Archive for April, 2011

Omelette Mondays beginning in May

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Most everyone has heard of Julia Child (1912-2004). It was in Paris that Julia met two French women, Simca Beck and Louisette Bertholle, who were writing a cookbook aimed at an American audience. They needed an American collaborator. Julia was perfectly suited for the job. She began testing recipes. For nearly ten years, she devoted herself to writing, testing and re-writing. She confided to her sister-in-law: “Really, the more I cook the more I like to cook. To think it has taken me 40 yrs. To find my true passion (cat and husband excepted).”

She was invited to appear on a television program called “I’ve Been Reading”, produced by WGBH, Boston’s public television station. The host of the show was reluctant to take time for a subject as trivial as cooking. But Julia was undeterred. She arrived with a hot plate, giant whisk and eggs, and made an omelet. Twenty-seven viewers wrote to the station, wanting to see more. The station produced three pilots, then launched into production of The French Chef. Produced and directed by Russ Morash, the series broadcast a total of 199 programs, produced between 1963 and 1966.By the end of 1965,

The French Chef was carried by 96 PBS stations. Sales of Mastering the Art of  Cooking” were picking up speed – 200,000 copies sold. In 1965, Julia won a Peabody. In 1966, she won an Emmy. Time put her on the cover in a feature article on American food – “Everyone’s in the Kitchen.”

But this series is not about Julia, although America will miss her, it about Romaine Chatard Champion, the author of of the book “The Art of Cooking Omelettes” published in 1963. (more…)

Edgar Allan Poe and Detective Fiction In Richmond VA

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

One of today’s most popular literary and cinematic genres, Detective Fiction was born 170 years ago. It is hard to believe but “Detective Fiction” first appeared in the April 1841 issue of Graham’s Magazine, with the publication of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” This was the first of three of Poe’s tales to feature C. Auguste Dupin, the very first fictional sleuth. What to call this new literary genre? Poe called these stories “Tales of Ratiocination” after all, the word “detective” had not yet entered the English language,

Poe: The Birth of Mystery through June 23, 2011

The impact of Poe’s development of the idea of a story with a plot that revolves around a highly intelligent character’s ingenious solution to a mystery can be found in Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Adrian Monk, and even Scooby Doo. We might never have heard of these characters if it were not for Poe! Poe developed a number of popular detective story subgenres as well, including True Crime (“The Mystery of Marie Roget”), the “Locked-Door” mystery (“The Murders in the Rue Morgue”), the treasure hunt mystery (“The Gold-Bug”), and the comic detective story (“Thou Art the Man”). Poe was so acclaimed for his inventive contributions to the genre that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, wrote, “Where was the detective story until Poe breathed the breath of life into it?”


Earth Day in Richmond is April 23

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

The Earth Day celebration in Richmond On Saturday April 23rd promises to hold forth all things GREEN! The day long celebration is a resource for tips, contacts, and information to assist us all in becoming more eco-friendly by incorporating practices, products, and services in our everyday routines.

Have fun at Earth Day Richmond April 23 Noon to 7 PM

This year’s festival will include vendors, artists, farmers, and activities for all ages.  There’s even a FISH FEST riverside on the James River and, of course a diverse collection of local live bands including: Rattlemouth, Exebelle & the Rusted Cavalcade, Amazing Ghost, Black Girls, Horsehead, and more. Plenty of delicious local eats and drinks to fuel you up for the entire day.

So the festivities start at noon and end at 7PM on Saturday April 23rd in Richmond’s Manchester District where 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Streets will be blocked off at Hull Street. Come join the fun: celebrate, learn about techniques to help our environment, and best of all, spend the day outside!

See you there!  More Info

Tip of the Week – Mustard Caviar

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Mustard Caviar

1/4 cup mustard seeds
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons glucose
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 red Thai chili, minced
1 teaspoon turmeric


  1. Toast mustard seeds and add remaining ingredients.
  2. Cook until ingredients come together and reserve at room temperature.

Making your own Glucose

2- envelopes (2 Tablespoons) Knox unflavored gelatin
¼ C – Tablespoons Cool water
2- Cups light Karo syrup
1- Tblsp. Cornstarch
1- Tblsp. White Sugar
1- Cup Cool Water

Soak gelatin in water & let set about 5 minutes; then heat over medium heat source until clear & dissolved. Add Karo (corn syrup) syrup, sugar, cornstarch & the ½ cup cool water mix thoroughly & boil about 30 seconds or until thickened.  Cool & store in refrigerator for up to 2 months.  This recipe will also thicken after it is cooled.

If this recipe is to runny – take another ¼ cup cool water & 1 Tablespoon corn starch, mixed thoroughly & add to gel mixture then boil about 30 seconds cook down to about 2/3


Kitchen and Garden Tour May 1

Monday, April 18th, 2011

If you can’t catch one of the Richmond tours during Historic Garden Week, there’s always the Fan Woman’s Club Annual Kitchen and Garden Tour.

Kitchen and Garden Tour in Richmond's historic Fan District May 1 2011 1-6 PM

This year’s theme, Urban Delights, offers a diverse selection of homes and gardens in Richmond’s historic Fan District. Discover how urban homeowners maximize every inch of space both inside and outside their homes. See how each home has been personalized by its owners who focus on blending historic architectural details with the functionality required by modern families.  The tour features homes across the length of the Fan District, from the 1400-block of Grove to the Boulevard.

The Fan Woman’s Club organizes this tour each spring as its primary fundraiser to support its grants to neighborhood non-profit organizations and its neighborhood improvement activities.  The woman’s club has upgraded park facilities with new benches and plantings and funded new period-appropriate street litter receptacles.  Houses are staffed by volunteers and neighborhood businesses sponsor the event.

The Historic Fan District is an 85-block turn of the century (19th to 20th, that is) residential neighborhood, named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986 as the largest intact Victorian neighborhood in the United States. It takes its name from its tree-lined avenues and streets that “fan out” from Monroe Park, adjacent to the academic campus of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Best described as architecturally diverse, the over 2,300 classic town homes feature bay windows, turrets, high ceilings, parquet oak and pine floors, mahogany woodwork, stained and leaded glass, and varied porch and balcony designs. Most homes are brick or brick and brownstone.

At the east end of the Fan, close to Monroe Park, sits a unique clapboard residence on a large corner lot.  Completed before the area gained popularity in 1869, on a parcel purchased in 1862, it is now Richmond’s premier bed and breakfast known for its hearty gourmet breakfasts. A stay in our urban inn is a better way to stay: to experience the Fan neighborhood like a local, to dine in neighborhood eateries, and to enjoy live theater, neighborhood entertainment and nearby museums and attractions.