Friday, October 19, 2012

Hanover Road is Open!

I have probably mentioned many times before that I was raised in the small rural community of Hanover, Colorado. Most of my childhood years were spent on the family farm at the end of Hanover Road. I learned to bake in the kitchen of that house.

Fast forward 40 years. Over the past 2 years I have turned my life in a whole new direction than I had taken for most of my adult life, I followed my passion for baking and cooking, and became a pastry chef. 

For most of this summer I have been working to build a website where I can sell small batch, artisanal products directly to the public. My website is finally ready for its debut, Modern technology is amazing! I am very pleased that I was able to set up a very sophisticated e-commerce website all by myself. I look forward to adding more product as I get them developed and working continually to improve the site. Here are the initial two offerings:

Please visit my site today! I hope you will enjoy your visit as much as I enjoyed building it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Expensive Vegan

I mentioned yesterday that I would be checking out a restaurant and hopefully adding it to my list of favorites. Well it is not going to happen. Since it didn't make the list I will not divulge the name but will tell you some of the criteria it failed. First the criteria it did meet, the food was very good and the ambiance was very nice. You may ask, isn't that enough? Sometimes it, is but not for me this time.

First off, I got there before the friend I was meeting. I was seated and then greeted by my server who politely introduced themselves and proceeded to explain the vegan menu and ask if there was anything they could get me, job well done. My response to this was I would like water and would wait to make any further selections until my friend arrived. Here is where they went astray, over the course of the time that I was waiting the server made no less than 3 attempts to get me to try one of their suggestions rather than just checking to see how I was doing. So much for reading your customer.

Rather than rant on and on about a few other things I will say that the bill is what finished it off, not a drop of alcohol and the bill for 2 was $60, that is hard to swallow sober!

Now that all of that is said, if I were craving really good vegan food I would probably give them another try.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things

On a walk this morning with the dog the subject of bagels came up and I started craving one! So after I got back from my walk I got on my bicycle and headed off to the bagel bakery to get my favorite bagel, everything bagel toasted with lite cream cheese. I will add that if the bakery doesn't put salt on their everything bagel it isn't and everything bagel! One favorite thing out of the way.

After I ran some errands I came home to make myself another one of my new favorite things for lunch, an open face heirloom tomato and feta cheese sandwich, so simple and delicious. Just toast a nice piece of rustic white bread drizzle with olive oil and top with sliced heirloom tomatoes, slices of feta and oregano leaves, drizzle with additional olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Yum, yum.

Tonight I am going to meet a friend for dinner at a new restaurant and who knows I may have a new favorite, I will let you know.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Product Development

I have been working the last few days to develop some of the product I will be offering on my website. Both of the products I have been testing are ones that I have been making for years. There are a number of reasons to test the recipes even though I am very comfortable with the recipe performance.

First, in order to get the cost for the product where the operation will be profitable I need to purchase them in bulk and some of the original ingredients are not available in bulk or in a form that makes the recipe less labor intensive. Fortunately with some research I have been able to find higher quality ingredients at a lower cost than the ones I have been using!

Second, once all of the ingredients have been determined I need to have the nutritional information for the products calculated. I am very excited to see the nutritional information, it makes the product so official.

Third I am working on packaging. I need to make sure the product is not damaged by the packaging and that the packaging will insure product freshness when received by the customer.

Last I have started testing how the products ship, what condition the packaging as well as the products are in when they are received. Part of this is also finding packaging and shipping containers.

With a good amount of focus and hard work product should be available soon!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Country Fried Chicken Dinner Tonight!

Tonight I am going to make a traditional mid west dinner of Country Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Vegetable.
I am thinking of making deviled eggs to snack on before dinner then the dinner will start with a mixed green salad with my favorite blue cheese dressing recipe from the Palm Restaurant, tomatoes and radishes.
The main course will be crispy fried chicken (peanut oil is commonly agreed upon to give the best crunch). Rich buttery mashed potatoes with country gravy and a vegetable (probably green beens) will accompany the chicken.
For dessert I am making boysenberry pie using the foolproof pie crust recipe that uses vodka! I will serve the pie with vanilla ice cream.
WARNING: One should not eat like this every meal! This is a special occasion meal.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Exciting News For Home Cooks in California

Up until September 21, 2012 it had been against the law in California to sell homemade food products made in one's home. This changed this month when California Governor Jerry Brown signed in to affect California Assembly Bill 1616, The California Homemade Food Act. This act makes it legal to produce food items in the home that do not contain, cream, custard or meat and sell them to retailers, restaurants or direct to the public. Restaurant and retailers may require proof of health department inspections before purchasing the items. 
This is great news, while some craft food producers made product and sold them prior to this legislation, they risked being shut down by the health department.
It will be exciting to see the variety of new foods that become available on the market because of this new legislation.
If you go to the link to view the new bill please share it on Facebook so all of your friends get the news.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Camping and Culinary Excursion!

Well it has been a while again but I have had a lot going on since the last time I blogged. I made it through my first season at The Club at Morningside. The season wrapped up for me the week after Memorial Day. Since then I have been working on my website projects, and and exploring food! I have been canning and making new recipes, pictures of my projects will soon be available on as well as some of my favorite recipes. In addition I will soon have homemade product available for purchase on the site. Well that is the news about what I have been working on and some things to come. Now let me tell you about the delicious vacation we just returned from.

I am not sure I have mentioned this in my blog before but I took my first trip to Oregon about 3 years ago and fell in love with it. Since then we have been back 2 more times. It is a great late summer vacation when you just can't take our heat anymore and you are pining for 70°F. weather. This year the temperatures were a little higher during the day than they had been before but would still cool down to the 50s during the nights.

The vacation was a motorhome trip. It would be a combination of eating in, visiting friends and eating out. In preparation I made several items ahead and froze them so they could be used for the eat in meals. For the out meals we would try new places and favorites from our previous trips.

We set out in the motorhome on a Friday after work and made our way to Gustine, CA (Santa Nella area). Since it was going to be hard to predict when we would get in and get set up I purchased prepared food from Bouchée Fine Foods in La Quinta. I bought their meatloaf and gorgonzola twiced baked potatoes both of which could be microwaved and accompanied them with a salad.

The next day was going to be an early start and a hard push to get to our friends in Bend. Breakfast was fast easy and we were on the road. We made it in to Bend early in the evening and after getting set up were treated to delicious tri-tip sandwiches by our friends. We would spend 3 days with our friends, getting caught up, laughing and playing games. Sunday morning we cooked up a package of bacon so we could use it over the course of the trip and had a hearty bacon and egg breakfast. Later in the day we set out to see some sights in Bend and enjoyed a late afternoon salad at Croutons. Sunday evening was spent having fun with our friends and enjoying some homemade fig bars that I had brought along. On Monday our last day in Bend I baked cinnamon rolls that I had made and frozen before baking so I could bake them off as wanted. We took another trip into Bend to check out Sparrow Bakery which I had researched online. It was a wonderful bakery in a rehabilitated area of town in a wonderful little building. We bought some delicious quiche and salad to take home for lunch. Monday night we made dinner for our friends. Appetizers were chips with roasted corn salsa that I had canned and homemade guacamole. I had made enchiladas verde and frozen them, to accompany them I made chorizo spanish rice and served both with re-fried black beans. Dessert was homemade dark chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream.

Tuesday morning against the urging of our friends we headed west through Sisters and McKenzie Bridge ending up in Sweet Home. While town was not completely representative of it's name, we were in a beautiful RV park across from Foster Lake. Dinner was a short walk down the lakeshore to The Point Restaurant with views of the lake. 

Wednesday morning I baked off croissants that I had made and froze before the trip, I served baked eggs with spinach and bread crumbs along with them. I took out a achiote marinated tri-tip to grill once we reached our next stop in Gold Beach. I baked potatoes on the grill and roasted locally grown yellow sweetcorn and made a salad with tomato and homemade vinaigrette. Dinner Thursday night was the long awaited treat of Tu Tu Tun Lodge. Just a short walk from our campground, appetizers were served on the veranda overlooking the beautiful gardens and Rogue River (image above). They consisted of fish cakes, corn fritters, crostini with mushroom remoulade and polenta cakes with aioli. The dinner bell rang at 7 and we were seated family style in the dining room. Dinner started with a beautiful mixed green salad that had bleu cheese from the Rogue Creamery in the Medford area. The main course was a whole rib eye rubbed with cumin and perfectly grilled, sliced and place on the lazy susan along with fingerling potatoes and cumin popovers. Dessert was an amazing blueberry and goat cheese tart on basil oil with blackberry couli and house made vanilla ice cream, WOW! This was definitely a highlight of our vacation. Friday was a simple breakfast and lunch, for dinner I had made homemade duxelles and chicken mousse ravioli, I made a white wine butter sauce and sauteed asparagus to serve them in and served it with a fresh green salad.

Saturday morning was time to head home so we had a simple breakfast, broke camp and took off for Gustine again. It would be another long day. We decided to take the 101 down to San Francisco and head east on the 580 back to the 5. Thanks to modern technology I was able find a highly recommended sandwich shop in Arcata, California called the Hole in the Wall. It was in a very cute old building and the sandwiches were huge and delicious. I had the hot pastrami, yum! It was a long but beautiful drive and we got in about 7:30 in the evening. I had taken out the Wild Mushroom and Sausage Lasagna with Red Pepper and Tomato sauce Friday night before going to bed. When we got in I fired up the oven put the lasagna in to bake and baked some garlic bread and made a fresh green salad to go along with it. 

Sunday morning we were able to take it a little slower as the drive back home was half what we had done the day before. Once we packed up and headed out we planned on stopping at Harris Ranch for breakfast. We arrived about an hour later. I had the 8 oz. sirloin and eggs for breakfast and soon we were on our way again. We would soon be home! 

It was a wonderful vacation, lots of time to unwind from daily life and spend time with friends, spend time together and with little Erin who loved playing with our friends dog Crave. It was her longest stay in the motorhome and she settled right in after we got on our way. One of the things I enjoy about vacations is the chance to find places to eat that are unique to the area you are in, going in the motorhome also allows you to have some nice homemade meals along the way.

Stay tuned for another culinary excursion soon!