Crunchtime Food Blog

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For a minute this past summer, we planned a European trip for when our son would be away at camp.  Don’t you just hear ‘European’ and think of strolling, food, wine, scarves, American shaming?  My more adventurous better half thinks more of conquering places we’ve never been, something say Berlin-ish.  Side note about better-half travel:  may I recommend to all couples that you do not take a ten-day/seven-country trip through Europe, in a Smart car.  Liechtenstein and Luxembourg don’t count and are not worth a route diversion.  We stayed married anyway.  Back to Berlin…granted, I could find my German Dieter roots on a Sprockets sojourn, but it felt like more work than eating herb omelettes in the fifth arrondissement.   Well, it was not to be because my dad was ailing and we had music video producers to feed, so we happily, most fortunately settled for California excursions to Napa – glorious – and to San Francisco for what will have to be an annual concert pilgrimage, Outside Lands.

Wait, it didn’t end there.  So my sister and family are living for a year in Aix-en Provence.  I cry for her daily.  My favorite cousins (I tell them all they’re my favorites, as I learned from my mom) live in Tourves, and our son – in his second year of French –  made a friend from Paris at that summer camp, and well, it just all begged for a Spring Break trip to France.   Herb omelettes, strolling, wine, scarves, family, American shaming, and tuna niçoise salads – ah, there we are – I made it back to headline.

With France on the brain and herbes des Provence on the shelf, we made an already French salade, Frenchier and to make up for the missing key ingredient that better-half doesn’t like, niçoise olives.  The traditional version relies mostly on tomatoes and eggs, with canned tuna and the olives taking a backseat and none of the vegetables were cooked.  We’ve evolved niçoise salad to our liking and so should you.

All good meals start with good ingredients. I tend to shop first and concoct later, especially with fresh fish.  Yet, I’d never wrestle you to the ground if you went to the store with tuna nicoise salad intentions.  The salad components are easy to come by and canned tuna awaits down aisle 15.

Our salad platter earns crunchtime status from the do-ahead opportunity.  I mean this entire thing can be prepared a day in advance, well preserved by plastic wrap and your willpower. Despite the varying cooked ingredients, it requires few pots and pans for preparation – and who doesn’t love a one dish meal. Potatoes and eggs satisfy heavy eaters, raw vegetables and light protein satisfy waistlines.  Come on let’s get this platter started. read more

creamy, sweet, crisp bites

Before moving to Los Angeles, “craft services” meant something to me like scrapbooking displays.  If you don’t know, and I didn’t know, craft services or crafty, as the production crew refers to it, is food service on a production set.  Craft service provides meals, but the real attraction is the constant supplying of snacks and treats to keep that burly guy who’s wearing an undersized Hootie & the Blowfish t-shirt and dirty cargo shorts, constantly fed so he’ll hold up a boom mike for eight straight hours. That’s how he became burly, it’s how we all became burly during production.  Our friend Ron called it Shoot Butt.

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slide 'em into my mouth burgers

Put the white in red, white & blue this 4th of July with sumptuous chicken burgers. Celebrating our fiftieth state, we add a few items to take chicken burgers from bland to grand.

Let’s see how, but first, a story about patriotic jury duty on a criminal trial involving a transvestite prostitute – a tranny tute in my circles.

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cherry clafoutis

When I stepped away from my career to dazzle the world with my mothering prowess, just ask the kids how that’s working out for me, I looked for a thought-provoking tightrope that would suspend my brain between kid übering and spectator marathons of Little League games. UCLA sat 6 blocks from my front door.

Dreaming of being a less quirky (and less talented) David Sedaris, I enrolled in a creative writing class or two.  It’s okay if you  judge my writing ability at this moment and then hope I didn’t pay too much for tuition.  I did.  Those skills landed me assignments at this publication whose pay scale made minimum wage seem like one-percenter income.

My interest morphed into screenwriting.  You know, when in Rome. read more

whole enchilada

Tastes like chicken right? The most common food search term is “chicken recipe.” And I thought it was minted pea puree.  So, I owe you a chicken meal post.  Five mentions of chicken in first paragraph and my SEO will be through the roof. chicken.

If you are a food-fast person and by being here, I imagine you are, Cooking Light is just about the best resource for getting the good stuff on the table in a reasonable amount of time.  I’ve made chicken verde enchiladas a few times (I mean how can I get a natural sunlight photo when serving at dinnertime) and it’s a winner, winner chicken dinner.  Not your soppy enchilada style either, because the filling has intense seasoning flavor provided by small amounts of salsa verde and spices.

You’ll use a few more ingredients here than I know you prefer, but make it in big batches and freeze it (without avocado and sour cream, please).  Your family will rally and you will have a go-to in a pinch.  read more

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