Tuesday, November 17, 2009


You MUST see these amazing fabric designs.
Christina Weber screen prints gorgeous designs on linen tea towels.
Check out her site for tea towels and aprons .

go here, then come back and tell me what you think.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Name That Herb

Jerusalem Artichoke
Thanks to Simon, who dropped off these little gems. Congrats to Herrick Kimball, who knew: ..Those roots look like Jerusalem Artichokes. I have a bunch of them here. They are good sliced up raw on salads. That's the only way we have eaten them.

Some people call them Sunchokes, I guess because they look like and actually are sunflowers and the other common name, Jerusalem Artichoke is a bit confusing because many people assume that they are related to artichokes of the thistle family. In fact, Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) is a native American plant. The common name may have come from the Spanish word for sunflower, girasol...Jerusalem. I don't know.
What I do know is that they are delicious and filled with energy and good food value.
I roast them with other root vegetables and have shredded them for salads as Herrick does.
This week, here's how I cooked my gift from Simon.

Jerusalem Artichoke Scallop
In a skillet, heat 2 tbsp olive oil. Add 1 chopped onion and 1 cup chopped mushrooms. Reduce heat and cook, stirring frequently for 10 minutes. You can add fresh or dried sage, rosemary or oregano to this as it cooks.
Meanwhile, using a mandolin or food processor, slice about 6 Jerusalem Artichoke roots, 1 carrot and 1 parsnip.
In a greased casserole dish, arrange 1/3 of the sliced artichokes, carrots and parsnip. Spread 1/2 of the onion-mushroom mixture over. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle 3 tbsp flour over and pour milk into the casserole to cover the vegetables.
For this scallop, having just come back from the foodbuzz festival, I had a beautiful, triple cream Brie, which I sliced very thin and arranged half over the vegetables.

Like a true scallop, the second 1/3 of the sliced artichokes, carrots and parsnip are arranged over the brie. The remaining onion-mushroom mixture goes over that layer. More salt and pepper, flour and milk to cover the vegetables. Remaining brie and the final layer of vegetables, flour, small pieces of butter and milk to cover it all. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and bake in a 350°F oven for about 1 hour.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


It was a foodie frenzie! It was a culinary herbalist's heaven! It was the first Foodbuzz Festival in San Francisco, and I am just back and filled to the brim with good food, great memories and contacts to fabulous new foodie friends.
So for the rest of the month of November, I would like to dedicate this blog to Foodbuzz and all of their sponsors, who provided an absolutely outstanding festival.
The pict on my banner above was taken with a long exposure and no tripod, but I really liked the dreamy lights and the clouds and the blaze of orange off the building--sort of a symbol for the experience. The shot is from the outdoor rooftop of Hotel Vitale, which was the first event in our whirlwind weekend. Cocktails by MIDI and drinks by SKYY, the mood was perfect.
Our stay at the Galleria Park Hotel was divine, a perfect boutique hotel for the perfect weekend.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pat Does Claudia's Baked Eggs

What was that thing that comes just before THE FALL?

Right. The PRIDE thing.

So. How did I get from this...

...to this?

This may not have disaster written all over it, but in MY world, a plate looking like this spells DISASTER.
The Big Guy ALWAYS cleans his plate. Especially at noon on a Sunday when the Saturday paper still holds lots of interesting tidbits. And today, it was the paper not the plate that had the interesting tidbits.

I thought, 'easy'. This will be an easy Sunday Brunch. My friend Claudia has her incredible 'Baked Eggs with Spinach and Pancetta' on her blog now, and since she loves this dish, and I do have spinach in the refrigerator, I thought, "this will be a snap and The Big Guy will be hungry by now since we both have been working. Well. He has been working, I have been on the phone with Claudia talking about the FoodbuzzFestival next weekend. (Is anyone out there going?)

First, I heated 2 tbsp/25 mL oil and 1 tbsp/15 mL butter in my favourite cast iron skillet, which btw, I'm still cleaning as you read this- no matter WHEN you are reading this.

Claudia uses onion and garlic sauteed in oil and some balsamic. Thinking, or NOT as the case turned out, "TBG likes potato", I'll add one here, so I shredded 1 onion- not the sweet Mayan, I only had yellow- and 1 potato. Add to the pan, stir constantly...because once the starch in the uncooked potato hits the hot oil, it is going to glom up the bottom of the pan. YUP. Big time! No problem. I will just take my sharpened fish lifter (my fave tool, btw) and scrape the bottom. Key is to tell everyone to keep the pan on LOW. EGADS. I've got it on medium-high. Oh well. This is why we TEST recipes, eh?

I rubbed in some of my just-dried sage and rosemary, now all safely inside for the winter. Claudia didn't add any herbs. OOOOPS. just checked her blog. She added balsamic vinegar, oh well, it's in the oven now. That little slip won't make a difference.

Claudia doesn't actually tell us how much spinach to use, but hey, I write cookbooks. I KNOW these things. I added a 6 oz/227 g bag to the pan because I love spinach. I forgot that The Big Guy isn't all that keen on spinach.
When she say's "break 2 eggs into the 'nest' of spinach", I thought, aha, I'll clear out little spots right down to the pan so that the eggs nestle in the vegetables while they cook. I used 3 eggs: 2 for The Big Guy, he's working today. This could be where I began my descent...or was it way back when I decided to add the potato?

I was going to serve it with my Red Pepper Sauce- Tune in next blog for the recipe.

I added a bit of Turkish Paprika, but only to MY egg. The Last thing I wanted to hear was, "hm. What's that red stuff?". Oh, no. This dish was going to be my Sunday Brunch House Special, just like Claudia makes...

I Was SO PROUD! It looked GREAT.

What is YOUR little red flag when you know people are just telling you they like what you just cooked? Mine is "hm. What's that green stuff?"

Today I sort of snapped, "It's spinach. Just like that green stuff, pesto that you guzzle by the gallon."
So, right then I knew it had to be spectacular or TBG wasn't going to go back to the gallery raving.

It was OK. Perhaps not a FALL, but a stumble for sure.

The egg yolks were too hard (I like them runny) and I definitely added too much spinach. For success and raves, you will need to follow Claudia's recipe.

And if you have any questions about how to do this better than I did, ask her. I'm still trying to figure out how she gets the yolks to stay runny...


All photographs and recipes are original and copyrighted to Pat Crocker. Pat invites you to use her recipes and share with family and friends. Please contact Pat Crocker for express permission for commercial, internet, or other use of her photographs and recipes.