Thursday, March 20, 2008

Macadamias & White Chocolate

This has to be a marriage made in heaven! I'm pretty good at staying away from these buttery, crunchy, creamy, crumbly cookies because I know they will beg me to eat the whole batch, but last evening I baked some to have over the holiday weekend and I am lost!.

Now, you KNOW that you simply MUST taste what you bake (just so you know it's ok to offer to neighbors and friends) so I gave myself permission to have just ONE. Oh my goodness....I'm not sure there is any cookie as good as a macadamia nut & white chocolate chunk cookie fresh and warm from the oven!

Of course, it was necessary for me to try just ONE this morning to make sure that it is ok to serve them at room temperature. I might have to try just ONE more in a couple of hours just to make sure they haven't gotten stale. (OK, I confess that I dunked both of those cookies in the photo into that rich coffee and maybe THAT is the only way to improve upon these cookies straight from the oven!)
Macadamia White Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c. butter, salted, at room temperature
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp. real vanilla extract
3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 (12-oz.) pkg. white chocolate chips
1 1/2 c. (6 oz.) chopped toasted macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 350˚. Cream butter and sugars till fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Blend in flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in white chocolate chips and macadamia pieces. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking pan. Bake 10-12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool on racks and store in air tight container or zippy bags. Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Religion, Politics, and Appetite

I don't know about you, but I've attended many different churches during my life and the messages that were delivered by the pastors were always positive: help your neighbor, live unselfishly, love and respect others, remember the lessons in the gospel, etc., etc., etc. I am sure that if I wanted to receive a message of hate I could have found a church that preached that if I were to search long enough. I don't think most churches embrace that kind of rhetoric.

It makes many people nervous that Barack Obama's father was a Muslim because we have radical Muslims preaching and teaching hate toward our wonderful country and the fear is that Barack may harbor some of these feelings. That is speculation.

It makes me more nervous that Barack Obama has stayed in a church for 20 years that preaches and teaches hate toward our country and remains loyal to its leader. That is fact. His silver tongue attempts to convince us that he has excellent judgment in all things, but if he is raising his own children with this type of religious training, what can we expect that he will promote to America's children if he were to become president?

It is enough to make me lose my appetite.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Yamaguchi Girl

Billy Yamaguchi. In the world of ego-driven-banty rooster male stylists, Billy Yamaguchi is a breath of fresh air. In my view he has no peer, as he stands (humble and kind) head and shoulders above the rest. Of course, he would say that the nail that sticks out above the rest gets hammered, and so he is humble, warm, genuine, and (have I mentioned?) incredibly talented.

What a wonderfully delightful experience it was to meet Mr. Yamaguchi (everyone calls him Billy) and spend two hours with him, learning about his feng shui approach to styling hair, and then having him work his magic on mine.

Billy Yamaguchi

Sunday, March 9, 2008

This Personal Chef in Palm Springs

There is nothing I enjoy more about travel than the opportunity to explore the cuisine of the area. You can only imagine the multitude of truly exceptional professional restaurant chefs in a town like Palm Springs! My only regret is that I'm only going to be here for 6 days, and the next two days will be spent eating banquet food. Even that can be inspiring to a personal chef who also does small catered events, because the plating is often creative and beautiful. More on that AFTER the banquet experience!
Last evening we enjoyed the patio at a little establishment called Copley's Palm Springs. The owners set tall heaters among the tables, and so we didn't even notice the chill in the desert air. A broad fountain gurgled in the center of the patio and that was the perfect music to accompany our experience there!
The wonderful creation in this photo is their Warm Beet & Warm Goat Cheese Salad. Every dish we ordered was equally as beautiful and delicious, and we highly recommend this tiny, intimate restaurant to anyone lucky enough to find themselves in Palm Springs.
Know your wine, though, as the well-mannered and attentive server did attempt to pair what he called a "sweet pinot noir" with my Ahi Fish Taco with soy and ginger appetizer. Late wine service with the entree (it was half-finished) was forgiven as it was delivered personally by one of the owners with warmth and charm, and we were having such a wonderful time with our guest and delighting in the food that the evening flowed without flaw. It was the best kind of evening, filled with friends and the joy of experiencing delicious and beautiful creations on our dinner plates.