Monthly Archives: March 2005

Oops, Deviled Eggs!

March 30, 2005



Caryn comes in with a dozen plastic grocery bags cutting into her arms, only to find Miss A. picking at a bowl of grapes.


Hey! I’ve been waiting for you.

Caryn takes the refrigerated items out of the bags first.


Am I late?


No, I just wanted to ask you if you could make some hors d’oeuvres for me and my girlfriends this afternoon. They’re visiting from New York and we’re gonna hang by the pool.

Caryn takes in this ball of energy before her.


Sure. No problem.

Miss A. beams.


Thanks so much. We really appreciate it.

Caryn opens the fridge to find a giant bowl of badly decorated Easter eggs filling the top shelf.


We dyed eggs this weekend! Aren’t they cute?

She doesn’t wait for an answer as she heads out the door with the grapes. Caryn tries to maneuver her groceries around the ridiculously large bowl of eggs.


Miss A. chatters away in the warmth of the sun, barely covered by her tiny, string bikini. Her GIRLFRIENDS also wear bikinis of equal size, but by contrast, look a little cold. Caryn steps out onto the deck with trays of hors d’oeuvres and a pitcher of orange-cucumber water.


He really wants to take another movie right away. And we’re both up for this one comedy where we would play opposite each other.


Fabulous! You two would make such a fun couple.

Caryn rolls her eyes as she arranges a table behind the girls. Miss A. basks in the attention of her friends.


We do have a lot of fun together. Oh! Caryn, where are those Easter eggs we dyed? I want to show my girlfriends.

Caryn looks at the table in horror. Before her, a tray of fresh, deviled eggs stare back. Miss A. hops up from her chair.


Nevermind, I’m famished. I’ll show them later. Let’s eat!

Deviled Eggs

12 hard-boiled eggs

1/3 cup sour cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 TBS. snipped fresh chives

1 tsp. dijon mustard

1 tsp. lemon juice

salt and pepper, to taste

1. Peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out egg yolks from 11 eggs into bowl. Scoop out remaining egg yolk and set aside. Chop four egg-white halves and add to bowl. Mash yolks and whites with fork.

2. Add remaining ingredients to bowl and stir until smooth. Pipe or spoon filling into egg-white halves.

3. Put remaining egg yolk in a fine, mesh strainer. Mash yolk with fork, holding strainer over the eggs to sprinkle as a garnish. Serve cold.

Makes 20 halves.

Ford-Era Hot Cross Buns!

March 27, 2005



Caryn lies on her bed, perusing the Spring issues of her food magazines. Punky is curled up on his pillow next to her, sleeping peacefully. He rolls over at the sound of the phone ringing. Caryn grabs for the phone.




What’re you doing?

She sinks back down. Just Mom.


I’m trying to decide what to make for my Easter dinner.


MOM, dressed in a hip sweatsuit and hardly looking like she could have a daughter Caryn’s age, perkily cleans the counter of her luxurious, newly-remodeled kitchen.


You don’t have to work? What’re you making?


Don’t know yet.

Mom flips through the neat stack of papers at her desk off to the side of the kitchen. She pulls out an old, yellowed clipping.


I’m emailing you this recipe for hot cross buns I found in my collection.


Where’s it from?


I don’t know. Some newspaper.

She flips it over.


Oh! There’s a picture of Ford on the back.


Mother, aren’t hot cross buns for Good Friday?


That’s what the article says! You must be older than this recipe!


Thanks, Mom. I don’t think I was even alive during the Ford Administration.


Yep, you were. I gotta go. Have to pick up my ham. Call your sister tomorrow!


Yeah, yeah.

Caryn clicks off the phone and rests her head next to Punky on the pillow.


When was Ford President?

Punky plants his back paw in the center of Caryn’s nose and pushes her off his pillow.

The flavor and texture of this dough are great. Not too sweet and easy to work with. Yes, it actually is from a random newspaper clipping with a picture of Ford on the back.

Hot Cross Buns

4-5 cups flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1 package dry yeast

1 cup milk

1/4 cup butter or margarine

2 eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup seedless raisins

1 egg yolk

2 TBL. cold water

1. Mix thoroughly in a large bowl, 1 1/2 cups flour, the sugar, salt, cinnamon and un-dissolved yeast.

2. Combine milk and butter or margarine in saucepan. Heat until liquid is warm (fat does not need to melt). Add in dry ingredients gradually.

3. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of an electric mixture, or by hand, scraping bowl occasionally. Add eggs and 1/2 cup of flour, or enough flour to make thick batter.

4. Beat at high speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in enough flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes.

5. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover. Let rise in warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Knead in raisins.

6. Divide dough into 18 equal portions. Form each piece into a ball. Place balls into 2 well-greased 8-inch round cake pans.

7. Combine egg yolk and water. Brush buns with mixture. Cover. Let rise in warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Cut a cross, carefully, on the top of each bun with a sharp knife.

8. Bake in 375-degree oven, 20 to 25 minutes, or until done. Remove from pans to wire rack to cool. Frost while still warm with confectioners’ sugar frosting.

Yield: 18 buns

Confectioners’ Sugar Frosting

1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 TBL. warm milk or fruit juice

Combine all ingredients and blend to spreading consistency, adding more liquid, if required.

Cupcake Mirth! (IMBB 13)

March 24, 2005



Winnie is sound asleep in her bed, the comforter snuggled up to her chin. The phone rings, piercing the early morning stillness. Winnie rolls over and pulls the covers over her head.

The phone rings again. Winnie sits up abruptly.


Go away!

She takes the phone from the nightstand and looks at the caller ID. She takes a deep breath before answering it.


This better be an emergency.


Caryn lounges on her couch, balancing the phone between her ear and shoulder while she paints her nails.


Good Morning, Sunshine!


That doesn’t sound like an emergency.


It’s a beautiful spring day! Time to get up.


Winnie throws herself back against the pillows.


The one day I don’t have to be at work early and you call and wake me up.


The birds are singing, the sun is shining, the flowers are blooming and you are still in bed.


Why are we friends?


Caryn smiles, strolling proudly to the kitchen.


Because I remind you of the important things in life.


Remind me later.

There is a click from the other end of the phone. Caryn laughs and starts to clean up one very large mess of bowls, trays, and dishes.


Winnie lays in bed, staring at the ceiling.


Why are we friends?

She rolls her eyes and gets out of bed. Stretching, she walks to the front door.

As she bends down to get the paper, she notices a small pot of artificial flowers placed on the porch. Winnie carefully lifts one of the flower beds to examine it. Cupcakes. Her eyes grow wide and she grins.


I know why we’re friends.

This entry was created for IMBB #13 hosted this month by Maki at I Was Just Really Very Hungry. Check out the other entries!

Flower Cupcakes

A recipe for similar cupcakes was published in the May 25, 2004 issue of Woman’s Day, but you can use any cupcake recipe. Here’s my adaptation for decorating them:

1. Add a little green food coloring to any white frosting. Frost cupcakes.

2. To make the flowers, melt assorted colors (petal colors, plus white and brown) of Candy Writer tubes or candy melts according to package directions. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and draw/pipe the candy into teardrops about an inch long. Refrigerate until hardened.

3. Peel petals from wax paper and arrange as many five-petaled flowers on the cupcake as you can fit (4-6). Pipe a dab of white in the center of each flower, refrigerate until hard, and then pipe a few smaller dabs of brown.

4. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

A Late Snack: Bierocks!

March 23, 2005



Caryn takes a tray of small, pillow-shaped buns from the oven, setting them on the stove to cool. She grabs a jar of spicy, whole-grain mustard from the fridge and piles a few of the buns on a plate.

Sitting down at the little table in the corner of the huge kitchen, she breaks open a steaming bun, catching meat and cabbage as it tumbles out. She spreads mustard across the top of the bun, and is about to take a bite when she realizes that Mr. R. is watching her from the counter.


Oh! I didn’t see you.

He laughs good-naturedly and rubs a hand through his well-designed hair.

MR. R.

I snuck in. What’re you eating?

Caryn puts down the bun, still steaming in her hand.


Oh, they’re bierocks. I was going to freeze them, but…

MR. R.

Can I have one?

He gets a plate and sits down. He takes off his coat, revealing a shiny, silk shirt beneath. Way over-dressed for the little table.


I can make you something for dinner, if you want.

MR. R.

I just got back from dinner.

He copies Caryn by breaking a bierock apart and slathering it with mustard.


It was one of those Hollywood places. All scene, food was terrible.

He pops a bite in his mouth.


I figured you’d have something better here.

Caryn half-smiles and picks at her own bierock, hesitant to continue eating.


Is anyone else hungry?

MR. R.

(chuckling mischievously)

No. They’re quite happy where they are. I left them there.

He grabs another bierock from the plate and tears at it pensively. Caryn reluctantly steals a bite of her own.


I don’t know. Sometimes I think I’m not really cut out for this business.

He leans back in his chair and studies a button on his shirt.


Maybe I just prefer to be at home, eating a snack in my own kitchen. You know what I mean?

Caryn pauses for a minute, a little surprised.


Yeah, I think I do.



2 1/4 tsps. dry yeast

1 cup warm milk

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp. salt

2 eggs, beaten

4+ cups bread flour


1/2 medium-sized onion, chopped

1 lb. ground beef, pork, or turkey (I used turkey)

1 TB. vegetable oil

1/2 small head of cabbage, shredded

salt and pepper, to taste

1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm milk. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In a heavy -duty mixer, combine oil, salt and eggs; add yeast mixture. Add 1 cup of flour and beat for 1 minute. Beat in 1/2 cup of flour at a time, until dough pulls away from sides of bowl.

2. Switch to dough hook. Knead on low speed, adding remaining flour 1 TB. at a time, until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.

3. Place dough in a well-oiled large bowl and loosely cover. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

4. To make filling, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add meat and onion and cook until meat is browned, stirring to crumble. Add cabbage and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool.

5. Punch dough down and let rest 5 minutes.

6. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a letter-sized rectangle (roughly 8 by 11) and cut each rectangle into 6 squares. Spoon 1/4 cup filling into center of each square. Bring opposite corners together at the center, pinching corners and seams to seal. Place seam side down on a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and let rise 20 minutes.

7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

8. Uncover and bake until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Makes 12 bierocks.

Adapted from a Cooking Light recipe (January 2004), Bierocks are a great snack to freeze for quick sack lunches. I pack a couple for day-trip hikes and let them thaw in my backpack.

Chocolate Cherry Cheer: Bread Pudding!

March 20, 2005



Caryn’s Honda screeches to a halt with the same obnoxious sound from before. The door haphazardly swings open and Caryn steps out, right into a large muddy puddle. She groans.

She gathers her things from the car and walks up the steps to the porch where she looks in the mailbox.


Punky screams for his dinner. Caryn drops her bag and coat on the couch and looks through the mail. Bills, bills, bills.

She walks to the kitchen where she dumps food in Punky’s dish and heads over to the fridge. Bare, except for the staples: eggs, milk, diet coke. Deep sigh.

She opens a cabinet and pulls out a wrinkled, paper Zingerman’s bread bag. Out of it comes half of a dark loaf stuffed with chunks of rich chocolate and dotted with crimson Michigan cherries. Punky abandons his dinner to explore the scent of chocolate that has drifted his way. Caryn smiles.

She squeezes the loaf slightly and the smile morphs into a scowl. She taps the loaf on the counter. Hard as a rock.

Caryn stares at the loaf, defeated. She shakes her head and looks at the cat.


Well, Punk, when life gives you lemons…

Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding

1/2 loaf Zingerman’s chocolate cherry bread, stale, cut into cubes

4 TBS. butter, melted

1/2 cup half and half

1/2 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

Scharffen Berger chocolate sauce (or the closest thing you can find)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter four 1-cup ramkeins.

2. Toss bread cubes with melted butter, set aside.

3. Whisk eggs with sugar. Add half and half and vanilla. Whisk until combined. Add to bread cubes and toss to coat. Set aside for 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate up to 1 day.

4. Press bread mixture into ramekins and pour remaining sauce over the top.

5. Bake until puffed and bubbly, 20-25 minutes.

6. Cool slightly and invert on plates. Drizzle (or dollop) with hot chocolate sauce.

This is an easy bread pudding recipe. It works well with a dense, sweet loaf like Zingerman’s Chocolate Cherry Bread, but any stale, sweet bread would probably work.

UPDATE: This entry is part of a contest! Check out the other entries in Comfort Me: A Cookbook Contest over at Who Wants Seconds?.

Springtime Afternoon: Risotto!

March 17, 2005



The massive sundeck stretches the full length of the house and opens out to the expansive view of the buzzing city. Just steps below the deck, a glorious pool shimmers in the California sun.

Mr. R. and Miss A. relax at a large, round table that is dressed in the requisite white linen and crystal. Lauren reads a script in a sunchair next to them.

Miss A. stretches her bare, pedicured feet into the sun.


Is it finally Spring?

MR. R.

I guess any day here feels like Spring when you’re from Manhattan.


I may never go back.

MR. R. smiles at the thought as Caryn enters with plates piled high with hot, green-speckled risotto.



Lauren comes over to the table as Caryn pours sparkling water into the glasses. Miss A. wastes no time before digging her fork into the steaming mound.


What’s in this?


Oh, it’s sort of a light risotto. Arugala, leeks, parmesan.


Mmmmm. Perfect dish for a beautiful day!

Lauren resumes reading her script without touching her lunch. Mr. R. eats in silence. Caryn takes the opportunity to sneak away.


You’re right. Your chef is really good.

Lauren looks up from her script to Mr. R. who continues to eat.


She’s alright. Not the best you’ve ever had.

Mr. R. dismisses Lauren’s comment with a laugh. The table falls silent as the trio drifts off into their thoughts of the afternoon.

Around the corner, Caryn sits on the back steps, disappointed with the previous conversation from the deck. She stretches out her home-pedicured feet into the sun and tries to disappear into her own plate of risotto.

Spring Green Risotto

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 large leeks, cleaned and chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-1/2 cups Arborio rice

5 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup dry white wine

3 cups chopped baby arugala

1/4 cup snipped fresh chives

2 Tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper, to taste

1. Bring stock to a gentle simmer.

2. Heat oil over medium-high heat in heavy-bottomed pan. Add leeks and garlic. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add rice and stir until rice is nearly translucent, about 3 minutes.

3. Add the wine and stir until it is completely absorbed.

4. Slowly add 1 cup of the stock to the rice, stirring constantly.

5. When the stock has been nearly absorbed, add the arugala, chives and thyme.

6. Continue to add the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring the rice constantly, until the rice is just tender and looks creamy, about 20-25 minutes.

7. Stir in the parmesan and salt and pepper. Serve at once.

3 lunch-sized portions, and a little leftover.

Sweet Sesame: Asian Vinaigrette!

March 14, 2005



Caryn and Flora are trimming and washing a bed of fresh, spring greens over the sink when the door swings open and MISS A., a stunningly beautiful actress in a white, flowing sundress, prances in.


Oh, fabulous! I’m famished.

Flora can’t help staring.


Um, can I help you?


He said I’d find you here. What are you making?


He’s here? He’s back from–

She is cut off by the door swinging open again. Mr. R enters, visibly tired from his travel, but smiling warmly at Miss A. He nods to Caryn without taking his eyes off of Miss A.

MR. R.

Caryn, I see you’ve met my houseguest.


She was just helping me find lunch.

Caryn puts down the greens and wipes her hands dry.


Would you like a salad?


Brilliant. Just some lettuce.


Just greens?


Perhaps a light dressing. That’s all.

Mr. R. gently puts his hand on Miss A.’s sleek, exposed back and leads her to the door.

MR. R.

She doesn’t eat much.

They are almost through the door as Miss A. calls back.


Thank you!

Her giggle is muffled when the door swings closed again. Flora can’t help giggling herself.


Do you know who that is?


Yes, Flora.

Caryn takes some bottles with Chinese writing out of the cabinet.


My daughter has seen all her movies.


I might have seen one on an airplane or something.

She drizzles a little from each bottle into a small bowl. Flora resumes cleaning the greens.


So pretty.

Caryn whisks the vinaigrette with a vengeance.


Too thin.

Asian Vinaigrette

2 Tablespoons peanut or olive oil

2 Tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon sugar (or to taste)

Whisk all ingredients together.

A small amount of sesame oil adds tremendous depth to this vinaigrette. It needs nothing more than an assortment of baby greens to accompany it.

Simply French: Apple Cake!

March 10, 2005



Caryn sits at the table that she has now adopted as her own, a notebook computer propped open before her. Lauren appears out of nowhere, sporting an elegant new suit.


I trust you’re making good use of your time while he’s away.

Startled by the interruption, Caryn doesn’t respond. Lauren takes a bottle of water from the fridge and pours it into a crystal wine glass.


Because the last girl got fired for wasting too much time.


Oh! That’s terrible.


She deserved it. They usually do.

Lauren leans against the counter and daintily sips her water.


What are you doing?

Caryn turns the computer around to show her. The browser is open to a site with mouth-watering photos of food.


Looking for a recipe?

Lauren doesn’t even glance at the computer.


The best chefs don’t use recipes, do they?

Caryn sits, again helpless for a reply.


Of course, the best chefs are usually French.

Where are you from, Katherine?



Lauren narrows her eyes a little.


Never cared much for the South.

She pushes her slender frame away from the counter and straightens her skirt.


You should use your free time to get some practice. He may have liked your little sandwich, but don’t let that fool you. He has very particular tastes…

The last of her words trail off as she disappears out the door.

Caryn wrinkles her nose as the door swings closed. She thinks for a minute and then starts clicking away at the computer.


If she wants something French…

Chocolate and Zucchini’s “Gateau de Mamy a la Poire”

Clotilde’s wonderfully simple cake is the perfect use of a few apples.

The Pepper Chef!

March 7, 2005



The sink is overflowing with dirty dishes and bowls. Bright orange spots are spattered around the stove. The trash can is long overdue for a changing.

Caryn stands over a colorful bowl on the table, digital camera poised at her eye. There is a quick knock at the door, but it opens nearly at the same time and Matt waltzes in.


Smells like peppers in here!


Roasted red peppers.

Matt leans over the table to look at the bowl.


What’s that?


Dip. Didn’t know you were coming over.

Matt picks a pita chip off the counter and starts to munch on it.


Wasting some time before my date.

Caryn repositions the food and snaps another picture.


It’d kill you to show up on time?

Matt grabs another chip.


Who’s this for?


No one. Just an experiment.


Perfect. Then I’m your guinea pig.

He grabs the chip that sticks out of the bowl and scoops a generous portion of the silky dip before popping it in his mouth.


Good thing I’m done taking pictures.


Wow. Smoky.

He walks over to the fridge and grabs a half-full bottle of pomegranate juice.


And hot!


I know. I might have added more jalapenos than it called for.


I think it chapped my lips.

This flavorful dip was designed as an entry for the Paper Chef #4 using the following ingredients: eggplant, stale bread, chocolate and pomegranate. The use of three different kinds of peppers somehow brought those flavors together.

Roasted Red Pepper and Eggplant Dip

Chipotle Mole Garnish

1/2 cup sundried tomatoes

1 cup boiling water

2 Tablespoons pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

2 Tablespoons blanched almonds

2 Tablespoons sesame seeds

1/2 of a 7-oz. can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

1/2 cup of pomegranate juice

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves of garlic

2 oz. bittersweet chocolate

1. Rehydrate tomatoes in boiling water. Drain and reserve liquid.

2. Toast pepitas, almonds and sesame seeds in a dry skillet until lightly browned. Cool.

3. Grind seeds and almonds in food processor until fine. Add tomatoes, chipotles and pomegranate juice. Puree until smooth.

4. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until soft. Add the pureed mixture and saute until thickened (about 15-20 minutes).

5. Melt the chocolate into the mixture. Thin sauce with reserved tomato liquid until desired consistency (I used 1/2 cup). Simmer for a minute to blend flavors.

Makes about two cups. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To use as a sauce for meats or vegetables, use only one or two of the chipotles and thin the finished sauce with chicken broth. Vary the chocolate to taste.

Pita Chips

5 loaves of stale pita

olive oil



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Brush the pita with olive oil and cut into halves and then thirds to form wedges.

3. Dust with cumin and paprika.

4. Bake on a cookie sheet until golden and crispy (about 20 minutes).

Chocolate and Chippers at Surfas!

March 6, 2005



Winnie and Caryn push a small cart through narrow aisles, trying to maneuver around the myriad of customers, some dressed in full chef attire.


Do you see it?


Maybe by the gadgets on the back wall.


I already looked there.

Winnie stops suddenly at a shelf of fine and rare teas.



She picks up a nicely packaged bundle to examine. Caryn continues to push the cart down the aisle and slows when she sees a shelf full of quality chocolate. With hardly a glance at the labels, she fills the bottom of the cart with a solid variety.

Caryn rounds the corner to the refrigerated wall and adds vegetable, beef and veal stock to the cart. Winnie appears again, loaded down with arms full of spices, olive oils and cheeses.


How much do you get to spend?


No limit. Just gave me a credit card and said to buy what I need.


In that case, I think we should stock my kitchen too.

Caryn gives Winnie a glance.


You’re a lawyer. Please try to act like one.

Winnie takes over pushing the cart.


Right. Let’s stay focused here.

The girls stroll through the store, adding various artisan food items and an assortment of gadgets.


Wow! Brioche pans for a dollar.

Winnie is down the aisle peering closely into a bin.


Look! Is this it?

She holds up a small six-pronged fork that looks like it could bale doll-sized hay. Caryn’s face lights up.



Winnie tosses it in the cart, but Caryn pulls it out again to twirl in her fingers.


It’s just like the picture in Bon Appetit. I have a new friend.

Winnie rolls her eyes as Caryn makes cooing noises at her toy.


Let’s get out of here before we have to get another cart.


Right. We’ll come back next week.


8825 National Blvd.

Culver City, CA 90232

310-559-4470 ph.


9AM-5:30PM Mon-Fri.

9AM-5PM Sat.

Buy your own chocolate chipper.