Tuesday, July 30, 2013

B. L. Taco Saladish

You’ve likely been to a Taco Tuesday. I’ve mentioned before that the grocery is like an art store for me…and it is. Today I found super skinny corn tortillas and super skinny bacon and I just had to make a B.L.Taco. This open face delight is set with heirloom tomatoes, mixed greens and a very watered down ranch dressing drizzle.
First one is with just a little bacon, the other is piled high. It’s a true cornucopia of delicious. Pick your favorite.

If you want a skinny BLT this is it. Enjoy!

Cornucopia of Bacon Taco

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Well, this is #50. Doing a blog is like having a dog. You love when it licks your face but takin' it out 3x a day...hmm? Woofing good exercise for everyone...hope you are having a delicious day.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Artful Eating. Amazu! Shogo! Holy Bento! This is a Tight Flight.

bento bomba serving tray

Have you ever been to a catered event where those funky plates and napkins are all they have? Then you try and eat it gracefully while balancing your glass between your
hands that are twined around too much of a good thing…yup. This is the answer.

This is one of the best ideas I’ve come up with. I took a painters mix tray and used it as a serving bento. Of course, this is just one example of how you can use it to have your individual serving stand out from the crowd. Its artful presentation is more than a wow…if you’re serving small bites or an amuse-bouche this is a perfect way to set the table. Each serving in its own little partition. Palette to Palate, this is one original idea. Forget small plates…this is an idea that will please everyone.

Perfect for a gallery event and more. Like I said, Amazu! Shogo…Holy Bento…this is a tight flight.

TIP: These are about 99 cents at retail. Wholesale, well, you can imagine how cheap.
If you want to make a real Sho-go…be one of the first to do this…but remember…you saw it here first! Get some special orders for the colors you like…black would also be very beautiful.

tight shot of food in painters mix tray

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Zero Calorie Donuts

Donut logo art with sprinkles

Tasty memories.

It was Sunday, and Sunday was donut day. You could smell the wafting across the greenbelt early in the morning. Sunday also meant getting ready for church, and a scuffle for our large family to pile into the car for morning service without breakfast. You could not eat anything before communion, so the donuts meant temptation before and sinful deliciousness after. We seldom had sweets in our house so Sunday was a special, indulgent occasion. We would take turns going to the factory that was in a small office park close by. It was a strange adventure for a little one. No matter how many times I did it, it was always new. To walk all by yourself across the green through the multitude of buckeye trees and a dandelion carpet—to meet the grey door with a sign that said Prestige Donuts, and walk into a whole new world. It was a factory. A factory with workers at conveyor belts on a Sunday in a somewhat dark environment, wearing clear gloves that whisked to picked up the sweets and pack them into boxes. My eyes would glaze over a bit in wonder. It was a whole new world to me. A world of people I only saw on Sunday’s, occasionally. For me it was so out of the ordinary...today it’s the kind of thing kid’s can see on TV. They show how things are made and it’s not unusual, but then, it was a complete sensory experience. The trip across the green for a dozen or two of the freshest donuts you’ve ever eaten…right off the belt, the smells, the new world, carrying the warm bags back with delight for the family to share…to a little one, these are memories that stay with you forever.

Getting a donut today is as common as common can be. There are so many flavors and versions that it’s hard to know which way to go. It does not cross my mind to stop for a glazed donut anymore, but today the memory came wafting and I took a short trip in my mind back to all of it.

I don’t know about you, but I miss some of these private, larger than life experiences. Everything is so in your face that you don’t have to really wonder about anything. It’s all out in the open…but I still live somewhere inside the empty space of a donut hole, in a world of wonder where the space is left for me to define what goes in the middle. This place where the sweet spot is in my soul and has zero calories.

That’s a dessert I can recommend.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

First Taste of Being an Entrepreneur

taste of entrepreneurship on chalkboard

Entrepreneurship 101

My first job was working at a burger joint. I don’t remember what led me to that. It was not glamorous, but it was a job and that worked for me. Prior to this first job in the real world, I was a babysitter. Making my first cold call to a new neighbor at the age of thirteen got me a long standing assignment. I can still see myself at my mothers desk ready to dial the phone. Later the mother confessed that when she first met me—this young girl with braces on her teeth, she thought—I’m going to leave my three children with this girl? One was only 6 months old, but they kept me on for years and years. Why? Well, I was really good at taking care of the kids. Once they were in bed, I cleaned the house. Putting everything in order and getting the kitchen spotless. These were busy people who did not take much time to keep things neat and clean. It got to the point that they would make little or no effort, knowing I would clean it all up on Friday night.  I share this story to illustrate that making a cold call can change your life. Great service beyond expectation, and a take-charge attitude will serve you well in the rest of your career.

Back to burgerland…Here’s the magic bullet. I had to read the employee manual before starting the job and the words that stayed with me over the years—“Your last customer of the day is as important as the first.” From my perspective, this is the instructive advice that put the rudder on my ship. I went on to work at other food and hospitality venues—pizzeria, brew pub and even a night club. As a server, another job that gave me great insight on customer relations, I learned everything I needed to know about being an entrepreneur. Sometimes I would get really crappy stations. Prime locations were given to those with seniority, but I did not let that stand in my way. I gave great service to everyone and got better tips than anyone else. It made all the other servers angry and I actually got fired. They had done everything they could to undermine my success, and when that did not work, well…I got the boot.

Thank heavens! I went on to college and learned about fine art and all that. Went to work for a small advertising agency as an account executive to learn the ropes, but none of it felt right. They did not serve their clients the way I wanted to. I wanted to give superior service, their way seemed insincere. I wanted my own station back. I wanted to direct my own future success, and within short order, I started my own advertising agency. Armed with very little experience, except the rudder of my original tenacity and desire to please—I succeeded. Cold calls were easy. Giving clients more than they asked for, a pleasure. Serving with excellence and integrity, my soul satisfaction.

So if you are just starting out, and they ask you to wear a happy face headband, a polyester red white and blue pantsuit, a pub apron, or a danskimpy…never fear. The lessons you learn from any hospitality business is that all brands have a uniform and if you don’t like it…go out and create some of your own guidelines to greatness. Get your first taste of entrepreneurship. Get your rudder straight. Go on to create uniformed hospitality in whatever flavor you like. But remember, whatever business you choose, these are excellent words to live by…

Your last customer of the day, is as important as the first.

One of my favorite service taglines is “We’ll leave the light on.” Now that’s a company that’s focused on serving you night or day, whenever you arrive.

If you think it’s too late to get going…think of Colonel Sanders…he rebooted at age 65—proving you’re never too old to win. His occupation is listed as entrepreneur.

Go ahead, make that call to yourself. Step into your greatness no matter where you are. It begins and ends with hospitality—and if you do it right, it will feed you joy every day.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Man vs Robot

Today I read another article on fast food workers being replaced by robots, now and in the future.  What I want to know is why the word man is in manufacture? When you take the word man out of manufacture what your are left with is ufacture or the alternative, robofacture. The word origin as noted in the definition, is manu factum ‘made by hand’…with this new trend, I’m just not sure who, or what hands.

Made by hand indicates thoughtfulness goes into the making.  I’ve written about the need to stay close to nature, and close to your food to impart loving attention—which in turn gives taste satisfaction and nurturing nutrition. In so many ways, including GMO and all the additives that go into production prepared food—eliminating the man, or woman from the prep and prepare stage may be good for the bottom line, but not good for the soul. Consumption is not communion. You can’t eat money.

Also in the definition is the notation—the production of a natural substance by a living thing.

Note: I realize some things must be manufactured, but food is so essential to our well-being and as you look around do you see a disturbing trend? People who act more like robots than humans?

the making of articles on a large scale using machinery : the manufacture of armored vehicles.
[with adj. ] a specified branch of industry : the porcelain manufacture for which France became justly renowned.
the production of a natural substance by a living thing : the genetic blueprint for the manufacture of a protein.
( manufactures) manufactured goods or articles : exports and imports of manufactures.
verb [ trans. ]
1 make (something) on a large scale using machinery : a company that manufactured paint-by-number sets | [as adj. ] ( manufacturing) a manufacturing company.
(of a living thing) produce (a substance) naturally.
make or produce (something abstract) in a merely mechanical way : [as adj. ] ( manufactured) manufactured love songs.
2 invent or fabricate (evidence or a story) : the tabloid industry that manufactures epochal discoveries out of thin air.
manufacturability |-?fak ch ?r?'bil?te| noun
manufacturable adjective
manufacturer noun
ORIGIN mid 16th cent. (denoting something made by hand): from French (re-formed by association with Latin manu factum ‘made by hand’ ), from Italian manifattura. Sense 1 dates from the early 17th cent.

Above photo credit is screen shot from youtube altered in photoshop. To see the full video demonstration,

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Crazy Good Soup Hot or Cold

Harvest Lentil Soup
Harvest Lentil Soup Supreme.

Splendor is always in season. This delicious soup is all veggie vitality. Yes, it’s Summer and soup is not always the first thing you have on your mind, but eating light and having lots of nutrition packed into the dish hits the spot. I make a big pot and freeze the rest to pull out when I need a quick meal. The great thing about veggie lentil soup is that it tastes great hot or cold. You can even ladle off the broth and put the mix on salad or a yummy baguette with a drizzle of balsamic dressing.

What went into this lentil soup? Well, lentils of course and a load of other fabulously fresh stuff. Garlic, shallots, tomatoes, carrots, celery, unsalted pumpkin seeds, corn, green tea, rice wine vinegar, lite soy sauce, mustard, habanero chiles, serrano chiles, sriracha hot chili sauce, red peppers and veggie broth.

Serve it with some grilled garlic bread and you’ll have one completely tasty repast. 

Seconds anyone? 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Intelligent Imbibing

Wine bottle chalk art-black background
One of my dear friends, Tim Hanni is the author of a book I think you’ll love.

As a Master of Wine and also a fine chef, he knows quite a bit about wine and food. Oh heck, make that almost everything about wine and food and a great deal about people and their preferences.

His recent release, Why You Like the Wines You Like: Changing the way the world thinks about wine. (The New Wine Fundamentals) (Volume 1) is now available as either a paperback or Kindle Edition.

This quote from Tim is enough to whet your appetite for intelligent imbibing.

Hanni says, “ I’m on a mission to have everyone pair wines with the diner, not the dinner.”

Check out the first pages and table of contents at Amazon, buy it, and then hurry over to—http://www.myvinotype.com/ for a personal wine taste evaluation.

You’ll learn everything you need to know for your next happy event whether you’re drinking or not. 


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Artful Settings are Timeless

Cream and Sugar Service Setting

Some things touch your heart as more beautiful than others. These cream and sugar pieces are particularly wonderful. Though not used any longer, they stand out as magnificent art for a table. It's just not really done anymore—people don’t use cream and sugar service, but I think they can be repurposed as little flower vases. I want you to see them as they are. They are obviously used. They were passed down to me but I have no idea how old they are, or how many ancestors and guests touched them. Just look at the handles and see where the finish is worn off. The tenderness of the painting on the set is thoughtful and gracious. They truly look delicious.

The other set I have is crystal, and again, the beauty of time is etched into these with precious precision. They too are family heirlooms. You don’t see things like this on the everyday table and to be just set aside…well, I brought them out today to share with you.

What do you do with things you love that are somewhat out of time in their usefulness? Certainly they are still artful settings, and I hope that my showing them today will inspire all of us to make something new out of something old.

Today, they became new pieces of art set in the gallery of my heart.

Enjoy them as paintings from both the past and the future.

Crystal Etching Setting

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Grate to Great

Grater on Cutting Board with Grate some greatness quote

Contrast. Every once and awhile someone grates on your nerves—it's always a time to test your sharpness and see if you can move with the grain and turn it in to some greatness. Has anyone grated on your nerves today? Hmm...if so, I send you my heartfelt understanding. But don't let it deter your happy flavor. Just ask the mozzarella...it melts after all the trauma into a a new form of yummy love.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Flyer Fettucini Alshreddo

Grocery Flyer Fettucini Alshreddo with paper crown in bowl
Dishing a little discontent for the greater good.

Each week I receive multiple store flyer's, most from grocery stores. They come on my recycle day, and as soon as I get them, they go into the bin. The costs involved in photography, writing, editing, printing, sending these out, plus the time my postal person has in sorting and delivering, my time to dig through them and see if there is any mail tucked inside, then the recyclers time to pick up, transport and last but not least, the recycling process which then in turn, turns into the next weeks flyer's. More coordination from the retailer’s and promoter’s. Emails, contracts, reimbursements and all that. Has anyone added all that up? Am I missing something? I Googled…what is the average price of a grocery flyer and could find nothing.

In a world where we are making every effort to save resources why are they doing this? I only shop at two stores and yet, without asking—I get about seven a week, exclusively from markets. Even if the store recoups some of these costs with paid product placements through the manufacturers, which they do…it’s still a lot of people, time and money to create these.

Curiously, I have been waiting to write this post but last week no flyer's came. Today, I only received two and these are the ones on the platter.

What’s up? Here I am on the bandwagon to stop this waste…did someone beat me to the punch? Or, is this a fluke…are grocer’s taking note of this ridiculous waste. If you want a coupon from the store you shop, you can go online. Another beef is the plastic waste for your store card. It’s really just a data collection card that is touted as a discount. They collect your data and resell it, while I get a mini-discount. Hmm…You won’t let me have a plastic bag…okay, that makes sense, but what’s with your plastic card?

Why don’t you just give me a good price and cut all the waste for everyone? After all, the money saved could go into ‘good deed’ feeding of people in your community, or creating new products with less packaging. Put the ‘gro’ back in to grocery by using less trees! Stop wasting all this time and resources, and put the effort into real value.

Have something to say? Leave a comment. As I said, I am on the bandwagon to stop this waste, and will share any comments with my grocery contacts.

Loving exclusion from this editorial. Trader Joe’s has the best copy ever and should be given an award for most valuable flyer entertainment, great products and prices…although I seldom shop there…they make me want to.

TIP: If you don't want to recycle your flyer's, take them to a school. They are still good for paper mache and pre-shredding might make it easier for little ones to use.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Market Fresh Art and Entertainment

Fresh ingredients
Going to the market is like going to an art store. I’m not one of those shoppers who just goes in and grabs what I need—I browse the aisles for entertainment. I look at all the wonderful products—how they are displayed, what is in what section, what’s across from it, how things are cross merchandised, what the labels and tags are on the shelf, what new products have been added, how the deli foods look—are they fresh or looking tired, the special event displays on holidays, the end aisle promotions, how the cashiers interact with customers, how long do I have to wait in line, how many people flip through magazines while they wait, what’s promoted at the check out, is it easy to find what I am l looking for or do I have to search for it. These are just a few of the things I think about while I am shopping, but you get the idea…

The biggest issue I have with stores in general is when I have diary products that need to be kept cold for freshness—they are frequently at the back of the store and then I have to stand in line while they get warm. Why don’t they have someone who will bring it to you at the end of check out? If they had a system where you would have a refrigerated, dairy or frozen item slip, it could be scanned at check out and then bagged for you just as you are ready to leave. It was in the temperature-controlled area for a reason. And, why do they ask you when you are in line, did you find everything you are looking for…uh, what am I going to say…even if I did not find something I can’t get out of line and go get it, they have already started to check my items though the scanner.  After all is said and done, I still love going to the market. I find pure pleasure in unpacking my goodies. It really is an art store filled with amazing ingredients for culinary crafting.  In my case, I am especially grateful for the array of choices that help me to be my very best. I could not do what I do without all of the people who shop before we shop. From grower's to grocer's…you make my life beautiful in so many ways, and I seldom get the opportunity to say that to you in person.

Today’s image is all about that. Just a small sample of the joyful you provide. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Kitchen Couples. Match made in Heaven.

Tongs on Bamboo Cutting Board

Today I received a surprise thank you gift from one of my blog fans. 

How wonderful to know someone appreciates the love that I put into each and every bite. These will come in very handy for the holiday festivities and beyond. Watch out corn, and veggies...you're gonna be embraced with a big hug from the best of bon app├ętit.

It's now something a little extra.
Board Art.

Graphic image of tongs on bamboo cutting board

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Buns of Steel

Now Famous Quote/Samurai Strength & Wisdom on wood backgrounds

A few notes on calming the mind & honoring our patina.

Maintain a dojo style of combat known as "no-sword"- the point in which a samurai realizes that there is no-enemy and that purity of the style is all that is needed.

a cultured warrior symbolized by the kanji for "bun" (literary study) and "bu" (military study or arts)