Blog (julie and julia revisiting)

Hello to all my friends: gastronomy addicts!

For fourteen years I was a professional dancer and actress working in Los Angeles and New York, including the Broadway stage.  In the 1980′s my career segued into print and commercial television work, bringing me to San Francisco. I loved every minute of it. But I

In the day casting

started the 90’s in a cognitive fog, quite literally.  On a weekend trip with friends to the beautiful hills of Napa in California, I was exposed to Viral Meningo-Encephalitis; an unexpected and debilitating illness.  It started with a horrendous headache and a troublesome sore throat.  In early November, I slipped into an eleven-day coma. When I awoke, I couldn’t speak. After months of physical and speech therapy, one of my recovery efforts was to return to school. I went to San Jose State University as a Theatre Arts (dance) major and I rediscovered hope; I was beginning to experience a sense of confidence for the first time since I became ill.  I knew that if I continued in school I could create a self-sufficient and successful future. In August 1999, I received a Master of Arts. I went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts in Law Studies and a paralegal certificate in 2004. Armed with a new confidence and outlook, I found a new passion to consume my life: goats! All the discipline, energy and joy I poured into dancing now go into the goat’s milk cheesecake and goat’s milk ice cream I share with my friends and family. Some people still have trouble understanding my speech. But when someone takes a bite of my goat’s milk cheesecake or goat’s milk ice cream, they’re often at a loss for words, too.

Goat’s milk cheesecake bites bites

That’s why I call them Speechless Cakes! http://www.speechlesscakes.org

The speechlesscakes site is winding down as I write the new Julie & Julia Revisiting blog.  I love to bake of course; I love to cook as well.  So, I am cooking all the recipes from Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, The 52 Food Cookbook 2011. Starting with Winter. It is a community based cookbook.  Do you remember Julie and Julia, the movie? Julie cooked 524 recipes from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in her small Manhattan kitchen and blogged about it.

o so tiny! kitchen

My kitchen is small…..smaller than hers! Evidently, Julia was looking for something to do in the day, Julie too when she wrote the book. Well, me too. My hope is that all foodies will enjoy my successes and failures of the recipes. Moreover, I am sure that I will learn something in the process. I will put an image of the finished product on the site and blog about it. Mind you, I am no chef but I can create a great goat’s milk cheesecake and goat’s milk ice cream! Happy cooking and any comments  are welcomed.

Healdsburg:  When I moved to Healdsburg about three years ago, I felt a sense of community and spirit right away. I didn’t know anyone. I went to the farmer’s market on Saturday and walked among the bounty. Had coffee from Jimtown store booth, bought garlic and shallots from Yael  Bernier’s Farm.  Signed up to volunteer for Farm to Pantry.  What a great way to meet my new neighbors! I learned about gleaning. Gleaning is collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they

have been commercially harvested.

Manok and me gleaning at Yael’s farm manok and me

Ancient cultures gleaned: old practice. Melita Love, founder, and volunteers, will pick surplus vegetables, fruit, from the property owner, farmer or gardener. Melita will take the vegetables and fruit to the local food pantry, shelter, local schools or soup kitchen.  Healdsburg’s scenery is beautiful and the vibe is laid back with big city tastes. Healdsburg is all about local. It is a farm community, yet local wine making, five star cuisine restaurants, inn keepers are right up there with the big city. Don’t forget the music. In the

Music in the summer

summer, every Tuesday, the whole town comes to the plaza to hear music for free! The town welcomed me in. They are engaging and open in my short years, here, I feel that I have become part of the community.  When I started Speechless Cakes, many businesses helped me like Herb from the City of Healdsburg, Will, from Costeaux French Bakery, Nina from Laramore Communications for press releases and Shelton’s grocery who took my first product, Goat’s milk cheesecake bites and put them on their shelves!  I volunteer for Farm to Pantry every week, walk the dogs and assist my friend Linda who is a great photographer, to shoot the dogs in a favorable light for Healdsburg Animal shelter’s web site.  I am a gym rat at Park Point, doing Yoga, five practices a week, Zumba and weights. I live on a twenty-acre ranch four miles outside of town. When I moved in, it was a working ranch;

The ranch ranch

we had thirty sheep and Betsy, the llama. I have a little guesthouse with a small kitchen. Where I will cook the Winter recipes from the Food 52 Cookbook. It is small but, when I open the front door, I see twenty acres that I can roam and there is room for my garden. The garden is bigger than my space! The winter garden is sprouting with kale, Chinese lettuce, garlic, potatoes, radishes, chard, turnips and leeks. My sweet Betsy, I love her. She always was protecting the babies; seven ewes were born last spring.  You can see Betsy on http://www.youtube.com (“My friend Betsy”). I fed her apples and shot from my Canon powershot! I looped her mouth on

Betsy doing her job! betsy

the computer and put the dialog with an English accent. She is talking about Speechless Cakes. It is pretty funny. My landlord Lorraine who is 80, wanted to simplize her life so she sold them BUT they will come back to graze on the ranch in the spring. Yippee.

Next post: Leek, lemon and feta Quiche

I was running to Park Point on Saturday, before the Santa Rosa market, to take a yoga practice with Yoga Dan: Hot yoga Dan. He is 6’ 8”, long hair with a tranquil and spiritual sense. But Dan told us that he couldn’t teach class today or any day. He has to quit; he has liver issues and must see his doctors in the Midwest. Wow. Hopefully, he will get better soon and continue teaching his Zen practice… for the ladies.

I know a lot about illness. Dan doesn’t know about my speech difference, my disabilty is hidden. Hey, like the leeks, hidden dirt in their layers. Yeah, my layers of illness. Dan, I am with you, namaste. So, I went with a heavy heart, to Santa Rosa market to follow Yael Bernier’s Farm. Healdsburg’s market is closed until spring. Making the trek to the Santa Rosa market….it is well worth it. Called the garlic lady, Yael, is a tower of knowledge: all farming. We glean at her farm; she is always donating her surplus vegetables to the pantry. A yoga friend, we talk about food, the market, and goats.

At the market, the imprint of the bounty of Sonoma is unbelievable; I love the gnarly, earthly vegetables and fruit that you see at the market. This is what food looks like.

Serves 1 large quiche or 4 individual-size quiches
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
1 pound leeks
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup half-and-half
3 eggs
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1-teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ouzo (optional)
2-1/2 ounces feta cheese, cut into 4 (approx 1/2-inch) slices

Preheat oven to 375F.  I thaw the puff pastry the night before in the  fridge. Prepare the leeks. By washing any dirt away and slice the roots from the end. Remove the dark green

Leeks

tops, leaving a couple inches of light green with the white portion of the leeks. (The dark trimmings can be reserved for another use, adding them to a vegetable or chicken stock, for example or the compost pile!) Halve the leeks lengthwise, then cut crosswise in 1/2-inch slices. Put the slices in a colander and rinse thoroughly; if you don’t, you risk having a gritty, sandy quiche, O no. Leeks often hide dirt deep in their layers. Let the leeks drain well, and dry.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it shines. Add the leeks and cook until they are wilted; don’t cook them so much that they give off liquid. Turn off the heat and let sit.       Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl using a whisk, beat together the half-and-half, eggs, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Add the ouzo, if you are using it. Prepare the pastry crusts (pic of the pastry board that I made).

Cool counter/pastry board

I was reading about creating more space in the kitchen, like New York City kitchens ‘The Secrets of Baking’ from Shelly Yard’s cookbook. I am reading cookbooks now. So, get a board, the same size of your sink, put the board over the sink. Instant counter. It works! Roll puff pastry to ¼ inch.  Someday I will try to make puff pastry. But not today. Press the pastry up to the sides to make a nice edge. Yeah, a nice edge. Tension as I roll the pastry dough out.  Who said?  ‘Easy as pie”….was talking about eating pie not rolling dough.

Fill the quiches. Distribute the leeks evenly across the bottom of the dish(es). Pour the milk mixture over the leeks. Top the quiche(s) with the slices of feta. If you have feta that crumbles apart, no worries just sprinkle it on top.  Bake 30-40 minutes, depending on size of the quiche(s). The center should be solid and the crust and top nicely browned. Let the quiche cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. The quiches taste great hot, room temperature, even cold. Yummy~

First recipe. Leeks: yes, wash thoroughly. I used four eggs instead of three. It called for three large eggs. All that I had was Lisa’s eggs. They are small, but they are so good. I do pet care often. Lisa has two dogs, a cat and chickens and needed care last week. Do you know that chickens have personalities? Some chickens will adopt the role of calling the

Lisa’s chickens

hens into the coop to sleep for the night. But this group is on their own time schedules. With dusk, comes the urge to roost. I had to close the coop door after they go in, so no critters will get them in the night. I was standing, waiting, counting, (15), as they climbed into the coop…. tapping my shoe.  One hen was going in and out, in and out…. Hey, it is nighty, nighty time. Sigh.  Back to the recipe, I rolled the puff pastry out and it was surprising easy.  O, if you make the pastry board: sand the edges of the board, I got a big sliver!  I filled the quiche with the leeks, half and half, eggs, salt, pepper and the feta cheese and baked it about 35 minutes.

Next time, I will switch goat’s milk cheese for the Feta. I love my goats. I am making my own goat’s milk cheese. In February, when the goats are milking. I will let you know how it turns out.

C ya.  Next post and new recipe as well: Jennie’s Homemade Manicotti.

Recipe by Allison Cay Parker in Food 52 Cookbook  

the Food 52 Cookbook

She is a freelance writer, editor, recipe developer and tester. She lives in New York City, and writes the blog Feeding the Saints (www.feedingthesaints.com.)

History. I was born in Newton, Massachusetts to Sally and Sammy White. My mother was a United stewardess and my dad was a catcher for the Boston Red Sox. (Dad was a “Tiger” in the day, like the golf hero Tiger Woods…. my dad liked the girls too. However, my dad

The Newton house

was a solid defensive catcher, with a good arm and the ability to get the most out of a Boston pitching staff teams that include Mel Parnell, Ellis Kinder, Bill Monbouquette, Mike Fornieles and Frank Sullivan. An All-American college basketball player at the University of Washington, he signed his first professional baseball contract with the Seattle Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League in 1949. After the 1949 minor league season ended, the Minneapolis Lakers asked my dad to join their National Basketball Association team. But the Red Sox, who had acquired his contract during 1949, were furious and prevented dad from doing that. During his career with the Red Sox, dad opened a bowling alley. Sammy

Daddy’s bowl alley

White’s Brighton Bowl not far from Fenway Park. I was looking for a picture of the bowling alley, online.  Dad sold the bowling alley in the 60′s.  I remember, dad playing the saxophone in his office, while I dance for the customers in the coffee shop. Customers would inject quarters into the jukebox to keep me dancing to Chubby Checker’s The Twist. “Come on baby…  do the twist”. Memories. I can say I became a professional dancer when I was six years old, dancing at daddy’s bowling alley.  I wanted to be famous.

Are you hungry? I am. Let’s cook.

Jennie’s Homemade Manicotti

1 large egg
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups goat milk, plus more as needed to thin the batter
canola oil, to lightly grease pan
Filling:

16 ounces fresh goat ricotta cheese (homemade recipe below)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Homemade ricotta recipe
4 cups goat’s milk
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt

Add the ricotta ingredients to a 4-quart pot and warm over medium heat. Meanwhile, line a sieve or fine-mesh strainer with a few layers of cheesecakes and place it over a deep bowl or pot. Once the curds begin separate from the whey, (the temperature will be between 175 degrees and 200 degrees F.), remove from the heat. Gently spoon or ladle into the cheesecloth–lined strainer. You may need to gently the cheesecloth at the top to help the curds drain. Let the curds drain for 15 or 30 minutes, depending on how creamy you’d like your ricotta. Store in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Add the pasta ingredients to the bowl of a blender. Blend, adding more milk one teaspoon at a time, until batter is a thin, almost runny consistency. Heat a nonstick 8-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Brush pan lightly with oil, if needed. Hold pan at an angle, and swirl pan as you pour in enough batter to coat bottom of skillet. Cook 30 to 45 seconds, flip and cook for 15 more seconds. And don’t forget, the first one or two might end up being sacrificial until you get the hang of swirling the pan. Transfer to a flat dish or tray. Repeat with remaining batter. You should have 8 to 10 “shells” by the end.

Assemble
2 cups marinara sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Homemade goat ricotta

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spread ½ cup of marinara sauce into the bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish. Combine all the filling ingredients in a medium bowl (see ricotta recipe below if making from scratch); mix well. Lay pasta crepes on a flat surface and spoon an event amount of filling in a long strip down the center of each one. Roll crepes closed, and place seam-side down into the casserole dish. Evenly pour remaining sauce over filled crepes. Sprinkle remaining grated cheese over top and bake 20 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Recipe from Jennifer Perillo, recipe developer and food editor from Brooklyn, New York. She writes a blog called Jennie’s Kitchen (www.injennieskitchen.com)

It is comfort food, creamy, fresh. My friend, Lorraine, is my tester for this recipe.  She is not a fan of goat cheese but she liked the sauce, and the crepes.  It is all good, some people don’t like goat cheese.  Well, I tried to make the homemade ricotta.  Twice,

Yummy, with tangy goat cheese.

one with whole milk and one with unpasteurized (raw) milk. I was not successful.  ): I am not a patient person. Evidently, when the milk gets to 180 degrees, (I should have waited to 200 degrees), off heat, the curds will appear. Whey will separate from the curds…. THEN, you put the curds in the cheesecloth. And wait… more. But nothing happened. No curds.  I didn’t have more milk to try it again. Forget it.  I bought the goat cheese from The Cheese Shop in town. Did I tell you that I like goats?  I do. Next time, I will try t to make homemade goat cheese instead of buying it. Yummy. It is the same technique as the cow version in terms of making cheese. But,  I was successful in terms of crepe making.  It is all about the wrist!

The elusive crepe making. Ta-Da!

Next post:  Whole Fish ( Filleting fish??) and, in class.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Replies

100-dollar bid, now 120. Now 120. Will ya give 120?  Basic auctioneer chant that I experienced at the   Petaluma Livestock Auction on Monday with my friend Lisa. We were goat shopping.  She bought two meat goats from a nice lady, Kim on Sweetwater springs road, in Healdsburg, last week. But she was having trouble finding more. This time she

was looking for dairy goats. We had to depend on the auction. The issue with the auction

lisa goat mom

is you get what you pay for. You will never know where the animals are from, who are the breeders. Nothing.  We went there early, because sometimes, they allow you into the pens before the auction to check them out: check their teeth, or check if they are pregnant.  First, we got lost. We were talking and missed the highway exit and missed the necessary acquaintance with the goats. Oops. We finally arrived at the auction. The auction barn was crowded with farmers, men, women, kids and us. The auctioneer and

Aunt Em and Uncle Henry

his wife sat high above the animals. They looked like Aunt Em and Uncle Henry from the Wizard of Oz. Lisa took a seat on the bleachers with a local lady. I was excited, bending over the corral, took my camera out and shot. First animals were the pigs, big hogs. I waved to them. The lady sitting with Lisa said, “ You should get your friend, I think she just bought a pig!” Lisa grabbed me and said, I know you are excited, but sit on your hands we don’t want any pigs only goats. Uncle Henry knew, that I was a newbie to the auction. No sale, phew. Next, a baby goat! I love them. She or he was bought right away. Done. Lisa knew whom she wanted. After about six or seven goats, who were bought: she appeared. She was so

#17, so pretty.

pretty. Lisa raised her arm and bought her at $160. I applauded! Lisa gave her a new name Margaret, instead of #17 and we went to lunch.  It turns out Margaret is pregnant. In the spring, babies.

The goat saga continues.

Margaret is not pregnant, she is crazy. She broke the fence twice. Lily and Margaret don’t get along.  It was goat mayhem.  Meanwhile, we went goat shopping again, but this time in Sonoma. We were driving on highway 12, suddenly the goat cage blew off the pickup, careening into on coming cars. Fortunately, it didn’t hit any cars.  But we had to run in top speed to get the cage off the highway. The cage was in good shape.  We put it back into the pickup and went on in silence.  A family who have 13 goats with three one-week-old babies, beautiful, red kiddies, Welcomed us.  Lisa bought another goat and she is pregnant.  She delivered twins yesterday.  The kids

Saffron and Rosie

are named Saffron and Rosie.  Still wobbling their little legs in the barn.  At press, Margaret has settled down. No goat head butting, well, head butting when they are playing.  I love them.  They are small dogs with companion manners.

Let’s cook.

Whole Baked Fish with Parsley Gremolata

I love food, as I have a love for dance. Recipes are choreography; it is an expression of myself, performance.  My friend, Care, asked: “When did you first know that you like to cook? ” My first response is Los Angeles, but in earnest it was a dinner party that I cooked for the hospital staff, in the early 90s in the bay area. If I think hard, the meal was fish.

I ordered a stripped bass from Big John’s market. I wanted a two-pound fish but I got a three pounder. Thirty bucks. Fine. It was a beautiful fish with clear eyes. The fishmonger

Stripped Bass three pounder

scaled it for me.  As the fish was baking, I made the parsley gremolata. I have never fillet a fish. I went on line to Youtube.com: How to fillet a fish. The Food 52 cookbook is challenging: first, crepes, now, filleting a fish, later, Octopus salad.  I knew that this experience would be a learning adventure: writing, cooking.   So, the crust was hard and with Lorraine’s help, as my photographer, I dived into it. Pirouetteing my hammer, I cracked the fish open. Filleting the fish is the question. Can I do it?

Piece of cake. Why? The fish was cooked. I cut the head off, the skin and bones melted away. If you have a fresh fish, filleting the fish, is the dare. Here is the rub: Give a dinner

Whole fish with gremolata

party and impressed your friends with the hammer. It was flavorful, moist.  I love the gremolata. It was fresh, a little lemon zest works wonders.

Serves 6

For the fish

1 whole fish, approx. 5 lbs., such as snapper or sea bass

1 lemon, thinly sliced

1 small bunch parsley sprigs

Fennel fronds from one bulb, halved lengthwise

4 pounds coarse sea salt

2 egg whites

Extra-virgin olive oil

Lemon wedges

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. Place lemon slices, parsley and fennel in cavity of the fish. Do not overstuff.
  3. Combine egg whites and sea salt in a bowl. Mix well to moisten salt.
  4. Spread 1/3 salt on bottom of large baking dish or pan. Lay fish on top. Pour remaining salt over fish, covering completely. If needed, tail can be exposed.
  5. Bake in oven 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes.
  6. Crack open crust with small hammer or knife. Remove and discard crust. Fillet fish.
  7. Arrange fish on warm plates. Drizzle with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice from wedges. Serve with Parsley Gremolata.

For the Parsley Gremolata::

1/2 cup finely chopped parsley

1 garlic clove, minced

Finely grated zest from one untreated lemon

Pinch sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Combine parsley, garlic and lemon zest in a small bowl. Season to taste with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Recipe from  Lynda Balslev who is a blogger:  (www.tastefoodblog.com)

Next post: My back and raspberry and rose water cheesecake

The only dance that I did was as a lone amateur at six years old, was at daddy’s bowling alley, just for fun. Serious dance didn’t come into my life really until I broke my back at the age of nineteen. At the College of San Mateo, one day, Oct. 19, 1973, (don’t know why I remember the day), I was at gymnastics after school practice, on the floor exercise. I could do 10 back handsprings, easy. On the trampoline, I was doing back flips in the puck position. On the third flip, I felt something as I landed on my back. Oh, something was indeed wrong. The students got me off the trampoline, and I started to walked slowly to the locker room. I felt faint.  The ambulance arrived and took me to Mills hospital. Well, I had broken my back.

3rd lumber. They tickled my toes all night. Next day, they said, that I was not paralyzed.  Phew. I remained there two weeks.  After that I was going stir crazy at home. I was always active.

My sister, Debbie was dancing at Berle Davis‘s Dance Art Center in San Mateo. I watched Debbie’s jazz class and I inquired about tap classes. I loved jazz dance but I couldn’t do that. But I could do tap and DAC had tap classes. I could take tap classes because the back brace allowed me to move my legs and feet. It was great although, tap can be intricate.

The timing is straightforward yet complex. The target in tap dancing is to produce clear, clean sounds. The body weight should be held slightly forward, allowing most of the dancing to be done on the balls of the feet. I could do that. Stamp, shuffle, cramp roll and ball change made it in to my dance vocabulary.  After two months of tap classes; I felt I was active, sort of. I was waiting for the doctor to say, “You are healed”.  In six months, he said it. The back brace retired. I think I gave it to the Salvation Army on the way home.  Now, I could take jazz class. Yippee.

Let’s cook:

I digress from the Food 52 cookbook this month. I saw a raspberry and rose water cheesecake recipe on Christell’s blog: (Christelleisflabbergasting.com).  The blog is in French but you can get the English version on http://www.designsponge.com. I have to try it but with changes.  I am using my cheesecake recipe: goat’s milk cheese, oreo cookies and less sugar. Since, I can make cheesecake in my sleep.  I have no stories in terms in of making it.

Although, the rose water is new, Traditional cheesecake calls for 1 cup of sugar. Ugh.  I use ¼ cup. I usually use pistachio crust but chocolate (oreos) crust and raspberries and goat’s milk is a perfect combo.  The rose water is subtle, but the dessert is rich….. yummy. A good recipe is like having the little black dress. Everyone needs one.

For the crust:
8 oz.)

Oreo cookies

(3 oz.)  Unsalted butter
For the filling:

10 oz.  Goat’s milk cheese, at room temperature

(1/4 cup) granulated sugar

4 eggs at room temperature

Pinch of salt

½ tsp. vanilla
One lemon of zest

2 tbsp. rosewater (1 tbsp. more or less, according to taste)
For the raspberry topping:

1 1/2 cup frozen raspberries

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp. corn starch

1/2 cup water

1 tbsp. rosewater
Make the crust:

Finely grind the Oreo cookies and mix in well with the butter. Butter an 8-inch spring form pan and press the cookie mixture evenly into the pan using the bottom of a glass or spoon (and up the sides if you wish, as well). Put aside in the freezer.

Prepare the filling:

In a bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Gradually add each egg, lemon zest, vanilla, salt and rosewater while beating on low speed until the texture is creamy.

Pour the filling evenly in the pan. Wrap the pan with foil put it in a water bath. Place the cheesecake in the middle rack of the oven.

Bake for 40 minutes at 350ºF .  Check the texture, with knife, it was should be wiggly.  Cool inside the oven and leave the door closed for an hour. Once it is completely cooled, put it in the refrigerator overnight.

Make the raspberry topping:

1. Place the sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat.  Add water and stir well.

2. Add the frozen raspberries and crush them using a wooden spoon. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir continually for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.  The put topping in a strainer and with a spoon and remove the seeds.

3. Remove cake from the pan and transfer to a plate. Spread the topping over the chilled cheesecake and decorate with fresh raspberries. Refrigerate for an hour.
Recipe from me!

Next post: In class,  Spring Risotto from the Food 52 Cookbook

Keywords: blog, creativity, food

I planted a row of eucalyptus trees from seed, now, 20 feet high…. they bug me.”

My friend Bonnie.

Bonnie Z, master designer, took us on a tour of sweet, beautiful flowers and shrubs at Dragonfly farm, and explained the rules of cut flowers to novice gardeners. Dragonfly farm gives informative classes: the basics or table arrangements. Today was table arrangements.

Dragonfly farm began in the 90s. They ‘yanked’ out six acres of grapes for a vegetable farm, initially. But it is grown to a sustainable, organically flower farm. They blossomed into their own style: Wine Country Garden with original, relaxed, natural designs that include color, texture and fiber. I think Bonnie is into texture. Dragonfly has a robust wedding business as well. In the day, Carrie Brown from Jimtown store, asked Bonnie to design arrangements for a wedding. This is how it started.

touring the farm

So, there were about six of us in the class, pen and paper in hand that began at 10 am. We took a tour, learning and designing. Designing? Well, we tried. Bonnie took us around the farm, discussing trees, shrubs, flowers, and herbs. We asked questions like, “Why does my flowers droop, in a hour after cutting?” First, cut in the morning before 9a, add flora food and important, re cut every time before designing. Quick dip will help too. Oh. Woody stems? cut on an angle, no food for herbs. Always buy bare root roses. She showed us: their roses from cuttings vs. the commercial grown roses. What a difference. Again, oh.

I am trying a rose cutting today, from a bare root plan with Bonnie’s coaching.

Color, texture, oh so pretty.

You should take a trip to Dragonfly, their circular trees in the middle of the farm where  you could sit and smell the surrounding bounty of flora.
We thanked the Dragonfly team for their knowledge as we took our pitiful, (well, mine), table arrangement home.

Dragonfly  events:

Dragonfly Farm Stand is open!
Wed-Friday 10a-5p  Sat. 10a-3p, Lasy Sunday 10a-3p

Mother’s Day Flower Open House  May 12th and 13th, 10a-3p

Feeling creative? Design your arrangement with Dragonfly flowers, vase start at $7.00

Lasy Sunday : They put all of the flowers remaining from the week in front of the Farm Stand. Take what you want and pay what you feel. I love that.

Nearly every week for the last twenty years I have been in dance class, it was my job. Sadly, I cannot find any adult jazz classes in Healdsburg. It is all good.  I started yoga last month. Yoga is a discipline, like ballet. I like to get into the spiritual zone. Since, I missed class for a few weeks, I was ready to go.

Jen is the co-owner of Yoga on Center. That day, Satya Van Dyke was substituting for Jen. I was familiar with Satya from classes at the other place.

Her class is so calming. On the physical level, it is cleansing,  improves breathing control, flexibility and posture.   I love it because the class is always moving.  1 hour of awareness. At end of class, we rest.

The rest of my day is tranquil.

If someone cuts me off on the freeway….….Go, sunshine, it is all good. Namaste.

Let’s cook.

A  good recipe is like having the black dress. Everyone needs one.

It is a winner: risotto!  Creamy risotto with spring vegetables. The licorice-like fennel, asparagus, and peas, rounds all the flavors out. I chose to roast the asparagus instead of boiling them and substituted wine for the Pernod. I didn’t have perserved lemon, so I used more lemon zest.  Risotto can be tricky, all that stirring. Make sure the rice is not boiling vigorously nor cook too slowly. I used medium heat. The grilled shrimp is a great roast topper.

Side bar: The sheep are back!  A summon up of recollection, all the fun we had last winter.  They were hear only for a few days and we left the gate open, oops, but, luckily, they stay together,  I sneaked around them, climbing the hill, said, Go!  Happily, they went to the barn, scared.  Phew.  Then, we wanted to move them to another pasture. Their grass mowing are excellent.  So, a little hay did the trick, they followed me with my baby talk. The ranch needs baaa, baaaa.  I think.  My new job is a sheepherder,  ha.

Perserved Lemon and Spring Vegetable Risotto with Grilled Pernod Shrimp

1/4 cup olive oil

medium onions, chopped

small fennel bulb, chopped

cloves garlic minced, about 1 tbsp.

fine sea salt, to taste

2 cups Arborio rice

1/2 cup Pernod, or other anise apéritif

1/2 cup lemon juice

6-8 cups hot chicken stock

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup mascarpone

2 tablespoons rinsed and finely diced preserved lemon rind

1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint leaves

2 cups peas

1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 2-inch lengths and blanched in salted, boiling water

freshly ground white pepper

for the shrimp:

24 to 32 large, de-veined shrimp, shell on

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons Pernod, or other anise apéritif

cloves of garlic, minced, about 3 tsp.

zest of half a large lemon

2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary leaves

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  1. In a shallow pan just large enough to hold the shrimp, mix the shrimp with the oil, Pernod, garlic, zest, rosemary, salt and pepper. Let the shrimp marinate at room temperature while you make the risotto.
  2. Prepare all of your risotto ingredients: blanch the asparagus, heat the stock, chop and measure everything out, placing it all close to hand by the stove. Once you start stirring risotto, there’s no stopping.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the onion, fennel and garlic and sweat over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Season with salt about halfway through.
  4. Add the rice and raise the heat to medium high. Stir to coat and slightly toast the rice for about 3 minutes. You should hear a lively crackling in the pot. The rice will take on a shiny, translucent coat.
  5. Add the Pernod and lemon juice to the rice and continue stirring until the liquid is almost completely absorbed.
  6. Add a ladleful of hot stock to the rice and continue stirring. It’s important to regulate the heat at this point. The rice should neither boil vigorously nor cook too slowly. You’re looking for an even, medium heat that gives the rice a billowy loft and brings some bubbles to the surface.
  7. As the stock is absorbed, continue adding it by ladlefuls and stirring. If you watch carefully, you’ll see that toward the end the rice really gives itself over to the liquid, releasing its starch to make a kind of cream. Stop incorporating stock once the rice is creamy but still al dente, cooked but not too soft. This can take between 20 and 30 minutes, and between 6 and 8 cups of stock.
  8. Remove the risotto from the heat, and immediately fold in the butter, mascarpone, preserved lemon rind, peas, several grinds of white pepper and most of the mint (save some for garnish). The heat of the risotto will cook the peas. Stir slowly to blend, check a final time for seasoning, and carefully fold in the asparagus. Put a lid on the risotto and let it rest while you quickly grill the shrimp. The risotto will expand slightly in volume, and take on a marvellous sheen.
  9. Grill or broil the shrimp for about 60 seconds on each side, or until the flesh is completely opaque.
  10. Top each serving of risotto with 4 shrimp, garnish with mint and a flourish of pepper, and serve.

Healdsburg’s Street  Style.

Fashionista: A person devoted to fashion, particularly high fashion.  She doesn’t follow trends, with this definition. I am.  I loved to dress up, read W, Vogue and wait to the next event in town to be ‘bon ton’.

Sadly, Sonoma county, not so much. The ubiquitous jeans and chambray shirts is the country uniform for women and men. But I see stylish young girls, and the ladies who do lunch in town in local fashion chic.  I am still waiting for a voguish man around town.

I am a street voyeur with a camera.

On the street….   Fitch St.

I found him…..illegal hot.

On the street….. University St.

Couture

Resort wear

On the street….North St.

French fashionista

Soignee! Barbara

Style at any age.

On the street….Healdsburg Ave

Linda, always polished

That’s all.

I love the 80’s. The music, dance, pop culture, big hair.

The 80s were the best decade of my dancing career.  I was on top of the world from ‘80 until ‘88, but, in late ’89, not so much. I got sick. That event shattered my life.

Flashback: I was dancing at Dance Art Center in San Mateo about 1976. I was part of a troupe, the Jazz Set. We danced at shopping malls. Berle Davis taught us to dance in a troupe: spacing, and choreography.  I got my first paying gig at Great America in Santa Clara at a theme park: The Bug’s Bunny show. And I was a dancing girl. We did six shows every day. After the summer, I was asked to dance on the Princess cruise ship. I was hired to be a staff/dancer on the Island Princess. I arrived at Pier 35 in San Francisco for my first day. The crew was English. I learned cockney slang from the officers and staff.  Like “Get up the those apples to bed”: apples means stairs, “Would you Adam and Eve it?”: Adam and Eve means believe, She is pissed: pissed means drunk, “She has long bacons” : bacon means legs. Pretty funny stuff.

When the ship disembarked, I immediately went to the top of the ship and stood, waiting for the Golden Gate Bridge to appear…. we sailed under it. What an experience.

The first event was a cocktail party. I chatted with passengers, drank and ate.  I remember the ocean was pretty rough through the rugged Pacific Rim, you had to hold on to your wine glass.  Eating is one of the best cruise experiences: one can eat all day. I mean, top culinary cuisine. Although, I was dancing, I gained 25 pounds on my six months on the ship.

We arrived in Juneau, Alaska, as the passengers disembarked to the town for shopping and sightseeing. We had rehearsal and warmed up our voices. Voices? I sang, no, I lip-synched. Not a singer.

Fiddler on the Roof

We did an hour show every night from shows like Fiddler on the Roof, Annie get your Gun, and Oklahoma. As a host, we had to greet passengers while embarking and disembarking, we would chat at dinner, dance to music to Micheal jackson, Madonna, Whitney Houston, U2, and Bruce Springsteen at the ship’s disco.

Alaska

It was summer, after three months of sailing, San Francisco to Alaska and back, the ship went south…. Mexico.

Look at those thighs.

The ports of call were Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas. It was warm, the gentle winds on the cool Pacific made me feel so fortunate as I was sailing to Mexico to dance. Wow. I remember these moments with joy.
Do you remember the Love Boat?  The Princess ship was the location for the TV series Love Boat. They decided to shoot one episode on the Island Princess in Puerto Vallarta. It was a one-week shoot. Everybody was excided. Hollywood came to the ships.  Lisa, my dance partner, and I were at the beach with passengers. Michael Cole, (the television series, Mod Squad), was shooting a scene. After the scene we went to get a margarita at a local bar.

Playing on the beach in Mexico

When we came back we saw an empty beach. We missed the boat back to the ship. Oops. The ship captain stopped the ship, so we could take a dinghy back.  We stepped from the boat into the engine room, and we went straight to a talk with an angry cruise director, (Lisa and I, not Michael), but, at night, it was party time with the actors.

After three months sailing in Mexico, it was time for me to make the big move to Los Angeles. I was ready. So, my friend, Josh, who was a comedian on the ship, let me stay at his house in the San Fernando valley. I left ship life to new adventures in La, trying to be a star. Everyday after class, I took to the streets of La, looking for a job. I applied for a waitress job in the valley, Tony Roma’s, a rib joint, and got it. It was like an audition. I wore a short skirt. The manager told me after I got hired, that my legs got the gig.

I didn’t know about Tony Roma’s but it was a huge success in Beverly Hills. The lines went around the block for his sauce on ribs and chicken. I think, you can get his ribs and his sweet sauce, still, at Safeway.  We had to wear a sexy costume: (you know, it was la): brown short dress, with white ruffle underwear. Hey, we made 100 bucks a night, a cash cow in the 80s. Roma was a genius, the tables turned over in 15 minutes. It was a gold mine.

I met an actor, Kathy, who worked at Tony Roma’s too.  We got a two bedroom apartment in Santa Monica, four blocks from the beach.  Two girls, searching for fame.  I worked for Tony Romas, dieting to take that extra 25 pounds off and took non-union jobs.

It all changed, in 1981. I quit Tony Romas because I was on the road.

When did I get my Sag card? It was 1981, MGM studios.  We all looked, to Backstage: the actor’s resource. In the day, you had to buy the newspaper. There was no Backstage.com, no subscriptions for audition notices.  It was a big deal because it was a union gig. Also, there is a catch 22 situation. You can’t get a sag job without a card; you can’t get a card without a sag job. You need a producer or director to say I want this actor or dancer.  Then they will let you in the guild.  MGM was auditioning female dancers for their new film: Pennies from Heaven with Bernadette Peters and Steve Martin. If you don’t know about the actors union, (Screen Actor’s Guild), it is a wonderful union.  The Guild exists to support actors’ working conditions, compensation and benefits. They are a powerful, voice on behalf of artists’ rights.  Since I was a member, I had health insurance, handy, when I was with child. I still get residuals for the work, I did in 1984.

Pennies from Heaven

Flashback to MGM studios, everyone was there, about 300 dancers. I was nervous. I was doing non-union gigs around town. No money but was getting experience but not professional experience.  All the girls, warmed up. I was checking my leotard and my makeup, as I put a number on my back, (135). The choreographer asked us to do chaine turns across the floor. Easy. After my chaine turns, they said, ok, please go here. After three hundred dancers were done, the audition was done.  They hired 150 dancers and one of them was me! I was getting my Sag card, MGM signed the papers and let us in. I think, half of the hires were new Sag members. I was thrilled. I called my mom and called the Sag office!  In 1981, Sag’s initiation fee was $500. Today, it is $2277 with semi-annual dues.  The choreographer said, rehearsal would start next week. “Hang on to your numbers”. Rehearsal was at 8:30 am for two weeks, we were in four scenes, one tap number, and three in a big stage with many levels.  I had to do a handstand by an Egyptian column. You can see me doing a handstand in the movie, if you know where I am. 150 girls are in the same costume. I remember, I laughed a lot on the set. One dancer, I can’t remember her name, was hilarious. Good fun. It was like the 30s grand musical movie.  It was my first really professional gig in la.

I went to Mexico for Spanish tv: Noche, Noche, and Hawaii for an industrial for the Cambridge Diet. In la, I heard about the audition, but the audition was closed to only dancers who worked for a TV choreographer before. But I thought, hey, I couldn’t audition because I don’t know a choreographer? No. I crashed the audition.  We showed up at the studio, at Hama Dance center, me, Jeannie and Beth, and asked them to let us audition. Beth and I got it. You have to be fierce, in the cut throat world of Hollywood.

Crashing the audition for the Hawaii gig

An industrial is a trade show. Cambridge diet brought all the dancers and their sales staff to Hawaii for a big show. The best thing, I was in Hawaii and joined Equity, the stage union: It was a sweet gig, the choreography was like high school cheerleading, funny.

After the gig, Brian and I went to Kauai.  A short airline ride to Lihue. I took him to visit beautiful Kauai, and dinner with my dad at Princeville at night.

The end of road

Back to la,  I did a Sheena Easton Tv speciaI. The choreographer saw my friend Jeannie and I in Jamie Rogers dance class. He hired us.  Al Jarreau was co-star with Sheena. I worked with Al, the next month.  Then a Japanese commercial: Hi Cola with John Travolta. John was a nice man. Then, he had no entourage. Hey, it was John Travolta! It was funny because the Japanese advertisers dressed us, as Japanese girls. I didn’t get it, the director said, the Japanese want to shoot their commercial on American soil, use American dancers, American directors, American stars: all American.  Oh.

Hi Cola commerical

Next gig. I did a music video: Al Jarreau:  Roof Garden.

Roof Garden music video

Al was a sweet heart.  He didn’t go to his trailer and wait to perform, as some stars do.  He stayed on set… talking to the dancers, like John. I was picked out from the dancers to blow a huge bubble of gum for the camera. My bubble was not huge, but it worked, they used it.

Bubble for the camera

Lets cook.     Zucchini Pancakes

I like them. Good flavor, you taste the lemon, parsley. I used unsalted butter instead of oil. You know what Julia says: Everything is better with butter. I used more bread crumbs instead of a pinch. It says cook the pancakes until golden brown each side.  Check it, be sure that the zucchini is well cooked.

Zucchini, potato, lemon, parsley,egg, salt and pepper

About the cook Dagny Prieto http://www.dagnypieto.com

2 cups grated zucchini

1/2 cup grated potato

egg

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 pinch breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons sour cream or yogurt (optional)

  1. Grate your zucchini and potato using the largest hole on your grater. Let stand in a colander for at least 30 minutes to drain. They will hold together better when you drain out maximum moisture. Salt generously.
  2. In a bowl, beat egg, chopped parsley, and lemon zest. Add pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Roll and squeeze zucchini/potato mixture in a towel to soak up moisture. Add pinch of bread crumbs to soak up any leftover wetness.
  4. Combine zucchini / potato mixture with egg mixture. Stir well and coat.
  5. Turn on over to 200˚ and place cookie sheet with foil in there to keep your pancakes warm as you make them.
  6. Heat 13″ skillet on medium high heat. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter. You can use olive oil if you prefer, but butter is delicious. When foam subsides, drop a spoonful of your pancake mixture in. You don’t really need to form it in advance, but pat it with a spatula and try to flatten it out as much as possible — it’ll be more crispy that way.
  7. Cook 2 at a time in a until golden brown on each side, then place in oven to keep warm to make additional pancakes. Serve as soon as possible, with a dollop of sour cream or (drained greek style) yogurt on top for extra richness.

Next post:    On Broadway,  shooting the dogs and malady.

Zumba!

Fitness instructor, Beto’s Perez, a native from Cali, Colombia, took an unexpected turn in his life, one fateful day in the mid-90s. When he set off to teach an aerobics class and forgot his music, he improvised using his own mix of music like salsa and merengue, music he grew up with. Spontaneously he created a new kind of dance-fitness workout that focused on let the music move you, and high energy that electrifies the room. On that day, a revolutionary new hot fitness concept was born: Zumba.

Healdsburg is live with Zumba classes. But Leticia Ortiz’s classes are special. Here is her bio:

My Name is Leticia Ortiz. I have been teaching Zumba Fitness since  Summer 2008 and I still LOVE it! I was introduced to Zumba Fitness at a local gym. It was different than other workout experiences I had in the past. It was Super FUN & Exciting! I loved the music, dancing and the Great Energy in Zumba class. I wanted to share this wonderful workout with others, so I got my certification & began teaching. Three passions of mine all rolled into one…fitness, dance & Latin music!! I love seeing the smiles on people’s faces. I know it’s easier to stick with a fitness routine if you are having fun and you definitely have Fun in Zumba class! My classes are helping others reach their healthier lifestyle goals.

Since my initial certification, I have expanded my classes from teaching 1 class to 9 at the present time in Santa Rosa, Windsor & Healdsburg. My schedule:

Mon/Thurs  6pm Healdsburg Parks & Rec

1557 Healdsburg Ave

$10 drop in or sign up for 6 week session

Tues  6:30pm Windsor Com Ctr

(707) 838-1260 to sign up for 6 class

Wed    6pm Healdsburg Com Health & Fitness Gym

1500 Healdsburg Ave Drop in welcome

Sat    9am  Zumba with Leticia Location TBA 1motownmom@att.net

Since Zumba is a high-energy cardio, latin inspired dance workout, I love it. Leticia starts with slow movement, rising to aerobics exercises then salsa!  The hour goes fast. You burn calories and body sculpting creates a calorie torching, strength training dance party. Her choreography incorporates hip-hop, samba, salsa, merengue, mambo, and Bollywood moves. She doesn’t forget the squats and lunges, too.  I like her vocal inspiration:  Ow.

I recommend her classes.

In ’82, Jekyll & Hyde, Together Again, was a film that I cannot remember the scene. No stories.  Ha.

Going Berserk was a good gig, Universal, two weeks, $1000/week.  There were 15 aerobic dancers dancing with John Candy. Funny film.

Matt Houston was a flamboyant Texas tycoon turned freewheeling P I, that sets up shop in L.A. in a high-gloss crime drama that’s packed with plenty of gadgets and girls. The audition was at ABC. We didn’t have to dance. They took our pictures and they cast from the pictures. Hollywood was breast obsessed. I was glad that I wore my padded bra. Ha. I was picked.  They cast 12 dancers. TV is fast in terms of shooting scenes, unlike movies.  The gig was only one day.

The first episode was The Showgirl Murders. We shot two scenes. The choreographer was played by George Chakiris; remember him from West Side Story? Very nice man, I was lucky to play off him.  The script called for a dancer who makes a mistake in the choreography. I was in the spot where the mistake was to take place. The director asked, “Maybe, she, (another dancer), is closer”, (he didn’t know our names). I said,” No, no, I can make the mark!”  So, in the scene, I made the mistake in the choreography and George yells at me.  At the end of the day, last take, the camera was situated so when I kicked my leg……crotch shot. And it made the cut! I was not a happy camper…. Whatever. It was all good because ABC kept hiring us, Butterfly, Target: Miss World, four episodes.  Country in Las Vegas Country Top 20 was a NBC variety TV show.  It was shot in Las Vegas: sin city, not my favorite location.  It was like Disneyland for adults. The reason is, I was not a gambler. The Las Vegas vibe is not for me. And not a country music lover, still.  But Conway Twitty, Barbara Mandrell and Don Williams sang their country songs in country sets with cowboy outfitted dancing girls. The show was good if you like that sort of entertainment. I hate LV. I stayed there for three months.

’83. I got a McDonald’s commercial. The advertisers called me and my dance teacher Jamie Rogers, (West Side Story, the movie, he played a shark and worked with George), submitted my name. Jamie was hot in la. His classes were always filled, two-hour classes of modern everyday. I learned a lot about Martha Graham’s technique that made me a stronger dancer. We were in the sprawling white studio in Culver City to record the lines, I had one line. When you talk on a commercial, you get more money, the next day; we shot it in a stage in Hollywood.  Jamie’s assistant choreographed the commercial because Jaime was busy with another gig. The commercial was shown only in the west (regional, less money).

Street of Fire. I was Diane Lane’s double. I did the concert scenes, when they are shooting the audience and the kidnaper scene.

I was in beautiful France and Germany for Puma sneakers. In Jan. in the same year, I was doing a variety show for Italian TV: Risatissma.  The director asked six dancers to go to Italy to shoot more shows.  I spent four months in Milan, paid apartment, and $1000/week. What an experience. After the gig, my mom came over and we traveled to Venice, (it snowed), Rome and Florence.  In Feb. I celebrated my 30th birthday in Milan at Peter Pan restaurant.  I felt, so blessed dancing professionally, earning money, traveling to exotic places. Do you Adam and Eve it? I did. Loved it.

Di Danza Milan

Jaime Rogers submitted my name again for a Stayfree commercial.  They hired a model that was not a dancer.  They shot it in silhouette, so the dancer and the model had to have the same profile.  They examined our noses, the model and me.  It was painful, waiting around for their decision. I got it…..no, my nose got the gig. Body parts: boobs, legs, crotch now, my nose.  When the model was doing her lines, the advertisers asked me to wear the pad for legal purposes. Hey, it was ok because I earned $25,000 that day.  It was a long day, but profitable!

It was ‘84; I auditioned for Doug Henning’s stage show.  The magic guy. Tj, Clark, Jenny and me rounded the troupe out.  Sadly, Doug, passed in 2000.  Doug asked everybody to sign a release. We couldn’t divulge any magic secrets.  I had to climb into tiny spaces, like the panther cage and sawing in half with Jenny.  Doug’s sawing in half was fun, because it was a ‘double’ sawing in half. Everybody loved it. Doug put us in a coffin like box, I was wearing pants and Jenny was wearing a skirt. Doug saw us in half with our feet wiggling. Doug turned the boxes around and put us together again but switched the boxes.  TO-DA!  I was wearing the skirt and Jenny was wearing the pants.

Doug, me and the tiger

Doug had tigers, panthers, penguins, turtles, and a monkey…a zoo.  Doug hired big animal trainers, a chef, (Doug was a vegan and mediated twice a day), carpenters, drivers, and a double.  Doug levitated, did slight hand magic.  I will tell you one trick.

As Doug’s assistant, I climbed into a cage, with a red cover partially hiding the cage, (the panther was in there), I got in with the panther, but the panther was separated from me by a board, and under the red cover.  Then, Doug covered the cage, he was circling it too. Meanwhile, I had to flatten myself out, fast, in the bottom of the cage. The board covered me, letting the panther go when Doug revealed….  TO-DA.  A black panther and no girl.  The panther peed a lot in the cage with me in it!  Ugh.

Before the show was on the road, we did Johnny Carson’s Tonight show. We did the panther trick. The first venue was Los Angeles, next San Francisco, my hometown, and a week at the Orpheum theatre. When I was 21, I volunteered at the Orpheum. I got to see the show as I took the theatergoers to their seats. Pippin’ with Ben Vereen was hot at the time about 1972. Twelve years later, I am performing at the Orpheum.  Who knew?
We toured St. Louis, Cleveland, (ugh,) and Atlanta. Atlanta was cool because Michael Jackson was on tour as well. Michael loved all animals and wanted to see our show.  It was a secret.  Michael was ushered in and saw the show. He went backstage to see the animals after. We met the shy Michael. It was a thrill. Michael said he liked my dancing.  I responded with something dumb. Since, he saw our show he gave us tickets for HIS show. It was at some big football stadium.
Chicago. What a city, windy but, awesome pizza. I was ready for NYC. We arrived in New York at JFK eager to see the big apple. The gig was at the Lunt-Fontain Theater, 46th and Broadway.  Again, who knew? dancing on Broadway?
It was 1984. I was having a ball, dancing 8 shows/week, auditioning and going out at night with my girlfriends when the theatre was dark. I was Carrie, Sex in the City.

The show closed in four months. I decided to move to New York.  Jenny and I got a sublet apartment in Riverside Ave. The first item was getting an agent. I got one and they sent me on commercial auditions.  I went to an audition for Twix. I don’t know how I knew but they were looking for dancing airline hostesses. I wore a blue suit. Well, after the audition as I was leaving, two advertisers came to me and ask me to stay.  I got it. No, the blue suit got it.  Now, I was doing a commercial in New York City!   This glee was short lived.  I shot the commercial but somehow it was scrapped. I ended on the cutting room floor. Shoot.

meter maid

Meanwhile, I met my future husband.  Got married, had a baby, did another commercial,   divorced and got sick. I didn’t die but I was indeed sick.The dance career was over, not because of the illness but I was too OLD. I am an old gypsy. Sag to the rescue again.

In San Francisco, 2005, I was involved in SF Casting. I did Sag extra work. They call it background work. YOU are the background. But Sag extra work paid more, about $100/day. We stood around or walk on the  street, or in a café. There were many Sag members on the shoot, and we had a ball. I did: Rent, Milk, and Pursuit of Happyness. I worked every weekend for two months for Pursuit, fun gig. That’s all.

Food fashion: Daddy’s Carbonara

Try it. It is so easy and has a lot of flavor. I baked the bacon instead of frying. About 15 mintues at 400 degress.

so easy and yummy

pound dried spaghetti

1 pound bacon

10 ounces frozen peas (1 package)

4 eggs

1 cup fresh grated parmesan

black pepper

  1. Start cooking the pasta (I have long subscribed to the less-water method Harold McGee addresses here).
  2. Take the bacon out of the package, cold out of the refrigerator, and cut across the slices into 1/2″ wide blocks. Cook in a skillet over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the blocks with a wooden spoon.
  3. Dump the peas into a Pyrex bowl with a little water and microwave 3-4 minutes, until they are warm, stirring halfway through.
  4. While all the cooking is going on, mix the egg, parmesan, and pepper (to taste – it’s best to use a lot, but for kids, maybe less) in a large bowl. It should have the consistency of thick batter.
  5. When the pasta is done, drain it quickly. Don’t linger, as it’s good to capture some of the water. Dump the steaming spaghetti into the egg mixture, and agitate well to cook the egg. Add the bacon with a slotted spoon. Some purists will just empty the skillet into the bowl, but that is too much. Mix in the peas, and you’re done. The biggest challenge is to get the bacon and peas mixed in evenly.

Next post: Susan Graf, more Healdsburg Street Chic, French Onion soup. Yummy.

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am lucky. I live in the country.  I am awakened by bird songs every day on the ranch.  Another type of singing group in town that  I met; chanting songstresses at Vinyl Revival’s rehearsal at Chanceller Place last week.  The four singing birds are Carol , Lisa,  Heather, Linda, along with Dana, the pianist. Their songs are more than just melodic notes, they have meaning.

They entertain you with their soulful chorus of tunes.  The group who sing three or four harmony oldies from the 30s, 40s, 50s, and the 60s.  They have hours of tuneful, melodic songs and the Christmas show is full of santa claus lyrics  that you will find yourself… singing along.  The group performs at  senior living facilities, Healdsburg’s annual tree-lighting celebration, Windsor Town Center’s holiday open house, City of Santa Rosa, and Relay for Life.

New song

Contract Heather for your party or event:    www.windsoreperformingarts.net

Carol Noack,soprano has loved singing ever since she listened to her parents harmonize on leisurely Sunday drives. She has sung in choruses, stage productions, small performing groups, and as a featured soloist since she was in junior high school. She is the corporate communications director for the Raven Performing Arts Theater, and produces the irreverent annual Mr. Healdsburg Pageant. On the side, she volunteers with Green Dog Rescue and Forgotten Felines, and can only vaguely remember a time when she didn’t have foster cats or kittens running around. She adores her fellow Vinyl Revival singers, and especially loves the tunes from the 30s and 40s that the group sings.

Lisa Phipps, second soprano has been singing in various choirs since she was a kid.  Her experience has ranged from huge church choirs, small community choirs, and of course,all the musicals in high school!  Now, as the alto in her quartet, she loves how the four voices really have to listen to each other to blend and sound their best.  She loves singing for audiences who appreciate the old classics with their great lyrics and warm harmonies.  It is especially touching when audience members sing along, hold hands, and even dance to the songs.  Lisa believes that music is a powerful tool that recalls fond memories and lifts everyone’s spirit!

Heather, alto, is the founding artisitic director and the director of the Healdsburg/ and Windsor Children Community Choir. She teaches private lessonsis the heart and soul of the academy.  Everyone who takes her classes knows Heather’s mantra: “No negativity!” even in jest.

I’m Linda Freebairn, second alto, I love singing, whether it’s a lullaby to a child or grandchild (I have 10 grandkids and love ‘em!), with the church choir, with my guitar at girls’ camp, or with Vinyl Revival!  Music evokes feelings that words cannot express!  I have been singing with Vinyl Revival for three years, and am glad they brought me on board.  I am the 2nd alto/bass.  I was raised in a musical household:  my dad (a carpenter by trade) also played violin for many years with the Oakland Symphony, and later Santa Rosa Symphony, and other orchestras in the Bay Area.  My mother and sister play piano, my brother sings, and I play guitar and a bit of piano.  As a teen and young adult, I sang tenor in a large group choir (400+ voices) as well as small ensembles, and a fun jug band with 7 friends.  The musical tradition has continued with my family.  My husband, two sons, and a daughter play trumpet, two daughters play clarinet, and our disabled daughter loves to sing (and has perfect pitch).  Yes, I love music, and singing with Vinyl Revival is a joy!

Dana Preston, pianist. have enjoyed being the piano accompanist for Vinyl Revival for the past couple of years.  It’s fun sharing our love of oldies songs with our audiences!  I have the pleasure of accompanying several other terrific groups including high school and church choirs, musical theater productions, voice and instrumental students of all ages, and a choir for developmentally disabled adults.  I also plan to start teaching piano next year. My family has lived in Santa Rosa for the past 19 years and previously lived in the South Bay where I worked as a travel agent.

Fashionistas on North Street

Next post:  Dress locally: Clothes from Susan Graf  and Zizi.  More fashionista moments, Broccoli rabe, Potato, and Rosemary pizza.

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Healdsburg is more than just galleries, restaurants, and wineries—it’s about fashion too. Ten years ago, there were only a handful of fashion sites on the Internet. Today, thousands of blogs focus on fashion. Blogs has opened the door to anyone, no matter where you live. Sadly, fashion is not kind to the aging, but I do not think that it has to be the case.  And also check out  ww.advancedstyle.blogspot.com and check out the moving forwarding fashionistas in town. Create art on yourself, put some color in your life. It is all about personal expression…it feels good. Let’s face it; fashion can be a business that takes itself a lot too seriously, but it can be fun!

I turn to Zizi, on the plaza.

Zizi, creatively casual clothing for women, has been on the plaza for fourteen years. As a girl growing up in St. Louis, Cynthia Zizzi was a neighborhood entrepreneur. Cynthia organized her friends in various ventures. As a young adult, she traveled to South America, buying homemade goods in the local markets that she later sold at flea markets and garage sales. In 1998, she opened Zizi in Healdsburg. (The Press Democrat, 2011). The focus is modern, contemporary designs. She has 30 lines of unique clothing and high quality jewelry too. Create fresh stylish outfits at Zizi, 334 Healdsburg Ave. Healdsburg, Ca. And follow Zizi on Facebook.

Author’s notes: I had a blast shooting with Linda, (photographer, my good friend). The dress was flirty,  a  jazzy print with lively fall colors. I love the details. I love the ‘editorial’  of the shots as well. If the young man who shot with us, sees this, write me. I love to use you for future shoots. I love your vibe. I am in a loving mood. ha.

Run down:

Dress:  Salaam from Vermont

Jewerly: Whitley sisters from San Franciso

Shoes:   Platform heels  (mine)

Fashionistas in town. The thrill of street style is the art of taking pictures of real people based on their style. You can be poor as a church mouse but, if you know how to mix your clothes, you can still be a style star: unstyled, creative fashion.

Advanced style on North Ave.

Joan, horse lover

These outfits I designed and sewed in 2005. I had a  design company:  Katy Y Designs, and   I am a thrifter: for clothes, furniture, and jewelery. In the day I was a dumpster diver. Really. I found chairs, wood,  small tables, et.

The Clothes:

flower jacket and silk dress

silk blue

Tulle skirt and sequin bustier

I was shopping at the ubiquitous GoodWill and saw a wedding dress. Ummm, what to do with that? I know, separate the skirt from top. Yeah. I wear it with jeans.

Additionally, I bought a festive dress with island jeweled birds at GoodWill, $7.00.  It was too big so I took the side seams to make a waist line. Paired black pumps I have new a dance frock.

let’s cook!  Roasted Sausages and Grapes

Well, it is a keeper! The sweet and hot sausages combined with wine, the grapes with a hint of balsamic vinegar was a culinary delight. And the recipe was awe-inspiring because it is so easy. The complex flavors take on a hearty glow after roasting. Don’t forget the bread to soak up the sauce. wow.

Compound flavors! Yummy.

  • 1 1/2 pounds Italian hot sausage
  • 1 1/2 pounds Italian sweet sausage
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 to 6 cups (2 pounds) red or green seedless grapes, stems removed
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons dry red wine, preferably Chianti
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Fresh Foccaccia or Ciabatta bread,

Directions

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Parboil the sausages in water to cover for 8 minutes to rid them of excess fat. Melt the butter in a large heatproof roasting pan, add the grapes, and toss to coat. Over moderately high heat add the wine. Stir with a wooden spoon for a few minutes until the wine has reduced by half. Using tongs, transfer the parboiled sausages to the roasting pan and push them down in the grapes so the sausages will not brown too quickly. Roast in the oven, turning the sausages once, until the grapes are soft and the sausages have browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Place the roasting pan on top of the stove over a medium-high heat and add the balsamic vinegar. Scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the roasting pan, and allow the vinegar and juices to reduce until they are thick and syrupy. With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausages and grapes to a serving platter. Pour the sauce over the sausages and grapes and serve immediately, accompanied with fresh bread. Yummy.

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Hello to all my friends: gastronomy addicts!

For fourteen years I was a professional dancer and actress working in Los Angeles and New York, including the Broadway stage.  In the 1980s my career segued into print and commercial television work, bringing me to San Francisco. I loved every minute of it. But I

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In the day

started the 90’s in a cognitive fog, quite literally.  On a weekend trip with friends to the beautiful hills of Napa in California, I was exposed to Viral Meningo-Encephalitis; an unexpected and debilitating illness.  It started with a horrendous headache and a troublesome sore throat.  In early November, I slipped into an eleven-day coma. When I awoke, I couldn’t speak. After months of physical and speech therapy, one of my recovery efforts was to return to school. I went to San Jose State University as a Theatre Arts (dance) major and I rediscovered hope; I was beginning to experience a sense of confidence for the first time since I became ill.  I knew that if I continued in school I could create a self-sufficient and successful future. In August 1999, I received a Master of Arts. I went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts in Law Studies and a paralegal certificate in 2004. Armed with a new confidence and outlook, I found a new passion to consume my life: goats! All the discipline, energy and joy I poured into dancing now go into the goat’s milk cheesecake and goat’s milk ice cream I share with my friends and family. Some people still have trouble understanding my speech. But when someone takes a bite of my goat’s milk cheesecake or goat’s milk ice cream, they’re often at a loss for words, too.

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Goat’s milk cheesecake bites

That’s why I call them Speechless Cakes! http://www.speechlesscakes.com

The speechlesscakes site is winding down as I write the new Julie & Julia Revisiting blog.  I love to bake of course; I love to cook as well.  So, I am cooking all the recipes from Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, The 52 Food Cookbook 2011. Starting with Winter. It is a community based cookbook.  Do you remember Julie and Julia, the movie? Julie cooked 524 recipes from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in her small Manhattan kitchen and blogged about it.

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o so tiny!

My kitchen is small…..smaller than hers! Evidently, Julia was looking for something to do in the day, Julie too when she wrote the book. Well, me too. My hope is that all foodies will enjoy my successes and failures of the recipes. Moreover, I am sure that I will learn something in the process. I will put an image of the finished product on the site and blog about it. Mind you, I am no chef but I can create a great goat’s milk cheesecake and goat’s milk ice cream! Happy cooking and any comments  are welcomed.

Healdsburg:  When I moved to Healdsburg about three years ago, I felt a sense of community and spirit right away. I didn’t know anyone. I went to the farmer’s market on Saturday and walked among the bounty. Had coffee from Jimtown store booth, bought garlic and shallots from Yael  Bernier’s Farm.  Signed up to volunteer for Farm to Pantry.  What a great way to meet my new neighbors! I learned about gleaning. Gleaning is collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they

have been commercially harvested.

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Manok and me gleaning at Yael’s farm

Ancient cultures gleaned: old practice. Melita Love, founder, and volunteers, will pick surplus vegetables, fruit, from the property owner, farmer or gardener. Melita will take the vegetables and fruit to the local food pantry, shelter, local schools or soup kitchen.  Healdsburg’s scenery is beautiful and the vibe is laid back with big city tastes. Healdsburg is all about local. It is a farm community, yet local wine making, five star cuisine restaurants, inn keepers are right up there with the big city. Don’t forget the music. In the

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Music in the summer

summer, every Tuesday, the whole town comes to the plaza to hear music for free! The town welcomed me in. They are engaging and open in my short years, here, I feel that I have become part of the community.  When I started Speechless Cakes, many businesses helped me like Herb from the City of Healdsburg, Will, from Costeaux French Bakery, Nina from Laramore Communications for press releases and Shelton’s grocery who took my first product, Goat’s milk cheesecake bites and put them on their shelves!  I volunteer for Farm to Pantry every week, walk the dogs and assist my friend Linda who is a great photographer, to shoot the dogs in a favorable light for Healdsburg Animal shelter’s web site.  I am a gym rat at Park Point, doing Yoga, five practices a week, Zumba and weights. I live on a twenty-acre ranch four miles outside of town. When I moved in, it was a working ranch;

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The ranch

we had thirty sheep and Betsy, the llama. I have a little guesthouse with a small kitchen. Where I will cook the Winter recipes from the Food 52 Cookbook. It is small but, when I open the front door, I see twenty acres that I can roam and there is room for my garden. The garden is bigger than my space! The winter garden is sprouting with kale, Chinese lettuce, garlic, potatoes, radishes, chard, turnips and leeks. My sweet Betsy, I love her. She always was protecting the babies; seven ewes were born last spring.  You can see Betsy on http://www.youtube.com (“My friend Betsy”). I fed her apples and shot from my Canon powershot! I looped her mouth on

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Betsy doing her job!

the computer and put the dialog with an English accent. She is talking about Speechless Cakes. It is pretty funny. My landlord Lorraine who is 80, wanted to simplize her life so she sold them BUT they will come back to graze on the ranch in the spring. Yippee.

Next post: Leek, lemon and feta Quiche

I was running to Park Point on Saturday, before the Santa Rosa market, to take a yoga practice with Yoga Dan: Hot yoga Dan. He is 6’ 8”, long hair with a tranquil and spiritual sense. But Dan told us that he couldn’t teach class today or any day. He has to quit; he has liver issues and must see his doctors in the Midwest. Wow. Hopefully, he will get better soon and continue teaching his Zen practice… for the ladies.

I know a lot about illness. Dan doesn’t know about my speech difference, my disabilty is hidden. Hey, like the leeks, hidden dirt in their layers. Yeah, my layers of illness. Dan, I am with you, namaste. So, I went with a heavy heart, to Santa Rosa market to follow Yael Bernier’s Farm. Healdsburg’s market is closed until spring. Making the trek to the Santa Rosa market….it is well worth it. Called the garlic lady, Yael, is a tower of knowledge: all farming. We glean at her farm; she is always donating her surplus vegetables to the pantry. A yoga friend, we talk about food, the market, and goats.

At the market, the imprint of the bounty of Sonoma is unbelievable; I love the gnarly, earthly vegetables and fruit that you see at the market. This is what food looks like.

Serves 1 large quiche or 4 individual-size quiches
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
1 pound leeks
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup half-and-half
3 eggs
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1-teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ouzo (optional)
2-1/2 ounces feta cheese, cut into 4 (approx 1/2-inch) slices

Preheat oven to 375F.  I thaw the puff pastry the night before in the  fridge. Prepare the leeks. By washing any dirt away and slice the roots from the end. Remove the dark green

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Leeks

tops, leaving a couple inches of light green with the white portion of the leeks. (The dark trimmings can be reserved for another use, adding them to a vegetable or chicken stock, for example or the compost pile!) Halve the leeks lengthwise, then cut crosswise in 1/2-inch slices. Put the slices in a colander and rinse thoroughly; if you don’t, you risk having a gritty, sandy quiche, O no. Leeks often hide dirt deep in their layers. Let the leeks drain well, and dry.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it shines. Add the leeks and cook until they are wilted; don’t cook them so much that they give off liquid. Turn off the heat and let sit.       Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl using a whisk, beat together the half-and-half, eggs, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Add the ouzo, if you are using it. Prepare the pastry crusts (pic of the pastry board that I made).

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Cool counter/pastry board

I was reading about creating more space in the kitchen, like New York City kitchens ‘The Secrets of Baking’ from Shelly Yard’s cookbook. I am reading cookbooks now. So, get a board, the same size of your sink, put the board over the sink. Instant counter. It works! Roll puff pastry to ¼ inch.  Someday I will try to make puff pastry. But not today. Press the pastry up to the sides to make a nice edge. Yeah, a nice edge. Tension as I roll the pastry dough out.  Who said?  ‘Easy as pie”….was talking about eating pie not rolling dough.

Fill the quiches. Distribute the leeks evenly across the bottom of the dish(es). Pour the milk mixture over the leeks. Top the quiche(s) with the slices of feta. If you have feta that crumbles apart, no worries just sprinkle it on top.  Bake 30-40 minutes, depending on size of the quiche(s). The center should be solid and the crust and top nicely browned. Let the quiche cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. The quiches taste great hot, room temperature, even cold. Yummy~

First recipe. Leeks: yes, wash thoroughly. I used four eggs instead of three. It called for three large eggs. All that I had was Lisa’s eggs. They are small, but they are so good. I do pet care often. Lisa has two dogs, a cat and chickens and needed care last week. Do you know that chickens have personalities? Some chickens will adopt the role of calling the

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Lisa’s chickens

hens into the coop to sleep for the night. But this group is on their own time schedules. With dusk, comes the urge to roost. I had to close the coop door after they go in, so no critters will get them in the night. I was standing, waiting, counting, (15), as they climbed into the coop…. tapping my shoe.  One hen was going in and out, in and out…. Hey, it is nighty, nighty time. Sigh.  Back to the recipe, I rolled the puff pastry out and it was surprising easy.  O, if you make the pastry board: sand the edges of the board, I got a big sliver!  I filled the quiche with the leeks, half and half, eggs, salt, pepper and the feta cheese and http://julieandjuliarevisiting.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/finished-product.jpg?w=300&h=225baked it about 35 minutes.

Next time, I will switch goat’s milk cheese for the Feta. I love my goats. I am making my own goat’s milk cheese. In February, when the goats are milking. I will let you know how it turns out.

C ya.  Next post and new recipe as well: Jennie’s Homemade Manicotti.

Recipe by Allison Cay Parker in Food 52 Cookbook  

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the Food 52 Cookbook

She is a freelance writer, editor, recipe developer and tester. She lives in New York City, and writes the blog Feeding the Saints (www.feedingthesaints.com.)

History. I was born in Newton, Massachusetts to Sally and Sammy White. My mother was a United stewardess and my dad was a catcher for the Boston Red Sox. (Dad was a “Tiger” in the day, like the golf hero Tiger Woods…. my dad liked the girls too. However, my dad

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The Newton house

was a solid defensive catcher, with a good arm and the ability to get the most out of a Boston pitching staff teams that include Mel Parnell, Ellis Kinder, Bill Monbouquette, Mike Fornieles and Frank Sullivan. An All-American college basketball player at the University of Washington, he signed his first professional baseball contract with the Seattle Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League in 1949. After the 1949 minor league season ended, the Minneapolis Lakers asked my dad to join their National Basketball Association team. But the Red Sox, who had acquired his contract during 1949, were furious and prevented dad from doing that. During his career with the Red Sox, dad opened a bowling alley. Sammy

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Daddy’s bowl alley

White’s Brighton Bowl not far from Fenway Park. I was looking for a picture of the bowling alley, online.  Dad sold the bowling alley in the 60s.  I remember, dad playing the saxophone in his office, while I dance for the customers in the coffee shop. Customers would inject quarters into the jukebox to keep me dancing to Chubby Checker’s The Twist. “Come on baby…  do the twist”. Memories. I can say I became a professional dancer when I was six years old, dancing at daddy’s bowling alley.  I wanted to be famous.

Are you hungry? I am. Let’s cook.

Jennie’s Homemade Manicotti

1 large egg
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups goat milk, plus more as needed to thin the batter
canola oil, to lightly grease pan
Filling:

16 ounces fresh goat ricotta cheese (homemade recipe below)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Homemade ricotta recipe
4 cups goat’s milk
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt

Add the ricotta ingredients to a 4-quart pot and warm over medium heat. Meanwhile, line a sieve or fine-mesh strainer with a few layers of cheesecakes and place it over a deep bowl or pot. Once the curds begin separate from the whey, (the temperature will be between 175 degrees and 200 degrees F.), remove from the heat. Gently spoon or ladle into the cheesecloth–lined strainer. You may need to gently the cheesecloth at the top to help the curds drain. Let the curds drain for 15 or 30 minutes, depending on how creamy you’d like your ricotta. Store in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Add the pasta ingredients to the bowl of a blender. Blend, adding more milk one teaspoon at a time, until batter is a thin, almost runny consistency. Heat a nonstick 8-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Brush pan lightly with oil, if needed. Hold pan at an angle, and swirl pan as you pour in enough batter to coat bottom of skillet. Cook 30 to 45 seconds, flip and cook for 15 more seconds. And don’t forget, the first one or two might end up being sacrificial until you get the hang of swirling the pan. Transfer to a flat dish or tray. Repeat with remaining batter. You should have 8 to 10 “shells” by the end.

Assemble
2 cups marinara sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Homemade goat ricotta

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spread ½ cup of marinara sauce into the bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish. Combine all the filling ingredients in a medium bowl (see ricotta recipe below if making from scratch); mix well. Lay pasta crepes on a flat surface and spoon an event amount of filling in a long strip down the center of each one. Roll crepes closed, and place seam-side down into the casserole dish. Evenly pour remaining sauce over filled crepes. Sprinkle remaining grated cheese over top and bake 20 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Recipe from Jennifer Perillo, recipe developer and food editor from Brooklyn, New York. She writes a blog called Jennie’s Kitchen (www.injennieskitchen.com)

It is comfort food, creamy, fresh. My friend, Lorraine, is my tester for this recipe.  She is not a fan of goat cheese but she liked the sauce, and the crepes.  It is all good, some people don’t like goat cheese.  Well, I tried to make the homemade ricotta.  Twice,

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Yummy, with tangy goat cheese.

one with whole milk and one with unpasteurized (raw) milk. I was not successful.  ): I am not a patient person. Evidently, when the milk gets to 180 degrees, (I should have waited to 200 degrees), off heat, the curds will appear. Whey will separate from the curds…. THEN, you put the curds in the cheesecloth. And wait… more. But nothing happened. No curds.  I didn’t have more milk to try it again. Forget it.  I bought the goat cheese from The Cheese Shop in town. Did I tell you that I like goats?  I do. Next time, I will try t to make homemade goat cheese instead of buying it. Yummy. It is the same technique as the cow version in terms of making cheese. But,  I was successful in terms of crepe making.  It is all about the wrist!

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The elusive crepe making. Ta-Da!

Next post:  Whole Fish ( Filleting fish??) and, in class.

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100-dollar bid, now 120. Now 120. Will ya give 120?  Basic auctioneer chant that I experienced at the   Petaluma Livestock Auction on Monday with my friend Lisa. We were goat shopping.  She bought two meat goats from a nice lady, Kim on Sweetwater springs road, in Healdsburg, last week. But she was having trouble finding more. This time she

was looking for dairy goats. We had to depend on the auction. The issue with the auction

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lisa goat mom

is you get what you pay for. You will never know where the animals are from, who are the breeders. Nothing.  We went there early, because sometimes, they allow you into the pens before the auction to check them out: check their teeth, or check if they are pregnant.  First, we got lost. We were talking and missed the highway exit and missed the necessary acquaintance with the goats. Oops. We finally arrived at the auction. The auction barn was crowded with farmers, men, women, kids and us. The auctioneer and

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Aunt Em and Uncle Henry

his wife sat high above the animals. They looked like Aunt Em and Uncle Henry from the Wizard of Oz. Lisa took a seat on the bleachers with a local lady. I was excited, bending over the corral, took my camera out and shot. First animals were the pigs, big hogs. I waved to them. The lady sitting with Lisa said, “ You should get your friend, I think she just bought a pig!” Lisa grabbed me and said, I know you are excited, but sit on your hands we don’t want any pigs only goats. Uncle Henry knew, that I was a newbie to the auction. No sale, phew. Next, a baby goat! I love them. She or he was bought right away. Done. Lisa knew whom she wanted. After about six or seven goats, who were bought: she appeared. She was so

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#17, so pretty.

pretty. Lisa raised her arm and bought her at $160. I applauded! Lisa gave her a new name Margaret, instead of #17 and we went to lunch.  It turns out Margaret is pregnant. In the spring, babies.

The goat saga continues.

Margaret is not pregnant, she is crazy. She broke the fence twice. Lily and Margaret don’t get along.  It was goat mayhem.  Meanwhile, we went goat shopping again, but this time in Sonoma. We were driving on highway 12, suddenly the goat cage blew off the pickup, careening into on coming cars. Fortunately, it didn’t hit any cars.  But we had to run in top speed to get the cage off the highway. The cage was in good shape.  We put it back into the pickup and went on in silence.  A family who have 13 goats with three one-week-old babies, beautiful, red kiddies, Welcomed us.  Lisa bought another goat and she is pregnant.  She delivered twins yesterday.  The kids

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Saffron and Rosie

are named Saffron and Rosie.  Still wobbling their little legs in the barn.  At press, Margaret has settled down. No goat head butting, well, head butting when they are playing.  I love them.  They are small dogs with companion manners.

Let’s cook.

Whole Baked Fish with Parsley Gremolata

I love food, as I have a love for dance. Recipes are choreography; it is an expression of myself, performance.  My friend, Care, asked: “When did you first know that you like to cook? ” My first response is Los Angeles, but in earnest it was a dinner party that I cooked for the hospital staff, in the early 90s in the bay area. If I think hard, the meal was fish.

I ordered a stripped bass from Big John’s market. I wanted a two-pound fish but I got a three pounder. Thirty bucks. Fine. It was a beautiful fish with clear eyes. The fishmonger

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Stripped Bass three pounder

scaled it for me.  As the fish was baking, I made the parsley gremolata. I have never fillet a fish. I went on line to Youtube.com: How to fillet a fish. The Food 52 cookbook is challenging: first, crepes, now, filleting a fish, later, Octopus salad.  I knew that this experience would be a learning adventure: writing, cooking.   So, the crust was hard and with Lorraine’s help, as my photographer, I dived into it. Pirouetteing my hammer,http://julieandjuliarevisiting.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/sea-salt.jpg?w=300&h=225 I cracked the fish open. Filleting the fish is the question. Can I do it?

Piece of cake. Why? The fish was cooked. I cut the head off, the skin and bones melted away. If you have a fresh fish, filleting the fish, is the dare. Here is the rub: Give a dinner

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Whole fish with gremolata

party and impressed your friends with the hammer. It was flavorful, moist.  I love the gremolata. It was fresh, a little lemon zest works wonders.

Serves 6

For the fish

1 whole fish, approx. 5 lbs., such as snapper or sea bass

1 lemon, thinly sliced

1 small bunch parsley sprigs

Fennel fronds from one bulb, halved lengthwise

4 pounds coarse sea salt

2 egg whites

Extra-virgin olive oil

Lemon wedges

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. Place lemon slices, parsley and fennel in cavity of the fish. Do not overstuff.
  3. Combine egg whites and sea salt in a bowl. Mix well to moisten salt.
  4. Spread 1/3 salt on bottom of large baking dish or pan. Lay fish on top. Pour remaining salt over fish, covering completely. If needed, tail can be exposed.
  5. Bake in oven 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes.
  6. Crack open crust with small hammer or knife. Remove and discard crust. Fillet fish.
  7. Arrange fish on warm plates. Drizzle with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice from wedges. Serve with Parsley Gremolata.

For the Parsley Gremolata::

1/2 cup finely chopped parsley

1 garlic clove, minced

Finely grated zest from one untreated lemon

Pinch sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Combine parsley, garlic and lemon zest in a small bowl. Season to taste with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Recipe from  Lynda Balslev who is a blogger:  (www.tastefoodblog.com)

Next post: My back and raspberry and rose water cheesecake

The only dance that I did was as a lone amateur at six years old, was at daddy’s bowling alley, just for fun. Serious dance didn’t come into my life really until I broke my back at the age of nineteen. At the College of San Mateo, one day, Oct. 19, 1973, (don’t know why I remember the day), I was at gymnastics after school practice, on the floor exercise. I could do 10 back handsprings, easy. On the trampoline, I was doing back flips in the puck position. On the third flip, I felt something as I landed on my back. Oh, something was indeed wrong. The students got me off the trampoline, and I started to walked slowly to the locker room. I felt faint.  The ambulance arrived and took me to Mills hospital. Well, I had broken my back.

3rd lumber. They tickled my toes all night. Next day, they said, that I was not paralyzed.  Phew. I remained there two weeks.  After that I was going stir crazy at home. I was always active.

My sister, Debbie was dancing at Berle Davis‘s Dance Art Center in San Mateo. I watched Debbie’s jazz class and I inquired about tap classes. I loved jazz dance but I couldn’t do that. But I could do tap and DAC had tap classes. I could take tap classes because the back brace allowed me to move my legs and feet. It was great although, tap can be intricate.

The timing is straightforward yet complex. The target in tap dancing is to produce clear, http://julieandjuliarevisiting.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/tap-shoes.jpg?w=584clean sounds. The body weight should be held slightly forward, allowing most of the dancing to be done on the balls of the feet. I could do that. Stamp, shuffle, cramp roll and ball change made it in to my dance vocabulary.  After two months of tap classes; I felt I was active, sort of. I was waiting for the doctor to say, “You are healed”.  In six months, he said it. The back brace retired. I think I gave it to the Salvation Army on the way home.  Now, I could take jazz class. Yippee.

Let’s cook:

I digress from the Food 52 cookbook this month. I saw a raspberry and rose water cheesecake recipe on Christell’s blog: (Christelleisflabbergasting.com).  The blog is in French but you can get the English version on http://www.designsponge.com. I have to try it but with changes.  I am using my cheesecake recipe: goat’s milk cheese, oreo cookies and less sugar. Since, I can make cheesecake in my sleep.  I have no stories in terms in of making it.

http://julieandjuliarevisiting.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/cheesecake-goat.jpg?w=300&h=225Although, the rose water is new, Traditional cheesecake calls for 1 cup of sugar. Ugh.  I use ¼ cup. I usually use pistachio crust but chocolate (oreos) crust and raspberries and goat’s milk is a perfect combo.  The rose water is subtle, but the dessert is rich….. yummy. A good recipe is like having the little black dress. Everyone needs one.

For the crust:
8 oz.)

Oreo cookies

(3 oz.)  Unsalted butter
For the filling:

10 oz.  Goat’s milk cheese, at room temperature

(1/4 cup) granulated sugar

4 eggs at room temperature

Pinch of salt

½ tsp. vanilla
One lemon of zest

2 tbsp. rosewater (1 tbsp. more or less, according to taste)
For the raspberry topping:

1 1/2 cup frozen raspberries

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp. corn starch

1/2 cup water

1 tbsp. rosewater
Make the crust:

Finely grind the Oreo cookies and mix in well with the butter. Butter an 8-inch spring form pan and press the cookie mixture evenly into the pan using the bottom of a glass or spoon (and up the sides if you wish, as well). Put aside in the freezer.

Prepare the filling:

In a bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Gradually add each egg, lemon zest, vanilla, salt and rosewater while beating on low speed until the texture is creamy.

Pour the filling evenly in the pan. Wrap the pan with foil put it in a water bath. Place the cheesecake in the middle rack of the oven.

Bake for 40 minutes at 350ºF .  Check the texture, with knife, it was should be wiggly.  Cool inside the oven and leave the door closed for an hour. Once it is completely cooled, put it in the refrigerator overnight.

Make the raspberry topping:

1. Place the sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat.  Add water and stir well.

2. Add the frozen raspberries and crush them using a wooden spoon. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir continually for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.  The put topping in a strainer and with a spoon and remove the seeds.

3. Remove cake from the pan and transfer to a plate. Spread the topping over the chilled cheesecake and decorate with fresh raspberries. Refrigerate for an hour.ummy.
Recipe from me!

Next post: In class,  Spring Risotto from the Food 52 Cookbook

Keywords: blog, creativity, food

I planted a row of eucalyptus trees from seed, now, 20 feet high…. they bug me.”

y friend Bonnie

My friend Bonnie.

Bonnie Z, master designer, took us on a tour of sweet, beautiful flowers and shrubs at Dragonfly farm, and explained the rules of cut flowers to novice gardeners. Dragonfly farm gives informative classes: the basics or table arrangements. Today was table arrangements.

Dragonfly farm began in the 90s. They ‘yanked’ out six acres of grapes for a vegetable farm, initially. But it is grown to a sustainable, organically flower farm. They blossomed into their own style: Wine Country Garden with original, relaxed, natural designs that include color, texture and fiber. I think Bonnie is into texture. Dragonfly has a robust wedding business as well. In the day, Carrie Brown from Jimtown store, asked Bonnie to design arrangements for a wedding. This is how it started.

our the farm

touring the farm

So, there were about six of us in the class, pen and paper in hand that began at 10 am. We took a tour, learning and designing. Designing? Well, we tried. Bonnie took us around the farm, discussing trees, shrubs, flowers, and herbs. We asked questions like, “Why does my flowers droop, in a hour after cutting?” First, cut in the morning before 9a, add flora food and important, re cut every time before designing. Quick dip will help too. Oh. Woody stems? cut on an angle, no food for herbs. Always buy bare root roses. She showed us: their roses from cuttings vs. the commercial grown roses. What a difference. Again, oh.

I am trying a rose cutting today, from a bare root plan with Bonnie’s coaching.

olor, texture, o so pretty

Color, texture, oh so pretty.

You should take a trip to Dragonfly, their circular trees in the middle of the farm where  you could sit and smell the surrounding bounty of flora.
We thanked the Dragonfly team for their knowledge as we took our pitiful, (well, mine), table arrangement home.

Dragonfly  events:

Dragonfly Farm Stand is open!
Wed-Friday 10a-5p  Sat. 10a-3p, Lasy Sunday 10a-3p

Mother’s Day Flower Open House  May 12th and 13th, 10a-3p

Feeling creative? Design your arrangement with Dragonfly flowers, vase start at $7.00

Lasy Sunday : They put all of the flowers remaining from the week in front of the Farm Stand. Take what you want and pay what you feel. I love that.

Nearly every week for the last twenty years I have been in dance class, it was my job. Sadly, I cannot find any adult jazz classes in Healdsburg. It is all good.  I started yoga last month. Yoga is a discipline, like ballet. I like to get into the spiritual zone. Since, I missed class for a few weeks, I was ready to go.

Jen is the co-owner of Yoga on Center. That day, Satya Van Dyke was substituting for Jen. I was familiar with Satya from classes at the other place.http://julieandjuliarevisiting.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/yoga-on-center1.jpg?w=300&h=225

Her class is so calming. On the physical level, it is cleansing,  improves breathing control, flexibility and posture.   I love it because the class is always moving.  1 hour of awareness. At end of class, we rest.

The rest of my day is tranquil.

If someone cuts me off on the freeway….….Go, sunshine, it is all good. Namaste.

Let’s cook.

A  good recipe is like having the black dress. Everyone needs one.

It is a winner: risotto!  Creamy risotto with spring vegetables. The licorice-like fennel, asparagus, and peas, rounds all the flavors out. I chose to roast the asparagus instead of boiling them and substituted wine for the Pernod. I didn’t have perserved lemon, so I used more lemon zest.  Risotto can be tricky, all that stirring. Make sure the rice is not boiling vigorously nor cook too slowly. I used medium heat. The grilled shrimp is a great roast topper.http://julieandjuliarevisiting.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/risotto1.jpg?w=300&h=225

Side bar: The sheep are back!  A summon up of recollection, all the fun we had last winter.  They were hear only for a few days and we left the gate open, oops, but, luckily, they stay together,  I sneaked around them, climbing the hill, said, Go!  Happily, they went to the barn, scared.  Phew.  Then, we wanted to move them to another pasture. Their grass mowing are excellent.  So, a little hay did the trick, they followed me with my baby talk. The ranch needs baaa, baaaa.  I think.  My new job is a sheepherder,  ha.http://julieandjuliarevisiting.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/the-sheep-are-back1.jpg?w=300&h=225

Perserved Lemon and Spring Vegetable Risotto with Grilled Pernod Shrimp

1/4 cup olive oil

medium onions, chopped

small fennel bulb, chopped

cloves garlic minced, about 1 tbsp.

fine sea salt, to taste

2 cups Arborio rice

1/2 cup Pernod, or other anise apéritif

1/2 cup lemon juice

6-8 cups hot chicken stock

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup mascarpone

2 tablespoons rinsed and finely diced preserved lemon rind

1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint leaves

2 cups peas

1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 2-inch lengths and blanched in salted, boiling water

freshly ground white pepper

for the shrimp:

24 to 32 large, de-veined shrimp, shell on

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons Pernod, or other anise apéritif

cloves of garlic, minced, about 3 tsp.

zest of half a large lemon

2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary leaves

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  1. In a shallow pan just large enough to hold the shrimp, mix the shrimp with the oil, Pernod, garlic, zest, rosemary, salt and pepper. Let the shrimp marinate at room temperature while you make the risotto.
  2. Prepare all of your risotto ingredients: blanch the asparagus, heat the stock, chop and measure everything out, placing it all close to hand by the stove. Once you start stirring risotto, there’s no stopping.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the onion, fennel and garlic and sweat over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Season with salt about halfway through.
  4. Add the rice and raise the heat to medium high. Stir to coat and slightly toast the rice for about 3 minutes. You should hear a lively crackling in the pot. The rice will take on a shiny, translucent coat.
  5. Add the Pernod and lemon juice to the rice and continue stirring until the liquid is almost completely absorbed.
  6. Add a ladleful of hot stock to the rice and continue stirring. It’s important to regulate the heat at this point. The rice should neither boil vigorously nor cook too slowly. You’re looking for an even, medium heat that gives the rice a billowy loft and brings some bubbles to the surface.
  7. As the stock is absorbed, continue adding it by ladlefuls and stirring. If you watch carefully, you’ll see that toward the end the rice really gives itself over to the liquid, releasing its starch to make a kind of cream. Stop incorporating stock once the rice is creamy but still al dente, cooked but not too soft. This can take between 20 and 30 minutes, and between 6 and 8 cups of stock.
  8. Remove the risotto from the heat, and immediately fold in the butter, mascarpone, preserved lemon rind, peas, several grinds of white pepper and most of the mint (save some for garnish). The heat of the risotto will cook the peas. Stir slowly to blend, check a final time for seasoning, and carefully fold in the asparagus. Put a lid on the risotto and let it rest while you quickly grill the shrimp. The risotto will expand slightly in volume, and take on a marvellous sheen.
  9. Grill or broil the shrimp for about 60 seconds on each side, or until the flesh is completely opaque.
  10. Top each serving of risotto with 4 shrimp, garnish with mint and a flourish of pepper, and serve.

Healdsburg’s Street  Style.

Fashionista: A person devoted to fashion, particularly high fashion.  She doesn’t follow trends, with this definition. I am.  I loved to dress up, read W, Vogue and wait to the next event in town to be ‘bon ton’.

Sadly, Sonoma county, not so much. The ubiquitous jeans and chambray shirts is the country uniform for women and men. But I see stylish young girls, and the ladies who do lunch in town in local fashion chic.  I am still waiting for a voguish man around town.

I am a street voyeur with a camera.

On the street….   Fitch St.

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I found him…..illegal hot.

On the street….. University St.

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Couture

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Resort wear

On the street….North St.

http://julieandjuliarevisiting.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/manok2.jpg?w=232&h=300

French fashionista

http://julieandjuliarevisiting.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/babara3.jpg?w=205&h=300

Soignee! Barbara

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Style at any age.

On the street….Healdsburg Ave

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Linda, always polished

That’s all.

I love the 80’s. The music, dance, pop culture, big hair.

http://julieandjuliarevisiting.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/big-hair.jpg?w=141&h=155

The 80s were the best decade of my dancing career.  I was on top of the world from ‘80 until ‘88, but, in late ’89, not so much. I got sick. That event shattered my life.

Flashback: I was dancing at Dance Art Center in San Mateo about 1976. I was part of a troupe, the Jazz Set. We danced at shopping malls. Berle Davis taught us to dance in a troupe: spacing, and choreography.  I got my first paying gig at Great America in Santa Clara at a theme park: The Bug’s Bunny show. And I was a dancing girl. We did six shows every day. After the summer, I was asked to dance on the Princess cruise ship. I was hired to be a staff/dancer on the Island Princess. I arrived at Pier 35 in San Francisco for my first day. The crew was English. I learned cockney slang from the officers and staff.  Like “Get up the those apples to bed”: apples means stairs, “Would you Adam and Eve it?”: Adam and Eve means believe, She is pissed: pissed means drunk, “She has long bacons” : bacon means legs. Pretty funny stuff.

When the ship disembarked, I immediately went to the top of the ship and stood, waiting for the Golden Gate Bridge to appear…. we sailed under it. What an experience.

The first event was a cocktail party. I chatted with passengers, drank and ate.  I remember the ocean was pretty rough through the rugged Pacific Rim, you had to hold on to your wine glass.  Eating is one of the best cruise experiences: one can eat all day. I mean, top culinary cuisine. Although, I was dancing, I gained 25 pounds on my six months on the ship.

We arrived in Juneau, Alaska, as the passengers disembarked to the town for shopping and sightseeing. We had rehearsal and warmed up our voices. Voices? I sang, no, I lip-synched. Not a singer.

http://julieandjuliarevisiting.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/fiddler31.jpg?w=300&h=235

Fiddler on the Roof

We did an hour show every night from shows like Fiddler on the Roof, Annie get your Gun, and Oklahoma. As a host, we had to greet passengers while embarking and disembarking, we would chat at dinner, dance to music to Micheal jackson, Madonna, Whitney Houston, U2, and Bruce Springsteen at the ship’s disco.

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Alaska

It was summer, after three months of sailing, San Francisco to Alaska and back, the ship went south…. Mexico.

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Look at those thighs.

The ports of call were Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas. It was warm, the gentle winds on the cool Pacific made me feel so fortunate as I was sailing to Mexico to dance. Wow. I remember these moments with joy.
Do you remember the Love Boat?  The Princess ship was the location for the TV series Love Boat. They decided to shoot one episode on the Island Princess in Puerto Vallarta. It was a one-week shoot. Everybody was excided. Hollywood came to the ships.  Lisa, my dance partner, and I were at the beach with passengers. Michael Cole, (the television series, Mod Squad), was shooting a scene. After the scene we went to get a margarita at a local bar.

http://julieandjuliarevisiting.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/mexico.jpg?w=258&h=225

Playing on the beach in Mexico

When we came back we saw an empty beach. We missed the boat back to the ship. Oops. The ship captain stopped the ship, so we could take a dinghy back.  We stepped from the boat into the engine room, and we went straight to a talk with an angry cruise director, (Lisa and I, not Michael), but, at night, it was party time with the actors.

After three months sailing in Mexico, it was time for me to make the big move to Los Angeles. I was ready. So, my friend, Josh, who was a comedian on the ship, let me stay at his house in the San Fernando valley. I left ship life to new adventures in La, trying to be a star. Everyday after class, I took to the streets of La, looking for a job. I applied for a waitress job in the valley, Tony Roma’s, a rib joint, and got it. It was like an audition. I wore a short skirt. The manager told me after I got hired, that my legs got the gig.

I didn’t know about Tony Roma’s but it was a huge success in Beverly Hills. The lines went around the block for his sauce on ribs and chicken. I think, you can get his ribs and his sweet sauce, still, at Safeway.  We had to wear a sexy costume: (you know, it was la): brown short dress, with white ruffle underwear. Hey, we made 100 bucks a night, a cash cow in the 80s. Roma was a genius, the tables turned over in 15 minutes. It was a gold mine.

I met an actor, Kathy, who worked at Tony Roma’s too.  We got a two bedroom apartment in Santa Monica, four blocks from the beach.  Two girls, searching for fame.  I worked for Tony Romas, dieting to take that extra 25 pounds off and took non-union jobs.

It all changed, in 1981. I quit Tony Romas because I was on the road.

When did I get my Sag card? It was 1981, MGM studios.  We all looked, to Backstage: the actor’s resource. In the day, you had to buy the newspaper. There was no Backstage.com, no subscriptions for audition notices.  It was a big deal because it was a union gig. Also, there is a catch 22 situation. You can’t get a sag job without a card; you can’t get a card without a sag job. You need a producer or director to say I want this actor or dancer.  Then they will let you in the guild.  MGM was auditioning female dancers for their new film: Pennies from Heaven with Bernadette Peters and Steve Martin. If you don’t know about the actors union, (Screen Actor’s Guild), it is a wonderful union.  The Guild exists to support actors’ working conditions, compensation and benefits. They are a powerful, voice on behalf of artists’ rights.  Since I was a member, I had health insurance, handy, when I was with child. I still get residuals for the work, I did in 1984.

http://julieandjuliarevisiting.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pennies-from-heaven.jpg?w=584

Pennies from Heaven

Flashback to MGM studios, everyone was there, about 300 dancers. I was nervous. I was doing non-union gigs around town. No money but was getting experience but not professional experience.  All the girls, warmed up. I was checking my leotard and my makeup, as I put a number on my back, (135). The choreographer asked us to do chaine turns across the floor. Easy. After my chaine turns, they said, ok, please go here. After three hundred dancers were done, the audition was done.  They hired 150 dancers and one of them was me! I was getting my Sag card, MGM signed the papers and let us in. I think, half of the hires were new Sag members. I was thrilled. I called my mom and called the Sag office!  In 1981, Sag’s initiation fee was $500. Today, it is $2277 with semi-annual dues.  The choreographer said, rehearsal would start next week. “Hang on to your numbers”. Rehearsal was at 8:30 am for two weeks, we were in four scenes, one tap number, and three in a big stage with many levels.  I had to do a handstand by an Egyptian column. You can see me doing a handstand in the movie, if you know where I am. 150 girls are in the same costume. I remember, I laughed a lot on the set. One dancer, I can’t remember her name, was hilarious. Good fun. It was like the 30s grand musical movie.  It was my first really professional gig in la.

I went to Mexico for Spanish tv: Noche, Noche, and Hawaii for an industrial for the Cambridge Diet. In la, I heard about the audition, but the audition was closed to only dancers who worked for a TV choreographer before. But I thought, hey, I couldn’t audition because I don’t know a choreographer? No. I crashed the audition.  We showed up at the studio, at Hama Dance center, me, Jeannie and Beth, and asked them to let us audition. Beth and I got it. You have to be fierce, in the cut throat world of Hollywood.

http://julieandjuliarevisiting.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/crashing-the-gig.jpg?w=282&h=223

Crashing the audition for the Hawaii gig

An industrial is a trade show. Cambridge diet brought all the dancers and their sales staff to Hawaii for a big show. The best thing, I was in Hawaii and joined Equity, the stage union: It was a sweet gig, the choreography was like high school cheerleading, funny.

After the gig, Brian and I went to Kauai.  A short airline ride to Lihue. I took him to visit beautiful Kauai, and dinner with my dad at Princeville at night.

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The end of road

Back to la,  I did a Sheena Easton Tv speciaI. The choreographer saw my friend Jeannie and I in Jamie Rogers dance class. He hired us.  Al Jarreau was co-star with Sheena. I worked with Al, the next month.  Then a Japanese commercial: Hi Cola with John Travolta. John was a nice man. Then, he had no entourage. Hey, it was John Travolta! It was funny because the Japanese advertisers dressed us, as Japanese girls. I didn’t get it, the director said, the Japanese want to shoot their commercial on American soil, use American dancers, American directors, American stars: all American.  Oh.

http://julieandjuliarevisiting.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/john1.jpg?w=268&h=300

Hi Cola commerical

Next gig. I did a music video: Al Jarreau:  Roof Garden.

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Roof Garden music video

Al was a sweet heart.  He didn’t go to his trailer and wait to perform, as some stars do.  He stayed on set… talking to the dancers, like John. I was picked out from the dancers to blow a huge bubble of gum for the camera. My bubble was not huge, but it worked, they used it.

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Bubble for the camera

Lets cook.     Zucchini Pancakes

I like them. Good flavor, you taste the lemon, parsley. I used unsalted butter instead of oil. You know what Julia says: Everything is better with butter. I used more bread crumbs instead of a pinch. It says cook the pancakes until golden brown each side.  Check it, be sure that the zucchini is well cooked.

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Zucchini, potato, lemon, parsley,egg, salt and pepper

About the cook Dagny Prieto http://www.dagnypieto.com

2 cups grated zucchini

1/2 cup grated potato

egg

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 pinch breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons sour cream or yogurt (optional)

  1. Grate your zucchini and potato using the largest hole on your grater. Let stand in a colander for at least 30 minutes to drain. They will hold together better when you drain out maximum moisture. Salt generously.
  2. In a bowl, beat egg, chopped parsley, and lemon zest. Add pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Roll and squeeze zucchini/potato mixture in a towel to soak up moisture. Add pinch of bread crumbs to soak up any leftover wetness.
  4. Combine zucchini / potato mixture with egg mixture. Stir well and coat.
  5. Turn on over to 200˚ and place cookie sheet with foil in there to keep your pancakes warm as you make them.
  6. Heat 13 skillet on medium high heat. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter. You can use olive oil if you prefer, but butter is delicious. When foam subsides, drop a spoonful of your pancake mixture in. You don’t really need to form it in advance, but pat it with a spatula and try to flatten it out as much as possible — it’ll be more crispy that way.
  7. Cook 2 at a time in a until golden brown on each side, then place in oven to keep warm to make additional pancakes. Serve as soon as possible, with a dollop of sour cream or (drained greek style) yogurt on top for extra richness.

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Next post:    On Broadway,  shooting the dogs and malady.

Zumba!

Fitness instructor, Beto’s Perez, a native from Cali, Colombia, took an unexpected turn in his life, one fateful day in the mid-90s. When he set off to teach an aerobics class and forgot his music, he improvised using his own mix of music like salsa and merengue, music he grew up with. Spontaneously he created a new kind of dance-fitness workout that focused on let the music move you, and high energy that electrifies the room. On that day, a revolutionary new hot fitness concept was born: Zumba.

Healdsburg is live with Zumba classes. But Leticia Ortiz’s classes are special. Here is her bio:

My Name is Leticia Ortiz. I have been teaching Zumba Fitness since  Summer 2008 and I still LOVE it! I was introduced to Zumba Fitness at a local gym. It was different than other workout experiences I had in the past. It was Super FUN & Exciting! I loved the music, dancing and the Great Energy in Zumba class. I wanted to share this wonderful workout with others, so I got my certification & began teaching. Three passions of mine all rolled into one…fitness, dance & Latin music!! I love seeing the smiles on people’s faces. I know it’s easier to stick with a fitness routine if you are having fun and you definitely have Fun in Zumba class! My classes are helping others reach their healthier lifestyle goals.

Since my initial certification, I have expanded my classes from teaching 1 class to 9 at the present time in Santa Rosa, Windsor & Healdsburg. My schedule:

Mon/Thurs  6pm Healdsburg Parks & Rec

1557 Healdsburg Ave

$10 drop in or sign up for 6 week session

Tues  6:30pm Windsor Com Ctr

(707) 838-1260 to sign up for 6 class

Wed    6pm Healdsburg Com Health & Fitness Gym

1500 Healdsburg Ave Drop in welcome

Sat    9am  Zumba with Leticia Location TBA 1motownmom@att.net

Since Zumba is a high-energy cardio, latin inspired dance workout, I love it. Leticia starts with slow movement, rising to aerobics exercises then salsa!  The hour goes fast. You burn calories and body sculpting creates a calorie torching, strength training dance party. Her choreography incorporates hip-hop, samba, salsa, merengue, mambo, and Bollywood moves. She doesn’t forget the squats and lunges, too.  I like her vocal inspiration:  Ow.

I recommend her classes.

In ’82, Jekyll & Hyde, Together Again, was a film that I cannot remember the scene. No stories.  Ha.

Going Berserk was a good gig, Universal, two weeks, $1000/week.  There were 15 aerobic dancers dancing with John Candy. Funny film.

Matt Houston was a flamboyant Texas tycoon turned freewheeling P I, that sets up shop in L.A. in a high-gloss crime drama that’s packed with plenty of gadgets and girls. The audition was at ABC. We didn’t have to dance. They took our pictures and they cast from the pictures. Hollywood was breast obsessed. I was glad that I wore my padded bra. Ha. I was picked.  They cast 12 dancers. TV is fast in terms of shooting scenes, unlike movies.  The gig was only one day.

The first episode was The Showgirl Murders. We shot two scenes. The choreographer was played by George Chakiris; remember him from West Side Story? Very nice man, I was lucky to play off him.  The script called for a dancer who makes a mistake in the choreography. I was in the spot where the mistake was to take place. The director asked, “Maybe, she, (another dancer), is closer”, (he didn’t know our names). I said,” No, no, I can make the mark!”  So, in the scene, I made the mistake in the choreography and George yells at me.  At the end of the day, last take, the camera was situated so when I kicked my leg……crotch shot. And it made the cut! I was not a happy camper…. Whatever. It was all good because ABC kept hiring us, Butterfly, Target: Miss World, four episodes.  Country in Las Vegas Country Top 20 was a NBC variety TV show.  It was shot in Las Vegas: sin city, not my favorite location.  It was like Disneyland for adults. The reason is, I was not a gambler. The Las Vegas vibe is not for me. And not a country music lover, still.  But Conway Twitty, Barbara Mandrell and Don Williams sang their country songs in country sets with cowboy outfitted dancing girls. The show was good if you like that sort of entertainment. I hate LV. I stayed there for three months.

’83. I got a McDonald’s commercial. The advertisers called me and my dance teacher Jamie Rogers, (West Side Story, the movie, he played a shark and worked with George), submitted my name. Jamie was hot in la. His classes were always filled, two-hour classes of modern everyday. I learned a lot about Martha Graham’s technique that made me a stronger dancer. We were in the sprawling white studio in Culver City to record the lines, I had one line. When you talk on a commercial, you get more money, the next day; we shot it in a stage in Hollywood.  Jamie’s assistant choreographed the commercial because Jaime was busy with another gig. The commercial was shown only in the west (regional, less money).

Street of Fire. I was Diane Lane’s double. I did the concert scenes, when they are shooting the audience and the kidnaper scene.

I was in beautiful France and Germany for Puma sneakers. In Jan. in the same year, I was doing a variety show for Italian TV: Risatissma.  The director asked six dancers to go to Italy to shoot more shows.  I spent four months in Milan, paid apartment, and $1000/week. What an experience. After the gig, my mom came over and we traveled to Venice, (it snowed), Rome and Florence.  In Feb. I celebrated my 30th birthday in Milan at Peter Pan restaurant.  I felt, so blessed dancing professionally, earning money, traveling to exotic places. Do you Adam and Eve it? I did. Loved it.

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Di Danza Milan

Jaime Rogers submitted my name again for a Stayfree commercial.  They hired a model that was not a dancer.  They shot it in silhouette, so the dancer and the model had to have the same profile.  They examined our noses, the model and me.  It was painful, waiting around for their decision. I got it…..no, my nose got the gig. Body parts: boobs, legs, crotch now, my nose.  When the model was doing her lines, the advertisers asked me to wear the pad for legal purposes. Hey, it was ok because I earned $25,000 that day.  It was a long day, but profitable!

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It was ‘84; I auditioned for Doug Henning’s stage show.  The magic guy. Tj, Clark, Jenny and me rounded the troupe out.  Sadly, Doug, passed in 2000.  Doug asked everybody to sign a release. We couldn’t divulge any magic secrets.  I had to climb into tiny spaces, like the panther cage and sawing in half with Jenny.  Doug’s sawing in half was fun, because it was a ‘double’ sawing in half. Everybody loved it. Doug put us in a coffin like box, I was wearing pants and Jenny was wearing a skirt. Doug saw us in half with our feet wiggling. Doug turned the boxes around and put us together again but switched the boxes.  TO-DA!  I was wearing the skirt and Jenny was wearing the pants.

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Doug, me and the tiger

Doug had tigers, panthers, penguins, turtles, and a monkey…a zoo.  Doug hired big animal trainers, a chef, (Doug was a vegan and mediated twice a day), carpenters, drivers, and a double.  Doug levitated, did slight hand magic.  I will tell you one trick.

As Doug’s assistant, I climbed into a cage, with a red cover partially hiding the cage, (the panther was in there), I got in with the panther, but the panther was separated from me by a board, and under the red cover.  Then, Doug covered the cage, he was circling it too. Meanwhile, I had to flatten myself out, fast, in the bottom of the cage. The board covered me, letting the panther go when Doug revealed….  TO-DA.  A black panther and no girl.  The panther peed a lot in the cage with me in it!  Ugh.

Before the show was on the road, we did Johnny Carson’s Tonight show. We did the panther trick. The first venue was Los Angeles, next San Francisco, my hometown, and a week at the Orpheum theatre. When I was 21, I volunteered at the Orpheum. I got to see the show as I took the theatergoers to their seats. Pippin’ with Ben Vereen was hot at the time about 1972. Twelve years later, I am performing at the Orpheum.  Who knew?
We toured St. Louis, Cleveland, (ugh,) and Atlanta. Atlanta was cool because Michael Jackson was on tour as well. Michael loved all animals and wanted to see our show.  It was a secret.  Michael was ushered in and saw the show. He went backstage to see the animals after. We met the shy Michael. It was a thrill. Michael said he liked my dancing.  I responded with something dumb. Since, he saw our show he gave us tickets for HIS show. It was at some big football stadium.
Chicago. What a city, windy but, awesome pizza. I was ready for NYC. We arrived in New York at JFK eager to see the big apple. The gig was at the Lunt-Fontain Theater, 46th and Broadway.  Again, who knew? dancing on Broadway?
It was 1984. I was having a ball, dancing 8 shows/week, auditioning and going out at night with my girlfriends when the theatre was dark. I was Carrie, Sex in the City.

The show closed in four months. I decided to move to New York.  Jenny and I got a sublet apartment in Riverside Ave. The first item was getting an agent. I got one and they sent me on commercial auditions.  I went to an audition for Twix. I don’t know how I knew but they were looking for dancing airline hostesses. I wore a blue suit. Well, after the audition as I was leaving, two advertisers came to me and ask me to stay.  I got it. No, the blue suit got it.  Now, I was doing a commercial in New York City!   This glee was short lived.  I shot the commercial but somehow it was scrapped. I ended on the cutting room floor. Shoot.

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meter maid

Meanwhile, I met my future husband.  Got married, had a baby, did another commercial,   divorced and got sick. I didn’t die but I was indeed sick.The dance career was over, not because of the illness but I was too OLD. I am an old gypsy. Sag to the rescue again.

In San Francisco, 2005, I was involved in SF Casting. I did Sag extra work. They call it background work. YOU are the background. But Sag extra work paid more, about $100/day. We stood around or walk on the  street, or in a café. There were many Sag members on the shoot, and we had a ball. I did: Rent, Milk, and Pursuit of Happyness. I worked every weekend for two months for Pursuit, fun gig. That’s all.

Food fashion: Daddy’s Carbonara

Try it. It is so easy and has a lot of flavor. I baked the bacon instead of frying. About 15 mintues at 400 degress.

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so easy and yummy

pound dried spaghetti

1 pound bacon

10 ounces frozen peas (1 package)

4 eggs

1 cup fresh grated parmesan

black pepper

  1. Start cooking the pasta (I have long subscribed to the less-water method Harold McGee addresses here).
  2. Take the bacon out of the package, cold out of the refrigerator, and cut across the slices into 1/2 wide blocks. Cook in a skillet over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the blocks with a wooden spoon.
  3. Dump the peas into a Pyrex bowl with a little water and microwave 3-4 minutes, until they are warm, stirring halfway through.
  4. While all the cooking is going on, mix the egg, parmesan, and pepper (to taste – it’s best to use a lot, but for kids, maybe less) in a large bowl. It should have the consistency of thick batter.
  5. When the pasta is done, drain it quickly. Don’t linger, as it’s good to capture some of the water. Dump the steaming spaghetti into the egg mixture, and agitate well to cook the egg. Add the bacon with a slotted spoon. Some purists will just empty the skillet into the bowl, but that is too much. Mix in the peas, and you’re done. The biggest challenge is to get the bacon and peas mixed in evenly.

Next post: Susan Graf, more Healdsburg Street Chic, French Onion soup. Yummy.

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am lucky. I live in the country.  I am awakened by bird songs every day on the ranch.  Another type of singing group in town that  I met; chanting songstresses at Vinyl Revival’s rehearsal at Chanceller Place last week.  The four singing birds are Carol , Lisa,  Heather, Linda, along with Dana, the pianist. Their songs are more than just melodic notes, they have meaning.

They entertain you with their soulful chorus of tunes.  The group who sing three or four harmony oldies from the 30s, 40s, 50s, and the 60s.  They have hours of tuneful, melodic songs and the Christmas show is full of santa claus lyrics  that you will find yourself… singing along.  The group performs at  senior living facilities, Healdsburg’s annual tree-lighting celebration, Windsor Town Center’s holiday open house, City of Santa Rosa, and Relay for Life.

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New song

Contract Heather for your party or event:    www.windsoreperformingarts.net

Carol Noack,soprano has loved singing ever since she listened to her parents harmonize on leisurely Sunday drives. She has sung in choruses, stage productions, small performing groups, and as a featured soloist since she was in junior high school. She is the corporate communications director for the Raven Performing Arts Theater, and produces the irreverent annual Mr. Healdsburg Pageant. On the side, she volunteers with Green Dog Rescue and Forgotten Felines, and can only vaguely remember a time when she didn’t have foster cats or kittens running around. She adores her fellow Vinyl Revival singers, and especially loves the tunes from the 30s and 40s that the group sings.

Lisa Phipps, second soprano has been singing in various choirs since she was a kid.  Her experience has ranged from huge church choirs, small community choirs, and of course,all the musicals in high school!  Now, as the alto in her quartet, she loves how the four voices really have to listen to each other to blend and sound their best.  She loves singing for audiences who appreciate the old classics with their great lyrics and warm harmonies.  It is especially touching when audience members sing along, hold hands, and even dance to the songs.  Lisa believes that music is a powerful tool that recalls fond memories and lifts everyone’s spirit!

Heather, alto, is the founding artisitic director and the director of the Healdsburg/ and Windsor Children Community Choir. She teaches private lessonsis the heart and soul of the academy.  Everyone who takes her classes knows Heather’s mantra: “No negativity!” even in jest.

I’m Linda Freebairn, second alto, I love singing, whether it’s a lullaby to a child or grandchild (I have 10 grandkids and love ‘em!), with the church choir, with my guitar at girls’ camp, or with Vinyl Revival!  Music evokes feelings that words cannot express!  I have been singing with Vinyl Revival for three years, and am glad they brought me on board.  I am the 2nd alto/bass.  I was raised in a musical household:  my dad (a carpenter by trade) also played violin for many years with the Oakland Symphony, and later Santa Rosa Symphony, and other orchestras in the Bay Area.  My mother and sister play piano, my brother sings, and I play guitar and a bit of piano.  As a teen and young adult, I sang tenor in a large group choir (400+ voices) as well as small ensembles, and a fun jug band with 7 friends.  The musical tradition has continued with my family.  My husband, two sons, and a daughter play trumpet, two daughters play clarinet, and our disabled daughter loves to sing (and has perfect pitch).  Yes, I love music, and singing with Vinyl Revival is a joy!

Dana Preston, pianist. have enjoyed being the piano accompanist for Vinyl Revival for the past couple of years.  It’s fun sharing our love of oldies songs with our audiences!  I have the pleasure of accompanying several other terrific groups including high school and http://julieandjuliarevisiting.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/dana.jpg?w=290&h=224church choirs, musical theater productions, voice and instrumental students of all ages, and a choir for developmentally disabled adults.  I also plan to start teaching piano next year. My family has lived in Santa Rosa for the past 19 years and previously lived in the South Bay where I worked as a travel agent.

Fashionistas on North Street

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Next post:  Dress locally: Clothes from Susan Graf  and Zizi.  More fashionista moments, Broccoli rabe, Potato, and Rosemary pizza.

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 http://julieandjuliarevisiting.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/waking-big.jpg?w=199&h=299 
Healdsburg is more than just galleries, restaurants, and wineries—it’s about fashion too. Ten years ago, there were only a handful of fashion sites on the Internet. Today, thousands of blogs focus on fashion. Blogs has opened the door to anyone, no matter where you live. Sadly, fashion is not kind to the aging, but I do not think that it has to be the case.  And also check out  ww.advancedstyle.blogspot.com and check out the moving forwarding fashionistas in town. Create art on yourself, put some color in your life. It is all about personal expression…it feels good. Let’s face it; fashion can be a business that takes itself a lot too seriously, but it can be fun!

I turn to Zizi, on the plaza.

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Zizi, creatively casual clothing for women, has been on the plaza for fourteen years. As a girl growing up in St. Louis, Cynthia Zizzi was a neighborhood entrepreneur. Cynthia organized her friends in various ventures. As a young adult, she traveled to South America, buying homemade goods in the local markets that she later sold at flea markets and garage sales. In 1998, she opened Zizi in Healdsburg. (The Press Democrat, 2011). The focus is modern, contemporary designs. She has 30 lines of unique clothing and high quality jewelry too. Create fresh stylish outfits at Zizi, 334 Healdsburg Ave. Healdsburg, Ca. And follow Zizi on Facebook.

 

 

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Author’s notes: I had a blast shooting with Linda, (photographer, my good friend). The dress was flirty,  a  jazzy print with lively fall colors. I love the details. I love the ‘editorial’  of the shots as well. If the young man who shot with us, sees this, write me. I love to use you for future shoots. I love your vibe. I am in a loving mood. ha.

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Run down:

Dress:  Salaam from Vermont

Jewerly: Whitley sisters from San Franciso

Shoes:   Platform heels  (mine)

Fashionistas in town. The thrill of street style is the art of taking pictures of real people based on their style. You can be poor as a church mouse but, if you know how to mix your clothes, you can still be a style star: unstyled, creative fashion.

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Advanced style on North Ave.

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Joan, horse lover

These outfits I designed and sewed in 2005. I had a  design company:  Katy Y Designs, and   I am a thrifter: for clothes, furniture, and jewelery. In the day I was a dumpster diver. Really. I found chairs, wood,  small tables, et.

The Clothes:

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flower jacket and silk dress

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silk blue

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Tulle skirt and sequin bustier

I was shopping at the ubiquitous GoodWill and saw a wedding dress. Ummm, what to do with that? I know, separate the skirt from top. Yeah. I wear it with jeans.

http://streetbotique.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/good-will3.jpg?w=300&h=225Additionally, I bought a festive dress with island jeweled birds at GoodWill, $7.00.  It was too big so I took the side seams to make a waist line. Paired black pumps I have new a dance frock.

let’s cook!  Roasted Sausages and Grapes

Well, it is a keeper! The sweet and hot sausages combined with wine, the grapes with a hint of balsamic vinegar was a culinary delight. And the recipe was awe-inspiring because it is so easy. The complex flavors take on a hearty glow after roasting. Don’t forget the bread to soak up the sauce. wow.

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Compound flavors! Yummy.

  • 1 1/2 pounds Italian hot sausage
  • 1 1/2 pounds Italian sweet sausage
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 to 6 cups (2 pounds) red or green seedless grapes, stems removed
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons dry red wine, preferably Chianti
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Fresh Foccaccia or Ciabatta bread,

Directions

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Parboil the sausages in water to cover for 8 minutes to rid them of excess fat. Melt the butter in a large heatproof roasting pan, add the grapes, and toss to coat. Over moderately high heat add the wine. Stir with a wooden spoon for a few minutes until the wine has reduced by half. Using tongs, transfer the parboiled sausages to the roasting pan and push them down in the grapes so the sausages will not brown too quickly. Roast in the oven, turning the sausages once, until the grapes are soft and the sausages have browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Place the roasting pan on top of the stove over a medium-high heat and add the balsamic vinegar. Scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the roasting pan, and allow the vinegar and juices to reduce until they are thick and syrupy. With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausages and grapes to a serving platter. Pour the sauce over the sausages and grapes and serve immediately, accompanied with fresh bread. Yummy.

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