COOKING: Cool Whip does not a Tira Mi Su make.

Pin It Being first generation Italian has reaped it's benefits in the kitchen. I have been working on a family cookbook since 1999 that I am very close to finally finishing. One of the recipes my family has prided itself on is Tira Mi Su– that delectable, fluffy, creamy dessert you only get at Italian restaurants. So the funny thing is that being in advertising, I have done a lot of work for food clients in the Midwest. One client is one of the largest food manufacturers in the world. They often created simple deserts that moms could make in snap with their products. They created many renditions of Tir Mi Su with cool whip, cream cheese and even pudding. I also see lots of variations of this dessert at parties, even for the holidays. I have seen recipes such as Pumpkin Tira Mi Su, Mint Tira Mi Su, Chocolate Peanut Butter Tira Mi Su. These all sound delicious, but they are not REALLY Tira Mi Su. If it does not have mascarpone cheese and espresso as main ingredients, it is not Tira Mi Su. Period. End of story. Call it dessert, a charlotte or layered "blah blah", but not Tira Mi Su.

Do I sound like a food snob? Yes. Yes I do.

BOOKCLUB: Review, Chez Moi by Agnes Desarthe

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This was a book translated from french, and I could feel it at times where it got a little choppy and difficult. You get to know the character and her life through her storytelling and flashbacks, all while opening a "shabby-chic" restaurant in France. She does this with no formal cooking education and very little money, and pretty much as a way to run away from her past.

The connecting of the events of her life is difficult to piece together sometimes. She will drop a bomb in one chapter about her past and then elaborate on it 200 pages down the road, or will jump back to something a few chapters back in the middle of another thought. I am not sure if that is because it was translated or the way in which this writer works. It is a sad story, and triumphant at times. My favorite parts are when she writes about the cooking. The love affair with food and cuisine comes to life in this book. It almost makes you believe that love and passion in cooking alone can make a successful restaurant. It doesn't-Myriam finds out it takes a lot more, and you find out with her. I liked it a lot...did not love it. But some parts were very worth the read and beautiful.

GARDENING: Landscape liner is the devil incarnate II

Pin It So last year I explained my issues in the shade garden with the landscape liner. I am so happy to report that my shade garden is doing wonderfully. A lot of plants that I did not think were going to make it ended up coming back in full force. A year without the landscape liner helped the smaller beds immensely. The soil is starting to soften and the drainage issues are lessened. I still have one corner giving me trouble, and I have mixed more peat and leaves into that corner to see if that will help. I will do more in the fall. I am noticing a lot more earthworms, which is a good sign of healthy soil. 

CAREER: Am I old fashioned, or isn't it rude to be on your crackberry while being presented to?

Pin It It never ceases to amaze me, how various personality types find it acceptable to be on their smart devices during very important meetings. I began noticing this 6 1/2 years ago, when I would be in meetings with some high-powered sales guy that actually called the meeting. As we were going over the agenda, he kept responding to emails and even took a call on his blackberry. My VP and I were flabbergasted and annoyed, to say the least. The meeting took much longer than it should have, and it really sent a message to us that meant "you are not as important as some of this other stuff I need to do." Why I mention "different personality types" is that I have seen power-hungry presidents as well as easy-going co workers do this.

I do have a cell phone. I broke down 7 years ago and got one ( I really am a true artist at heart). But I turn it off in meetings with clients and new biz prospects. I feel they are taking time out of their day to talk to me, I need to respect that and dedicate that hour or so to them, undisturbed. I am dismayed when my agency and I do not get that courtesy in return. We will have slaved over a presentation with creative concepts for weeks only to have people on their blackberry while I am presenting the work. Sometimes, it is a sign that the meeting is not going well, other times it is a high-powered person who feels s/he needs to multi-task while in the room. But I just have to ask, if a group comes in to share the work they have been diligently slaving over for 2-3 weeks just for you, don't they deserve one hour of your time & attention, undisturbed?

"Crackberry" behavior doesn't seem to just stop in meetings. I recently read on this post:
that the blackberry is making it's way into the bedroom and the bathroom.

This was pulled by the

The executive report, “Mobile Messaging Marketing Trends,” finds that worry over being available during non-work hours has led employees to e-mail addiction, causing them to take unnecessary risks with their health, their relationships, and even the welfare of others.

  • 79% checked email in the bathroom
  • 77% while driving
  • 11% while engaged in intimate behavior
  • 41% while their commercial plane was in the air
  • 94% during work nights or weekends
  • 96% while on vacation
79% in the bathroom? REALLY? I just want to ask, what would the people on the other end think as they hear you flush-or have an orgasm (see bullet 3)? And lets just think about how hygienic that is? Yuck. Manners, people! I have more to write about the crazy overachievers that can't get unplugged for their vacations or weekends. But it is time for me to sign off, for dinner calls and I unplug for that.

COOKING: Easy egg bake that will make you look like a domestic diva

Pin It My friend Marilyn made this for my visit to her lovely home in Ohio. She made it the night before super fast and threw it in the oven the morning after, and it was fantastic! My daughter will not eat eggs, and she ate this! I am so pleased she gave me the recipe to share with all of you. THANKS Marilyn!

-1 Box of croutons, preferably cheese-flavored
-Roll of Jimmy Dean Reduced Fat pork sausage
-1/2 to 3/4 pack of mixed shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese
-1/4 of regular-sized onion, chopped
-2 cups skim milk
-8 eggs
-salt and pepper as desired

Make the night before. In a saute pan, brown sausage and set aside. Layer in 13 x 9 baking pan: croutons, sausage, onion, cheese. In blender, mix milk and eggs with salt and pepper. Pour milk/egg mixture in pan. Cover with cling wrap and soak overnight in the fridge. In the morning, Preheat the oven to 350. Bake time varies depending on the oven, but usually cook it for 45 minutes to 1 hour until golden brown, firm and puffy. Serve warm.
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