Friday, December 4, 2009

Open Season

It's back.
I can do this.
It's only a holiday.
It's just one day a year.
I shouldn't get stressed out.
It's the season of joy, peace, giving, sharing
I guess I just must make too big of a deal out of it.
It's time to hang garlands, stockings, ornaments, lights, and wreaths.
I relax, breathe, the ladder goes up and dusty boxes come down.
It's Sunday after Thanksgiving, tree is up, not one but two.
I find a holiday music channel, and stage a family photo.
It's attempting to schedule tree lighting and shopping.
I hit the kitchen to bake my yearly pumpkin bread.
I am making, perfect, gifts at home for everyone.
I feverishly swag, fluff, list, plot and plan.
It's deciding on red or white poinsettias.
I  go on a quick diet, planning feasts.
It's spinning so tired, into bed.
I drift in sugarplum dreams.
It's already December third.
I have twenty two days
It's here, it's back
I'm ready!

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread
3 cups flour
5 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
4 egg
3 cups sugar
15 ounces pumpkin
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup dried cranberries
½ cup orange juice
MAKES 2 LOAVES-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
Combine eggs, sugar, pumpkin, orange juice and oil in small mixer bowl and beat until blended.
Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stir until moistened.
Fold in (Sweetened Dried Cranberries).
Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured pans.
Bake for 55-60 for full loafs.
Bake for 20-30 minutes for mini loafs
Or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pans for 5 to 10 minutes.
Remove from wire rack and cool completely.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Recipe For a Wedding

This is not a picture of the moons surface, nor is it a bad linoleum pattern. It's Cilantro Dressing and it is a damn fine thing for any salad to wear at a wedding. Last Saturday it topped chopped romaine, along with grilled vegetables, cotija cheese and pepitas at a small perfect backyard event. My first wedding to cater in what seems like eons but really less then two years now.

 Getting back into catering felt like putting on sandals on the first days of summer, familiar, comfortable, just right.  I went to work fussing over the color of yellow, the best angle for the buffet and if the avocados were perfectly ripe. I had nothing to worry about, by the end of the evening, wedding guests full and happy. The cops only came once, no one stepped into the pool or accidentally let the family dogs out.

I can't be sure if it was the choice of the simple Southwest dishes, or just making everything fresh on the spot that seemed to go over best. Mango salsa for the quesadillas the jallepeno cheese spread and fresh made guacamole a good fit on a warm California night. I was comfortable being back in the kitchen with skillets flying.

Take one house, add in eighty wedding guests some music, hugs, laughter and you got it, a recipe for a great evening...

Strange as it sounds, I felt right at home!

Cilantro Dressing- By El Torito
  • 2 each Anaheim chili pepper
  • ⅓ cup pepitas roasted
  • 2 each garlic cloves peeled
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper ground
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces salad oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons cotija cheese grated
  • 2 bunches cilantro stems removed
  • 1 ½ cups mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup buttermilk
Place all ingredients except cilantro, mayo, water and buttermilk in a food processor for 10 seconds. Add cilantro, little by little until blended smooth.

In seperate bowl place mayonnaise and water and mix with a wire whisk until smooth. Add the buttermilk and blended ingredients and mix completely.

Place in an air tight container and refrigerate

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Top Chef Pasta Helpers

I'm jumping in here. No one asked for my help, but the judges were dissapointed by the two spaced out girlchefs on T C last night, this can't be the end of it.

To catch you up in case you missed it (say your DVR didn't work and you were at a PTA meeting or something). On Top Chef last night Laurine and Preeti spent 4 hours preparing pasta salad. The attempt at a stunning star spangled, flag waving, tears streaming dish fell flat at judgement time. The salad,  9 /11 inspired or not, will forever be a memorial to mediocre attempts to slide by.

I 'd like to make a few suggestions that could have helped, based of course on ingredients most likely found in an airbase kitchen.

Pasta Succotash Primavera Tossed with Fried Lemon Pepper Lima Beans 
Carmalized Spam Pasta Salad with Baked Bean Sauce Americana
Blackend Pasta Salad with Miracle Whip Remoulade and Celery Gremolata
Jello Macerated Pasta and Red Onion Confiture with Fruit Cocktail
Fricassee of Farfalle with Vintage Stewed Tabasco Tomato Coulis
Pasta Salad with Confit of Corned Beef and Vacuum Packed Grilled Corn Mache
Pasta Vichyssoise, Bisquick Crouton and Sea Ration Lagnappe
Ozoni with Farfalle Chilled and served with Sweet Potato Jet Puff Foam
Pasta Salmagundi with Frenches Mustard Maple Syrup Drizzle
Bow Tie Pasta Crudo over Canned Spinach Timbale Pan Seared and brushed with Velveeta Glaze

Any of these would have worked, and could have kept you from pack'n your knifes ladies!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Post Blog to Lost and Found

In the continuing story of a girl who hung up the apron and the business to follow another path then made a U turn back after realizing she was homesick for catering and couldn't wait to get back in the kitchen... Help! - can't stop!!

In this episode, the girl can't resist the world of catering and starts reliving her favorite dishes and developing delicious new ones too. Her plan is to cook for others, using the freshest ingredients and creative new ideas for special home occasions.

That girl would be yours truly, and if you need to entertain, I bring you "Fresh Ideas"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Big Occasion, Small Event

August 23, 2009, was my parents 50th anniversary. I don't know about you, but I think this is a pretty big accomplishment! In our culture, these milestones are usually met with a big celebration. I was envisioning one with beautiful food, music and flowers, lot's of guests. My mom said, "no, thank you."

I started back months ago offering to host a "gala" for the occasion, my mom wouldn't hear of it. My sister and I wanted to do something special and finally as the date approached, we settled on a small but pretty darn decent dinner party on my patio.

The most challenging task of course was for me to cook for 10 guests not 20, to get over the chairs not matching and that I didn't have enough teaspoons. To my credit, I didn't panic when the cat threw up, and the light bulb in the bathroom (which was supposed to last forever) burnt out.

I cleverly worked my son who is currently morphing into a teenager, ignoring his painfully bored expressions and strange ability to go limp when I asked to do anything. I coerced him into slicing strawberries for the cake and setting the table. My husband is both amazing with a vacuum and can prepare a delicious smoked pork shoulder in a mere 7 hours.

My sister brought the most delicious bread, crab dip, baked beans and fresh corn. Richard grilled the teriyaki chicken and fresh pineapple in addition to the smoked pork, and local handmade sausages. I made some homey salads, traditional macaroni and fresh tossed peanut slaw. The small cake was butter yellow with whipped cream and ripe strawberries, sliced expertly by a thirteen year old who managed to make it through one task.

We had hung string lights on the patio, and put a rich chocolate damask cloth over two tables placed end to end. Eclectic collection of shells in glass bowls with cuttings from various trees and shrubs in the yard made an economical and unique centerpiece. Music and good company finished the small but special evening.

Today, marks another anniversary. August 25, 2008, was the date of my first blog! Happy Birthday- "Notes From The Kitchen Galley.".. What do you think? Should we celebrate?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lost and Found

I know what you are thinking... how do you disappear for four months then pop up like nothings happened? Well you don't, and a lot did happen since I last wrote, but the adventures, diversions and even a career change could fill several blogs! I'll attempt to be brief!

In early 2008, after 25 years of Catering, I choose to hang up my apron. Though I feel it was the best choice, it was still painful closing the business I had poured half my life into. The plan of course was to retire from catering, get a normal job working for a big corporation. Then I thought I'd try a new hobby, writing, and finally spend quality time with my family. Whew! life wrapped up neat and tidy.

Unfortunatly, the big corporation 8:00-5:00 office job, left me frustrated and boxed in. I had stopped sleeping, writing and obviously my blog went untouched. I brought my complaints home and beat my family with them nightly, the stress took it's toll on my health as well. Neat life plan begins to unravel.

At the end of April 2009, I was offered the opportunity to help with the design of exhibits for the OC Fair as last year (see My Cheese Affair 9-08-08 this year Super Swine) I realized the craving for a hands on creative project was to loud to ignore, so I worked both jobs through the first week of August. Planning, creating, and thinking up new ideas reminded me of what I enjoyed most in my previous business.

I loved designing the fair exhibit. I also loved helping a few friends with small home parties, now can you guess what happened? I was homesick for catering! I had to let the office job go (lest I go postal) and finally slept through a night.

I realize I haven't offered a recipe today, or even a ending to the story but it's time to post...I'll share a quote from the late Gilda Radner, a great American Comedian, 1946-1989.

"I can always be distracted by love but eventually I get horny for my creativity"

I couldn't have said it better.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Story Of A Farmer, and My Salad

There once was a farmer in California named Walter Knott. Along with his wife Cordelia, who raised a family and berries during the depression.

The whole berry thing took off, the Knott family built a roadside stand, turning berries into a profitable business. Cordelia had a knack with jams, jellies and preserves, they sold those too. She could make a mean pie and killer fried chicken so they opened a restaurant.

Cordelia's fried chicken, pies and preserves were popular, crowds gathered at Mrs. Knott's Famous restaurant. Walter plowed up the berries and put in amusement park.

The blackberry seedless jam. It adds just the right touch to one of my favorite salads.

Mesculin Salad with Blackberry Balsamic Dressing

Mesculin or Red leaf
Red Seedless Grapes-sliced in half
Thin Red Onion Rings
Candied Pecans
Dried Cranberries
Blue Cheese-crumbled

Black Berry Balsamic Dressing

3/4 cup light olive or salad oil
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Knott's Blackberry Seedless Jam
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1-2 cloves crushed garlic
Kosher salt and Fresh ground pepper to taste

Whisk vinegar with Dijon, garlic and jam. Stream in half the oil slowly while whisking briskly. Add a little salt and fresh pepper and taste. Continue whisking in oil as needed until just combined, but do not over beat. It's not always necessary to use all the oil, adjust along with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 8.

Mr's Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant is celebrating it's 75 anniversary, Congratulations! now pass the jam.

What's for Dinner?

Tri tip marinated in Worcestershire, fresh garlic, Dijon mustard salt and ground black pepper. No recipe needed, just trim, put it in a Z-lock with ingredients from above, pat dry and grill. Serve with it with this great salad!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Chili Report

More Chili.
This time in the city of Whittier on a bright hot Saturday noon. Family in tow, tasting spoons ready, sunscreen inadequate. Note to self... hats when we go next time!

Chili Taster Notes-
Chili Verde catches my eye, pretty, sassy sister to the red, offers a spirited bite.
My favorite taste of the day; the Tri-tip Chili, not to mild with a spicy slap in the mouth.
My worst taste of the day; Nearly died when I tasted a cold sweet chili, watery with ugly tomatoes in it.
Observed unspoken chili competitor rules;

You must have a great chili name and slogan that goes with it. "Puff Puff Chili" wont cut it , you need a name like "House on Fire" or "Angry Pepper Chili".

Name, slogan and location of home base should appear on a banner in front of ones area. It should be witty, colorful and memorable.

Chili pepper novelties need to adorn all corners of ones canopy, as well as ears, necks, pinned or, worn on a shirt or embellishing hats and aprons.

Showmanship! Good competitors sell their chili, brag, boast and swear theirs is the best. Popular vote can be swayed.

Relax, rules seem to differ from contest to contest only friendly camaraderie remains consistent.
Chill on that.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Chili Fever

Is there tomatoes in your chili? I asked coyly, pretending not to care. "Well," he drawled, "If I tell you, I'll have to kill you."

Most cooks are all to excited to share their recipes, but not at a chili cook off. Wise and wonderful, retired and reborn they sport aprons with profound slogans and cook up tales along with chili. Contestants will brag, exaggerate and embellish their chili's fame and their personal accomplishments, but they won't divulge how they make it. I copy that.

What am I doing in Bakersfield California, the middle of nowhere, fishing for information on chili? Why did I drive 150 miles to see crazy people drag out stoves, coolers and watch pop-up canopies yawn? To witness would be chili champions swear over pots of homemade Texas stew? Or maybe, for a shot of chili extended on a custom handle? Honestly, it's because I dream about being a crazy chili person too.

It was only about a year ago when my family and I went to our first magical Chili Cook off. Pots stewing, sweat pouring and the heady aroma of bliss in a bowl. I am a big fan of a "bowl of red", Chili speak for traditional red chili made with meat, any number of peppers and spices. I also love any occasion when people gather for food. Since, I have harbored a secret desire to show off my own special recipe. But not yet.

If I am serious about this, I need to prepare. To start with, I have been reading. So far I have read over 200 recipes, absorbing the history, the ingredients and tips from the masters. All of that studying of course is worthless if I don't get out the pot and cook!

I have, I did, and I will continue on my quest for my perfect chili. No, there will not be tomatoes in it, I am a chili purist. I believe in tradition with a few tricks, but that's all I will say. Did you really think I would share my recipe? You know if I did, I'd have to kill you. So here is a cookie recipe instead.

11 ¼ cup flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon salt
3 cup butter
6 cup sugar
6 large egg
¾ cup milk
3 teaspoon vanilla

Stir together flour, soda, cream of tartar and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Beat butter for 30 seconds; add the 6 cups sugar and beat till fluffy.
Add eggs, milk and vanilla; beat well.
Add dry ingredients to beaten mixture, beating till well combined.
Make Cinnamon and Sugar mixture (9 tablespoons sugar, 3 teaspoons cinnamon) to sprinkle on cookies.
#40 scoop for mini cookies, 5x6 on sheet pan bake 5 minutes.
#24 scoop for regular cookies, 4x5 on sheet pan bake 8 minutes.
Flatten slightly and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture, or until lightly golden brown.
I think this makes 198 cookies, I told you I still cook like I am a caterer.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Quiche Diet

Slipping into a sweater, I start giving thought to what I might look like when it gets warmer. Very soon I won't be able to hide behind my sweater. The more I think about the prospect of waist management, the more I think about food. Quiche in particular.

Quiche, not any calorie conscience version, but the real cheesy custard pie. Creamy, savory delicious, variations are limitless! Once a month or so I like to make a pie using up bits in the fridge and warm up slices for a quick breakfast or lunch. Then pull my sweater a little tighter.

The ingredients often change but the formula is the same for a 9" deep dish quiche. Four to five eggs, one cup to one and a quarter cups of cream, 8 ounces or so of shredded cheese, and an equal amount of vegetables or finely diced meat. Nutmeg, salt and pepper are my standbys, but I have used any number of combination of herbs and spices to compliment the mix.

For the pastry I'll be honest, in a lazy moment I will use ready to bake pie crust. When I am too lazy to travel one block to the store, I call on Julia. Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" my guidebook to good stuff. Page 143, pate brisee, is the base for a great quiche.

Any events this spring, you unwittingly volunteered for, are just around the corner. You need a plan say, if thirty or more people are coming to your house and your freaked out of your mind. Before you move and change your name try this ridiculously easy "quiche for a crowd" recipe.

If your enjoying quiche greedily alone or with your "crowd". I can promise, no pounds and no tears will be shed. I hear there is a sale somewhere on sweaters.

Spinach Quiche for a Crowd

Adapted for my catering business when making quiche ( for hundreds) was on the menu. It's a little simplistic yet fool proof and tasty.

30 egg
9 cups heavy cream
2 lbs. frozen box of spinach
8 cups swiss cheese shredded
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon nutmeg
6 9" deep pie shells.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Thaw frozen spinach, squeeze out the water, best to do by wringing it in a clean kitchen towel.
In large mixing bowl, beat eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg, slowly add cream until well combined
Divide spinach and shredded swiss cheese into 9" deep pie crusts.
Pour quiche mixture evenly over spinach and cheese in the pie crusts, filling all pies to the rim.
Bake at 325 degrees for 55 minutes. Let stand about 20 minutes before slicing.
Cut into 6 slices for entree/8 slices if for buffet.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

BFF Bread

Last weekend I snapped.
I went on a baking spree producing 24 loafs of Orange Cranberry, Chocolate Pecan, Banana Nut and Butterscotch. I couldn't stop! I baked Coco Coffee, Pistachio and Cinnamon Bread, and quietly hid them in my freezer. I finished off the yeast, dazed and exhausted. This is how it happened.

A few weeks ago, the director of my department at work, both will remain nameless so I may keep my job, strolls into the office with a delicious loaf of moist sweet home baked bread.
I sampled a slice and found it to be not only tasty, but potentially habit forming. My sneaky director was looking for this reaction, she was trolling for victims who would take a bag. What's in the bag? Amish Friendship Bread Starter, and before you know it your hooked.

This is how it goes, a "Friend" gives you a bag of starter. You mash the bag a few day's, feed it after a few more days then add a trillion ingredients to make bread. This is supposed to be an Amish thing but with instant pudding as one of the ingredients, I have my doubts. The bread is tasty and prolific. Every time you get ready to bake a batch, you are to siphon off some starter, bag it, and share it with four lucky friends. So what happens when you run out of willing friends to take a bag? In my case I baked all the remaining starter into bread myself.

Baking is far from my favorite thing, there are rules, precise measuring and timers involved. To make it worse my oven door is still broken and waiting for a break in the current economical situation to afford repairs. The bungee cords are for real not just for decoration.They should come "free with purchase" of a Thermadore.

All this baking left me with loafs, I mean loads of questions. I want to know how the Amish do it, my arms were ready to fall off from stirring stiff dough. Maybe Amish women sneak off to a Amish Woman's Day Spa, and have the kinks kneaded out of their shoulders. What happens when the Amish run out of friends? What are they doing with their plethora of loafs? Where did they get Zip-lock bags?

In the spirit of friendship I have conveniently copied the starter recipe so you can get hooked. I hope to be far away when you snap.

Starter Ingredients

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 3 cups white sugar, divided
  • 3 cups milk


  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes. In a 2 quart container glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand. Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle. Leave loosely covered at room temperature. You may put the starter in a gallon size plastic zip lock container. Let air out occasionally. Mixture will bubble, this is normal.
  2. On days 2 thru 4; stir starter with a spoon, or mash plastic zip lock bag.
  3. Day 5; use a wooden spoon to stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk.
  4. Days 6 thru 9; stir only, or mash starter in it's zip lock bag.
  5. Day 10-ready to bake, see below

Amish Bread Recipe

Important Note: Don't use metal spoons or equipment. Do not refrigerate. Use only glazed ceramic, glass or plastic bowls or containers.

Required Main Ingredient

1 cup live yeast starter (see above)
On Day 10:
Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Stir. Take out 3 cups and place 1 cup each into three separate plastic Zip lock bags. Give one cup and a copy of this recipe to three friends. To the balance (a little over one cup) of the batter, add the following ingredients and mix well.
1 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
In a separate bowl combine the following dry ingredients and mix well:
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 - (5.1 oz) box instant vanilla pudding
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup nuts and or dried fruit (optional)

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix and pour into two well greased, flour dusted bread pans. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of cinnamon mixed with 1/4 cup of sugar. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Experiment with other favors of pudding or substitue the milk in the bread reciepe for juice.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mardi Gras Fills the Bill!

This one is for Bill. I like Bill. He reads my blog and wants to know why I haven't written anything lately. Honestly, I'd like to tell Bill, why I haven't written any thing lately. Here we are out for our regular Friday Family pizza date, and I've got nothing.

Our two families get together as often as we can at Top Class Pizza. The kids are friends at school, where there is little time to cut loose. At pizza night they play games and tear around the parking lot. As parents its our job to share a tasty pie, poke fun at what's happening in the world and commiserate over 6th grade homework.

So back to the problem. How did I get writers block anyway? Is it because it rained more days this month then the suns shined? Am I caving to the pressure of the current economical blues? Perhaps it's because my oven door is broken and now must be secured with bungie cords to close. Stupid Thermadore. I started thinking...I need inspiration. I need an outing, a change of scenery, an adventure. I need Fat Tuesday!

Original to Louisiana, Mardi Gras came to Califorina a decade ago when some brilliant crazies saw the potential of 5th street in the Gas Lamp Quarter of Down Town San Diego as West Coast Party Central. Good for them and good for me!

Tuesday February 24, Richard and I skipped town and headed south, where we lived it up New Orleans style for one Mardi Gras night. We crashed at the Ivy Hotel, a stunning, luxurious, contemporary restored beauty on 6th and F. If you get a chance, take this one in! Sometimes you need to get away and rest, but then there is times a good scream for plastic beads could do you a whole lot better!

Back home and flipping through my recipes I find a Creole dish Bill and his family would love, I choose Gumbo. Not because I have Mardi Gras on the brain, but even the name Gumbo is fun! Sharing this dish may not stimulate the economy, fix my oven door or break through my writing block. It's great old fashioned Creole comfort food and if nothing else, a great way to face the rain.


1 lb. andoulille sausage cut 1/4 inch thick
⅓ cup vegetable oil
⅓ cup butter
2 lbs. chicken
1 lb. shrimp
2 quarts chicken stock
⅔ cup flour
1 cup onion chopped
1 cup celery chopped
1 cup green pepper chopped
1 cups okra sliced
2 tablespoons garlic minced
3 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon tabasco sauce
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ cup green onion chopped
4 cups cooked rice


In 3-quart saucepan, over medium-high heat, brown chicken in 4 tablespoons oil, about 7-10 minutes.
Add chicken stock, cover and cook until chicken is tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove chicken, set aside liquid, and when chicken is cool enough to handle, discard skin and bones and dice meat into 1/2-inch cubes.

In skillet, over medium heat, heat oil and butter until melted, add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until roux turns dark brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Using the same 3 quart sauce pan, brown sausage, add onion, celery, green pepper, garlic and okra. Cook about 5 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add reserved chicken stock along with bay leafs, thyme, tabasco, cayenne, salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Ladel about 2 cups of chicken stock into roux, whisk together over medium heat-about 5 minutes. Bring to boil-reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Add back into 3 quart sauce pan with vegetables and sausage.

Add cooked diced chicken and simmer another 45 minutes.

Add shrimp-cook 5 more minutes.
Remove pan from heat, add green onions and adjust seasoning. Let gumbo stand 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, mound about 1/3 cup rice in each soup bowl, then ladle about 1 cup gumbo around rice.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Resolutions on Parade

I hadn't quite recovered from Christmas when New Years showed up. I was ready to set this one out when an invite from family friends, led to a fun night at their arcade," Nickle, Nickle". The surprise reunion and yours truly winning the skee ball contest, made for a festive end to 2008.

The following
morning, I stare bleary eyed at the TV the Rose Parade begins it's third run. Low and behold a New Years miracle!... Stephanie Edwards is back in proper position at the Rose Parade! It was enough to trade my pj's in for jeans and head for Pasadena. My husband, son, nephew and I went to see the float phenomena. Honestly you haven't seen anything until you have seen these mobile bouquets first hand!

New Years came and went and I forgot to make a resolution. It simply slipped my mind. If I had been on the ball, I would have recited the traditional as usual. Loose weight, exercise more, eat better and write a cookbook. What, doesn't everyone want to loose weight?

This year I am breaking tradition and pledging some restyled resolutions:

Instead of trying to shed some pounds I am going to put more effort into getting taller. I'll even donate a chin to anyone who needs one.

I will move my legs faster then my mouth at the Gym.
Instead of eating better, I am going to eat more meaningful food. Like pizza with friends.
Besides, if for any reason my life should flash before me, I do not want Lean Cuisine to be my last food memory.
I will not go grocery shopping in sweats and a ponytail. And when I go, I'll bring my list.
I'll stop avoiding words I can't spell.
I will let my son correct my English, after all, I'm paying tuition.
This year I resolve to try Brussels sprouts again, learn how to browse and work o
n that cookbook.

Am I the only one that thinks the Smoked Salmon and Dill Rosettes look just like a rose float?
Should you want to make your own parade, here's a tasty way to welcome 2009!

Smoked Salmon and Dill Rosettes


25 each crepes
24 ounces cream cheese
2 lbs. smoked salmon sliced
1 cup capers
1 each red onion sliced
1 bunch fresh dill
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Combine lemon juice, cream cheese and 1/4 cup of chopped fresh dill.
Lay our 25 crepes on a clean surface and working quickly spread cream cheese mixture over entire crepe.
Evenly divide salmon slices, between all 25 crepes and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of capers.
Thinly slice red onion and lay a few separate rings over the salmon on each crepe.
Tuck and roll crepe as tightly as possible, careful not to tear the fragile crepe.
Chill 2 hours. Cut each crepe roll at a slight angle into 4 pieces and arrange on platter.
Garnish each roll with additional dill sprig.