Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cheesecake Factory Avocado Egg Rolls

If you haven't tried these yet put the mouse down and run. Seriously. This copycat recipe is spot on. Don't even bother making the Tamarind Cashew Dipping Sauce yourself, buy the jar at Cheesecake Factory. It's made on the premises and it completes these egg rolls.

1 large avocado, peeled, pitted, & diced
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped
1 tablespoon minced red onion
1/2 teaspoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 pinch salt
3 egg roll wraps
1 egg, beaten

Gently stir together avocado, tomatoes, onion, 1/2 teaspoon cilantro, and salt. Distribute filling evenly onto center of each egg roll wrapper. Position a wrapper so that a corner is pointing toward you; fold the bottom corner up, 1/4 of the way over the filling. Brush remaining corners and edges of the wrapper with egg, roll up from side to side, fold top corner over all and press to seal. Repeat with remaining wrappers. Continue by deep-frying the egg rolls in 375 degree oil for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown. Drain on brown paper bags. Slice egg rolls diagonally across middle and serve with the Tamarind Cashew dipping sauce.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine petit fours

Earlier this week I stopped into my favorite bakery in the valley . . . they make a petit four "we" are crazy about (apricot and almond) and I thought it'd be fun to place a Valentine custom order. I was greeted by a 16-year-old boy and told him what I wanted. "I would like to order your white petit fours with "I love you" spelled out on the top. He looked confused and said, "Let me ask." When he came back he said, "That's too much writing on each one of those little cakes." That's when I explained I wanted each petit four to have a single letter on it. One petit four has "I" on it, another one has "L", next one "O" . . . and I spelled it out. That's when he said, "How many would you like?"

And THAT is when it dawned on me. I should just offer him a job.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

more "things nobody really cares about..."

Birthday morning wishes from some terrific young women. Double click so you can see "I love your blog." Excuse me while I go edit past posts...

No segue...

I ask you . . . does someone really want a Valentine gift card from Ideal Image? What is your valentine trying to tell you?

If you want an 'off the beaten path' good movie to watch for Valentine's Day rent Truly Madly Deeply or Crossing Delancey.

I think about this every February. Valentine's Day? Valentines' Day? I guess where the apostrophe goes depends upon the situation.

Paella at Spago, or gratuitous food photos...

No segue...

I almost always have a Yankee Candle. They remind me of home, especially that MacIntosh Apple candle.

Rimmel eye make up remover is the best. It's about $6 and it'd take off permanent marker if you happened to have that all over your face (and sometimes I do.) Walgreens carries it, so does Ulta. If you doubt, let me just say . . . Bridget agrees.

No segue...

I do believe Grey's Anatomy has jumped the shark. Why am I still watching?

No segue...

I host a 'kidnap the new beehive' breakfast, an initiation of sorts where we tell the new young woman she's about to participate in her first ever service project. Instead we bring her to my house where we yell surprise, eat yummy brunch foods and play "getting to know you" games. We laugh together and learn some FUN things about one another, sometimes surprising things. I've additionally learned 'love of bacon' is just about universal as well as love of those cinnamon glazed Einstein bagels with honey almond cream cheese. I'm suddenly wondering if those girls are going to think every invitation to a service project is a brunch. I should probably clarify, although I think "disappointed Beehive" may be the ultimate oxymoron. They are awesome.

Check back tomorrow for a Valentine bakery story, including insight into hiring good employees in Las Vegas. After that I do believe my blog will experience a makeover . . . back to its roots, if you will. Favorite recipes and all. I've lost the passion.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

70's, slave auctions, student union buildings and streaking

Today I was transported back in time while listening to the "classic rock" station. I love the music of the 1970's. Love it...

Both my high school and college years were in the 70's and yet, completely different experiences.

High school was a very small, private, all girls, Catholic school. The "academy" was in another town in Massachusetts up a long and winding driveway past beautiful landscaping and tennis courts. We were picked up each morning by Roy the busdriver, a permanent fixture of my entire high school career. Like clockwork Roy pulled up to the front of the house at 7:02 a.m. and made the trek from Lowell to Tyngsboro, only to drop us off at Notre Dame Academy. The nuns took up residence on the third floor of the building. So, um, YES, it was a convent. (I really went to school in a convent.) Some of those Notre Dame nuns were quite young, often referred to as "novices", and others quite, um, elderly. One sister even made her way through the "parlors" and various offices in an electric wheelchair. In the early 70's that was a little bit of a novelty. Only Ironside had that wheelchair, and if you got that reference, you are old. Sorry.


Bottom line, I was the recipient of a terrific education there. Outstanding. Perhaps a little unprepared for the real world because, after all, if a boy drove up that driveway the police were summoned and they were escorted off the private property. No joke.

Fast forward. University of Massachusetts. College campus, state school, lot of freedom. My first introduction to the "real world" was the annual "day before Thanksgiving" slave auction. To think about how politically incorrect this seems in 2009 is a little shocking . . . but I remember the day without confusion. There was a lot of beer and I saw a student eat a crushed up light bulb (don't those things go hand-in-hand?). Who forgets that? (Yes, it was a boy.) And, yes, maybe there are other reasons I can't forget the day . . . the fact that I saw my first live streaker on the roof of the Student Union Building . . .and that roof was glass . . . that might have something to do with it.

Unprepared. Notre Dame Academy did not prepare me for that.

But I can still conjugate a verb in Latin.

You tell me what's more important.

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