Tuesday, November 07, 2006

"Baking: From my home to Yours", by Dorie Greenspan

When Sara, author of one of my favorite blogs, "I like to cook" and co-founder of the famous "Weekend Cookbook Challenge" asked me to participate in a spotlight of Dorie Greenspan's latest book, "Baking: From my kitchen to Yours", I snapped up the opportunity. The author, Dorie Greenspan has published many cookbooks, and is most famous for her cookbook "Baking with Julia." Her recipes have also been featured in magazines, including "Bon Appetit" and "Saveur". Her knowledge of french cuisine and experience as a home-cook come together in this easy-to-use album of great baking.

With 300 recipes covering everything from yeast-breads to quick cakes, brownies to cookies and beyond, this cookbook will earn a permanent place on your kitchen counter. The easy-to-understand directions and full-color pictures guide even novice bakers gently through the steps. Dorie's voice comes through loud and clear in her directions and tips for a perfect product. There are recipes for any occassion, from an afternoon snack to the perfect dinner-party dessert.

My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from BAKING: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, Houghton Mifflin Company, November 2006.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
12 ouncs bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or 2 cups store-bought chocolate chips or chunks
1 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchmentor silicone mats.
Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for about 1 minute, until smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes or so, until well-blended. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes in. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. On low speed, or by hand with a ruber spatula, mix in the chocolate and nuts. (The dough can be covered andd refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen. If you'd like, rounded tablespoonfuls of dough, ready for baking. Freeze the mounds on a lined baking sheet, then bag them when they're solid. There's no need to defrost the ough before baking-just add another minute or two to the baking time.)

Spoon the dough by slightly rounded tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between spoonfuls.

Bake the cookies- one sheet at a time and rotating the sheet at the midway point- for 10-12 minutes, or until they are brown at the edges and golden in the center; they may still be a little soft in the middle, and that's just fine. Pull the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for 1 minute, then carefully, using a wide metal spatula, transfer them to racks to cool to room temperature.

Repeat with the remainder of the dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.

These cookies were truly fantastic. Either warm straight from the cooling rack, or the next day, they are chewy and crisp at the same time, and loaded with lots of chocolate. I thought there might be too much salt, but it was the perfect amount. I highly reccomend this recipe and I'm sure to bake these cookies again and again.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Adapted from BAKING: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, Houghton Mifflin Company, November 2006.

For the muffins:
2/3 cup sugar
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

For the Icing
1 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-sized muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups. Alternatively, use a silicone muffin pan, which needs neither greasing nor paper cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and the fragrence of lemon is strong. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large glass measuring cup or a bowl, whisk the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and melted butter until well-blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with a whisk or rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don't worry about being through, a few lumps are better than overmixing the batter. Stir in the poopy seeds. Divide the batter evenly amoung the muffin cups.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a think knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for five minutes before carfeully removing each muffin from it's mold. Cool the muffins completely on a rack before icing them.

To Make the Icing:
Put the confectioner's sugar in a small bowl and add about 1 1/2 tablespoonfuls of lemon juice. Stir with a spoon to moisten the sugar, then add enough additional lemon juice, a dribble at a time, to get an icing that is thin enough to drizle from the tip of a spoon. You can then drizzle lines of icing over the tops of the muffins or coat the tops entirely, to better get an extra zap of lemon.

These muffins are quite tasty, with a hint of lemon. I especially like that the recipe was very quick to put together, requiring no mixers at all. If I made it again, I would probably add more lemon, for my taste.

If you would like to purchase your very own copy or "Baking: From My Home to Yours" by Dorie Greenspan, click this link to amazon.com, or visit your local bookstore.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Hallowe'en

Hapy hallowe'en everyone! We are getting into the spirit of Hallowe'en again, as usual, so here are some pictures of our costumes:

Me: Wonder woman

G: El árabe poderoso (The Mighty Arab)

Tiggs: Playboy Bunny

Also, check out our pumpkin. I had to give it a gangsta feel this year, in honour of Los Angeles. I'm also interested to know if the kids will say, "Look, that pumpkin has a grillz!"

Yesterday we went to Mexico to renew our visas. We were in our car in line for immigration for 2 hours!!! It's a good thing we still like each other! Anyway, there were a lot of people walking between the cars, selling all sorts of stuff. This is how G got his wrestler's mask! We bought it from a real Mexican wrestler. There were all kinds of stuff for sale: rugs, blankets, banjos, magazines, baskets, not to mention all the food. We bought a small bag of churros and a cup of steamed corn (which was awful). We spent all our money on these small things, and at one point I was searching the car up and down for some change so G could get a flan. It was interesting, Tiajuana reminded me a lot of Egypt. We got a little lost driving around but all in all it was a nice day. After we went through immigration and got back to the US, we went down to San Diego's Gas Light district, which was very quaint and nice. We had dinner in a pub and watched a bit of football. I almost wished we lived in San Diego since I have yet to find a real pub in Los Angeles, and San Diego seemed to be a more casual place. We will definetly be back there.

Finally, back on the topic of Hallowe'en, Tiggy is in yet another costume contest! Please go to stuffonmycat to vote for her!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Coconut Cream Pie

G is back, and so the kitchen is open for business again. I wanted to make him one of his favorite desserts, so I decided on Coconut cream pie. I used the recipe from "the Joy of Cooking", which is my personal bible of food. I've given up looking to recipes for pie crust, however, since after you've made so many of them, your hands just know what to do.

Coconut Cream Pie
(recipe adapted from The Joy of Cooking)
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cold butter
pinch salt
1 tb granulated sugar
about 1 1/2 tb water* (drop by drop)

1. Mix the dry ingredients together with a fork.
2. Cut the butter into small cubes with a sharp knife. Combine with the dry ingredients.
3. Using your fingertips or a pastry cutter, blend the butter into the flour mixture. Once there are no large clumps of butter left, rub the flour together for about 1 mintue. You will notice a slight almond colour.
4. Stir in the water a few drops at a time. It is important not to add too much water. I find it is best to use your hands through the entire process, even mixing in the water. You can squeeze the dough together to avoid over-mixing. Once a dough is formed, turn it out onto a flour surface and roll out to 1/4 inch thick. Place in a floured pie tin.
5. Poke the pie with a fork, and bake in a 375 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes, using pie weights or beans. Remove the weights for the final ten mintues.

Cream Filling:
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups milk
5 large egg yolks
3 tb butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp coconut extract
1 cup toasted, sweetened coconut
1 1/2 cups 35 % cream
2 tb superfine or powered sugar

1. Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium sized pot. Whisk together.
2. Slowly whisk in the milk.
3. Add the egg yolks and whisk well, until there are no yellow streaks.
4. Place the pot on medium heat and bring just to the simmer. Whisk the mixture well, as it thickens.
5. Remove from heat, and scape the sides down. Mix until smooth.
6. Return to the heat and whisk constantly for 1 minute.
7. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, vannila and coconut extract.
8. Stir in the toasted coconut.
9. Pour into baked pie shell, and chill.
10. Whip the cream and sugar together until stiff peaks are formed. Spoon cream onto chilled custard.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

What I miss about you

Dear Canada;
I know, it's been a while. I miss you too. We talk on the phone a lot, but it's just not the same... and it is too easy to forget about you down here in La La Land. Here's to remembering what I miss about you...

1. Tim Horton's.. I miss you everyday.
2. Pumping BEFORE paying... Oh Canada you are so trusting
3. The Seasons... bikinis in October will NEVER sit well with me.
4. The Fam... you know it.
5. The Metric system!!!! I miss you every day too!
6. Colourful money... it's not just for monopoly.
7. Proper spelling! It was meant to be colour, flavour, and lit!! Not Lighted!
8. Snow... Yes I miss winter (sort of).
9. World News! They think World News is: "An American in Paris..." "American Troops in Afganistan..." "American dignitaries in England..." "American Sanctions..."
10. President's Choice Products... there is no other.
11. Shakies on your popcorn at the movies! And huge movie theaters too.

What have I forgotton????

Change is good

There are going to be ssome changes here at "chefsarahjane". I think I need a new title to go with the new template. Also, Weekend Cat Blogging is now going to be taking place at TIGGY'S BLOG! Yes, Tiggy finally has her own blog. And MAN! She needs a lot of help with it. Sometimes she mews softly in my ear what she wants me to type. Otherwise, it just ends up looking like this:
decdhju bndjmhuden dsafsagoihgnm and so on. Something is definetly lost in the translation. Anyway, what that means is that I'm going to keep all the kitty stuff to Tiggy's blog. Also, I am eliminating my "other" blog (sweetsarahj), because I just don't have enough to say to fill them all- and the distinction between what is 'food' and what is 'my life' is a very thin and blurry line. So from now on, this page will be kitty-free, but you will be subjected to more of my personal life! You can't stop Professor Chaos! Mwahh-hah-hah-hah!

Reminder: WCB Schedule

October 21- Jelly from I Got 2 Shoes.
October 28- Linda from Kayak Soup.
November 4- Lali from Lali et Cie.
November 11- Skeezix at Skeezix the Cat
November 18- Amar at Catsynth.
November 25- Robyn and Sanjee at Hot(m)Bc
December 2 – D at The Hidden Paw
December 9 – Miz D and the Angry Cat at Belly timber
December 16- Kitchen Mage
December 23-back here at chefsarahjane
December 30- Lisa at Champaign Taste

Friday, October 13, 2006

WCB 71: Hallowe'en contest

Hi All! Tiggy and I have been very busy preparing her costume for Skeezix's and Hot(m)BC's Hallowe'en costume contests. We argued over what she would wear. After seeing Kismet in his Hugh Hefner Robe, she was dead set on being a Playboy Bunny. I'm sure some of you parents out there know how hard it is to argue with a determined teenager. Despite my protests, she did get the costume she wanted (how could I say no to that sweet little face?). I think she wanted the costume to try and win Kismet's affections. I told her that he is a grown Man Cat and probably already has a girlfriend, but it didn't stop her from crusing his blog all night. She even decided to start her own blog.


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Pineapple, and a lesson.

Is it crazy of me to do this to my pineapple....

I guess old habits die hard. I worked for a catering company while I was in college, called "Gourmet Greens". It was located in the kitchen of a fine restaurant named "Zoom" in downtown Toronto. You may have heard of the Rubino Brothers, Michael and Guy. They are Toronto restauranteurs and currently own the restaurant Rain. They also star-in and produce the Food Network Canada show "Made to Order". Well, they were the owners of Zoom and Gourmet Greens. In addition to being minor celebrities, they are also known within the restaurant community for big egos and the sort of staff treatment that generally goes along with that.

I'm not trying to make any allegations here, because other than being generally rude to me, I wasn't mistreated by either of them. I worked in their catering business for 6-8 months and neither of them bothered to learn my name. This is the kind of employer they are. There was a definite "You are so lucky to be working for me" attitude. I have heard stories of cooks working 13+ hour days on salary wages and even sleeping in the kitchen after closing the restaurant because they had to be there at the crack of dawn the next day. This could be only gossip, but it is not far from things I personlly witnessed at other top restaurants. There is a mentality amoung some cooks that abuses of power like these are worth it just to learn from the chefs. I have worked for ego-driven chefs, and I believe that they will treat you like garbage only if you let them. You must assert yourself!

But I digress. While I was working at Gourmet Greens, we prepared breakfasts and lunches for Bay St. Executives. Sandwiches, salads, fruit platters and desserts. I thought I wasn't learning anything. I begged the restaurant chef, Lorenzo Loseto (currently of George), to move me up to the hot line. I know that he thought I couldn't handle it. I'm not sure he realized that prior to working there, I had 3 years experience on a hot line serving 200+ people per night. After many failed promises, I quit. I remember Lorenzo telling me "You think you haven't learned anything, but you'll look back and realize that what you have learned is invaluable. Every chef needs to know how to make these simple products." Later on I realize that he was right. I know how to make the best sandwiches and composite salads due to that job. I can make a simple arrangement of fruit look stunning. I can clean a pineapple to look like a winding path up the side of a mountain. Although I wish I could have had the opportunity to prove that I was a capable cook, I'm glad I worked there and also glad I got out of it when I did. I moved on to job on the line in a restaurant and lounge in Toronto's Entertainment district.

Friday, October 06, 2006

WCB 70

Hello to all the kitty bloggers! A great big thank you to D at The Hidden Paw for hosting this week's event. Go pay a visit and check out all the fluffy goodness and maybe drop her a link as well. She challenged us to post "kitty in a box" posts this week, and well, Tiggy is not really a "box cat". Or maybe she is still too much of a kitten to enjoy the simple pleasure of sitting in a comfortable box. She does investigate the new boxes around the house, but she is WAY more interested in playing inpaper bags:

WCB Schedule:
October 14- Rosa from Rosa's Yummy yums
October 21- Jelly from I Got 2 Shoes.
October 28- Linda from Kayak Soup.
November 4- Lali from Lali et Cie.
November 11- Skeezix at Skeezix the Cat
November 18- Amar at Catsynth.
November 25- House of (mostly) Black cats
December 2 – D at The Hidden Paw
December 9 – Miz D and the Angry Cat at Belly timber
December 16- Kitchen Mage
December 23-back here at chefsarahjane
December 30- up for grabs

Drop me a comment if you want to host!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Well, after a long absence G has returned. He came home from Korea yesterday afternoon. I was in the kitchen for hours on Sunday preparing some homecoming food for him- he always gets a grand meal whenever he has been away from home for too long. It is a tradition that started a few years ago, when it seemed he spent more time away from home than at home. His mom would always cook a few favorites when he was due back to the nest: Simmered Beef tongue, Yellow Rice, Leg of Lamb, or Chicken Briyani.

This time I decided to make two dishes for G that I know he loves. Both of these recipes came from Monsoon Restaurant in Toronto, On. where I worked in 2001. The Spicy Thai salad was one of the first things I ever prepared for G. I've haven't been the Thailand (yet), but according to others, this salad is very reminiscent of Thai street food. It's spicy, sweet and refreshing. The Monsoon Fried chicken is garlicky and salty- it is perfect in a sandwich or mixed up with noodles. G loves it all on it's own... in fact it is so good, that back in the restaurant the cooks always stole it from my fridge.. I actually had to hide it in order to have enough for service! It has been compared to crack cocaine for it's addictiveness.

Spicy Thai Salad

For the dressing:
measurements are flexible. Please taste and change to your palate.
1/2 cup sweet chilli sauce
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp ground fresh lemongrass
1/4 cup lime juice
zest of three limes
1/4 tsp fish sauce

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

For the salad:
1 cup mint leaves
1 cup cilantro leaves
2 cups julienned red and yellow peppers
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 cup crunchy noodles*
1/4 cup dressing

1. Combine and serve immediately. Serves 2-4.

Monsoon Fried Chicken

ingredients & Method:

8 boneless chicken thighs
1/2 cup oyster sauce

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup garlic powder
2 tsp salt
1 tb white or black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying

1. Marinate the chicken in the oyster sauce for 10-30 minutes.
2. Mix together the flour, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
3. Using a pair of tongs, remove the chicken one piece at a time and drege well in the flour mixture. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes before frying- this ensures a nice crust.
4. Heat the oil to 320 degrees. Be sure to use enough to submerge the chicken, about 3 inches.
5. Fry the chicken one or two pieces at a time, about 6 minutes each or until a thermometer inserted in the fleshiest part reads above 170 degrees.
6. Remove from the oil and drain on a cookie cooling rack, or a mesh rack until cool. Transfer to a paper towel.


These are the crunchy noodles that I like to use (when I can find them!):

Saturday, September 30, 2006

WCB 69

Sigh. Kittens, just like children, grow up too fast. Tiggy is becoming a young lady of a cat. She still retains the very kittenish behaviour, being very playful and sucking on the blankets as she falls alseep next to me. But she is also in the 'teenager' phase of cat life and she tries to push our limits daily. She plays in the courtyard every day, and it ranges from 1 hour outside to 3 depending on my schedule. She used to always come back in when I would call her. However, yesterday she was inside sitting in her chair, and I got up to close the door, and she shot up out of her seat and bolted outside. Sassy, isn't she?

But I have an even greater concern today. I'm concerned because Tiggy... well... she's easily led. I don't know how exactly how to say this, but really there is only one phrase to describe it: Kitty Porn. Here are some pictures I found on my camera:

"Hey Sailor.... looking for a date?"

"I see you looking at my legs."

"C'mon.... I'm not a kitten still.... not yet a cat."

I blame MTV.

Go and visit the House of (mostly) Black Cats for this week's round up!

Here is the updated schedule for WCB:
October 7- D at The Hidden Paw
October 14- Rosa from Rosa's Yummy yums
October 21- Jelly from I Got 2 Shoes.
October 28- Linda from Kayak Soup.
November 4- Lali from Lali et Cie.
November 11- Skeezix at Skeezix the Cat
November 18- Amar at Catsynth.
November 25- up for grabs
December 2 – D at The Hidden Paw
December 9 – Miz D and the Angry Cat at Belly timber
December 16- Kitchen Mage
December 23-back here at chefsarahjane
December 30- Lisa at Champaign Taste

Drop me a comment if you want to be included! I'm trying to figure out how to permalink this schedule into my sidebar, so hopefully it'll be there soon....

Friday, September 29, 2006

Mmmm.... Waffles

I have been making great use of my new Belgium waffle maker. I have wanted one of these for years, ever since eating them for breakfast in a Marriott hotel in 2003. I love it, because after you add the batter, you close the lid and turn it 180 degrees around so the batter evenly fills both sections with deep crispy pockets for butter and maple syrup. I tried 3 recipes, and so far the winner is from the box of "Whole Wheat Baking Mix" I picked up at Trader Joe's.

They really knew what I wanted- I want a cripsy, tasty waffle that isn't mearly empty calories. I love that it is made with whole wheat and oats, but it is also versatile, quick, and tasty. The box also has recipes for pancakes, biscuits and coffee cake. It only takes a few minutes to make, which is great, because I hate waiting for my breakfast!

2 cups Trader Joe's whole wheat baking mix
1 cup milk
2 egg whites
3 tb oil
(I used walnut oil and also added 4 tb chopped walnuts)

1. Mix all ingredients together. Allow to sit for 4 minutes.
2. Pour onto waffle iron.
3. Enjoy!

This recipe will make 4, 8-inch waffles, or a lot more on a regular waffle iron. I cut the recipe in half, to make two waffles, perfect for me and hubby.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

One more cake...

I found one more pic. This was the most recent wedding cake I've made, it was last September. The beautiful bride in the background is a family friend, Angela.

It was 2 flavors: vanilla pound cake with Lindt milk chocolate ganache filling, and double chocolate cake with Lindt milk chocolate ganache. This was probably the tastiest cake I've ever made.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Since my birthday cake was so well recieved last week, I decided to post some pictures of cakes I've made in the past... Unfortunetly I can't post pictures of ALL of them, because many photos were taken before I had a digi cam! Anyway, here they are:
This one was made for a huge birthday party last year:

This one is my wedding cake:

Which I made to look like my dress:

This a another wedding cake, I really struggled with this one but it turned out ok:

The next three are pictures of cakes I made in the cake decorating class I took:

These are gum paste flowers-made from entirely edible products, but look just like real flowers:

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Lentil Soup and Ramadan Mubarak

Yesterday was the beginning of Ramadan, a month of fasting for Muslims. The imporatance of this holiday cannot be overstated- it is to spend time with family, reflect on life, and understand the pain of the less fortunate. Fatour (the breaking of the fast in the evening) is an event every day, when dinner tables are filled with soups, salads, meats, bread, olives, labne, and fruit drinks. Everyone is welcome and the family always eats together. Needless to say, it doesn't feel much like Ramadan when I am so far from our family. Also, my husband is on a buisness trip, so I suppose Ramadan will actually "begin" for us when he returns next week. I promise to have lots of pictures of the foods that are necessary to this yearly occassion. But for now, since I abhor cooking when there is no one to feed, I am back on my "soup diet." I am still craving a taste of Ramadan, and so I decided to make a soup that we always eat this time of year.

1 cup diced onions
1 tb minced garlic
1 tb minced ginger
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
1 tb chaat masala or garam masala
1 tsp cumin
1 bay leaf
1 cup red lentils
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6 cups cold water or stock
1 8 oz can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

1. Saute onions, ginger, garlic, carrots, and celery until translucent. Stir in spices and saute for 1 more mintue.
2. Add bay leaf, lentils, chick peas, water, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, and reduce to a simmer.
3. Simmer for 1 hour, replenishing water as needed. Remove the bay leaf and process the soup in a blender until smooth. Pass through a sieve and into another pot. Return to the boil* and taste for seasoning.

Serve with yogurt, chopped parsley and green onion. Serves about 6.

*This step is very important. If you've ever made a pureed soup, but found it didn't taste as it does in a restaurant, it's probably because a good restaurant will always strain this sort of soup through a fine mesh sieve to remove any bits that weren't pureed. In this case, the lentil's skin will be left behind. The strained soup will have a much smoother texture. It is also imperative to re-boil the soup after pureeing, to ensure the soup is free from any microbacteria is may have come into contact with in the blender, or the strainer.

Friday, September 22, 2006

WCB 68

Hello all and welcome to Weekend Cat Blogging 68! Clare is still MIA, so Bonnie and I have been trying to hold it all together, but we need your help! The lovely Sanjee and Robyn from The House of (Mostly) Black cats are hosting next week, so we need volunteers for the WCB's during the month of October.

Who out there is feline enough to step up to the plate and round up, up, up, and out of the park?!?!?

Let's get some volunteers!

Meanwhile, in OTHER news, Today is my 27th birthday! Or, as I prefer to put it, It's the third anniversary of my 24th birthday! Hubby is taking me out to a LA hotspot called KOI for some food and hopefully celebrity watching. Tiggy helped me celebrate by waking me up with a kitty-back massage. Really, she kneaded me all over my sore back, which was totally appreciated. Hubby came home early from work with a beautiful floral arrangement, which of course I had to share with Tiggy:

She nearly singed her whiskers there!

And I made a cake for myself:

It's vanilla sponge cake with almond buttercream filling and raspberry jam. YUM!
I also got a new camera and a kick-butt beligum waffle maker (more on that later).
BUT the best present of all was a phone call from my best friend from Grade 8, Nikkel Carrera. We haven't talked in about 14 years, so it was great to catch up and an amazing birthday surprise. Hi Nikkel!

Enough about ME- let's get the round-up happening.

Pay a visit to The House of Mostly Black c Cats to check out how Beeyootiful Sanjee's sisters are!

A great big fluffy thanks to The House of Mostly Black Cats and The Cat Blogosphere for helping us get the word out!

Drop by Jelly Pizza to voice your support for a feline representative in the United Nations. STAND UP AND PURR!!!!!

Bustopher and Harmon 'help' Kate in the kitchen.

Rosa has a soft spot in her heart for lonely kitty Felix.

D shows off Boot's and Tess' baby pictures at The Hidden Paw.

Check out FarmGirl's page to see a great portrait of Patchy Cat.

KuDin shows us a few great pics of the neighborhood Kitties.

is very daring to try to sling a cat....

Upsie gets a new toy and a heavy-duty brushin' over at what did you eat.

Boo checks in with adopted beauty Ginny at masak-masak.

Ike and Abe are only interested in FILTERED water, thank you very much.

of Aggie at kayaksoup.

Kamakaze has become very protective of his veggies at igot2shoes.

Boo knows exactly what her owner needs at Tales from Pixie Wood.

Visit Chilli, Amber, Scarlett and Sally at Miss Ellie's Page.

More beautiful street cats at catsynth!

gets a "Glamour Shots" makeover at Anne's food. She is so pretty!

Check out adoptable Rocky Road at Scamperdude.

Visit Lali at Lali et Cie for a portrait of her beautiful black cat.

Ramona at Kross-eyed Kitty has a close-up or Mr. Mao to share.

Visit Haley and Maggie at Ang's little blog spot and welcome them to WCB!

KitchenMage is growing pots of Gray Fluffballs and Snakes on the walkway!

Kimberley tells us Sasha's nicknames at Music and Cats. Tiggy's are: Tigs, Tiggy-Tig, Tiger cat, and Prow (for the sound of her 'meow').

UPDATE: That seems to be it all for WCB this week, but if I get any more entires I will of course post them up. Thank you everyone for your birthday wishes, I had a lot of fun spending time with my husband who I can't get enough of.

As for the upcoming WCB's, I have compiled a schedule of all the people who were so kind to volunteer. Let me know if there is any problems with it:

September 30- Sanjee and Robyn at House of mostly Black Cats.
October 7- D at The Hidden Paw
October 14- Rosa from Rosa's Yummy yums
October 21- Jelly from I Got 2 Shoes.
October 28- Linda from Kayak Soup.
November 4- Lali from Lali et Cie.
November 11- Up for Grabs
November 18- Amar at Catsynth.

Thanks again to everyone who volunteered.

Friday, September 15, 2006

WCB 67

Hello all!
Please note that cat synth has volunteered to host this weekend! So go pay a visit to see all this week's kitties. Thanks so much! Are there are other volunteers to host in the upcoming weeks? The Cat Blogosphere had offered to help out, are you still interested? Let's try to organize a host in advance.

This week Tiggy insisted on taking over the WCB duties. She really wanted to show you all her toys (you know how children can be!). SO HERE SHE GOES:

This was my first fun toy. It's a Cat Dancer, and when I was a kitten I had so much fun trying to catch the end of it. It's just like chasing a bug! But I'm a little sick of it right now.

Here I am sleeping with my green fuzzy. I used to carry it around all the time when I was a little kitten. I carried it off somewhere and hid it so well that even I can't find it! I haven't seen it in months!

After I lost my green fuzzy, mommy made me some red fuzzys to play with from stuff she bought at the craft store. They have a small bell on them which drove me crazy!

My favorite toy of all time is my giraffe. I love to bite him on the neck and kick him furiously with my legs. Usually if someone is playing with my giraffe, I attack it, kill it, and then carry it away in my teeth and hide it somewhere.

This is my new toy! It is so much fun to hit it with my paw because it makes a chirping noise just like a real bird! It also has feathers that I love to pull out of the fabric. Mommy is going to have to fix them , I guess.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my toys!
With love,

Friday, September 08, 2006

Weekend Cat Blogging 66 ROUND UP!

Here is the round-up so far of all the kitty action happening this weekend!
After volunteering myself for WCB Round-up duty, hubby reminded me of our camping trip booked for Sunday night thru Tuesday morning. So I will post it all up Sunday morning before leaving for Malibu Creek State Park. Here's hoping everyone sends in the pics early!

Tiggy might be jealous of the "other" kitties in my life.

Check out the pretty Diva at Miss Ellie's Page.

This pretty little fluffball named L.C. (Little Cutie) is up for adoption over at Scamperdude.

Help T Bird on a Wire to find a snappy caption for Harley's latest picture!

D over at The Hidden Paw trys to get Boots and Tess to exercise, since one is a Chubby Kitty! Is there a Jenny Craig for felines?

Watch the gorgeous Taboo protecting his prize at Jelly Pizza.

Harmon snoozes rather than scratches and Bustopher falls asleep latch-hooking over at Kate's page.

Visit Spike, the beautiful people-loving Manx at Watermark.

Visit Maruschka at Rosa's Yummy Yums and go for a virtual belly rub!

*singing* "One of these things is exactly like the other..." Which one is the kitten? Only KitchenMage knows for sure...

Fluffy Upsie has given up his house-and his grooming to a bunch of baby squirrels atWhat did you eat?

Anne has a lovely picture of Hamlet on his 6th birthday! Happy birthday Hamlet!

Mr. Mao
cuddles himself up in the bed at Kross-Eyed Kitty.

The Cat Blogosphere
has all the current kitty-net news here!

S'kat gives us an update on the super-cute Sirius at S'kat and the food.

Billy Lee
lays down the law at the Food Pornographer. Update!! Billy Lee learns to share!

Aria at passionateonchalance updates us on all the kitty happenings, including a cute pic of Max the Hammer.

Help out The Restaurant Widow find a home for this cutie!

Boo at Masak-Masak gives us a pic of a cute street stray beggin' for a pettin'.

Lisa at Champaign Taste watches as Georgie pulls himself up.

Check out the Luna play-by-play at Cat Synth.com

Raspberry Baby
needs a home! Visit ScamperDude and check out her head shots.

Sinda drinks with drippy paws at Tina's site, A Blip on the Radar.

Bookcases are for more than just just books for beautiful tiger cat at Lali et Cie.

Dora and Mingo
read, sleep, and grow up (sniff!) here!

Lucky models the newest in kitty couture at These Days in French Life.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The "New" Maki

As a child, I was not a fish-lover. The only fish I enjoyed eating was either fried smelt or fish sticks. Although my mother is from Newfoundland, we didn't really eat much fish. I think it was due to us (the kid's) firm refusals. Once I got older and began my career in food, I realized that I needed to expand my palate and appreciate many different foods. Fish began to grow on me. It has been about 7 years since I began to eat fish and I have finally grown to love it. Red Snapper, Bass, and Orange roughy are near the top of my list. However, I doubt that any other fish will ever knock Salmon off it's number 1 spot.

My favorite way to eat salmon is cold and raw. It took a bit of growing, but I have turned into a sushi lover. Recently my friend Paul visited us and lent some sushi expertise. Now that I know how to prepare the rice, we are eating sushi and sashimi twice a week. And in the best, low-effort way-- the New Maki.

Paul showed us this easy method of eating sushi in hand rolls. The fish is sliced into sticks about two inches long. Nori is cut into four pieces. The "condiments" are sliced into sticks (cucumber, avocado, green onion or whatever your heart desires!). Complement the condiments with spicy mayo, tempura crunchies, wasabi and pickled ginger. Arrange all the ingredients on a platter, and let each diner assemble their own hand roll!

I am usually against food that arrives unprepared. When we go out for Korean barbecue, we always ask the chef to cook everything inside the kitchen. The novelty of preparing the food does not turn me on. If I wanted to cook, I'd be at home. However, I love assembling my own hand roll, since I am in total control of the amount of wasabi, and the combinations of ingredients are endless.

Weekend Cat Blogging 66

UPDATE: Are you looking for the ROUNDUP? Click here!

I'm hosting Weekend Cat Blogging this weekend, since Clare and Kiri have taken a holiday! Check back with them at eatstuff later for more kitty goodness. Drop me your links in the comment section and I'll round it all up on Sunday. For now, here is my entry featuring the "other" kitties in my life:

This huge cat is Barry, my Nana's cat, who LOVES to be petted and brushed. He is super gentle and gives the best kitty-hugs you can imagine. Here he is getting a drink from the sink!

Here is Kitty, getting her required 23 hours of sleep per day. Really, she only wakes up to eat and then find another warm spot to sleep away the day.

Pesto belongs to my sister Mary, but is currently living with my Dad. She is a feral kitty, so not too cuddley, but she is so happy to be able to go outside in the garden! This is her favorite spot, where she can bask in the sun and watch the street.

Finally, here a pic of my Mom's pomeranian, Brandy. I know, she's not a cat, but she thinks she is. She even plays with yarn! She is a sucky baby and the fluffiest thing I've ever seen!