Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Collection of Perfect Things

Are there really things we can deem as a "perfect thing"?

 I have this possibly strange thing I do. I collect perfect things. Well, not the things themselves, I suppose, but a list of them. This wasn't entirely my idea. Years ago a book showed up in my house called, "14,000 Things To Be Happy About", by Barbara Ann Kipfer. It's basically a giant list of things that make Barbara happy. I thought it was cool enough, but I realized I didn't want to just read about what makes her happy, but that I wanted my own list. 

So I pulled out a little Chinese journal that a friend had given me, which had yet to find itself a significant purpose and began to collect.... Those next few years would turn out to be my darkest and most tumultuous, and this little red journal containing simple, beautiful, nourishing things became a sort of therapy. When things in my life were painful and fragile, I would write down their opposites. 

There was no real rhyme or reason to the way they poured onto the pages. Any page could go from "The smell of newborn skin", to "having a history", to "The thesaurus", "the Sun on your face", "dark chocolate" to "running through the sprinkler fully clothed".  This simple exercise dragged my mind from my own turmoil and gave it a place to rest, cushioned with all of the things, people, experiences, tastes, smells, emotions, philosophies and memories that truly bring me happiness and peace.    

Of course, me being me, there seem to be a lot of perfect things that revolve around food and beverages in my collection. So I'm gonna go out on a limb and share some of them with you here. 

 Bacon. Lobster. Great wine. The smell of raw corn on the cob. Watching a child eat something they love. Cheese. The smell of a tomato plant. Dark chocolate. Thai iced tea. Farmers markets. Coffee. Picky Dinners. Martinis. Chunky Monkey ice cream. Cooking leisurely. A table full of friends. Homemade cranberry sauce. Family recipes. Fortune cookies. Homemade jam. Balsamic vinegar. Melona bars. Sugar cubes. Herb roasted potatoes. Sandwiches. S'mores. Margaritas. Hot chocolate. Fingerling potatoes. Jasmine rice. Gum. Toaster ovens. Roadside fruit stands. Lemon-aide stands. Thanksgiving. BBQ chicken pizza. Blueberries. Red onions. Sauteed mushrooms. Wooden spoons. Homemade chicken stock. My mom's cinnamon rolls. BBQ ribs. Goat cheese. Carving pumpkins. The perfect rows of orchards. Thyme. Green peas. English muffins. Lunch with a girlfriend. Mortar & Pestles. Roy's chocolate soufle. A fridge full of stuff you love. Warm cookies & Milk. Warm french bread. Ceviche. White rice with butter & salt. Crab with melted butter & lemon. Shirley Temples. Sweet potatoes with butter and brown sugar. French onion soup. Gelato. Hot wings. Ice cold Hefewiezen with lemon. The smell of fresh baked bread. Frosty mugs. A beach side clam bake. Brownies with walnuts. Wild strawberries. Toasting marshmellows. Asparagus wrapped in bacon. Banana splits. Roasted garlic. Raspberries. Homemade pasta. Heirloom tomatoes. Mason jars. Meyer lemon trees. Saffron. Carmel corn. Lemon zest. Pork roast. Saving/using bacon fat. Godiva chocolate and red wine. Successfully flipping an omelet. Meat counters where the butcher wraps your order in paper. Swanky parties. Country Ham. Dinner at mom's house. Gourmet food stores. Talking about food. Pomegranites. A cup of tea. Secret ingredients. Jelly Bellies. Garnishing the finished dish. Cast iron pans. Your favorite coffee cup. A thirst quenching beverage. Cracking your own nuts. Drinks served in old jars. Handed down recipes with no real measurements. Mimosas at brunch. Keawe wood in the BBQ. Raw oyesters. Avocado with salt. Anything flambe. Wild rice with butter and salt. B.J.'s BBQ and Deli. Peach Cobbler. My sister's crazy breakfasts. The spice of life. Carrots plucked from the ground. Cooking shows. Chicken pot pies. Unconventional hanging pot racks. Greek food. Sidewalk cafes. Citrus blossoms. Dr. Pepper. Prime rib. Eating a bowl of pomegranite seeds. Bed and Breakfasts. Viking Subs in S.F. French toast. Vanilla beans. Leonards Malasadas. Anthony Bourdain. Chicken and Dumplings. Root beer floats. A freezing cold beer. Indian Naan bread. Falafles. Sourdough toast.. The "grannies" in popcorn. Fried bread. Sundried tomatoes. Sunday brunch. Muddeling cocktails. Italian sodas. (Are you bored yet??) Paninis. Gnocchi. Fresh squeezed juice. Ripe mellon. Teddy's Burgers. Wine shops. Cheese stores. Milk shakes. Cucumber Tzatziki. Floral patterned china. Outdoor kitchens. Pickled beets. Champagne. Tiramisu. Onion bagles. Mochi ice cream. Steel cut oats. The word "fancy" in product names. Don's Drive In. Thick pork chops. Lattice pie crusts. Mashed potatoes with butter. Ginger snap cookies. Red and yellow cherries. Sushi with my sister. Cream soda. Planting seeds. Oatmeal with butter and brown sugar. Spitting watermelon seeds. Cheers-ing. Breakfast in pajamas. Chopsticks. Having a drinking buddy. Olives with seeds. Risotto. Italian Delis. Carmel. Small boxes of raisins. Banana Bread. Polish sausage. Lobster ravioli. Chinatown markets. Tomato mozzerella and basil salad. The smell of coffee beans. Opening a wine bottle with a hammer & screws. Breakfast sandwiches. Steak Au Poivre. Pizza stones. Blueberry pie and vanilla ice cream. Cocktail shakers. Aged, dark rum. Having a tiki bar. Calzones. Riff- Raff Thanksgivings. The kids making you breakfast for no special reason. Omnivores. Grocery shopping. Coffee in bed. Ginger and mint tea. Honey mustard. Raspberry jam. Guiness beer. Mix Cafe's tuna sandwiches. Wishbones. Tagines. Herbs in small vases. Growing vegetables. A clean kitchen. Cookbook collections. Chipotle Tabasco. Elaborate cheeseburgers. Shrimp scampi pizza. Having a wine collection. Lychee martinis. Maple scones. French onion soup. Oyester shucking. Feeding frenzies. Food fights. Bowls of spice in foreign markets. Pistachios. Espresso machines. Microwaves. Open kitchen shelves. Cutting boards. Tait's "The Ballbuster' wine. The smell of a peach. Sidewalk tables. Making popovers. Green papaya salad. An Imu. Old enamel spoons. A keg of good beer. Brie and grape quesadillas. Harissa. The pop of a cork. All day cooking. Gravy. Ginger Martinis. Quiche on Christmas morning. Indian spices. Sausage meatballs. "Plungerhead" wine. The gift of Christmas meat. Bonnie Maman's Blueberry jam. Hot buttered rum. Yellow tomatoes. Eggplant and goat cheese rolls. Making something out of nothing. Chocolate shops. Ice cream sandwiches. Pepper Jack cheese. Garam Masala. Chicken tacos with lime.  Cooking on a campfire. Animal cookies. Crepes. Blenders. Roasting hot dogs on a branch. Leeks. Green tea ice cream. Flour. Having pizza dough on hand. Sugar. mountain apples. Yeast........... And the collection continues.

Of course there are plenty of non-food entries of things like: Painting your nails black when you're feeling pissy. Hockey announcers. Fringe benefits. Courage. Antique mirrors. etc, etc..... but I shall keep those to myself and leave you with the beauty of things that nourish the body and the soul as only food and drink can. I encourage you to start your own list, or at the very least, add to this one. It really is so great whether your life is unravelling or in perfect order, it's nice to remember the little things that make you happy. And please oh please, don't leave without dropping one (or more) of your favorite things in the comment section!          

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ginger Martini

Ginger Martini with Lemon Thyme & Ginger Sugar Rim 
The ginger martini at BambuTwo in downtown Honolulu has aroused a new love of ginger in me. Although I loathe that soapy tasting pickled ginger that comes with sushi, I love ginger in all of it's other forms. Turn it into a sugary syrup and mix it with some citrus vodka & you are really speaking my language! I had one on Friday night and then over the weekend, decided to try to reinvent one at home. I think I came pretty close. Since it's been a long time since I featured a cocktail on Swigs and Grinds, I figure this will make up for that!  

Minced Ginger
 I was actually reading a recipe for something else when I came across the instructions to throw the ginger into the food processor, skin on, in order to keep it from turning into total mush. Seems counter intuitive, I know, but it really does give it more of a chopped consistency, so do it.  I put in about a 3-4 inch piece, then added it to 2 cups water and about a cup and a half cup of sugar, and a tablespoon or so of lemon juice then simmered until it became a decently think syrup.
Ginger Syrup
 Let syrup cool and then strain mixture. Reserve ginger for other exciting uses. (I mixed some in with some sauteed carrots later that night and they were divine!)
Lemon Thyme & Ginger Sugar
 While the ginger syrup is cooling, combine sugar, lemon thyme & a bit of the reserved minced ginger and mush up with a mortar & pestle. I would have put in some lemon zest if I had it, but noooo.... instead I added a bit of lemon grass instead. Pour sugar onto a plate, then wet the rim of your glass and roll around in the sugar. As it dries it becomes like a sugary, gingery candy on the rim of your glass.

Combine 1/3 Cup (or however much you like) of the ginger syrup with a shot of citrus vodka and a couple of wedges of lemon (squeezed into shaker) and ice into a cocktail shaker. Shake and then pour into your swanky, sugar-rimmed glass & enjoy!
Ginger Martini

Quote of the Day:
"If you were to ask me if I'd ever had the bad luck to miss my daily cocktail, I'd have to say that I doubt it; where certain things are concerned, I plan ahead."
Luis Bunuel

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Eat The Street

Two cool things happened this morning.  1). I discovered a great new website/blog called Street Grindz. Sounds like a site after my own heart, right? Right. This site is dedicated to all things street food, specifically food trucks. And 2). Upon making this discovery, I learned of the Eat The Street event coming up next Thursday evening.

Street Grindz features eleven different food trucks on their website. Everything from tacos, coffee, deli, jawaiian jerk, ice pops, mexican, soul food, and the one I am most excited to try: a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich truck. And here's the great news: they will all be in one place on Thursday, January 27th from 6-9 p.m. for Hawaii's first food truck rally!

It sounds so hip. So metropolitan. And yet we can enjoy it here, in 70 degree weather in January, in Hawaii! Does it get any better than this??!

I hope you can make it down to Kapiolani Blvd. next week. You know I'll be there, grazing my way from truck to truck. And of course I will do some serious show & tell afterward!

Cheers to Hawaii's food trucks!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chinese New Year in Honolulu

Chinese New Year Good Luck Items
Kung Hee Fat Choy! This is the traditional greeting, meaning Happy New Year, that you will be greeted with as you peruse the streets of Chinatown during Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year begins according to the Georgian and lunar-solar calendar systems. Because the track of the new moon changes from year to year, Chinese New Year can begin anytime between late January and mid February. The celebration traditionally starts with the new moon on the first day of the new year and ends on the full moon, 15 days later. This year's Chinese New Year officially falls on February 3rd, but if you are in Honolulu, you can enjoy a month long celebration during the entire month of January.

2011 is the year of the rabbit. If you were born in the year 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999 or 2011, you have extra cause to celebrate because this is your year!

Chinatown - Honolulu Hawaii
 Chinese New Year celebrations center around tradition, family, friends, food and prosperity. In fact, more food is consumed during these celebrations than at any other time of the year. During this time, every meal, social event, religious ceremony and ingredient have superstitious value and meaning. From the day you visit friends and family to the day you stay at home, your prayers and offerings, the foods you eat and the color of clothing you wear, it is all believed to make a difference in your prosperity and happiness in the coming year.

Chinatown Storefront

Chinatown Sidewalk Wares
A few Chinese New Year Do's and Dont's:

Do: Have firecrackers ready to send out the old year and welcome in the new.

Do: Have every door and window in the house open at the stroke of midnight to let the old year out.

Do: Wear red clothing. Red is considered a bright and happy color sure to bring any wearer a sunny, bright future.

Do: Try a vegetarian dish called Jai on New Year's Day. It consists of many ingredients believed to usher in everything from male offspring to wealth and happiness.

Don't: Include tofu in your dishes. Because of it's white color it is considered unlucky and is associated with misfortune.

Don't: Wash your hair on New Year's Day because it could wash away good luck for the new year.

In case you want to have your Chinese friends over for dinner, here are some foods that will surely put you and them on the way to a prosperous and happy new year.

Present a whole fish. This represents togetherness and abundance.

Serve chicken as it represents prosperity. However I must caution you, it must have the head, tail and feet intact, as this symbolizes completeness.

And don't forget noodles! Make sure they are uncut as this represents a long life.

Lion Dance In Front Of The Hawaii Theatre
 So whether you are Chinese or not, superstitious or not, you will be in the know, eating the right food, wearing the right colors and at the best celebrations if you join the fun! There are plenty of festivities on Honolulu's calendar of events to make sure you can celebrate all of the important gatherings. Lion dances, fireworks, art, and of course, plenty of food!

If you're in the neighborhood, be sure to check out the following:

FRIDAY & SATURDAY, January 14 & 15, and January 21 & 22
From 10am-10pm the United Chinese Coalition presents: Chinese New Year Festival

Chinatown Cultural Plaza. At this four-day event, food vendors provide a variety of Chinese and other Asian cuisine favorites. Exhibits and entertainment include feng shui presentations, arts and crafts vendors, martial arts demonstrations, Chinese fortune readings, and Chinese dancing and singing.

SATURDAY JANUARY 22, 5:00-10:00pm
Open to the public, tickets available by calling 533-3181
Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii presents: Coronation Ball

Hilton Hawaiian Village. At the Coronation Ball, the new Narcissus Queen is officially crowned with much pomp and grandeur as the Chinese Chamber celebrates the 62nd Anniversary of the Narcissus Festival. Former Chamber Presidents and Narcissus Queens will make a special appearance. Fantastic entertainment, beautiful setting, historic video, and a sumptuous banquet are in store.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 6:00 – 10:00 pm
Open to the public, Free
Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii presents: 62nd Annual Narcissus Festival and Choy Cheng, Traditional Lion Dance Blessing, and Chinatown Open House

In Chinatown and at Chinatown Cultural Plaza. The evening begins at 8 South King St. with the traditional Chinese lion dance blessing -- Choy Cheng. The Narcissus Queen and her court will visit Chinatown businesses and their patrons. Stores celebrate by lighting firecrackers and offering lisee (good luck money envelopes) to the dancing lions. Meanwhile, the Chinatown Open House celebration takes place at the Chinatown Cultural Plaza, with food vendors, arts and crafts booths, and entertainment.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 29, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Open to the public, Free
Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii hosts the Chinatown New Year Celebration

Chinatown Cultural Plaza. Food vendors provide an assortment of Chinese ethnic favorites, including jai (vegetarian monk’s food), gin doi (Chinese doughnut), gau (New Year pudding), and jook (rice soup). Entertainment includes ethnic dance troupes, local musical groups, and martial arts and weapons demonstrations.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 29, 3:30– 5:30 pm
Open to the public, Free
Chinatown Merchants Association presents: Night in Chinatown Parade

The “Night In Chinatown” Parade begins at 3:30 p.m. on Hotel Street at the State Capitol and proceeds to Maunakea Street. Parade participants include Festival Queens and their courts, cultural organizations, kung fu martial artists, lion and dragon dance associations, including a special performance by a 150 foot dragon.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 29, 9:00 am – 10:30 pm
Open to the public, Free
Chinatown Merchants Association presents: Night in Chinatown Festival

On Maunakea Street and Smith Street. This all-day block party features booths with home-cooked Asian food and traditional New Year’s arts and crafts, as well as, entertainment on two stages with martial arts, cultural demonstrations, and Chinese lion and dragon dance performances. Visit Keiki Land where there are activities for children of all ages, from inflatable rides to games. Join the Little Miss Chinatown activity and have an opportunity to participate in the parade. Also, special guests, including lion dance performances and other fun activities will occur throughout the day. Don’t miss this major opportunity to purchase special food or items to welcome the Lunar New Year!On Maunakea Street and Smith Street. This all-day block party features booths with home-cooked Asian food and traditional New Year’s arts and crafts, as well as, entertainment on two stages with martial arts, cultural demonstrations, and Chinese lion and dragon dance performances. Visit Keiki Land where there are activities for children of all ages, from inflatable rides to games. Join the Little Miss Chinatown activity and have an opportunity to participate in the parade. Also, special guests, including lion dance performances and other fun activities will occur throughout the day. Don’t miss this major opportunity to purchase special food or items to welcome the Lunar New Year!

Kung Hee Fat Choy! See you in Cinatown....

Lion Dance

Chinatown's Great Architecture

Friday, January 14, 2011

Eggplant Parmesan, A Love Story...

Add caption
 The memories of the sun warming it’s aubergine skin always brought back a primal, interconnected feeling.  It had traveled quite a distance. Over dusty roads, hand after hand after hand passing it from one place to another, until here, on a chilly shelf, next to others who had traveled much the same trip, the rotund, portly eggplant now sat.

Hands still fondling it, eyes still upon it, even an occasional nose to  sniff it, it waited. Until it dozed off into a shallow sleep, peppered with vague dreams of dirt and butterflies. And then something slippery and dry wrapping itself around it.  A stifling blanket  of some sort. A plastic bag. Jostling, mingling with the others, a dark ride somewhere. The kitchen.

The bath was nice, if a bit brief. Then something shiny. A twinge of fear, but then a sweet sense of surrender and purpose. This was what it would all come down to. An act of sacrifice. It had been chosen and now the time had come.

The first slice was a bit of a shock, But there was no pain, in fact if an eggplant were able, this one would surely have let out a sigh and settled in with a smile. Allowing itself to be overtaken by the rhythm, being dredged, dipped, encrusted and lovingly lowered into the hot oil. Like a weary soul in a spa treatment, it laid back, flipped & bubbled, all the while being transformed yet again.

Out to drain for a moment, then a carefully thought out process began. A thick red wine sauce became the pillow that it began to be tucked into. Blanketed with layers of cheese and more sauce, the sense of contentment deepened as it was slid into a warm oven, where it’s metamorphosis became complete.

Realizing that the trip had come to an end, it rested, feeling that it had arrived. Until the fork approached and guided it into the waiting mouth that soon after it’s role of mastication was complete, began to utter it’s praises. Such adjectives spilled forth from that portal, that the eggplant may have actually blushed under all of it’s saucy, cheesy layers. It was “delicious”, “amazing”, “sexy”., and it made them “full”. Full of contentment, nourishment and dare I say, joy.

From there was a world of wonderful, complete darkness. A purpose fulfilled.  

Eggplant Parmesan - contruction

Eggplant Parmesan - going to the oven...

Eggplant Parmesan
I recently saw a Throwdown with Bobby Flay where it was battle eggplant. This Italian family won, and the technique was to remove the skin of the eggplant, then slice really thin, bread them, fry them, then assemble almost like a lasagna with layers of sauce, eggplant & cheese. Now, I haven't been a lover of eggplant, but this recipe has made me a believer. Give it a try, you will make yourself and an eggplant near you very happy and content!


"English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it? If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? Have you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they are absent? Have you ever seen a horsefull carriage or a strapfull gown? Met a sung hero or experienced requited love? Have you ever run into someone who was combobulated, gruntled, ruly or peccable? And where are all those people who ARE spring chickens or who would actually hurt a fly? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm goes off by going on.."
~ Author Unknown

Friday, January 7, 2011

Anna and Kristina's Grocery Bag

I love watching cooking shows. It's great to learn how the pro's create their magic. But I've always thought it would be so much better to see a real UN-professional cook bumbling around like I do in the kitchen. You know, someone who burns stuff, and has crappy results sometimes, but who perseveres anyway and finally makes something great.

Well, I was thrilled to discover last week that I get OWN, Oprah's new network. I was also thrilled this morning when I was flipping around the channels while having my coffee & saw a new show there called, Anna and Kristina's Grocery Bag. It's these two women who try out different cookbooks, then they invite chefs who are experts in the cuisine that they are trying to come over for dinner.

These ladies were great. They were trying recipes from an Indian cookbook called, Mangoes and Curry Leaves. They made some funky, sticky, goopy Naan dough, they burned some dessert thing, one of them was so over it about half way through, it was great. Totally real deal cooking. Of course, they pulled it together & there was a happy ending. All this to say, Bravo OWN for bringing us a new great show. Finally! Make sure you check this one out - it's great.  

Monday, January 3, 2011

Shogunai Tacos

Matt Duffy and Kamal Jemmari
I am excited to introduce you to Honolulu's newest & coolest food truck, Shogunai Tacos. I was addicted to Food Network's show last season called, "The Great Food Truck Race". I love the idea of walking up & getting great food, for a great price, FAST. The thing about living in Hawaii, is this is not so easy to find. Until now...
The Shogunai Taco Truck
I love the guys at Shogunai Tacos & I love their concept of great, fresh food, that moves around to different neighborhoods. Oh yeah, and I love the lamb tacos!

Shogunai's menu rotates daily, and if you're expecting just your standard Mexican taco, think again. Their creations will take you from Greece to Morocco and many culinary stops along the way. 

Matt & Kamal combine Matt's world travels, love of food and talent for marketing and P.R. with Kamal's exotic Moroccan heritage and his many years spent as a chef in a Spanish restaurant, a Cuban restaurant, an Italian restaurant, and a pastry chef to create a menu that is as exotic & fresh as they are!  

Chef Kamal seasoning a batch of Moroccan Fries

Shogunai Tacos Moroccan Fries

When I asked what made the Fries "Moroccan", Kamal said, "I do!" 

Zues's Glory, Greek Taco $6 
I have been craving this one since I had it last week; Lamb Gyro, kalamata olives, feta cheese, and garlic tzatziki sauce. Oh yeah baby.

South of the Border, Mexican Taco $5
I have one very picky little girl, who declared this more traditional taco of ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and sour cream (hold the sour cream on Ms. Picky's though) to be the best taco she's ever had! Quite a review!!

Little Sicily, Italian Taco $6
 For my fellow pork enthusiasts, this is the one for you. Porchetta, a savory and moist roasted pork with garlic, dill, and rosemary, topped with sauteed peppers and onions. 
Baja Rally, Mexican Quesadilla $6
 There is also a Soul Food Korean Taco, Bollywood Indian Taco, Bangkok Thai Vegetarian Taco, and Mamas Couscous which are all on my list to try next time. 

To keep up with Shogunai's daily whereabouts, you can find them on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr & LinkedIn. Also check out their website: www.shogunaitacos.com

Saturday, January 1, 2011

It's a New Year!

I know. I have been M.I.A. I'm sorry. This time of year kicks my butt every year, and this was no different. It's the busiest time for my day job as a children's photographer, my kids have birthdays, and then of course it's the holidays. I'm usually completely Grinchy by about December 1st.

But alas, I have come up for air, and I will be damned if I will start this year out without finally posting something!

It's not like I haven't been doing my share of eating, drinking and being merry - no need to worry about that. It's not even like I haven't practically turned my kitchen into a trattoria, and my liver into a wine cellar. I mean, in the last month I have gotten a pasta maker, a new super snazzy mandoline (not the instrument but the slicer thing), an ice cream maker and ..... a Kitchen Aid!!!! Not to mention another gift subscription to Bon Appetit as well as Saveur. My friends and family clearly want me to keep cooking for them.

I have been photographing pasta drying on the backs of my chairs, biscotti being whipped up for gifts, cookies being decorated and even holiday cocktails. But have I shared any of it with you??? Nooooooo.

Well, I have dusted myself and my cookbooks, tools, and palate off and I am back. If anyone is still out there.... I lift a glass to you for following along in 2010, for all of your comments, the recipes you shared, the goodies you sent, and the meals that we have shared, whether in person or virtually. I wish you a tasty, thirst quenching start to this New Year and I look forward to what 2011 will bring.