Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Golden Clog Award

I love Michael Ruhlman and Tony Bourdain. Over at Ruhlman's blog, , they are setting up an awards "show" to be held in South Beach in February. It is pretty much a slam of Food Network. Why a clog award? If you have never worked in a busy kitchen without chef-clogs, your feet, calves, and knees will speak to you...for days! Here are some examples of awards:

The Malto Award=biggest media whore who cooks great and still adds inspiration to the culinary so many words.

The Rocco Award=the the chef who made the worst career move

The Alton Award=to the FN Personality who can actually cook!

The Fergus Award=best achievement in offal

The Chef's Chef Award=to the least heralded chef yet most deserving working chef

The blog goes on to accept comments/nominations in other categories. ...that you make up.

Ideas? Suggestions? Chefs in Sacto, or your area?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Just Guess

The thing that gets me all excited about cooler temps (outside) is the idea of making soup again. I love soup...all kinds. I have several cookbooks devoted to the subject. So, I decided to grab 5 cookbooks off the shelf, find a weekly soup recipe from each, and make one each week...and hope I grabbed a cookbook that included such recipes! [I got the idea for this idea from Ann Martin-Rolke over at Sacatomato in one of her posts..only she was more sophisticated about it]

Here is what I grabbed (and I closed my eyes first)

1) In One Pot ( one of my weight watchers cookbooks..which is good since I joined up today...weird since I have about 300 cookbooks to choose from)

2) Cooking Kosher, The Natural Way

3) Inter Courses ( I bought this for Dave back in 1998, when we behaved like rabbits)

4) Nose to Tail Eating

5) A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove, A History of American Women Told Through Food, Recipes, and Remembrances (my husband bought this for me after we stopped behaving like rabbits) try to guess which recipe came from which book!

a) Cock-a-leekie Soup

b) Sprout Soup

c) Pine Nut Soup

d) Moroccan Lamb and Lentil Soup

e) Basil-Eggplant Soup

Whoever gets em all right, will win a brand new cookbook!! That's right folks, a brand new cookbook. If you already have it, then you don't get it. If you don't want it, you don't get it. But, you'll want it....or not. No cheating if you have any of the cookbooks..just guess. [I will also throw in a gift certificate to a fine local eatery AND you can keep guessing...I changed the rules, cause I can]

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I am hot!

My husband is hard of hearing in one his father. I can be in the kitchen..and he is in the living room [if you have been to our house you know this is not a stretch] and I can say stuff like, "what do you want with your steak?" No answer. "The kitchen is on fire". No answer. "I'm on fire". With the correct voice inflection, THAT will get his attention.. but usually not.

I can then go into the hallway and turn the air conditioner on. He perks up as if he's been hit with a cattle prod...then...comes into the kitchen and says.."are we shutting the house down?." Meaning....if you are turning the air on, then let's close all of the windows. I tell him, "I am having a hot flash...I need air right now". At which point he rushes around the garage to get the fan...and then places it toward me in the kitchen...asking me, "is this hitting you okay?" He then rushes around the house to close 3 windows. Hello...I am still hot. I just wanted some very cold air while I was making dinner. He is in the living room, watching tv...I am in the kitchen cooking...pans hot, oven on. Hot kitchen! Hot me. [after about 5 minutes he goes and turns the air off but leaves the fan that I still think the air is on]. This works....not.

We have a history of this.

He used to come and visit me in my lovely home in the Redwoods of California...Sonoma County. I had a fabulous cabin-like dream spot right in the forest...hardwood floors, huge fireplace, sky-lights, tons of windows. The first night he slept with me...I awoke to find him shivering. His teeth were actually chattering. It was spring-time. My fireplace was going..I just could not understand why he was so cold. [I am a Wyoming girl] I asked him, "should I shut the window?" He replied, in a high pitched, shocked and quivery voice, "you mean the window is open?" I began to laugh....lots. He did not. I always sleep with the window matter how cold it is.

Hell yes...I can only sleep when it is chilly in the bedroom....and afterall, I had a down comforter on the bed for him! I still think it is hot, when he thinks it is cold. At the beginning of September, he insisted on having two blankets and a comforter...which I throw over on him. I just want a light blanket and a sheet...and a fan blowing on me... cause baby I am hot!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Tamale Time

It's tamale time. I've never made tamales, but I bought the stuff at Mi Rancho Mercado to give it a try. [click on post title for a gorgeous pic of one!] Thanks to Jim Winstead for posting those lovely Tamale Festival Photos at Flickr.

I think it must be like canning...a community thing. Problem is, I am doing it alone. Perhaps I should have a tamale making party?

It's all Daisy's fault (PBS) for showing me how to make Latin American food.

I'll keep you "posted." hehehe

update: a chowhound buddy hooked me up with this site

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Just Because

I am so cute....and I finally have hair. I also love to take baths. My gramma is sooooo lucky. I'm going to have a baby brother in December. Not sure how I'll feel about him yet.
I can't cook yet, but I love food.
My favorite snack? Smart Puffs..or frozen peas or frozen blueberries.
Must haves? A banana as soon as I get up and get downstairs..and maybe some vanilla yogurt. I am just not myself until I have my morning banana.
Favorite eatery? Chucky Cheese or that gelato place right next to my favorite outdoor mall playground. I have to go in there everytime. I like MilesAway too..for the playstuff...and Peanut Butter and Ellies, but not for the tofu. Ick. Sometimes my parents feed me stuff just to see the look on my face.
My gramma comes to visit and she cooks lots of stuff...and she has to have a 12 inch pan. She will let me stand on a chair and help her do the dishes..but I mostly just splash around. Once, I wanted to get into the she cleaned out the sink and filled it back up...and let me get in! I had a bath in the sink in the kitchen!
See ya soon Gramma.
P.S. Nice blog

Friday, September 21, 2007

The BEST of America's Test Kitchen 2008

My MIL gave me the newest book yesterday. Cooks Illustrated is my favorite cooking magazine..but it is so much more and so is this book! She got it at Barnes and Noble but you can get it cheaper at It contains "The Years Best Recipes, Equipment Reviews, and Tastings".

Example from the book:

page 59, Zucchini and Tomato Tian

after the recipe is described (one has to slice a bunch of tomatoes and zucchini), they suggest the best and least expensive mandoline is the Pyrex Slicer at just $5.99. Cheaper than a food processor and faster and sharper than a kitchen knife.

What is the best Balsamic Vinegar, which is also affordable? They suggest Lucini Gran Riserva Balsamico...$2.00 an ounce.

What is the best Curry Powder? Penzeys Sweet Curry Powder at $4.39.

Best Mango Chutney? The Silver Palate Mango price given.

Best Soy Sauce? Lee Kum Kee Tabletop Soy Sauce and the artisan-made Ohsawa Nama Shoyu Organic Unpasteurized Soy Sauce.

Best Hamburger Buns? Pepperidge Farm Premium Bakery Rolls...least amount of sugar and "wheaty taste".

Best Cider Vinegars? Maille Apple cider Vinegar and Spectrum Naturals Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.

Best Canned Crushed Tomatoes? Tuttorosso Crushed Tomatoes in thick Puree with Basil and Muir Glen Organic Crushed with Basil.

Best Whole Canned Tomatoes? They say Progresso "Italian" style whole peeled with Basil...and they say to be sure and get the ones 'packed in juice and NOT in puree'.. as the other Progresso whole canned product is blander. [ I prefer Muir Glen Fire Roasted whole canned tomatoes].

Best beer to use for stew in slow cooker? Guinness Draught. [I prefer it out of the slow cooker]

Best Wine Opener? Screwpull Trigger for $79.95...but there is one cheaper and almost as useful for $34.95..Wine Enthusiast QuickSilver Deluxe Corkscrew Set.

Best Pepper Mill? Unicorn Magnum Plus at $45.00.

Best Knives?

Paring=Forschner Fibrox for $5.95
10 in bread knife=Forschner Fibrox for $36.00
8 in Chefs knife=Forschner Fibrox for $22.95
Cleaver=Global $106 or Lamsonsharp at $40.00
Slicing/Carving=Chef Culery Legend 10 in Granton Slicer at $45.00
Boning=another Forshcner at $18.00
Electric=Black and Decker EK800at $24.99

I paid $90.00 for one Wusthof!

I do wish the equipment was reviewed seperately from the recipes...but I still love it! You get the idea. It'll be your new favorite cookbook.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

It's All About Family...mostly grandchildren

My grandchild, Elaina.

My sis was recently on vacation in North the Outer Banks. I love love love these pics of her and my great niece and great nephew.

Can you see the love??

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

She Would Have Been 77 Today

Happy Birthday Mom. Didn't we look cute back in 1982?

DeLores Myrtle Troseth


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

On the Lamb

As a guest blogger my greatest hope is to not lose my sister's audience. She is naturally verbose...and beautifully so. I really just cook.
Of late I've been apprised of the fact that I do speak loudly and so I don't think it necessary for me to relay this information in ALL CAPS . We know (from previous posts) I speak very loudly, so please just try to invision me teaching a cooking class (ear muffs and all) while you're reading this.
I really do love lamb. Many of my friends and family didn't know the "joy of lamb" for many years. The first time I made it for my children they adamantly refused to eat it. Yes, we forced them to try everything (Whitney threw up on her dad after eating spinach and we never made her eat it again). Well, the lamb was a hit. The kids were nearly poking each others eye's out with their forks to get the last bit on the platter. (Does anyone hear me speaking loudly with an English accent?...because I've suddenly developed one). are a couple of marvy lamb recipes.

Hilary's Lamb chops

Lamb chops (cut in singles not doubles) 2 racks of lamb

1 gallon zip lock bag...pour in
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp thyme
lot's of fresh basil chopped
as much garlic as you like
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

Let marinate in the refrig for at least 4 hours or overnite
Place on a very hot grill....1 minute (or less) on each side for rare, just slightly longer for medium.
You will love Hilary's lambchops!! They are really yummy.

Pat's Leg of Lamb
Bring Lamb to room temperature (clean and dry)

In your food processer blend:
1 stick unsalted butter softened
3 tbsp dried rosemary (1/3 cup fresh)
2 tblsp FRESH parsley (flatleaf)
6 good size garlic gloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp pepper
2 lemons sliced thinly

Pulse vigorously

Lay lemon slices on bottom of roasting pan. Lay the Leg of Lamb atop the lemon slices. Spread the butter mixture over top of the lamb. Roast at 350 for about 2 hours (it will be rare at about 135 degrees).
Don't poke another's eye out with a fork....but enjoy!! It's delicious.

[This post was written by my beloved sis, Pat. I gave her my login, etc. and she did it!]

Monday, September 17, 2007

Another Chapter in Dee's Life

Dee stood sideways, her bat held higher than most, and she glared at the pitcher. She loved the way she felt while playing baseball and she especially liked hearing "here comes slugger Tolliver." She was the only girl who'd play with the boys...sometimes they'd hit her with the ball on purpose, but she didn't care. She could play as well as any of em and loved watching them squirm when it was her turn to hit. She played center field cause she ran like the wind and could catch just about any hit.

On the second pitch, she eyed the ball and then "CRACK" was flying and she was running like hell. It wasn't unusual for her to get a couple of home runs in before she had to head home. It was Wednesday, and Reverend Fitch would always bring some soup and bread by before heading to church. Her mom also rented the house from the Fitches and would often do chores for them if the rent couldn't be paid in full each week.

Feeling elated, Dee ran the mile home and quickly straightened up the tiny living quarters. She made Lydia's bed, and folded up the bedrolls for her brother and sister. Her mom had been able to return to work the week had been a long winter.

"Hello DeLores, are you here all alone?" Startled, Dee looked up to see the preacher standing in the house..."yes, but my brother and sister will be along shortly." He walked slowly over to the kitchen counter to place the soup and bread down. Giraffe...that's what he looks like, Dee thought to herself. He sat down on one of two chairs in the sparsley furnished house and asked if she would join him in prayer...he grabbed her arm and pulled her next to him. She closed her eyes, hoping this would be one of those quick talks to God. She felt his cold, clammy hand slide up under the back of her shirt and before she could move he had pulled her down in front of him. She knelt in horror as he began to unbotton his pants...she struggled to get up but he kept his left hand firmly on her shoulder...pushing her tight to the floor. "You know DeLores, your mamma needs this house, and this food. I am important to her..and to you kids". Dee began to shake...fear gripped her entire body.

"Deeee Deeee", she heard her brother Glen yelling as he piled through the front door. Reverend Fitch knocked her over as he scrambled to his feet. Her little brother bounced through the room, his big brown eyes all sparkly and such. "Did you fall down? You hurt Dee Dee?" He then looked up at the preacher, and then back at his sister. Dee pulled herself up and assured Glen that she was okay. Fitch mumbled something about getting to the church and was out the door.

Lydia got home from work about was dark. The one bulb hanging above the sink was the only light for two rooms. She put the pot of soup on the heater and began to pull the bread apart. Dee walked into the small kitchen to help her mother. "Were you here when the preacher stopped by?" Dee shook her head yes. "Well, thank the good Lord for those Fitches. I don't know what we'd do without their help. I get down on my knees every night and give thanks". Dee just nodded in agreement and ladeled the soup into 4 tin cups.

She thought to herself, I am gonna have to learn to make soup.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

It's All Greek To Me!

My sister, Glenna, taking a bloodpressure. She tells him, "you need some chicken soup". She graduates from nursing school in May. :) :)

My mom made this uber-fabulous soup called Greek Lemon Chicken Soup. I craved it all day today. She used to teach cooking skills to my clients..and this recipe is the one they loved the most. True comfort food. I'd make a Greek Salad to go with it...and maybe have some kalamata olive bread too. I could call my sister Glenna and see if she'd fly out and make dolmathes with me again! She married a Greek...but that's a whole 'nother story.

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup...from Family Cooking, Tolliver Style

12 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
6 TBLSPOONS of chicken soup base

Freshly ground white pepper
3/4 cup of butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
8 eggs yolks at ROOM TEMP
1 and 1/2 cups cooked long grain rice
3 cups diced chicken
8-10 lemon slices

Combine broth, lemon juice, carrots, celery, onions, soup base, and pepper into dutch oven (big heavy pot) and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover and summer until tender. Blend butter and flour in a shallow bowl until smooth. Scrape butter mixture into hot soup a little at a time, stirring well after each addition. After all the mixture has been carefully stirred in, let it simmer for 10 minutes..stirring frequently. Meanwhile, have your "sous chef" beat the egg yolks (electric mixer would be good) until light and lemon colored. Reduce speed of mixer and gradually add in some of the hot soup...this is called "tempering" the eggs don't become scrambled when adding to the soup. Then add the yolk-soup mixture back into the pot...keep stirring for a minute. Next, add the rice and chicken. Ladle into large bowls and garnish with lemon slices. Serves 8-10.

Delicious!! You could use angel hair pasta instead of rice...if you just gotta have that pasta.

Friday, September 14, 2007

My Grandbaby Is A Foodie

from the archives....she is 4 years-old now!

Elaina crawled over to the fridge drawer, purposefully chose a peach, and chowed down. Now she is walking..and she is into all kinds of food! She loves to help gramma do dishes too..well, she loves to stand on a chair and play in the sink water. Can't wait to go see her next month!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


My in-laws cooked dinner for us last night. We were both so pooped from working over at the Peck place. It was a wonderful meal and the table sorta looked like this! Last night they had candles and champagne and filet was wonderful. Thanks Bill and Joyce!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


My mom died 6 years ago today..and my dad died 13 years ago today. Any resentments I ever had toward them have been replaced with fond memories. ..lots of them food memories.

Today, I'll make moms famous cabbage rolls and listen to Hank Williams while I do it. They would both be pleased. My cookbook of the week is "Family Cooking, Tolliver Style" moms maiden name. BTW..check out for her 9/11 post. Here is the recipe for cabbage rolls ...followed by a quote that is in the preface of the book:
2-3 lb. head of cabbage (or two cabbages)
1 cup of rice
1 lg. can of peeled, crushed tomatoes
2 lbs. of hamburger (I mix mine with mild Italian sausage)
Salt and pepper to taste
a pinch of caraway seeds

Wash, core, and blanch whole cabbage in boiling water until barely tender. Separate the leaves. Combine all ingredients using only 1/2 -3/4 of the canned tomatoes. Place a large tablespoon of the mixture on each cabbage leaf and roll up. Place seam down in a large roasting pan. Use a toothpick if you need keep it together. [Don't forget to take it out later]. Pour the rest of the crushed tomatoes over the rolls...add a little water or tomato juice if you need to. Bake at 325 for 2 hours.

My mom used to make this and pack it up for my Aunt Kitty in Illinois. [dry ice was used].

Quote: Behold, the work of the old....let your heritage not be lost. But bequeath it as a memory, treasure and blessing...gather the lost and the hidden and preserve it for thy children. (Chrisitan Metz, 1846)

I had a bottle of DeeJays cinnamon/plum wine that I was saving for a special occasion. Mom used to make her own wine and she had bottled this one November/2000. Anyway, after her death my step-dad, Jack, gave me a bottle. A few months back it got broken. Hell, I started to cry as if she'd just died all over again. It fell off the wine rack (on top of the frig) and shattered. I was down on the floor sticking my fingers in the wine and licking them.

Don't save important stuff for a special day...every day we are together is special. Celebrate!

Monday, September 10, 2007


One afternoon at Cheers, Cliff Clavin was explaining the Buffalo Theory to his buddy Norm. Here's how it went: "Well ya see, Norm, it's like this... A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That's why you always feel smarter after a few beers." WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may make you think you are whispering when you are not. **********************************************************************

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Full Fridge and Feeling Fine

I took my carpenter-son home yesterday. He'd been here all week helping to finish the Peck house. He's good! I think he earned a fair wage as well.

Anyhoo, he wanted to stop in Redding to pick up some groceries at Winco. I'd never shopped there but holy shit, what a zoo! Low prices, but a real chaotic warehouse-type atmosphere. [I'd rather shop at The Nuggett..a pleasant experience where THEY bag my groceries...I'll pay the price]

Jer was being extra careful to only put a few items in the cart. I suggested he buy what he needed to get by for a month...we'd happily pay. At my encouragement, we filled up a huge shopping cart..and then some. He kept saying "this is a blast mom". He was beaming the entire time. He was literally like a kid in a candy store. We even got his old dog, Sava, a new bed.

Well, after the sweat equity of bagging all of those groceries, we headed the 45 miles to Dunsmuir, a lovely little town right in the mountains. As we drove down main street, a couple of little kids yelled at him, "where is Sava?" Jer yelled back, "she's at the babysitters". He said that they live in the neighborhood and often stop out front [with their mom] to pet the dog.

We walked into Jer's cute little house to unload the groceries. It smelled clean..and it was clean! Even the bathroom. I asked him why he can't clean up after himself when he's home. He explained that he reverts to childhood when he's in Sacramento. I remind him that he was a tidy child...a grin grows over his face.

I open the fridge and there is one lone jug of water and a bottle of half-used ketchup...and a bowl of something with fuzz on it. His cupboards are empty too...except for a half-bag of elbow macaroni, some ramen noodles, and a can of WD-40.

We load his freezer up with enough meat for two months and I leave him to arrange his cuboards with the bounty of food we'd just bought. I told him I'd help him put it all away...but I knew he'd have a great time doing that by himself. "Mom, I will be eating like a king. Tell me again how to cook that talapia before you go..write it down, and tell me what to do with the frozen shrimp. I can't believe I have shrimp in my freezer. It's the shits..wait till my friends see this. All this food! Thanks alot mom. It's gonna be fun to arrange my shelves. I'll keep opening my fridge just to look at it." I gave him unsolicited advice before I left and then apologized. He said, "it's're my mom".

It's worth noting that Jer has lived in some pretty desperate places, mostly due to poor choices and drug addiction. For many years he fended for I was doing the very 'tough love' stuff. That's a whole 'nother story. I'm feeling too happy to talk about it now.

With that, I headed back home feeling satisfied that I'd kept him fed and hoping that work picks up for him. Looks like he'll have a job building a house in Weed that will last for over a month...a good thing, with winter approaching up there. The kid/man loves to work...he's got the family work ethic for sure...which came straight from my mom, Dee.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Another Chapter in Dee's Life

The white ceiling and the bright lights stung her eyes. She felt groggy and sick as she stared into the dark eyes from above. Dee was scared..and she began to sob.

"You'll be fine Mrs. Elliott", said the nurse. "You are in Deaconess Hospital, in Billings".

The last thing Dee remembered was hanging laundry in the backyard of her house. It had been a beautiful, crisp and sunny Montana morning. She had been feeling very tired the past few months. She always called it "being pooped". Her doctor had given her a strong tranquelizer for her "tiredness". Her beloved mother had died recently, and two years before that her son Michael died shortly after birth, and her daughter Lydia was stillborn. On top of that she had 4 small children who had all been sick with the measles, and her husband was out-of-town more often than not.

She thinks to herself....I must have finally cracked up- and it only took me till I was 26 years old! She had been given her third electro-convulsive shock treatment that morning but doesn't recall much about it. Her only concerns are.. where are my kids and where the hell am I?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

We Got Goosed

I picked up my son at the train station early Sunday morning, so we stopped by the Fox and Goose for breakfast. We were bloody well famished. I planned on hitting the farmers market afterward. Nope. We both had "the runs" so badly that we drove straight home and spent the better part of the morning on the toilet. I am very greatful for two bathrooms. The only thing we both had were the 'bangers'..English Sausage. I think they shipped it from London and forgot to put it on ice.

I liked the atmosphere...the old pub look and all. I've had better eggs benedict at several places. It would be fun to eat there at night maybe...after I've had a round of immodium.