Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Surf's Up

Went to check out the surf by John Dominis this morning before work.  I know surfer dudes got names for these spots but I forget um.  To the left and faaaar away were surfboarders and in front of me were body surfers.  My longest lens is a 70-200mm so most of these shots are cropped a lot. I used my polarizing filter which cut a lot of the glare and turned the water a beautiful chrysocolla (sorry, I'm into rocks) color.  I looooved the fluidity and power of the water, though I'm actually scared of the ocean.   I wanted to stay longer, but it was getting hot and I had to go to work.  Maybe I'll return tomorrow.














Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Brandee's European Adventure - Part 7

Brandee is back at school after a nice holiday.   Here is Bran's description of her week in chocolate making!!

After a wonderful week in Nice, we are back in the school grind making chocolate. We experimented with dark, milk and white chocolate. Tempering chocolate is an art form. The French take it very seriously. We even constructed handmade chocolate boxes to hold our handmade bon bon, chocolate bars, truffles, ferrier roches, and homemade marshmallows. Chocolate is very messy, but fun to work with. You need to constantly have your chocolate tempered to be able to work with it, and each type of chocolate has a different temperature because of the amount of cocoa that is in the chocolate. Chocolate is interesting to learn about. The process is like a fine wine.

The Perfecting class with Chef Nicolas made ice creams this week. Chef Nicolas is certified, and an expert in ice cream making, ice sculptures, and sugar pulling. He is trying to become a M.O.F. in ice cream and ice sculptures, so of course we know what a spectacular display of work it is. I was very jelloosss… of what they made. So was everyone else.

The Beginner Class made Gateau de Voyage, which basically is all different types of pound cakes. At the end of the week we all went to the bowling alley to have some fun. The town of Yssingeaux is so small you have limited things you can do, and the bowling alley is the place to be. It was also Karin’s birthday, so we had a nice celebration.

Our class showing our chocolate working.

I made a Chocolate Box out of Dark Chocolate. OMG the flower was hard to do.

This is my White Chocolate Box I made. I was trying an experiment. It did not hold up.

Perfecting class and their amazing Ice Cream display

Chef Nicholas Ice Sculpture that he bragged it took him 10 min to do.

Karin's birthday with Karin, Niki, Kate, and I

Christina (Italy), Noam (Tel a Viv), Tias (Brazil)

Kate, John (French Assistant at the school), Niki

Flo (Also a French Assistant and very good at sugar), Nora (Venezuela), and I

Christina (Italy), Luke (Australia), Noam (Tel a Viv) and me in the kitchen after bowling

Next week is Ice Cream and a trip to Le Puy

Monday, August 29, 2011


I bought this Waldorf Salad from R. Field in Foodland.  I thought it looked so good with the candied walnuts and all.   It was $10.99 a pound.  I bought 1/2 pound.   It's made with kale.  You ever ate raw kale?  I had never eaten it before either. And guess what . . .  I'll never eat it again . . . EVER.  It's like eating grass . . . bitter grass.  It doesn't soften . . . no matter how long you chew it.  So it's hard to swallow.  You end up with all this grass-like stuff sticking out of your mouth, and a puzzled look on your face with your mind going, "Whatdahell IS this stuff?"  It's KALE.  Now I know.




Sunday, August 28, 2011

Didi's Cucumber Ebi Tsukemono

Didi gave us a whole jar of this.  Hoo hooo!!  Score!


Here's Didi's recipe:

5 Japanese (seedless) cucumbers, thinly sliced
2 small carrots, peeled, slivers
1-inch ginger, peeled, slivers **
1 oz. wakame, soaked, drained **
1 c. small dried ebi
3-4 TB Hawaiian salt
1 c. white vinegar
1 c. mirin
½ c. brown sugar, firmly packed
½ c. sugar
½ tsp. salt
1-2 TB chili garlic paste

Place cucumber, carrots and ginger in a colander; sprinkle with salt. Let stand 3 hours. Rinse and drain well. Squeeze excess liquid. Place into a mixing bowl with wakame and dried ebi; toss to combine. Transfer into desired containers. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring sugars, vinegar, mirin and salt to a boil; stirring until sugar and salt have dissolved. Remove from heat; add ginger and chili garlic paste. Cool. Place cucumber ; pour over vegetables. Refrigerate overnight. Makes 2 quarts.

** Note – I didn’t have wakame (which is ready to eat almost immediately), so I used nishime kombu. Cut into strips with scissors. In a saucepan over medium heat; cover kombu with water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer for 1 hour until softened. Drain well.

** I didn't have fresh ginger so I used 1 tsp. ground ginger instead.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Brandee's European Adventure - Part 6

Bueno all,
 After a whole morning in Monte Carlo, we drove down to Cannes and saw the sunset. Cannes is the home of the Cannes Film Festival and the shore is very booming. Once we got to Cannes it was like being in Beverly Hills, Malibu, or Martha's Vineyard. We walked along the beach to see the beautiful hotels, shops, and all the fancy cars that are parked outside. We had a nice time.

The Shores of Cannes

On the beach in Cannes


One of the hotels in Cannes

Next day we got up in the morning, and made our last walk around Nice. Kate saw a bunch of Russian men performing in native music and she was lost in her own world. We later got in the car to drive back to Yssingeaux for school the next day. Along the way we saw the "Tour the France" Van on the highway, there were all these cars in a row going towards the next town.

The last day in Nice

Our last walk on the beach

A hotel on the Nice strip

Driving back to school

We got a picture of the "Tour de France" van and people out on the freeway

Niki trying to look like a duck. "What a quack" that's what 7 hours of driving does.

Next week we are working on Chocolate. Nice.

Au revoir from France, Brandee

Friday, August 26, 2011

I Feel Guilty

I neva do nothing wrong, but I feel guilty.  Let me explain.   This is my flash.  It's 4 years old.  I paid $350 for it . . . I know . . . expensive, but it's worth it.  I use it a lot.  It broke about a month ago and wouldn't fire at all so I took it into Canon Hawaii.  It cost me $115 to fix which includes a 6-month repair warranty.

It worked okay for about a week after the repair, but then started acting up again, so I took it in. The girl said that it looked like a different problem, and did I drop it?  I said, "No."  She kindly agreed to have it repaired for free since I had just brought it in recently.


I went to pick up the flash today. The same girl helped me.  She said that they had to replace a lot of components.  She said that it had sustained what looked like impact damage since the recent repair.  Whaaaa???  I said, "Huh?  Like from being dropped?"  She said, "Uhuh."   But I didn't drop it.   How do you convince somebody that you didn't lie?  Now, I feel guilty . . . like I lied.  But I didn't.  I didn't drop it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Brandee's European Adventure - Part 5

More from Brandee:

Next day Niki drove to Monte Carlo, or I should say Monaco. Two weeks before, there was the wedding of the Prince of Monaco, Prince Phillip to Catherine. We drove up to Monte Carlo, and had breakfast by the yachts in the morning. We proceeded to walk up to the castle. Along the way you can take pictures of the grand prix statue they have. Next there is a small pond on the way up the side of the hill to the palace. Once you get to the top you will see the palace, shops, their own church, and a big aquarium museum, and just this breathtaking view of the whole city. It is quite amazing. I wish we had time to go to the casino but it was at the end of Monte Carlo and we would have to find parking again. We stayed in Monaco half the day then drove to Cannes to see the beach and watch the sunset.

Our drive up to Monaco

Us eating at the cafe having breakfast in Monte Carlo (note from jalna: that's what Bran wrote, but I don't see anybody eating)

Kate, Niki, and Karin taking a picture in front of the yachts

Me taking a picture in a Grand Prix car with a famous driver from Monaco in a bronze statue

Us walking up the mountain to the palace. We stopped to get our feet wet in the fountain while hiking up the side of the mountain.

Scenic view of the city.

Kate and Niki playing around while we walked up to the palace.

The Royal Palace. (Not that exciting to see)

Once we got up the mountain to the palace, which by the way was not so spectacular we walked around to see the shops, see the church where the wedding took place, and saw the sites from the top. Pretty amazing to even drive the curvy roads of Monaco. It's like a scene of "To Catch a Thief" a famous Alfred Hitchcock movie starring the princess of Monaco Grace Kelly and Cary Grant.

The church where Grace Kelly got married and just recently her son Prince Phillipe

Niki and all of us looking out on the beautiful scenic view of the ocean

Me looking out close to where the church is

Scenic View

Driving out of Monte Carlo