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The Food Party!

By Laura Stec

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About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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Creamy Strawberries with the Blues

Uploaded: Jul 2, 2016

Last week’s conversation about Guns and Butter left me feeling sad, does that sound silly or childish? We just can’t communicate about guns without getting into fights with one another. Have we really just lost the ability to agree to disagree? I don't care if you don't think how I think, or believe what I believe, and I have no interest in trying to make you. It doesn’t matter that we don’t agree, I expect it. What matters is how we move an issue forward, despite our disagreement. Now that's exciting. That's worth spending time on. None the less, thanks to everyone who joined the conversation.

But now for something completely different. We celebrate 4th of July with a fun and easy recipe that honors the colors of the season. A perfect part of any early July breakfast, or a fun snack to make with the kids.

We can all agree on that.

Creamy Strawberries with the Blues

1 pound strawberries
1 pint blueberries
8 oz Frisch Cheese from North Bay Curds and Whey (substitute 8 oz cream cheese), softened
1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla
3 tablespoons honey

Wash strawberries and blueberries and let dry.

Mix the softened cheese with vanilla and honey.

Core strawberries with melon baller.

Pipe or spoon the cheese mix into strawberry.

Top with a blueberry. Yum!





Comments

 +   123 people like this
Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on Jul 2, 2016 at 3:35 pm

The typical American discussion about guns unfortunately doesn't focus on the real problem: the people.

Exhibit A: Japan. They don't allow private gun ownership. Very little gun violence.

Exhibit B: Switzerland. Most households have a firearm because Swiss adult males are compelled to participate in national defense exercises on an annual basis. Also very little gun violence.

Between those two countries, we can reach a conclusion that a gun is a tool, like a hammer or knife. A knife in the hands of a sushi chef? Great! A knife in the hands of some maniac? Not so much.

The problem in the USA (and other places where gun violence is a problem) isn't the guns, it's the people.

That said, the USA must make an effort in reducing the number of crazy people running around if they are going to reduce violence. The Boston bombings made it clear that you don't need a firearm to cause fatal mayhem. A few household chemicals, a pressure cooker, a bagful of common purchases at a hardware store.

Ultimately, if the USA wants to ensure public safety, we will probably need to make a stronger effort at eliminating crazy people. Just ship them out on boats to the Farallones and toss them overboard. They have the opportunity to swim back to the mainland.

The oddest thing with these gun discussions is how much they show that your average American has ZERO KNOWLEDGE about what goes on elsewhere in the world. And we're talking about generally well-educated people living on the SF Peninsula.

This bodes poorly on the future. [Portion removed.]
Wish it weren't the case, but that's the way it is.

The berries look great though.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Plane Speaker, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jul 4, 2016 at 3:13 pm

-Have we really just lost the ability to agree to disagree?

You are just noticing that now? ;-)

The gun debate is mostly like all the other intractable problems. Some people
think that some problem causes by some other people doing "something"
that is bad or dangerous should be solved by totally forbidding something that is
important to some other people.

I am pro-gun ownership, but I must confess, in the old Westerns I thought it was
a good idea when the Sheriff would collect the guns of all the yahoos riding into
town and check them in and out when they left. If that is gun control, maybe it's
not a bad idea. Not sure how we would implement it today.

The problem is that in certain situations both sides can be right, so the question
is one of degree and judgement. I don't think the gun issue is going to be solved
any time soon and people in the US overwhelmingly support gun ownership.

It seems silly without further information, government capabilities, evidence or
technology to presss for a solution when one has not been able to reached before.
So the reasonable thing seems to be, at least for the present, i.e, this election
season to take issues like this off the debating table, and out of commercials
and focus on the fundamental issues.

Maybe people don't know or agree on what the fundamental issues are, or they
like being sidetracked and fragmented and seeing nothing change and things
get more gridlocked. It sure is great for the 0.1%, that is for sure.

Very patriotic dessert, mmmmmmm! God bless America!


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Plane Speaker, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jul 4, 2016 at 3:21 pm

Hey Reader ...
- Ultimately, if the USA wants to ensure public safety, we will probably need to make a stronger effort at eliminating crazy people.

That sounds good ... what do you think about not making people crazy in the first place. I know it goes against the grain of everyone who has theirs, but lots of people around the world never acted crazy until their lives were turned upside down, in some cases for hundreds of years. I think the real crazy people are those who do the most killing, usually governments, in the name of protecting people who did profitable crazy things a long time ago and now want to draw an arbitrary line that they are sane and everyone else they profited off of is crazy. For good measure they seem to like to give those people a little push towards craziness, like having police shoot them, or putting lead in their water, or .... well, you get the idea.

In a world where we know what we know today, it really is unfair and doesn't make sense to have some families that own whole countries and others who live and die at their whim.

Declaration of Independence ... lots of people have no power to be independent. Have a good Fourth.


 +   7 people like this
Posted by What2ndAmendment?, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jul 5, 2016 at 8:33 am

Laura, you do have a sense of humor after all! You lament that we can no longer discuss things in a civil way any more, and yet in your previous Blog post, you included a comment that was sexist against men! Then on top of that you were dismissive of those who disagreed with you by calling them “Big Gun”. If you truly cannot understand what I am saying to you, then there is no way to have a civil conversation.

If you wish civility in discussions, then you should lead by example. Also, the anti-gun side was far more uncivil; hurling personal insults and blaming the victims of horrendous physical violence, while the Pro 2nd Amendment side provided far more facts, opinion, and information. If you have no interest in trying to make us think like you think, then leave the non-sequiturs out and the only thing that people will comment on is how good or bad your food advice, recipes and recommendations are.

Now, with all that being said, is the Frisch Cheese only available from North Bay Curds and Whey (which I could only find as being located in Berkeley) or is there someplace closer to Mountain View? If not, have you checked with Steve at The Milk Pail to see if he might be interested in carrying it? He is pretty good at carrying cheeses that are hard to find, or that no one else has if there is sufficient demand.

Also, what are the qualitative or characteristic differences between Mexican vanilla or a typical brand name vanilla?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Plane Speaker, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jul 5, 2016 at 11:30 am

- If you wish civility in discussions, then you should lead by example.

Take a logic course ... that construct is invalid, it is more a lame attempt
to be superior. In fact your whole comment is full of logical fallacies.

I always find it funny that only on the Internet can someone make the nastiest
of statements to another person and then turn around and ask then to help
them, give them information or then engage in a civil discussion ... but I'll
never understand it.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by And now back to our regularly scheduled programming, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Jul 5, 2016 at 12:45 pm

These look amazing. I find people whose mouths are filled with delicious food rarely blather on and on about divisive political issues. Yah for yummy foodfood! It'll shut a fool up pronto!


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by D in Duveneck, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Jul 5, 2016 at 6:36 pm

D in Duveneck is a registered user.

Laura, I can't understand why you're feeling sad. You wrote a thoughtful and well-written column, and you got a flood of thoughtful and well-written replies in return, didn't you? Didn't you?

The wonderful replies followed you into this column, capped by the sensitive, compassionate suggestion to take "the crazy people" out to the Farallones and toss them overboard! Note to Palo Alto Online censors: if any portion needed to be removed...

Just to catch you up, my mystery marinade worked a treat; succulent, tasty chicken at the College Terrace BBQ. And several people there commented positively about your column. Although one of them asked me if I was What2ndAmendment?. Talk about feeling sad...

I'm struggling with which is worse--writing shockingly irrational arguments and then accusing the other side of being uncivil and illogical, or simply writing banal, boring shockingly irrational arguments.

Suggestion to several commenters: read the Gail Collins/Arthur Brooks debates in the NYT for examples, in addition to Laura's witty, whimsical prose, of how to write well and cleverly about disputatious topics.







 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of another community,
on Jul 6, 2016 at 5:16 am

I haven't been following my own column very well these past days as I am in Michigan celebrating summer and our family reunion. Yes D in Duveneck, there was some good conversation and I really appreciate an honest, respectful exchange, so thank you for bringing that up and for everyone who participated. We don't need to agree, as long as we still can talk. I think this column has improved with that since we started, yikes, 3 years ago. Humor is first and foremost, creative writing with a point gets good marks too. I always say The Food Party! is training for Thanksgiving dinner with the family.

Any soft cheese can do What2ndAmendment? Cream cheese probably the easiest to find. We Food Partied about Milk Pail a few months ago - great local place to patronize. They survived the redo in that area - go Steve R!


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Maggie76, a resident of Portola Valley: Woodside Highlands,
on Jul 6, 2016 at 6:17 am

Maggie76 is a registered user.

People, people! Ms Laura clearly said she was feeling sad about the Guns and Bullets discussion and she decided to share with us such a beautiful and delicious recipe for strawberries. But what happened? Guns and bullets discussion came rolling in. Can we please just enjoy the dessert? Just this one. I know gun discussion is VERY important and trust me that I did my part but just here, just for now let's enjoy something different and more peaceful. Adding my two cents:


Biscotti
Ingredients

6 eggs
1½ cup sugar
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup vegetable oil
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons vanilla or almond extract

Procedure

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Beat eggs. Add sugar and beat until thick and golden.
Add melted butter and oil and beat well.
Add vanilla or almond extract and blend well.
Add flour and baking powder, and beat until a thick dough forms.
Turn dough into ungreased 9-inch by 13-inch pan.
Bake at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and slice into three strips, 3 inches by 13 inches each.
Cut each strip into slices about 1 inch wide.
Place slices on a cookie sheet. Toast slices under the broiler. Turn, and toast other side.

Biscotti should be crunchy. Serve with coffee. Makes about 24 biscotti.

Read more: Web Link


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Jul 6, 2016 at 8:58 am

How sweet Maggie76. I love the thought and the recipe! Hi everyone from Michigan.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Plane Speaker, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jul 6, 2016 at 12:25 pm

Great biscotti recipe ... any idea how to modify that to make chocolate biscottis?
Life is all about chocolate for some of us! ;-)


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by D in Duveneck, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Jul 7, 2016 at 4:07 pm

D in Duveneck is a registered user.

My hat is off to you, Laura, for your tolerance and positive attitude. Well, maybe I should say my baseball cap is off to you, or the bush hat I wear in the garden. But never mind. You are admirable!

Red, white, and blue strawbs, and now biscotti--why I love The Food Party! I'm still angling for a marinade recipe, preferably one with Meyer lemons, of which I have a plethora.

And I have a question: How in the world did Reader, a resident of another community, get 121 likes for his post? He should go national with that kind of support.

Be that as it may, I vote for national exposure for you, Laura Stec.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of another community,
on Jul 7, 2016 at 6:59 pm

D, 121 likes - really? You are observant. Yes - Reader - Wow. That must be a record. Do you keep clicking on your comment?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on Jul 7, 2016 at 8:37 pm

No, don't know what is accounting for all the clicks. I don't subscribe, so I only get a limited number of pageviews before Embarcadero Media tells me "no mas."

Who knows what's going on here?

I guess that's the state of the Internet in 2016.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on Jul 9, 2016 at 5:29 pm

I note that there is at least one other person posting as "Reader" from "Another Community". There might be several. Hard to tell.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Plane Speaker, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jul 9, 2016 at 5:37 pm

Any news on the chocolate biscotti ? ;-)


 +   5 people like this
Posted by What2ndAmendment?, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jul 13, 2016 at 12:11 pm

What2ndAmendment? is a registered user.

Plane Speaker - What you said makes no sense. What I said was perfectly clear "If you wish civility in discussions, then you should lead by example.", which means that if one makes uncivil comments to begin a discussion, one cannot expect the remainder of the discussion to be civil.

If you see me as being superior, that is not my problem, it is yours. But I am curious why you call yourself "plane speaker" instead of "Plain Speaker"? Are you talking with us from Air Force One? Or perhaps another dimensional plane?

You also claim I made nasty comments. Which ones? Pointing out hypocrisy is not a nasty comment. I realize that some people may believe that the mere act of disagreeing with political correctness is 'nasty' and we should just shut up and let you tell us what we need to think and believe, but fortunately, we haven't gotten to that point yet.

@ D in Duveneck, I assume you are referring to me in regard to the "irrational arguments". Examples please? That's a great device to use though, throw out a random accusation without any specifics. Very worthy of the Alinsky model.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Plane Speaker, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jul 13, 2016 at 5:41 pm

> if one makes uncivil comments to begin a discussion, one cannot expect the remainder of the discussion to be civil.

That conditional is an invalid statement, like your earlier statements, it means nothing.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by What2ndAmendment?, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jul 14, 2016 at 2:21 pm

What2ndAmendment? is a registered user.

@Plane -- Just because you may be incapable of grasping a concept, it does not render that concept invalid. You have yet to respond to any of my questions, why is that? You seem to be more focused on trying to insult me that to actually discuss anything or present any reasonable arguments of your own.

You haven't even explained what in your opinion renders the statement invalid. It is syntactically correct and logically plausible. I did not use any universal generalizations, but instead posited a reasoned expectation of the most likely response to a particular action.

It is exactly the same as saying that if you start a conversation by insulting someone, you should not expect them to be polite to you. You may disagree with that premise, but it is neither invalid nor illogical just because you disagree.

I would also posit that my words have far more meaning than those you have chosen to expend in the futile attempt to belittle others with your personal attacks.



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