Thursday, June 17, 2010

Blackberry Pinot Chocolate Gelato = Yum!


The other day, I had a hankering for gelato.  Blackberry gelato.  I love berries, but blackberries are the best ones.  Whole Foods had a special on them, so I bought a whole bunch with the intention of making gelato. But I couldn't find a decent recipe for it.

I found a strawberry gelato recipe on Epicurious and decided to use that as a jumping off point:  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Fresh-Strawberry-Gelato-352676

To the left you see the milk, cream, sugar, cornstarch mixture (heated and cooling over an ice bath).  To the right are my pureed blackberries.   I was just going to mix the two together and get on with it, but decided to live up to my Boozy Baker reputation and add some Pinot Noir that I had opened from night before.




Once mixed together, the mixture started to resemble something close to heaven.  Really, isn't that so pretty?   I put it into the ice cream maker to get things churning.  Decided that it still needed a little something else, so I added a few handful of mini chocolate chips.  The whole thing ended up pretty good.  I think the ice cream maker wasn't fully cooled so the gelato didn't firm up enough before I put it in the freezer, so the texture isn't where I want it to be.  But the taste is!

So I wanted to wait to post this blog until I had taken a picture of the final product.  Well, I've eaten all the gelato so there's no way to take a picture of it.  But believe me when I tell you, it was beautiful.

NOTE TO MY BLOGGER SELF - take pictures of food before you eat it all!  I'm such a pig.

Moving!


Very exciting that I just purchased my first home!  I mean, really exciting.  I have dreamt about owning my own place for a long time and it's hard to believe that it's finally happened.   What I didn't dream about was what it would be like to actually furnish a place and make it feel like a home.

That's what the place looked like the day I moved, on May 7th.  Sadly, it's been more than a month and not much has changed.  All the furniture Dave and I had was old and worn out, so we decided to replace everything!  Turns out when you're buying stuff to have FOREVER there's a lot more pressure to buy nice stuff that you want to look at for the next 15 years.   I've been a little bit stressed about it, but am finding it so much fun to look at the design mags and figure out how I want the place to look. 

 Phurba, however, does not seemed stressed at all and, in fact, as far as we can tell, absolutely loves her new place!  We put in a dog door for her, and she thinks that's about the best thing ever.    There's a great walking trail right from our house.  She and I have already fallen into our morning walk routine - a 45 minute canal walk with lots of squirrels for her to chase.  

The only bummer on the new house is the electric range and oven!  Blast!  I said I would never go electric.  I was amazed at how quickly I compromised my ideals to have this house.  Whatever.  Sue me. I love the house and I'm not leaving. 

There's lots to do - the yardwork, upgrading the electrical, buying a square bathmat for outside of the shower (not hard to find until you're looking for one!), ordering blinds, hanging pictures, figuring out the best pizza delivery for the new address - the list is endless.  

I'm loving every minute!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Phurba meets the snow!

In March,  Dave and I decided to take a trip to Tahoe to visit the Sierra Club's Bradley Hut.  And to see how Phurba would do in the snow.

After a three hour car ride, she was let out of the car to do her damage.  She wasted zero seconds and dove right in.  Literally.


But after the initial contact with the snow, it was time for Phurba to gear up and head out.  It's a five mile trek, by snow-shoe for me and by paw for the dog.  She lived up to her sherpa namesake.  



Here she is on one of her perimeter checks of the hut.  








I don't really have anything else to add.  I just wanted to brag about how great my dog is.  :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Phurba!


Dave and I recently rescued a puppy, and she's the best thing EVER. Seriously. She totally rocks. Her name is Phurba - pronounced Per-ba. We originally heard the name on the show “everest: beyond the limit” – that reality show where people climb up Mt. Everest, and Phurba Tashi is the Sherpa that everyone wants to work with. We looked up the word phurba, and it’s a three sided dagger used in Tibetan ceremonies to dispel negative energy and obstacles, and bring safety and protection upon the user. We thought it was a fitting name for her, and she seems to like it.   (We've sinced ditched the pink dog collar that she came with in favor of a highly reflective skull and crossbones one.)


She's been going to obedience classes, but she still doesn't know her name, and she's about 85% there with "sit" on command.  Phurbs is not even four months old, so we cut her some slack on these things, but, there are some things that are not so easy to just brush off.  Things like this:

This is the math:
New Puppy - $285
Fluevog Boots - $450
None of this is PRICELESS! 

Seriously, I had forgot how sharp puppy teeth and how much damage those teeth can cause just while you're in the shower!

We still love her though.  And I gave a little "hooray" when I found that her puppy teeth were falling out and big dog teeth are sprouting and will bring the end to this terrible toothy period of her puppyhood.  (She's growing up so fast!  sniff.)

What kind of stuff has your pet destroyed?  How do you deal with it?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tres Chez Panisse!

Last Tuesday, I had the honor and privilege of eating at one of North America's premier eating establishments - Chez Panisse Restaurant. I am a big fan of Alice Waters - she's a phenomenal force in eating locally and seasonally, and food education, and she writes great cookbooks. I'm a big fan. And, while this was my first time eating at Chez Panisse, I've enjoyed meals at other restaurants where the chefs were Chez Panisse alums. Needless to say, but I'm gonna say it anyway, I had some great expectations for my christening into the world of "famous" restaurants.

And so what did I think of my dining experience?

Meh.

In case you don't know, Chez Panisse offers one menu every day and it changes daily. I made a reservation a month in advance having no idea of what would be on the menu the night that I dined there. Here's the menu:

Tuesday, January 12
Belgian endive and m√Ęche salad with beets and farm egg
Wild mushroom ravioli with escarole
Grilled striped bass with anchovy butter and cabernet sauce, Chino Ranch savoy cabbage, and young spinach
Coconut tapioca with passion fruit ice cream and tangerine


The food was technically superb, truly. Let me tell you a little story. I hate mushrooms. Hate them. Hate them the same way that dogs hate taking pills and can eat around them when you try to stuff a pill in a piece of hot dog or something. I can do that with mushrooms, like if there's a speck of mushroom on a pizza I'll eat all the other toppings and be able to spit out the most minuscule scrap of 'shroom. You can imagine my trepidation when I saw Wild Mushroom Ravioli on the menu. But I (practically) licked the bowl clean! They were delicious! And the rest of the meal followed on the same level of deliciousness.

So, "What's the problem?" you rightly ask. And I'll tell you, the service! It was such a confusing and non-friendly dining experience. We had about 5 different people, maybe more, helping us out (hostess, host, wine steward, server, some random dude - I was drinking and it all became so confusing it was hard to keep track of all the people). No one introduced themselves, no one stopped at our table long enough for us to get a whiff of their personality. No one really even talked to us about the menu! The menu was on a piece of paper and we kind of had to take it from there.

And then, and this is a kicker, a 20% gratuity was automatically added to our bill! I understand this for large groups, but when there are only two people dining? It was just the cap on a dining experience that already was rubbing me the wrong way, which is a shame because it would have been great to walk away remembering an experience that hit a home run on both food and service.

I was going to post a scan of the menu from that evening as my pic for this post. But Dave knew I was unimpressed with my dinner there and threw it away before I had a chance to scan it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Oh, honey!


Sometimes, it's the simple things in life that elude us. And maybe even elude isn't ever the right word. I'm talking about things in life that are so simple and seemingly mundane that we completely overlook them. That is, until they are brought to light and their wondrous goodness kind of bowls you over. This recently happened to me with honey. Sweet, delicious, golden, honey.

My friend Sarah recently gave me a pot of Big Sky Honey from Montana as a Christmas present. Before I go on about it, let me just tell you - it is fabulous! Just so damn good. I'm fairly addicted to its mellow sweetness in my evening herbal. Herbal tea, ahem.

But my moment of wonder came when I shrieked with horror (well, just a little bit and only on the inside) moment when, upon unwrapping my gift, I heard myself saying , "Y'know, I've never really used any other honey other than honey-bear honey." WHHHAAAATTTT??? How did my life to get this point that I consider myself fairly food savvy but I settle for crusty on the bottom plastic forest animal honey?

I know that this seems like such a tiny little trivial thing, but it made me wonder, "What else am I overlooking?" I'm sure that there are all kinds of things that we take for granted, but have more complexity than we give them credit for.

So, I've decided that my 2010 resolution is going to be to look for the beauty and intrigue in the little things that surround us every day. I know it's a little late to make a New Year's resolution, but I figured most people have already broken the ones they made for the year, so whatever.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hello (Blogging) World!

My big brother Bill spent a great deal of time last year keeping a blog. He's decided that with family commitments, work and other stuffs that fall under the category of "life" it was too much to blog so much. I thought the whole point of blogging was to put as much of yourself out into the universe as the universe could stand! Well, the universe needs more Klem so I've decided to pick up the slack.

Let's see how it goes. I've read a few blogs in my day, and there are some things I already know that I like about 'em.

Pictures. I just love pictures. I love it when a blogger posts some random snap about whoknowswhat. I'll start my forray into picture hanging with this classic. This is in from of the house I lived in in Glendale, CA when I was just a babe in arms, about 1972. My brother Bill is the li'l guy in the white shirt in front of me. The other guys in the pic, well, I haven't mentioned them yet so I'll introduce them later.

The other thing I love about blogs, comments. I submit 'em to other people's blogs, I read what other people commented even if I don't have anything to add. I'm so nosy. Anyway, I can't wait for you to learn more about me, and me about you. So be sure to give a holla every now and then, and let me know what you're thinking.