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    CookieWeasel

    Member since Nov 2005

    Chef #267414

    From Goleta, California

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    About Me

    Just another Old Hippie trying to get by in today's Blue Meanie world, tinkering around with my old wok, bamboo steamer and assorted implements of counterculture cookery in a funky little kitchenette the size of a postage stamp.

    When I'm feeling spiritually inclined, I can be found on the yoga mat, casting the runes or reading tarot. Dharma's always the first priority, but sometimes it takes a backseat to other things! If I'm in a musical mood, I like to spend my free time fiddling bluegrass tunes or hammering out rhythms on djembe, doumbek or congas. For exercise, I like Odissi, Tahitian and Tribal Bellydance, not to mention a good workout at the gym (I love weightlifting).  At home, I'm usually studying Norwegian, writing, or working on my rosemaling. When spring and summer roll around, you'll find me at the ren faires and maybe an occasional re-enactment or rendezvous. Left to my own devices, I'd probably spend all my time curled up with a book, eating Lindt truffles and Rochers. (A little discipline can be a good thing)

    I am looking for someone with a nice old house and a tree-lined backyard that would be good for a large dog.. 

    Pet Peeve:  Pretentious yuppie foodies 

    Things I love: Lodge cast iron, Le Creuset, wooden spoons, and my thirty year-old carbon steel wok!

    My pet passion:  Cookbooks from the 70's with pen & ink drawings. These great old books have such a hand-sown, home-grown feeling about them! My all-time favorite is The Tassajara Bread Book! I learned how to bake from that book, so it will always have a very special place in my heart.

    When I was a kid, my greatest gustatory passion was Helms pastry. The Helms bakery was in Culver City, not too far from our neighborhood, and had a fleet of yellow and blue Divco vans that drove around town selling baked goods. (It was a great place to go on school field trips, too-- we'd each get a miniature loaf of bread to munch on after the tour). Anyway, the minute I'd hear the little whistle go toot-toot, I'd race out the door and head out to the street. You could step right up into the van, and the Helms man would pull out lacquered wooden drawers lined with parchment paper so you could choose from a dazzling array of freshly-baked breads and pastries. There were cream puffs, donuts (glazed, jelly and chocolate), applesauce spice cakes, eclairs, brownies, and all sorts of wonderful-smelling things to eat. Oh, what a treat! Even better than the Good Humor man and his ice cream truck! Alas, the bakery closed long ago, and the Helms man, like the Adhor Farms milkman, is a thing of the past. I hear that somebody restored and refurbished one of the old Helms vans several years ago, and is now driving around the streets of Montebello selling baked goodies as in the days of yore. If any of you live near there, keep your spare change handy and your ears peeled for the little whistle. You won't want to miss the experience! Oh, the memories...

    Favorite Foods

    My favorite kitchen creations: Bread baking and pastry-making. Phyllo! Chocolate! Coconut! Cake decorating and candy-making. Anything with almond paste, cardamom or Nutella. Christmas recipes! Stir-fries, deep-fries and curries. Cheese-making. Anything with garlic, feta, capers or artichoke hearts. Scandinavian food (my family culinary heritage) as well as African, Middle Eastern, Indian/Asian, and Mediterranean dishes.

    What dish am I famous/infamous for? I'd have to say it's my rosettbakkelser (crispy deep-fried pastry rosettes-- a Scandinavian holiday treat), which I make every year at Christmastime, just as my uncle used to do.

    Favorite restaurants:
    #1-- Cafe Brasil, a cozy little place with outdoor tables, twinkling white lights, and incredible Brazilian food. Located on Venice Blvd. in Culver City.
    #2-- Versailles, a truly great (but frequently crowded) restaurant with fabulous Cuban food. Also on Venice Blvd, just a couple of blocks away from Cafe Brasil.
    #3-- Sojourner Cafe, which specializes in eclectic healthy food and delicious desserts at affordable prices. On east Canon Perdido in downtown Santa Barbara, just up the street from Zaytoon (Middle Eastern restaurant and hookah lounge) and around the corner from Our Daily Bread bakery.

    All-time favorite eatery: Does anybody remember Wil Wright's Ice Cream Parlor in Westwood Village? I used to go there when I was a little kid, back in the fifties. It's long gone now (like so many other wonderful old places in L.A.) but I reminisce about it to this day. Wil Wright's was a real old-fashioned ice cream parlor with round marble tables, wrought-iron chairs, and red, white and pink decor. You could see the front window and its signature striped awning from the street, but the entry was tucked away in a shady little walkway off to one side. There was a beautiful old statue of Ganesha in an alcove right across from the door (I thought of him as my very own mysterious elephant-friend, and always reached up to touch him before entering the parlor). My favorite thing on the menu was the hot fudge sundae, which came with its own little pitcher of hot fudge so you could pour on as much as you wanted (all of it, naturally!). Every order came with an almond macaroon cookie in a white wax paper envelope that had a drawing of a little angel on it, printed in red. They were sooo good! Wilbur Wright made his own ice cream, too. Oh, how rich and creamy it was! Up on the counter-- that was marble too, as I recall-- there were glass jars full of pretty little lollipops with designs of faces or flowers in the centers. What a magical spot to spend an hour or two with your grandma on a Saturday afternoon!

    Runners-up in the eatery nostalgia hall of fame: Kowloon on West Pico, the Bullocks Wilshire tearoom, Van Gogh's Ear in Venice, and the Tea House in Santa Barbara. Oh, if ONLY there was a way I could leap into a time machine and visit all these neat old places just one more time!

    "Seize the moment! Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart." --Erma Bombeck

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