Details Please…26th Vintage Bouquet and Wine Event

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The Vintage Wine Boquet is held annually by the Beverly Hills Bar Association and is well worth marking your calendar with anticipation.  The tickets are usually around $150 in advance and over two hundred dollars for a VIP at the door purchase but given the plethora of foods and wines you get to taste from Beverly Hills and the surrounding area,  the ticket is well worth it.    Also there are always silent auction items including an abundance of hotel, resort, and restaurant deals/gift cards with fairly low starting bids.

The event takes place at the beautiful Greystone mansion in Beverly Hills.  Attendees can’t resist to take advantage of photo op after photo opportunity on the lovely grounds.  As you arrive you are likely to hear the sounds of live jazz as you descend down the hill to join the festivities.  Expect find many women wearing sundresses and hats.  The men dress well but no tie but dressy casual for a Sunday afternoon.

Velvet Rope Bake Shop

Velvet Rope Bake Shop

The kinds of food can you look forward to begin with just the idea of dipping you bread into a fava bean mousse drizzled with creme fraiche or chilled split pea soup with caviar (offered by Wood and Vine Restaurant).  Love desserts? You will find not just your ordinary chocolate, ice cream, cookie and cake.  Let’s start with Ice Cream Lab.  Their gimmick is using liquid nitrogen to make ice cream instantly.  To their credit they made a really superior creamy ice cream mixed with pretzels and caramel.    This company is out to impress your friends at your corporate events, birthday parties or celebrations.  Velvet  Rope Bake Shop impressed me with their mini cake truffles.  I tried the red velvet.  I found it to be be moist and delicious.  They also sell homemade cookies such as peanut butter and habanero  jelly.  I really enjoyed the cookie but it lacked the pop I was looking for since it is naturally expect their would be contrast of spice offering.  Nevertheless, it is a tasty cookie.   This year, The Good Cookies and Beyond Gluten Free Bakery caught my attention.  The carrot cake was amazing and can compete with anyone’s carrot cake that isn’t glutten free.  The donut holes are light tasting yet dense in appearance.  I do not know if should consider it my favorite or a tie with carrot cake.  They also offer brownies, cheesecake and more.    Among the restaurant that tend to be participate in the event with splendid samples of their cuisine include Ruth Chris, Il Fornio, Napa Valley Grille and STK Steak house.

stella

photo by Multiculturalcookingnetwork

This year Multi Cultural Cooking Network tried to divide our time with a little more attention to beverages.  Check out our interview with Blackbird Vineyards(Click Here).  Stella Artois is a pretty known brand from Belgium but this year they are promoting the new Stella Artois Cidre.  My guest and I walked away from the event with this being on the list of one of the favorite things we tasted at the event.

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Free Trip to Catalina Island on Birthday – Limited Time Offer

Indulge on your birthday! Catalina Island creates Birthday Island to welcome you on your Special Day by offering great Island deals on Activities, Shopping, Dining and Lodging on your birthday.  Catalina Express is offering a FREE ride on your birthday.    Click here to find out about the other birthday special offerings on Catalina Island.

 

 

 

Bakersfield, CA: Murray Family Farms

One of two locations-The Old Tomato Weigh-Station.

One of two locations-The Old Tomato Weigh-Station.

 

While driving north on the 5 interstate in California, I made a pit stop at Murray Family Farms.  It caught my attention.   What also caught my attention once  inside were these perfectly sized cobblers including cherry and a I believe I saw blackberry.  I tried the cherry. It was tasty but  a bit too sweet for my taste as a dessert by itself but once I heated and added a scoop of vanilla ice cream the flavors together balanced the sugar.

This is a farm where you can pick some of the fruit yourself.  There is also a petting zoo on the property but we went on a Thursday and the animals were not there.

1002695_10152239048506865_2151052052103824320_nSeasonal favorites include cherries (18 varieties), blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, apples, citrus, artichokes, asparagus, tomatoes, pumpkins, and many more.

Farm Direct Markets for ripe, home grown fruits and veggies, charming jams, jellies, specialty canned goods, tender chewy beef jerky, dried fruits and nuts, homemade pies, cookies & turnovers, creamy fudge, cut fruit salads, and all sorts of snacks.  Their website claims there are more free samples than you would find at a Costco store but when I asked about trying the the dried ocra, I was met  this reply, “sorry just packaged all they items.”  Now, I know if I was Trader’s Joe’s they would not hesitate to open anything.  

Website: http://www.murrayfamilyfarms.com/about-the-farm/store/

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Veggie Chili Recipe

This is just a simple recipe that I concocted over the years using Morning Star veggie crumbles.  For this recipe, I am going toVeggie chili double what I would usually use as a single woman with no kids.  If you are entertainng or have a family of at least for this should work.

 Ingredients.

  • 2 bags of veggie crumble
  • 2 cans of diced tomato
  • 1 Can of corn
  • 1 can of Black beans
  • 1 to 2 Habernero pepper ( If you don’t like it spicy, omit)
  • 1/4 of chopped Vidalia onion or whole small yellow onion chopped.
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder.

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot.  Let Cook on stove on medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes.  Unlike meat, veggie crumbles are quickly permeated with flavor.   Serve and enjoy.  This should serve 4 to 6 people.  I enjoy this with cornbread as a side.

Recipe by MCCN Editor Crystal A. Johnson

Grace’s Tea Cake Recipe

Almost every year, I throw a Garden Party and  the item which must be on the menu are Martino’s teacakes, moist and delicious teacake_cranberryheavenly confections. Martino’s has been around for decades and is located in Burbank.  In an effort to duplicate the recipe, my friend Ann Jones provided me with a recipe that she hears is pretty close in the results in flavor and texture.

 

A teacake is different in various parts of the world.  In the Southeastern United States, a tea cake is a traditional dense large cookie, made with sugar, butter, eggs, flour, milk, and flavoring.In the rest of the United States, a tea cake is a spice cake topped with powdered sugar. Sometimes it may contain fruits such as apricots, blueberries, or cranberries.

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk, divided us
  • For the glaze
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk or sift together flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl.  In another bowl, cream sugars and oil. Add vanilla.
Add 1/3 of the eggs to sugar mixture and mix. Repeat 2 times. Mix for 3 minutes. Add 1/2 of the buttermilk and mix. Add flour mixture and mix 3 minutes. Finally, add the remaining buttermilk and mix until smooth. Batter will be thin. Pour into cupcake tins.

Bake 20 minutes. Test with a clean toothpick to make sure cupcakes are done. Frost with a glaze.
To make the glaze, melt butter until golden. Add to confectioners’ sugar, along with vanilla and water. Whisk until the texture is smooth and creamy. Dip cooled teacake tops into the glaze. Place on a rack and let them sit until the glaze hardens. If it is a humid day, refrigerate them in order to speed the process. Makes about 24.

Easter all Around the World

Blessing of Easter Food in Poland

Blessing of Easter Food in Poland

Easter is celebrated all around the world, whether it is celebrated with a big family dinner, religious parade, or hunting for Easter eggs. Different countries celebrate Easter in their own way. In this article the four countries that will be highlighted are Brazil, Russia, Egypt, and France. These four countries all celebrate Easter through games, religious activities, and food.

 

In Brazil Easter is known as Pa’scoa. The beginning of Pa’scoa celebrationstarts off with Semana Santa (Holy week). During Holy week, processionals are in full swing, banners and signs are made to celebrate Mary and the body of Jesus. During the processional, pacoca is handed out to all the visitors. Pacoca is like a candy, which is made from a mixture of crushed nuts and sugar made into a paste. On Good Friday

Paoca

Paoca

bacalhau is made and eaten. Bacalhau is dried and salted cod; this piece of fish is traditionally eaten on holidays.

Easter in Russian is celebrated in different religions but food is the main attraction.  In Russian kulich is made in celebration of Easter and is eaten 40 days after Easter. Kulich is a tall and narrow bread made from butter, eggs, candied fruit, raisins, and nuts. Kulich is usually iced on top like a cake and decorated. Usually served with kulich, paskha is a Russian cheesecake made from curd cheeses and is formed in the shape of a pyramid. Many dishes are made in Russian in celebration of Easter including beet salads, lapsha soup,ham in the dough, and dranikl (potato pancake).

(Russian Kulich)

Brazil and Russia are not the only ones that celebrate Easter, Egypt bakes up it’s own traditional Easter meals too.  In Egypt the Easter celebration begins with Sham el Nessin that is translated as “smelling of the breeze”. The Sham el Nessin celebrations run into the Easter celebration. During the celebrations certain foods are consumed such as slated fish, onions, beans, lettuce, and colored eggs. The main attraction of the celebrations is the baked breads. The baked bread that is very traditional is Armenian Choreg, which is sweet bread. Armenian Choreg has a secret ingredient and that is mahleb, which are ground sour cherry pits. This bread takes patients to make but the pay off of its sweet taste is rewarding enough.

kulich

kulich

France is the mother land of Culinary greatness, and in France Easter showcases that. In France after the child have played all the Easter egg games and have gone to church it then would be time for the Easter meal. The traditional Easter meal in France would consist of several courses, which are accompanied by wine, cheese, and dessert. The main course would be a braised, herb rubbed rack of lamb. After the main course a smaller more delicate course would be served such as a salad. Following that course, cheeses and baguettes would be shared around and then a delightful chocolate dessert. Speaking of chocolate, Easter eggs in France aren’t plastic they are chocolate made by chocolatiers and patissiers.

So as we can see Easter is celebrated all around the world just in different flavors. Brazil, Russia, Egypt, and France all celebrate Easter but some eat salted fish, tall narrow breads, sweet breads made with sour cherry pit, and make chocolate eggs. Once again we see that food can bring people together no matter what the occasion is, so get in touch with you heritage and celebrate this Easter with a traditional meal.

 

Work Cited

  • Abissada. “The Egyptian Kitchen.” : Sham El Nessim / Easter: Armenian Choreg (brioche). N.p., 22 Apr. 2011. Web. 13 Mar. 2013.
  • “Brazilian Easter from Around the World at EasterBunny’s.Net.” Brazilian Easter from Around the World at EasterBunny’s.Net. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2013.
  • “Easter Traditional Food from Around the World.” Easter Traditional Food from Around the World. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2013.
  • “Flavors of Brazil: The Foods of Easter in Brazil – Salt Cod (Bacalhau).” Flavors of Brazil: The Foods of Easter in Brazil – Salt Cod (Bacalhau). N.p., 25 Mar. 2010. Web. 13 Mar. 2013.
  • Hanson, Rachel. “How Do the French Celebrate Easter.” LoveToKnow. M.A. French, n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2013.
  • Kubilius, Kerry. “Easter In Russia.” About.com Eastern Europe Travel. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2013.
  • Laurena. “Easter in Brazil.” Portuguese Blog. N.p., 8 Apr. 2012. Web. 13 Mar. 2013.
  • “Traditional Russian Easter Foods.” The Hungarian Girl. N.p., 9 Mar. 2010. Web. 13 Mar. 2013.

Easter: Makowiec (Poppy Seed Roll)

Makowiec (pronounced “Ma-KOH-viets”) isn’t, strictly speaking, a holiday bread. But it is a classic Polish dessert b3ec876a90da9bb8980edd2250434fb3_Lor tea bread that is commonly served around the holidays(commonly Easter or Christmas). It is a popular cuisine in other parts of Central Europe, Eastern Europe and in Israel.

TheFreshloaf.com-Almost all of the moisture in this dough comes from the sour cream, butter, and eggs. There is no primary fermentation: it is one rise and in the oven. This suprised me enough that I verified the recipe in 3 different Polish cookbooks. All of them used this same technique.( See Recipe at thefreshloaf.com)

Check out their amazing photography to go along with the step by recipe. 

Las Vegas: Review of Greens and Protiens Healthy Kitchen

Greens and Protiens

I like healthy food but sometimes that thought is not like a love a first sight experience.  Though I was open minded when my friend the health nut pulled into to the driveway of restaurant, I still thought to myself, “It figures.”  However, what I didn’t figure or expect was such a interesting array of choices on the menu.

Kevin ordering

Go to their website and Greens and Protiens with boast of being  a modern, family friendly café offering all your favorite foods with a healthy twist. Sandwiches/Wraps, Pizzas, Burgers, Vegan, Raw and Vegetarian-Friendly meals, Smoothies/Juice Bar, and a full HCG diet menu.  Now the smoothies are kind of expensive but they pack them various ingredients.

Homemade turkey sausage, egg white and tofu fries.

Homemade turkey sausage, egg white and tofu fries.

I ordered the homemade turkey meatballs with egg whites and tofus fries.  It was great.  The sausage tasted light not heavy.  The egg whites perfectly fluffy.  And the tofu fries were the unexpected star with a hint of spice.    Look for light protiens like Bison and ostrich on the menu.   My friend order the cashew chicken salad which is mock chicken salad in a butter lettuce leaf cup topped with Alfafa sprouts and tomatoes and side of divine raw cashew cheese.

Cashew chicken salad

Cashew chicken salad

You won’t find this restaurant on the strip.  It is more of a spot for fit and health conscience locals.

Where: 8975 S Eastern Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89123

Telephone: (702) 541-780

Semana Santa in Latin America

SantaSemana

One of the most important religious celebrations in Latin America is Holy Week, known as Semana Santa. The celebrations begin on Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos) and continues through Good Thursday (Jueves Santo), Good Friday (Viernes Santo), and finally Easter Sunday (Pascua or Domingo de Resurrección).

Many activities occur throughout the week such as processions, religious ceremonies and public festivities. In many communities, the full Passion Play is enacted from the Last Supper, the Betrayal, the Judgment, the Procession of the 12 Stations of the Cross, the Crucifixion and, finally, the Resurrection. Those that participate are in full costume.

Many cities such as Ayacucho in Peru and Ouro Breto in Brazil are well known for their Seman Santa celebrations.  In Venezuela, the religious observances appear to be secondary to the holiday spirit, as people flock to the beaches for fun. However, there are still many processions and the re-enactments of the Last Days.

Easter: Babka Recipe

Wikipedia-Eastern and Central European babka, especially among Christians, is a spongy, brioche-like yeast cake that is traditionally baked for Easter Sunday. The cake is traditional in the lands of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, namely Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Western Russia , as well as among the Rusyns (Ruthenians) in northeastern Hungary and all over Romania, where it is called “colac”. Darra Goldstein, professor of Russian at Williams College says “babka comes from baba, a very tall, delicate yet rich yeast-risen cake eaten in Western Russia and Eastern Poland.”Traditional babka has some type of fruit filling, especially raisins, and is glazed with a fruit-flavored icing, sometimes with rum added. Modern babka may be chocolate or have a cheese filling.

Babka

 

Ingredients

1-1/4 cups margarine, softened
2 cups milk
2 (.25 ounce) packages active
���dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110
���degrees F/45 degrees C)
5 eggs
4 egg yolks
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange liqueur (optional)
3 tablespoons grated orange zest
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
10 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups currants
1-1/2 cups raisins
1-1/2 cups golden raisins
1 cup chopped blanched
���slivered almonds
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour

See Directions at polishrecipes.com

*There also exists a traditional Eastern European Jewish variety prepared during Passover in lieu of bread. Generally, this sort is not sweet and is prepared using crushed matzos with water, egg, and salt. Some Polish Jews refer to pancakes with these ingredients as bubbeleh, a name similar to babka.