Friday, October 28, 2011

What's a Girl to do With a Butternut Squash?

It's butternut squash season. I love butternut squash. Dad usually gives me a bite or two when he bakes them in the oven. I always beg for more. The other night he gave in. I later threw up on the oriental carpet in the dining room. But, now that I think of it, it might have been the bowl of oatmeal he gave me earlier in the day. It did look a bit like oatmeal. I love oatmeal.

Now, this new recipe is definitely not for dogs. It is a fresh take on butternut squash and it is light and fresh and really easy to make. Except for peeling the butternut squash! Who wants to peel a butternut squash? So Dad just cut off the ends and cut it in quarters and grated it. Being careful not to grate in any of the peel.

Raw Butternut Squash Salad With Raisins and Ginger

1 butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded and grated
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 to 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, or to taste
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Combine the squash, raisins, oil, vinegar and ginger in a salad bowl; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to several hours.

Yield: 4 servings.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ryan and Grace's Boston Lettuce and Radish Salad

Ryan and Rufus

So, Ryan and Grace surprised everyone by preparing a very delicious dinner. Not that we didn't think they had it in them. We just didn't think they would want to. Moral of this story: never underestimate the capabilities of bored youngsters. They created the menu, set and decorated the table, and served the meal with flair (Sophia helped). I helped too. I licked the plates clean.

The menu consisted of a very elegant Boston lettuce and radish salad and eggs en croute (more about that soon).

The Stage Was Set

Ryan and Grace's Boston Lettuce and Radish Salad

  1. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  3. 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  4. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  5. 2 bunches radishes (about 20)—tops reserved for another use, radishes very thinly sliced
  6. 3 heads Boston lettuce, outer leaves discarded and tender inner leaves torn

In a large bowl, whisk the extra-virgin olive oil with the sherry vinegar and Dijon mustard and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the sliced radishes and Boston lettuce to the bowl, toss well and serve right away.

Grace and Rose

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dogs Love Pasta

If you've been reading my blog, well then, you know that Suddie Loves Pasta. No. Make that Suddie Loves, Suddie Loves, Suddie Loves Pasta.

Well the people at The Pasta Shoppe came across my blog and decided to send me some of their Dog Lovers Pasta. It's really intended for humans, but the pasta is formed into little paw prints and bones. It's really, really cute. They also sent me a boat load of their other pasta products including both 100% Whole Wheat Petite Pasta Nests and Spinach Basil Garlic Petite Pasta Nests.

We are going to be sampling them all over the next month or so and reporting back to you. First in the pot will be the 100% Whole Wheat Petite Pasta Nests made with a simple and delicious Pomodoro Cotto sauce. Check in next week to see how it goes. In the mean time, check out The Pasta Shoppe website, As they say, the world is full of pastabilities!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Who Will You Be This Halloween?

Well...I already know that my grandson, Cooper, is going to be the cutest bumblebee ever!

You see, he already buzzed around in a pet parade near his home in Connecticut and was even asked to participate in a picture contest at his local pet store. Isn't he the cutest!! Four months old now.

As for me, I haven't quite decided what I will be this Halloween. Grammie Jill gave me all sorts of good suggestions and, while we were in Columbus weekend, I tried on all sorts of costumes. So far, I think I like Suddie Panda Bear the best. What do you think?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bloomin' Rose

My grandaughter, Rose, at 4 months.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Beamer is a Babe

Do you remember my friend Beamer? You know from my post Dogs of The Corn!! If you don't remember, check it out. You'll find a really great recipe for Creamed Corn if nothing else. But you will find something else cause there are more pics of Beamer and he is a HUNKSTUD!

You know... they say you can tell a lot about a boy by the way he treats his mother. I don't go in for that cause I have the BEST BOYS and they don't call, they don't write, and they hate to talk on the phone.

But, anyway, Beamer is so sweet with his mom. But then she is BUNKYCOOKS of You know what that means? Lots of good food all the time. What's not to like? You see she is like this real famous, but down-to-earth, food blogger.

The Sexy Chef, Colin Bedford

In addition to great, easy-to-follow recipes and great sexy celebrity chef interviews, BUNKYCOOKS has THE BEST giveaways ever. I am always entering to win one of these great kitchen-related items. Well, guess what, I finally won!! And it is a fabulous Magimix by Robot-Coupe Vision Toaster. It is an amazing toaster with a window that allows you to watch your toast toast. What could be more fun? Watching paint dry? Oh no! It is very cool. It has this great feature that allows you to toast only on one side which, as BUNKYCOOKS points out, is great for Bagels:

"One of the features that I really like about the Magimix Vision Toaster is the bagel toasting option. You can toast one side of the bagel so you don’t end up with an overly crisp bagel that nearly breaks your jaw when chewing it. I always opt out of toasted bagels at restaurants for that reason. With this toasting feature, you can have slightly toasted bagels on one side and still have them chewy on the other."

It also has a defrost setting for toasting frozen bread. It's great! I love it. Thank you for BUNKYCOOKS!! Do you believe I've developed a taste for lightly-toasted biscuits? I won't have them any other way. Magimix, you have CHANGED MY LIFE.

Now, you really can't go on about MS. BUNKYCOOKS without sharing one of her recipes. Here's one that's sure to make you drool.

bourbon bread pudding with ice cream and caramel sauce

Yield: 8-10 servings Prep Time: 1 hour Cook Time: 40 minutes Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

This rich and elegant dessert can be made ahead of time and refrigerated before baking. If you use a softer brioche (I used a pullman brioche loaf), you may only need a 1 pound loaf. The pullman loaf has very heavy crusts that are removed before cutting into 1/2 inch pieces.

1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup bourbon (I used Woodford Reserve)
1.9 pound brioche or egg bread loaf, crusts trimmed and bread cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I used a pullman brioche loaf) * See note above
8 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup bourbon (I used Woodford Reserve)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Homemade vanilla ice cream or very good store bought vanilla ice cream
Homemade caramel sauce (or your favorite recipe)

1. Place raisins in a small bowl. Pour bourbon over the raisins, stirring occasionally to be sure they are all thoroughly soaked in the bourbon. Soak at least one hour and longer, if possible.

2. Once raisins have soaked, place bread cubes in 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan and sprinkle raisins over the top of the bread cubes. Whisk eggs, whipping cream, milk, sugar, bourbon and vanilla extract in large bowl to blend. Pour over bread cubes and raisins. Let stand 30 minutes, occasionally pressing bread into custard mixture. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake until pudding is set in center, about 40 minutes. Cool slightly.

4. Serve warm topped with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Runyon Canyon

A nature enclave in the midst of Hollywood?

In Tinseltown, anything is possible, even a place of blissful peace and quiet. 1,320 feet above the City of Angels lies Runyon Canyon, a 160-acre haven where you can stroll, observe a variety of wildlife (deer, raccoons, birds), and relish in the scent and sight of diverse plants (black sage, elderberry, wild buckwheat).

Yoga Classes offered daily on the grass in Runyon Canyon Park

Formerly called "No Man's Canyon" due to vacancy, rather than a gender restriction on hikers, there is evidence that this was a seasonal campsite for local Gabrielino Indians before being sold to a string of millionaires. There are still ruins of the former mansion, tennis courts, and pool-house where Errol Flynn once stayed. When you enter on Mulholland Drive, walking clockwise is the easiest path to the most incredible views stretching from downtown LA to Beverly Hills to the beach. With points named Clouds Rest and Inspiration Point you’ll wish you had HD eyes.

The Honor System Snack Bar at the lower park entrance even offers dog biscuits

Sweat your way up the steep, deserty trails. The highest point in the park offers a great way to get a free cardio workout, and stellar views of the city below. Dogs are allowed off-leash in most of the park. But the best part is the people watching: celebrity sightings are a daily occurrence and beautiful people sightings happen every two minutes.

I mean they were all there. Orlando Bloom with his dog, Derrick Hough getting a workout (and a tan), Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel wearing hats and looking serious, and Matthew Mcconaughey getting all giggly while his wife chased him down the hill. And there are many dogs. But did I get to go? No, of course not, I was left at the Chateau. Dad said I would get filthy on those dusty trails.

Dad hiked Runyon Canyon every morning very early. Hiking on the 2nd day, he noticed a simple trash can about halfway up the canyon just covered with stickers. Once he saw it, he knew he had found the perfect spot for our sticker. What could be better with all the dogs, celebrities and beautiful people who pass by each day. So on his way up on our last day in Hollywood, Dad stuck that sticker for the very last time on that trash can halfway up the trail at Runyon Canyon. Dad told me later that he could just imagine how those first astronauts must have felt when they planted that flag on the moon.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sprinkles Cupcakes for Dogs

Did you know that Sprinkles Cupcakes of Beverly Hills makes cupcakes just for me. Not that I need the calories! But we have been hiking everyday in Runyon Canyon during our visit to Los Angeles (I'll write more about that soon).

Sprinkles Cupcakes sells its all-natural doggie cupcake for $2.50. The ingredients in the cupcakes for dogs are unbleached flour, eggs, honey and vanilla. The cupcake is topped with a yogurt "frosting." You can even order them online: Sprinkles Cupcakes for Dogs.

Friday, October 7, 2011

So....we read about this new online We were intrigued. You see on you can create these great re-moveable stickers from your favorite photos. You can add words and even silly images like Santa's hat (how great for the holidays) to your image too. So we just had to order one. We used a photo of Angus and we added our website and in a few days a GREAT re-moveable sticker arrived in our mailbox. We weren't quite sure what re-moveable meant so we just had to ask. It seems that these stickers are designed so they are easily removed without leaving a big gunky, sticky mess. It doesn't really mean that they are designed to be stuck one place and then peeled off and then stuck somewhere else. But we just had to try.

We received our sticker just the day we were headed off to stay at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood and, we couldn't help ourselves, we stuck our sticker all over the Chateau. And they were right, it didn't leave a big gunky mess. We stuck it on the wall at the pool smack in the middle of the life preserver and next to the phone that you use when you need a pool boy pronto. And on the door of our bungalow so the paparazzi would know just where to find us. Even on the pot of the plant outside our door. On the door of our funky old refrigerator and vintage stove. Angus looked so handsome in our minibar. And finally in the lobby bar at 2:02 AM where I rolled on the floor with Rosie Perez.

But we weren't done. We weren't sure yet. Where best to make our mark with the help of

To create and order your own just click on the following link:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Like Sugar on Strawberries

Introducing Deep Acres Summer Solstice and Deep Acres Like Sugar on Strawberries

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rin TIn TIn - THE LIFE and the LEGEND

What we are reading now.

Rin Tin Tin from Susan Orlean, the author of The Orchid Thief, charts the amazing life of this WWI hero and television and radio STAR.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

After Filing for Bankruptcy, One of the Few Things She Still Owns is Her Tibetan Terrier

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Patricia Kluge appeared for years to be one of the nation’s wealthiest divorcees, with a breathtaking Virginia mansion known as Albemarle, an ample jewel collection and a river of cash from her ex-husband, the late media magnate John Kluge.

After filing for bankruptcy in June, she has a day job.

Not an ordinary job though. She is working for Donald Trump, who scooped up the winery and vineyard that she had built on the Virginia estate — a high-risk venture that drained all her money until she had to seek protection from her creditors in court.

And she is living no ordinary life. Instead, she rents a 6,000-square-foot home with a swimming pool and five bedrooms decorated by a celebrity designer, David Easton, in what was intended to be the first house in an exclusive gated community down the road from her old mansion.

Her vision for an estate and business and gated community was certainly outsize. But the undoing of Ms. Kluge (pronounced KLOO-gy, with a hard “g”) was not so different from that of many Americans who maxed out their credit cards and their home loans during boom times. She borrowed heavily. It’s just that she had so much more to leverage.

While her financial straits have been documented as banks closed in on her, she is speaking publicly at last about her bankruptcy, sounding resolute, reassuring herself about the future — without the liveried servants that once attended to guests at her hunting parties.

“I loved the life I lived at Albemarle. Are you kidding? But it does not define who I am,” she says, dressed in cotton slacks and a T-shirt from the Mount Kenya Safari Club. “If you can get a job, you can build another fortune,” she adds. “That is what I focus on.”

For now, Ms. Kluge, 62, and her husband, William Moses, 64, will make about $250,000 under a one-year contract to work for Mr. Trump at the winery. She handles winemaking, bottling and marketing, and Mr. Moses oversees legal and other matters part time. Roughly a third of their money goes to rent.

Lest anyone think that Ms. Kluge’s worries are entirely over, her lawyer points out that the future is unclear. “They are walking out of bankruptcy with nothing,” said the couple’s lawyer, Kermit A. Rosenberg, a partner at Butzell Long Tighe Patton. When they filed for bankruptcy, the couple listed $2.6 million in assets and $47.5 million in liabilities.

From her living room, she points to the few items that are hers: the photographs — her son in St.-Tropez two decades ago and her 2000 wedding to Mr. Moses — and her dogs, a Labrador retriever and a Tibetan terrier.

“No one should feel sorry for us,” Ms. Kluge added later. “I have a great family, a wonderful marriage and loving children and friends. We are not looking at this bankruptcy as if our life has ended. We see this as an opportunity to recreate ourselves.”

In business, she says, she went down a familiar path learned from Mr. Kluge. During the 1980s, he sold his highly leveraged media properties to a variety of buyers, most notably Rupert Murdoch, for more than $3 billion. “John was a huge borrower,” Ms. Kluge recalled. Her strategy was similar, attract equity investors to pay off the debt, make the business cash-flow positive and then sell.

Over a decade, she bet more than $65 million, using her own money at first and then borrowing more, on the winery, a notoriously risky and capital-intensive business. When the economy turned down, she could not make her payments, and the banks forced her to sell her estate, her winery, her jewels and the land she had acquired for the gated community. The jewelry and home furnishings raised nearly $20 million in a pair of auctions.

“It is Shakespearean in that Patricia aimed so high and did not make use of the kind of financial advice that would have increased the chances of making the vineyard work and minimized her financial exposure from the outset,” said Les Goldman, a business adviser and former partner at the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

She shows signs of strain from years of battling creditors and countering barbs about what could she possibly have done with so much money. Many reports in the press overstated the windfall from her 1990 divorce. A year ago, when she called Mr. Trump for a meeting, he told his staff that they would be seeing a woman who made out very well in her divorce settlement. “I had always heard she got the income on $1 billion,” Mr. Trump recalled telling them.

But after a three-minute meeting, he said that he knew Ms. Kluge was in “huge financial trouble.”

Outright, she received about $25 million in cash in her divorce settlement from Mr. Kluge, according to several people with knowledge of the terms, as well as Albemarle, an opulent mansion of eight bedrooms and 13 bathrooms over 23,000 square feet she had built during their marriage. (Earlier this year Bank of America bought it out of foreclosure for $15 million.)

Mr. Kluge also agreed to pay her close to $1 million a year for life, those people said. But as the banks closed in, she sold off the rights to future payments for just $5 million, money that went to Farm Credit of Virginia, which was owed about $35 million, according to Bill Shmidheiser, a lawyer for the bank. Ms. Kluge declined to comment on the divorce settlement and the sale of those rights.

Plenty of widows and divorcees have suffered greatly from poor investment decisions. Ms. Kluge stands out because she lost so much in a business venture that she began herself and that carried enormous risks, said William D. Zabel, a lawyer who has handled numerous prominent divorces.

Back in 2008, Rothschild, the investment bank, valued the Kluge wine business at $75 million, as her husband is quick to point out. Mr. Trump paid $6.5 million for it earlier this year.

“I buy a lot of very high-end distressed properties, and over the years, I have worked with many people who have lost their fortunes,” Mr. Trump said. “They have almost never wanted to see again what they lost or where they came from. Patricia is unique because she is still so deeply involved with the vineyard.”

As general manager, Ms. Kluge now works closely with Mr. Trump’s son Eric. “She has created some of the best wines in the country,” Eric Trump said, noting they have been served in elite restaurants and at Chelsea Clinton’s rehearsal dinner. Ms. Kluge is experimenting with new wines and eagerly presses a visitor to taste an aperitif she is developing. Some wines will continue to carry the Kluge label, while some others will bear the Trump name.

The daughter of a Scottish-Iraqi mother and a British translator, she grew up Patricia Rose in Baghdad. When she was 27, she met Mr. Kluge, then 62, at a Manhattan dinner party.

The hostess, Gigi Fisdell, still recalls the 1976 dinner. “I had some records with Arab music,” she said. “Patricia came with a friend. She was half Iraqi and very exotic with a cascade of long dark hair. John was there. I put the music on and she started belly dancing.”

They were married in 1981, and he supported her social life in Charlottesville, New York and even Scotland, where they had a hunting lodge near Queen Elizabeth’s estate. Weekend guests at Albemarle were instructed about wardrobes for weekends that included hunting and fishing and elaborate dinner service with liveried servants followed by dancing and entertainment.

Her social ambitions were short-circuited in 1985 when she was preparing to entertain Prince Charles and Princess Diana in Palm Beach, Fla. Reports surfaced of her earlier marriage to the publisher of Knave, a British girlie magazine, as well as her appearance as a belly dancer in a pornographic film, “The Nine Ages of Nakedness.”

After her divorce from Mr. Kluge, her first business venture grew out of her son’s passion for collecting baseball cards. Recognizing the popularity of soccer in Europe, she began buying rights for trading cards on soccer teams there. In 1991 she traded those rights to Merlin Publishing for a stake in the company. When Merlin was sold to the Topps Company in 1995, her 40 percent stake was worth $20 million, she recalled. Then came the infatuation with a vineyard. “I did a lot of research and found there was an opening in the sparkling wine market, and we expanded from there,” she recalled.

By 2008, the couple had increased production to 30,000 cases of wine. Then the economy spiraled downward. Sales plummeted to just 13,561 cases. “We grew too fast,” Mr. Moses conceded.

Ms. Kluge and Mr. Moses say they believe that the vineyard could have weathered the storm if the Farm Bank of Virginia had been more cooperative. For the loans, Ms. Kluge had given personal guarantees.

A prospective investor emerged in late 2008, according to Mr. Moses and Mr. Goldman, the couple’s business adviser. But after the bank sent out a letter saying the wine business was in violation of loan covenants for failing to meet sales projections, hope was lost. “We had to say that we are in default,” Mr. Moses said, “and then why would anyone invest in the company?”

Michael McCarty, who runs Michael’s Restaurants in Manhattan and Los Angeles, has carried the Kluge wines and speaks highly of them, as well as Ms. Kluge.

“Trying to sell a Virginia wine is tough,” he acknowledged. “If you make it a cult wine, it can work if you make a very small quantity, but when you make a quality wine in the quantity that she was making from a new contemporary wine-growing region like Charlottesville, as she did, it becomes more difficult to sell.”