Friday, February 26, 2010

Nethercutt Museum

Rows and Rows of Autos In Pristine Condition The Only Car I Could Remember Being Driven. It is a 1955 Packard.
Click on Photo To Enlarge 
To Read Information Card.
Nethercutt Museum
Anyone who has any interest in history of transportation should put the Nethercutt Museum on their list of things to see before they meet St. Peter. All of the cars are in a glistening restored original condition and all are in running condition. The cars are never sold but occasionally used in The Rose Bowl Parade for The Grand Marshall.
I did not have my camera with me when we entered the Grand Salon, the beautifully appointed room with the most fantastic and the rarest collection of J.B. Nethercutt. A camera flash interferes with the security cameras so we were asked no cameras with flash. I have previously shut off my camera's flash and on occasion it continues to flash. I did want to respect the house rules.
Several of the cars were entered in the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance car contest and needless to say were 1st place winners.
The museums contains the collections of J.B. Nethercutt, the nephew of Merle Norman and his wife. The collections in the museums are the automobiles, hood ornaments, fire trucks, musical instruments, dolls, and so much more. One floor of the museum called "The Grand Salon" is a duplicate of a automobile showroom dating back to the 1920's and 30's.
I would like to add that if you should go to visit the museum, also add L'Affair Cafe, 11024 Sepulveda Blvd. Mission Hills, CA 91345 which is a wonderful French Bistro with freshly prepared very delicious meals in the itinerary. My highest recommendations!
I will blog next on the Canadian Pacific Railway engine and train cars.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bragging Rites

Meet Philip # 20
Photographed is grandson Philip aka Lebron at the foul line. Philip takes life serious. He puts 100% effort in all that he does. Sunday in the presence of his grandfather and his family, Phil was the star! Phil made the first six points of the game for his team and a total of 16 of the 34 points scored by the team. Phil aspires to be a sports announcer. His idol is Lebron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Mention any athlete and Phil knows the team they play and also their stats. Phil has a teacher at school who receives the daily updates in the sports world from Phil.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The German Gourmet Shoppe

A German Experience
A stop at The German Gourmet Shoppe in Redwood City provided an interesting experience. Our son Tom suggested that we make a visit to the store as he knew both of his parents would enjoy seeing the offering. My husband spent eighteen months of his military service in Southern Germany. He often recalls the wonderful food he experienced during that time. I was familiar with two of the brands which were plentiful through out the food shelves. One being Oetker and the other Maggi. My vocabulary of German words is very limited. With the preparation directions in German I can pick out words but lack the reassurance of accuracy so I will use my dictionary with these projects.
We did buy two different packages of wurst and I know that we will enjoy! We did buy a box mix for Flan and Creme Brulee, as well as seasoning for ground beef, cream of mushroom soup, and a mushroom sauce to prepare with pork.
The store did have a great variety of German made goods along with the food selections. Everything from Black Forrest clocks to beer steins and a great selection of novelty items is available. It was indeed an interesting stop. Thank you Tom and Susan!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Provencal Tomatoes

Provencal Tomatoes
6 medium ripe flavorful tomatoes, halved horizontally
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon salt
8 black peppercorns
1/4 nutmeg, finely grated
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed or chopped
a handful of crushed herbs, i.e. chives, parsley, tarragon, borrage, oregano, and sage, or 2 teaspoons dried Herbs of Provence if fresh herbs are not available.
Cut tomatoes in half horizontally. Scoop out and discard the seeds and juice.
Using a pestle and mortar, grind together the salt, sugar, and peppercorns. Stir in the nutmeg. Sprinkle the tomatoes with this mixture, and put some shallots inside each one.
Pour the olive oil into a large wide heavy based skillet and heat hard for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes in a single layer, hollow side up. Scatter the garlic and half the herbs, then cook for 2 minutes on a fairly high heat, uncovered.
Now add 2 Tablespoons of the water, stock, or wine. Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to its lowest setting, and cook for 10 minutes more.
Using a spoon and a palette knife to turn the tomatoes, being careful to keep neat shapes. If the liquid is evaporated, add 2 Tablespoons more of the water, stock, or wine. Cover the skillet again and continue cooking for 10 more minutes. By now the tomatoes should be sticky, nearly collapsed, and very fragrant.
Serve them right side up, with any of the sticky residue from the skillet, and sprinkled with the remaining fresh herbs and a few toasted bread crumbs. Enjoy hot, warm or cool. Serves 4

From the cookbook Flavors of Provence.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Penzeys Spices Of Menlo Park, CA

Penzeys Spices of Menlo Park, CA
Our daughter Barbara recommended Penzey Spices as a must see during my visit to the Bay Area. Having no idea what was in store for me I was overwhelmed with the selections available. I had no idea there were so many types of cinnamon available as well as many other spices. The freshest spices, herbs, and blends are available in many different sizes or weights all displayed with a sample jar to smell the fragrance of each spice or herb. Online orders are also available. Take a look at their website

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Aioli Or Garlic Sauce

Aioli Or Garlic Sauce
Aioli is often called the "butter of Provence." In an area where butter is little used, and olive and walnut oils predominate, this fabulous and stinging, stiff emulsion sauce reigns supreme. Started off in a large pestle and mortar, it is then finished in a food processor. Make lots: it is infinitely versatile.
I like to serve this with crab cakes. I have seen it served with pasta and vegetables. It would do well with any food one might use butter but substitute instead the Aioli.
1 teaspoon sea salt
8-12 garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
1 slice white bread, wetted and squeezed dry
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 cups extra virgin olive oil at room temperature
freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
about 1 teaspoon boiling water
baby vegetables such as sweet bell peppers, radishes, fennel, and celery, and hard-cooked eggs, to serve.
Put the salt in a large mortar. Check the garlic and discard any green sprouts. Chop or roughly crush the garlic and add to the mortar. Pound the salt and garlic to a sticky paste with pestle. Add the softened bread and pound to amalgamate. Now add the yolks and continue pounding to get a thick, golden paste. Transfer this to a food processor.
With the machine running, drizzle in about half of the olive oil in a steady stream until the mix has stiffened. Add the lemon juice and continue processing until all of the oil has been added and the aioli is dense and gelatinous, and glossy. Finally add the boiling water to stabilize the emulsion. Serve with a selection of crudites and halves of boiled eggs; use in soups and stews, spread on toast. Serves 4-8
Note: If time is short, put the salt, garlic, bread, and egg yolks into a food processor and whizz together. Drizzle the oil as described above. This gives a lighter, less pungent aioli.
Wine Pairing: Fino Sherry, a dry unwooded white, red or rose wine, or a Grenache.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Veal Packages In Lemon Sauce

Veal Packages In Lemon Sauce
From the cookbook, Flavors of Provence, by Clare Ferguson. Our daughter Barbara is usually good for having one new cookbook or one I previously started paging through when we last visited. She knows that will keep her mother busy for hours. This recipe intrigued me enough to blog it for future reference and use. The recipe for the savory butter is included in this recipe.
4 veal escalopes, about 2 lbs. total weight
10 oz. lean veal cubed
10 oz. ground pork
6 Tablespoons heavy cream or creme fraiche
juice and grated peel of 1 lemon
1 handful of fresh herbs, including chevril, parsley, tarragon, and chives, if possible
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon sea salt crystals
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup concentrated chicken or pork boullion
baby asparagus, green beans, or broccoli, to serve
16 toothpicks
100% cotton string, for shaping.
Place the escalopes, on at a time, between two sheets of plastic wrap and roll gently into a circular shape with a rolling pin until very thin indeed. Carefully peel off the plastic wrap and cut each escalope in half.
Put the cubed veal, ground pork, heavy cream or creme fraiche, half the lemon peel, and half the herbs, scissor sniped, into a food processor. Pulse briefly to create an evenly mixed stuffing. Do not over process.
Put the garlic, peppercorns, and salt into a mortar and pound to a fine grit. Sprinkle half of this into the stuffing and pulse again briefly.
Mix the other half of the garlic mixture with most of the remaining herbs, (scissor snipped), the butter and anchovy paste. Shape into a log, wrap in foil, and fast freeze it until set. Transfer to the refrigerator until needed.
Spoon a mound of stuffing onto each of the eight escalope pieces. Wrap the meat around the stuffing to form a ball, and secure using two toothpicks. (This becomes the bottom after tied so securely wrap!)
Turn the packages right side up. Criss-cross the twine around them twice more, keeping the shape plump, and knot carefully. Discard the toothpicks.
Heat the oil over a medium heat in a heavy based skillet, them brown the packages for 3 minutes on each side. Pour in the lemon juice and boullion, add 2/3 cup of water, and bring to a lively simmer. Reduce to a gentle simmer, then cover with a lid and or foil and cook for 18 to 20 minutes. Check that they are cooked through.
Slice the savory butter into 8 disks and put 1 disk on each package just befor serving. Scatter the remaining lemon peel shreds and garnish with the remaining herbs. Serve delicate green vegetables on the side.
To pair with wine: Chateauneuf-du-Pape red or white: a good Chablis or other white Burgundy, or a cool climate Chardonnay from Russian River, California or from Casablance Valley, Chile.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Blogger Meets Another Blogger

The Blogger Meets Another Blogger
Saturday evening while awaiting our son and daughter-in-law's check-in at the historic Hotel St. Francis at Union Square in San Francisco, I was attracted by the glass cases mounted on the hotel walls containing historic documentation and hotel memorabilia from the ashes of the April 18, 1906 earthquake. While reading the information contained in one of the several cases, a lady stood next to me and very astutely began to read the information contained in this display. When I noticed she raised a handbag and with great organization removed a pad of paper and pen and began to document. I interrupted her enthusiasm to inquire, are you a blogger. Her kind reply was well, yes I am. We exchanged names and information about our blogs. Gloria gave me a printed sheet of information on her blog.
Gloria's blog is written in second person. Flynn O'Malley has an easy life, or that is what everyone tells him. On the day of the major earthquake that rocked San Francisco on April 18, 1906, he is 18 and already has a good job, a respectable place to live and a bright future. But when the shaking stops, he finds himself thrown into nasty city politics, the plight of his Chinese friends, and fights over plans to rebuild the city. He meets a woman who makes him want to see how far he can go. He learns that when your world is destroyed, the one thing you are left with is the freedom to create something completely new.
Gloria has spent over five years "buried" in the files of U.C. Berkley's Bancroft Library and the San Francisco History Center studying photographs, new accounts, maps and eyewitness reports of the 1906 disaster and the efforts to rebuild in its wake.
Gloria's interesting and fact filled blog can be found at
Aftermath is the author's first novel. Her memoir, Planet Widow, was published by Seal Press in 2006

Friday, February 12, 2010

Good-bye Sun / Rain, Hello Snow

Good-bye Sun & Rain, Hello Snow
Our friends Dan and Karen came to sunny California for a respite from the winter weather of northern Ohio. We had been emailing photos of the beautiful weather and a photo taken in early January of my husband wearing shorts reading the newspaper out on the patio. During their stay we had some of the heaviest rainfall ever recorded in southern California. Very philosophically Dan said, well it is better than the weather back home. They are now back home and we hope planning their next visit.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010 is a site that gives you a schedule for the shelf life of foods. Have you ever taken something from the refrigerator or cupboard and questioned what the shelf life was of the product. Go to this site; check out the complete alphabetically listed selection of foods. Click on the food name and a graph shows the normal shelf life of that specific food.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Spreckles Pavillion And Organ

Dr. Carol Williams, Director of Music
click on photos to enlarge detail
The Spreckles Organ and Pavilion
My friend Karen and I went to Balboa Park on Friday to view a Rembrandt exhibit at the Timken Art Museum. As we entered the park, we heard the Spreckles Organ being played. This was indeed a rare event and opportunity. The organ is usually played only on Sunday afternoons at 2:00 p.m. for a weekly hour concert June through August. Dr. Carol Williams is commissioned to play the organ. The concert being presented was for the enjoyment and education of school children and titled "The Mighty Organ, the King of Musical Instruments". The orator explained the numerous other musical instrument sounds the organ could produce as the organist played a few notes of each instrument. One could have imagined a stage with a large orchestral accompaniment as the music streamed forth. What a sound!
The Spreckles organ was donated in 1914 for The Panama Exhibition by John D. and Adolph Spreckles. It contains 4,530 pipes ranging in size from a pencil to 32 feet. What an amazing sound!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Flourless Carrot Cake

Cardamon Pods Opened And Seeds Stripped Ingredients Measured The Cooking Mixture After Milk Is Added The Finished Carrot Dessert
Flourless Carrot Cake or Gajar Ka Halva
At our favorite San Francisco Nepalese Restaurant, a "Flourless Carrot Cake" was listed on the dessert menu. It was delicious and not like anything we ever tasted before. Recently we learned that the restaurant became a victim of the economy. With luck, the owner shared the recipe. Who would have thought such a great taste was so simple to prepare.
I began shredding carrots on my box shredder. After finishing the third carrot, I thought there had to be an easier method of shredding one and one-half pounds of carrots. I tried a food mill that had a series of cones. My available choices were either too fine or thin slices. Neither of these choices would work for the recipe requiring coarsely shredded carrots. Finally I put my food processor in service. In just a couple of minutes the carrots were coarsely shredded. That task could have been the most time consuming aspect of the recipe. NOTE *Finely shredded carrots will cook to "mush".
When you start this recipe, you must not stop the process until the recipe is completed. I reduced the original recipe to yield six servings. The original recipe said to turn out the finished dessert onto a baking sheet. I chose to use ramekins which I served to company as dessert for dinner last evening.
1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and coarsely shredded
2 cups milk
6 Tablespoons butter ( I used 3 T.) 3/4 cup sugar 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
7 or 8 cardamon pod seeds,chopped
1/4 cup coconut powder
Garnish :
10 cashew nuts, split
Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Place the coarsely shredded carrots in pan and continuously stir until the moisture is evaporated. As you stir, check the pan bottom for liquid content. Add the milk and continue to stir until the milk is evaporated. Add the butter and continue to stir as the mixture will start to stick to the pan. Reduce the heat. When the butter is melted and absorbed quickly add the sugar. The sugar will cause liquid to be extracted. Continue to stir until the liquid is absorbed. When the liquid is absorbed add the coconut powder, cinnamon, and cardamon seeds and stir tblend. Turn out on baking sheet or into ramekins.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sun-dried Tomatoes

Oven Sun-dried Tomatoes
Our friends are on a road trip for several days. Prior to leaving they brought some vegetables that they thought would not keep during their absence. At this time of the year tomatoes are a little pricey in the stores. You are careful to store them properly and use them. I decided to try the oven drying method for sun-dried tomatoes. I think I learned a great deal from my first experiment. The recipe said use the lowest setting on your oven. Mine is 170 degrees which is way to low. Six hours in the oven proved nothing. When I increased the temperature I needed to keep a watchful eye on their progress. I gave one a taste test this morning and am happy with the flavor but ten hours in an oven is too long. Had I used the correct temperature I am sure the recommended four hours would have been perfect.
Place tomatoes cut in half on a cooling rack above a baking sheet. (I removed the seeds). 

Mix salt, sugar, and thyme: sprinkle onto tomatoes.

Drizzle with olive oil. Remember olive oil saturated tomatoes will always be moist so drizzle

Your tomatoes when dried will be "compact" so go lightly with seasonings. 

Place in an oven set at 225 degrees. Expect four hours to dry. Tomatoes should be dry but not crisp. 

The taste is excellent.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Barcodes On Foods

Bar Codes On Foods
The foods prepared in China and marketed world wide have made us aware of the lack of an acceptable standard of hygiene, safety, and ethics. Do you know how to detect which food products we should question before purchase? Some countries have a higher standard of food safety and are known to have the least contaminated recall record. Foods processed in China, Thailand, and Vietnam have no food safety inspection.
Make a copy of these bar codes to keep with you when you shop.
The first four numbers on the left of the bar code 690 through 695 are foods made in China.
885 Thailand
893 Vietnam
00 ~13 USA and Canada
30 ~37 France
40 ~44 Germany
49 ~ Japan
50 ~ UK
57 ~ Denmark
64 ~ Finland
76 ~ Switzerland and Liechtenstein
628 ~ Saudi Arabia
629 ~ United Arab Emirates
740 ~ 745 Central America
480 ~ 489 Philippines