Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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County Fair time again!

Filed under: — stan @ 10:45 pm

It’s time for the 2013 Los Angeles County Fair, and time to go visit my award-winning blueberry muffins in the display case there. We got lucky this time, and it was a very pleasant day. Usually, it’s blazing hot out there in Pomona, but today was very nice. Warm in the sun, cool in the shade, and with a pleasant breeze.

We went to see my muffins first. The ribbon came in the mail last week, and I’m quite pleased that these are my first non-cookie prize winners. We spent a bit of time looking around at everything else there. I’m hoping they come out with a cookbook of the winning recipes this year, so I can try making the muffins that beat mine. I want to know what’s in them.

After lunch, we got some Dr. Bob’s ice cream, and then went and saw a show with dogs leaping in the air catching frisbees. That was entertaining. We also got to pet a hedgehog. Then we walked over to the old train exhibit. I’ve wanted to see that for a long time. And we saw a display case with some bent and broken rails from the 1971 San Fernando Earthquake.

We took a turn through the buildings where they have all the booths selling random stuff. I thought the teeth-whitening booth looked kind of creepy. Like something from “Alien”. And then it was time for the pig races. The pig races are entertaining, and we get a coupon good for a free pound of bacon. What’s not to like about that?

It was a fun afternoon.


Time to make some more room on the kitchen wall

Filed under: — stan @ 7:25 pm

My blueberry muffins won second prize in the Los Angeles County Fair. Woo Hoo! I’ll be getting another ribbon to go up alongside the ones from 2012 and 2010.

The recipe is here, if you want to try making them:


County Fair Time

Filed under: — stan @ 10:03 pm

It’s the end of summer, and time for the Los Angeles County Fair. And this year, for the first time, I’m a blue-ribbon-winner in the baking contest. So today was our day to go see my cookies on display. And of course, we went there first.

As always, it was hot. 103 in Pomona, according the Weather Service. Still, we made the best of it. There are a lot of things there that are indoors, including the displays of wines. Who knew that there are wineries in New Jersey? We also got some Dr Bob’s ice cream there.

Later in the afternoon, we went to see the pig races. That was fun, and at the end, they gave us a coupon for a pound of bacon. Hmm.

All this time, Lucinda and London were out and about. The rode some rides, and they played a lot of games. So when we found them later on, they were carrying some big stuffed animals.

I saw one place that was selling hamburgers with a banner of a decidedly unhappy-looking cow on it. I’m not sure that that’s quite the message they were going for there.

In the end, the girls played a few more games. They had to get a big bag to carry all the stuffed animals. So I guess that made it a good day.


Blue Ribbon!

Filed under: — stan @ 1:26 pm

Last night, I was at home when my phone chirped at me. It was a message and a picture from Morgan from work. She had gone to the L.A. County Fair and sent me pictures showing my cookies. The very ones I’d brought in last Tuesday. Apparently, all that development and all those endless test batches I baked paid off. My traditional chocolate chip cookies were 4th in their category, and my chocolate cookies took 1st place.


So here are the recipes:


The Moment of Truth

Filed under: — stan @ 9:16 pm

Today was the day that I had to submit my cookies and recipes to the L.A. County Fair for the baking contest. I came home a bit early and started baking. Sadly, the heat wave we always seem to get in time for the county fair came right on schedule, and it was not much fun standing around in the kitchen with the hot oven.

I made two batches of cookies, one of each of the two recipes I’m entering this year. When they came out, I taste-tested one of each for quality control purposes. Truth be told now, I’m pretty sick of these cookies, since I’ve made so many test batches over the past few months. So I kind of had to choke them down. But they came out all right, and I picked out the six best-looking ones from each batch to enter in the contest. I put them in a little box, and headed out to the fair.

The fair is open from 3 to 7 for everyone to bring in their baked things for judging. I got there about 5, and you can see from the picture that the big tables they have set up are nowhere near full yet. But I know that they will be by the end. Los Angeles County is big, and there are a lot of entries in the fair. I put my cookies in, got my receipt, and headed home. They told me that the judging is done first thing the next day. So it’s a good thing I paid so much attention to making sure my cookies were still good more than 24 hours out of the oven.

So that’s this year’s baking contest story.


Time for the County Fair again

Filed under: — stan @ 8:49 pm

It’s the end of summer, so it’s time once again for the Los Angeles County Fair.

I didn’t win a ribbon this year. But if you want to try, here are the recipes I entered:

Blueberry Muffins
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

In any case, they didn’t get a ribbon, unlike last year’s entry.

It was a nice day for the fair. It’s usually very hot there, but today was nice. We went there with Lucinda and her friend London. Being the age that they are, Kathleen and I figured we’d send them off with some money, and we’d only hear from them when they needed more.

Right inside the gate, we were assaulted with the stands offering Everything! Totally! Fried! Yick.

First off, Kathleen and I headed over to the Culinary Styles area. I wanted to see if I’d won a ribbon, since they don’t publish the results. I didn’t win anything, so we moved on. We stopped in to see the garden model railroad. It was amusing to see that they had a lot of familiar Los Angeles sights rendered in miniature there. After that, we wandered over to get some Dr Bob’s Ice Cream. Then, we went into the pet area, since they had a pen with some wallabies in it. Not your usual pets, but interesting and cute.

Next, we found the arts building, so we could go see the Museum of Neon Art exhibit there. It was a small exhibit, mostly of old neon signs from their collection. At that point, I got a message from Lucinda. They’d gone on some rides, and they were out of money. And they wanted to buy themselves tails. So I told them to meet us outside, and I gave them some more money. We followed along to see the tails, and they were cute.

For lunch, we went to King Taco. Then, after having the pork carnitas, we went into the barn to see some baby pigs. We looked at all the animals, and ended up at the far end just in time for the pig races. That was amusing, and at the end, they gave us all coupons for a pound of bacon. Made from the losers, presumably.

The final act was to walk through all the exhibit halls and marvel at the endless rows of booths selling all manner of crap. In the end, I bought a hat, which was a fairly modest thing, compared to some of the stuff they were selling there.

It was a fun day.


More new frontiers in the kitchen

Filed under: — stan @ 7:17 pm

Last weekend, when we had our picnic at Lake Travis, one of the things we got at Central Market was jalapeños stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon. Yum. They were good. So today I decided I’d try making some at home.

The ones we bought were halved, stuffed, and then wrapped. I took a slightly different approach, slitting the pepper on one side and stuffing it, but leaving it essentially whole. Then I wrapped a half-strip of bacon around it and stuck a toothpick through it.

I cooked them on the barbecue, which may not be the best way to do this, since the dripping bacon fat caused a lot of flames. It may be that hot oven might be the best way to do this.

They were quite good. Lucinda and I both liked them. Clearly, more experimentation is in order.


More adventures in the kitchen

Filed under: — stan @ 9:28 pm

I’d noticed a while back that Kathleen had an ice cream maker in her garage, so I asked her to bring it over this weekend. I thought that this might make for a nice little culinary adventure.

I looked up a couple of recipes for homemade ice cream. I mashed them together and scaled them down a bit, since we were going to make a small batch for the first test of the machine. I thought chocolate chip sounded good, so I got out my little rotary grater with the shaving attachment and made a bowl of chocolate shavings. We scalded some milk and then chilled it in an ice bath. Then we put that and the cream into the ice cream maker and started it up. We packed it with ice and salt, and things were off and running. It took a bit longer than the instructions with the machine said, but in the end, we could see the ice cream forming nicely inside the can. When it was ready, we mixed in the chocolate shavings and put it in the freezer to harden.

And yes, it was quite good.


Still more frontiers in the kitchen

Filed under: — stan @ 9:46 pm

In the continuing quest to find fun things to do with the giant mint plant I have growing in my garden, we made frozen mint daiquiris on Saturday night. We’ve been making mojitos since last May, so it was time to try branching out a bit. And they were quite good.


Look what came in the mail today

Filed under: — stan @ 1:54 pm

count fair time
It’s going to be that time again. The L.A. County Fair is coming this fall. I’ve got a couple of new recipes under development. And there’s still room on the wall of my kitchen for more ribbons.

I see that they have the 2010 winners cookbook out now. So I can finally get to try out the recipe that beat me out for first place.

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