Radish Heart’s Photo Debut



New Heartnoid found — Scallion Heart!


Published in: on February 14, 2011 at 8:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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Day of the ‘Dead Coupon Book’

November 1. Dia de los Muertos. In our house it has a special meaning. This is the day all the coupons in the Entertainment Book expire. Dead, unused coupons headed for the recycle bin.

In honor of the expired book I built a little altar to replicate the Day of the Dead altars I had just seen in Old Town. You don’t see the devil on those altars, but I decided he was appropriate for the Coupon Book altar. After all, it is this book that tempts me to buy double amounts of unhealthy foods just because I have a two-for-one coupon. On the other hand, were it not for this book, my husband would never agree to go out for dinner, so a guardian angel and Mother Mary were also appropriate mourners.

But it wasn’t all sadness. It is tradition that we go out to dinner on this day because it is the last day we can USE a coupon. So in keeping with the Mexican theme of the day, our last coupon meal of the year was at Casa Guadalajara, a favorite place because of their great carnitas and beautiful patio. We got a fountain-side table and were even serenaded by a wonderful strolling singer. I loved it all, and the whole thing had me singing, “Gracias a el libro.” (i.e. the Coupon Book) Without “the Book,” I would be home cooking, but here I was feeling like I was on vacation in Puerta Vallarta.

Unfortunately, I was so excited about our carnitas, mole and margaritas that I forgot to take a food photo. 😩  Since I didn’t have to cook dinner, I had time to upload my photos of the colorful sights of the Dia de los Muertos altars in San Diego’s Old Town.

Fountain on Casa Guadalajara’s outdoor patio

One of many Dia de los Muertos altars in Old Town, San Diego

Pan de Muertos

This sweet bread has molded “dough bones” baked on top. Don’t these look like chicken drumsticks? 🙂

Offerings of fruit to the loved ones who have passed.

Rice, beans and chilis are the ingredients of this design.

Can this be blue corn and chocolate?

Calavera de azucar or sugar skull.  This one got poked in the eye!

Paths of marigold petals help the Souls find their way back home.

Souls on their long journey need water to purify, cleanse, &  quench their thirst.

Marigolds Galore
Fried bread?  Not sure  about this one

Traditional bread can have sugar or sesame seeds on top.
Ah, swingers never die…

Catarina, an aristocratic skeleton greets visitors

The salt is also traditional for these altars for purification and cleansing, but someone decided this spirit needed some added freshening up!

“Out of the box” altar design at the Old Town Tobacco Shop .

Every Soul enjoys a good cigar.

Sugar Skull line up

Honoring a former saloon entertainer? The guy setting up the altar swore she wasn’t his grandmother.

A tribute to the Whaleys, a Pioneer Family of San Diego
Anna loved music and son, George played violin professionally for a time.

BYE-BYE Entertainment Coupon Book.
So sorry to see you expire.

Published in: on November 1, 2010 at 10:59 pm  Comments (2)  
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Oktoberfest Fress

With photos sent this past week from the German cousins in Munich dressed in ‘dirndls’ and lifting huge mugs of beer, I had Oktoberfest on my mind. Henry was coming down from L.A. so I asked cousin Betty if we might have a little Oktoberfest dinner at their house. Dick declared he was always available for a ‘fress’ and would be the ‘grillmeister’ of the bratwurst. So Betty and I concocted the plan.

We planned to keep it simple with Bratwurst, Kartoffelsalat and beer, but Betty has a knack of making even simple events seem like the “real thing” with her special touches. Bavarian blue-white napkins, wooden plates, and a glass boot filled with roses as a centerpiece were just some of the touches that made us feel like we were in the ‘Heimat.’ But the most basic German import that Betty and Dick always offer at their home is ‘Gemuetlichkeit,’ and there was plenty of that this evening. Then there was the food, but I’ll let the photos help tell that story.

Beer is the defining element of an Oktoberfest. Henry brought his favorite Widmer Hefeweizen and Dick always stocks my favorite, Sierra Nevada.

Appetizers included leberwurst and mettwurst from the Sausage King and the very elegant and tasty German prosciutto wrapped around breadsticks. We should have stopped eating after finishing all of this, but then it wouldn’t have been a real “fress,” so of course there’s lots more food to come.

Fresh bratwurst from San Diego’s own Sausage King, an old store in Mission Hills. Every time I walk into that store, the smell takes me back to my childhood and the German butcher shops my mother shopped at.

Of course there was a huge pot of kartoffelsalat. Henry made the dressing and we all agreed that he hadn’t forgotten how to get that perfect taste.

We needed some fresh vegetables to balance out the sausage and potatoes.

Here’s how it all looked grouped on the plate.

And then, with our seams bursting, out came the crowning dish of the evening — Betty’s fresh plum cake. Those wonderful sweet-tart juicy plums, the light cake, and the nutty crumble topping – ‘Lecker!’ as they say in Germany.

Oh, and here’s the vase of roses Betty put on the table. It’s a boot vase with a Bavarian lady sitting on her trap. It says, “Won’t anyone do me the favor of coming into my trap?”

If she was trying to lure us into eating too much, we all marched happily and with no hesitation, right into her trap!

Published in: on October 2, 2010 at 10:40 am  Comments (1)  

Grilled Steak – The Cook’s View

Quick and easy. Take the steak out of the freezer in the morning and just saute mushrooms and onions and put in a baked potato while the steak gets grilled on the patio.
More interesting was today’s weather. It rained and thundered, and there was lightening! But best of all, there was a rainbow. So in theory, the person doing the grilling on the patio would have had this view. Now THIS is a view all cooks deserve for their hard work.

Published in: on September 29, 2010 at 3:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ellen’s Chocolate Pudding with Cream Pie or Li’l Piggies’ Dinner

My wonderful neighbor Ellen supplies us with the best baked goods. She’ll call up after dinner and say, “Hey, would you like some pie? I baked a pie today and there’s too much for us.” I’ve tried to say no a couple of times because of the calories, but Louis always vetoes me and gets the pie, or cake, or whatever she has baked. And it’s always delicious.

Tonight she called and I hadn’t had dinner yet. So, I said yes and decided to have the pie for my dinner. How can that be? Well, it was a L’il Piggies day and we had been eating all day so this was a proper ending to that kind of a day.

We went to Coronado for lunch and tried a new place for us called Lil’ Piggy’s Bar-B-Q. The pulled pork sandwiches were the best, piled high with pork and coleslaw on top. (I know it looks like cheese in the photo, but it’s coleslaw.) Plus we had a side of “piggy tails” (curled french fries) and a side of onion rings. Note to self: Don’t order the rings next time; too greasy for me. Anyway, no wonder it’s called Lil Piggy’s. You feel like a big piggy after eating all that.

We spent all afternoon in Coronado, walking, listening to a band, watching the senior dancers, and just sitting and reading. Around 4:30 we decided to have an ice cream as we knew it would still be too hot at home. So we each had 2 scoops of very rich “Moo Time” ice cream and again walked and even chatted with a local who told us Li’l Piggies and Moo Time are owned by the same person.

I was not at all hungry when we got home at 6:30 and had no plans of eating anything else. However, when Ellen called offering pie, how could I refuse? As she said, chocolate pie is only good on the day it’s made. And that’s the story of why we had chocolate pudding with bananas and cream pie for dinner. OINK! OINK!

Published in: on September 4, 2010 at 8:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Lunch designed by Andrea

This is actually Lini’s lunch and it shouldn’t be here because it’s not dinner. But, today was my last day in Brooklyn and I didn’t get many photos of the meals I had on this trip. I was having too much fun eating and talking to think of taking photos. However, this final lunch with Lini in the apartment was one worth documenting. (and there are more below)

Andrea says she always gives Lini “designs” for lunch. What she had was cooked beets, tomatoes, and bits of the breaded pork fillet that Andrea had at the Italian restaurant we went to. She thought it would taste like Grandma’s schnitzel. (I was skeptical that anything would ever taste that good. But what a surprise! It did taste just like I remembered the crunchy breaded crust on the schnitzel.) The “schnitzel” bits on this photo are the tiny brown specs on the tomatoes.

Just because these are so cool, here are some more of Andrea’s lunch designs.

Published in: on August 10, 2010 at 11:44 am  Leave a Comment  

Beet Soup at Susan’s Home

Lunch, or any meal with Susan Lanzano is always a gourmet’s delight, not to mention an East-side of Detroit girl’s thrill. A visit at her home was one of the highlights of my trip back East. She served me a delicious lunch, starting with this cold beet soup. Not only did it look beautiful with its deep red color, but the fresh dill and yogurt added even more beauty and yummy tastes. We also had a lovely cold Salmon salad. And I even got a lesson on the correct way to use one of those huge chopping knives. She demonstrated, patiently watched me, and demoed again to make sure I got it right. Just being in her home felt like I stepped into a still life painting. Here are some things she had “hanging around,” just waiting for some painter to bring in an easel and paint them.

Published in: on August 6, 2010 at 12:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Fair Food

Our annual day at the San Diego Fair! This year, maybe because of the economy, the vendors offered smaller menu “tastes” for only $2.00. We didn’t taste any of the bizarre offerings like chocolate-covered bacon, but we got just the right amount of a vanilla creme puff and some wonderful real potato, potato chips.

Our choice for the “main food event” was the polish sausage with onions and peppers. It was a wonderful greasy, salty treat that made the over-priced beer we had with it taste even better. And what a thrill to have this really good Navy band playing Salsa music while we ate.

The fair’s theme was Taste the Fun. You’d think these chefs at the entrance would be an indication of the high-quality food awaiting you inside.

Just in case anyone was fooled into thinking California would offer healthy food at a Fair, here’s proof that we’re as bad as anywhere else in the country. These things make our choice of a sausage with onions and peppers almost seem like health food!

This one is honest at least — Heart Attack Cafe!

Here’s a food-related exhibit from the fair – a butter sculpture. They were in a refrigerated glass box so we could watch the sculptor. It looks like the first one is a fair-goer stuffing french fries in his mouth. Pretty gross – a butter child stuffing buttery fries in his mouth!

And in case you’re wondering, there was no dinner at home after this day at the fair.

Published in: on June 29, 2010 at 9:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Sicilian Festival in Little Italy

Need I say, no dinner at home tonight?

Published in: on May 23, 2010 at 10:04 am  Leave a Comment