Friday, April 30, 2010

I think I May Have "Jumped The Shark"

Last weekend while in Sonoma Wine Country, we passed through the nice little town of St Helena. It has a great main street with all kinds of interesting shops, cafes and interesting sites to get you to spend your money. In order to defend my honor and pride, I feel it is necessary to explain that by this point, I had been away from my dogs for four days and really missed them a lot. So fast forward back to St Helena Main Street. I was tired. There was a little bit of cash burning a hole in my pocket and I felt compelled to buy something. We moseyed into a shop with an interesting array of stuff...a crazy statue of an Egyptian woman caught my eye. I feigned an interest in it and mumbled something about it being perfect for the front foyer (it wasn't). I just wanted to see if John was paying attention (he wasn't). Then I saw it- a wall of linens, towels and such...but behind the counter was a massive embroidery machine. I was fascinated watching and listening to it hum along, the machine whirring as it stitched various patterns, letters and designs into towels, sheets, and pillowcases. I started to dismiss it as completely ridiculous until I saw the sample patterns hanging ever-so-conveniently within reach. Instantly I spotted the Standard Poodle design. I thought about my poor poodles sitting at home pining away for me to return. Without hesitation I beckoned the sales girl and asked her embroider two dish towels for the kitchen. One with a black poodle and the name Sheldon and another with a brown poodle and the name Duncan. After paying a ridiculous price for these novelties, I waited as the machine did its thing. I'm not sure why but it really held my attention. I was so pleased with myself for finding something to buy that day. I was smiling just thinking about my dogs and how much they would appreciate their new dishtowels when I got back home. (think about what I just typed there). The day continued...

above: I stopped at Woodhouse chocolates and paused in front of their display-window. It featured a number of hand made chocolate lollypops shaped as flowers. It was so nifty. For a brief moment I felt like I was the Mayor of Lollypop Land, wherever that is. I was still thinking about my dogs back home alone, with just the pet sitter to keep them company.

When I returned home I was so happy to see Duncan and Sheldon. They are such happy dogs. I promptly unpacked their new embroidered dish towels and ceremoniously put them on display. Sheldon walked over and sniffed them, and walked away, unfazed. As I stared at the towels, I realized I may just have "jumped the shark" in buying something so ridiculous, especially for a guy. (the term "jump the shark" is an idiom to describe when something went from cool to absurd). Suddenly I had become my great grandmother. Not even my grandmother collects stuff like this. Oh well, there are worse things to be I suppose. Besides, my great grandma was pretty cool. And so are my two poodles, don't cha think so?
-Rick Rockhill

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Funny Friends...


I recently attended a benefit for a non-profit animal rescue group, held at a comedy club in West Hollywood. It was a night of big laughs, with the help of some really funny comedians, including Lily Tomlin, Paula Poundstone, JoAnne Worley, Dick Van Patten, Arte Johnson, Gary Owens, Billy Barnes, Peter Berman, Debra Skelton, Carrie Snow, Suzanne Whang, and Rainn Wilson. It was a great night and raised a bunch of money for animals in need. We paused for a few photos- I love this one picture above with JoAnne Worley, Lily Tomlin and Dick Van Patten, all really nice people and friends of animals in need too. Paula Poundstone brought the house down with her incredible wit and great jokes. I had forgotten how funny she can be. The event also reunited the cast of TV's Laugh-In and had the audience roaring. Lily did a few bits such as "Ernestine, the telephone company operator", and also reprised her hysterical "Lucille the Rubber Freak" skit, during which I nearly busted the seams of my trousers I was laughing so hard. Lily is one funny lady. I love going to things like this, its clean fun entertainment, it's surprisingly hard to find anymore.
-Rick Rockhill

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Exploring Wines: Part 7, A Weekend in Sonoma

This weekend I am in California Wine Country enjoying the beautiful sights and tastes of life in the Sonoma and Napa Valleys. Admittedly I am somewhat partial to Sonoma, Napa is probably better known, more developed and busier with tourists. (I prefer the quiet, more relaxed atmosphere of Sonoma). My trips to wine country are preceded by great deal of planning and preparation to maximize our time here. We select which wineries we want to visit, schedule appointments for tastings, make dinner reservations, etc. It sounds very scripted but I've learned from experience that its all too easy to lose a few hours of a precious weekend get-a-way waiting for a table or driving around aimlessly. Over the years we've found our favorites wineries, and have signed up to a few wine clubs (where they send wine to our home regularly). In addition to discounts off of list price, being a member of a wine club brings other perks, such as free, private wine tastings with friends, etc. It really enhances the wine tasting experience when you can sit down and talk about each wine and savor the experience. It sure beats standing in a crowd 3 or 4 deep, elbowing to get to the wine tasting bar to sip. We visited a number of great wineries in both Sonoma and Napa Valleys, and discovered several great wines that we've added to our wine cellar at home. During this weekend, we visited Ledson, Cade, Kunde, Rubicon Estate and the Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves. Each have their own unique aspects of wine making and varieties offered. Over the years I've been visiting the wine country, tasting and collecting I think I've visited over 30 different wineries. California wines have come a long way in their history. Up until the Paris Wine tasting in 1976, American wines were previously viewed as inferior to European wines. Today, California wines in particular rival and compete with the finest wines available as world-class. I may not be an expert, but from my perspective, these wines in Sonoma sure are terrific!

Wine is the subject of this week's episode of The Palm Springs Savant & Co radio Show on Blog Talk Radio. My guest this week is Mr Jerry Padilla, Assistant to the Winemaker at the famed Ledson Winery & Vineyards in Kenwood, CA. Ledson is nestled in the Sonoma Valley, housed in a magnif
icent castle that stops passers-by from the sheer beauty of its structure. Inside are some of the most fantastic wines we've encountered here in California. It was this reason that prompted me to invite Jerry as my guest for the show this week. He did a great job explaining wines and shared a great deal of valuable information.

I thought I'd share some information directly from the Ledson website about Food and Wine pairings. I couldn't say it better myself, so here it is, from Ledson:
"Though it can sometimes seem complicated and intimidating, harmonizing food with wine should be a natural and enjoyable process. There is not necessarily a right or wrong answer; it is essentially all a matter of taste. Trust your instincts, often times the flavors you think will go well together, do. With a little common sense and a few basic tips, you will be able to navigate through this culinary challenge like a pro."
  • Balancing Weight & Texture
    Choose a wine and food that are similar in weight, or body. This will help to make sure that one does not overwhelm the other. For instance, a thick sirloin steak would pair wonderfully with a bold Cabernet Sauvignon. A lighter wine would be lost to the heaviness of the steak.
  • Balancing Flavor Intensity
    Pair light-bodied wines with lighter, more mildly flavored foods and fuller-bodied wines with heartier, richer, and more intensely flavored dishes.
  • Matching Flavors
    This is when common sense comes into play. We often top fresh fish with a squeeze of lemon juice because the flavors complement each other. For the same reason, a crisp, Sauvignon Blanc with citrus flavors would be a good choice to drink with this meal. Likewise, an earthy Pinot Noir would go well with a mushroom dish. Follow what your palate already knows and it will most likely be a winning combination.
  • Opposites Attract
    Sometimes the best pairing for a food is to find its opposite. Opposing flavors can often play off each other, creating new flavor sensations and cleansing the palate. A classic example of this is pairing spicy Thai food with a sweet dessert wine such as Riesling or Gewurztraminer. The sweetness will help highlight and tame the spicy flavors in the dish.
For more information, check out my prior posts from the Exploring Wine Series here on this blog:

Exploring Wines: Part 6, Learning Grape Varieties

Exploring Wines: Part 5- Key Attributes of Wine

Exploring Wines: Part 4- Pairing Suggestions with Turkey

Exploring Wines: Part 3- Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Zinfandels

Exploring Wines: Part 2, Tasting & Enjoying

Exploring Wines: Part 1

Tune in to The Palm Springs Savant & Co Radio Show #109 to hear this fascinating episode on wines! -Rick Rockhill

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Can You Guess Where?

I took this photo myself a number of years back. Wondering if anyone can guess the place...

I'll leave it up for a few days to see if anyone can guess. Just one hint. It is the USA

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Behind the Scenes of Ms Diahann Carroll!

Hear "Behind the Scenes of Ms Diahann Carroll on The Palm Springs Savant & Co Radio show #108 on Blog Talk Radio, or via podcast from iTunes.

This week the fabulous Ms Diahann Carroll will grace the stage of the Annenberg Theatre here in Palm Springs with her one woman show, "The Lady....The Legend...The Music". In fact, I wrote a brief post about this show a few weeks ago, the performance week is finally here- this Wednesday, April 21st. Ms Carroll is no stranger to Palm Springs, having made a number of appearances in recent years in support of The Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards, among other activities here in the desert. When she decided to bring her one woman show to Palm Springs it created a buzz among theatre-goers and fans alike. Ms Carroll has quite the resume, with an illustrious career from film, stage, Broadway, nightclubs and television. Diahann Carroll is a Tony Award winner, an Emmy and Grammy nominee, a Golden Globe winner and a Best Actress Oscar nominee. Just few highlights from her television career:
She was the first black actress to star in her own TV series called "Julia" in 1968 which aired on NBC. "Julia" was a top Nielsen-rated show for which sh
e received an Emmy nomination. In 1984 Diahann Carroll became the first black actress to star in the award-winning night time TV drama series "Dynasty", playing the memorable role as a jet-setting "Dominique Deveraux".
She has als
o had a number of recurring roles on programs like "A Different World", "Grey's Anatomy", "Soul Food" on Showtime, "Strong Medicine" on Lifetime and "Whoopi" on NBC. Her stage work is also quite impressive; her Broadway debut was a starring role in Harold Arlen and Truman Capote's "House of Flowers". Followed by the Broadway production "No Strings" for which she won a Tony Award. She also starred on Broadway in the award-winning plays "Agnes of God" and "Sunset Boulevard". If all that were not enough, her film credits are equally compelling:
In 1954 she was noticed fo
r a supporting role in "Carmen Jones" which put her on the map and led to Broadway roles. She continued to pursue film work with great success. She received a 1974 Best Actress Academy Award nomination for "Claudine", and went on to star in the acclaimed films "Carmen Jones", "Paris Blues", "Porgy & Bess", "Hurry Sundown", "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" and "Eve's Bayou". A few years ago she wrote her memoir, "The Legs Are The Last To Go" which was a New York Times best seller. Her show this week in Palm Springs will be filmed by PBS; Ms Carroll offered this performance to public television as part of their fundraising event in August 2010. Viewers will have the opportunity to buy a DVD of this week's special performance in Palm Springs to help support PBS programming. You can find Ms Carroll's contact information from her website. I do recommend reading her book, or check out some of her music on iTunes. Diahann Carroll is the subject of The Palm Springs Savant & Co Radio Show #108. Tune in from Blog Talk Radio, or on podcast from iTunes for free. I'll post photos from Wednesday's concert with a mini-review, so check back here again later this week!
-Rick Rockhill

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Of Hillbillies and Blabbermouths...

Sometimes its best not to say what one is thinking within one's own head. I was reminded of this twice in the past week. Both times I regretted my utterances the moment they passed my lips. It all started when I was at an event that had a buffet brunch thingy at the former estate of Frank Sinatra here in Palm Springs. I made my way around the piano-shaped pool (yes you read that correctly, Old Blue Eyes had a pool in the shape of a grand piano). Anyway I made my way around the pool toward the buffet. It looked scrumptious. Or maybe I was just hungry. Well at any rate I shuffled along with my plate when suddenly I saw the largest salad I've ever seen. (see photo above left). Now if you look at that photo quickly, it doesn't look so big, but look at the hand of the person in front of me- extending a dinner size plate over the mega salad. It was big. I think I already explained that so I'll move on. Well thinking I was amusing, I looked at the mega salad in wonderment and feigned shock and awe. I looked at the woman charged with serving the mega salad (who was using a small back-hoe to scoop it out) and said to her: "Wow, that is one BIG salad! I don't think I've ever seen a salad that big before". The salad back-hoe operator looked at me, saying nothing. I continued: 'Well I must sound like some kind of hillbilly, never seen anything from the big city before". The woman bristled at my remark. I should have stopped there- it was bad enough. But no, of course it was too late, I had a bad case of the blabbers. Then I gave my best hillbilly impression (aka southerner) and in a somewhat condescending tone exclaimed: "Weyull now, ah've nev-errr seen no salad that beeyugg beee- forrree". While saying it, I modulated my high-pitched hillbilly voice up and down for an uneven pitch rhythm if you know what I mean. The salad back hoe operator glared at me- but before I could process her look it was time to shuffle down the line. As I stood at the next dish of something or other, I could hear her speaking in the distance to the person behind me. Perhaps you guessed it. The salad back-hoe operator was of course A SOUTHERNER with quite a heavy twang. I had obviously offended her with my stupid and insensitive impression. But the damage was done. Live and learn, right? Well maybe not. A few days later at a restaurant I encountered this:

Monster Mac & Cheese. The waiter at Trio warned me their Macaroni and Cheese dish was huuuuggggeeee. I ignored his advice and ordered it anyway, instead saying to the waiter in a rather gruff tone: "Ah c'mon, I'm no pansy, I can handle it". Our waiter, incidentally was seemingly gay, I could see he wasn't crazy about me using the pansy term. Perhaps he realized that I too am gay and he brushed off my remark and moved on. Later when the entrees were served, the Monster Mac & Cheese entree was presented to me. It was huge alright. I gasped at its size. Must have been a pound of pasta, as the dish was quite deep. Well as I stared at the Monster dish, I exclaimed loudly: "What kind of pig would eat this much food anyway?"And as said it I could sense a recoiling of the person at the table next to me. My peripheral vision picked up the couple seated adjacent and sure enough the rather large woman sitting next to me had the same Monster Mega Grande Mac & Cheese entree- but she had consumed nearly all of it. She had a horrified look on her face as I shriveled into a tiny ball at the table. It seems I did not learn from the Hillbilly salad remark to KEEP MY BIG MOUTH SHUT. Maybe now, after two infractions I will begin to practice the true art of discretion.
What about you, you ever made a fool of yourself twice in one week?
side note: my sincere apologies to any hillbilly blogger friends. I just love southern hospitality. And sweet potato pie. And sweet tea. And the Piggly Wiggly. ah, you get it.
-Rick Rockhill

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Melissa McGinnis from Greenopolis.com

This week's episode of The Palm Springs Savant & Co radio show will focus on the environment and sustainable practices that make a difference. Early in the show I'll briefly explore wind power as a renewable energy source, and then later discuss concepts of Renew, Reuse and Recycle to understand how everyday choices you make in life can have a huge impact on the environment. I am excited to welcome Melissa McGinnis as my guest on this week's show. Melissa is a passionate, energetic, young up-and-coming Eco-Advocate working with Greenopolis.com. Melissa's first hand expertise in marketing environmental messages into easy-to-understand concepts led to the popular web based TV show on Greenopolis that she developed. Her show is about converting waste to resources and resource conservation. In each segment Melissa shares useful tips, eco-advice and green stories on Greenopolis TV. Melissa brings her effervescent personality to The Palm Springs Savant & Co show in a way that will captivate and inspire you to begin thinking green.
About
Greenopolis.com

Greenopolis.com is a fun, interactive website that makes a very simple and powerful promise to its visitors. They pledge to be about doing good. Through their site, they provide information and tools to help you to recycle easily, help to save our natural resources for our children’s children, track conservation through recycling and re-use and educate and reward for conservation efforts. Greenoplois is unique in that they have "GreenOps Tracking Stations" at various retailers, such as Whole Foods Markets, where customers can do actual, “trackable” good for the planet. Greenoplois also offers rewards to its users for helping the world and changing the way we handle natural resource and recyclables.
Greenopolis is focused clearly on Recycling, Reusing, Repurposing, Waste-to-Resource and Conservation. They seem to understand that being sustainable is overwhelming to many people, and the world is changing so quickly it is difficult to keep up. To their credit, most of the stories and content on Greenopolis TV features beautiful pictures, interesting videos and are presented in a format that most people can easily follow. Greenopolis is a great resource, regardless of your knowledge of sustainability or depth of your commitment today, I recommend checking it out and using their site to the fullest potential. I know you will find Melissa McGinnis to be quite interesting and informative. I hope you will tune into this week's show #107. You can listen anytime from the BlogTalkRadio site, or on podcast from iTunes.
-Rick Rockhill

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Petco's Natural Neighborhood Festival

Saturday I went to Petco's Natural Neighborhood Festival at the beach in Santa Monica, California. I brought Sheldon and Duncan along to see what it was all about and have a day out together. I was impressed by the set up- a huge patch of real grass, tents and lots of activities too. When we walked in I was greeted by an enthusiastic Petco associate who took our photo and gave me a nifty re-usable bag. The festival had several natural pet food vendors with tents, each giving out free samples and coupons for food and treats. All the brands they had were high quality natural foods, no junky grocery store brands or foods filled with cheap fillers. This was to educate people about why better food will help provide a healthier lifestyle. Being by the Santa Monica beach was a perfect setting. People were jogging, riding their bikes and walking their dogs. As they passed by their curiosity drew them into the festival to check it out. When I arrived, ABC TV was there filming, and also the folks from Greenwala.com were interviewing all sorts of people asking about how they are going more green with their pets. I took a bunch of photos, click on them to biggify for easier viewing:

above: DOG YOGA. Yes, you read that correctly. People doing yoga with their dogs. After all, this is Southern California, and you know how we all are here.

above: the Dog Yoga instructor was really good and kept the group in shape.

above: Natural Balance had Tillman's tour bus on site. Look closely, you can see the youngest bulldog, Sully in the car window waiting for Tillman to get ready to skateboard.

above: Tillman in the far distance, riding his skateboard along the beach walk. You can't see it, but on the right side was a huge crowd of people watching him go...

above: Tillman loves being on his skateboard, he is smiling here.

above: Ron Davis, Tillman's dad is interviewed by the lovely Ms Apple Levy from Greenwala.com

above: My Sheldon gets a mini-groom touch up by the beach. He stood on the table as Wendy clipped, brushed and fluffed him up!

above: click on the photo above left. The grassy area is so inviting, don't you think?

above: Me with Tracie Hotchner, author of the Dog Bible and Cat Bible. She is also a radio host on Sirius XM radio's Martha Stewart Living Radio. Above right is Dr Marty Becker, a well known vet who really knows his stuff. He spoke about the merits of natural pet foods and natural health care.

above: Sheldon checks out the Natural Balance booth and sniffs all the treats.

above: I love the dog in the photo above right- he is waiting while his mom gets some free samples and coupons from Lori at Natural Balance.

above: the dog agility area was a lot of fun to watch. Dogs just love this kind of stuff. I was really impressed by the entire natural festival. It reinforced to me that there are lots of pet parents who live healthy lifestyles who want the same for their pet. It's great that Petco hosted this event, it reinforced why Petco is where the pets go...for natural food especially!
-Rick Rockhill

Meet The Museum Party

Last night I stopped by the Palm Springs Art Museum's 5th annual Meet the Museum fund raising event. I'm a huge fan of our museum, it houses a really top notch permanent collection and features some outstanding touring exhibits throughout the year as well. I've always liked their stated mission statement: "To promote enjoyment, education and involvement with visual art of the highest quality, and enhance appreciation of the performing arts." Isn't that great? They do a marvelous job connecting with the community to present, exhibit, protect, preserve and interpret all sorts of art techniques and mediums from a broad range of periods and styles.You simply must visit our fabulous museum! Last night's Meet the Museum event drew in over 1,200 guests, whose ticket price went completely to the museum, as the entire event was underwritten! I stayed outside in the courtyard above, as it was a lovely cool evening. There was some great live jazz music playing, which was a nice touch. It seemed like everyone we knew was at the museum! Inside was the huge crowd, tons of food, fun and libations. I didn't stay long upstairs but it was hopping!

above: I borrowed this photo from the fabulous Lisa from the museum. Look at that spread of goodies!

If you live here in the Palm Springs area or visit periodically, please consider becoming a member or making a donation. Art is a really important aspect of our society. It teaches expression to young people, cultivates new talent, inspires, and provides a place for people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures to come together to share and exchange perspectives. You can easily donate online or become a member in just a few seconds. Here are just some of the benefits of a museum membership, according to the Palm Springs Art Museum's website:
  • Free Museum admission year round
  • Invitations to members-only exhibition preview receptions
  • Free quarterly member magazine Insight
  • Discounts at the Museum Store
  • Discounts on art classes and lectures
  • Opportunity to join eight special interest Councils
  • Travel and tour programs for Council members
  • Invitations to the annual Gala and other exclusive events
  • Use of the Museum library by appointment
So don't delay, click here and show your support! And if that doesn't convince you, check out the rest of their website and exhibits, you'll soon be impressed with what they have going on.
-Rick Rockhill

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Adventures of Sheldon: The Dog Food Roll Robber

I've been wondering how long it would be before I had some fresh material for another "Adventures" post. Then yesterday the day arrived, while at work. I present The Adventures of Sheldon: The Dog Food Roll Robber. It all started because Mr Sheldon has a slight ear infection, for which the vet prescribed an overpriced doggie-antibiotic. The dose instructions direct that the meds be given with food to avoid stomach upset. Both Sheldon and Duncan "free feed" so the notion of giving them a pill at mealtime just isn't practical. So to coerce Sheldon to eat some food at pill time, I decided to slice up one of our Natural Balance Dog Food rolls. Since my office is adjacent to our dog food roll plant, I grabbed one of our new secret test batch rolls! As Sheldon watched intently, I sliced a few pieces of the special roll, carefully inserted his antibiotic pill in one of the chunks and fed him his food rolls with the pill. Once he had gobbled it down, I decided to wash my hands, so I stepped out of my office for a moment, leaving the nearly full, newly sliced secret test batch dog food roll on my desk. When I returned, I to my office I noticed the secret test batch roll was missing from my desk. I was certain this was the handiwork of a dog food competitor who broke-in and stole our secret test batch dog food roll. Such sinister activity, I thought! I wondered if I should call the pet food police. I turned to ask the one witness who could provide a clue. I looked over to Mr Sheldon Gryffindor who was standing quite still. I asked him if he had seen anything. He gulped. I looked around, surveying the area. Finally I leaned over my desk and saw the evidence. Apparently the evil dog food competitor who had broken in to steal our secret test batch roll must have left in a hurry, as he dropped the roll on the floor during his speedy exit. Or at least that seemed to be the story Mr Sheldon was trying to lay on me. Hmmmm, I knew better. Although I wasn't away very long, apparently it was long enough for Mr Sheldon to stand up on his legs to reach the desk and help himself to the mostly-full dog secret test batch dog food roll I had left sitting on my desk.I surveyed the evidence more closely to be sure:

above: The gnaw marks in the secret test batch dog food roll had an amazing similarity to Mr Sheldon's poodle teeth. I leaned over to Sheldon and examined his doggie lips. They glistened with a few morsels of the meaty roll. I knew I had found the culprit: The Dog Food Roll Robber was Mr Sheldon himself. His eyes gazed up at me through his long black eyelashes, seemingly guilty. I gently scolded him but was privately thrilled that our new secret dog food roll was a hit with our official tester.
-Rick Rockhill

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Earthquake Felt in Palm Springs at 3:40 PM today

Today, at 3:40 PM PT on Easter Sunday we experienced the effect of a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that struck Baja California in northwestern Mexico. We were sitting at home and felt a rumble-rolling like sensation. I could feel the ground shaking under the house. Our two standard poodles, Sheldon and Duncan barked slightly, and our cat Owen looked wide-eyed and alert. John went out of the house, while I grabbed the dogs and held them close to me just to make sure they felt safe and secure, while I kept an eye on the kitty.

It was the longest earthquake I've ever felt since living in Southern California these past twelve years. I heard the crystal and china vibrating as the house shook ever-so-slightly. The sound of the rumbling was definite. We had no visible damage of any kind, and soon it passed. I noticed the water in our pool sloshed around a bit also. I did have a lingering sensation, similar to motion sickness- similar to being on a boat for awhile and returning to land when it feels as if things are still moving. (that may well be in my head).

When it had passed, I jumped online, Tweeted and posted things on Face Book and saw the barrage of comments flying by on Twitter especially. Friends in San Diego reported things flew off shelves, while people in LA said chandeliers swung and blinds vibrated. All in all, a non-event for us living here in the Coachella Valley. Palm Springs was spared any damage, thankfully.

Did you experience the quake?

Happy Easter

Nothing serious today except to wish you a joyous and Happy Easter (and Happy Passover season too). Easter is perhaps my favorite holiday and time of year. It represents hope, promise and joy. Well I suppose if you look past the prior 40 days in the liturgical calendar of pain, suffering and Crucifixion it is a "triumphant" moment of overcoming death, as it were. At any rate Easter is a joyous time, and I'm all to happy to celebrate with a stash of my traditional Fannie May chocolate goodies. Everything from chocolate rabbits, jelly beans, marshmallow eggs and cream eggs. I hope the Easter Bunny made it to your home with a few goodies to savor. Here in Palm Springs, I'm having Easter Brunch at my favorite restaurant, Melvyn's. What are you doing for Easter?

Chocolate covered Marshmallow Eggs...and Pectin Jelly Beans...

...and delicious chocolate cream eggs. Ah, makes me feel good inside.
Happy Easter!

Friday, April 2, 2010

What About Red Velvet Cake?

A local place here in Palm Springs called Coco's Bakery Restaurant added Red Velvet Cake to their menu for a limited time. I have to say, it is QUITE DELICIOUS. In fact I have been craving a slice all week. I may just need to swing by there tomorrow. I had no idea what the heck is in red velvet cake, just that I liked it. Anyway so I finally broke down and googled it. I came across the wonderful story about it that was right up my alley. This from our friends at Wikipedia: "A red velvet cake was a signature dessert at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel in New York City during the 1920s. According to a common urban legend, a woman once asked for the recipe for the cake, and was billed a large amount. Indignant, she spread the recipe in a chain letter." So just for fun, I'm sharing the Waldorf=Astoria Red Velvet Cake Recipe also, right here on my little old blog. The next time I'm at the Waldorf I'll have to ask them to make it for me so I can see if its better than Coco's recipe here in Palm Springs.
So my question to you is, Do you like Red Velvet Cake?

Waldorf=Astoria Red Velvet Cake Recipe
Ingredients:
1/2 cup Shortening
1 1/2 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
2 ounces Red food coloring
2 tablespoons Cocoa -- heaping
2 1/4 cups Plain flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon Baking soda
1 cup Buttermilk
1 tablespoon Vinegar
1 teaspoon Butter Flavoring (if desired)
***Frosting***
3 tablespoons Flour
1 cup Butter (Not Margarine- you can tell the difference in the flavor).
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 cup Milk
1 cup Granulated sugar

Directions:

Cream Shortening, sugar and eggs. Make a paste with coloring and cocoa and add to mixture. Add salt and flour with buttermilk and vanilla. Alternately add soda and vinegar and don't beat- just blend. Bake in two 9-inch pans (greased and floured) for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Layers may be split to make four.

Frosting:
Cook flour and milk on low heat until thick. Then cool (I put it in the freezer for this.). Cream sugar, butter, and vanilla until fluffy. Add to flour-milk mixture. Beat until mixture is like whipped cream. Spread on layers.
*sometimes when we're going to make the frosting, we've been known to double it because it is soooo good!

Disclaimers...

This blog is about life experiences & observations and stuff I am interested in. It is simply a side hobby and creative outlet; generally with a tongue-in-cheek tone. I don't take it too seriously, nor should you. I do not profess to represent every point of view. Nothing on this site is a paid post.

It is for entertainment purposes only it, so just lighten up and just enjoy it. Life is short, live in the moment.

As the author, thoughts/views have no affiliation to my clients, business colleagues or my company.