Sunday, April 29, 2007

English Pea Bread Sticks

What I created here is a general twist on the basic Pate Choux recipie. I've always felt the impulse to use a liquid other that water/milk in the recipie. Reduced apple cider, and orange juice both work well, as does English Pea juice.

3 cups English Pea juice
3 cups AP flour
8 oz butter
10 eggs
1 cup Parmasean
10 dashes Tabasco
Salt and Pepper

For the English Pea juice add just enough water to a blender full of raw english peas for them to blend, then strain through a chinois.

For the Pate Choux brown the butter, then cover with the pea juice, as soon as it comes to a boil dump in the flour and stir untill a tight ball forms. It's easiest to transfer this mixture to a Kitchen Aid, but in any case add the cheese and seasonings while the mixture is still hot, then incorperate the eggs one at a time.

This mixture is quite versitile, using a piping bag it's easy to make sticks as pictured above, or profiteroles, or an eclair shape. This mix can also be dropped into boiling water to make a dumpling. To make sticks just pipe them out, about 4 inches makes for a stable end product. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Weekly Specials

Soup: Classic Lobster Bisque with Fresh chopped Maine Lobster

App: Hand picked Peeky-toe Crab Fresh from Maine, with a Meyer Lemon-Jicama relish, Spicy Saffron Pancakes, Pineapple-Basil Emulsion, Fleur de Sel, and Chef's Garden Micro Citrus Herbs

Entree: First of the Year Wild Caught King Salmon, pan seared, with English Pea-Potato Pancakes, Asparagus, White Grape Sweet and Sour Sauce

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Proscutto Broth

Proscutto is rather expensive, especially when you purchase a whole leg and slice it down. There is a rather difficult pound of prosutto to slice, at the top, but it costs us the same as the rest, so we have to find a use. The best use I've come up with is to make a proscutto broth. It's best to grind the proscutto, but dicing it up does the same job over time. Throw in some mire-poix, cover with chicken stock, and in an hour or so.....liquid proscutto. pictured here as part of a daily foie gras presentation.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


If you have never examined the lettuce that make up your salad, then you are missing out. Of course we all know iceberg, romain, and that everchanging spring/mesculan mix. I was able to pick specific lettuce varieties for a special salad this past week. The Chef's Garden has an eye poping quantity of lettuces and greens in a variety of sizes making it very easy to come up with something unique. This unique blend of greens was dressed in a very simple, sweetened, red wine vinagraitte, with pickled Chef's Garden baby carrots, and Coulrouge soft ripened cows milk cheese from Moucol artisianal creamery in Colorado.

Cryatal Verde Lettuce has a very succulant leaf that holds an amazing amount of moisture for it's size. It's flavor is very mild, and green. Due to this extream succulance this lettuce seems to have a shorter shelf life than most other.

Red Komatsuna lettuce is a wonderful bi-colored leaf lettuce that has a sweet flavor with hardy leaves. The eye appeal of deep purplish red, and bright green all in one leaf is a great asset to this mildly flavored lettuce.

This Ruffled Red Mustard brought a whole lot to the salad. It's branching leaves added alot of volume to the salad, and the tangy flavor was a plesant contrast with the milder greens. This Lettuce showed the best shelf life as we used it as a garnish 4 days after it arrived

Sweet Dandelion Greens are a far streach from the bitingly bitter mature dandelion greens most of us think of. At this stage of their growth the leaves are plesantly tender all the way down the stalk. Out of the four this was my overall favorite.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Smoked Tomato BBQ

32 oz OJ
8 oz Sirachi
8 oz Molasses
8 oz strong coffee
2oz red wine vin.
4 tblsp roast garlic
1 perf pan worth of Smoked tomatoes (8 minutes) about 20 roma tomato
2 red onions
2tblsp sugar

Caramelize onions with sugar, combine rest of ingredient, cook for 10 minutes. Vita-prep, no need to strain.

Vita-prep is an industrial kitchen blender, Hamilton Beach should work as well
This sauce is rather spicy, if you like things milder adjust the sirachi, but be careful because the less heat means more smokiness.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

2,500 Miles Worth of Diesel Fuel, Fair Trade, Wal-Mart, and How to Act at the Market

I recently read a very interesting article, Local is the New Organic, by Brita Belli. There are some very interesting points brought up, many of them I’ve considered in the past, some are relatively new ideas, and some are hopelessly romantic. In the end though, I’m only 3 weeks away from going to my first farmers market of the year.

In her article Belli claims that a parcel of food is likely to travel up to 2,500 miles before it is sold. Not only does this put an unnecessary pressure on the environment in the wake of refrigerated diesel trucks rolling rampant on our highways, but you have to consider the price the farmer is paid if his product is bought at as low a price as possible to enable this great expenditure of transportation cost, all to meet the same price point of a local product with low travel expenses. How is it possible that a Fiji Apple from New Zealand costs the same as a Cortland Apple from Ashtabula, Ohio. What is the benefit of importing apples, or any specific fruit or vegetable when it can be produced, processed, and sold locally. Living in Ohio, we can’t sustain a long growing season, but I don’t understand why in September I can go to the grocery store and purchase tomatoes from Florida. Why are they even available, and how is it that they are cheaper than what I pay when I’m putting cash money in the hands of the people who actually grow them. When I bought my last pound of ‘fair trade’ coffee beans I thought this exact situation is what that organization was lobbying against.

"That organic label told consumers their food was safer, fresher and more likely to have come from a small, reliable farm than a mega-farm-factory. Then, last year, Wal-Mart started selling organic products. Suddenly, organic didn’t seem so special" This is the opening statement of Belli in her article, and I think it is a short and concise summery of this dismal situation. Basically factory farming and corporate giants are able to manipulate the government and it’s regulations in a way that makes the priority of wholesome individuals null and void. I think I’m at liberty to say that when Chez Panise opened, their definition of ‘organic’ is far from what we understand it as today. In the same way the word, "local" will be twisted and jaded in the future. In the food industry words like, ‘fresh’, ‘frozen’, ‘wild’, and ‘pre-washed’ all have different meanings than they do to the regular public. It’s only a matter of time before Wal-Mart offers local produce, produced where, who knows. The only hope is that they keep it separated into their stores and don’t pull their semi-truck up at my local farmers market.

"The story of your food" should be the title of a pamphlet that is handed out at every suburban farmers market nation wide. Unlike the grocery store where most fruit and vegetables are washed, waxed, and sealed in packaging, the farmers market presents some real life dangers that mass producers have overcome.

First, fruit and vegetables grow in dirt. Dirt is dirty. Wild animals, birds, and bugs all defecate in the dirt where fruits and vegetables are grown. So wash your fruit and vegetables.

Second, be polite to the farmers, and the people helping them at the farmers market. So many times I’ve been bullied or interrupted by some old lady who wants to spend 15 cents on half a bunch of parsley, or a loud mouth tempting the farmer with a, "it better be the best corn I’ve ever had" kind of irrational rant. Why can’t people just act civil, save the yelling and the pushing for Wal-Mart, November 16th.

Third, and most challenging, know your produce. While it is fun to interact with the farmers, and other market goers, know some background. Know what is in season, that is how you know what is best to buy, it should be obvious once your there. Know which farmer specializes in what. Don’t buy garlic from the corn/apple farmer, buy it from the garlic farmer, he is there, just look around. Keep and eye out for your special situation. Basically if you have an allergy, or new born babies, you should be careful at the market. Know what you need to know about your situation with regards to fresh produce. For instance there are some beans that are toxic to young children when eaten raw, this is the customers responsibility to know. Unless each and every market going customer enriches their lives with these guidlines, sooner or later; Good-by farmers, good-by farmers market, good-by ability to make educated choices about the food we eat and where is comes from.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Weekly Specials

Soup: White asparagus bisque, truffled potato and pea croquette

App: Seared Sea Scallop, bacon wrapped white asparagus, foie gras moussse, candied citrus zest

Salad: Chef's Garden Cutting Edge greens salad, red wine vinagraitte, Chef's Garden baby carrots, coularouge cheese

Entree: Line caught Swordfish, coconut-lime black rice, lobster broth, citrus marinated boc choy

Dessert: Lychee tart, blackberry relish, lemon-white chocolate crisps

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Nam Prik

I've never claimed to have a sly hand when it comes to Asian cookery. When I do feel an itch to whip of something exotic I usually find a reliable recipie, and stick with what comes from common sense. Unfortunatly for me this past friday I forgot that little piece of paper with the Nam Prik recipie. On the upside, what I did produce was a very tasty condiment, and after finding the original recipie, well, my memory wasn't all that accurate. Let me share with you my bastardized Nam Prik recipie.
6 Jalapeno, charred, skin and seeds removed
1 each red and yellow bell peppers
1 cup worth of shallots
1 bunch cilantro
3 limes zest
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup Fish Sauce
1/4 cup roasted garlic oil
I rough chopped everything and pulsed it in the food processor leaving it just a bit chunky.
As you can see in the photo this sauce accompanied a raw vegetable summer roll.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Cheese Plate

It is almost alway my pleasure to indulge wanting customer with a amusing assortment of cheeses upon their request. I personally am very fond of artisianal crafted cheeses. The unfortunate fact is that these cheeses specificly have a relativly short shelf life. I guess this is what makes them so special. Here is a plate that includes from left to right, Soft ripened Lake Erie Creamery Aged Goat Milk Cheese with white grape gelee, 6 year old Carr Valley Chedder with candy cashew, Cabrales Spanish Blue with roasted bell peppers, 6 month old Manchego with aged Balsamic, Honey glazed Lake Erie Creamery Goats Milk Chevre, and finally a Barrel aged Feta from Cyprus topped with a sundried tomato relish.
I was lucky enough to snap off a few interesting shots of this cheese plate, for this reason I thought I would share it.

Weekly Specials

Soup: Eggdrop Soup, Marinated-Chilled Clams

App: PEI Mussels in Shitake-curry broth, Japanese Eggplant, baby boc choy

Salad: Marinated grilled vegetable salad, grilled Hallomi, baby greens, tuffled-soy vinaigrette

Entree: Sauteed Thai Snapper, Coconut flavored Black Rice, Raw Vegetable Summer Roll, Nam Prik dipping sauce

Monday, April 09, 2007

Mushroom-Goat Cheese Crustilliant

1 sheet prepared Puff Pastry

3 cups mushrooms sauteed with diced onion and garlic, portabella, button....
4 ounces Fresh, soft Goat Cheese
1 egg yolk

Sautee mushrooms till very dry. Mushroom mixture should be a fine chop, use the food processor, or chop by hand and chill. Mix chilled mushrooms with goats cheese and egg. Spread this mixture over the puff pastry, the mixture should be evenly distributed, but not necessarily a complete layer. Roll the pastry up so it's as long as possible. Try to roll as tight as possible without sqeezing the filling out. Put this log in the freezer for about 15 minutes. When the log is chilled solid, slice into 1/4 inch rounds, place on a silpat, parhment paper, or non-sick cookie sheet. If your non-stick device is reliable, press the rounds, smashing them flat, if you non-stick device is questionable, press them between the palms of your hands then lay them on your quesitonable device. Bake at 350, check after 8 minutes, if one side browns much faster than the other it is necessary to flip them over and cook another 3-4 minutes.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Small Plates Fail, conclusion

While the 1980's and 90's brought a vast array of culinary trends that both came and went within a short time, there are some basic ideas that stuck for all future culinarians. Healthy and/or organic, and now sustainable food has a definite niche. Ethnic cuisines are boundless and anyone has licence to interpret, and mix different cuisines even in most the horrible and dishonorable ways. The number of courses in a meal is a direct correlation to the quality of a meal, and the most realistic way to accomplish this is to make things very small while applying the optical allusion that things stacked high look bigger than they really are.

The Spanish culture has an interesting, but not isolated idea that eating small plates of food while drinking and socializing is a good thing. By the late 90's this idea collided with the crashing popularity of Haute Cuisines 25 course tasting menu and with in a few short years we have the most popular trend in American dinning, tapa. Follow this slippery slope, and suddenly, any Filipino, Korean, and Creole dribble or roll-up is a tapa. Unless it’s a meze (Turkish) or cichetti (as in Venice). With the absolute rage of Asian fusion in the air, many American restaurants who didn’t want to get cornered into roasted red pepper and olive tapa, renamed the whole concept as, "Small Plates" and that brings us up to 2007.

There are many question that need to be addressed at this point. More directly there are questions about how this idea of small plate, that we are going to define soon, will interact with the Cleveland working mans idea of meat and potatoes as a solid meal, something no one can deny. Who’s to profit most when you look at the economics of the small plates phenomenon? Finally, how long can it possibly last.

What is a ‘small plate’? There are many components to this question, such has the absolute size of the dish, and the food set upon it? The composition of the dish, is protein necessary, how about a sauce? Is the dish intended to be shared? How many plates would constitute a meal? How much does a plate cost? Then how much is this meal?

I’ve done some research and I’ve not found definite answers to these questions. I’ve reviewed a few dozen menus, mostly identical, and I’ve come up with the following conclusions based on this research and my experiences this past month dining out. A small plate is anything you purchase before dessert that is intended to be part of a multi course meal, including bread, butter, olives, chips or dip. The composition of small plates just like on a traditional menu can be divided up by common sense even when the words that describe them are not spaced accordingly. There are ‘salad’ small plates, ‘appetizer’ small plates for instance a plate of olives, and there are ‘main course’ small plates that contain a protein, starch, vegetable and a sauce. By no means are small plates miniature main courses, while the protein portion is usually a direct correlation, the rest of the dish is drastically reduced. This is to say a main course might contain 8 ounces of protein and 10 oz of starch and vegetables. A corresponding small plate would most likely have a half portion of protein, 4 ounces, accompanied by only 2 ounces of vegetable and starch. This seems to be a perceived value issue, since it is economially more efficient for the restaurant to load a plate with vegetables and starch. As for the overall size of the small plate I think that 3-4 ounces of protein is a good estimate. I’ve read that small plates are not at all intended to be shared, and should constitute only a few bites. The pricing of small plates is this, 5 courses at Muse, with 4 ounce wine pairing, $95, 65 without wine, 5 courses at Light Bistro cost $55, small plates at the Flying Fig are $9 each. At Light Bistro the range of prices went from $2 for a plate of olives, up to $12 for Shortribs, and at Muse the all small plate menu topped out with a $17 Lamb chop, and just to throw it in, Lolita happy hour pricing is $5 for half portions of some of there popular dishes, finally we can compare this to the Baricelli Inn grand tasting of 7 courses during the early 00's included a foie gras course, cheese course, intermetzo, fish, meat and dessert course which all cost around $110.

Small plates in Cleveland is challenging most pointingly due to the fact that most people are more than happy eating the same meat and potato dish they had last time, save nothing has changed with it, and finishing this off with a huge slice of cheesecake, and it has got to be a slice, not a miniature, and if you call it ‘NY style’ this is even better. There are many honest people out there making a secure living and raising their children based on restaurants with this exact plan, and god bless them. Then there are others who want diversity, and changes, and I applaud there efforts, except when they rip me off ‘as a customer’ with this small plates scam. I spent the past 10 minutes clicking away to find the website of some of my favorite restaurants, just to compare pricing. I think I found a nice group of restaurants, Lola, the biggest restaurant opening in the Midwest this past year, Blackbird in Chicago, Three Birds in Lakewood, and Fahrenheit. I picked 5 courses, 2 apps, a soup/salad, entree, and dessert, and the prices rang up in dollars as, 72, 70, 65, and 53 respectively.

At this point the best deal is Muse 5 courses with wine pairing, after that the small plates are a wash. Consider it cost less to have 5 full size courses at Fahrenheit as it does to have 5 ill prepared small plates at Light Bistro. If you concede that small plates are approximable half the size of traditional portions, then to get the same amount of food at Muse as you would at Lola it would cost you $58 more!?!?!?!? So why is the customer paying the restaurant more money for smaller portions!?

From what I’ve seen ‘small plate’ are not in fact small plates. The menu is written in one continuous column, the food per plate is halved, and the price is only reduced by 1/3rd. Customers are encouraged to graze on 3 or more courses, which is a realistic goal for any traditional menu styled restaurant. Unfortunately for the customer, 3 small plates is not really a full meal. For instance, I had the scallop small plate at the Flying Fig, it was one scallop a tablespoon of celery root puree, and some citrus oil. I know that the scallop cost only $1.20 but this dish cost $9. The average scallop entree has 4 scallops, so 4 of these small plates would cost $36!!! I’ve yet to see a $36 scallop entree anywhere.

Where do we go from here??? Well, I think the idea of small plates needs to be re-examined by these restaurants and they should truly challenge themselves by restructuring the pricing and sizing of what constitutes a meal to be more in the range of 8 to 10 plates, here plates are in the $3 to $8 range. This would encourage customers to try something new, or add on a plate just for fun. The mathematics here say that 10 plates with an average price of $5.50 would come to a grand total of $55, well within the price range of our sampled traditional style restaurants, but this time the customer has twice as many courses.

The circumstance for the restaurant is daunting, they need to have a lot of variety, and a staff prepared to cook and sell any and all of it. It is also twice as distant from a 5 course to a 10 course meal when dealing with customers who have only had to make 3 choices in the past. I think the prospects of a successful small plates restaurant in Cleveland is realistic only when it is not necessary for each and every customer to take in a full 10 courses in order for the restaurant to be financially successful. It was never my understanding that any Spanish gastro-pub intended it’s patrons to sign on for 10 tapas and 6 sangria before they move on. When the time comes for a culinary rich area of Cleveland to rise, where restaurant don’t compete for customers, they compete for pride, then and only then will a daring and honest small plates restaurant succeed in the eyes of discerning customers.

Muse, Light Bistro and how Small Plates Fail, Part one

With in the past month I’ve visited two new restaurants in Cleveland. Muse in the Ritz Carlton on Public Square, and Light Bistro in Ohio City occupying the former nationally acclaimed Parker’s Bistro. Both restaurants claim to follow in the fresh laid tracks of the new ‘small plates’ trend, and for this reason I was not all together happy with my experiences at either. Fortunately the precise execution of culinary tasks made my visit to Muse a success, while the kitchen at Light Bistro tripped, stumbled, and fell flat on it’s face.

Light Bistro did not miss the mark in all cases, one ray of light that I thoroughly enjoyed was the lack of flatware, glassware, candles or flowers on the table. It was quite pleasant not having to rearrange the tabletop before finding a comfortable area to dine. The menu at Light Bistro is encased in an impressive leather bound book including both the food menu, and a restrained and limited wine menu. The 3 distinct rooms at Light Bistro all stick to a dark wood and exposed brick theme with sparingly arranged paintings, and lighting. On the other hand the room containing Muse is as grand as one would expect after shuttling up to the third floor in the Persian Carpeted elevator at the Ritz Carlton. The recess lighting hid behind dark wood sectioned the Muse ceiling into a pleasing grid of wood and light. The room centered around a large fire place, and successfully conveyed the idea of warmth and comfort in the brightly colored artwork and lighting that made such colorful work pop off the wall in a very entertaining way. We ate diner at the Muse Bar, a very small 5 seat area. I found the table top, and the seat of the chairs to be a little to close for my comfort.

The food....I’ll withhold the pricing structure as it supports my decree of the failure of small plates better than it explains the condition of the culinary talents at either restaurant. I visited Muse first, and I thought the menu was rather straight forward, with a lack of creativity or emotion. The execution was top notch though. Everything we had was cooked to perfection, the chicken was moist, the scallops caramelized, shortribs where fork tender, beef tornedos where medium rare as requested, squab was rosey red and the foie gras with it was fat and juicy. All the sides, and garnishes where at proper temperature, and delicately placed.. The most recent visit was to Light Bistro where the menu looked exciting and adventurous, unfortunately the execution was poor at best. I over heard that the ‘Chef’ was not in the kitchen this night, but that is no excuse. The eggplant flan was pleasantly textured, and interestingly flavored less the creme anglaise it called company on the plate. Pickled shrimp where small and butterflied which didn’t help with the fact that they where tough and rubbery from the pickle. I’ve marinated shrimp in the past and when they cook up as rubbery as these, I’ve put them straight in the trash. I was very interested in a Killbruck Valley Farms mushroom salad with a red wine poached egg. Once again my mouth watered, but for the wrong reason, the flavor of vinegar made the salad almost un-eatable, and the small dice and overcooking of the mushrooms was very sad. A shrimp and crab cake was good, the texture pleasantly firm due to the shrimp. I’ve never, ever, and hope I never again am forced to send a piece of foie gras back on my plate destined for the trash can, but this is where this foie gras belonged along with the resume of the cook who destroyed it. Even more disappointing was that this burnt foie gras topped a fried rice in which the rice was fried in burnt foie gras fat, it brings tears to my eyes such a disappointment. Pork belly was flavorful, and the sparing use of ultra spicy chipotle cous cous was on spot. Unfortunately, the complete destruction of a luxury ingredient ended our meal. Kobe beef in both cases, sate was cut way to thick making it almost un-chewable, and the vinegar must have spilled into the greens with the sate.

The braised Kobe was cooked nicely but accompanied by an egg omelette that had been cooked till caramelized and brown on the bottom. I’m not a fan a absolute culinary rules, but eggs, or omelettes for sure shouldn’t be browned.. That being said, I think the word ‘disappointment’ brings a summary to the food I ate at Light Bistro

It is my intention to use my experience at both these restaurant to examine the execution of the ‘small plates’ theme as it is currently available in the Cleveland area. In an effort to distance this discussion from the unfortunate events that occurred at both places, I am beginning this discussion as a new post.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Truffled Potato Profiteroles

Ingredients/ Method
8 oz Butter
3 cups water
3cups flour AP
10 whole eggs
Salt, tabasco, 1 cup grated Parmasean

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Boil water, butter, and salt . Add flour and remove from heat. Work mixture together and return to heat. Continue working the mixture until all flour is incorporated and dough forms a ball. Transfer mixture into bowl of a standing mixer and let cool for 3 or 4 minutes. With mixer on stir or lowest speed add eggs, 1 at a time, making sure the first egg is completely incorporated before continuing. Once all eggs have been added and the mixture is smooth put dough into piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe immediately into golfball-size shapes, 2 inches apart onto parchment lined sheet pans. Cook for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees F and bake for 10 more minutes or until golden brown.

5 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, boiled in salted water until done.
2 tbsp. Truffle pate
1# butter
5 egg yolks
Salt and Pepper

Whip potatoes with butter and truffles, season. Wrap in plastic wrap small enough to fit into pastry bag with star tip.

For service cut profiterole in halve, pipe hot potatoes onto base of profiterole, warm base, potatoes and top in 400 degree oven for 4-5 minutes. Finally drizzle with white truffle honey and a dusting of chopped thyme and parsley.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Weekly Specials

Soup: Seafood Chowder; Scallops, Shrimp, Squid, and Grouper in a Lobster-Saffron broth.

App: Crispy Veal Sweetbreads, Artichoke Puree, Smoked Walnut Pesto, Kumquat Marmalade

Entree: Sautee Rainbow Trout, Chick-pea Fritter, Garlic-White Bean Puree, Pickled Spring Vegetables.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Recipe de jour

The First comment I recieved from my six month review post revolved around more recipies, and for that i'm greatfull because i'm full of quality recipies.

10 sheets to a liter

This seems all to simple, but very effective. What ever it is you want to gelatinize, this is the ratio. Bill Cosby eat your heart out, we figured it out. From jello shots, to tomato aspic, you now have the know how. Soften 10 sheets of gelatin in cold water, while warming a cup of liquid from the liter batch. When the gelatin is soft, and the liquid warm combine, mix into the master batch, and mold. The concoctions are endless, like a pomagranite, orange, carrot, leek, apple, cabbage, bannana jello!!!

On a more relative idea, I've used white grape gelle and brie together for an amuse, and Makers Mark Aspic with a Foie Gras Terrine was somewhat popular.

Six Month Review

It seems like only yesterday that I non-chalantly chose a template and color scheme for this blog, and proceeded to become ever more engulfed in sharing my personal daily experiences, thoughts, and pictures. I’ve been diligent with recording of ‘Weekly Specials’ which I’m quite proud of. I had in theory intended for this blog to be an accessory to my resume in this way. I’ve not had much feedback, or comments, but I have been very happy with the comments I have received, and I’ve been quick to reply in most cases. As of today some 243 people have reviewed my profile, and as far as I know that’s about 240 people I would have never communicated with in any way, and for this I’m very happy with my blog.

I’ve learned quite a few tricks over the past six months, but I’m very willing and wanting to learn more about taking my blog to as many people as possible. I’ve learned that ‘Links’ are a wonderful thing, and in fact I come to my own blog to click a link to a webpage I’m searching for. For this reason I’m intending to add between 5 and 10 new links over the next few weeks. I don’t intend to fill the ‘links’ column for pure self serving satisfaction, rather worthwhile, informative webpages.

Photos, photos, photos. For the past 10 years I’ve had a desire to further my interest in photography that began in high school. This blog has provided such an outlet. I’m using Picasa, and I’ve created an album of misfit photos I’ve taken over the past six months that relate to this blog, but have yet to warrant posting. It wasn’t until my ‘spring plates’ post that I realized if you click on any photo it blows up to a full frame photo with impossibly comprehendible detail. I’ve also gone though 3 digital cameras. I’m now using an Olympus FE-210, which quite pleasingly has a ‘cuisine’ scene setting as well as a super-macro setting allowing me to get as close as 2 inches to a subject.

Lastly, it is my intention to incorporate more recipes, especially recipes with photos into the blog. In this case, I’ve never claimed to be a good home cook. So I wouldn’t be good at writing a recipe for 2 cups of soup, rather 2 gallons. In this respect, I consider it the recipe readers responsibility to scale or otherwise interpret my recipes for what they are, guidelines.