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Dedicated to the notion that one of the things that’s wrong with the world is that there aren’t enough waffles in it and everyone should sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes order “one for the table”.

-Amy Ephron


 

Queen of Tarts

by Fredrica Duke
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freddetartI saw a beautiful fruit tart today, but I didn’t buy it. Though one brief glimpse of its light crust, glistening white cream & assorted seasonal berries and our whole intense love affair came rushing back.

It’s the mid 1970’s. The place: Patrick Terrail’s West Hollywood restaurant Ma Maison. An old house on Melrose converted into the most innovative, modern French restaurant of its day. It was so very French and so very Hollywood, and when those two worlds collided on that patio of Astroturf and umbrellas, it was magic.

Big Hollywood deals were made, infamous fights broke out, and occasionally I was lucky enough – if someone with more money was paying—to be there, enjoying the food. That’s where it began – an infatuation that would turn into a stalker’s obsession. They had me at crème anglaise.

I was there a lot with Jackie Mason, which sounds so random, sort of like my celebrity dreams, but he was a friend of my dad’s and we went as his guest, or vice versa. Often, when we were at a meal with Jackie, he would do his bit:

Gentiles never finish drinking, Jews never finish eating. What do you think Jews talk about for breakfast? Where to eat lunch. At lunch: "Where should we have dinner?"

Chocolate Rocks

by Hillary Davis
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chocolaterocksLike the perfume of freshly squeezed orange juice or the whisps of flavor that float on the air when chicken soup is simmering, the smell of melting chocolate and almonds softens my resolve not to eat just one of what I am planning to make: chocolate rocks.

They couldn't be easier. Or more forgiving. Or more interesting to experiment with. Caramelize some whole almonds, and hide one inside. Chocolate rocks are prefect for hiding things. A raisin. A hazelnut. Dried cherries or cranberries. Minced orange peel. Before you put them in the refrigerator, sprinkle them with fleur de sel. Or roll them in grated coconut. Cinnamon dust. Star dust. Whatever you have. And the best of all is that they take just minutes to make.

Chocolate Lovers Cake

by Cathy Pollak
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ImageThe day after Christmas I went to the supermarket and the Valentine's candy was already out. I have already had a handful of wine orders asking what to pair the wine with for a special Valentine's Day dinner. I have to say I am impressed by the early excitement this holiday is already showing. Let's face it, we all love to celebrate, so why not embrace it.

There’s no denying it, a heartfelt dessert, is one of life’s sweetest ways to say I love you. Offering confectionery to your beloved on Valentine’s Day has been a tradition celebrated and expressed by lovers since the Middle Ages.

Sparkling hearts, winged Cupids and dreamy white doves have always reigned supreme as traditional symbols of Valentine’s Day commemorations, however, for me, chocolate is synonymous with the celebration of this love-filled holiday.

Of course the best Valentine’s Day treats aren’t the ones you buy; they’re the ones you make yourself. This Chocolate Lover’s Cake with Raspberry-Chambord Sauce will remind your sweetheart just how much they mean to you. The cake’s fudge-like center and rich chocolate taste are the perfect ending to a day basking in the glow of love.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Pudding Parfaits

by Elaine McCardel
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puddingparfait.jpgI love parfaits. They are such pretty things to make, with all kinds of possibilities from what ingredients you are going to layer to what glasses you will serve them in.

For these, I used our small stemless champagne flutes. I thought they made a perfect parfait, because they are just 4 ounce glasses and so the desserts were not huge, they were just right.

This parfait is made up of two creamy puddings – one chocolate, one peanut butter. It's topped off with whipped cream.

You can make the puddings early in the day and refrigerate them and then assemble the parfaits later. Or you can even make the parfaits a day ahead.

When I made these, I doubled the recipe for the chocolate pudding because I was making twelve parfaits and I wanted the pudding to come up almost to the top of the glasses.

Chocolate Mousse

by Joseph Erdos
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ImageChocolate is the dessert of choice on Valentine's Day, be it candy, truffles, cakes, or cookies, we crave chocolate. There is good reason: Somewhere along the line in history, dating back to Aztec times, chocolate became known for its stimulating effect, and was believed to be an aphrodisiac. Chocolate eventually becoming equated with the holiday of love because its exclusivity made it the perfect gift to show one's appreciation. It's no surprise why so many people love chocolate, it has been a part of our Valentine's celebrations for hundreds of years. Valentine's Day wouldn't be what it is without it.

The best way to enjoy chocolate, in my opinion, is in its purest form. Give me a bar of good-quality chocolate and I will be extremely happy. Many people love such desserts as chocolate cake and brownies, but those sweets don't always give chocolate due justice. A simple dessert that showcases chocolate in its top form combines just a few ingredients: melted chocolate, eggs, and cream, to create a spoonable chocolate cloud called mousse, the French word for foam. This is a dessert your Valentine will swoon over.

 

 

 

Winter in Wyoming

by Laura Johnson

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Stories Below1

Mulled Wine
by Joseph Erdos

mulledwine.jpgWarm yourself from head to toe with a hot drink on a blustery day like today. Mulled wine does that and more. Popularized in Germany and Scandinavia, mulled wine has been a holiday favorite for hundreds of years. Christmas markets in cities and towns all over Europe swell with shoppers who turn to mulled wine when they want to warm up their...

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Sip and Savor Apple Cider
by James Farmer III

AppleCider-2Baby, its cold outside! I’ve found myself sippin’ and savorin’ a warm drink of sorts all day – Earl Grey this morning, Orange Zinger later on, the latter two combined and then for my nightcap, this warm cider was just the ticket.

Every year, my fair peach state yields the last of its famed crop towards summer’s end. Afterwards, apples from our...

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Coquito For Christmas
by Matt Armendariz

coquito-blog.jpgLast week while visiting with our banker (yes, there are some things you just have to actually go inside a bank branch, apparently) we got on the topic of food. Naturally. We were trading names of favorite restaurants, talking about the holidays, when our banker mentioned how he couldn’t wait to enjoy his family’s Christmas coquito.

As a Puerto...

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World's Best Pumpkin Pie
by James Moore

bestpumpkinpie2There are tons of pumpkin pie recipes, and in November all of the food shows and magazines are filled with both classic and innovative recipes. I think I’ve tried all of them – most started with...

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Valerie's Neapolitan Cookies
by Valerie Bertinelli

valcookiesWhen I was growing up, Christmas began right after Thanksgiving with the start of the cookie-baking marathon. These beautiful layered cookies, which are more cake than cookie, were - and still are...

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Mexican Wedding Cookies
by James Moore

xmascookies.jpgThese have to be one of the quintessential Christmas cookies. They are known by many names but Mexican Wedding Cookie seems to be the most common.

There are several variations of this cookie in...

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Horns for the Holidays
by Sue Doeden

horns006.jpgMore than twenty years ago, when my Auntie Elinor was living in Riverside, Illinois, she began sending me the special holiday cookbook that her local newspaper published. It was packed with all...

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restaurant news

A Santa Ynez Wine Country Find: Industrial Eats
Southern California
by Lisa Dinsmore

ieentranceI just love the food and wine community on social media. They find all the coolest and latest places to go when you head out on the road. While our trips to wine country always center on finding...

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The Malibu Fish Market
Los Angeles
by Anna Harari

malibuseafood.jpgMy mother used to tell me she would drive to Malibu several times a week.  She wouldn't stop there, just drive there and back.  To relax…to write in her head...to figure things out. She doesn't do...

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Huckleberry Cafe
Los Angeles
by Rachel Parker

zoe-nathan-and-josh-loeb.jpg
photo: Joshua Lurie/944.com

With a sensibility learned from fairy tales, one would expect a baker, the conjurer of butter,...

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London Hutong at the Shard: I'm Sexy and I Know It
London - British Isles
by Nancy Ellison

shardbuildingIt may have started with the London cabbies, but the city’s new skyscrapers all have affectionate but cheeky nicknames: Can of Ham, Cheesegrater, Gherkin, Walkie-Talkie, and the Shard to name a...

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Sing for the Climate Belgium-