Friday, April 29, 2011

From Time to Time

Do you have a sweet tooth? Some people are sweet fanatics. I'm more like a transient, lackluster sweet eater, usually drawn to the beauty and color more than the flavor and joy of consumption. I loved Halloween as a kid mainly because it was a competition with my brother to see who could get the most candy, but truthfully the candy sat around until Easter when my mom threw it out. Then the enormous chocolate bunny we received in our Easter basket went into the fridge, looking quite noble, until Halloween rolled around and my mom once again threw out our sweet stash. I suppose that's why when someone asks if they can bring something to a party I usually ask them to bring dessert because I'm just not that enthusiastic about making it or really even eating it. I know that's blasphemy to some, but you should thank me because it means you can have my slice of cake.

I'm the person who would rather eat another piece of bread than pie because I like fat more than sugar. You know why? Because it makes everything taste better.

Let's be honest, which one do you want:
(a) Snackwell chocolate chip cookie
(b) Ben & Jerry's cookies 'n' cream ice cream

Or how about:
(a) Melba toast
(b) Croissant

If you didn't answer (b) to both of those questions, you're lying. My point is that fat creates satisfying, luscious food. And while I do try to eat healthy a good bit of the time, holidays and gatherings seem to bring out the fat-laden food. I'm not advocating a meal staged to induce a heart attack, but we all deserve to treat ourselves to something indulgent from time to time.

I hosted the annual Peeps Regatta at the (temporary) Malia Yacht Club on Easter Sunday. There were about 20 people there, of which almost half were under the age of 3, poised to see who would claim this year's title of Premier Peep Racer. But first we needed to be properly sated. To kick things off, I served a gorgonzola bacon dip along with freshly squeezed blood orange mimosas.

Then came this question: "What is in this dip?!" My response was, "Fat!" That was basically the truth. I took cream choose, half and half, gorgonzola cheese and bacon and baked it into a warm, gooey, fatty goodness, and people basically couldn't stop eating it. Hmmm, I wonder why. . . . One cannot resist such a combination of rich ingredients.

After we finished eating the ham, mushroom spinach strata, the frisee salad with roasted fingerling potatoes, asparagus and snap peas, and the beautiful and sweet "rabbit" pineapple fruit salad ("Thanks, Todd and Ronda!"), it was off to the races!

On an aside, the Peeps Regatta almost didn't happen. I went to 12 different stores before I could find our "vessels!" There was a strange run on these fellows and I kept walking into store after store to find this:

Panic was starting to set in (because how can you have a Peeps Regatta with no peeps?!), when I finally spied these. Granted, they're not the most conventional color, but hey, you gotta take what you can get sometimes.

It didn't seem to deter any of the racers. While Samantha was the defending champ, it was anyone's game. There are not many Regatta rules other than you can't touch your peep.

Reece took matters into her own hands and decided she'd blow on her peep, which was probably 200 feet from her mouth, but hey it must've worked because she walked away this year's winner.

And we were lucky that only one three-year old ended up in the pool. Do you want to guess which one it was?

We've had kind of an iffy spring in Santa Barbara this year but the weather was pretty glorious last Sunday. I think we all enjoyed a day with the sun on our skin, grass between our toes, and laughter with good friends.

Happy Spring! And thank you, Marina, for so many great photos from the day!

Blue Cheese-Bacon Dip
from Southern Living

7 bacon slices, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup half and half
4 oz crumbled blue cheese
2 Tbsp chopped chives
3 Tbsp chopped walnuts, toasted
Grape clusters
Assorted crackers

Cook bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat 10 minutes or until crisp. Drain bacon and set aside. Add minced garlic to the skillet and saute 1 minute.
Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add half and half, beating until combined. Stir in bacon, garlic, blue cheese, and chives. Spoon mixture into a 1-quart baking dish (or 4 one-cup ramekins).
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Sprinkle evenly with chopped walnuts and serve with grape clusters and crackers.


  1. Best Easter I can remember in my adult life (even with the three-year-old (mine!) that fell in the pool). Thank you again for hosting such a perfect afternoon :)

  2. My problem is that I like both sweet and savory....

    Thank you for hosting such a nice Easter! I am already working on my tricked out PEEP for next year. I need to beat one of those 3 year olds!