Monthly Archives: May 2005

The results are in!

David at A Banana in Australia did us proud with three awards and a careful and serious consideration of everyone’s recipes. Thank you all for entering! I think the standard of food and cooking on display was the highest it has ever been overall and I will be making some of these myself…

Paper Chef #6 Entries

Roundup of entries for Paper Chef #6 – The ricotta, almond paste, white chocolate and strawberry edition

Another bumper crop of entries. We had the usual flurry of issues and slightly late entries, but finally they are all in. The list this time around is simply amazing and includes a remarkable level of creativity! I don’t envy David over at A Banana in Australia who has to judge all these! It will take him a couple of days but then check out his site for his pronouncements from the bench. I’ll post the link here as soon as I know it.

To recap, this month’s randomly chosen ingredients were: ricotta cheese, white chocolate and almond paste and the topical/seasonal ingredient was strawberries – with the usual disclaimers about allergies, inability to get your lazy self out the door to go to the grocery store, living on isolated islands and in places where some things aren’t in season all applying.

Without further ado, here are the nominations in no particular order. If I missed someone yell out loud and clear here and to my email owenl1998 at yahoo dot com…

Barbara at You Gonna Eat All That entered a stunning looking Ricotta Cheesecake with white chocolate and strawberries in a graham cracker-marzipan crust.

Lyn of Lex Culinaria entered a white chocolate & ricotta semifreddo and garden fresh strawberries in almond tuille cups and a bonus recipe of baked white chocolate ricotta cakes with almond tuile cookies and fresh sugared strawberries. Bonus points to her for making the ricotta from scratch!

Julie of A Finger In Every Pie created a Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote with Ricotta-White Chocolate Gelato and Scented Madeleines with a separate recipe for each of those yummy-sounding elements.

Alice of My Epicurean Debauchery made a Strawberry Katsu – Alice taught me that a Katsu is a Japanese crusted cutlet and since these are usually savory meat dishes, her switch to a dessert was certainly creative! Alice has entered Paper Chef before and seems to stretch the creativity considerably every time.

Daffy of Kitchen Crazy Daffy (now called Chopsticks? – I’m not sure)- by now our most prolific Paper Chef entrant – who once managed to enter somehow while on a weekend trip to France(!) – also supplied three recipes: Baked strawberry cheesecake with chocolate syrup and Sweet Softies and Strawberry sorbet with cheesy almond cores and chocolate syrup.

Kevin of Seriously Good made us the deceptively simple-sounding Strawberry Cheese, designed to highlight the flavor of the strawberries, accompanied by almond tuiles. His picture looked a lot like Lyn’s above but they are very different recipes.

Honore – a brand new entrant – did not have a blog to host his entry of White Chocolate – Fruit and Nut Cheese Blintzes, so I put them up on Tomatilla! for him.

Brenda of Culinary Fool entered Strawberry Ricotta Fool in Almond Florentine Cups. She has some absolutely lovely pictures with her entry of the Florentine cups setting over glasses and punnets of berries lying around. And she designed it to go with the upcoming WBW (Wine Blogging Wednesday) on rose wines.

Another Barbara – of Winos and Foodies in New Zealand – had trouble finding Strawberries (it is Autumn turning to Winter there after all) so she went with jam for her White Chocolate Cupcakes with Ricotta Filling and Strawberry Frosting. She includes a bonus cutaway photo of how it looks inside!

Sarah of The Delicious Life entered White Chocolate Ricotta Cheesecake that looks absolutely delicious. She was then insulted by her (I’m sorry if the truth hurts, but…) absolutely idiotic colleagues at work who dared to mention the (bleh!) Cheesecake Factory in the same breath as this delightful confection.

Even though Chopper Dave and Mrs. Deedop of Belly-Timber going through some tough times right now, they somehow managed to take up the gauntlet of using the four ingredients to make a non-dessert. Not once, but twice. And they did a dessert too. And Chopper Dave included a recipe that used the ingredient he nominated that did not get selected as well – quinoa. I’m not just impressed – I’m intimidated. The full list of recipes is: Quinoa Crusted Prawns with Mole Fresa, Duck Leg Confit with savory Strawberry Compote and Strawberry & Red Wine Granita.

UPDATE: Noticed Viv at Seattle Bon Vivant‘s entry: it is somewhat deconstructionist, but lovely just the same: Fresh strawberries garnished with grated white chocolate (South African Cadbury’s Dream)along with, the freshest Amandine, purchased early this morning at Le Panier at the Market, an Almondy and moist Friand, also from Le Panier and finally, in lieu of Ricotta, a serving of very tangy, creamy and thick homemade yogurt.

I think that’s it – If I missed anyone (for example if you contacted David at A Banana in Asia directly) then let me know and I’ll add you.

White Chocolate – Fruit and Nut Cheese Blintzes

We had a brand new entrant for Paper Chef this time around – Honore – without a blog to post on, so I am putting his creation up here for all to see.

The full indexed list will go up in a couple of hours.


Honore’s White Chocolate – Fruit and Nut Cheese Blintzes

Crepe Ingredients:
4 eggs
4 Tablespoons oil
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups flour, sifted
1 teaspoon salt

Filling Ingredients:
1/2 pound cream cheese
1/2 pound Ricotta
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 Tablespoons almond paste
2 Tablespoons White Chocolate, melted (save some white chocolate to shave over the top)

Sliced fresh strawberries for garnish (can also be added to filling) could be frozen strawberries or preserves or compote.

Beat eggs, oil, and milk. Add flour and salt, beat until smooth. Chill 1/2 hour. Lightly grease hot pan. Pour 3 to 4 Tablespoons batter into the pan, turning pan to coat thinly. Fry lightly on one side. Repeat with remaining batter. Stack crepes on waxed paper, brown side up. Beat filling ingredients together until smooth. Fill each crepe with 2 heaping Tablespoons of filling and roll up. Top with strawberries & shaved white chocolate.

Sounds wonderful, Honore!

3 Hours to go…officially

It’s not even too late to get started for Paper Chef. Although the official deadline is Noon today (in about 3 hours where we are), the official rules also state that creative excuses can extend the deadline quite a lot – and – since I don’t actually get home to round up everything tonight until about 11PM PST – you effectively have until then! (that would be 14 hours from now….)

It’s a party…and you are ALL invited…

Well, the book arrives early next week. (Currently circling near Martinez). So it is time for a book launch, complete with author signings and everything – and strawberries…

Here are the details. Many of you already know that I started a small publishing company some months ago and have been working away to get our first book out. The time has finally come!

The book launch will take place on Saturday May 21st and on Sunday May 22nd. On Saturday May 21st an author talk and book signing will take place at the Berkeley Farmer’s Market at 11:30AM as part of its annual Strawberry Tasting event. On Sunday May 22nd, an author talk and book signing will take place at the Lafayette Book Store in Lafayette, California at 4PM. All four of the authors who reside in the Bay Area will be present at both events and will be available for signing, interviews and discussion.

Here’s how to get there:

Berkeley Farmer’s Market, Saturdays 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Center Street @ M. L. King, Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA. This is in downtown Berkeley two blocks West (toward the Bay) of Shattuck and the Berkeley BART station.

Map link:

Lafayette Book Store, 3579 Mt. Diablo Blvd. Lafayette, CA Contact: (925) 284-1233. This is in downtown Lafayette a very short walk from the Lafayette BART station and one block West of the downtown Safeway/Starbucks intersection.

Map link:

So what is the book? Here’s a little piece from the press release….

Digital Dish: The Freshest Recipes and Writing From Food Blogs Around the World

The writing in food weblogs has an immediacy and sense of adventure that is completely different from food writing in magazines and newspapers. Food blogs chronicle failure as well as success. They explore the familiar and the exotic, the everyday and the special occasion. Food blogs are accounts of inspired cooking, travelogues that whisk you to far off places and cultures, memories of times and places fixed by taste and small as well as sight and sound.

Recently food blogs have been widely covered by the mainstream media. Some of the contributors in this book have appeared on French national television, been interviewed by the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle and have been written about by magazines like Gourmet and Time. But they remain intensely personal and cover food, cooking and dining from a wide range of personal styles and angles.

Digital Dish brings together some of the best writing and recipes from food weblogs over the period of five seasons.

You will be able to get a copy easily at either of the launch venues and you won’t have to pay shipping!

The publication date is June 2005 and Digital Dish will cost $19.95. It will be available from all major booksellers, from and directly online from the publisher at, where it can also be pre-ordered.

Title: Digital Dish: Five Seasons of the Freshest Recipes and Writing from Food Blogs Around the World
Price: $19.95
ISBN: 1-933249-00-5
Publisher: Press For Change Publishing LLC, PO Box 1321, Lafayette, CA 94549
Pages: 232
Perfect Bound

Paper Chef #6 – Ready, Set, Go….

For May, 2005, the final ingredients are:

2)Almond paste – if you can’t get it, try ground almonds or almond flour or another nut paste (even peanut butter I suppose) or something nutty or a paste of some kind if you are allergic to nuts
3)White chocolate – or if you can’t get it another form of chocolate – or if you can’t do chocolate try carob or another sweet and fatty substance that is highly addictive of your choice
4)And the topical/seasonal ingredient? Strawberries (see post below) – if you live where they are not in season or you can’t/won’t eat them then substitute frozen or another red fruit or another fruit

This is the first clearly dessert only Paper Chef – having said that, the clever people who managed to do things like make truffles with eggplant will surely be able to make a fruit-nut mole with chillies for fish (or whatever)

Our judge this time around is David of A Banana in Australia (winner last month) BUT – he may bow out since his mailbox isfull and I’m not sure he got the notification. If he can’t do it, then I will.

Start as soon as you read this – and email a link to your entry about what you cooked before Monday Noon PST. Spectacular whining, preferably with stupendously creative excuses left in the comments area, may get you an extended deadline.

Winner gets to put up the prestigious Paper Chef Winner icon (which will be supplied) and also gets to judge next month (if they want).

Explaining Strawberries

In the comments to the previous two posts I mentioned that there was a super special reason why strawberries are the seasonal/topical ingredient this time around for Paper Chef. They were pre-announced inadvertently when they were suggested by one of the nominators, and since there is a special reason, I had already selected them, so I had to come clean.

The reason is in fact both seasonal and topical. It all comes about because the Berkeley Farmer’s Market is holding its annual strawberry tasting on Saturday May 21st at the Farmers market at the intersection of Center and ML King Jr Way (two blocks from downtown Berkeley BART). In conjunction with this prestigious event, I am finally launching Digital Dish. (See little advert thingy up in the top left). This book is a compilation of the best food writing from food blogs around the world between Summer of 2003 and Summer of 2004. There are 24 different food blogs represented. So, if you live in the Bay Area get on over to the Farmers Market where you can get a signed copy. Four of the authors will talk about food blogging, serve little snacky things and sign books. Plus you get a free strawberry tasting thrown in!

If you can’t make that date, an additional launch event takes place the following day at the Lafayette Bookstore in Lafayette (also 2 blocks from BART) on Sunday May 22nd at 4PM where the agenda will be a little more literary and a little less strawberry but will still have four authors talking and signing books. The four local authors in question are me, Dr Biggles, Ellen and Stephanie.

Besides wanting to not lose a lot of money on the book (I set up a publishing company and spent six months on researching, signing up authors, editing, laying out, designing and dealing with business and printer issues and then paid for printing) I have an additional agenda in mind – if the book is even a modest success I want to follow up with Digital Dish 2 – from Summer 2004 to Summer 2005. And there are a LOT more food bloggers from around the world now! The authors are all getting a better deal than if this was a normal publisher and a normal compilation. I have wanted to start a publishing company for some time and this seemed like an ideal vehicle and since I am also a writer and have been all my life, I wanted to make sure it rewarded writers properly. So, do your bit and order a copy!

The book is being delivered on Wednesday. I had hoped for today but the freight company couldn’t quite make it and they can only deliver in the middle of the day and I can’t manage Monday and Tuesday because of that so Wednesday it is…

So – that is the rather surprising reason for strawberries being both the seasonal and topical ingredient for Paper Chef this month. Full ingredient list to follow shortly…

Announcing the special ingredient!

Since Biscuit Girl jumped the bandwagon in the comments to the previous post, I am going ahead and pre-announcing the special seasonal ingredient for Paper Chef. It is strawberries!

Spring Strawberry copyright 2005 Owen Linderholm

Paper Chef Update

We’ve gotten bogged down…people aren’t thinking of ingredients enough (or at least not suggesting them!)

Here’s the state of play….

The current list is: Chorizo, ground coriander, star anise, chestnut paste, egg, almond paste, brown sugar, red wine, cream, cheddar cheese, buttermilk, quinoa, mejdool dates and honey. Nominate others in comments here or at the Is My Blog Burning Forum.

Cannot nominate: prosciutto, garlic, sherry vinegar or goat cheese

So, what are you waiting for? Nominations close tonight at 11PM…

Lemon Almond Shortbread

It was time to suck up at work – I am the new kid on the block after all. So I made shortbread – Lemon Pistachio Shortbread. Read on for the details.

Lemon Almond Shortbread copyright 2005 Owen Linderholm

Shortbread is surprisingly easy – it is basically butter and flour and sugar. You can add other things if you want but those will do…

Lemon Almond Shortbread

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cream together 3 sticks (12 ounces) of butter and 1 cup of granulated sugar. Mix in thoroughly one teaspoon of vanilla extract and 4 tablespoons of (meyer) lemon zest. Add two and a half cups of flour and 3/4 of a cup of ground almonds (almond meal/almond flour) and a teaspoon of salt and 1/2 a cup of toasted almond slivers. Thoroughly mix these using two forks or two knives or a pastry cutter or a Kitchen Aid mixer. You will end up with a crumbly, almost-dough mixture. Get a flat baking pan up to an inch high but no more and carefully press the dough into the pan using the back of a fork until it is bound together and pressed in tight. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes until the edges are starting to turn brown. Take out, let cool five minutes. Carefully cut into squares with a knife and then carefully lift out onto cooling racks with a spatula. Let cool thoroughly to allow them to get firm. Beat off passers-by with the spatula. Carefully pack in boxes with paper towel to take to work.