Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Food at Z's Celebration!

Some of you've asked "So where are the Christmas food shots,Z?"   I just got them from my wonderful nephew and thought I'd post them now:   This was at Mom's house, 30 of us, and we had a delicious night! In the picture are carrots cooked in honey and sauteed pancetta, roasted potatoes, ham and (very unusual for our Christmas feast) salmon served room temperature with a lovely yogurt/dill sauce. I published the second dinner pic because of the RICE PILAF which is always manna from heaven! There was a huge salad with avocado and tomatoes and baby cucumbers, baby corn and hearts of palm, too. yummy.

This is an Armenian dessert that is fabulous...a thick, sweet mixture of dry fruits that reconstitute and barley which is softened with them...sounds awful. Tastes delicious! My sister also made paklava with cream instead of walnuts which is divine but I don't have a shot of that;

What did you guys eat for Christmas..? I can't wait to hear! xxx Z

Friday, November 23, 2012

Z's Thanksgiving

First, let me thank everybody who asks "are you going to have pictures of Thanksgiving?" I appreciate it and love posting them. The most delicious thing of the night was the amazing parmesan bread pudding that was really more like a souffle and fabulous! It's in the second picture down to the left of mashed potatoes.. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving and hope you all did, too!  We were 34 people, not including the new baby who was happily announced...making it 35 (in April!)   Here are some pictures from yesterday that my nephew took for me (thanks, J!)  The top picture is the appetizer table...kind of Middle Eastern, with my mother's amazing stuffed grape leaves, salamis, hummus, string cheese, taramasalata, Armenian breads, vegetables, etc... delicious!  Dinner gets more traditional later!
I added the photo of the ubiquitous turkey because our friend/blogger Cube asked in a comment "Where's the turkey!?" before I posted it. I want to, again, thank my aunt and uncle for a great day!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

ADULTERATED Mac n'GeeZ and it sounds good to Z? all know that I want PLAIN MAC AND NOT put ham in it, etc etc.  BUT, I saw THIS RECIPE  (link under those words) and flipped out and will have to make it soon!)

Some tell me that a can of chopped tomatoes in Macaroni and Cheese is good, too.....Do tell.

What do you add to good ol' plain cheese and noodles that you think make them even more delicious!?



Sunday, September 30, 2012


I had such fun writing this (it erupted, it wasn't written!), so I hope you enjoy it, too...

Some of you have even been at my home for dinner;  Like Matisse, FrogBurger and Priscilla, who are esteemed commenters at my blog (Pris is also a wonderful article contributor).....Blogger FreeThinke knows me through photos of dinner parties I've given over the years, my table settings, etc...(he's a terrific entertainer from the pix he's sent me, I must add, and we've had fun sharing)... So, the bottom line is I'm a pretty good cook and have been told I'm a good hostess.  I LOVE having people over; that's all you need, so it's really no talent!

Having said that;  I SCREWED UP the other night.   SCREWED UP!   
I haven't entertained 1/10th as much as when my dear Mr. Z was alive;  he loved having people over even more than I did and, by the way, he helped me a LOT, which is wonderful considering he was a HUSBAND :-)    There's a German saying "What you don't have in your mind, I have in my legs" ...he'd say that, and off he'd go to the grocery store (again) for something I'd forgotten to buy, bless him!   I say all of this to tell you another tip:  If you haven't entertained lately, you might have lost the GROOVE.  I have....I am very well prepared and 'have it down' normally....since I haven't entertained at all lately, I'm well out of the groove, trust me.  And it showed....and it prompts this comment, the point of my post here:


There we were, six people here...Matisse (a woman friend who I introduced to everyone as 'my date tonight'!), FrogBurger and his lovely and smart wife Lorrie, and a teacher (SO smart) at the school with which I'm associated, and his wonderful wife.   It was about 90 degrees outside, but I thought "So what? I have AC! and they'll love this Armenian dinner!"   uh huh.

I have a two story condo that's not huge....with six people here, it felt like I had NO AC (when they read this, they will not be amused when they hear I had the AC on the next night and felt like I was in a meat locker!).  That night they were here,  I was spritzing.  FrogBurger's wife thought she was catching a bug that day so she wore a light SWEATER (poor thing!)...but everyone was so gracious and I'm hoping nobody was as uncomfortable as I was.  Of course, a hostess is always kind of spritzing because you're running around pouring more wine,, it was HOT.    I'd served a kind of Armenian VERY thin flat bread for hors'doeuvres, with really good Feta cheese, big, fat kalamata olives, and thinly sliced prosciutto..... FrogBurger had brought a fabulous bottle of red wine called Cahors, which I'd never had even in Paris, where I lived for four years.  BUY ONE, it's my new fave.  I served white wine, too. we get through that...good conversation, appetizers, and then dinner;   Stuffed vegetables served the Armenian way (called DOLMA in Armenian)....I scoop zucchini out with a special scooper and I save the innards (more on that in a second)...I cut the tops off tomatoes and scoop out those innards...I cut bell pepper tops off....and I stuff all of this with ground lamb, rice, tomatos, S&P, parsley and MINT.  THAT is the secret;  lots of mint.  The second secret (which is now not a secret) is LEMON JUICE.   DO not boil in broth or water, just throw in the juice of plenty of LEMONS and that is FABULOUS (if I do say so myself!). (for those who have made stuffed vegetables, don't pile too high in a high pot like I did...I usually cook it in something lower and wider so all the veggies have a chance to steep in the lemon juice so not only the lower levels are juicy, like the case that night)

The best part of that dinner is what I do to the Zucchini innards...chopping it all up finely, salting it and letting it 'leach' the water out...squeezing it dry and then throwing into the dry zucchini innards some beaten eggs and jack cheese and parsley, S&P...this makes a kind of firm souffle (less firm if you don't cook it too long, like I did that night, while I waited forever for the stuffed veggies to cook about forty minutes past the forty-five minutes they should have cooked in.."WHY?!")    EVERYBODY loves that souffle.  And they were no exception, even in this heat.

For dessert, I served white peaches sauteed in sugar and butter...on vanilla ice cream, with a Pirouette cookie.........that was pretty nice. On another night, I'd have realized IT'S HOT, DO NOT WARM THE PEACHES, the ROOM is doing that all by itself!

For those of you who know the film, I felt like ALICE ADAMS that night (with Katherine Hepburn).........(if you read that link, pay particular attention to the dinner party mention!). (I told my guests I felt like the marvelous Hatti McDaniels that night with her maid's cap wilting in the heat)

I don't usually apologize for my dinner parties, I usually don't have to!....but I did learn something that night (you're never too old), I see humor in that night, I saw gracious guests who overcame the heat better than I did (thank you, folks), and I hope you see the humor in it, too, since you've read this far!

rant finished!  (i'm not even reading this again to edit, it was painful living through it, and then writing about it...I don't need a third time)


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Recipe Holder....neat idea!?

A friend sent this to me today and I had to admit it's a dandy idea and I should pass it on here at geeeeZ!!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Rice Krispies and CHEESE!?

Rice Krispies Cheese Balls....DELICIOUS! 

Makes almost 50 and FREEZES well..  These are absolutely perfect for a cocktail party or a football party, or you're having a few friends in and want to serve them something you made with a drink before dinner...they're the perfect munch for drinks or even on the side at a luncheon or dinner party!  ENJOY!

2 cups Rice Krispies
2 cups flour
2 Cups shredded sharp cheddar
1 cup melted butter
¾ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp salt
 Mix dry ingredients
Melt butter and mix butter slowly into dry ingredients..
Make into small a walnut
Bake at 350 Degrees...20-25 minutes.

If you enjoy these as much as I do, don't thank me, thank my friend Wendy! :-)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Grandma and Blueberries and Rings

I love blueberries and always have, since my dear, wonderful Grandmother made blueberry muffins for me when I stayed overnight at her house.  That sweet, fresh baked smell would waft into my bedroom at my grandparents' house when I woke up.  I'd get up and sit at the breakfast table and open a hot blueberry muffin and steam would rise out of it so the butter that I liberally smoothed into both halves would melt and ooze into the delicious cake and blueberries. The dough of the muffin would be almost wet with that sweet, hot butter and the combination was sheer heaven.
I knew Grandma loved blueberries, too, and our family had had a summer house in Grafton, New York, on top of a hill that had blueberries growing all around the house.  My parents took me to that summer house when I was 2 years old, and I've been told that they were picking blueberries into cans, only to find out that as fast as they picked, I was eating them!

These aren't my grandmother's hands.  Grandma's been gone about 20 years now, bless her.  But, they're one of my sister's hands as she was making the following recipe another sister found in a little book she'd kept from Grandma's things.   The sister whose hands are in the picture decided to make the recipe and I thought I'd share it with you here:

Double Blueberry Shortcake (more ingredients for the blueberry sauce are listed in instructions below):

2 cups sifted flour
2 T sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 ts salt
1/2 cup butter
1 slightly beaten egg
1/2 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries

Sift together the dry ingredients, then cut in the butter.  Combine egg and milk, stir into flour mixture.  Divide dough in half, pat half into greased 8 x 1 1/2" round cake pan.   Top with berries.  On waxed paper, roll remaining dough to 8" circle.  Invert and fit dough over berries, remove paper, sprinkle dough with 2 tsps sugar.  Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.   Cut into 6 wedges, serve with warm blueberry sauce:
In saucepan, mix 1/4 cup sugar and 1 1/2 T cornstarch...blend in 1 cup cold water..cook and stir till mixture is boiling.  Add 1 cup blueberries, cook 3 minutes and remove from heat.  Stir in 1 T lemon juice and 4 T butter.

Now for the part about the ring.  I inherited Grandma's diamond engagement ring, but the wedding band, tiny diamonds all around the ring, is ...all of ours.  I have more than 2 sisters, but that's all I'll say for anonymity sake.  So, every Christmas, at some point during the day, we have a fun little 'passing of Grandma's ring'  ceremony between all of us.  Each one gets to keep that ring for that whole year.   I notice that most of us wear it quite often during that year.  We adored both our grandmothers, we've always been lucky girls in respect to marvelous family, thank you, God.

SO, there was my sister, who'd received this recipe in the mail as we all did the other day, and she decided to try the recipe. As she was working with the dough, on her counter top, she realized she was wearing Grandma's ring.   Rolling out Grandma's recipe, wearing Grandma's ring.  And she sent the above picture to us all.  Kind of 'full circle', isn't it?  In more ways than one? :-)

I hope you try the recipe.  If Grandma made it, it'll be good.  Not only did we have marvelous family, but THEY COULD COOK! 


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Has it been this long since I posted here?

Since NOVEMBER?  Holy COW!  Or Holy MACKERAL... both good expressions worthy of a FOOD blog, I guess?  What prompted me to write today (other than friends emailing "When are you going to blog on food again??) was that, today, I ran across THIS information* and thought my readers must know about it because it made me so happy and will you, too, I guarantee!

FIVE CHEESES are rather HEALTHY!  HURRAH!    Swiss, Parmesan, Cottage, String, and (drum roll please).. FETA!  mmmmmmm

Do you have a favorite cheese?  I adore all of the above......and plenty whose names I don't even remember but would probably recognize if I heard them...from Paris, where I lived for four years of delicious CHEESE!

At one work related evening, Mr. Z and I hosted about 10 Americans for dinner at a good, very traditional, French Bistro near our home in Paris.......Across the table from me was Pat, who ordered COFFEE with his CHEESE course at the end of the meal.  One never orders coffee with his cheese.  Never :-)  The waiter, standing behind Pat and looking at me, said in French "CHEESE with COFFFFFEEEEE?"    I winced and squirmed, wondering how to handle this.  The French waiters are real waiters, waiters who truly care about the food and its accompaniments, not actor-wannabes like almost all of them are here in Los Angeles or people who just need a job.

SO, I went back and forth with Pat, cajoling him to have the true experience of an excellent red wine with his cheese course, and he finally gave in!   I smiled up at the waiter and said "He's changed his wine, please.."   The waiter, imperious as all get-out before, winked and smiled as much as they'll wink and smile.  And I wilted with relief.  Honestly, in Paris, if you're a food lover, you really do care about the food and you care that the French waiter knows the American knows her stuff :-)  I can't help it, it mattered to me!    By the way, coffee's usually not even served with the sweets you might order for after the cheese.  It's usually a course in and of itself, but you can have coffee with your sweet, of course (and I would). And he COULD have had coffee with his cheese.............but WHY? :-)

Regarding caring what waiters think, we had an excellent cafe near our home we used to full view of this lovely place was a McDONALD'S!    I have to admit that, about twice a year while living in Paris, I succumbed and had to (just HAD TO) have a Big Mac or Filet of Fish (both of which taste a tiny bit different than here, by the way, as does the way, when I edited this, I realized I'd typed Filet of Cheese, I swear!).........The waiters knew us and loved that the American (me) loved the food so much and we'd talk about how to cook certain dishes together, etc.......well, they were often serving people at the outside tables at our little lovely restaurant and I was so afraid they'd see "La Madame d' Amerique who knows her food" go into a Mc Do's (as they call it..pronounced like DOE), was a nightmare to me.  So, I'd walk casually up to the McDo's and, when nobody seemed to be looking, I'd practically hop in the door, sort of like the Pink Panther, I used to think to myself!!   Then,  upon leaving, I'd put the bag of McDo's in my purse and peer outside and hop outside and casually walk on...........turn the corner, then practically RUN home to have my delicious taste of America in my home away from home!  True story.  I swear.!! cheese.............and NOT just the yellow square thing on a McDo burger, okay?  Which cheeses do you absolutely LOVE?  And isn't it lovely to know, from my link above, that some of them aren't TOO unhealthy?
*the underlining capability for a link isn't working anymore.......sorry.......