|Where's the 405?|
The biggest challenge we face living in Los Angeles isn't the closure mid-July of part of the 405 freeway in a week or so. It's the ongoing, always growing, never ending, sometimes confusing, constantly enticing array of things to do, places to go, people to see. Festivals, farmers' markets, premieres, sporting events, book signings, flea markets, conventions, volunteer opportunities, cultural events unlimited, plays, concerts, gallery openings, meetup groups, which classes to take, restaurants to try, day trips to take, etc., etc., make weekends in L.A. no place for social sissies.
If you do nothing you can feel very guilty, lazy, or at least left out - yikes, could I be a loser? So you pour over the Times' events calendar, check your online notices, and try your best to pick and choose what's best for you, i.e., still leaving a few dollars in your no-interest earning bank account, and maybe time for reruns of MI-5 and a short nap. One recent Sunday had so many options I seriously thought about going back under the covers and waiting it out until Monday. But my two main events actually sounded so good that I changed into some clothes and headed out for new adventures.
Event #2 was my first food swap, which is the latest craze for crazy people like me who love to craft food and wrap it up real nice. This swap, one of several now held monthly in various parts of the southland, was in Santa Monica (http://www.santamonicafoodswap.com/). About a dozen or so fellow foodies were there with a nice array of home made, hand made, or hand picked goodies up for swap. I brought little jars of my sweet/sour pickled grapes, a white & milk chocolate bark with dried rainier cherries, pecans, and orange zest, plus macadamia nut brittle with Hawaiian sea salt (recipe below). Came home with walnut pesto, chimichurri sauce, teriyaki marinade, tomatillo salsa, granola, cake pops, and snicker doodle cookies. Really glad I went.
Life is a big adventure and all you need is a little planning and the right attitude to fill your's with great experiences. Discovering new places, revisiting old favorites, seeing your city with all of its opportunities and in all its diversity is a fine way to spend any weekend. Go out and explore - you'll be glad you went.
(adapted from www.notesfrommyfooddiary.com)
3/4 stick butter + more to spread on pan
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup clear corn syrup
2 cups macadamia nuts, toasted and chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. Hawaiian sea salt
Lightly butter a baking pan. Dissolve the baking soda in the vanilla.
In a heavy pot over medium heat mix the sugar, water, 3/4 stick of butter, and corn syrup until the butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.
Add a candy thermometer to the pan, increase the heat, and cook until mixture turns a dark golden brown (like Loving Care #52 before I decided to embrace the gray), stirring from time to time with a wood spoon.
When the thermometer reaches 335 degrees (this could take anywhere from 20-30 minutes or more but stick with it), then remove the pot from the heat and carefully mix in the soda/extract mixture and chopped nuts (mixture is bubbling up now), and immediately pour onto the prepared pan. Using the wooden spoon quickly spread out the goop so it's a nice, even level. Let it cool about 5 minutes then sprinkle with the sea salt.
After about an hour at room temperature this buttery, nutty, crunchy, incredible concoction will be ready for devouring.