Thursday, September 18, 2014

Our Trip to Julian

The bulldogs and I recently visited the old mining town of Julian, CA.  I rented a dog-friendly cabin there and the boys had a blast exploring the almost 1 and a half acres of property.  A trip to Julian is not complete without trying out the apple pie there.  Julian is well known for their apple orchards, apple picking during the fall, and the apple desserts.

One morning we stopped by the Julian Bakery and I got a slice of boysenberry-apple crumble a la mode.  The a la mode part was half cinnamon ice cream, half vanilla.  YUM!!

Our second pie stop was to Mom's, also on Main Street.  My friend Deb had recommended this place to me so of course, I had to check it out.   I got the strawberry-rhubarb pie and also a caramel apple.

Here are some photos of Tate and Finn exploring the cabin grounds, and some shots of the gorgeous Julian scenery...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Breakfast is probably my most favorite meal of the day.  There's just something extra satisfying about digging into something delicious after your body has had a chance to fast for several hours. Usually I wake up pretty hungry but this morning, because I knew I'd be meeting my friend at 10am to "break my fast", I decided to drink my usual black coffee with a dash of condensed milk and had some nuts and raisins to munch on.

I met my friend at a coffee shop called Hill Street Cafe in Burbank.  This place has got an old school feel to it with its cozy booths and very friendly staff.  The breakfast menu was pretty extensive but I zeroed in on what my body was craving: strawberry waffles topped with whipped cream,  eggs, and extra crispy hash browns (yes, I had a big appetite)!

The waffles were absolutely scrumptious--crispy and light with loads of fresh strawberries and just the right amount of whipped topping.  The hash browns and over-medium eggs were also excellent.  I washed everything down with their passion fruit iced tea...ahh...refreshingly good!

If you're ever in the Southern California area, head over to Burbank and the Hill Street Cafe. I'm looking forward to my next visit!

Hill Street Cafe
3301 N. Glenoaks Blvd
Burbank, CA

Friday, September 12, 2014

Summer Cooking--Asian Style Short Ribs

It's so DANG HOT here still that cooking anything other than toast is a bit of a turn off.  But, I did manage to make this Asian Style Braised Short Rib dish a couple months ago (I know, it took me THIS long to post it)!
I ordered the grass-fed short ribs from US Wellness, an online meat supply store. I love short ribs and was really excited when I found this recipe on Terry B's site,

Yes, the short ribs do take some time to prepare and cook but the end result is totally worth it. I loved the juicy, tangy flavor of the ribs, and they went perfectly with steamed rice.

(Recipe adapted from Blue-Kitchen dot com)


3 1/2 to 4 lbs bone-in short ribs
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil (I used duck fat)
6 scallions, cut into 2-inch sections (reserve the green tops of one)
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 cups water
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
5 Whole Star Anise (Note: I substituted this with Chinese 5 Spice Powder--about 1 teaspoonful)

There are so many ingredients in this recipe that Mise en place is very important, otherwise, I'd be going nuts with all the prep work and cooking at the same time.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Trim any excess fat from short ribs, but no need to trim ALL the fat as the fat adds the flavor! Season generously with black pepper (but not salt). Heat a heavy dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil and brown short ribs on all the meaty sides for about 8 minutes total. Work in batches if necessary to avoid over-crowding in the pot. Transfer ribs to plate with tongs. Reduce heat to medium and add scallions, carrots, garlic, and ginger to pot. Cook, stirring frequently (note: you want to sweat the veggies, not brown them), for about 5 minutes.

Add orange juice, soy sauce, water, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, and crushed red pepper flakes to dutch oven, stirring to combine. Scrape up any browned bits. Rterun short ribs to dutch oven, arranging in a single layer, if possible (don't worry about over-crowding at this point). The liquids won't completely cover the ribs and that's okay. Sprinkle the ribs with the Chinese 5 spice powder. Place parchment paper over ribs and braising mixture. Cover pot with lid and place in oven on middle rack. Braise until ribs are tender, about 2.5 hours, turning ribs once half-way thru cooking.

Serve the short ribs with white rice and top with scallion tops and sesame seeds, if you wish.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I'm baaaaaaackkkkkk!!!

Holy cow, where has the time gone? Or should I say, where have I been?!  Well, I'm back, folks, in case anyone was wondering. It's been a long, hot summer, as the saying goes, and I'm absolutely, undeniably READY for fall and some cool weather.  Here in sunny So Cal though, it's still a steamy 90 plus degrees on most days. Ugh.

I've got some recipes to post and some things to discuss but in the meantime, let me entertain you with some pictures of my bulldogs, otherwise known as "my sons".