Monthly Archives: April 2014

Navel Orange and the Citrus Leafminer

Earlier this year I killed another tree.

For the usual reasons – it didn’t put out (fruit or flowers) and I just didn’t like it.  It was a non productive member of society – a slacker if you will.  Plus the grass wouldn’t grow under it and it only provided shade to my patio cover…. which has a shade cover….  That’s like giving someone an umbrella when they’re already wearing a raincoat.

I called in the help of an arborist in an effort to save my navel orange tree and to have him take a look at some of  the other trees.   The orange tree is still hanging in there but I didn’t know if it would ever bear fruit again.  I needed some professional advice.  He diagnosed that the navel orange and meyer lemon had citrus leafminers, not enough water and not enough food.  He also conveniently diagnosed the slacker with root rot and a split trunk.  The root rot is curable – the split trunk is not – eventually the two will halve and come crashing down on my back wall and patio cover.  That’s all I needed to hear.

The navel tree’s been outfitted with a leafminer pheromone trap and a healthy dose of citrus food.  With plenty of water, the tree is doing better.  Here’s a tiny little naval orange.  Last year, many of these dried up and died.

Let’s see what happens.

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Macaron, Macaroon, Macarena

Last year – it was salted caramel.  This year, it is the Macaron.

Last years trend sensation was footloose and fancy free.  Salted Caramel could do anything, go anywhere and do no wrong.

2014’s obsession is rife with controversy.  That sexy little strumpet known as the Macaron knows how to stir up publicity – good or bad.

The Macaron is not the Macaroon.  Both are made from egg whites, sugar and are gluten free.  But the Macaroon’s star ingredient is coconut.

Make these little babies and you’ll immediately make an impression.  “They’re so hard to make!”  “I can’t believe you made those!”

You’ll also be told – repeatedly – that your pronunciation and perhaps your spelling is wrong.

They both have a somewhat murky history – but Macaron’s are most definitely French.  Which probably explains a lot.

Whatever your opinion – these light and sweet, chewy little treats are delicious!

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French Macaron Cookie

How to make them:

2 egg whites
2/3 Cup Almond Flour (cheat and buy yours at Trader Joes like I did)
1/4 Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Powered Sugar
1 tsp extract of desired flavor

Separate your egg whites and combine in a  mixer with your granulated sugar.
Beat on low for 2 minutes
Medium for 2 minutes
High for 2 minutes
Top speed for 2 minutes

While the egg whites are beating – sift your almond flour and powered sugar together in another bowl.
Once the egg whites have formed stiff peaks and hold their shape you can dump in the almond flour/powered sugar and any flavoring you desire.
I used espresso powder and vanilla.

Fold together until just mixed and spoon into a pastry bag.  You can use a big round tip but your can also just cut off the top of the bag if you’re using the disposable kind.

Pipe nice 1″ round circles onto a parchment or silpat lined pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 13 minutes.

Let cool completely – ESPECIALLY if you are using silpat.

Fill with your choice of filling – frosting, etc.  I used butter cream mixed with either Vanilla, Meyer Lemon (juice and zest) or Raspberry.

Red Balls Rock N Roll Pizza

Living in LA has its challenges, especially if you’re a working stiff like me.

The daily battle with the 405, the high cost of living and dubious air quality are all reasons to hate LA.

But here’s one reason to love it – Red Balls Rock N Roll Pizza.

As soon as I walked in there I knew I would love it – the ambiance alone is kick ass.  The bar and tables look like road gear that’s been emblillsed with various rock n roll parapanila like vinyl records and guitar picks.  Or maybe it’s because I have my very own chair at the bar (um – can we get the spelling corrected? – Thanks!)
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If the grunge rock decor is not your thing – then the food will win you over.  I have my favorite pizza places.  #1)  The Rainbow 2) Fab’s in Sherman Oaks  #3) Barones in Van Nuys and now… now there’s a 4rth.  Red Balls Rock n Roll pizza is WONDERFUL. Thin crisply crust, just the right amount of cheese and sauce.  The Mama Leahs Bronx White Pie was to die for.  I’m a fan.

If you’ve googled Red Balls and you ended up here – it’s probably because you’ve heard “the” rumors.   Yes – the Foo Fighters warmed up here before they went out on a quick tour.  Yes – Taylor Hawkins held the record release of Birds of Satan.  And yes – pretty much everyone in the Foo showed up.

I felt bad for Dave.  He obviously was there to enjoy the show and great music (he was rockin out in the crowd like the rest of his)  He was mobbed by endless stream of people taking selfies with the him in the background.  (He handled this all with a lot of class)

I plan on going back to Red Balls soon.  The place is just too awesome.

Jacaranda Season

It’s mid April and already the purple blooms of the Jacaranda tree are starting to burst.  Jacarandas are the reason May is my favorite month of the year.  The intense violet shaded flowers that crown the azure blue skyline of Los Angeles never fail to make my heart sing.  Maybe it’s because I grew up in Alaska where the tree selection fell into the birch or evergreen varieties.  Or maybe it’s just because I love brilliantly colored flowers.    But the Jacaranda is hands down my favorite tree.  You’ll find numerous streets in Los Angeles lined with the tall, arching canopies of the Jacaranda, so clearly I’m not the only one.


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