On Labor Day “Steak” Your Claim

How to Grill the Perfect Steak

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Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Now that the last grilling days of summer are here it’s time to fire up the barbecue and make the most of it!

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Are your steaks as tender and juicy as they can be? Or are they looking and tasting more like an old shoe?

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Don’t worry. SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel – with the help of Patti’s husband Greg Kishel – have done our homework and have the perfect recipe for grilling success.

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For starters, don’t just grab the first package of plastic-wrapped meat that you see in the supermarket. Get to know your butcher! Sunny is in charge of getting the meat for our barbecues and always talks to the butcher.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA“This way I can find out what’s available and get the best prices, too! Often there are specials that can save you money,” says Sunny. “Plus the butcher can give me suggestions on which cut of meat to get and how to prepare it.”

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Check the steak for marbling – the lines of fat running throughout the meat. These add moisture and flavor to the steak.

hi-steaks-8colWhether you opt for a rib eye, Porterhouse, top sirloin, or other steak, just as important as the cut of meat you choose, is how you handle it.

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“I’ve eaten steaks in expensive restaurants and steaks grilled on industrial-sized, backyard barbecues,” Greg says. “But, the best steaks of all were the ones my father used to make on a small hibachi on the steps to the basement. Dad had a chair next to the grill and sat there, paying close attention to the coals and the meat, getting it just right.”

 

A key mistake that grillers often make is taking the steak straight from the fridge to the barbecue. To ensure that the steak cooks evenly the meat should be at room temperature.

DSC04068Keep it simple. If you’re not careful, fancy marinades and rubs can overwhelm the natural meat flavors. Lightly coating the steak with oil and then seasoning it with salt and pepper should be just the ticket.

DSC04135Season the meat about the same time you’re getting the coals ready. That way the salt and pepper will have time to be absorbed into the steak, rather than ending up covering the grill.

Then, when you place the steak on the grill, pick a spot that is giving off the desired amount of heat.

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Go easy on the flipping, too. Less is more. Leave the flipping theatrics to the chefs at Benihana’s. The more flipping you do, the harder it is to monitor the amount of heat that each side is getting.

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Once the steak is done (about 4-5 minutes per side for medium rare) and you’ve removed it from the grill, resist the urge to immediately start eating. Here patience is definitely a virtue. If you’ve watched any of the cooking shows on TV, you know that the top chefs always let the meat rest for 5 – 10 minutes. This allows the steak to finish cooking and helps to seal in the flavor.

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After that, your steak is ready to serve – with whatever side dishes you like…and maybe a special wine you’ve been saving for the occasion or a chilled beer.

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Patti picked out this Villa Mt. Eden 1993 Zinfandel from Napa we had on hand. With its spicy fruit flavors and mellow taste, it turned out to be the perfect pairing to Greg’s perfectly grilled steak.

DSC04087Bon Appétit!

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Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.

Enjoy Summer’s Cool Delights

Beat the Heat with Ice Cream Treats!

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Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

“I scream. You scream. We all scream for ice cream.” So, the saying goes, especially in the summertime when everyone is looking for a cool treat.

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SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel love ice cream, particularly when we’re out at the beach and want to escape the heat. Whether it’s a waffle cone, hot fudge sundae or a date shake, there’s something good to try.

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In ancient times, dating back to the Roman Empire (54-86 A.D.), ice cream was reserved for emperors, who claimed it as their “just desserts.” To make the dish, Nero Claudius Caesar sent the empire’s fastest runners into the mountains to bring back snow, which was flavored with fruits and juices.

Over a thousand years later, when Marco Polo returned to Italy from the Orient bearing amazing treasures, one of the riches he brought was the recipe for sherbet. It still took 400 years, though, before ice cream reached the masses in the mid-17th Century.

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Fortunately, today we have lots of choices of ice cream right here in the OC…and you don’t have to be an emperor or an explorer to enjoy it!

 If you’re looking for new flavors to experience, then Baskin Robbins is the place. With 31 flavors on its menu, there’s a flavor for every day of the month.

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Some of the flavors for summer include: Cotton Candy, Splish Splash Sherbet, Very Berry Strawberry, and Blueberry Cheesecake. They’ve even got a movie-tie-in treat, Amazing Spider-Man 2.

And that summer favorite Baseball Nut is back. The classics are still here, too – Jamoca Almond Fudge, Oreo Cookies and Cream, and Old Fashioned Butter Pecan.

DSC03688And, when you’re feeling creative and want to express yourself, then head to Cold Stone Creamery and supervise your own Signature Creation, made right in front of you on the ice cream shop’s trademark stone mixing surface.

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You can choose your own candy, fruit, nuts, and other mix-ins to make your personal creation that’s uniquely you.

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How many flavors can you make? According to Cold Stone, “We stopped counting after a gazillion.”

For a quick, refreshing ice cream cool-down that won’t break the bank, Rite Aid hits the spot. When Rite Aid acquired Thrifty Drug Stores it wisely kept the chain’s beloved Thrifty Ice Cream.

DSC03381A summer treat that has a special place in many people’s memories, Thrifty Ice Cream is no farther away than a walk to your neighborhood drugstore. Known for its iconic, cylindrical-shape scoops, Thrifty Ice Cream cones have been satisfying generations of fans since 1940.

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Some of the flavors that have been popularized over the years include: Mint Chip, Birthday Cake, Rainbow Sherbet, Pistachio, Coconut Pineapple, and Surfwriter Girl Sunny’s favorite Chocolate Malted Krunch. The cones don’t cost 25-cents anymore, but they’re still a great value.

When you’re in a party mood and feel like sharing, Farrell’s is the place.

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The home of The Pig’s Trough (a “traditional banana split times two!”) and not soon forgotten Farrell’s Zoo (a creation “so huge it takes two Strong servers to deliver it to your table”)…

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Farrell’s is that classic ice cream parlor of old.

 

 

And, when you’re cruising along the Pacific Coast Highway on a California Dreamin’ day, make sure to stop in Ruby’s Shake Shack (7703 E. Coast Highway, Newport Beach), overlooking the historic Crystal Cove beach.

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Along with your ice cream treat, you’ll get a panoramic ocean view unlike any other. You can also get the best date shakes this side of Palm Springs, a unique taste of California that keeps SurfWriter Girl Patti coming back year-after-year.

Everybody likes ice cream. Even SurfWriter Cat Smokey…

DSC03393So, now that summer’s here, let’s all scream for ice cream!

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Drought Strains California’s Water Supply

Our Water Glass is Half Empty

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Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Now that the hot days of summer are here the demands on California’s water resources are rising along with the temperatures.

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As California deals with its worst drought in the last fifteen years, SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel believe that it’s important to remember the lessons learned during the 1930s when severe drought in the country’s heartland turned farmlands into a Dust Bowl.

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For eight years the dust blew on the southern plains. It came in a yellowish-brown haze from the South and in rolling walls of black from the North. The simplest acts of life – breathing, eating a meal, taking a walk – were no longer simple. Children wore dust masks to and from school, women hung wet sheets over the windows in a futile attempt to stop the dirt, farmers watched helplessly as their crops blew away. – 1930s description of the Dust Bowl

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According to Mike Wade, executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition, California’s current drought is estimated to cost close to $7.5 billion – in crop losses and job losses…with some 800,000 acres of farmland lying fallow. “If the intensity of the drought remains prolonged, the economic cost will surely grow,” Wade emphasizes.

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2013 was the driest year on record and on January 17, 2014, Governor Brown declared a drought emergency, asking Californians to reduce their water usage by 20%.

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California isn’t the only state that has been hit hard by drought. SurfWriter Girls learned that other western states, including Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Oregon, have all experienced droughts in the past two years. In some communities there is a real risk of running out of drinking water.

 

 

Water is in short supply across California – from its farms to the cities and suburbs. Due to lack of rain and increased usage levels our rivers and lakes are shrinking.

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The American Rivers environmental organization released a report in April, calling central California’s San Joaquin River “the nation’s most endangered river.” The report added that it is “so over-tapped that it runs completely dry in stretches, threatening water quality, endangering fish and wildlife, creating uncertainty for farmers and leaving communities vulnerable in the face of more frequent and severe droughts.”

Row boat drought

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“California is running out of options to deal with the fact that it has basically been relying on more water than it has long-term access to,” says former U.S. Interior Department official David Hayes.

Water and climate expert Peter Gleick agrees that California has been living beyond its water means. “We’ve been over-drafting groundwater for years,” he says, pointing out, “We’ve given away more water than nature provides.”

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And the government is still giving water away. The Wall Street Journal reported that this spring the Bureau of Reclamation drained reservoirs on California’s American and Stanislaus rivers of more than 23 billion gallons of water – in order to lower river water temperatures – to make it more comfortable for baby salmon to swim to the sea!

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Compounding the problem, according to Stephanie Pinceti, the director of UCLA’s California Center for Sustainable Communities, is that no one knows where the water goes. “We really don’t know how much water is used by whom in the state.”

This is because California’s water districts don’t always share information with each other and in many parts of the state water customers don’t even have water meters on their properties to calculate their water usage.

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The bottom line is that it’s long past time to start conserving water and giving up our wasteful ways.

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Farmers need to practice environmentally responsible agriculture techniques and improve their irrigation methods so that water is directed where it is needed.

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Among the things we all can do to improve the drought situation are to reduce water usage and repair leaky faucets and sprinklers.

IndoorWaterUsageReplacing inefficient toilets, dishwashers and washing machines with ones that utilize water better will make a big difference, too.

And, as SurfWriter Girls have pointed out before, we can give up our thirsty lawns for sustainable Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFGs) that use minimal levels of water and pesticides. This will help preserve our water supply and keep our oceans and beaches free from toxic water run-off.

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The non-profit Surfrider Foundation can show you how to convert your lawn into an OFG that’s beautiful to look at and good for the environment.

 

What’s more, the Municipal Water District of Orange County’s Turf Removal Program will even pay you to take out the grass.

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To keep our Golden State golden, we all need to safeguard its water resources.

By means of water, we give life to everything. – the Koran

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Huntington Beach Welcomes Surfers to 2014 US Open

US Open of Surfing is Off the Wall

Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.

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Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

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Action footwear and apparel brand Vans is front and center again for this year’s US Open of Surfing (USOS) in Huntington Beach (July 26 – August 3).

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Taking in the sights by the pier, SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel could see that event sponsor Vans is focused on making sure that everyone can share the stoke…especially the community and families.

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Along with the viewing stands, giant skate bowl, sponsors’ village and on-site Vans retail store, there are areas set aside for family movie nights and activities.

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Vans Skateboard

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In its second year hosting the USOS Vans is eager to create an environment that lets everyone experience the beach excitement first-hand. Doug Palladini, Vans Vice President and General Manager of the Americas, said “We look forward to bringing world-class competition across surfing, skateboarding and BMX to SoCal, the epicenter of action sports.”

This year’s USOS is particularly special because it coincides with Surf City’s 100 Years of Surfing anniversary commemorating the first time that the HB Pier was surfed – by Hawaiian surfer George Freeth – in 1914.

DSC03881AA pivotal point on the men’s and women’s pro surfing tours, the USOS always attracts the world’s top surfers and this year is no different. Last year’s winners Alejo Muniz and Carissa Moore are back…

Open 2013 Champsalong with surfing great Kelly Slater (11-time ASP World Surfing Champion) and local favorite Brett Simpson, who’s won the USOS twice.

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BrettOther top surfers in the men’s lineup include: Jordy Smith, Julian Wilson, Kai Otton, Nat Young, Josh Kerr and C.J. Hobgood. Among the women competitors are: Sally Fitzgibbons, Stephanie Gilmore, and Tyler Wright.

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During the week 500,000 people are expected to come out to watch the competitions and join in the festivities. The Open not only generates a lot of enthusiasm for surfing, but adds over $20 million to the OC economy.

DSC03997Mingling with the crowds, SurfWriter Girls ran into beach locals and tourists, families enjoying the beach atmosphere…

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and teens – lots of them! – hanging out with friends.

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Just North of the HB Pier SurfWriter Girls saw Surfrider Foundation volunteers manning the Huntington/Seal Beach Chapter’s booth giving out information about its environmental programs and organizing beach clean-ups.

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Fiat was back again with its dune buggy-sized 500L – introducing a concept car inspired by Vans.

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Fiat Vans Concept car

The hair stylists from Paul Mitchell had their scissors ready.

DSC03998Pacifico beer, G-Shock, Ion Cameras, Xbox, and Red Bull and were all drawing crowds.

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DSC04047On a warm California day it was nice to indulge in cool treats…

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DSC03989All in all, it was another laid-back day in paradise…at the US Open of Surfing.

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