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Archive for June, 2009

Into the Drink: Crabbing on the Sea Fever

Tue Jun 30, 2009

Red Rock Crab
Red Rock Crab

Call me naïve, but I really didn’t expect the fish smell to last that long. But with this morning’s shower, I have finally managed to remove the last olfactory remnants of chum and seaweed and fish guts lingering in my hair and on my skin from Saturday’s crabbing trip in Santa Barbara. The story I was working on for EdibleLA won’t come out until the fall, but I was starting to worry that the salty, slightly fermented perfume might last that long too.

Paul Chopping Chum
Paul Chopping Chum

Saturday’s trip was far from a pleasure cruise, not that I expected or wanted it to be. The Sea Fever, my subject John Wilson’s boat, is meant for one thing—catching crab and lobster. There is no bathroom, just a bucket in the small cabin down below, no running water to wash your face if you’re stomach is pitching with the sea, and no comfy chairs to sit and watch Roxy the Golden Retriever bark at the dolphins and seals playing around the boat as John and his deckhand Paul haul in another trap clammering with crab.

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Blueberry Lemon Verbena Ice Cream

Tue Jun 23, 2009

Blueberry Lemon Verbena Ice Cream

“Nothin’ but blue skies for now on…”

Anyone who tells you Seasonal Affective Disorder is a load of crap should be subjected to a Pacific Northwest winter. Eugene, Oregon, where I went to graduate school, layered days upon days of glary, gossamer grey light. It’s not that it rained that much there. Don’t get me wrong, it rained. But the greyness was what was most oppressive, climate-coated  emotional shackles. I prefer the monotony of 300 days of sunshine. Blue skies, blue skies with puffy white clouds, blue skies and wind-whipped icicle cold air, as long as there’s sunshine, I’m happy.

Which is to say, that my least favorite month living in Southern California is June. The hazy, foggy mornings that fall under the umbrella of June Gloom are such a downer. I find it hard to wake up, hard to concentrate, hard to do anything but laze around and watch baseball. And since May Grey seems to precede June Gloom with more frequency than it used to, by half way through June I’m cranky as all get out. And by the behavior of my fellow Angelenos, I’d say it’s getting to them too.

Fortunately, I’ve learned that the shortest route to an attitude adjustment has to be ice cream. Continue reading

Recipe Difficulty: Easy
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Photo Gallery: Beginning Bread Baking

Wed Jun 3, 2009

Baking bread isn’t easy; though watching someone bake it really helps cement the concepts and break down the mystery. Here are some photos from a recent class at Sur La Table taught by Tina Rogers.

Mise en place. In baking, have everything measured ahead of time.

Salt and heat kill yeast.

Kneading the dough. Do it by hand to get a feel for the texture.

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Recipe Difficulty: Easy
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Bread Baking, Math & Fear

Tue Jun 2, 2009

I got really excited when I heard food writer Michael Ruhlman had a new book, until I heard the title—Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking. I hate math. I mean I loathe it. Math makes me feel like I have poisonous spiders crawling all over my body, like I’m in a horror movie and I know what comes next but I’m helpless to stop it. Just writing about how math turns me into the same anxious little girl who scribbled in her journal about how mean her mommy was making her try to memorize multiplication tables.

Fortunately I’ve found my math anxiety doesn’t get in the way of much. Sure, I occasionally tip the pizza guy really well, but I just chock that up to good karma instead of my inability to do math on the fly. I can pay my bills. And with the calculator and the Little Chef converter app on my cell phone, I’m pretty much good to go, even in the kitchen. Except for one thing—baking.
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Recipe Difficulty: Easy
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You are currently browsing the SpicySaltySweet blog archives for June, 2009.

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