New Blog Website! Renew Your Email Subscription!

30 Dec

Hi Awesome Followers!

In case you haven’t heard I’ve switched to a NEW website! You can now find me at my own domain: www.actinglikeachef.com Head that way and be sure to renew your email subscription so you don’t miss any exciting updates in 2015!!! It’s going to be a great year!!!!! Happy New Year!!!

Love,

Sarah Allyn Bauer

Comic Con and Hall H

29 Jul cci_logo

Comic Con 2014 was my first Comic-Con. I was there networking for a film I’m producing Wraith of Love. Not that I haven’t followed it in previous years or never been to another convention, but San Diego Comic-Con is something special. And in the last 6 or 8 years it has become a pop culture phenomenon, causing so much fan frenzy that convention goers stand in line for hours, many even sleeping outside of the convention hall the night before to get into Hall H the following morning. Keep in mind that Hall H holds about 6,500 people, but at some point in the Comic Con rise to fame, fans were so worried about not getting up early enough to stand in line that they started sleeping outside.

Hall H Hobbit Panel 2014

Inside Hall H during the Hobbit panel 2014.

You heard me right, people sleep outside of a convention hall of their own free will to sit with 6,500 other fans to see a sneak peek of a movie. This is one part of the fan experience that I have never understood. And while sleeping outside for a movie isn’t exclusive to Comic Con, I feel like it’s the ultimate showing of this “commitment” and there was a particular incident on Friday night that just rubbed me the wrong way.

Hall H line at Comic Con 2014

The line outside at night for Hall H at Comic Con 2014.

It was a little after 8pm on Friday night and my friend Susan and I were walking past the convention center to attend an art show and network event. As we walked by the grassy knoll where the line for Hall H is during the day we saw it filled with fans spreading out their sleeping bags and staking their claim of a small piece of land to sleep on. I asked my friend if this was indeed the infamous Hall H sleeping line and she said YUP!  I proceeded to have a small rant about how I couldn’t understand any movie being so important that people feel the need to sleep outside to be the first to see the trailer. My friend was very nice and let me rant. But this wasn’t the worst part.

After the art show we came back towards the convention center to meet friends for drinks at one of the hotels. The line for Hall H had grown and my rant came back. As we continued to walk there was also a line of fans setting up outside the exhibit hall doors on the concrete sidewalk. We asked if they were also waiting for Hall H and this young woman said quite indignantly, “No, we just want to get into the convention tomorrow for panels in Ballroom 20 and autograph signings. There’s more than just Hall H you know.” We couldn’t believe it. But seeing this display of “fandom” got me really upset. Every single person who had chosen to sleep outside that night had made the choice willingly, while there were just as many people (if not more) in the downtown San Diego area that were sleeping outside that night out of necessity. They didn’t have a home or a hotel room with a bed lying empty. And they were lucky if they even had a sleeping bag, let alone a pillow and an extra blanket. And for the fans who had paid for a hotel room that night all I could think was that money could have gone to a charity to help the homeless.

Homeless in San Diego

Homeless in San Diego

Many times we take for granted the simple comforts we have, like pillows and blankets. We’ve all been guilty of it. Hell I sleep with 3 pillows myself! But I would like to see something change in regards to the thousands of fans who sleep outside during Comic Con. I propose two ideas:

1)      If fans want to sleep outside they should have to donate to a local charity that works with the homeless.

2)      The convention company, or production company(s) that are “causing” the fans to sleep outside, set up hotel rooms or a shelter for the homeless so they can have a hot shower, a warm bed to sleep in and a hot breakfast in the morning.

I firmly believe these are both viable options and not too much to ask for. If 6500 fans each gave $10 to sleep outside that would be $65,000 raised in one night alone. We as a society must help take care of those who don’t have the same advantages we have. If we let part of our society fall into ruin, the rest of us aren’t far behind. Fans and makers of these comic book movies shouldn’t have a problem with this considering that superheroes are created to defend the weak. Let’s use our own superpower of “fandom” to make change in the world. Heck, JJ Abrams and Disney are doing it with the new Star Wars: Force For Change, why can’t Marvel and DC Comics come together and create Hall For The Homeless? Just a thought ladies and gentlemen, but every big change starts somewhere with one person. Who’s with me? I hope you’ll share and maybe at next year’s Comic Con a real difference can be made.

cci_logo

Goat Cheese and Spinach Ravioli

17 Jul Spinach and Goat Cheese Ravioli prepped for closing

I was browsing the internet over the first weekend back in March when I stumbled across a recipe for homemade ravioli with goat cheese and spinach, two ingredients I happened to have in my fridge from my Oscar party the weekend before. There have been plenty of posts on this blog about pasta and how much I love it. What I haven’t told you is where that love came from. When I was a young kid my parents use to make pasta from scratch. Often. I have memories of crawling under drying pasta hanging from broomsticks across our kitchen back in Pennsylvania. Throughout my childhood pasta was probably on our table at least once a week. Why it took me this long to make it myself I’m not sure. I’ve always wanted to make pasta but I think a busy schedule just got in my way. And of all the pastas I could have made I chose one that is slightly more complicated since it is a filled pasta. But I still had fun and it was really yummy! I think everyone should make their own pasta at least once. Just make sure you have some extra time, especially if it’s your first time. And if you choose this recipe, give yourself at least two hours before you want to eat since you have to let the dough rise. I’m looking forward to making fettuccine since that just involves cutting up the dough and no filling and closing and cutting twin pieces to match. Ha! Enjoy!

Spinach and Goat Cheese Ravioli Ingredients L-R: Mushrooms, Flour, White Wine, Parmesan Cheese, Nutmeg, Half & Half, Egg, Garlic, Goat Cheese,  Spinach, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper

Spinach and Goat Cheese Ravioli Ingredients L-R: Mushrooms, Flour, White Wine, Parmesan Cheese, Nutmeg, Half & Half, Egg, Garlic, Goat Cheese, Spinach, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper

SPINACH AND GOAT CHEESE RAVIOLI (makes about 12-18 ravioli)

Ravioli Dough:

  • 1 1/4 Cup Flour
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 Cup Hot Water
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt

Ravioli Filling:

  • 1/3 Cup Cooked Spinach (or 1/2 bunch raw spinach – to be cooked)
  • 2 oz Goat Cheese
  • 1/3 Cup Parmesan, Grated
  • Pinch of Nutmeg
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Mushroom and Parmesan Cream Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 8 oz Mushrooms
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • Nutmeg (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp White Wine
  • 1 cup Half-and-Half
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups Parmesan Cheese

Make your dough first. In a medium bowl mix your flour and salt. In a small bowl or a liquid measuring cup, mix your egg and hot water well. Combine the egg/water mixture with your flour and knead the dough until it’s nice and smooth and firm. It shouldn’t be too wet or too sticky, ie, it shouldn’t stick to your hands just to itself. I mixed it with a wooden spoon, and then finished mixing with my hands to make sure I had the right texture. Once done, roll into a ball and wrap in Saran wrap and let sit on the counter for one hour. The recipe has you using a mold to make the ravioli and suggests making a second batch if you want more than a dozen or so. I think I made about 20 with mine and without a mold. I didn’t waste any of my dough.

Making pasta dough

Making the pasta dough for the ravioli!

While your dough is sitting in the Saran wrap work on your filling. I used fresh spinach so I had to cook it first. Be sure to cook it down until it’s all wilted and there’s no liquid left. Once it’s all cooked chop it up and set aside.

Cooking down the spinach and chopping it up for the filling.

Cooking down the spinach and chopping it up for the filling.

In a small-sized microwave safe bowl heat up your goat cheese to soften it, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the chopped up spinach and Parmesan cheese and mix well. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg and mix again. Set the mixture aside. It should be fairly firm. If it is a little runny (from water in the spinach leftover), place in the fridge to firm up a bit.

spinach, goat cheese and parmesan cheese ravioli filling

Mixing up the spinach and cheeses for the filling

Once you’re ready to assemble your ravioli, divide your dough into 2 equal parts. Be sure to flour both your rolling pin and your rolling surface, then roll out each section of your dough very thinly.

If you are using a ravioli mold, be sure to lightly flour it and then lay out the dough and push softly into each indentation. Place a small amount of the filling mixture into each mold section, just be sure not to overfill them. Take your second piece of dough and lay it on top. Take your rolling pin and roll along the top of the mold, which will seal the ravioli and take the air out of them. Use your fingers to separate the ravioli from each other. Then flip over the mold to release the ravioli. Set aside and re-roll the dough to make more ravioli.

making ravioli

Making the actual ravioli. Yum!

If you aren’t using a mold (like me!) then you will need to cut them individually. I used a small (sharp) paring knife and after rolling the dough out very thinly, cut a rectangle about 4 inches wide and about 10 inches long, then sliced that in half and made about 2 inch squares. I plopped about a teaspoon of filling into the middle of half of the squares, then took the empty squares and sealed each ravioli. I re-rolled the dough until it was basically all used up.

Spinach and Goat Cheese Ravioli prepped for closing

Spinach and Goat Cheese Ravioli prepped for closing

Fill a large pot with water and put on high heat and bring to a boil. Cook however many ravioli you want that evening and then freeze the rest. Depending on the pot size you shouldn’t put too many in at once. I boiled about 5 or 6 at a time in my 3 qt pot. Be sure to drain the ravioli before serving. Because I cooked a couple batches of ravioli I used a skimmer to remove each ravioli and drain over the pot then placed on plates.

Mushroom Cream Sauce

Making the mushroom cream sauce.

While you’re boiling your ravioli you can make your pasta sauce at the same time. This is a basic cream sauce, and one I’ve basically made before. You want to slice up your mushrooms thinly and dice up your garlic. In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over medium high heat and saute your mushrooms, garlic and a pinch of nutmeg for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the mushrooms are a golden brown. Add your half and half and cook until it starts to boil. Turn the heat down to low and add in your Parmesan cheese and mix until it’s nice and thick. I like to add in a little white wine to my pasta sauces too. Season with salt and pepper and serve over ravioli and garnish with fresh parsley or chives. Enjoy with a nice glass of white wine!

Spinach and Goat Cheese Ravioli with Mushroom Cream Sauce

Spinach and Goat Cheese Ravioli with Mushroom Cream Sauce

Ice Water Challenge 2014

13 Jul Mineral King Swimming Hole

I’ve blogged before about the importance of charity in my life. One of the biggest influences in my life was the California Rainbow For Girls. People have asked me where I became a well-adjusted (well that can be debated, lol) young woman, and I always point to Rainbow. One of the values they instill in their members is charity and community service. Each year a California charity is chosen as the state service project. When I was a state officer in 2002-2003, we raised just over $108,000 for Camp Sunshine Dreams, a summer camp for kids with cancer that started through the Valley Children’s Hospital in the Central Valley. This year money is being raised for the Scottish Rite Clinic for Childhood Language Disorders.

This year a challenge was put forth via Facebook, the Ice/Cold Water Challenge. This social media campaign has been used around the world by now for various charities. Early last week I started seeing videos pop up in my Facebook news feed from my fellow Rainbow friends dumping ice-cold water on themselves and each other and donating $10 to the Grand Service Project. After watching the third or fourth video I knew my dry days were numbered. Well on Thursday evening I received a Facebook notification that I had been tagged in a video by my friend Lauren Pinnella, who served as the same office as I had in 2009. I now had 48 hours to complete the challenge or pay $100 towards the Grand Service Project. As a poor, starving artist I knew I had to figure out a way to get dumped in cold water. With my trip to my hometown of Three Rivers the following evening I decided to do the challenge “country style” and jump in the cold Kaweah river!

Kaweah River Bridge 1923, Mineral King

Quick photo at the Historic Kaweah River Bridge 1923 in Mineral King.

I enlisted my sister and her boyfriend to help me and we went up into Mineral King and walked along the flume to a secluded spot that had a deep pool we could jump into. Because when you’re going to swim in snow melt water you don’t dip a foot in, you jump all the way.

Mineral King Flume

Liz and I on the flume on our way to a secluded swimming spot!

Mineral King Valley

Looking up the Mineral King Valley

Liz and I counted to three and made the leap. It was cold water indeed!!!

ice water play button

But it also felt amazing! Especially with the 100 degree weather that afternoon. We ended up doing a couple more jumps before leaving it felt so good!

Mineral King Swimming Hole

The secluded swimming spot. Ready to jump!

Post Snow Melt Water Jump! It feels good!

Post Snow Melt Water Jump! It feels good!

On our way home we even stopped at the infamous Reimer’s Candies and Gifts for homemade ice cream. Chocolate chip! Yummm!

Reimer's Candies and Gifts

Reimer’s Candies and Gifts, a local candy and ice cream store.

Part of the challenge is calling out your friends to do the challenge and continue the fundraising. I called out my Rainbow friends Jill Brown, Shannyn Allan, Erin Dunlap, Laura Gephart, and the Hopper family: Richard and Judi Hopper and Jana Ferguson. But because I want to spread acts of kindness everywhere, I challenge everyone reading this to the Ice Water Challenge. Pick the charity of your choice and get dunked with ice or cold water and give them $10 or stay dry and donate $100! This challenge is all on you and I obviously can’t track you down. But if you do the challenge by the end of July 2014 and either upload the video online (and be sure to tag me or send me the link!) or send to me to upload for you, I will donate an additional $2 to the Scottish Rite Clinic! I want to see the Unforgettable Unicorns raise boat loads of money this year! You have 19 days and I hope you’ll join me and the rest of California Rainbow on this challenge and spread a little kindness. Happy Dunking!

Oscar Party: Quesadillas, Pinwheels and Bruschetta!

10 Jul Mushroom and Brie Quesadillas
Host Ellen DeGeneres took a selfie that broke Twitter

Host Ellen DeGeneres took a selfie that broke Twitter

The final items that were made for my 2014 Oscar Birthday party were some of my favorites! Mushroom Brie Quesadillas, Spinach Pesto Pinwheels and Smoked Salmon Bruschetta. Now, the smoked salmon was actually smoked by my dad before he came down to Los Angeles. And the marmalade was also homemade by my dad. (Do you see where I get my love of cooking from now?) So the only “real” recipes in this post are for the quesadillas and the pinwheels. Both were fun to make and perfect party food. The quesadillas were a real hit as they were quite unique. Hope you enjoy too!

Ellen was a gracious host and ordered pizza for her guests.

Ellen was a gracious host and ordered pizza for her guests.

Host Ellen DeGeneres ordered pizza for her friends, but I prefer making snacks for parties. What are your party favorites?

Mushroom and Brie Quesadillas Ingredients L-R: Honey, Brie, Mushrooms, Rosemary, Tortillas, Parsley

Mushroom and Brie Quesadillas Ingredients L-R: Honey, Brie, Mushrooms, Rosemary, Tortillas, Parsley

MUSHROOM AND BRIE QUESADILLAS (makes 16 “slices”)

  • About 8 oz Cremini Mushrooms
  • 1/2 Tsp Fresh Rosemary
  • 4 Large Tortillas
  • 8 oz Brie
  • Olive Oil
  • Warm Honey
  • Salt & Pepper

This was a recipe I found on a blogger’s website when googling appetizers. I saw brie. I saw mushrooms. I was satisfied and knew this was something I wanted on my party table. This was super easy and you can easily make more or less, depending on your crowd. These were a huge hit with my friends. When slicing your brie it’s okay to keep the rind on. It won’t affect the taste and it’s a pain and hassle to cut it off.

sliced brie cheese

Slicing up the brie.

Sliced Mushrooms

Slicing up the mushrooms

Sauteed Mushrooms

Sauteing the mushrooms

Mushroom and Brie Quesadillas

After warming the tortillas lay out the insides.

Mushroom and Brie Quesadillas

Mushroom and Brie Quesadillas just need honey drizzled on top!

After they’re finished cooking in the oven, slice drizzle with warm honey. The drizzled honey on top really made this dish extra special. Make sure you have extra napkins though, as they are a tad messy!

Spinach and Pesto Pinwheel Ingredients L-R: Parmesan Cheese, Fresh Spinach, Puff Pastry Sheets, Pesto Sauce

Spinach and Pesto Pinwheel Ingredients L-R: Parmesan Cheese, Fresh Spinach, Puff Pastry Sheets, Pesto Sauce

SPINACH PESTO PINWHEELS (makes about 2 dozen)

  • 2 Puff Pastry Sheets
  • About 1 Cup Pesto
  • About 1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese
  • About 2 Cups Fresh Spinach
  • Salt & Pepper

There was no specific recipe for this, but there was another pinwheel recipe and because we had already decided to make the mushroom quesadillas we thought about other pinwheel options and came up with this idea. Pinwheel appetizers can be customized to anything that you want it to be, just pick your favorite flavors and have at it!

Rolling out the puff pastry and layering with all the ingredients.

Rolling out the puff pastry and layering with all the ingredients.

Roll out your pastry sheets on a flat surface. Spread your pesto on each sheet, leaving about an inch from the edges. Lay out your fresh spinach leaves covering the pesto. Sprinkle with your mozzarella cheese and then season with salt and pepper.

Spinach and Pesto Pinwheels

Rolling the pastry sheets very carefully

Spinach and Pesto Pinwheels

The rolled pinwheel ready for the fridge

Very carefully roll the sheets on the long edge. Be sure to tuck in the edge and wrap tightly. Pat down the edge to seal the roll. Lay your rolls on a jelly roll pan and stick in the fridge for about 20 minutes to harden. Remove from the fridge and preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Using a sharp knife slice the roll into about 1/2″ to 1″ pieces. Lay out the pinwheels on their sides on baking sheets. Bake about 12 minutes and serve warm.

Spinach and Pesto Pinwheels

Spinach and Pesto Pinwheels ready for the oven!

MARMALADE AND SMOKED SALMON BRUSCHETTA (about 3 dozen)

  • 1 or 2 Baguettes
  • Smoked Salmon
  • 1/2 Cup Whipped Cream Cheese (approx)
  • 1/2 Cup Goat Cheese (approx)
  • About 1 Cup Marmalade
  • About 1/4 Cup Honey

Heat your broiler to low. Slice your baguette into about 1/2″ slices and lay out on a jelly roll sheet. Stick in your broiler for about 3 minutes, just enough to lightly toast them. If you don’t have a broiler  heat your oven to about 200 degrees and toast in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes.

Smoked Salmon

My dad’s smoked salmon that was used for the bruschetta and laid out on the table.

In a small pot over low heat, heat your marmalade and honey and mix together. Don’t let it burn, just heat it enough to mix together and then remove from heat. Mix your cream cheese and goat cheese together. Spread some of your cheese mixture on each toasted piece of bread, top with some of your marmalade mix and then place a piece of smoked salmon on top of that. (We made some with salmon and some without for my vegetarian friends.) Serve and enjoy!

Marmalade Bruschetta

Marmalade bruschetta. You can’t eat just one!

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