August 31, 2010

Cinemon Girl has MOVED!!

We've officially made the switch to our own brand-new website! Head over to right now to keep up with latest news, updates and recipes. Make sure to bookmark the new site too!

August 17, 2010

High Tech Meets Low Maintenance

My generation is probably the last one that will remember the days without internet and cell phones- hey kids, we used to go through life...disconnected.  It was possible to go to the store, exercise, and have a thought or feeling without then immediately sharing it electronically with the rest of the planet!  And while it's been 15 years since my first glove compartment sized cell phone I'd resisted the smart phone craze until last week.  The film industry never meet a gadget it didn't like and now it's virtually impossible to meet the demands of the shows I work on without an iphone.  Standing in the middle of the desert without wifi or a production trailer (it broke down on the freeway) is no excuse for not responding to emails and frankly, after 5 days on the job I'm completely hooked on my shiny new toy.  My old flip phone could barely make calls and now and I'm texting, sending emails, checking traffic and making dinner reservations all at the same time.  I'm hooked!
I'm not so tech-ied out to appreciate the simple things like this week's TWD, Oatmeal Breakfast Bread.  Nothing more complicated than a few bowls and a spatula, this delicious morning treat works with whatever ingredients you have on hand.  I love the combination almonds, dried cranberries, and orange zest and made a few muffins with the leftover batter so I could eat them right away.  I guess my iphone has gotten me a little used to instant gratification these days. 
And speaking of which, I can't wait to unveil my new web site.  A sleeker, more modern Cinemon Girl will be coming your way very soon.  Cinemon Girl 2.0!

August 3, 2010

Wake & Bake

For some people wake and bake has a certain connotation but I prefer a more literal interpretation.  An early riser,  I have a hard time sleeping in so even when I don't have to be at work until the afternoon I'm up and at 'em- often in the kitchen.  Yesterday I baked off these Gingered Carrot Cookies but when my husband's alarm went off this morning I hopped out of bed and whipped up some cream cheese frosting to slather on top.  Then I promptly boxed them up for him to take so I wouldn't eat them for breakfast.

Well not all of them anyway.
For the recipe, click here and check out the rest of the TWD'ers here.

July 27, 2010

Slow And Steady Wins The Race

When viewing my life as though it were an Aesop's fable, I tended to skew more towards Hare than Tortoise.  I was always in such a rush- hurry up and graduate, get out into the work force, apply to grad school, then move to LA.  I was on the fast track but after 10 years had passed in what felt like 10 minutes I still hadn't reached the finish line, much less had any idea where or what it was.  That's when I knew I needed to slow down and reevaluate exactly where I was headed on this race- to start looking at it more like a marathon, less like a sprint.   Once I took a breather, I could really focus on what was right in front of me, this culinary passion I didn't even know I had, but instead of jumping in the fast lane I'm taking it slow.  
Today was my maiden voyage to Restaurant Depot (where restaurants shop!) which felt like a big step to me.  Do I really need a 2 pound bag of flour right now?  No, but I might someday and that in itself is pretty darn exciting.  So what if I only bought 2 bowls and a thermometer?  Baby steps.
This week's TWD,  Chewy Chunky Blondies are so chock full of mix-ins a Restaurant Depot card just might come in handy.  Made with giant chunks of bittersweet chocolate, coconut and pecans, they are great just out of the oven but even better the next day.  So whether you're a tortoise or a hare, it's a win-win situation.

July 13, 2010

Black Magic Bourbon Brrrownies

I'm not sure if it was the beignets, the Mighty Mississippi, or a little voodoo magic but New Orleans definitely has me in it's spell.   Days after returning home I'm continue to be enchanted by that amazing place- a feeling that followed me into the kitchen for this week's TWD, Brrrr-ownies.
I was all set to make these peppermint patty filled brownies but the siren call for a Mint Julep inspired version could not be ignored.
Using the original recipe as the base, I used 1/4 tsp of vanilla and 1/4 of peppermint extract (very strong, I think 1/8 teaspoon would suffice) then added 1 tablespoon of Michter's Single Barrel Bourbon.  I topped them with Bourbon Creme Anglaise and candied pecans.

Now that's Southern charm.

Bourbon Creme Anglaise
adapted from

1 cup 2% milk
1 cup half & half
5 egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon

Scald the milk and cream in a saucepan.
 Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and the sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until pale and slightly thickened. Gradually pour the milk and cream into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
Transfer back to the saucepan and stir over very low heat with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring, without boiling until the sauce coats the back of the spoon.  Stir in the bourbon.
Serve warm or chilled.

July 9, 2010

And Then Foie Gras Went Up My Nose

I've been fortunate to experience a few incredible meals in my life and have been known to wax poetic about a particular ingredient or chef, but if food loving became a religion New Orleans would surely be a contender for Culinary Vatican.  Never have a uttered the words, "this is the best thing I ever ate," so often in such a period of time.  And at every meal.

Piping hot, sugary beignets and chickory coffee.  Cafe Du Monde is legendary for a reason.

Restaurant Stella! calls this A Composition of Heirloom Carrots.  Carrot salad, confit, foam, sorbet and gelee with carrot cake crumbles.  Step right up to the Carrot Carnival.

I can't remember what kind of fish this was.  It was locally caught, smothered in a crawfish and spice tomato-y sauce. Commander's Palace...believe the hype.

Bread Pudding Souffle.  It may look innocent, but it's like the ninja of desserts.  You are powerless against it.

Ducking out of the heat of the day into a cafe for barbeque shrimp with garlic bread.  Late night po' boys after listening to a bonefide Lousiana brass band.  A meal at Restaurant August that left us breathless- peaches and pork belly, need I say more.


June 22, 2010

Casual Tuesdays

My morning routine doesn't include a lot of primping.  At 4am, I'm lucky to put on a matching pair of shoes much less makeup.  Outfit selection is based on a) comfort as I will be wearing it for the next 12-16 hours and b) weather conditions.  If it's a hot summer day it will be a balmy 65 on the sound stage unless you're standing under the lights and who knows what being on location will bring- sun, wind, rain, rain towers?  My closet looks like a cross between 14 year old tomboy and outward bound counselor.  At this point if I decided to go corporate I'd be lost.  Heels and pantyhose?  I'd feel less constricted in a straight jacket.
My kitchen is the one place I do feel comfortable getting fancy and this week's TWD, Dressy Chocolate Loaf Cake, provided the perfect opportunity.  Luckily, the only thing high maintenance about this cake is the name because it was so simple to put together.  I opted for downsized glamour by making half the recipe into cupcakes, then I classed them up with piped frosting and candy pearls.

Even us low maintenance gals need a little bling from time to time.
For the recipe, click here.

June 17, 2010

Shades of Pink

While working on set I meet (and get coffee for) lots of celebrities and I'm rarely ever star struck but put me at an event filled with chefs and I turn into a giddy, red faced groupie.
A few weeks ago while volunteering at the Taste of The Nation Los Angeles event, I came face to face with Susan Feniger, of Border Grill, Street and Top Chef Masters fame, and was reduced to a blithering idiot.  The words, "You're so awesome, can I shake your hand," actually came out of my mouth, followed by my dropping a forkful of the Burmese Melon Salad she had just handed me onto her petite feet.  So embarrassing.  Gracious Master Chef that she is, she sweetly helped me pick up my mess and grabbed me a new fork so that I could continue to enjoy the amazing salad she had made.  Luckily the pleasure of eating this refreshing, totally delicious combination of melon, coconut and fresh herbs distracted me from my feelings of humiliation.  Also, I later redeemed myself by managing to speak to and shake the hand of Govind Armstrong without making a spectacle of myself.

I've since recovered from my clumsy brush with fame but could not get this salad out of my mind and just had to make it myself.  With all its complex flavor it is deceptively simple to make and is quickly becoming my favorite summer salad.  I didn't have everything on hand to follow Chef Feniger's recipe exactly but was still able to come pretty close.  The original recipe can be found here.

Burmese Melon Salad with Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette
adapted from Susan Feniger's version
1 small tuscan melon (or cantaloupe), seeded and cubed
1/2 a small seedless watermelon, cubed
1/4 cup mixture chopped fresh basil, mint and cilantro
1/3 cup chopped unsalted, roasted peanuts
2 tbs shredded coconut, lightly toasted
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (approx 2 limes)
1/4 cup peanut oil
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tbsp fish sauce
3/4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp white sesame seeds, lightly toasted

Combine melon, herbs, peanuts and coconut in a large bowl.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together oil, lime juice, ginger, sugar and fish sauce
Add dressing to salad, toss.  For added protein,  I topped mine with spicy grilled shrimp.

June 15, 2010

Bigger Than A Bread Box

We are fortunate enough to have three small bedrooms in our triangle house which allows my husband and to each have a room of our own.  Mine was the office/guest bedroom but has now been taken over by the cats.  My husband's room, or "the forbidden room" as we call (see above re:cats), is a sea of computer cables, camera equipment, and laundry in various stages of clean or dirty.  The forbidden room has a secret though- it is the perfect temperature for proofing dough.  Living near-ish to the beach keeps the downstairs pretty chilly even most of the time, the upstairs tends to be on the warm side but that corner bedroom is just right so when this Goldilocks wants to bake bread that's where it goes to rise.  When making this week's TWD, Raisin Swirl Bread, my secret weapon worked a little too well and I had to bake the bread on the lowest rack to avoid it hitting the top burner.  Luckily the rest of the bread managed to grow into it's golden brown top and came out perfectly.

Simply toasted and buttered, a slice of this bread made a perfect breakfast.

Thanks Susan for a great pick!  For the recipe, check out her blog.

June 11, 2010

Fabulous Baker Girl

The piano scene in The Fabulous Baker Boys- in my opinion, hands down one of the sexiest cinematic moments of my generation.  Who hasn't fantasized about serenading/seducing a handsome musician while slinking around a baby grand? 
Well I may not be a musically talented, french cigarette smoking blonde bombshell, but I can make some whoopie... as in these Chocolate Orange Whoopie Pies.

They may not be as sexy and Beau Bridges circa 1989, but they're just as irresistible.

Whoopie Pies
from Epicurious
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.  Stir together buttermilk and vanilla.
Beat butter and brown sugar at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy then add egg, beating until combined well. Reduce speed to low and alternately mix in flour mixture and buttermilk scraping down side of bowl occasionally, and mixing until smooth.
Spoon 1/4-cup mounds of batter about 2 inches apart onto 2 buttered large baking sheets. Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until tops are puffed and cakes spring back when touched, 11 to 13 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Orange Buttercream
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 tbsp orange zest
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

Beat butter on high speed until smooth.  Reduce speed to low and add sugar and zest until, then increase to medium high and beat until smooth.  For even smoother buttercream, switch to whisk attachment and beat until it has the consistency of sour cream.

June 8, 2010

Sweet Endings

Once a week my husband walks into work with a white box and people are just a little bit happier to see him.  Thus far I've put biscotti, lemon bars, and nutella brownies in that box and when I stopped by there yesterday,  the requests were pouring in. Then, the unthinkable happened, a flyer for the annual office Biggest Loser Competition landed on his desk.
Starting Thursday, everyone is going to be on a diet and I'm thinking those white boxes won't be so well received.  I figured for their last hurrah I'd go big...with White Chocolate Orange Petit Fours.
Sure petit fours are small, but these are huge on flavor.   I started with a lightly orange scented vanilla sponge, brushed with cointreau simple syrup, one layer of orange marmalade and one orange buttercream.  Then, because I wanted to go out swinging, a generous drizzle of white chocolate sprinkled with orange zest.

I know I'll miss filling those boxes as much as they enjoyed emptying them.

The sponge cake and buttercream recipes can be found here.  I have Martina to thank for the white chocolate topping and the inspiration.

May 25, 2010

Hawaiian Chocolate Elvis

In college I used to frequent a place called Planet Smoothie.  My favorite was the Chocolate Elvis- a chocolate, peanut butter, banana confection that I swore I wouldn't finish but always did.  Although I graduated some time ago, (ahem, "waaay back when you were in school" as it was phrased by a certain alumni fundraising whippersnapper who might be wise to ask for money before making one feel ancient)  I never met a chocolate banana treat I didn't like, especially when coconut is added to the mix.  This week's TWD, Banana Coconut Ice Cream Pie, was right up my alley.  It all starts with a shortbread coconut crust layered with banana, covered in a rich chocolate ice cream and banana combo, then topped with more banana.  For my mini tarts, I mixed Haagen Daas milk chocolate ice cream with creme de cacao and added an some toasted coconut for extra crunch but you could go a lot of different directions with this pie.  Did I hear someone say banana caramel? 

Satisfy your chocolate banana craving and head over to Spike Bakes for the recipe.

May 20, 2010

You've Come A Long Way Baby

It's just not a birthday party without a montage.  As Cinemon Girl turns 2 today, I give you a look back on my second year of food blogging.

I got serious with actual lights and a backdrop. No more squeezing everything on to the windowsill.

The student became the teacher as I taught my gorgeous cousin Kaitlin some of the tricks I learned in school and encouraged her to start her own blog.

Events inspired food like these Nainamo Bars- all the rage at the Vancouver Olympics

Food gave back at Stir It 28.

Always a fan of playing with my food,

this year I took it up a notch.

And hosted Tuesdays With Dorie.

Cinemon Girl gave my food fantasies a home so even though it's the blog's birthday, the blogger feels like she has gotten all the presents.

May 9, 2010

Chew On This

A few weeks ago I watched this great segment on 60 Minutes profiling Spanish expat chef Jose Andres. A former student of El Bulli's Ferran Adria, Chef Andres is credited for putting tapas style dining on the map in the US and for applying his love of physics and chemistry to push the boundaries of molecular gastronomy. I had grand plans to spend our upcoming 3rd wedding anniversary at his acclaimed Bazaar restaurant but thanks to the 60 Minutes feature, getting a reservation there has gone from improbable to impossible.
While I loved watching this master chef confound Anderson Cooper things like his pellet shaped mojito, there was one particular part of the story that struck me. Andres has been shifting his focus of late, away from meat dishes and towards vegetables, elevating them from side dish to a more starring role on his plates. And its not purely from a nutritional or environmental perspective- Chef Andres just finds fruits and veggies sexy.

Chef: (Meat) is slightly boring...You get a piece of meat and you put it in your mouth the first five seconds, all the juices flow around your mouth, they're gone. And then you are 20 more seconds chewing something that is tasteless...Something like this doesn't happen with a pineapple, an asparagus, a green pea.

- 60 Minutes transcript

I was really intrigued by this "sexy vegetable" idea but it didn't truly hit home with me until I made this Watermelon and Cucumber Mint Tsatsiki Salad.

Sweet juicy watermelon and crunchy cucumber tossed with lime juice, all seductively drizzled with a tangy, minty tsatsiki and topped with sprinkling of sea salt- a veritable sensory explosion in every bite. So much pow! flavor! in a simple plant based dish totally proved Chef Andres point. You know you want some.

Watermelon and Cucumber Mint Tsatsiki Salad
Gourmet Magazine via Epicurious
1 small garlic clove
2 medium cucumbers, divided
1 1/2 cups plain Greek-style yogurt
2/3 cup chopped mint, divided
1 (3-pounds) piece watermelon, rind removed and fruit cut into 1-inch chunks (6 cups)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Flaky sea salt

May 4, 2010


Wow. Wow. Wow. Burnt sugar ice cream. So good it renders you speechless. Creamy, salty, sweet waves of frozen fabulousness. Perfection in a bowl and so simple to make. Burn your sugar. Add milk, cream, egg yolks and a pinch of salt and stir until an addictively delicious custard forms. Chill, churn, devour. Ice cream this good just isn't natural- it's supernatural.

Let me take a moment to profess my love for Becky for making this her TWD pick. Can I wash your car? Do your laundry? I owe you big for bringing Burnt Sugar Ice Cream into my life.
"...Oh my god, this changes everything..."
-Art Bell, Coast To Coast

April 29, 2010

Italy In My Mailbox

When I was in grade school, way back in the days before twitter and email, we had pen pals instead of facebook friends. It was so exciting to get letters in the mail from kids just like us, living in other towns, countries even. We could ask them questions like, what cartoons did they watch, and did they eat oreos the same way we did, and is it true the water in their toilet swirled the other way? Even with all the cyber connecting I've got going on now, I was thrilled when I heard about Foodie Exchange.
Foodie Exchange is a website that connects foodies from around the world to exchange food care packages. Getting a package in and of itself is great but the idea of it being filled with regional treats is downright awesome.
My firs exchange was with Rosella from Milan, Italy who sent me a fantastic box of goodies
Savory items like local olive oil, saffron, and pesto,

and sweet treats of cookies, and my personal kryptonite, Nutella.

She even included a pot holder and handmade cloth grocery bag. Thanks Rosella for such a beautiful bounty!

If you're interested in joining in the fun, check out the Foodie Exchange site for yourself and sign up!

April 28, 2010

High Fallutin'

It seems I've gotten the reputation of being a food snob. Lately every time I plan to meet a friend for a meal they want me to pick the place. Or if they have somewhere in mind they second guess their choice saying, "We could go here, unless you don't think it will be good." Hey, I may be a self professed foodie but hoity toity I ain't.
See, I said ain't. Cuz I'm keepin it real...and stuff.

Look here's the deal, yes I love food- cooking it, eating it, reading about it. I research restaurants, plan outings around meals, fantasize about trips to places with meals I covet, and I'm very picky when choosing the ingredients I cook with. But, a snob? I think not.
I enjoy a ballpark hot dog as much if not more than the next guy, and a road trip just isn't complete without a stop at Wendy's (don't judge). It's just that when something is billed as gourmet cuisine I expect it to be so, especially if I am paying top dollar for it. I try to avoid jarred sauces because making my own is more fun and I can control exactly how much salt & sugar go in it. And when I have a craving for those packaged treats of my youth, I love using my "culinary powers" to knock off the original with a homemade version.
When I saw the Strawberry Pop Tart recipe in last month's Bon Appetit I just could not resist. Leaps and bounds above those little foil packets, these Pop Tarts are made simply with all butter pie dough and homemade strawberry preserves. Nor rock hard icing on these babies either, just a generous dusting of powder sugar.

Once you try them (and see how easy there are to make), you might get a little high on your horse too. For the recipe, click here.

April 25, 2010

Lavender Is Food

My sister-in-law loves caramel. She also loves lavender. Her affection for these items are documented here and here. For her birthday present, lavender fleur de sel caramels were the obvious choice.

Happy Birthday Beth!

Lavender Fleur de Sel Caramels
adapted from Epicurious
1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon lavender fleur de sel
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup1/4 cup water

April 13, 2010

Australian Visiting Cake

I love the idea of a cake specifically made for when guests are coming by. Of course given the unpredictable nature of our daily lives, this might work better in theory than in practice but this week's TWD changes all of that. Swedish (Australian) Visiting Cake is the kind of one bowl, already on hand ingredient recipe that works beautifully whether you make it ahead of time or throw it together at the last minute. It's so versatile you can make it in just about any random skillet, cake pan or pie tin.

I made this cake this morning when I remembered my cousin's folks were flying in from Australia- hence the new name. I know this orange cardamom scented cake will be the perfect remedy for their jet lag!
Thanks Nancy for a great pick this week!

April 6, 2010

Feed A Cold

When I was in 5th grade, I wrote a poem about being sick while I was in the infirmary waiting for my mom to come pick me up. To this day every time I get a cold that poem pops into my head. While I will (in the interest of my saving myself from complete and utter embarrassment) refrain from sharing this iambic masterpiece with the blogsphere, I will say that next to matzoh ball soup, a slice of Mocha-Walnut Marbled Bundt Cake made this patient feel a whole lot better.

Even with my compromised sense of smell this cake tasted great and made me forget for a few minutes how crummy I felt. I used cocoa powder and hot water instead of coffee- I'm already sneezy and dopey, no need to add jumpy to the list.
Thanks Erin for this pick, it was a bright spot in my congested haze.
Want more bundts? Check out the blogroll.

April 5, 2010

Thanks East Bunny, Bok Bok

Forget the egg, this Easter was all about the chick.

Chicks on sticks inspired by Bakerella and Cake Brain

Pretty vanilla cupcakes.

And check out the genius that is the Peep Show. Photo courtesy of Within The Cranium.

What's in your Easter basket?