Michael Gleason: Remington Steele and Working Dirty by Jesse Bluma


Michael Gleason:  Remington Steele and Working Dirty



Michael Gleason is the co-creator and executive producer of the television series Remington Steele as well as the author of the Nick Fallon novel series, Working Dirty.  Gleason is a well respected writer and creator.  Remington Steele writers credit Michael Gleason as a mentor, with Kerry Lenhart saying that Gleason taught him that television "writing could be a worthwhile and noble endeavor".  As Gleason suggested, "Writing is like opening doors in a house, front door, closets, bedrooms, attic, backdoor, until they are all open, then waiting--close them at the very end."

I asked Gleason "Why did NBC let ABC steal writers from Remington Steele? Did you get upset or flattered with Moonlighting being a copycat?”

Michael Gleason: “I unwittingly played a hand in Moonlighting, since Glen Caron had a pilot deal with ABC and begged me to let him out of his Remington Steele contract, which had about six months more to run. Little did I know the pilot would be a Remington clone, but I thought Glen did an excellent job with the series and his discovery of Bruce Willis was truly a coup.”

Remington Steele starred Stephanie Zimbalist and Pierce Brosnan, was produced by MTM Enterprises, and aired on NBC.  MTM was the production company founded by Mary Tyler Moore and her husband. “The series blended the genres of romantic comedy, drama, and detective procedural.  Remington Steele's premise is that Laura Holt, a licensed private detective played by Stephanie Zimbalist, opened a detective agency under her own name, although found that potential clients refused to hire a woman, however qualified. To solve the problem, Laura invents a fictitious male superior whom she names Remington Steele. Through a series of events that unfold in the first episode, "License to Steele", Pierce Brosnan's character, a former thief and con man whose real name (or whether he even has one) is never revealed, assumes the identity of Remington Steele.  Behind the scenes, Laura remains firmly in charge.”

I send a big thank you to Michael Gleason for the interview and for creating one of my favorite shows.  If you are not yet a fan of the show, you are missing out.  A mix of good acting, nostalgic references to old movies, and a sometimes over the top spirit make it better than so many others that rely on cheap tricks, excessive profanity, gratuitous sex scenes, and blood in your face.  The cast includes Stephanie Zimbalist, Pierce Brosnan, Doris Roberts, James Read, Janet Demay, Beverly Garland, Maryedith Burrell, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (Stephanie’s father), Cassandra Harris (Pierce’s first wife), James Tolkan, and many other great actors.  The show’s music and theme by Henry Mancini.  The city of Los Angeles acts as a great setting--Century Plaza Towers providing home base for much of the mystery solving and action.  













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Credits:  
www.facebook.com/GleasonEntertainment
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remington_Steele

Glazed Mocha Madeleines by Jesse Bluma


Glazed Mocha Madeleines


These madeleines are taken a step further with a mocha batter and espresso glaze.  
Heart palpitating yet?







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Chocolate Dipped Mocha Madeleines by Jesse Bluma


Chocolate Dipped Mocha Madeleines


Imagine serving these at your next event, date night, or Sunday breakfast.  These shell-shaped little cakes are made with a mocha batter, baked light in texture, and coated in quality chocolate.  You can thank the French and Italians for the invention of this pastry.








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Mocha Madeleines by Jesse Bluma


Mocha Madeleines



These shell-shaped little cakes are made with a mocha batter, baked to be light in texture, and the perfect way to wrap-up Sunday morning breakfast or a late night celebration.  You can thank the French and Italians for this pastry.







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German Chocolate Cupcakes by Jesse Bluma


German Chocolate Cupcakes



Enjoy these devilishly good cupcakes, light in texture and sticky with goodness.  Toasted pecans and unsweetened coconut flakes round out the flavor and enhance the eating experience.  German Chocolate Cake has a rich American heritage; named in honor of the confectioner Sam German.  Serve these cupcakes at your next barbeque, birthday, or championship celebration.

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Queque Seco: Costa Rican Rum Raisin Pound Cake by Jesse Bluma



Queque Seco



Enjoy this pound cake with the ones you love for breakfast, brunch, or midnight snacking.  I first discovered this recipe on a trip to Costa Rica.  This is a buttery, slightly drier pound cake made with rum soaked raisins and topped with powdered sugar.  My version is light textured and pairs well with a side of toasted pecans and raisins, milk, or coffee. 







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Army Camouflage Cupcakes by Jesse Bluma


Army Camouflage Cupcakes



A delicious chocolate or vanilla cupcake topped with a swirl of camouflage frosting. These cupcakes are playful and will bring out the kid in anyone.  Serve at your next birthday party, military homecoming, or patriotic celebration.







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Tuxedo Penguin Cupcakes by Jesse Bluma


Tuxedo Penguin Cupcakes



Wedding, birthday, or black tie dinner these cupcakes will make everyone smile.  A celebratory cupcake with either vanilla or chocolate cake.  Topped with chocolate ganache, vanilla frosting, and a black and white penguin.







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Baby Pacifier Cupcakes by Jesse Bluma


Baby Pacifier Cupcakes



A baby shower favorite.  A celebratory cupcake that manages to be light and beautiful, with either vanilla or chocolate cake.  Finished with baby pink, blue, yellow, or green vanilla frosting and topped with a sweet and tangy candy pacifier. 






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Chocolate Cappuccino Cupcakes by Jesse Bluma


Chocolate Cappuccino Cupcakes



Discover harmony when chocolate ganache marries cappuccino.  This velvety cupcake is inspired by the Italian coffee drink made with espresso.  Topped with cappuccino Jelly Belly candies.  Grande!  Take one to the beach, sit back, relax, and enjoy.






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Scottie Doggie Cupcakes by Jesse Bluma


Scottie Doggie Cupcakes



A delicious chocolate or vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting or chocolate ganache, topped with a red or black licorice Scottie. These tempting cupcakes manage to be rich and playful.  Bring back childhood memories or create new ones with these treats.






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Blackberry Coulis Chocolate Cupcakes by Jesse Bluma


Blackberry Coulis Chocolate Cupcakes



There is something to this recipe that makes everyone relish another bite.  These sophisticated vanilla cupcakes are topped with blackberry coulis and chocolate ganache.  Serve these at your next grilling party, date night, or celebration.







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How Digital Textbooks Increase Flexibility in the Classroom: Senator Mimi Walters SB 185


How Digital Textbooks Increase Flexibility in the Classroom
Pointe Viven - Jesse Bluma. All rights reserved.




Digital textbooks, or electronic books, offer bold possibilities in education.  Digital technology has the possibility of being more interactive, more diverse, and less expensive than hardcover books.  (Less expensive if the state, schoolboard, or school officials can negotiate a reasonable price).  SB 185, authored by Senator Mimi Walters, opened up barriers that once prohibited school district and charter school officials from negotiating with companies for digital books.  

Mimi Walters stated, "The need for digital textbooks and other on-line tools is especially critical in lower-revenue districts that are too often at a disadvantage in comparison to higher-revenue districts.  She pointed out that SB 185 will enable these school districts to use technology to address the specific academic needs of each student more directly.
"
http://content.postnewsgroup.com/2013/05/sen-mimi-walters-seeks-to-provide-digital-textbooks/

SB 185

"Specifies school districts, county offices of education, charter schools are not restricted from negotiating the price of standards-aligned instructional materials and supplemental materials in a printed and digital format. Requires such materials that meet specified requirements to be offered by a publisher or manufacturer as unbundled elements. Authorizes a district to use materials in a digital format that were purchased by the district to create a districtwide online digital database for classroom use."
http://mariposa.networkofcare.org/kids/legislate/state-bill-detail.aspx?bill=SB%20185&sessionid=2013000


Senator Walters has a family of her own and began her career in government on the Laguna Niguel city council.  Prior to her civil service she worked as a stock broker.  I interned on her mayoral race and helped on her Assembly race.  I recently commented to Senator Walters that SB 185 was a good start to diversifying curriculum in the state.  Unfortunately, SB 185 requires the digital format of instructional material to be aligned with the Common Core standards.  Almost every piece of legislation has its down side, and this is one.  The price tag for Common Core and claims made by some of its proponents are of no positive step for students and teachers.  Mimi Walters liked what I had to say on the subject.

Do you have any digital book recommendations?  
Please share your thoughts and book choices.






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Image courtesy of [image creator name] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Roasted Banana Strawberry Bread by Jesse Bluma


Roasted Banana Strawberry Bread
Pointe Viven - Jesse Bluma. All rights reserved.



Wild, red, and naturally sweet.  A slice of this bread will go a long way at breakfast as you conquer your morning.  Also, a great accompaniment to your next outdoor party, barbeque, or brunch.  Bananas and strawberries have a rich history throughout the Americas, Africa, and Europe.  Roasting and coupling these global fruits together makes for a flavorful combination.  
Enjoy!







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Independence Day Party Planning and Menu Ideas by Jesse Bluma



Independence Day Party Planning and Menu Ideas





"We hold these truths to be self-evident" are eight of the most important words we can honor with a celebration.  July 4 is in part for remembering new beginnings and cutting ties with England in 1776.  

The following ideas make an excellent blueprint for your next Independence Day party and can be adapted to almost any other celebration you host.  One of the most important steps to take is to backwards plan. Your goal is to celebrate and make it possible for your guests to enjoy it too, while not exhausting yourself.  Keep that in mind and your party will be doable.  

1.  Set a date and time of course.  

2.  Invite guests:  family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, or a mix.

3.  Look at your finances and stay within budget.  A buffet may be your best bet.

4.  Remember to have music:  This could simply be songs you select to play, radio, web or TV station music, or live performances depending on the type of party.

5.  Select one day to bring out any decorations for cleaning and dusting or to purchase any items:  flags, party poppers, theme napkins, balloons, stars on strings (hung up from ceiling using non-stick hanging strips), punched out paper stars, punched out Happy Birthday messages, etc.

6.  Select a day to take out your serving platters, plates, glasses, tableware, etc. to wash, clean, and polish and determine anything that you may need to purchase.

7.  Select a day to go food and drink shopping.  Often guests will offer to bring certain drinks.  If you can have a guest bring clear ice for drinks, that is great.

8.  Make most of the food one to two days before the party.  Purchasing a few gourmet items, such as cookies, cheeses, and specialty meats ahead of time will save you time and energy to prepare other dishes.  The day of the party you can make items such as salads and assemble your dishes.  Keep your food items to a minimal variety as to ensure they are quality dishes.  It is far better to spend money you would have spent on ten bags of potato chips on a quality appetizer or main dish.  

9.  The day before your party is a good day to set the table, iron tablecloths, set out any platters, and label each platter to organize your food.

10.  Games, crafts for kids, and a pre-dinner outing to the beach are good activities to make part of your party.



Buffet table set.


A printed menu framed on the wall.
(Create this for your party after you have cooked your food, 
in case of any last minute changes.)



Menu


Appetizer
- Genoa Salami and Kalamata Greek Olives

(Slice the salami the day before.)

Dishes
- Roasted Vegetables with Dip

(Preheat oven to 425° Fahrenheit or 218.3° Celsius.  Trim stems off 2 pounds broccoli and 1 pound cauliflower.  Cut flowerets into bite size pieces.  Mix broccoli and cauliflower with 2 cups sweet corn.  In a large bowl, in three batches, toss vegetable mixture with 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika powder.  Spread on parchment lined baking sheets.  Cook for about 15 minutes in oven.  Dip:  Mix together 1 cup organic yellow mustard, 3 Tablespoons organic honey, 2 teaspoons chili pepper, 1 pinch black pepper, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 3 Tablespoons lemon juice, 1 pinch lemon zest, 1 Tablespoon very finely chopped red onion, 1 Tablespoon very finely chopped shallot.)

- Endive Wrapped Sausage Hot Dogs
with dried cherries, apple matchsticks,
goat cheese, toasted walnuts, and
Michigan Dressing

(Wash and dry endive lettuce leaves--a mix of green and red Belgian the day of the party.  Grill soy chorizo style sausages according to package directions--you can do this the day before and then warm them up during the party.  Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit or 190.5° Celsius.  Crush walnuts into smaller pieces.  Put walnuts on parchment lined baking sheet. Toast walnuts until they begin to brown--5 to 10 minutes.  This can be done the day before as well.  Michigan Dressing:  1/2 cup Honey Greek Yogurt, 1/3 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper.  Place in a Mason jar, close lid, and shake.  You may make the dressing ahead of time and remember to keep this dressing cold on the table as it has milk product.  Slice 1 apple per 8 sausages into matchstick size pieces.  Immediately place the apple matchsticks into a bag with lemon juice.  This will prevent browning.  Slice the apple prior to the party.  Include a jar of ketchup as well on the table for guests.  I mixed 1 cup organic ketchup with 1 Tablespoon chili pepper.  Guests can wrap their own sausages with endive leaves and top with their choices of dried cherries, apply matchsticks, goat cheese, toasted walnuts, Michigan dressing, and ketchup.)

- Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
topped with baby swiss cheese and chives

(Prior to the party cook 6 ounces of meatless soy chorizo per mushroom following the package directions.  Preheat oven to 425° Fahrenheit or 218.3° Celsius.  Stuff the mushrooms with the cooked soy chorizo and bake portobello mushrooms on a parchment lined baking sheet for 25 minutes.  Carefully remove mushrooms with oven mitts.  Add a slice of baby swiss cheese to the top of each stuffed mushroom.  Bake for about 5 minutes to melt the cheese.  Wash and snip chives.  Carefully remove mushrooms from the oven and top with a few snips of chive.)

- Marinated Garbanzo Beans

(Prior to the party soak and cook garbanzo beans according to package directions.  This usually requires soaking over night.  Drain water and allow garbanzo beans to cool after cooking.   Add 1/4 cup olive oil per 15 ounces of garbanzo beans.  1 clove of diced garlic per 15 ounces of garbanzo beans.  1 Tablespoon salt per 15 ounces of garbanzo beans.  1/2 teaspoon chili powder per 15 ounces garbanzo beans.  Mix and serve.  *Note:  If you use canned garbanzo beans then you will need to alter this recipe.)

Drink


(Make the orange mint infused water the morning of your party and place in refrigerator to cool.)

Treats







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