Thursday, August 23, 2012

The California Adventure Continues! 1982 to 1994

Summer 2012 in Healdsburg is as beautiful as the summers were on Balboa Island. The Island is surrounded by water; Healdsburg is surrounded by fields of grapes, both are beautiful.

Moving to Balboa Island where Heidi, Kurt and I found a new home. We really enjoyed living on the Island. Our second home was a waterfront home and we liked watching the sailboats passing through the channel into the pacific. Boat parades were colorful during the holidays, and we were having chili party's while watching the parade with family and friends.

Heidi and Kurt adjusted to the Southern California life style and made friends.  Since Heidi always liked to bake, she ended up working in a little bakery on Balboa Island called Dad's. She could walk to work. Two years later the owners offered her the little apartment upstairs from the bakery for the summer. Heidi was elated.

My son Neal decided to move to California and moved in with us for several months, but he was not a happy camper there. He did have a good job but he became a hermit for a time. (It saddened us all).

It was on Balboa Island that I finally accepted that my daughter Heidi was not always the angel I believed her to be. That was a sad day for me because, until her teens, she had not gotten into any notable trouble (details may unfold in a later blog). Kurt was busy redeeming himself as a sort of undercover spy for Corona del Mar High School.

I was recruited to help set up a company called COOK LINE after leaving Le Premier Restaurant. This company was short lived but a great idea. It gave Chefs all over the country directions when they got stuck on how to prepare a dish. Most of the clients came from the Midwest. I counseled Chefs from Montana, Ohio, and Iowa and so on, all via phone and slow mail. Boy, now all you have to do is go online and get all the answers you need.

I remember when I was getting ready to fly to New York City to meet with the Conde Nast Brass about plugging the company, but it never happened - Sandy pulled the plug on the company.  She said that it was not cost affective. She was right.

My next venture became the opening of the Irvine Ranch Market in Newport Beach at the Newport Center. My title was Assistant Director of Food services. This was a great job. I trained cooks and sales service personnel. I was responsible for the creative development of recipes and displays in six stores.

One of the stores was not doing so well - as they say, “location, location.” I was put in charge to do a turn around, which was not easy to do. But, we did it with promo and a change of venue to meet what the customer in the Laguna Beach area wanted.

I worked with Irvine Ranch Farmers Market for about 3 years. During that time my Boss John and I flew to New York. John wanted to see the products at the very famous delicatessen Zabers in New York City and others. We dined in various Restaurants I had picked out from my time living in the city. It was an interesting trip and no, no romance!

That trip helped to upgrade the older stores and made them all very profitable. The Newport Store is still going strong and the LA store as well. I kind of lost track with what happened to the smaller stores.  

John’s concept is used now by various companies but, he was the pioneer, and I am proud to have been part of the development of Irvine Ranch Farmers Market.

Of course, after I left I had to return my company car which I loved since it was a two-seater sports model. I used to drive an average of 150 miles a day from store to store. I still have my uniform which was/is a white butcher coat hanging in all six stores.

Sigrid’s Chili

½ cup olive oil
 6 onions (chopped)
 5 green peppers
 3 jalapeno peppers
 1 pound mushrooms (halved)
 5 teaspoons oregano
 3 bay leaves
 8 tablespoons chili powder
 5 tablespoons cumin powder
    red pepper flakes to taste
 5 pounds lean ground beef
 2 large cans tomato puree
 3 large cans chopped tomatoes
 4 quarts beef stock (bouillon can be used)
 4 pounds kidney beans
    water to cover beans
    salt to taste
 2 large bouillon cubes

In a large pot bring cleaned beans and water to a boil. Cook beans for 10 minutes and drain. Put beans back in pot and cover with fresh water. Add bouillon cubes salt to taste. Bring back to boil lower heat and simmer for 1 to 2 hours. While beans cook heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot. Add onions, green peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic and mushrooms stirring frequently until onions are lightly colored. Add meat stir, add all seasoning and keep stirring until all is incorporated, about 15 minutes. Add stock, tomato puree and chopped tomatoes with the liquid. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 2 hours. Add the drained cooked beans. Cook for at least another 30 minutes on low heat. Stirring occasionally. If your chili should start to burn, remove and pour into a clean pot. If needed, add more beef stock.

Makes 48 servings:

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