Reboot. Recharge.

When all else fails, just shut it down for 5 seconds and turn it back on. Just like new!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

RIP Eddie

RIP Eddie, from Frasier (real name, Moose), died of old age, at age 16 earlier this week....

Spin cycle 06/29/06

Here's the playlist from this morning's class.
It was good and hard, with lots of hills:

1. Mad About You - Sting
2. Shine - Ricky Fante
3. Tell Me What You Already Did - Fountains of Wayne
4. Love's Dance - Earth, Wind and Fire
5. Wonderful Night - Fatboy Slim
6. Get Up Offa That Thing - James Brown
7. Low Rider - War
8. I Like That - Chingy & Houston
9. Silence - Gomez
10. Hella Good - No Doubt
11. The Magnificient Seven - The Clash
12. Jospehine - Ronnie Wood
13. Walkie Talkie Man - Steriogram

Most of the music this morning came from the soundtrack to Robots, which is a great movie, with a great soundtrack. It has tons of innuendos making it great for adults and kids. Its got an all-star cast: Robin Williams, Mel Brooks, Drew Carey, Greg Kinnear etc; Robin Williams is genius in it. Check it out.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

True Love

Check out this picture of my little Louie Lou.

I love it......

And here's one of the maxster...

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Bounty Begins!

This past Saturday marked the beginning of my farm pick-ups for the season; I “own” a share of Stillman's Farm, Lunenburg, MA, by way of their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.
The first few weeks are usually light in terms of what you get in your pick-up, and as the season goes on, each week gets progressively bigger and bigger. This week actually was not that light. It included 2 huge bunches of arugula, 2 huge heads of red-leaf lettuce, 2 huge bunches of ENORMOUS scallions, like over a foot long, 2 bunches of bok choy and a quart of the most delicious strawberries. I also got 2 X 4 begonia flats.
So, the inundation begins. I usually end up pickling most things, because there is so much each week and if I don’t pickle, things might go to waste. I use a wonderful recipe for Sweet and Hot pickles; I have adapted the recipe into a Lemon pickle and I go back and forth between the 2 recipes. Nothing is immune from getting pickled: cukes, zukes, summer squash, carrots, onions, broccoli, corn, you name it….
I brought this week’s bounty home and got to cleaning up the greens. IT’S SALAD SEASON!!!!!! Having an abundance of arugula led me to make an arugula pesto:
Arugula Pesto
Lots of Arugula
Some Basil
Handful of toasted pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
Healthy portion of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Juice of half a lemon
Tablespoon of honey
Lots of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
In a food processor, process the greens, and garlic, and pine-nuts. Drizzle in the extra-v olive oil.
Mix in the cheese, lemon juice and honey.
Season with S+P.
Now, I know what you are going to say. Lemon juice and honey, in pesto? Well, I found that the bite of the arugula was too sharp despite the basil, so I added the juice and honey to round it out. It was delicious.
I used it yesterday on some grilled panini I made (in my Belgian waffle maker). I only had whole wheat bread in the house, and to tell you honestly, I liked the flavor a lot.
Here is the Sammie:
Whole wheat bread brushed with Olive Oil
Layer of arugula pesto
Layer of cheese (either fresh mozzarella or provolone)
Layer of salame (either Genoese or Milanese)
Another Layer of cheese
Whole wheat bread brushed with Olive Oil
Press in waffle maker and then devour!!!!!!!! Who needs a panini press? The Belgian Waffle make works fine.

The pesto didn’t even really put a dent in the amount of arugula that I have. So, I made a salad with bulgar wheat:

Bulgar Salad with Arugula
Bulgar Wheat
Lots of Arugula, cut in chiffonade style (ribbons)
Diced tomatoes (seeded)
Handful of toasted pine nuts
Handful of Thompson raisins
Lots of crumbled Feta cheese
Mix together, and dress with a vinaigrette. I made a lemon vinaigrette:

Lemon Vinaigrette
6 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 TBS fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
1 tsp honey
pinch of ground mustard
pinch of salt
fresh ground pepper
Mix together until homogenous.

I also did some baking over the weekend.
I made a whole wheat nectarine upside down cake, which came out great. I used whole wheat pastry flour and added some ground flax. I love to watch my kids eat it – they have no idea how good it is for them.
Yesterday, I made a whole wheat blueberry bread, with dried blueberries. Again, I used whole wheat pastry flour and the ground flax. I left this morning for work and my daughter, Louise, 19 months old, was sitting in her little denim seat with a big slice of it in her hand, chomping away.

Tonight for dinner will be sirloin steak served with the arugula pesto, and a big, fat salad....

Thursday, June 22, 2006


I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, I’m a foodie. Love everything about it. From reading my million cooking mags each month to walking the aisles of the supermarket, to convincing myself that yes, I DO need another gadget, I’m a foodie.
Having said that, I had an interesting conversation yesterday with a fellow food-minded person.
“I have a confession” he said
“Oh yeah, what’s that” I said
“We had Taco Bell for dinner on Sunday night” he said
Interesting confession.
Made me start to think about my own food secret, the one that I hide, trying not to reveal to anyone……


At work, I use Coffee Mate flavored coffee creamers…
Whew, there, I said it. I’m revealing my most heinous of food crimes. And yes, I think that using Coffee Mate flavored coffee creamer is a food crime.
My reason for using it is because the coffee at work is really bad. I mean, MUD bad.
So, on those mornings when I can’t get my sorry ass to Starbucks and I have to succumb to the crap that is the coffee at work, I flavor it with some French Vanilla and Hazelnut to make it a bit more palette-able.
Wow, I can’t believe how much better I feel.

I recently strayed from the French Vanilla and Hazelnut to try Vanilla Caramel.
IT’S GROSS. Everything about it is gross. Plus it STINKS, I mean it Smells, BAD. No good.

There are actually a bunch of Coffee-Mate flavors, that if you ask me, sound not right, where coffee is concerned: Coconut Crème?, Vanilla-Chai Spice (isn’t that a tea??), Crème Brulee? What will they think of next?
(Don't answer, rhetorical question).

I also once tried one of their "Coffee-Mate Latte Creations", Vanilla, to be exact. I quickly realized that I really should not be using it. It was like a chemistry experiment, right before my eyes. You pour it in, stir, and a thin layer of foamy, froth starts to form.
No thanks.

So, I feel much better having confessed my coffee crime.
Please don’t hold it against me….

Spin Cycle 06/22/06

Since some of you have displayed interest in my Spinning playlists, I have decided to post the playlist on a weekly basis, each Thursday, after teaching it.....class today was good, the music really moved things along.
I love to watch the reaction of the students as each song starts. Today, I used the song King Without A Crown, by Matisyahu. It was the big hit today.....
I don't always do themes when I make the list, but sometimes it helps me to focus and drive down when picking songs. Today was a "then and now" theme; I didn't do Artist, Then and Now, but rather, Song, Then and Now....enjoy.

1. Reggae Got Soul - Toots and the Maytals
2. Tuesday - Trey Anastasio
3. That's the Way (I Like It) - K.C. and the Sunshine Band
4. To Know You is to Love You - Greyboy
5. Out of Sight - James Brown
6. Hips Don't Lie - Shakira
7. Got to Get You into my Life - Earth, Wind and Fire
8. Temperature - Sean Paul
9. Boogie on Reggae Woman - Stevie Wonder
10. Caught Up - Usher
11. The Rubberband Man - The Spinners
12. King Without A Crown - Matisyahu
13. Jive Talkin' - Bee Gees
14. Jerk it Out - The Ceasars

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Gomez in Paradise

Gomez at the Paradise, 06/20/06

We took in the Gomez show last night at the Paradise, Boston, Ma. I really love the room at the Paradise; recent renovations and the fact that there is no smoking allowed, have made it a great room to see a show. We stood stage left, a level off the floor, where I was able to stand on bench style seating, and have a great view of the stage.

Gomez played for about 2 hrs when it was all said and done. The set list was heavy on the newer songs from their album, How We Operate, and included songs from most of their other albums.
Honestly, I was a bit disappointed in the song selection, as they did not throw in any songs that I had not already heard them play (other than the brand new songs). I was expecting them to play at least one not before played “older” tunes. I was also disappointed that they did not play more songs off of Split the Difference, such as We don’t Know Where We’re Going, which highlights drummer Olly Peacock's driving drums.

I was NOT disappointed, however, in the way that Gomez played the songs that they chose to play. I think after every Gomez show, I come out of there saying “best I’ve seen them play” and I’ll say it again about last night. They played very tight and clean, despite some technical difficulties, and had some interesting jams; I thought they played with a maturity that I had not seen before. As usual, they switched up instruments, with everyone (short of Olly) going in between acoustic guitar and electric guitar and/or bass; both Ian and Tom took turns on the keys; Tom also played a melodica (a mouth piano) on a bunch of tunes.

The highlight of the night was an extended version of the title cut from their new album, How We Operate, which included an intense, loud, intricate jam to end the song. Other high points: A beautifully harmonized Sound of Sounds, a rocking Devil Will Ride to close the set and a hauntingly moving version of their new song Chasing Ghosts with Alcohol to open the encore, complete with a perfectly executed slide guitar.
If you have the chance to check out Gomez, please do. You will not be disappointed.

Gomez, Paradise Rock Club, Boston, Ma 06/20/06
1 set:
Bring It On
Shot Shot
All Too Much
Love is Better than a Warm Trombone
Nothing is Wrong
Ping One Down
Sound of Sounds
How We Operate
Ruff Stuff
Hamoa Beach
Free to Run
Fill my Cup
Devil Will Ride

Chasing Ghosts with Alcohol
Make No Sound
Detroit Swing 66
Whipping Picadilly

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The little things are important

My real job sucks. Having said that, my "fake" job, is great.
My fake job is teaching Spinning. I have been teaching since 1997, teaching from 1 class up to 4 classes a week. Right now, I'm down to teaching just once per week. I would love to teach more often, but there are just not enough hours in the day. I do Spin at home as well, 3 - 4 times per week. I do this at 5 am, because if I don't, then I don't get to do it.
It is so satisfying to teach to my students. Some have been coming to my class since '99 when I started teaching at this particular gym. They have watched me date my husband, get engaged, get married and have 2 kids. They are a dedicated bunch, schlepping out of bed to make the class, which is from 6 am to 7 am.
They are never short on complements and always make me feel like I've given them a good ride. It's funny, on the days where I feel I've taught the worst class, a few students will say, Great class or Great music etc, thus launching the theory that I sucked as a teacher that morning, out into the universe.
Last week I knew I had given a good class as the Front Desk Staff person said to me, What did you do to them??? They are all staggering out of the room!!!
It's good. Gives some meaning to my otherwise meaningless day where work is concerned.

This week's music was complements of my Brother-in-Law:
1) Sunspots - Bob Mould
2) Upside Down - Jack Johnson
3) Let's Play - The Subdudes
4) Where Do they Make Balloons? - They Might Be Giants
5) Friday I'm in Love - The Cure
6) Girl - Beck
7) Big World - moe.
8) Rocket Man - Elton John
9) Yellow - Coldplay
10) Starman - David Bowie
11) Soul Meets Body - Death Cab for Cutie
12) Above the Moon - The Grapes
13) Mr. Spaceman - The Byrds
14) Man on the Moon - REM

Rock on........

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Happy Flag Day

I woke up this morning thinking today was Arbor Day, when in reality, it is Flag Day....Go Figure. Anyways, in thinking that it was Arbor Day, I came prepared to give a quote from our President, Bo-Bo Bush.
So, here it is:
"Arbolist....look up the word. I don't know; maybe I made it up. Anyway, it's an arbo-tree-ist, somebody who knows about trees." President George W Bush as quoted in USA Today, August 21, 2001.
I keep this quote on my refrigerator to remind me (not that I need to be reminded), what an intelligent, well spoken man we have leading our nation.
On that note, Happy Flag Day.

Monday, June 05, 2006

In the Kitchen at Radius

For me, my kitchen is home. Actually, any kitchen is home to me, really.
I love to work in the kitchen, cooking, baking, planning, whatever.
I probably spend more time in my kitchen then in any other room of the house.

My love for the kitchen brought me to the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts to the Professional Chef’s Program (this was over a decade ago in 1995, after having been laid off from my job in Biotech/Pharmaceuticals). At the CSCA, I learned the ins and outs of cooking and baking, it was phenomenal. While I attended the program, I worked for a short time at the Black Bird Baking Company, in Brookline, Ma and unfortunately, it folded during my stay! I then moved on to a short stint as a cook at a restaurant called Lazy Bones in Marblehead, Ma. In my short stay in these kitchens, I caught on quickly to the fact that to make it in the biz, you gotta have staying power. At that time, I didn’t have it. I had a taste of what a day job could provide me, and after a while, I longed for it again. So that was it, I packed up my knife roll and went back to my career in the Pharmaceutical world, and have been there since. While my career in the professional kitchen was short lived, my career in my home kitchen was not. I continue to utilize the skills that I learned at the CSCA every day by cooking for friends and family (my best critics). Cooking and baking are my passions, my most favorite hobbies.

Recently, I had the opportunity to spend the day in the kitchen of Chef Michael Schlow’s restaurant, Radius (8 High St, Boston, MA). At a charity auction for the Faulkner-Sagoff Breast Center (Jamaica Plain, MA), my father won an auction to spend the day in the kitchen and return for dinner, for 2 people. After scheduling the day, and having to cancel a bunch of times, we finally came up with a date that worked. I didn’t think anything of it, but as the day drew close, I actually got a little nervous. I did not know what to expect. I did not know if we were going to just watch the chefs cook or if we were actually going to get our hands wet. While I did not know what to expect of the kitchen, having the culinary program under my belt,
I had high expectations of myself. If they were going to give me an assignment, I was going to do it and I was going to do it right.

My dad and I were to be there at 12 noon, in black pants and a white shirt. I actually chose to wear one of my chef’s coats that I bought when I was at the CSCA. We were greeted by one of the Sous Chefs named Leo. He showed us around the kitchen, and after some brief introductions and a visit to the bathroom, we were each given a work station and an assignment.

My father's first assignment was to pick the leaves off of fragrant lemon thyme and micro mint.
My first job was to peel a milk crate full of carrots, quarter them and juice them for a carrot reduction. The carrot reduction was going to be used later in some fashion with lobster, in a light springy soup.
I worked with a Garde Manger chef named Kevin.
He, like all the other chefs, was extremely nice.
We chatted about my brief cooking career, my kids and
how I made all their baby food, andfood science books.

Another chef, Megan, shared a similar story, having swapped a science career for the kitchen. For Megan, I helped clean a 5 lb box of morels. My father moved on to prepping red pearl onions and chopping escargot (!) and Muscat grapes (to be served with the Fois). I chopped some blanched snow peas on the bias into ½ inch pieces, then moved on the stuffing some of the larger morels I had cleaned earlier, with a mixture of butter, sorrel and escargot.
The executive chef, Patrick, came in at some point to start his day, and came right over to us. We had a great talk about cooking and local produce. If my memory serves me correctly, he has been in the kitchen at Radius for 4 years. We talked about the turnover rate, and paying your dues. Obviously for him, he paid his dues, and played his cards correctly.
Me and Patrick
The kitchen was hustling and bustling. I watched Kevin slice tuna for Sashimi, slice burdock root and make mushroom consomme. Another Garde Manger chef, named Sunny, worked with Kevin to go down the list of things that had to get done for service that evening. Megan prepared potato gnocchi, while another chef sautéed quarters of baby artichokes. All the while, Leo and some other staff were preparing the food for the family dinner which takes place between front of house and back of house each afternoon before the dinner service. My father and I stayed and worked until they broke for family dinner.
They asked us to stay for it, but we both agreed that we should not stay because we were returning for dinner a few hours later,with my mom, and husband, Rob.

Going into the day, I did not know what to expect, and as I said before, I was nervous. My father also did not know what to expect. As we worked side by side, taking it all in, we both agreed that it far surpassed anything we thought it was going to be. The professionalism of the staff blew us both away as well as the fact that everyone we encountered was off the scale nice. When I would complete an assignment, the chef would thank me for what I had done for him/her. I said, "Don’t thank me, thank you for letting me work in your kitchen today".
I never once felt out of place or in the way. I left feeling a bit melancholy. Where would I be today if I had decided to change careers totally, and stay in food instead of returning to corporate America? I probably would be a lot happier to tell you honestly. I’m not going to rule it out. Spending the day in the kitchen of Radius got me salivating, in more ways then one. I’m not saying its going to be immediate, but I’m going to look into making a change to get back to my cooking roots in some fashion.

We arrived back at Radius for a 7pm dinner reservation, which started out the bar. I had a Kaffir Lime Margarita that was out of this world. The addition of the Kaffir Limes gave the drink just the right edge to make it stand out. Upon sitting down at our table, we were poured gratis Champagne. I believe it was Louis Boisset, but I could be wrong. The auction was for 2 people, for the tasting menu, so Rob and I did the tasting menu, and my parents ordered a la carte. We started the dinner with not 1, but 2, Amuse Bouche, or gift from the chef, basically a small appetizer to wet your whistle, on the house. First off was a small piece of a poached shrimp on a bed of poached, brunoise of onion and cauliflower with a sprig of dill. A nice way to start. Second, out came none other than the morels I had stuffed that afternoon. They were breaded in panko and fried. Delicious.
The first course of our tasting menu was the tuna sashimi with ponzu sauce, kumquat, cucumber, scallions and avocado. It was divine. The kumquat really added that zing to complement the smooth texture of the tuna. The wine that was served with the sashimi was a white wine, Menetou Salon, Domaine de Chatenoy. It was golden yellow with tons of body, tasing a bit green but with hints of apricot.

The second course was a Hawaiian fish, called Hapu'upu'pu, a type of grouper. I had talked to Patrick about it earlier. He had gone into Radius earlier that morning, at 8 am, to receive the fish, which was caught, cleaned and shipped only 1 day earlier. It was seared off and served with red pepper and chorizo and small pearls of potato; the attention to detail blew me away, with each little potato pearl. The wine poured with this 2nd dish, was a 2001 Truchard Estate Roussane from Carneros. It too, like the previous wine, was heavy in body and paired up well against the aggressive flavor of the chorizo.

The third and final dish was a lamb tenderloin (3 medallions) with a lamb reduction, artichokes, and cepes, and was topped with a sprinkle of that lemon thyme my dad had picked earlier, as well as some white truffle shavings. Now, I normally do not eat lamb. In fact, I limit my intake of red meat overall, and eat it infrequently. Having said that, this lamb was outstanding. It was soft in texture with a bold taste enhanced by the lamb reduction. The wine served with this course was my favorite of the night, a Garnacha from north central Spain, Tres Picos Barsao. It was velvety with a buttery finish.

Just when you couldn't eat another bite, out came a palatte cleanser of apricot mint sorbet. Then the desserts - a different one for each person. My dessert was a goat cheese and cream cheese cheesecake with a buckwheat tuille and huckleberry ice cream. Rob was served a trio of sorbets including Vietamese coffee and some type of berry. My dad was served what was called the "Cinema Paradiso" and was a small glass of an orange slurpee, a popcorn box filled with a molasses candy corn complete with peanuts and a cake, and for the life of me, I can't remember what it was. My mom was served a single serving of a chocolate banana milkshake and a chocolate coconut cake with roasted cashews. All of this decadence was served with, you got it, another Champagne! This time, a demi-sec (= nice and sweet). I unfortunately did not jot down the winery. After dessert, with coffee, we were served some small, single bite cookies (as if dessert was not enough), a shortbread topped with cream and a blueberry, small choux balls and some coconut-apricot balls with flecks of chocolate.

The dinner was pure bliss. Pure class the entire time, from the moment we walked in to the moment we left. At the end of the meal, they brought me a copy of Schlow's cookbook, It's About Time, and told us the entire meal was taken care of. We fully expected to pay for my parents meals, and they would not hear of it. It really was the icing on the cake.
Overall, my experience of spending the day in the kitchen and returning to eat at Radius was moving and has made me start to rethink some things in my life. The only thing that would have made it better is if Schlow himself spent some time with us. I highly recommend the restaurant to all. Let them take you on a journey, order one of the tasting menus they offer. You will not be disappointed.