Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Recipe: Cream of Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Winter is when I trot out all my soup recipes. Cream of Roasted Cauliflower Soup is one of my favorites and is extremely easy to make.

It is one of those "little black dresses" recipes. You can dress it or dress it down depending on what you serve with it. I dress it up with fresh cracked crab; it is a wonderful flavor combination. However, it is flavorful enough to stand on it's own as a quick warm meal. So if you have a head of cauliflower that you are not sure of what to do with give this recipe a try

Cream of Roasted Cauliflower Soup
1 medium head of cauliflower chopped up
2 cloves of garlic, diced
2 Tbls butter
64 oz of low sodium chicken broth
4 oz of heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a stock pot and add the chopped cauliflower and garlic. Cook until the garlic and cauliflower are lightly browned. Do not over brown or it can turn bitter.

Add the chicke broth and cook until the cauliflower is tender. Take off the heat and puree the soup with a handheld blender. Add cream and then salt and pepper to taste and serve. Takes about 10 minutes from start to finish.


DJS Painting: Fast and professional painting in Silicon Valley

My boyfriend and I recently had his house painted. It was a beige-ish color as are most of the houses in the area and I wanted to paint it something different. We were not finding the right color for the house. Don, of DJS painting, has a color specialist that came to the rescue and helped us find the right colors for the house. It is also nice to have a 3rd party be involved so that it does not become a domestic dispute. He knew what white color would match the gutters and not make them look dirty. He also had a great idea on how to work around the fact that the white of the patio door did not that match that particular shade of white.

Don's crew was very quick and did a great job. If you need your house painted professionaly and quickly please contact DJS Painting

Don Stover
DJS Painting
(408) 849-6520

Friday, December 18, 2009

Recipe: My mom's salad dressing

I am so glad I went looking for the recipes from my past; I found some very interesting and nostalgic recipes in my old recipe box my mother gave me. It was like a trip down memory lane.  It contains all the things I used to bake and never do any more.  My mother's recipes; a connection to my past. 

My mom was a big baker but I prefer to cook.  My son has the baking gene but he uses very different ingredients than my mom's traditional recipes.   He does not use white flour or sugar at all, which seems to be the foundation of almost every recipe I have found in my old recipe box.  It is nice to know that someone in the family is baking corn bread or brownies but adapting recipes to fit the tastes of today.

I always liked this salad dressing.  I used to like watching my mom make it on a Sunday morning in the blender and putting it the fridge to chill before we had lunch later in the day.  When I was growing up I thought it was some exotic French recipe, though probably it is the invention of some bored housewife in Wyoming that my mother knew.  I hope you enjoy it!

My mom's salad dressing

1/3 C sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/3 C catsup
1/2 C White Vinegar
1/4 tsp Tabasco Sauce
1/4 C finely chopped onion
3/4 C Light Olive Oil

Mix it all together and chill.  A dressing like this drizzles nicely over an old school wedge of iceburg lettuce

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The hardest phone call I made in years

A couple of weeks ago I had to make the hardest phone call I have made in years. I had to tell a listing agent that my client was backing out of the deal.

The reason this was such a hard phone call were the circumstances of the deal. Most real estate transactions are like an arranged marriage. The buyer and seller do not meet until the close of escrow and sometimes they never do sit at the same table. My buyer and seller had met and really wanted to work together. My buyer had even charmed the listing agent. Everyone was pulling for her to buy the house.

This was a very emotional sale for the seller. It was an estate sale; grown children were selling their mom's home that she had for over sixty years. The sellers wanted someone who loved the home and would not tear it down. My buyer was in love with the house; she loved the historic charm of the home.

However, when it came time to review the inspection reports and the recommendations for repairs she started to get concerned about the cost of upgrading the home. My client then had a general contractor who specializes in restoring old homes inspect the home. He elaborated on the extent of the project in terms of time and money. My client decided that it just was not a project she could commit to at this point in her life.

She agonized over the decision to withdraw her offer, but she learned a valuable lesson about herself. She had a fantasy of being the owner of a historic home because it appeals to her aesthetic but she had not really thought about the investment; time and money. She now realizes that she needs to better understand her real lifestyle instead of her fantasy lifestyle in looking for a new home.

The listing agent contacted me a let me know that he found another buyer not long after her withdraw of the offer and for more money than my client offered.

So the story as a little bit of a happy ending but my client needs time to heal her broken heart. We will start looking for a new place that reflects her actual lifestyle.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chicken and Dried Scallop Soup

I decided to do something different this time and blog a recipe in real time! I am making a big pot of chicken and dried scallop soup for dinner.

The hardest part of this recipe is probably finding the dried scallops and the yellow chives. However, if you have an Asian Market in your town you should be able to find both items. In addition, shitake mushrooms are usually much cheaper in the Asian Markets as well. I love the way this soup smells as it cooks and it keeps for days. It is a different way to fix chicken breasts in a low fat and healthy way
Chicken and Dried Scallop Soup (serves 8)

1/4 C of dried scallops, reconstitute in warm water.
6 ounces of fresh shitake mushrooms thinly sliced
4 ounces of fresh yellow chives chopped
64 ounces of low sodium chicken broth
1 lb of skinless boneless chicken breasts, diced
1 Tbls sesame oil
3 Tbls of Cornstarch, disolved in warm water
White pepper to taste

Heat the sesame oil and add the diced chicken in a large soup pan. Cook for several minutes and then add the yellow chives and mushrooms. Cook until the chicken is done and the yellow chives are translucent. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the cornstarch to thicken the broth. Add the dried scallops that have been chopped into small pieces.  Cook an addiitional 10 minutes and serve.  Please enjoy

Friday, December 4, 2009

Evergreen Park in Palo Alto is a Lifestyle Neigbhorhood

Evergreen Park in Palo Alto is a lifestyle neighborhood that offers great resources at a lower price point than many other Palo Alto neighborhoods.

I am hosting an open house on Sunday the 6th from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm at 425 Grant #29. 425 Grant #29 is a lovely 3 bedroom 2 bath home listed at $679,000.00. Stop by and see this home and walk the neighborhood and see why Evergreen Park is a lifestyle neighborhood.


CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (NEARBY): Casa dei Bambini Montessori School, 463 & 457 College Ave.; Escondido Kids' Club, 890 Escondido Road

FIRE STATION: No. 2, 2675 Hanover St.

LIBRARY: College Terrace branch, 2300 Wellesley St.

PARKS: Alexander Peers Park, 1899 Park Blvd.; Sarah Wallis Park, 202 Grant Ave.; Bowden Park, Alma Street and California Avenue

POST OFFICE: Cambridge, 265 Cambridge Ave.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Escondido Elementary School, Jordan Middle School, Palo Alto High School

SHOPPING: California Avenue, Molly Stone and Sunday farmer's market

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: California Ave Train Station

Blogging on my iPhone does not work

I have been out of town for the past week or so visiting my parents.  My parents do not have internet access and I found that I could not blog via my iPhone.  I will play catch up this weekend and next week on my posts.