Sunday, December 22, 2013

Holiday cookie traditions

The expert combination of decoration and taste is a difficult goal to achieve in Christmas cookie tradition.  The challenges in cookie decorating are many fold, but the cookie decorating endeavors at the Jonnes/Ross household this weekend were "top flight".  First, we walked into the warm house filled with the smell of toasted gingerbread and roasted sugar cookie.  Flour has no boundaries and rightfully made it's mark on pieces of dark clothing as the decorating commenced. The avid decorator must have discipline and self-control in order to avoid consumption of the tantalizing material at hand.  While the art of decorating can take many forms, resourceful use of everyday household tools is the most efficient method.  Toothpicks were the creative tool of choice, and paintbrushes (that could have been discovered from the ancient childhood face painting sets stored deep in the basement make for a great resurrection of toys of old).   Festive holiday colored frosting was used and cookie cutter shapes ranged from elephants, to gingerbread women, to reindeer.   Sugar crystal sprinkles were used in every combination with no two cookies ending up the same.  It was clear these cookies met a high standard of aesthetic rigor.  Beyond beauty, the other challenge for Christmas cookies are quality of taste.  The cookie dough was made and baked by expert Jill Jonnes with a recipe scouted from Mrs. Gilmore's gingerbread "girls".

Gingerbread often has a reputation for "cardboard-like" taste in part due to the evolution of recipes used in gingerbread houses built for structural support over gustatory quality.  However, this recipe had the perfect amount of spice, density, and crunch.  My favorite of good-looking bunch were the candy cane cookies.  These treats were soft and delicate in texture, in stark contrast to the brittle peppermint canes from which their form takes after. We were surprised by a new addition to the mix, an almond biscotti made its appearance deliciously dipped in dark roast coffee.  The cookies are on display in the household holiday cookie eating party today.   Here are some shots from the pre-eating training (because let's face it, eating is the highest valued skill for Christmas -cookie -making parties).

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A McFatty sandwich worthy of our name

It's time for our return and no recipe is better suited than this McFatty worthy sandwich.  It's been over 2 years since out last post and for the first time we are reunited for 1 MONTH.  Yes, for the next month we will be in San Francisco relishing in the fruits of the bay.  To kick-start our re-opening of the blog, may I present this sandwich which has inspired the first-post-back recipe.   For context, this sandwich is best enjoyed outside, after a long surf, with a bottle of sparkling water (with 4 lemon wedges) or an chilled local beer. (I say local, not because of an elitism for loc-avore foodie fare,--although those assumptions might not be unfounded ;), but because our current San Diego location boasts local brews worthy of fierce recognition (Lost Abbey, Stone, Green Flash, Alesmith...).  So in good fatty form, here is the sandwich that is the current winner for our namesake.  Although we welcome competition! 

McFatty Sandwich:
2 slices sourdough bread, toasted
spicy mustard
tomatoes (that are bomb- heirloom would be delish)
sliced turkey
dino kale
spattering of BBQ sauce
vinagrette to pour and dip: white vinegar, ponzu, maggi, mustard

I love this with wasabi peas if you like a little crunch and kick!
Blacks Beach - sunset surf.
San Diego, CA

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Salmon Quinoa Apricot and Avocado Salad

Early summer in San Diego usually consists of June gloom. Some years the summer is colder than the rest of the year, but this year we are lucky to have skipped over June gloom (I think...studying for most of it doesn't help) and gone right into beach weather. This means we go to the beach just like any other day of the year, but the water is warmer and there are more people getting sunburnt (usually myself included). Summer weather means fresh salads and this is one of my favorite combinations not only because of the fresh seafood, but also because the avocados come right from our backyard. ok....I don't have avocados in my backyard, although that would be pretty nice. My backyard consists of a fountain and colored plastic balls the neighbors kids have thrown over their fence but are too embarrassed to come and get. The "backyard" I am referring to is the california avocado farm in escondido. If you haven't had a perfectly ripe california avocado, they are green and full of creamy goodness. Please's worth the $1.50.

1/4 Ib salmon cooked, seasoned salt and pepper
1/2 avocado
slices of apricot
balsamic vinaigrette (balsamic vinegar, olive oil (2:1) pepper)

Midnight German Chocolate Cake

You know it's vacation frequent facebook enough to know the minute by minute updates, you take multiple naps in one day, and the food blog gets updated. Katie and I aren't the most diligent when it comes to keeping our blog up to date, but this German chocolate cake deserves an post, picture, and subsequent drool.

This post-taco-tuesday cake was made by two pro cake making amigos. How many triathletes does it take to make a german chocolate cake? One to bring the flour, another to get the recipe, and another to eat. After a lively evening of not standing in an obscenely long line, frozen margaritas, and tacos dripping with "white sauce", we were far from going to sleep. Triathletes like to brag, and we like to brag about being good at things. It's not a bad thing, versatility is a virtue. Some claim to be quadrathletes. We can swim, bike, run, and .....get in touch with our senses. This last event can take on a multitude of meanings so I'll let your mind wander. But most are also great cooks. The recipe came from All Recipes and the frosting a delicious labor of love. Bear in mind that custard takes if you have it, turn on an episode of Tosh.0 and laugh your way to creamy goodness...(don't let your mind wander on this one).

Midnight chocolate cake because that's when the frosting tastes best. Add however much melted chocolate you need ....a.k.a. a lot.

  • Cake:
  • 4 (1 ounce) squares German chocolate
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 egg whites
  • Coconut Pecan Frosting:
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup butter

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Crab Cakes MD style

    It's been way too long. A lot has happened since the last post. I finished my Board Exam in San Diego this past Saturday and proceeded directly to Las Vegas. After a couple nights of not sleeping and drinking lots of....umm....fruit juice, I was far from being done celebrating. Here is a post about something I love to make, and frankly probably brag a bit too much about. But they are so yummy if they are done right, and often not done right. Very little bread, some egg, scallions, hot pepper to taste. Lump crab and lightly seared. Simple is best here but of course you need the Old Bay. Serve with a fresh salad and here we served it over cheesy polenta.

    Sunday, December 26, 2010

    Stout Braised Short Ribs

    We were searching for an adequate Christmas dinner recipe. One that would stand up to the expectation of "Christmas Dinner". I offered my sister the short list of Christmas-go-to-mains, but somehow came up with a lackluster response to rib roast, ham, turkey....I threw the idea of short ribs out there and she took off running. Kate and I are both runners, so as you can guess, we like an idea, and go with it. She searched our favorite places for recipes, namely epicurious and food network. Stout braised short ribs came normally this would have sounded like a great idea, but today it was the perfect idea because I could vouch for a beef braised in high quality beer stew was the way to go. Just prior, I had one of the best concoctions from Aaron's roommate Crash, a budding brew-based culinary mastermind. With a small sacrifice of time (these dishes do better when slowly cooked over half a day....yes patience is a virtue here) a delicious Christmas dinner was going to happen.

    Our recipe muse epicurious never fails:

    As always...go with the Guinness.


    This dish was inspired first by Spain, second by my awesome friend Rene, and third, by the baby octopus we saw at Sun Fat, the local seafood market. Rene makes a great paella, and not just any paella, this dish is one that adds a little more fresh veggies than your average, which I love, but it also has a spicy chorizo which gives it the kick necessary to wow your French guests...and yes, if it's a dinner party with Rene is SF, there will be French guests. The recipe was adapted from this recipe

    The great thing about paella is that you can add anything you have on hand to it and it will taste great. I highly recommend mussels if you have access to them not only because they are delicious, but because they add an extra third dimension to the dish. In our case. the baby octopus became the larger than life addition. Don't forget the saffron!