Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Kitty Name Announcement!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Name Our New Kitty contest! As you can see in the previous post, the list was big.

Runner-up name was Smudge, with three votes.

There were also several runners-up with two votes each, including Misty, Sasha, Truffle, and Smudge.

But with the final votes by Ron and me, her official winning name is...


She will have many nicknames, too. Tops is Sashimoto, followed by Sushi because, well, she voraciously loves her raw salmon!

Here's Nilla with Scooter, both coveting a toy mouse.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Kitty Names

Time to vote on the name for our new kitten!


I'll tally them and Ron and I will vote on the top 5%. Results to come very soon! Here are the names we received that you can vote on (and I apologize in advance if I missed an important contribution).

Puff 'n' Stuff
Doozy Duds

Comment here on the blog or email me. Either way, you have until Monday, December 28th at midnight to vote. So... Decide, Vote and Execute!

Shrimp, Crab & Sausage Ettouffe

This is my new favorite main dish! Cajun cuisine is so yummy. But I always use much less salt, if any, than is called for in traditional recipes. There is already salt in the sausage, and shrimp are naturally high in sodium. So I say, don't add any salt and enjoy the richness of this fantastic food.

Sorry, my photos didn't come out so well!



4 cups shrimp stock

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 bay leaf

1/2 pound Andouille sausage (I used a chicken based Andouille sausage from Trader Joe’s)

1/3 cup butter, divided

1/2 cup all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 ounces)

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

2/3 cup diced celery

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1 lb. lump crab meat

1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 20 shrimp)


Combine first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat; bring to a simmer.

Slice sausage into bite-size pieces. Cook in a separate small pan over medium heat until golden brown and cooked through. Remove sausage from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Melt 1/4 cup butter in sausage drippings in the same saucepan over medium heat. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Add flour to pan; cook 8 minutes or until light brown, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat.

Add 1 cup broth mixture to pan; stir with a whisk until smooth. Add remaining 3 cups broth mixture, stirring with a whisk until smooth; set aside.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon butter in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and bell peppers to pan; cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender and onion is golden brown, stirring occasionally.

Stir in 3/4 cup water, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add tomato paste, Cajun seasoning, garlic, black pepper, and red pepper to onion mixture; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Add reserved broth-flour mixture and Worcestershire sauce to pan, stirring well to combine; bring to a simmer. Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add green onions, 1/4 cup parsley, sausage, crab and shrimp; cook 3 minutes or until shrimp are done. Discard bay leaf. Serve over Creole boiled rice or with garlic French bread.

I merged this recipe from two sources: GumboPages.com and I can't remember the other one.

Chocolate Truffle Tart

Mmmmmm, chocolate! What better birthday dessert?! If you love chocolate like I love chocolate, you absolutely must make this delicious and decadent treat!


3/4 cup Flour
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
1/4 cup Dutch-process Cocoa
Pinch of Salt
6 Tbsp Butter, chilled, chopped
1 Egg White
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract


12 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cup Whipping Cream
1/4 cup Sugar

To make the crust:
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, powdered sugar, cocoa and salt. Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives, until mixture looks like coarse crumbs with a few pea-sized chunks.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg white and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and stir until dough forms. Dough may be somewhat sticky. Shape into a flat round. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.

Press dough evenly into a 9” tart pan with removable bottom. Poke bottom with a fork every 2 inches. Freeze for 20 minutes or until ready to bake.

Pre-heat oven to 375°F and bake crust for 15-20 minutes or until dry to the touch. If pastry begins to puff, poke lightly with a fork. Cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the filling:
Place chocolate and sugar in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring cream to a boil. Pour immediately over chocolate and let stand for 3 minutes. Stir until smooth, pour onto crust.

Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Store in refrigerator.

Recipe from CookingClub.com

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


We've come up with lots of possible names for her, and many of you are already sending in some wonderful contributions.

But we need to give her a "people world" identity, and soon!

So post a comment with your suggestions.

We'll put them together with our faves, post all names and let you vote.

Ron and I will vote on names in the top 5%. Then, we'll post her official name and author on this blog!

FYI, the "Name Our Kitty" contest will end at midnight on December 26, so get creative and post those comments! I'll get the final results up with tallies before the end of 2009.

Legal Disclaimer: The winner is entitled to nothing but the fame and fortune of being acknowledged on this, and the joy of naming a very cute, sweet, cuddly, lovable, and guileless kitten!

The contest was a great idea from my dear friend Sandra, aka SoHottStamper.

Monday, December 21, 2009

New Kitty!

Change in plans! Sophie could not come live with us because Scootie never liked the only food that she can eat.

So, we got another kitty! As of today, she is unnamed.

We're waiting for her personality to show us her true self.

Her interim names are Truffle, Sophie Too, and Cutie Pie.

She's a five month old non-pedigree Seal Point Himalayan and is very sweet!

Scootie is slowly warming up to her, although she doesn't care about stealing his Alpha cat status.

She just goes about her business of playing even when he tries to thwart her fun times!

Meanwhile, thank you to Carrie & Kevin, Sandra & family, and Richard and Myrna for contributing so we could give a kitten a good home.

Here's a picture of her playing with the squeaky mouse toy from Richard and Myrna.

She seems very happy here despite the cool reception from Scootie.

She's healthy overall, but a little chubby from eating bad food, but we've got her on the right track with diet and exercise!

Last night, she had a couple of pieces of raw salmon and was ecstatic!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Salmon Sashimi

We have reached food Nirvana in our kitchen!

Local Port Fisheries from Avila Beach, California, comes to our local farmer's market each Saturday.

We've started purchasing sushi grade Salmon, Yellowtail Tuna and more from them.

No recipe required, just slice and serve.

All I can say is, Mmmmmmmmmmm!

Love Triangle: Never Say Die

We're in the process of resuscitating a keg of 2007 Love Triangle (Salinas River Valley).

The wine smelled something like nail polish remover, and tasted about the same.

Kevin, the winemaker, was prepared to dump it.

But Ron and I did a little research on "fining agents," and decided to try to bring it back to a bottle-worthy beverage!

First, we pumped the two pony kegs of Love Triangle into a 15.5 gallon stainless steel keg.

You can see Kevin and Ron performing that step here.

Then we took a sample of the untreated wine for doing a comparison later.

Ron measured 1/2 oz. PVPP (poly-vinyl-poly-pyrrolidone) and sprinkled it into the keg.

Using a stainless steel rod, we swirled the wine around then topped it up and resealed the keg.

PVPP is used to reverse the portion of fruit enzymes that cause oxidation.

According to Martin Vialatte Oenologie at Vinquiry.com, "treatment with PVPP... leads to a considerable reduction of tannins and lowers the phenol value."

The substance helps to decrease bitterness and improve freshness.

We left it to rest overnight in Kevin's garage, now unofficially "the laboratory!"

The next day, we pumped the wine through a stainless steel sieve into a food grade barrel.

The process is called aerating.

The idea is to get as much air on the wine as possible.

We tasted the wine, compared it to the sample, and determined that the PVPP had softened the wine considerably and reduced the nasty odor.

The fruit flavor became much more prominent.

Still, we went ahead with a treatment of Copper Sulfate, using just two drops for all 15.5 gallons.

We pumped the wine back into the stainless steel keg, topped it up and sealed it.

Our friend Brenda was visiting that afternoon, so we brought her to The Lab to witness a potential miracle! Here we are, waiting to sample some of Kevin's other wines.

Now what? We're supposed to test for SO2 levels, just deciding the best way to do that.

Will the wine come back to life? Have we resurrected it?
Either way, it's a great experience.

Stay tuned for updates over the coming months!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sophie Come Home!

We're in the process of adopting a cat who was rescued from a bad home. Her name is Sophie, and we're looking forward to the day when we can bring her home to live with us.

So between now and December 15th, proceeds from any BlipsWerx Productions product you purchase and/or service you book (except lessons) will go into our "Sophie Come Home!" fund to cover her adoption fee of $225.

Click on the link in the P.S. to learn more about Sophie and the organization that rescued her.

Purchase "The Blips Do Christmas," any Sharine singles or CDs, or book recording services, video editing, graphic design, etc. and you will be helping give Sophie a loving home.

We'll post the names of all contributors (with consent, of course) on my Sharine's Ravings, Cravings & Misbehavings blog along with a photo of Sophie at home with us and Scooter.

Visit The Blips and Sharine online for music and more. Or just call or email us!

Happy Holidays to you and yours,

Sharine and Ron

P.S. If you would like more information about Helping Persian Cats or about Sophie, please call or email us or visit the web site.