Quantum Universe – part 1 Quantum Foods

After I finished licking my wounds, I realized I shouldn’t cry over spilled milk, beside the bad taste that was left in my mouth was ruining my desire for chocolate. I decided I needed a road trip. So, I recruited Travis, whose birthday incidentally it happened to be. Travis is awesome to travel with. He can speak Quantum Physics with such deep elegance and spirit that can light of the hemisphere of my left brain, a true Renaissance man. He politely reminded what the meaning of hell is “being stuck in a black hole and being slowly pulled apart.” Well, I happy to report I’m no longer stuck in a black hole I’m in sunny, happy Phoenix!

Off we headed in the middle of a storm, yes after 145 days we finally got rain! Our experiment with Quantum physics began with fun, food, and fantasy in the old Wild, Wild West. Travis mapped out our journey via Contact Magazine reviews.

TravisFirst stop on our cosmic adventure was Grasslands. If you’re looking for a yummy treat smack dab in the middle of no where, don’t look any further. Grasslands is a food paradise located in Sonoita where route 83 goes from south to east. Stop the car, or whatever you’re driving get out and have lunch! Dine like a New Yorker. Order the split pea soup! Then have the Southwest Quiche which is “a flavor blend from mild chilies, black olives, chives, cilantro, cumin and organic cheddar.”(Grasslands) Wash it down with prickly pear lemonade. Or enjoy a warm broccoli croissant. Don’t forget to order the double layer chocolate cake all baked fresh at the Grasslands.

After a wonderful discussion with the owners we drove onto Elgin Winery located in Sonoita about 3 miles from Grasslands. According to Judy Hedding of About.com “Elgin Winery uses traditional techniques and is the only winery that still stomps the grapes and uses only wood casks. It is a family owned winery, and the capacity is only 120,000 bottles. The Elgin Winery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily for tasting and purchases.” (Hedding) We did try their wines I found them delightful though a little too sweet for my tastes. The vineyard certainly has some history as the indicated on the sign hanging outside the winery this is the bordello.

We had to race from Elgin to Sonoita Vineyards which was closing at 4pm. The most sensory experience at Sonoita Vineyards is the aroma of their wines. I describe the scents as perfume flowery, citrus, berries, apples and pears. Beautiful! Truly award wining and well deserved. Just by talking to Dr. Gordon Dutt you can feel the passion in his heart for making wines transcends to the wine itself. I especially enjoyed Cochise Country Colombard.

After our dining and wining we headed to the Hacienda del Desierto a lovely bed and breakfast founded by Rosemary and David. This is a must stay for those of you who enjoy romance with natural setting and ambiance. We stayed in the Casita which was a small house with all the amenities a small house would have. And private hot tube right off of the porch, which we used despite the rain. Breakfast was a little light though the fresh fruit was very good.

Boylan’s Orange Soda

I discovered Boylan’s Orange Soda a few weeks ago (where the heck have I been?), and my 3-1/2 year old son, Nicholas, and I are hooked. I found it at the same local Italian gourmet grocery store that I got the Nutella lookalike snack packs at. It’s a little less carbonated than a traditional orange soda like Sunkist, and less sweet as well, which I like. Turns out it’s even bottled in my homestate of New Jersey. Now the goal is to find somewhere else that carries it a little cheaper than $1.50/bottle we paid. So far, no luck at any of the regular local grocery stores and an online search only yielded beverage sites that carry it (with slightly exorbitant shipping prices). In the meantime, Nicholas and I are pretty content going to the local Italian grocer and picking up a few bottles, a few Arancini and, oh yeah, maybe one of those homemade Italian Specialty sandwiches with fresh foccacia, prosciutto, basil and mozzarella. Makes a nice little picnic. Have you discovered Boylan’s Soda yet? What’s YOUR favorite flavor?

Nutella On the Go?

A few weeks ago, I discovered an Italian gourmet grocery store in my own town. We’ve lived here 4 years and although I’ve passed by it a million times, I had never been inside. I bought a TON of stuff and have been back twice since then already. Being a Nutella fan, as soon as I spied these, I grabbed a few packages. A Nutella lookalike on the go? I am so there.

A snack pack of small Grissini with hazelnut cream, it was good, but not good enough to stop storing a jar of Nutella at home. The problems? I think it needs a sweeter dipping stick than a Grissini, and the hazelnut cream was not as soft as it should be. That being said, it’ll do in a pinch. Look for it in an Italian gourmet store near you … a bargain at 69 cents!

Licking My Wounds & the Fine Art of Comfort Food

Have you been dealt a psychological blow that was so powerful that you feel physically? I got mine recently from someone I thought was a close friend someone I care so deeply about. I won’t bore you with the details of why he did what he because I don’t even understand why he did what he did to me.

I sit here a gaping hole in my stomach. No dark chocolate in the world will make me feel better. But I think of mash potatoes, oatmeal, macaroni and cheese, chocolate chip cookies and cheeseburgers. The stress from this situation is debilitating. Does comfort food help with dealing with stress?

According to a study conducted by the University of California in San Francisco on chronic stress. “Our studies suggest that comfort food applies the brakes on a key element of chronic stress,” says study co-author Norman Pecoraro, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of senior author Mary Dallman, PhD, UCSF professor of physiology.” (University of California, 2003).

In the short term, if you’re chronically stressed it might be worth eating and sleeping a little more to calm down, perhaps at the expense of gaining a few pounds,” says Pecoraro. “But seeking a long-term solution in comfort foods – rather than fixing the source of the stress or your relationship to the source of the stress — is going to be bad for you.” (University of California, 2003).

I totally agree with Dr. Pecoraro, but sometimes you can’t fix the relationship and have to learn to just let it go. There’s freedom in this and a few chocolate chip cookies couldn’t hurt. I thank my lucky stars I have the comfort of family and close friends. Hopefully I won’t add too much to my mid drift.

I highly recommend “Comfort-food Cravings May Be Body’s Attept To Put Brake On Chronic Stress“.

University of California – San Francisco. September 11, 2003. “Comfort-food Cravings May Be Body’s Attempt To Put Brake On Chronic Stress”, ScienceDaily. Retrieved on March 7, 2006 from

Where in the World is Jeremy Pepper?

JeremyI shall miss Jeremy’s company here in Phoenix. Our collegial debates about blogging, PR and marketing were immensely engaging. Not forgetting our chatter and gossip about food in general and especially pizza at Nello’s. His uncanny ability to keep talking while flirting with the waitress was always fascinating. Or reminiscing the good old days while lunching at the Counter in Scottsdale. Well, I can only say I look forward with great interest to his rants and raves about the food and dining in San Francisco.

Jeremy Pepper, all the best with your new home!

Oh yes, congratulations to winning AdLand Battle of the Ad Blogs PR Category!

The Accidental Cook: Migas for Breakfast

I’ve been quite remiss with my blogging but was suddenly inspired to share my adventures in the kitchen as I continue to learn how to cook and discover a balance between following recipes and experimenting.

As far back as I can remember, recipes have been a major challenge for me. I’d inevitably use teaspoons instead of tablespoons or vice versa or leave out a crucial ingredient. More recently, I’m learning the art of “feeling” when cooking and have found myself reading cookbooks and recipes in magazines to get a better foundation of understanding about ingredients, flavors, textures and colors.

The other day, the idea popped into my head that I wanted to make a Mexican dish called “Migas” for breakfast. I searched the Web (of course) and found the following recipe. When I finally made it this morning, I found myself adapting the recipe to suit my preferences and ingredients on hand. I include a list of my adaptations to the recipe. The dish turned out perfect – just like I remember it tasting when my sister made it for me a few years back! (She’s the Martha Stewart of the family).

Found on 1st Traveler’s Choice Internet Cookbook

Duke’s Migas (Fairview Olé)

8 eggs
1/4 cup cream or half and half
2 Tablespoons butter, divided
3 Tablespoons mild salsa
1 cup broken tortilla chips
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
4 Tablespoons spicy salsa
Garnish: tortilla chips and fresh parsley
Combine eggs, 1 Tablespoon butter, and cream in mixing bowl. Beat with
a wire whisk. Melt 1 Tablespoon butter in heavy skillet. Add egg
mixture and stir in 3 Tablespoons mild salsa. Scramble eggs until they
begin to set. Add broken tortilla chips, stirring to mix. Divide egg
mixture, placing 1/4 on individual plates. Top each with grated cheese
and 1 Tablespoon of spicy salsa. Garnish with tortilla chips and a
sprig of fresh parsley. Enjoy!

How I adapted the recipe with successful (yay!) results:

1. Six eggs instead of eight
2. I used 1% organic milk instead of cream – and just poured a little in by “feel”
3. I broke tortilla chips INTO the egg mixture to let them soften (my sister’s tip) and again, measured by “feel” so the egg to tortilla chip ratio looked right
4. Salsa poured into the egg mixture while it was cooking – by “feel” (I love all this cooking feeling!)
5. My sister suggested garnishing with cilantro instead of parsley but I didn’t have either.

This was so easy to make. The cooked tortilla chips taste like traditional corn tortillas once they soften.

My husband doesn’t understand why they are called Migas (“migas” means “crumbs” in Spanish) and has officially renamed this dish (at least in our household) “Mexican Scramble.”

Here are a few more variations:

On Baker’s Dozen

On All Info About Recipes

On The Recipe Link

Daily Eats Review: Love Truffles?

Just looking at the sensual shapes of Joseph Schmidt Truffles you know pleasure will be bursting in every bite. Joseph Schmidt Truffles are my favorite!

Joseph Schmidt, is a European-trained baker, and his partner, a European-trained confectioner, opened their first (and only) store selling baked goods and chocolates. What a beautiful combination! No wonderful each truffle is designed like a beautiful work of art.

Joseph Schmidt truffles

photo by: Tery Spataro

Daily Eats Rewiew of Scottsdale New Year’s

Scottsdale New Year’s Eve 2005 was promoted as an evening of Champagne and Chefs. There was more Budweiser and Jack Coke flowing to fill Diamond Back stadium, Champagne being the least seen. But where were the chefs? Where were the non-alcoholic drinks for those of use who prefer not to guzzle all night long and have that one toast?

Let me get to the point, this was a totally disappointment from an event stand point. Not worth the price of admission for VIP’s at $118. The first disappointment was the price of the ticket. Promoted at $100 but once you get through the transaction process you find out there is a couple of hidden fees. The City of Scottsdale takes a nice slice for the event. But wait whatever happened to truth in advertising? Why not promote it as $118 event? What’s the big deal? Instead surprise the customer at the end with surprise grand total. I did call GetTix.net and had a very nice conversation with the Customer Service Rep. He told me the City of Scottsdale did not want to tell customers up front about the extra $18.00. I wonder why?

The food well, I really couldn’t enjoy it because there were no seats and no direction to finding seats. 3 course…no way. If the great chefs were cooking their talents were sadly wasted. And where’s the cake? Cookies don’t count as a dessert at $118 per person for Scottsdale, AZ.

I don’t recommend this event for people over the age of 38. This good venue is for the 21-30 year old folks who like the bump and grind and are not aware of what an well-organized event is all about.

I did enjoy music by Crown Kings who only played until 9pm. And love Soulful Horizons! They were worth seeing and hearing!

Did I have a totally awful time?
Joanne and Tery
No, I was with Joanne and Scott Fried and friends. We made the most of the time. The weather was perfect! I did leave at 10:30 to meet my dad for a New Year’s toast. My poor mom is ill again so could not join us.

Next year I’ll take my $118 plus and a few more dollars, and spend it on a fine dinner with a very handsome companion toasting to the Paris lights and our good fortune from 2006.