Saturday, September 26, 2009


Pizza anyone?

Our new babysitter-slash "private preschool" is just awesome. She has so many activities for the girls and the fun just never ends over there. It's apparently so fun that now, when at home with "Mom," CZ is bored to tears most of the time.

The other day for lunch I decided to make a pizza, then I thought, hmmmm... I might as well let CZ help me make it? It would be a fun activity. Something the "baby-sitter" might let the kids help with. She's only 2 1/2, but it's not dangerous at all (no sharp sharp knives or hot frying pans spitting oil everywhere).

On this day, we chose a classic tomato sauce.

1 can tomato paste. A good splash of olive oil. A little salt & pepper. A pinch of dried oregano -- I don't have fresh oregano. The snails always eat it. The only thing I can grow here is rosemary. Anyway, I also added a clove of chopped garlic.

CZ stirred the sauce. Standing on a chair.

Taste it, make sure it's good before you slather it all over your pizza!

You can make your own crust, if you're into that sort of thing. I am not into making crust by scratch, so don't come to me for a dough recipe. I use store-bought pizza dough.

Add the sauce, the cheese, and if you like, other stuff. Bake it at 450 until golden and bubbly and not too burnt on the bottom because toddlers don't like things too "dark."



Sauteed Clam. Appetizer?

Isn't it cute. The little clam.

Last week we went to the beach. The water is nice and warm this time of year here in southern California, and the tourists are now gone, so we can finally enjoy our beach again!

While out in the surf, I wasn't exactly looking for food, I was just looking for seashells for my daughter to play with. It's funny though, because we were just talking about clamming and wondering if you can just find clams on any beach, or if they were more fond of certain conditions, like say colder water or whatever. We don't know. We just buy them. But this day I found one! Guess that answers the question of whether you can just find them anywhere. I found one in Newport Beach. It looked healthy, definitely looked alive... he was closed tightly. And I'm not sure what type of clam it was - but the shell was quite thick and strong. Not what you typically see in the stores. It was buried in the sand, but the surf uncovered it, and I picked him up!

So, there he is. Cute little clam. I don't even like clams, but hubby does, and he didn't hesitate for one second when I asked him if he wanted to take it home and cook it, "Absolutely!" he said.

But how do we even know if it's an edible variety, I wondered? He wasn't worried. so we brought it home. And I cooked it.

I was sauteing some diced peppers and garlic for our dinner, so I tossed the clam into the pan. And then added some white wine. And then we waited for the clam to open.

....... and we waited.

He wasn't giving up without a fight. That thick shell I guess just takes longer to heat up, because it took a while to open! I thought it was probably dead. But then all of a sudden...

Ahhh! There he is!!!

I don't like clams or mussels myself, but I do cook them for hubby. It's been a while since I cooked any though, and usually I presoak them in water with some flour, and that will make them expel any sand. This was one time we really needed to do this, and I forgot. This little guy was filled with sand! Hubby ate it anyway though. I could have rinsed it off, but he ate it before I had the chance. Said it was gritty, but still delicious! :)

Friday, September 25, 2009


The good tomatoes will be gone before you know it! Enjoy them while you can!

This recipe is a really quick & simple way to enjoy the tomatoes and highlight their natural flavors without overpowering them with dressings or cooking them. It's light and fresh.

Chop fresh heirloom or other summer tomatoes into bite sized cubes.

If you have any leftover baguette bread, cut it into small cubes and put on a cookie sheet - drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and cook on 350 until golden brown. If you don't want to make your own, that's fine... just use croutons!

When ready to serve, toss the tomatoes and the croutons, and that's it! Serve immediately before the bread gets soggy. No dressing needed because the tomatoes are juicy enough. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Fresh grated Parmesan is optional, but adds extra flavor and a bit of richness.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


I love these. Fresh roasted almonds and filberts. Great snack. Healthy. Rich in protein. Good on salads, sprinkled on top of pasta or on pan seared chicken.

You can't get that fresh taste buying them already roasted. You have to do it yourself.

Buy raw nuts -- whatever kind floats your boat -- and keep them tightly sealed and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. In a 325-350 oven, roast for around 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown inside, as seen below. I like to use the sliced almonds, and they cook faster than the filberts do obviously.

When done, while still warm - drizzle with a little of your favorite flavored oil (truffle oil, chili oil, garlic oil) and then sprinkle with flakey sea salt and toss to coat.