Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Daffodil Principle

I received this today....

The Daffodil Principle

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead "I will come next Tuesday", I promised a little reluctantly on her third call.

Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.

"Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly and said, "We drive in this all the time, Mother." "Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her.

"But first we're going to see the daffodils. It's just a few blocks," Carolyn said. "I'll drive. I'm used to this."

"Carolyn," I said sternly, "please turn around." "It's all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."

After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read, " Daffodil Garden ." We got out of the car, each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight.

It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak and its surrounding slopes. There were five acres of flowers.

"Who did this?" I asked Carolyn. "Just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house, small and modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house.

On the patio, we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking", was the headline. The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958."

For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration.

That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time--often just one step at time--and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things.

"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years? Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said.

She was right. It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use today?"

Use the Daffodil Principle. Stop waiting ....

Until your car or home is paid off

Until your kids leave the house

Until you finish school

Until you organize the garage

Until you clean off your desk

Until you lose 10 lbs.
Until you get married

Until you have kids

Until the kids go to school

Until you retire

Until summer, spring, winter, or fall;

There is no better time than right now to be happy.

If you want to brighten someone's day, pass this on to someone special.
I just did!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Salad Day

Just a lovely salad made with California Avocados,Celery,Crimini mushrooms, one small apple sliced,some White Balsamic Vinegar,Olive oil and for the finish and the creamy... some Organic Bleue Cheese Sauce from TJ's.
Delicieux and healthy!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Green Day

Another rainy day today in Southern California. Yesterday instead of visiting our Farmers Market I decided to visit our Albertsons
This supermarket is huge and proposes now a wide variety of items. Now they are Green!
I bought some Organic Pears and Mangos. I even noticed that their packages are green too! This is a good thing because most of my Neighbors are going to Albertsons instead of our local farmer market. I really hope they are going to buy Organic ingredients.
Buying Organic is great, but I suggest you to become green in your house too: use cleaning products Green too ( Phosphate-free, Chlorine-Free, no dyes and Biodegradable. And of course their packages can be recycled!
Natural cleaning is also great: got some lemon? got some Baking Soda, got White Vinegar? Great !use them as much as you can and please do not use disposal Whipes to clean up your mess they are the worst filled with hard and harsh ingredients. Buy some use Biodegradable ones.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


I got tagged and I only found out what blog tagging few weeks ago, so imagine my surprise when I realized that Anne from A Foodie Froggy in Paris tagged me today. This is the first time I have been tagged!

Six things, you do not know about me and I want to share with you today ( little habits, routines and little secrets...not very important)
1.My handwriting is terrible, sometime I can't read my own script. I lost valuable minutes trying to decode it, it was terrible when I was a student.
2. Every morning I love having a different breakfast, one day :fruits, other day pancakes, bagels, doughnuts, toasted bread...
3. For 2 years when I was living in NYC I stopped eating meats and everything related to that.
4. As soon as I arrive at home I take off my shoes and wash my hands.
5. I keep everything. I do not throw things away. I have boxes and boxes of little things I will keep forever: matches boxes, business cards from restaurants or boutiques, little notes, letters, postcards, recipes...plenty of souvenirs.
6. I love unusual perfumes and fragance. I do not want to wear what everybodyelse is wearing.
I had one for every important period of my life. My first fragance was offered by my husband: Courreges in Blue... long time ago...I am not going to tell the name of the one I put on lately

Rules: Mention the Blog's name that tagged you, add the rules on your Blog, write the 6 things/ habits non-important about yourself, tagg 6 people adding their Blogs Links and inform the person you tagged .

Here is the list of the ones I would like to know 6 things about: Cake in the City
Tartin & Chocolat,

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sunny Meyer Lemon

We are at the peak of Meyer lemon season here and they can be found perking up in Farmers markets, backyards ,and California groves.
While going through my favorite organic vegetables and fruits booth at Saturday Temecula Farmers markets, I noticed some Meyer lemons. They have been popular lately in any kitchens and cuisine. I really love these plum, smooth-skinned lemons with canary yellow, color of the sun at noon.

Origin and description

The Meyer lemon (Citrus × meyeri) is a citrus fruit, native to China, thought to be a cross between a true lemon and a mandarin orange or sweet orange. The Meyer lemon was introduced to the United States in 1908 , by the agricultural explorer Frank Meyer, an employee of the United States Department of Agriculture who collected a sample of the plant on a trip to China. IIt became popular as a food item in the United States after being rediscovered by chefs, such as Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, during the California Cuisine revolution. Meyer lemons are reasonably hardy, but grow well in a warm climate. They are also fairly vigorous and by the mid 1940s the Meyer lemon had become widely grown in Southern California.
Do you know?
The Meyer lemon boasts of its high vitamin C content -- one regular-sized lemon supplies about 30 percent of an average person's daily requirement. Meyer Lemon is essential not only in stimulating appetite and aiding digestion, but also in promoting the absorption of calcium and iron from natural foods.
When buying lemons, choose the ones that are smallish, heavy for their size, shiny. Fresh and firm lemons will last several weeks inside the refrigerator.
Meyer Lemon do not travel well, this is why you find them at your local food markets.
If you plan to use the skin for cooking or for making marmalade and lemon zest sprinkles, choose lemons that are certified organic. If unsure of the fruit's origin, choose the un-waxed batch and remember to wash and scrub them before slicing or peeling.
Since I discovered them, I have used Meyer lemons in most of my Cooking Classes featured here in Murrieta/ Temecula, and most of my students never tasted or seen any, my advice : Meyer lemons, get them while you can!

Here are the top 20 things to do with a Meyer lemon.

1. Make Meyer lemonade. using 2/3 cup juice to 1/4 cup sugar and 2 cups water

2. Make Morrocan Chicken Tajine with Meyer lemons, olives and fennel

3.Candy the peel, dusting with superfine sugar.

4. To a risotto made with mascarpone and Parmesan, add some grated Meyer lemon peel.

5. Rub a Meyer lemon peel around the rim of a demitasse of espresso.

6. Meyer lemon-almond cake

7. Make classic preserved lemons by filling a Mason jar with quartered Meyer lemons, one-fourth cup of kosher salt and enough lemon juice to cover, and letting them sit in your refrigerator for three weeks.

8. Grate Meyer lemon peel into a bowlful of Chantilly cream.

9. Arrange thin slices of Meyer lemons on a pizza crust topped with goat cheese, rosemary and olives.

10. Make Meyer lemon curd. ( see my recipe in this article)

11. Meyer lemon sorbet-ice cream

12. couscous salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette: olive oil, Meyer lemon juice, minced shallot, Dijon, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

13. granita? Just make fresh lemonade, pour it into a casserole dish and freeze, scraping it occasionally with a fork until it’s . . . a granita.

14. Lemon rice salad with spring asparagus would be too.

15. lemon pasta

16. in a lemon-ricotta cake

17. freeze the juice in ice cube trays and then put them into a zip lock until you figure out what you want to do with them

18. Meyer lemon marmalade

19. Meyer lemon mousse

20. Meyer Lemon salsa

Lemon curd is a British spread with a lovely tart and lemony flavour. In my own variant I use Meyer Lemon which makes it perfect. The curd is very versatile and can be used on toasts and muffins or as filling in cakes, pies and tarts.
Once I discovered it I could not stop making it. It’s very simple to make your own lemon curd and I strongly recommend doing it yourself instead of buying a jar in the store, which is filled with preservatives and other “not healthy” ingredients. If you use fresh eggs and butter and sterilize the jar, the curd will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Meyer lemon Curd Napoleon

For the Meyer lemond curd
4 heaping teaspoons grated organic Meyer lemon peel
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
4 Organic eggs

Grate the lemon. Combine with sugar in food processor and blend.

Add lemon juice and eggs one at a time, blending after each addition. Drizzle the melted butte in through the spout.

Pour mixture into double boiler over hot water. Stir constantly over medium heat until sauce simmers and becomes thick. Cover and refrigerate till cool.

For the Napoleon- feuillete
1/2 cup sugar
4 sheets phyllo, defrosted (I used Fillo dough from The Fillo Factory - follow instructions on box)
4 ounces butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. You will need a fairly large surface to work with the phyllo. Keep the sheets you are not using to the side under plastic wrap and damp towel. Take a single sheet of phyllo and lay it flat on the work surface. Brush the phyllo with some of the melted butter and sprinkle with a quarter of the sugar. Lay a second sheet of phyllo on top and repeat the process. Do the same with the other two sheets of phyllo.
Cut the rectangle into 3 x 4 inch rectangles. Using a spatula transfer the rectangles to the baking sheets, with a kitchen brush spread the melted butter on each rectangle and sprinkle the sugar. Bake about 10 minutes or until they have turned golden brown and crispy.
Place a pyllo rectangle on a plate spread on it the Meyer Lemon curd. In the photos I used three layers of phyllo but it does get a little unwieldy to eat.
Strawberries and Oranges for decoration (Optional)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Jour Blanc

The montains surrounding Temecula Wine Country Valley are all white. The weather was very warm for the last days ( in the 80's) and on Saint Valentine's Day, in a short period of time it was windy and chilly. Of course no comparaison with my friends who live East Coast New York City, but the change was quite abrupt.
The result is that we have beautiful white mountains and this is lovely.
Yesterday I baked some Orange Glazed Pound individual cakes and it ended up in a pure disaster :my cakes collapsed(!) in the center - I don’t mind a cake with a crater in the middle; but even the taste was not good I guess I did not mix well and enough the baking powder. Since my recipe was in French using French Alsa Baking Powder I am wondering what went wrong. The only good things was the smell in the kitchen.
No pictures today of my baking but a georgous White Hyacinth in my kitchen.

Thursday, February 14, 2008



Saturday, February 9, 2008

Trader Joe's to the rescue!

I am cooking usually from scratch, but some days, some evenings I like shortcuts like everybody else.
I usually buy my fresh vegetables, fruits and eggs at the Farmers Markets in Temecula.
My pantry: my rice, pasta, bread, cheeses and meat at Trader Joe's. We do not have a Whole Foods here, we need to drive to San Diego or L.A to find one. I whish we add one here the meat/poultry/ fish section is the best.
But even wen I used to live in San Diego I was visiting TJ's almost on a daily basis.
I buy new items each time I go there, and I am never disapointed.
Yeterday still sick, I decided to open bags... I made Orange Mandarin Chicken, with organic basmati rice everything was from TJ's!
In the rice I added some French green beans, green-orange-red frozen pepper, soy sayce, madarin orange Chef sauce. I fried all in a wok.
The Organge Chicken was crunchy, golden, with a light orange-honey flavor, the fried rice was delicious and tasty! It was a hit at lunch!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Baked Apples

As I am writting more and more about my daily cooking, I realize how I am still connected to my childhood and my mother's dishes.
I was gifted having a mother dedicated to her family, her house, her garden, and her cooking. Even if today, I am not good with flowers and plants, neither with sewing a button I got her love for cooking!
Yes my cooking is related to my past but I am growing up too so I can be adventurous in my kitchen things that I notice few people want to try. They follow the recipes steps by steps. I never do that or only for baking.
Today I baked Apples, Pommes au four. My mother used to cook them in a traditional way for wednesday lunch ( at this time there was not school on Wednesday) and sometimes for dinner desserts. Apples were baked in the oven with a little touch of butter and jam.
The ones I baked today were small, but organic called "Fancy Gala", they were organic from my Farmer's market.

- 1 cup Californian blond raisins
- 2 TBS brown sugar
- 1tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cardamon pwder
- 2TBS Quince jelly
- 4 gala, cored & cut off the top ( as a little hat)
- sliced almonds (optional)

Prehaet the oven to 350 o. Toss the raisins, and spices, add the brown sugar. Place the apples on a baking sheet and press the raisins mixture into centers, add the jelly or jam.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until the apples are slightly soft.

You can add some mascarpone-honey on the side if you want. The marriage between warm apples and cream/ mascarpone is delicious!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Soupe du Jour

The weather in Southern California has been so terrible lately : rain, cold mornings...that I was drawn to soups. Furthermore I have been sick and everybody got a cold in the family.
What I like about soups ( as for salads see my post of yesterday ) you can use whateveryou have in hand, they are very versatile andthey are quick and easy to make. No specialist equipment, I usually use my hand-hold blender.
Soups feature in every cuisine all over the world: potages, consomes, gombos, broth, soups...
My energy level was so low yesterday and with a full hand of organic carrots I decided to make a Morocan Carrot Soup..
Some fresh (pre-baked Filone TJ's) with real better on it was a pure bliss!
The soup was hot, spicy and very tasty, suddenly I felt much better after I ate it!

Morocan Carrot Soup
- 1 peeled and sliced onions
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup of frozen 3 color peppers (green, red and orange- from TJ's)
- 2 small sweet potatoes chopped
- 16 oz organic peeled carrots chopped
- Fleur de sel - or sea salt
- fresh grounded pepper
- Ras el anout spices - Morocan spices ( blend of coriander, curcuma, pepper, ginger, cumin, hot pepper)
- 1 TSP all-purpose flour
- Olive oil
-organic chicken broth ( pack)

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and cook the onions and galic, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender, 5 minutes. Add all the ingredients and spices cook stirring for 10 minutes. Add the chicken broth.
Cover and reduce heat to low.
Set aside some vegetables to garnish. In a blender or with you hand-hold blender puree the soup.
Lassle the soup into individual bowls, and garnish with herbs and veggetables set aside.
Serve with warm bread and butter!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

One of my 1000 salads

My close friends and family know that I love creating healthy and unique salads.
Salads are healthy, colorful, easy and quick to prepare. The possibilities are endless.
You can mix some warm goat cheese, or a soft egg, bacon, fruits, cheese...
Some are perfect during hot Summer (fresh picked tomatoes with basil, and olive oil are divine)but in Winter some pears, endives leaves and Blue cheese can be delicious. To tell you the truth the best ones are often when my pantry or fridge are almost empty. Yesterday after reading Pascale last post from her famous Blog " C'est moi qui l'ai fait!" I watched her doing her special Sunday Salad through the video available on her Blog http://scally.typepad.com I was craving for some salad.
I opened my fridge. Fresh green salad,fresh grapes,Shepperd Sheep cheese ( from TJ's), bacon. In my pantry, I had some pine nuts and all sort of vinegars. I opted for the Figs Balsamic Vinegar,some fleur de sel, grounded pepper and olive oil. The dish was quite refreshing and satisfying. Perfect for a quick supper.

Having my own food blog, I am learning how this is a big commitment. I envy all " Mr/Mrs BIG food Blogger)their pictures are always amazing, the perfect angle, the perfect lay out, the best dish and spoon, the comments unique, as if they have a very well organized and easy life.
I enjoy spending more and more time on my own blog. I am learning how to shoot food pictures, I try to be creative but this is a hard work.
I am glad I came across some amazing people through their blog and I will share with you their amazing blogs, the ones I can't wait to see and savour every day!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Chandeleur- Crepes Day

Last Saturday it was the Chandeleur in France, an old French tradition where you eat crepes all day long!
Since Valentine Day is just at the corner I decided to wrap my Pot au Chocolat with crepes...the result was of course delicious.
Here is some photos!

Friday, February 1, 2008


Here is a little game I am participating in, since I left a comment on " in the Food for love" blog.
Rules for " Pay it Forward" are simple:
1- Everyone with an active blog can participate.
2- The first 3 people who will leave a comment about this game will receive a Homemade gift
3- I will send you my gift within 365 next days.
4- In exchange, you would "pay in advance" ( Pay it foward) keeping the same promise on your blog ( I won't mail the gift if you do not write the information about PIF game!)

I can't wait to see the first 3 names and comments on my blog!

Je vous présente un petit jeu auquel je participe grâce à un petit commentaire laissé chez " In the Food For Love"

Les règles du "Pay it forward" sont très simples :

1- N'importe qui possédant un blog peut participer.
2- Les trois premières personnes à laisser un commentaire sur ce billet recevront un cadeau mijoté par moi-même.
3- Je vous enverrai votre cadeau dans les 365 prochains jours.
4- En échange, vous devrez "payer à l'avance" (pay it forward) en faisant la même promesse sur votre blog (Je n'envoie pas le cadeau tant que vous n'aurez pas posté à propos du PIF!).

Qui seront donc les trois premières personnes à venir poster chez moi et recevoir un cadeau ?

Healthy and Happy Friday

I think I got the flu or something similar. So today with a little time and zero energy I prepared for myself a healthy meal:
Garlicky Bok Choy, mushrooms, fried rice ( excellent from TJ's), smoked salmon with a goat cheese/ whipping cream sauce.
Actually every texture mixed well in the mouth : the silky Bok Choy, the tender mushrooms, the light rice, the smooth salmon and the creamy sauce!
Voila an excellent lunch... even being sick I was able to taste and enjoy it!