Posts from March 2014

Whiff of 60's Psychedelia and Fashion in Thomas Haas Easter Eggs Collection 2014

There's a whiff of 60's Psychedelia and Fashion (think Sandy Shaw) in chocolier Thomas Haas (Vancouver) Easter Eggs (and more) collection for 2014.

At least with dots, flowers and waves of color that would not be out of place in era's light shows, of 3 eggs below.


They are offered as "Surprise Easter Eggs — The delicate, ornate shell of each of these delicious, handcrafted eggs hides a secret — an assortment of chocolate surprises to be discovered within. Small (two surprises) $19 / Medium (six surprises) $29 / Large (10 to 12 surprises) $39 (pictured above, middle). "

Can Use Cans Lunch, Vetra's 3 Bean Salad from B.T.C Old Fashioned Grocery Cookbook

We served you breakfast recipe for meat eaters with Italian sausage and mushroom breakfast casserole from The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook, Recipes and Stories from a Southern Revival (Clarkson Potter, March 18, 2014) by Alexe Van Beuren and Dixie Grimes of The B.T.C Old Fashioned Grocery Store in Water Valley (Mississippi).

How about a Bag your Lunch recipe today?

Can use cans...

Vetra’s three-bean salad

Serves 6

2 (14.5-ounce) cans green beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can wax beans, rinsed and drained
1 (12-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves


In a large bowl, combine all of the beans, the onion, bell pepper, vinegar, sugar, oil, and cloves. Stir well and refrigerate for 24 hours to allow the flavors to develop.

Serve at room temperature. The salad will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 days.

(* Reprinted from The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook. Copyright © 2014 by Alexe van Beuren. Photographs copyright © 2014 by Ed Anderson. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House LLC.) 

Lamb & Beef Stuffed Artichokes with Pine Nuts from Olives, Lemons and Za'atar

I eat my artichokes cool with homemade vinaigrette for dipping or warm with melted butter finished with dash of red vinegar. 

With her recent cookbook Olives, Lemons & Za'atar (Kyle Books, February 2014), Rawia Bishara of Tanoreen restaurant opens a new artichoke path, for me at least, and offers to all of us a step by step 'how to clean fresh artichokes'.

Lamb & Beef Stuffed Artichokes with Pine Nuts


Nobody in Nazareth prepared artichokes this way; my mother brought the idea back from a long weekend away in a nearby town. When I arrived in the States, I found that my Syrian friends had long been making stuffed artichokes with spiced meat and pine nuts—and I realized just how much my mother’s cooking was influenced by neighboring nations. In Galilee, artichoke season was roughly March through May. Of course, these days every vegetable is available almost all year long, but there is something poetic about eating certain foods for a short time each year. My father would buy a box of fresh artichokes for my mother, who would spend the afternoon peeling and cleaning the large, spiky vegetables in order to stuff them. I loved to help her. Using frozen artichokes is much faster—and a perfectly acceptable way to make this dish. The heart will have a slightly different texture but it is still delicious! Serve with Rice and Vermicelli Pilaf, page 182.


8 (8-ounce) fresh artichokes or 16 to 24 frozen, depending on the size (size 8 is the largest, 24 is the smallest)
1 cup corn oil
41/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch cardamom (optional)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds ground lamb from the leg or ground beef
1/2 to 1 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 to 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 large lemons, halved
1 teaspoon sea salt
6 cups Seasoned Chicken Stock (page 90) or low-sodium chicken stock
Rice and Vermicelli Pilaf (page 182)
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Stuffed artichokes (1)

Clean the fresh artichokes, if using (see opposite page). Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Heat the corn oil in a large skillet over high until hot. Slide the artichokes into the pan and saute on the stem side for 3 minutes. Using tongs, turn the artichokes over and fry on the open side for 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined tray, open end down, to drain. Arrange the artichokes, stem end down, in a large baking dish and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the allspice, pepper, nutmeg and cardamom, if using. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat and half of the spice mixture, stirring to combine, and saute for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the meat loses its pink color. Toss in the pine nuts and almonds, the juice of 1 lemon and the salt. Stir to thoroughly combine and turn o% the heat.

Divide the meat mixture among the artichokes, filling them to almost overflowing and tucking in between the leaves. Reserve any remaining meat mixture.

Add the juice of the remaining lemon and the stock to the reserved spice mixture. Drizzle the seasoned broth over the artichokes and pour the rest into the baking pan.

Distribute the reserved meat mixture in the broth in the pan. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 1 hour if using fresh artichokes, 20 minutes if using frozen.

Remove the foil from the pan, reduce the heat to 300°F and bake for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until the broth has thickened. Arrange the artichokes on individual plates with the rice and vermicelli pilaf. Garnish with the parsley and serve.


1. Working with one artichoke at a time, hold it by the stem. Using kitchen shears, snip off the top quarter inch or so of each leaf on the artichoke (this will rid it of the barbs).

2. Lay the artichoke on its side and, using a sharp knife, slice off the top inch or so of the artichoke to reveal the choke.

3. Slice off the stem at the base of the artichoke, taking care to keep it level so that it will sit up straight in the pan.

4. Using a melon baller, dig out the center, including the feathery fronds, so that the center is clean, empty and ready to be stuffed; squeeze lemon juice all over the artichoke, inside and out, to
prevent it from browning. Repeat with the remaining artichokes.

(* Recipe reproduced from 'Olives, Lemons & Za'atar' by Rawia Bishara -Kyle Books, February 2014- Photography by Peter Cassidy, all rights reserved...)

Toast Spring with Blue Hawaiian Cocktail and Pizza with Edible Flowers

After this harsh winter time for a little sunshine.

Before serving you recipes from books published this Spring 2014, I went back to my recipe archive.

Toast Spring with Blue Hawaiian Cocktail Recipe from The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Sixties Cookbook (Running Press, April 2012) by Rick Rodgers and Heather Maclean.

Mai Tais

Will it pair with Pizza with Edible Flowers from Pizza ( Rizzoli USA, October 2013) by Gabriele Bonci?


Happy Spring 2014!

Ride Ai Weiwei Skateboard, Help build Skateboard Park in Rural India, Bidding Opens March 20

Exactly a month ago i wrote Bid, Art on Skateboards from Joi Ito to 1st Female Indian Skateboarder Atita Benefit We School India Skatepark...

Well bidding opens tomorrow March 20, 2014 and closes on March 26.

Since my original piece, Ai Weiwei joined list of those offering their Artboard-Skateboard design.

"The board Ai Weiwei provided is an image from his work titled, He Xie, or River Crabs. The quote, “The world is not changing if you don’t shoulder the burden of responsibility,” is from his book, Weiwei-isms."

Here's his design


As Ulrike Reinhard, one of the main forces behind project, notes there is more than riding a skateboard behind this initiative.

"The Learning Experience
A different way to school ……….

Take a group of rural Indian children between the ages of 8 and 14 years old, who have no formal schooling, and present them with a project-based learning scenario.
You might expect to get at the very least blank faces, and at worst some not very polite language.
But not when the project is to build your very own skateboard!
From the get go you have their attention. And then, when you go on to explain that you have no resources to give them, and they have to go and find everything they need themselves, an excited discussion ensues.

But, first things first…

What exactly is a skateboard?

To what uses could it be put apart from skating?

How big/small could it be to still work?

How heavy does it need to be to stop it tipping constantly?

How big do the wheels needs to be and what happens if you put more or less than four wheels on?

By now the group is totally engaged and coming up with many more questions.

As a group they discuss and generate ways to solve the problems, and chalkstone on a wall serves for a design space.

Some of the suggestions are:

Recycling for materials
Extra wheels
Large wheels
Dog powered
Two skateboards strapped together to provide a wide carrying platform
And many more are discussed.

After the discussion, there is the making, engaging with maths, hand-working, crafting and constructing. Before, finally, the finishing artwork, personal logo and then the testing.
The group of young people have worked their way through a project-based learning that any teacher would be happy to put their name to.

Sure, they had the guidance of a teacher, but she kept her input to a minimum, encouraging the young people to be constantly challenging themselves for answers.
The project might last anything from a week, if the group turn-up every day, to a month or more if they are only meeting together a couple of times a week.
The learning they have made is a secure lifelong learning across a range of subjects, with measurable outcomes and an end goal that is functional and fun.

Children in very different environments and circumstances require learning that is relevant to them and their lives. Often this is not building based, white western European and aimed at university entrance, but local, community based and aimed at improving their, and their communities’ lives."

To get your chance to help the project and hopefully be the proud recipient of one of these unique pieces, all you need is a minimum of 300 Euros ($ 411 at today's rate) and a little chance.

Rules of the Bid

ARTBOARD / SKATEBOARD IS AN INITIATIVE OF WE_SCHOOL, INDIA. Over the last year we’ve done various skateboard workshops – now we decided to build a skatepark in rural India. To raise funds for the skatepark we’ve asked designers, photographer and artists to “design” a skateboard. This site is set up to auction the artboards.

100% of the auction proceeds will go into the project!

The auction will be live from March 20 until March 26, 2014. During this time the YOUR BID button will be activated.

The minimum bid for each ARTBOARD / SKATEBOARD is 300 €.



Get your bids going and spread the word.

(* Images shared with permission, all rights reserved)

Rooftop Water Tower As Seen from Ralph Pucci Showroom, New York Skyline

Almost 2 years ago (April 19, 2012) while attending book launch party for Made in New York (Rizzoli USA) at Ralph Pucci Showroom NYC, I caught a glimpse of water tower on a roof nearby and took this one and only photo.

All my pics 1713

Don't ask me how many gallons this water tower holds.

(* Location: between 18th and 17th Street, near 6th Avenue, Flatiron District, NY)

Grain-Free Creamy Almond Butter and Honey Apple Dip, Almonds Every Which Way

Concerned about damage to soil that cattle grazing can bring switch from cows to almonds.

In Almonds Every Which Way, More than 150 Healthy-Delicious Almond Milk, Almond Flour and Almond Butter Recipes ( Da Capo Lifelong Books, March 2014), Cheeky Kitchen Brooke McLay shows us ways to cut down on wheat and dairy products.

Here's a first dip into the book, a gluten free one

Creamy Almond Butter and Honey Apple Dip

(Gluten-free, grain-free, vegetarian)

Quick and easy to toss together for snacking, almond butter and honey mixed with yogurt make a great dip for apples, strawberries, or slices of bananas and kiwi. Little cubes of banana bread also pair well with this yummy dip.

3 tablespoons creamy almond butter
4 ounces cream cheese
¼ cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
¼ teaspoon apple pie spice
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into ½-inch slices.

Apple Dip

1. Whip the almond butter, cream cheese, yogurt, and honey together in a medium bowl and chill for 1 hour to let the flavors meld.
2. Sprinkle with the apple pie spice before serving. Serve with the apple slices for dipping.

Makes 8 servings

Per serving
(1/8 recipe)
Calories: 121
Calories from Fat: 72
Total Fat: 8.0g, 12%
Saturated Fat: 3.3g, 17%
Total Carb: 12.2g, 4%
Dietary Fiber: 1.9g, 7%
Sugars: 9.4g
Protein: 2.4g
Cholesterol: 16mg, 5%
Sodium: 63mg, 3%

Grain-free, vegetarian dip for Green Day # 267

(* Recipe from Almonds Every Which Way by Brooke McLay. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2014, Photo credit: Brooke McLay, Franklin Bennett, and Melanie North)

Spotted Dick-Spotted Dog by Darina or Barmbrack by Rachel, Bake Away for St. Patrick's Day

Choose between mother and daughter's recipes for St. Patrick's Day or bake them both.

Mother's offering would be Spotted Dick-Spotted Dog recipe by Darina Allen from Forgotten Skills of Cooking (Kyle Books, 2012) pictured below.


While daughter's is Barmbrack, Speckled Loaf (pictured below) from Rachel's Irish Family Food (Harper Collins, February 2013) by Rachel Allen.


Bake away for St. Patrick's Day!