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There's a series of photos on my camera documenting the beginning of a dish, but the painstaking process and the beautiful delicious finished platter never gets snapped. I'm working on that. Partly I get obsessed with the process, and partly I drink.

02-20-2010 Diary entry:
I survived a baby shower, and I remembered how to use icing...
Vanilla Cupcakes- 1 dozen
1½ sticks unsalted butter
1¾ cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla (see shopper's note)
½ teaspoon salt
2½ teaspoons baking powder
2½ cups flour
1¼ cups milk
To prepare oven, muffin tin: Preheat over to 375 degrees. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Line standard muffin tin with paper or foil liners.
To make cupcakes: In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, vanilla, salt and baking powder. Add flour in 3 batches, alternating with milk. Beat at low speed for 30 seconds or until mixture is smooth and satiny.
To bake cupcakes: Divide batter evenly among cups (fill to 2/3 the cup). Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until tops are pale gold and toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 45 minutes or until at room temperature.

My icing was just buttercream but with orange oil added, and of course coloring.
02-14-2010 Valentine's diary entry:
I made a red-themed meal to prove my love to the Taste Tester... it kinda worked.

Red Rice Pilaf-- this pilaf but with red rice comprising most of the rice

Chicken Fesenjen / Chicken with a Pomegranate Walnut Sauce
2 chicken breasts, in 1" x 1" pieces
1 large white onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves crushed
1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped in food processor to coarse, mealy size
3 to 4 cups pomegranate juice (4 if bottled, 3 if fresh)
olive oil and salt

The chicken was seared in the pan with olive oil until lightly browned, then set aside while the garlic and onions were sauteed.  To stop the garlic before it burns, pour in the pom juice and add the walnuts.  Allow this to simmer for about five minutes to reduce the water in the sauce if from bottled.  Add the chicken and cover to simmer until chicken pieces are fully cooked.  Served over the pilaf.
Taste Tester liked it, but it was too sweet for him.  To which I said, EXACTLY YOU JERK I MADE IT FOR YOU FOR VALENTINE'S DAY.  

But we obviously have fun because I only photographed the rice and the salad (pomegranate balsamic vinaigrette and goat cheese over field greens).

03-05-10 Margarita Night Diary Entry
*no diary entry, but water marks and aroma of lime on page*

Rick's Family's Margarita Recipe: 3 parts lime, 1 part tequila, 1/2 part cointreau, shake a while with ice, serve.  Salt optional.  One has to wonder why I have more photos of this process than the rest.

03-06-10 Diary Entry
For Rick's birthday, I made fresh pasta with slender asparagus, grape tomatoes, prosciutto, and shrimp with a light goat cheese cream sauce very mildly flavored with rosemary.  The pasta took forever, I thought I failed at it, I threw some of it at the wall while my poor mother maintained perfect composure (guess she's seen that a few times in my life), and then it all cooked up perfectly.  Note for future fresh pasta escapades--even if it seems like it's all sticking together, once it goes into the boil, WTF?! it all separates.

And this is the only photo.  The super yellow yolk is from a totally free range chicken.  The other two are "cage free" according to the carton, but according to Aunt Sadi the yolk knows.  Darker yellow shows the hen had more natural food (bugs) high in protein.  That's a bug yellow yolk.

And to close, my brilliant dog, who gets lost in the curtains on a regular schedule:


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