I've always loved being in the kitchen. Isn't that the gathering place at parties and get togethers! That's where the action is, where delicious smells come from, and where I go to create some really great stuff! My Grandma was my inspiration. She lived her life in Baltimore and she was ALWAYS in the kitchen (or down at the VFW for a crab feast and beer) but Alice created so many wonderful meals for our family. I remember there was always soup before the meal, usually a steaming bowl of crab soup with a rich tomato broth and lots of vegetables. Her crab cakes were incredible, a recipe I use today, and undeniably the best. I would challenge ANY other crab cake recipe to match my Grandma Alice's. The first meal I made for my mom was macaroni and cheese from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook back when I was about 7 years old. I was very proud of it, and it was really good..a creamy white sauce combined with good old cheddar and shells sprinkled with toasted bread crumbs..yum. So off I went through life, cooking and baking, and came to realize that baking was the shizzy. I loved finding a great recipe and making it even better. Funny my kids didn't like sweets much, so I showered friends and neighbors with treats. Later down the road, when some real decisions needed to be made, I decided to attend the baking and pastry arts program at The California Culinary Academy. I was 47 years old and had no idea what I was in for (another blog). So I mastered the art of baking thanks to a dedicated and talented team of instructors. I did a gig in the basement of well known pastry kitchens and had a wonderful time working for a small caterer cooking with a great bunch of gals. But here I am now, still cooking, still baking and loving it, in my own kitchen where I can share my love of this sport with the world. I take all my own photos (another passion) and I hope you will have patience and stay with me in this newest adventure. So thank you Grandma Alice for all those delicious memories, stories and inspiration. Stay tuned..
Thursday, August 5, 2010
..well here we go. Last week on the drive home from Malibu, I stopped at the Santa Barbara Blueberry Farm. I had driven by this little gem hundreds of times, never stopping for a variety of reasons. But because my dear friend Cheri, had suggested I go, I knew it was a must. I had planned to meet her there (she would drive from Santa Barbara) but the timing was off, and it was just me. After a pleasant chat with the (very sweet) son of the owner of the farm, I headed off, bucket in hand. I started slowly, wandering the rows of bushes, some plump with fruit, others pretty much done for the season (May-mid August). I was perfectly happy there; the quiet sound of the breeze and an occasional "Hey, I found one full of berries". As my bucket filled, the sun beating down on my unprotected legs and arms (I wore a much needed hat), I quickly learned the art of picking blueberries. An hour later, I had a full bucket of the sweetest blueberries I've ever tasted, dust and all. I got a few quick shots with my Canon, paid my $15 (well spent) and headed back on the 101 north towards home. A week later and here I am ready for the pie making. First things first; the crust. I won't go into detail about recipes (unless requested), but I will say that I always use my favorite, my go to crust, and it is always delicious. The blueberry part of the recipe was given to me by Cheri,my Santa Barbara friend, and with a few little tweaks, I think this pie will be tops..(a side note: we won't be keeping this pie, it is going to Carol's, my neighbor, since my husband isn't a fan of blueberries, and if it stayed here, each piece would be embellished with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and eaten by me) So, as they say, "Every picture tells a story, don't it"..