became frosted with the pale golden drink, slightly aerated by the bruising of the shaker. He reached for it and took a long slip.

Jan 14

Mexican Mocha Bundt Cake

Mexican Mocha Bundt CakeI made a Mexican Mocha Bundt Cake for the NFC playoff game last Saturday. We had a potluck and since Jamie made chimichangas, Mexican chocolate fit right in.

Here’s the recipe in PDF form:

Mexican Mocha Bundt Cake

Dec 12

Bartlett Pear – Project Flickr: 50/52 Still Life

I love to photograph pears! For whatever reason, I think they’re one of the most sensual foods on earth. And I get to eat them after the photo session!

I shot this on a sheet of glass painted espresso brown on the back side. The backdrop is a simple piece of black fleece.

I lit it with a single 60W daylight LED lamp on a dimmer. I’d say its dimmed to more like 15 or 20 watts.

Nov 12

Thanksgiving 2012

So, it’s the day after Thanksgiving, time to kick back from the festivities for a bit then gear up for the next big holiday, Christmas. It’s also Black Friday for so many shoppers who are willing to fight the hoards and save a few bucks on all the bargains offered by the retailers. No thank you… I’ll pass!

I’m in Arizona right now, away from the rest of my family, and planned on making my own Thanksgiving dinner. I was OK with it, we’d Skype for a while and then go take our post-dinner naps.

Then a few days ago my neighbors, Ken and Cathy, invited me to have dinner with them. I like Ken and Cathy and quickly accepted the offer. They’d also invited a couple other neighbors. Fawn is a delightful Canadian woman who moved to America 12 years ago. Alan is a very effusive 72 year old English man who moved here 26 years ago. He’s very proud of his becoming an American citizen 20 years ago. The conversations that ensued were lively and full of humor.

Oh-oh… The conversation turns ugly
Eventually though, the subject matter filtered down to religion and politics. Wow! I’d suspected that my hosts were somewhat conservative, but we’re talking uber-conservative religious right.

Ken started us off with the comment that we are feeling God’s wrath because of the sinful liberal agenda we’ve embraced and the entitlement society we’ve become. I was taken aback by his conversation starter. He’s a quiet man, but very outspoken about religion and politics.

Alan joined right in and threw in our immigration policies and cheered Arizona’s steps to curb the illegal alien problem. “Send them all back to Mexico. If they want to come to America, they should do it legally, like I did. But they (Mexicans) won’t do it because they’re not smart enough. They’re stupid, lazy people.” I came very close to getting up and leaving after that comment. I made a few rebuttals, but they fell on deaf ears.

And of course there was Obama bashing. Every tea-party issue came up… especially the so-called birther controversy. And now I don’t know how Obama is going to solve our economic crisis… I learned that he can’t even balance a checkbook. I also learned that our President is a wimp when it comes to foreign policy. And that he’s done nothing, accomplished nothing, and will continue to do nothing to move our nation back into prosperity.

Oh, and by the way, We knew where Osama bin Laden was on Bill Clinton’s watch. Clinton did nothing about it, leaving the time bomb for George W. Bush to defuse. And Clinton should have been able to get to Osama bin Laden, apparently we had the intelligence then and knew where he was.

When I asked why Bush didn’t get bin Laden, it was because Clinton’s lack of foresight ultimately allowed 9/11 to happen. Osama bin Laden went into deep underground and was impossible to track down. “Ahh…”,I said,”he must have been hidden very well. We didn’t find him until Obama became president.” The subject changed after that.

By the time I left, everyone knew that I voted for Barack Obama. Ken and Cathy were gracious hosts… they told me they’d pray for me.

Jun 12

I want my Baby Backs…

Going, going… GONE!

Last night’s Baby Back Pork Ribs dinner was delicious!

After removing the tough membrane from the concave side (the hardest part of the prep), I dry rubbed the ribs with a concoction of brown sugar, cayenne pepper, Hungarian paprika, onion powder, pepper, salt, more cayenne pepper, and dry mustard. They sat in the fridge basking in the rub overnight and went on the grill at 1:30 the next afternoon.

My grill was able to keep a constant temperature of about 275 degrees with just one burner turned all the way low. I put a pan of water-soaked mesquite wood chips on the burner side and the ribs on the “cool” side, closed the lid and left them to get happy!

Four and a half hours later, I knew they were done when I saw the meat pulling away from the bone ends. So I doused the ribs with some Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce and let them cook for another half hour.

The results? Absolute perfection! Fall-off-the-bone tender and moist. The taste was just a nice amount of heat and sweet that didn’t overpower the pork. And the mesquite smoke was wonderful. I think I spoiled myself!

Some folks like their ribs more chewy… not me, I’m in the fall off the bone camp. 275 degrees for five hours did the trick nicely. For the chewy crowd, BBQ them at a higher temperature for a shorter time… like 375 degrees for an hour or so.

And YES, I ate them all!


Apr 12

An apple a day…

Nature’s Rx: Farmers Markets Cropping Up at Hospitals

Christopher Wanjek, LiveScience Bad Medicine Columnist
Hospitals and health clinics have pharmacies for their patients, but why not add a place to pick up vegetables and fruits, too?
After years of treating their clientele for the ravages of poor nutrition — obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke — some doctors finally are catching on to the idea that prescribing carrots instead of pharmaceutical drugs might be a better option. It’s preventive medicine 101.

The Harris County Hospital District serving Houston, Texas, and its surroundings is among just a handful of health organizations that have incorporated a full-fledged farmers market into its facilities. The reasons are many: Most of the patients coming to its clinics are poor; their neighborhoods are largely devoid of grocery stores selling healthy foods and instead are filled with fast-food outlets and small shops selling snacks; and many of those people with access to supermarkets either cannot afford fresh foods there or do not understand basic nutrition.

As a result, the poor and middle class living in these murky food swamps, where unhealthy food is cheaper and more plentiful than healthy food, suffer disproportionately from high rates of obesity and related diseases. A doctor’s advice to “eat better” is essentially useless given these circumstances.

Via: Live Science

Feb 12

Oranges, Oranges, Oranges…

Feb 12

Fragrance of the Lemon Peel

Fragrance of the Lemon Peel by Ilya Zomba, Oil on Canvas, 1997, Courtesy of Zombart

Jan 12

Avgolemono Soup – Egg and Lemon Soup

Avgolemono Soup - Egg and Lemon Soup
This wonderful egg-lemon Greek soup is easy to make and delicious.

Chicken stock and breast, along with a small amount of rice provide the heartiness. But the whipped eggs and lemon add the sumptuous dimension that make this dish so unique.

I’m so happy that my dear friend Nan suggested it. It’s on my absolute favorites list now!

Please excuse the Southwestern USA dishes… they are what I have! Southwest Greece?

Continue reading →

Dec 11

December Fruit – Project Flickr: Week 52

Here it is, December 27, the middle of winter… and the oranges are ripe in Arizona! Born and raised in Seattle, I’m not used to anything being ripe in the middle of winter. *eyes wide open in awe*

I just tried one right off this tree and… OMG… they are as sweet as can be. The neighbor told me to take as many as I need… WoooHooo!