Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fern and Feather is 1 Year Old!

My sweet friend Alexis' blog is one year old today; her blog is the one I read when I have a cup of tea in the late afternoon, when I'm finishing up my work for the day.  It's fun, full of style, amazing design and the photos are gorgeous!  Not only is the blog awesome,so is Alexis---so, hop on over to Fern and Feather and wish her a happy day.

Best Birthday Presents Ever!

I had a great birthday yesterday---filled with great conversation with friends, amazing food, and some presents!  Dr. C. came through with this gorgeous flower arrangement, which smells like Hawaii.

I was fortunate to have lunch with two friends at Mille Fleur in Rancho Santa Fe. This is my lunch: the chicken salad with a raspberry vinaigrette, melon and celery root. 
This is the lobster salad with lemon emulsion dressing.

Wiener Schnitzel with butternut squash.

We were celebrating our friends' acceptance to culinary school, and this was the way dessert was presented.  There is a birthday candle in the wine glass--so cute!

For dinner we went to Bice in the Gaslamp District with a dear friend.  Italian, with a very nice vibe, the first course was 5 different Italian cheeses served with Bread and Cie's toasted fig and anise bread, and an assortment of jams to complement the cheeses. 

After a huge day of food, and fun, it was nice to come home and relax, and watch the Padres win their game.  I also opened my last gift, from our Granddaughter.

OK, I collect wind-up toys--I have wind up foods, Santa's, snowmen, pumpkins, sushi, and now I my own wind up Sumo wrestlers.  I can't wait to have them face off!  I'll be back tomorrow with our take 5 recipe til then have a great day. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Going Dark for the Day

It's my birthday today, so I'm taking the day off, but will post tomorrow with some food from today; I'm going out to lunch and dinner so this morning I'm going out for a run to get a head start on working off whatever I eat today!  Enjoy your day, I know I will.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I couldn't resist this video, especially on such a hot day---it made me smile. 

If any of you are old enough to remember Johnny Carson, he used to do it bit where one of his side kicks would ask, "how hot was it?"  which would kick off a wave of one-liners. 

Well, it's been hot enough that I don't want to cook, that's for sure!  I'm not cooking tonight, since Dr. C. has a meeting, and it's way too hot, but I do a have a great recipe for you, it's an everything but the kitchen sink antipasto chopped salad. It just needs lots of goodies that you can pick up at any full service deli, or Italian market along with some greens of your choice, maybe some pickling cukes, and cherry tomatoes.  Buon appetito!

Antipasto Salad
Serves 6 to 8


Two heads romaine lettuce, washed, spun dry and thinly sliced
2 cups cooked chicken or turkey, finely chopped
One piece Genoa Salami, or Soppresatta, cut 1/2-inch thick, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
One European cucumber, finely chopped
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes (vari-color are great)
One 3-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and finely chopped
One 5-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained, and coarsely chopped
1 cup sharp provolone cheese, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 cup olives---your favorites, or whatever you have in the fridge, drained,pitted and chopped

  • Combine all the ingredients in a large salad bowl, and chill until ready to serve. 

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil

  • Whisk together all the ingredients, until blended.  Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt or pepper.  If the dressing is too acid, add a bit more salt to balance the acid.  Refrigerate the dressing until ready to use, or up to 2 weeks. 
  • Cook's Notes:  using 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 canola will give you a dressing that doesn't totally solidify in the fridge.
    • If you would like to use fresh herbs, the dressing will only keep in the fridge for about 3 days, after that the herbs deteriorate in the dressing, essentially being "cooked" by the acid.  
    • You can also make this salad with pasta, substituting 1 pound farfalle, shell or other shaped pasta for the lettuce and tossing with all the ingredients.   
    • Think of using your leftovers in the salad:  cooked green beans,marinated or sauteed mushrooms, garbanzos, lentils, or white beans for added protein, or toss in diced avocado just before serving.                                             
If all else fails, just open your favorite wine, set out some cheese and fruit (figs are in season here in San Diego--wrap them with prosciutto) and enjoy the sunset. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Slow Cooker Gospel

Today in San Diego, the temperatures at the coast are hovering in the 90's;

I'm not complaining, we've had a colder than normal summer, and we can tolerate a bit of heat for a few days as long as there aren't any fires. 
Most of us look to our slow cookers during the cooler months, dust it off, bring it out to make soups, stews and all manner of braised stick-to-your-ribs fare, but the slow cooker is also a great low and slow oven to use during the hotter months of the year. 
Poach chicken breasts for salad, bake potatoes,make an egg casserole,a peach cobbler, lemon pudding cake, or even tuna noodle in your slow cooker; it may not be the most stylish appliance on your counter, but it sure is versatile!  
Today I'm poaching chicken breasts to make a curried chicken salad for Dr. C and I.  He heard someone say turmeric and curry are really good  for you, so I'm making something relatively healthy for dinner.  On days like today, I'm not hungry, I drink gallons of water.  My slow cooker will poach the chicken breasts in 2 hours, while I go and do some errands. When I return I'll pull them apart, cool them, make the salad, and serve it with a side of fruit. 

Fresh chives from the garden--snip with Joyce Chen scissors

 2 ribs celery
Chop the celery

Core the apple, and finely chop--remember an apple a day keeps the doctor away

Two half chicken breast halves, perfectly cooked in the slow cooker

Dressing ingredients---sweet Major Grey chutney, Best Foods Mayonnaise, and Penzeys' sweet curry powder or Madras curry powder

Curried Chicken Salad

Serves 4 to 6

One Gala apple, cored, and finely chopped
2 ribs celery with leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons snipped chives
2 cups cooked chicken, finely chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Major Grey chutney, chopping any larger pieces
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sweet or Madras curry powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

  1. In a bowl, combine the apple, celery, chives, and chicken.

  2. In another small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, chutney, curry and lemon juice, stirring until blended. 

  3. Stir into the chicken mixture, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, to let the flavors get to know each other. 

  4. Serve over a lettuce, or spinach salad, or spread in a sandwich on whole grain bread. 

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pizza Hut Doesn't Deliver Here

Weekends around Casa Phillips are generally casual, but come dinner time, I'm pulling out my hair trying to decide what I want to eat.  Today it was pizza--as I've said here before, I don't order pizza in San Diego, because no one makes anything I'd want to eat:  Ham and pineapple???  Spam?? Goat cheese?? Cheddar cheese??? Puh-lease----these aren't ingredients that should EVER be on any pizza. So I set out to make Dr. C and I a bit of dinner.   

Naked Dough

Simple Tomato Sauce, a bit of garlic, onion, and fresh Italian parsley

Three kinds of cheese: from the top whole milk mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Pecorino Romano


Eat your heart out Dominoe's!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Flowering Jack-o-Lantern

I can't take credit for this cute edible jack-o-lantern, I saw one in Southern Living this month, and decided to challenge myself and try making one.  Clockwise from the top, mesclun greens, violas, strawberries, Italian oregano and pansies.Everything in the jack-o-lantern is edible and would make a great salad when it all grows up, and you can plant the whole Jack in the ground after it serves its purpose as a living flower arrangement, how's that for sustainable???  Here's how mine went together:

Take off the top and scoop out the seeds--easier said than done--they are stringy and wet if the pumpkin is fresh.

Line the interior with a 2-gallon zip-lock bag, with the zipper cut off, or aluminum foil.

A little potting soil

Arrange the plants in the Jack, and water lightly. This will keep for about 2 weeks, after that the pumpkin may begin to deteriorate, that's when you either transplant the inside, or plant the whole thing in your yard. You can do this with any size pumpkin, but the bigger it is the more you can squeeze into it.   Have a great weekend everyone.

The Dirty Dozen

This morning, I had the privilege of speaking to the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) at my church.  It was great to see so many young women interested in their children, and building community with eachother---there is nothing better than being in the weeds with a friend, and being able to talk about it. 

I spoke about foods, and nutrition and about buying organic.  I outlined "The Dirty Dozen"---although I know there was a great war movie with that title, I was referring to the dozen fruits and veggies that we should buy as labeled USDA certified organic.  So here goes:

 Grapes, imported (Chile)
Bell peppers

Purchase only fruits and vegetables that are subject to USDA regulations. Produce imported from other countries is not grown under the same regulations as enforced by the USDA. Examples are strawberries and cantaloupes from Mexico.

I also recommend that you buy organic milk, beef, eggs and poultry. Reduce the risk of exposure to the agent believed to cause mad cow disease and minimize exposure to other potential toxins in non-organic feed. These foods contain no hormones, and antibiotics — which have been linked to increased antibacterial resistance in humans — have not been added to the food. They often cost 100 percent more than conventional products.
I'll be back later with a little project for the weekend, until then, enjoy the day. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Comfort Food--Ribbin' It

After a swing through Costco a few days ago, I had 3 pounds of "Country Style boneless pork ribs" that needed to be cooked. Country Style pork ribs, are really pork shoulder, cut to look like ribs.  If we had summer weather here, I would have put them in the pressure cooker  and pre-cooked them before tossing them on the grill and serving them with barbecue sauce, but I woke up to another gloomy morning (it's now sunny and bright) and decided to prepare the ribs in the slow cooker, with apples, onion and sauerkraut, a stick to your ribs dinner that slow cooks for 6 hours on high with the sweet and spicy sauerkraut as a great accompaniment.

Cut the apple with the "Dial-a-Slice" apple corer/slicer--adjusts for 8 or 16 wedges

  This recipe could be a Take-5, but not everyone will have fresh, rather than canned sauerkraut on hand.  If you don't have sauerkraut, double the amount of onions and apples and cook for the same amount of time.  Serve with smashed red potatoes, and Riesling or your favorite beer. 


Country Style Ribs with Sauerkraut and Apples

Serves 4

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons sat
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds boneless country style ribs
One large sweet yellow onion, such as Vidalia
3 large Granny Smith or other cooking apple, peeled, and cut into 16 wedges
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cups fresh sauerkraut (it's sold in the fresh pickle and deli section of the supermarket)

  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil, sprinkle the meat evenly with the salt and pepper and brown the meat on all sides, transfer it to the insert of a 4 to 6-quart slow cooker.
  2. Add the onion, and apples to the skillet, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion begins to soften, add the sauerkraut, sugar, cider and mustard, and stir to combine.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker, covering the pork with the mixture. 
  4. Cover the slow cooker, and cook on high for 6 hours, or on low for 10 to 12. 
  5. Remove the pork from the slow cooker, and transfer to a cutting board.  Cut off any excess fat, and arrange on a serving platter. 
  6. Remove any excess fat from the apple and sauerkraut mixture, using a slotting spoon transfer to the serving platter, and serve with smashed red potatoes on the side.  
I was fortunate to be at Specialty Produce this week when they received organic apples from the Lakeside Organic farm, and used those for this recipe.  I also got some really amazing looking red pears, which I'm going to transform into something tomorrow, maybe an upside down cake for Dr. C, so stay tuned.  Until then, have a great day.