What A Day! So much for a quiet uneventful weekend

That would be the smoke we followed then passed after our 5:50 pm flight got cancelled due to mechanical issues after boarding. Oh yea, that and two of the flight crew going down and being removed by EMT’s with heat stroke as we were asked to disembark ..
So after hearing Alaska Airlines plan for resceduling folks, it was another car rental, then off to dinner, and a drive to LA and a few hours sleep at the Renaissance Marriott, to be able to catch rebooked Virgin America flight at 6:50 am Tues am. Either that or stay in PS another day or two. Given we could only get waitlisted on the 5pm Tues Alaska Airlines flight or confirmed on the 5pm Wed one.

Other than that snag, we had a great few “disconnect” at our favorite “home away from home” at the Triangle Inn, in Palm Springs.

Kept the trip low key with temperatures from 98 – 120+. Which meant lots of pool time

And eating at our fav spots when we could drag ourselves out of the water long enough.

Now this is a glass of Iced Tea!

A Chicken Parm sandwhich

Need I explain

More liquids

Spencer’s for brunch

Spencer’s for brunch

Sensing a theme yet?


Another creative cooking week amidst the craziness of hearings & shootings

Started off the weekend by whipping up some herbed cheesy drop biscuits. 
After a killer meal the night before at Spiazzo (check out my review here) before seeing Wonder Woman


Then on Tuesday night, I had an urge for lemon-candied ginger biscotti. So adapted the recipe I usually use and added some candied lemon peel and used 2 large eggs instead of XL (For that recipe visit my post here) . Luckily I usually have all the ingredients handy. First bake done.

Now packed for sharing at meeting I had at the “cube” on wed.

So by Thursday, I was at the “what to make when you just can’t face Safeway or Tower?” stage. Which means it was forage time. The outcome ended up as leftover chicken, sweet potato & veggie hash aka the “clean out the refrigerator for garbage day tomarrow ” hash.

Who knows what the rest of the week will bring. But since it seems,  according to how that silly, entitled, little man modeled his answers on Tuesday,  that it’s totally “OK for federal employees to forget, not take notes,  and misremember “, who knows what I’ll be remembering by next week…but as its June it’s time to remember we won’t be silenced.


Not much sun that weekend- but plenty of lemon’s can fix that

The Test

Last week with some help from our pals next door, I had a bunch of lemon’s to experiment with. So tied out a few recipes for lemon cake. It was also a chance to try out my new silicone bundt pan. The big guess was using a honey-pear compound butter I had left over from earlier in the week, instead of simple plain butter. Overall the flavor was a win – I think that’s the difference between using these lemons is that they are mild and sweet – so need to remember to mix with more thicker skin tart varieties. I remember having the same experience with them making preserved lemons. So while the taste was good the pan itself is so-so. I got good color but the center cone doesn’t carry enough heat to make the inner ring cook through. I will try it again next week with the Blueberry cake I make on a regular basis and see if the same thing happens. I also need to check the capacity – as I think it is actually not a 10-cup pan. A quick search of my posts will show you that it’s going to pop up more.

The Recipe

This recipe continues to be a favorite one – as I have now adopted as my “goto” for bringing it to events and meetings. This original recipe comes from King Arthur Flour’s website.  Also, take the time to read the comments below the recipe. I found great tip including that the batter works equally as good in regular and mini loaf pans!

A few cooking notes

  • it’s a huge batter so make sure you have the right size bundt pan or fill it 3/4 and pour the rest into a loaf and bake along with it. 
  • Don’t be afraid to overdo the first glaze!!!
  • I like to mix traditional thicker skinned lemonsMeyer’syer’s, but any combination will do
  • Use a good confectioner’s sugar – since its the base of the glazes. You want it to be good quality.
  • For the final thick glaze, make sure the cake is cooled and practice – you want a thick glaze that will slowly drip but also leave a nice thick layer on the cake.



That old New Hampshire TA Turn Around (past due post)

Note: this was supposed to have posted last month but somehow didnt post. 
So last week was a killer; my colleague and I had a all day training in New Hampshire, hosted at @SNHU on Wed. Which mean I left the house on Tuesday am around 4:30 – caught a flight to Chicago to change planes for New Hampshire. We stayed in the Radisson Hotel Manchester Downtown (Address: 700 Elm St, Manchester, NH 03101. Phone: (603) 625-1000). 


While the folks couldn’t have been more friendly – there were some oddly interesting observations;  Firstly- The beds; I don’t get the “bumpy” look. While the beds were comfy, this was odd and was happening with both beds. It kinda felt like I had lots of little Dino’s waiting for me under the bed.

And then there was the “alcohol preps” everywhere. I kid you not – they were placed on every surface (which I understand as a public health person – often have loads of things you simply don’t want to know about) but my first thought was “bravo, a good attempt – but they have wipes for this that work better than alcohol and where is the condoms?”. What a lost opportunity for them.

But I loved the details with the labels on the bed adjustments.. 

For Dinner that night we went to Cotton

Breakfast the next morning found me at the Buffett





Another “Salon” dinner saturday night with the perfect “Cowboy” Lasagna. 

This was a dinner shot during the last visit

A gathering of the tribe last night for a “salon” dinner. A night focused on food, talk and stories. For this month, my old friend Josh and his husband Brent were in town, taking advantage of “retiree” time and visiting the Bay Area. Now Josh and I have been friends, “sisters”, co-facilitators, both ran focus groups and volunteers for local programs for many years and all around were “those two are trouble together” for over 24 years.

Instead of a dinner out like in the past (the last visit we took them to Old Skool for a great meal),  I suggested we eat here and invite some other friends we’ve known for years and just kick back old school style.

For the menu I wanted easy, solid and fun. Years ago Josh and I manned a mens social group called the Social Exchange Network as a way to gather men to get out of the city to camp, eat, remember, heal. This was during a time of great pain and change for us, when so many of our friends were dying or sick with AIDS. So the socials and SEN were an opportunity to “stop the madness” for a few days. We did everything from camping trips to Disney World to house parties.

Often for the weekend SEN events, I tended to do all the cooking (except for the junk food table which often held every sweet treat, salty, sugary snack that we ould pre-buy that would sit on a table for the whole weekend for those late-night munchies) while Josh would serve as the front man-cruise director for the social stuff. On those trips when an oven was available – our first night menu was frozen lasagna dinners with a green salad and garlic bread. As it was easiest meal to get prepared on the day of travel as people rolled in.

With this in mind, I thought it would be fun to recreate a home version, but that wasn’t the old school all day sauce version that I normally would make , which I know he loves. So Trisha Yearwood’s  “Cowboy Lasagna” recipe came to mind.  I originally tried the recipe back in a few months ago  (that post is here) after seeing it on her cooking show to a great success. I recall saying that the mean-sauce was like “crack”, “one spoonful and you couldn’t stop tasting it”. To start the night I re-used another favorite starter; my adapted version of  Roasted Carrot Hummus that I have mentioned back in my February post

When all was said and done –  it was a win for sure.  Two of our other friends Russel (Russell has know Josh almost as long) and David,  brought a fresh baked apple pie (crust and all) incredibly infused with rosemary. Which paired perfectly to the lasagna meal.