I made this chicken last week and I have to share the recipe in time for Labor Day weekend. Everyone should try this method one time in their life, if for no other reason than the amusement factor. I know everyone is a fan of the super star Costco rotisserie chicken for five dollars, but the last time I had one, it was really salty and laden with grease. My neighbors and I get together to cook quite a bit and my contribution was the chicken, even though everyone was skeptical as to how it would taste. It was unanimous, that this was hands down, better and more moist than the Costco chicken. To achieve this masterpiece, you take a raw chicken, a can of beer, and preferably a disposable drip pan. Open the beer can with a can opener, dump half the beer (I hate the taste of beer, but you honestly can't taste it) and rub the chicken with olive oil. Then you add your favorite rub and massage it into the chicken, under the skin, inside the cavity, adding about a tablespoon to the beer. Stick the beer can up the butt, put on a drip pan, put on the grill and close the lid. I cooked it on a gas barbecue grill, and it took about an hour and a half. Since I am paranoid about eating raw chicken, I stabbed the sucker many times with a internal thermometer, to make sure that it was 180 degrees. When it is done you remove from the grill and let it sit about ten minutes. I will admit it is not easy getting it off the hot can, but that is what oven mitts are for. It you have kitchen shears, it is easy cutting it into serving pieces. We topped it off with baked potato chips, grilled asparagus and a fabulous salad.
For dessert, I once again made Paula Dean's Peach Tart, taking advantage of the beautiful, fresh peaches that are everywhere.
I went to a great restaurant in Santa Monica, Annisette on Sunday for brunch and must admit it did remind me of being at a brasserie in the heart of Paris. Since it wasn't crowded, I had a great time taking photos and pretending I was a food critic and someone would actually care about what I thought about the food. I was with my daughter and son-in-law who are pretty used to my photographing food, so it hopefully it wasn't too embarrassing. The restaurant was charming, and the atmosphere was very French. The attitude wasn't. The building was formerly a bank, and the high ceilings add to the warm decor. Hard to believe the beach is a short distance away. My daughter had the boring egg white omelet, although the salad was served in a really cute way. She is pregnant so I guess the healthier it is, the better. Who am I to criticize? Especially since I ordered a cheeseburger, in a French restaurant. It was good, but not great. I wish I had ordered the croque monsieur instead. I would have felt sick all day from all the grease, but it would have been worth it. I can't wait to go back for dinner.We ended the meal with a brioche and decaf latte, and lots of baby talk.
I know so many people who are born in August, including my own daughter, that I refer to it as Happy Birthday Month. Last weekend was a big blowout because a friend turned 40 and since he just found out his wife is pregnant with number four (an IUD baby) we all felt he needed a good celebration to guide him into his mid life crisis. I have a lot more pictures of the food, but since my computer is being difficult uploading them, and since it is almost 1 a.m., I am tired and going to bed. You will just have to take my word for it, that the food was excellent.
Summer has finally arrived in Santa Monica bringing with it warm temperatures, a full day of sunshine, lack of fog and an earthquake. Bring on the sunscreen, surfboards, beach towels and survival kits.
What is with all the earthquakes lately? If we aren't having one, there is a story on the news about how we are long overdue for the "big one" and when it hits, it is not going to be pretty. Then there is the fact that all the scientists from Cal Tech relocated to New Mexico!
I have been a little down in the dumps lately because summer is coming to an end and I dread it when the days start getting shorter. I was able to go to Chicago in June, but for the most part, I have stayed in Santa Monica this summer and for someone who loves to travel as much as I do, I would really love to go somewhere exciting. Unless I get free airfare, a comped luxury hotel room, and a generous expense account, I won't be going anywhere outside of Southern California this summer. I was starting to feel sorry for myself, which is a luxury I cannot afford at this time, when I realized that I live in one of the most popular tourist spots in the US. Everywhere I look, I see and hear people from other countries enjoying all the things I so often take for granted. Half a block from my house is the infamous Palisades Park which is bordered by Ocean Avenue to the East, and the bluff overlooking the beach to the West. It runs 1.6 miles along the ocean, and I try to walk the length every day, twice if I get up early enough.This is a little peace of heaven where the ocean is on the horizon, the weather is permanently air conditioned and people are constantly walking, jogging, exercising, riding bicycles, taking dogs for a walk, doing yoga, or for the very ambitious, working out at a boot camp. There are benches everywhere and lately I have been sitting with my notebook, either sketching or writing and enjoying the peaceful place that I allow myself to visit. There are always so many people around, including an occasional homeless person asleep on the grass, but you always feel a sense of peace, gazing out at the ocean.
As you stroll along, you can see Santa Monica Pier and the ferris wheel in the background, boats sailing in the bay, Malibu in the distance, people playing chess, having picnics at the many tables, an occasional birthday party and a sporatic whiff of medical marijuana. People watching is a kick, but dog watching is far more fun, and the dogs are cuter.
How could you not love this park? I have made a promise to myself that I will walk it every day but more important, I will sit and meditate for at least 15 minutes to the best of my ability. After seeing Eat Pray Love, I have decided that I too, am going to pursue the meditation. Unlike Liz Gilbert, I don't have to go to India, but can do it in my own back yard.
Had to go to downtown Los Angeles today with friends and we could not resist stopping at the California Flower Mart, the prettiest place on earth.This is the place that all the flower shops in Southern California go to, to get fresh flowers flown in every day from all over the world. It opens at 3 a.m. for all the professionals, but it is open to the public from 8 a.m. till 11 a. m. when they close for the day.The whole flower district is a few blocks long, so you can be sure they never run out of flowers. This is definitely the go to place for flower lovers, especially with prices one quarter of what you would pay at a local florist or super market.This is one of many arrangements I made for friends. Kind of bummed out I didn't have a sick friend that I could have given one to. Also, I wish I could send this to my sister in Maryland who is having a big party on Saturday. Cindy, this is what I would give to you if you lived close by. And I know if I lived back there, you would make me crab dip every day!!!!
Yesterday as I was taking my daily walk along Palisades Park, I saw a lot of people, trucks, cameras, paparazzi, and figured they were filming something. Of course it's a television program I never watch, Private Practice, so I had no idea who the people were, other than an attractive red-head who used to be on Grey's Anatomy. They were winding down, so when I returned from getting my camera, everyone was starting to leave. There was a group of young people, who I presume were extras, standing around waiting for a bus to transport them back to the studio. I had to laugh, because every single one of them was standing there with their mobile phone in hand, texting away.I wonder if anyone actually talks on a phone anymore as all I ever do is see them texting. I have been reading about this generation's preference to texting over talking and I'm starting to see the point. They are the ones who grew up with the remote control attached to their hip, never having to watch anything they didn't want to. Now, why should they talk when they can text, email and post on Facebook? Makes sense to me, especially since I have friends who drive me crazy repeating the same problems every day, in a forty five minute waste of my time. I have learned to surf the web while talking to them, since I am not needed as a participant in their self centered tirade, anyway. I am all for the fall of the call.Even thought I didn't get any interesting pictures of any of the stars of the series, I did run into my little neighbor Sophia, and got to sample the giant cookie that she baked and decorated at summer camp.
Because I loved the book, Eat Pray Love, I had to see the movie. Like all movies that I have seen after reading the book, it seemed like a Cliff Notes version, barely scratching the surface. It was annoyingly saturated with pop culture catch phases: self discovery, seeking balance, journey within ones self, forgive yourself for past mistakes, ad nauseum. I don't think I actually experienced her spiritual awakening, but I did experience my desire to return to Italy and indulge in delicious pasta. The scene shown above is the best part of the whole movie, but it stops abruptly and shuts a door in your face, depriving the 99% women in the audience of a fantasy come true (if you know what I mean)! I went with four female friends, truly living the cliche - girls night out. The best part of the evening for me, was going to the restaurant Friache beforehand to indulge in their happy hour. I am glad I went to this movie with a full stomach, because while Julia Roberts was trying to heal her psychic pain, she ate her way through Italy.
Afterwards, we all went to the Fairmont Hotel for tea and cookies, since Starbucks was closed. All in all it was a great evening and so much fun to spend some time with great friends.Now it's time to meditate and see if I can infuse some balance, compassion and enlightenment in my life, without having to go across the world to do so.
This has been the busiest summer of my life and I can't believe that it is the middle of August already. I can honestly say that for me, this has been the best summer ever. I really deserve it, since the last year was officially the worst. I am a little concerned that I don't have any down time, but I guess my body thrives on being busy. I am learning to take better care of ME and removing myself from people, places and things that are a waste of time. I just wish I could manipulate myself enough to learn to say the word NO and mean it.
I did take the day off today and literally watched a few hours of television, without multitasking at the same time. Unlike most people, I don't have the patience to sit and chill out in front of it. I also have an aversion to commercials, like having Meg Whitman invade my privacy every ten minutes. The Food Network has become a favorite of mine and because of it, I have become a better person. I have learned how to professionally ice a cupcake, place a beer can up a chicken's butt to barbecue on the grill, add tons of butter to make everything taste better, the meaning of a throw down and that Bobby Flay is pretty sexy.
I have kind of been watching the Next Food Network Star, and wanted to see if I chose the right person to win, which I did. Having missed a few of the episodes, I still came to the conclusion that most of the contestants were annoying. Good luck going up against Ina, Bobby, Paula and Giada to begin with, let alone being able to cook well enough to last more than one season. I am glad they picked Aarti, mainly because I love Indian food and she was the least obnoxious of them all. I just hope they don't end up calling it Aarti's Party.
Next week they will announce the winner of the HGTV's Design Star, another show that has been interfering with my internet addiction. I have a week to catch up on all the episodes I have missed but from what I have seen so far, the judges really don't pay much attention to their demographics. In other words, another winner set up for failure.
Last but not least is my personal favorite, Project Runway. Since my twenty-year-old self wanted to be a fashion designer, I love watching people living my dream. I also realize I would have never had the stamina or talent to last in the business, so it is a relief that I chose to move to California and become a laid back, graphic designer instead.
Nothing says summer like peaches and raspberries. This is from a recent dinner party I helped put together and I must admit it was fabulous. There is nothing better than cooking, eating and socializing with friends on a nice summer evening, enjoying all that life has to offer.
One day while I was cruising the magazine section at the local Santa Monica Barnes and Noble, I ran across an Australian magazine, named Frankie, and it was love at first sight. Even though it was ridiculously expensive at $12.00, it was worth every penny. It is a bi-monthly magazine that caters to anyone who likes art, cooking, and crafts. It's famous for its fetching design, poster artwork and an unknown young woman on each cover. It is this graphic designers dream magazine. It is printed on a matt paper which I hope more magazines in this country start using. Since buying the first issue, I have been lucky enough to have friends traveling to Australia who were kind enough to bring me back copies. I thought of subscribing, but the postage alone is $150.00 a year, so I just passed. Since my very best friend is from Australia, I am already fascinated with everything Aussie and this just makes it all the more fun to read.
Here are a few sample pages from the magazine and I highly recommend visiting their web site.