Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rainbow Cake!

Oh man. I done gone and baked one of the coolest things ever. It was nothing but box cake and food coloring--no challenge of baking science--and it wasn't even my idea, but it turned out so radical, I'm so pumped about this. You must find an occasion to make this cake.

The fabulous Claudia Russell, Jazz88 DJ extraordinaire, had a birthday last week, but wasn't in the office for cake-ular activities. I had been saving this cake recipe specifically for her, as she's a hippy-at-heart who loves tye-dye.


First, I made a double-batch of white cake. I believe it was Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe.

Then, I divided up the batter into 7 bowls of equal volume. Using gel food coloring (more intense, less liquid added) I dyed each bowl a different color: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and pink.

Next, I took two round 9-inch cake pans. Here is where the expert baking technique comes in. Now, you can put the colors in whatever order you want, but I put them in regular rainbow order. So, beginning with red, I put a heaping cup to cup and a half into the bottom of the first pan. Next, a little less of a heaping cup of orange right on top. Don't worry, they don't mix into each other, they just sit on top of each other in concentric circles and slowly spread out into the pan.

Follow with the rest of the colors until all seven are in the pan. Then, do the same thing in the second pan, but put the colors in REVERSE order. Here's another tip. The BOTTOM layer of batter (meaning, the first color you put in the pan) should be more than the top layer.


Cool. Frost. Cut into. Freak out.

Delight your happy birthday-having pal:

Then eat more cake:

Full credit to, although she does it some crazy nonsense diet way with soda and pudding mix. No. Just...NO. Make the box cake the way you're supposed to make it. The end.

Monday, June 8, 2009

I Have a Ring!

Finally! We have an engagement ring! Woohoo! On Saturday we hit up Leo Hamel in Old Town, after hearing they had a decent selection of estate pieces. I was starting to feel like I just needed to pick SOMETHING remotely close to the style that I was leaning towards. Everything that I had tried up to that point had been close, and pretty, and sparkly, but I don't know, how do you choose when they are all pretty and kind of all look the same after awhile? Well, we debated between two finalists, and this little darlin' finally won out. I love it more and more the longer I have it. Hooray!

Oh, wait, you might want to know, it's 14 karat white gold. I don't know how old it is, I forgot to ask.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Well Hello There!

Oh hey! I have a blog! Discipline has never been my strong suit, but you know, I am a work in progress.

I am safely ensconced on my couch, sipping a glass of red wine and nibbling on Rainier cherries. Mmmmmm! I went to Pata Negra after work and got some tomate frito (put it on white rice), chorizo, and a super tangy goat cheese rolled in paprika. I've been trying not to gorge on it too much as it was supposed to be our cocktail hour appetizers, but el Capitan just called and won't be home until 7. Guess who gets all the cheese and chorizo to herself? These are the sacrifices and rewards of the fireman-family lifestyle.

I left work before 3pm today due to an exceptionally frustrating situation that remains out of my control. Rather than sit at my desk stewing in my own angry juices, I decided to just leave. I don't mean to be mysterious, but I'd rather not memorialize my rage on the internet. Needless to say, said situation will pass.

Tomorrow I have a meeting in Balboa Park, specifically at the delicious-smelling Mingei Museum. I don't know what it smells like, but it just smells good. Textiles and foreign wood carvings and fresh paint. We're partnering with them for an event in two weeks, so every few weeks for the past few months I've been popping up to the museum to meet with their Marketing Coordinator.

The last time I was up there I walked through my favorite spot in all of San Diego, the Alcazar Gardens. It was such a beautiful day (the miserable May Gray hadn't descended yet) and the flowers were just bonkers. I had to stop and attempt to take artistic pictures of the crazy tall purple flowers. Stalk? Snapdragons? I wish I was better at my flower identification.

Anyway, it was such a pleasant interlude during my work day, I had to stop and appreciate that my job frequently requires that I walk through Balboa Park. Not a bad gig.

Thank God I have another meeting there tomorrow, I need the reminder!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tortilla Espanola

So I had big plans this weekend to dig into 1080 Recipes, which is THE bible of authentic Spanish cooking. It didn't happen. But, we still ate an authentic Spanish dinner, so that has to count for something, right?

Mmmm...classic tortilla espanola. Here's what you do. Take a tater. Peel that tater on up. Then, you have to cut the tater into small pieces, but not in nice even dices, but like little discs that are sort of thin like. But not too thin. I hold onto the potato and take a paring knife and just slice little pieces off one at a time. It's sort of a pain, but really, you become one with the potato. No you don't, it's mostly a pain. Then, fry those ta-toes up in a TON of olive oil. You can save the oil and use it again the next time you fry up patatas.

Don't burn the potatoes, just fry them so they are happily bubbling in that oil until they are soft. This is why you don't want them TOO thin or they'll turn into potato chips. Once they are all soft and mushy and scrumptiously oily, drain your potatoes.

Scramble 4 or 5 eggs. Make sure you salt the eggs. Don't be stingy with the salt. Then, pour the eggs over your potatoes which you've got sitting in a large dish or bowl, and mush the concoction together. Then, pour the whole shebang BACK into a smallish pan which you have either sprayed with Pam, or coated with a bit more olive oil. Keep the heat relatively low, because the tortilla is thick, and the outside of the eggs will cook much quicker and you don't want to burn them.

Gently pull the sides of the egg away from the pan with a butter knife and let the raw runny stuff in the middle drain down to the sides to cook, forming a new outer edge.

Now comes the hard part. Get a nice big plate and put it over the top of the pan. You are going to flip the tortilla. Don't be afraid, the tortilla can sense your fear. Confidently and strongly hold the plate against the pan, and in one swell foop flip that mother over. Then, sliiiide the whole messy concoction back into the pan. Poke the tortilla with a fork. No, I don't know why, just do it.

Eventually, it will be done. Take it out of the pan, and let it cool to room temp, or you can eat it cold after you refrigerate it for awhile. Or, you can eat it hot out of the pan, but I don't think it tastes as good hot.

Buena suerte!

(P.S. I think it's clear I would be a terrible cookbook writer)

Happy Birthday Bob!

So one of my favorite people in the world is my friend Bob Harvey. Bob has been a long time volunteer at the radio station, and last Saturday he celebrated his 90th birthday. His fantastic daughter Ann was nice enough to invite Shane and me to come to the big celebration that was thrown in his honor.

Bob doesn't really "volunteer" anymore, but he comes to plenty of concerts and happy hours to hang out with the staff and other volunteers. He is quite beloved at the radio station, so we were very happy to celebrate with him.

The thing that's so great and inspiring about Bob, is that he's not OLD. I mean, yes, he's 90 and you have to speak a bit louder than normal and he doesn't drive anymore, but he's the coolest 90-year-old you'll ever meet. He STILL has a personal trainer that he works out with, specifically so he can keep on skiing. Yes, he still skis. He has an easy chuckle, and a great sense of humor. He is so very UN-stodgy, he has the most positive and easy-going attitude, plus, he calls me "doll".

And he would TOTALLY win the David Letterman "What's the Deal with Old Guys and Big Glasses?" contest. But then again...I might be starting my way down that path too...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


That's what my high school English teacher Ms. Gabay would say to us teens anytime something inappropriate came up in a book or movie, and we'd all start to giggle.

Sadly, I have never embraced maturity. I just worked a 14 hour day, and should have been in bed 45 minutes ago, but no, I'm wasting time on the internet. And thank God! Because if I HADN'T been, we never would have heard about this:

I know it's in Spanish, but really, there's no need to worry about the details of the article, just the translated headline: "Giant Penis On Roof of House" and the accompanying picture made me burst into super immature giggles. And then blog about it.

Some young whippersnapper in England did this to his poor parents, and now they're on Google Earth. Well played, young man. Well played.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Happy St. Patrick's Day! Here's something completely unrelated to St. Patty's Day, and it's a little late to post it, but I just rewatched it and laughed just as hard as the first 8 times. My love affair with Will Forte grows. Start about 1 minute in...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Happy Song

This is just cute and fun.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Good Morning and Happy Valentine's Day!

Hello doves! I know it's a mostly Hallmarkian holiday, but what's wrong with a calendar-based nudge to focus on love? Who says it has to be romantic love only? Maybe I can be all tra-la-la about it because I have found my Sweet Baboo (currently snoring even though he's been asleep for over 10 hours. Seriously, what the French, toast? Why aren't you awake already?) I neglected to get my act together this year so I have no cookies or truffles or cards to share, but I still love you. If you're reading this, you're one of the 8 who do, and I can guarantee you that I love you very much. So! Since I didn't make you a box of cookies this year, here is a pie:

Mmmm.... This is Martha Stewart's recipe for Chocolate Cream Pie, and it is a great recipe. It doesn't take a ton of ingredients, which was particularly handy last weekend when it was raining and I didn't want to run out to the store AGAIN. I really am a fan of custards and puddings, they are quick and easy and really just involve a lot of whisking and paying attention to not burning stuff. Cream pies rule.

Martha calls for a Chocolate Pate Sucree crust, but I have made this pie twice now, once with just a regular Pillsbury readymade crust, and this time, with a nice, thick, graham cracker crust. It also calls for a caramel whipped cream topping, which is sort of advanced, but not completely difficult to do, and it makes for a yummy topping. I skipped it this time around, but highly recommend giving it a try. As you can see from the above picture, we munched it all down before remembering to snap a pic of the finished product. Yum.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Which One's Cuter?

The devastating wildfires in Australia are pretty incomprehensible. So far there aren't many "feel good" stories coming out yet--it's just horrific. But this little story, and the accompanying picture, was just too sweet and heartbreaking to ignore.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Christian Bale Needs to be Kicked in the Nuts

I actually agree with the essence of Christian Bale's argument. (Click here if you haven't heard his crazy tirade yet. Turn the volume down if you're at work) He's trying to do his job, somehow someone keeps making that difficult to do, and his frustration boils over. I completely get that. All that being said, what an ass and what a blowhard for going so completely apeshit and not being able to calm yourself down. You're not curing cancer, you're playing John Conner, and you're totally replaceable. Wow, I feel strongly about this.

Mostly, though, I just want this t-shirt.

Ribs: Why Don't I Cook These More?

Is anyone else daunted by cuts of meat? No matter how many cooking shows I've watched, I just can't keep track of what's a butt roast or whether sirloin is better than prime rib or whatever. And forget ribs. Racks and baby backs and spare ribs, I just like to eat them.

But when Saveur told me I should consider making Chinese Spare Ribs for my Super Bowl eating pleasure...who was I to argue? I'm nothing if not good at following directions, and Saveur told me to get St. Louis style spare ribs, which I figured was far too specific for the Menifee Stater Brothers...but lo and behold, it was RIGHT ON THE TAG. WOW! Meat is fun! (Ha!) I don't know what makes them St. Louis style, by the way. Maybe they are the ribs of giant cardinals?

Mr. Butcher Man cut up the big ole rack into pieces for me, which I then marinated in sauces hoisin and soy, sugar, garlic, Chinese 5-Spice powder (which 5 spices? I don't know! A Chinese mystery!), probably some other stuff, and red food coloring. Then they sat in the oven for a really long time and turned into happiness.

We burned our fingers and ate them. The ribs, not the fingers. We ate these ribs BEFORE the red velvet cupcakes, but by the end of the night, every part of our mouths had red dye on it. Mmmmmmm....deadly red dye......

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dang it, Sprinkles Is Tasty.

Sprinkles are tasty? Whatever, they make a mean cupcake. And by they, I mean me, using their official "mix". I expected the cupcakes to be mediocre at best. Cake is cake, so it's hard for it to NOT be somewhat delicious, but I'm skeptical of these high-falutin' and trendy cupcake places, and have wondered if there is too much emphasis on style points, or wowing everyone with massive amounts of frosting, as opposed to a quality baked good. Are they worth the $3.25 a piece ($36 A DOZEN, PEOPLE) that they charge? Well, if you can't bake...maybe?

I was pleasantly surprised, I must say, and I wish I knew their flour to sugar to cocoa ratio. The cake wasn't overly dense like a lot of "homemade" recipes, and it was moist and chewy with a great tangy, sweet red velvet flavor. I think I forgot to mention they were red velvet. Their cream cheese frosting recipe was scrumptious as well, although I recently made cream cheese frosting from another recipe (thanks, J&D!) that used a bit of lemon juice instead of vanilla. Sooooo good, but that's for another time. Until then, enjoy this picture of the finished product, with the signature Sprinkles dot.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Instant Technology!

Best commercial this year.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Found it! Or: Food photography is not my strong suit...

I'm a little grossed out by this picture. I realize my mind is in the gutter, but I would imagine that a food stylist's biggest challenge is making sausages look less weiner-y. Also, making sure the mashed potato/ice cream doesn't melt.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Soup, There It Is

Brrr! Man, it's cold, as evidenced by the news, and by the gigantic icicle Lyla tore off of her house with her bare hands. I absolutely can't complain about the cold in San Diego when I see below freezing temperatures where my friends are. Who am I kidding, of course I can.

Since the mercury has been dipping into the 50's lately, that means it's soup weather in San Diego. Lately I have been really into the radio program The Splendid Table. I love listening to the podcasts which are hosted by the delightfully unsnobby yet super knowledgable Lynne Rossetto Kasper. She sounds like she's been smoking for far too long, but she speaks with a smile, and I like that. I also receive her weekly e-newsletter, Weeknight Kitchen. It usually only has one, maybe two recipes, but they are always simple and delicious and relatively doable on a weeknight.

May I recommend the Winter Squash Soup and Stout Batter Bread? The bread is suuuuper easy, and is the PERFECT way to use up the cans of Guinness I scored from a Ring party like 3 years ago, thinking Shane and I would work through them nice and easy. I kept waiting and waiting for Shane to drink them...then I finally threatened to throw them out...BLASPHEMY!! How dare I think to throw out good beer?!? And then this recipe landed in my Inbox. Victory! Dense, beer-y, moist, and yummy.

The soup is nice and yummy and easy as well. Actually, the hardest part is peeling and chopping the butternut squash, but thanks to, there is an easier way than just going at it with a vegetable peeler. Don't leave out the heavy cream at the end, I know it's optional, but it's only a half cup, and it makes it so thick and creamy. Scrumdiddly.

Oh, you want the recipes? Well, for some reason I can't find them on the Splendid Table website (guess the lovefest is over...sigh...), but if you shoot me an e-mail or make a comment, I'll forward you the newsletter issue it came in.

The best part? WHERE THE HECK ARE THE PICTURES I TOOK??? I have no idea. I have been stumbling over these pictures for months now, waiting to write about this soup, and now I can't find them. Good gravy. So, I guess I'll just leave you with an oldie but a goodie: