Featured post

Drunk Driving & How It May Affect Your Life

No one plans to drive drunk, risking injury and putting lives at stake, but nonetheless, it happens every day. If you find yourself in this unenviable situation, it is important to call an expert to defend you, someone who specializes in Driving While Intoxicated cases. While you may feel confident that you are competent enough to defend yourself, there are very compelling reasons to hire someone with expertise in the legal field.

Laws vary from state to state, so it is important to know the DWI laws in your state. DWI, also called Driving Under Influence, or DUI, carries some hefty fines and penalties, so it is best to know what you are up against if you are arrested for driving DWI.

If you believe that you are guilty and plan on pleading guilty to a DWI or DUI offense, you may not need an attorney. It cannot hurt, however, to consult a specialized attorney just to see if you might have a defense. If you would like to fight the case, having a DWI attorney may save you time, money and heartache in the long run. Many factors will come into play in your case, including the results of the field sobriety tests you were given and what your blood alcohol content were at the time of arrest. If you have been arrested for DWI previously, that will also factor into your case. When in doubt of your rights, consult an expert. Even if you feel you have gathered all the evidence and feel prepared, it will be helpful to speak with a lawyer in case you missed important information or to confirm what to expect if you are going to plead guilty.

If this is your first DWI offense and no one was injured, the consequences of the guilty plea may be less severe. And whether or not a lawyer is representing you, a guilty plea is by far the most common result in DUI cases. If someone testifies that you were intoxicated, or your blood or breathalyzer tests indicate your blood alcohol content to be at least .08 percent, or you failed the any sobriety tests when you were pulled over, your chances of being found guilty are much stronger. These are the biggest factors used when a prosecutor looks to get a DWI conviction. This is where an effective DWI attorney can be of immense assistance.

lawWhile you may feel educated and competent enough to attempt a plea bargain with the prosecutor, there may be factors that make an attorney a necessity. If your blood alcohol content is just above the legal limit, an experienced DWI attorney might be able to plea the charge to something that carries a lighter sentence, like reckless driving. Also, a prosecutor is more likely to strike a deal with someone who has legal representation since they do not want to take their chances at a trial if they don’t have a strong case. If you try to bargain with the prosecutor and cannot come to an agreement, he or she will have no qualms about facing you in court. And while you may be a master orator, a legal professional has perfected that sought after combination of legal knowledge, experience, and negotiation skills. Hiring a lawyer with a respected, tough reputation may be enough to dissuade a prosecutor from taking your case to trial.

Other than representing yourself or hiring a DWI attorney, your other option is to have a public defender represent you in court. The public defender is assigned to your case and paid for by the government. This option is available for lower income clients but if it is determined that your income is not low enough, you will have to opt for self-representation or you will need to hire your own attorney.

Driving While Intoxicated or Under the Influence is a serious offense; one that can carry some harsh penalties including the loss of your driver’s license, numerous court appearances, restrictive conditions like an Ignition Interlock device, and possibly even jail time. In addition, you may have to pay for alcohol education classes, fines and even restitution is there is another party involved. While these are financial setbacks, there is also the damage to your reputation—some employers will not hire or will dismiss employees convicted of a DWI offense. All of these add up, financially, emotionally and otherwise, so if paying for a sharp attorney can help you avoid the severe penalties assessed for your crime, it would be money well spent, especially if the attorney is able to plea bargain to a lesser charge.

If you don’t accept the deal offered by the prosecutor—if one is even offered—and you feel that you can prove your innocence, you may go to trial, generally one with a jury. You can represent yourself, you can be represented by a public defender if you financially qualify, or you can invest in a DWI attorney for your defense. The reasons for professional legal representation might not be apparent, especially if you have a knowledge of the law; however, you may be skilled at washing windows, but an expert would catch the streaks and spots you would miss. This is true of a criminal defense / DWI lawyer—he or she can review the facts of your case, gather evidence to present, and duly represent your case in front of the judge or the jury, if it is a jury trial. The defense attorney has seen it all, and he or she may have previous information from another case that may benefit your case. Since the attorney is also versed in the rules of law, they may be able to find a mistake made by police during your arrest that will result in a lesser charge or the charge being dismissed altogether.

Finding an experienced DWI attorney takes some work but it can be well worth your time in the end. Ask friends, family and co-workers for recommendations and research the attorney yourself. A good reputation and outstanding results are earmarks of an excellent defense attorney. Remember, however, that someone whose practice is dedicated to DWI/DUI defense will have the most experience, but he or she might be more expensive than someone who also takes additional types of cases. Arrange a consultation with the attorney and ask about his or her courtroom philosophy and make sure you are comfortable with the attorney. If the costs associated with the defense is too high, see if you can set up a payment arrangement. While the cost may seem expensive to hire representation, it can wind up being costlier WITHOUT representation.

 

Featured post

corn chowder with chile, lime and cotija

I evicted a longtime resident of my To Cook list this week with this corn chowder. I have no argument with traditional corn chowder — it has cream, bacon, and potatoes and thus would be impossible not to love as soup or salad — but I adore to the point of boring everyone around me with my gushing, Mexican-style corn either elote-style (on the the cob rolled in butter, mayo, lime juice and coated with salty crumbled cotija cheese and chile powder or a chile-lime seasoning blend) or esquites-style (all of the above, but in a cup). This corn chowder attempts to celebrate the best of both.

making a mess of the kitchencutting kernels from the cornassistantblended and whole corn kernels

I started with a classic corn chowder using whole and blended fresh kernels, onion, garlic, milk, and cream but added some jalapeño and chili powder for flavor and used cooked black and small red beans instead of potatoes for bulk. Then, right before you eat it, because I am fully of the conviction that finishes are what make a soup, you make a rich street corn-like dressing with mayo, sour cream, cheese, and lime and dollop it right into the center of the soup. Squeeze more lime all over, shake on some chili powder and finish it with fresh cilantro and, if you’re not sure you’ve gilded the lily enough (or, perhaps, have children still viewing this meal skeptically), bake some corn tortilla wedges into chips.

Read more »

ice cream cake roll

Wait, come back! No matter how charming Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood made them look on that early episode of Great British Bake Off, I know how most of us feel actually feel about making rolled cakes, which is that they’re the worst: pesky with separated eggs, fragile, cracking, prone to failure, causing foul language to leave the mouth of the person cooking. (“You owe me a quarter, mom.” “Not if you want cake.” is a conversation that might or might not happen around here on Passover.) But this one is different. With flour and cocoa inside, plus an additional egg, it’s stretchier and softer, and it doesn’t fight you so much when you want to roll, unroll it, and then reroll it. And you want to do all of these things because this is one of the prettiest ice cream cakes I’ve ever made, and much easier and faster than it looks.

getting startedstiff egg whitesbeat egg yolkssift dry ingredients over

This is one of those old-school recipes I’d seen bouncing around for years and studiously avoided due to an inherent and well-earned distrust of rolled cakes. But then it showed up in a new book this spring, The Vintage Baker*, there as a holiday-ready peppermint cake roll, and I couldn’t resist any longer. I love this story behind this book, which is that one day a decade ago, Jessie Sheehan, then a baker at the new Baked bakery in Red Hook, went into an antique/junk shop with her not-exactly-patient toddler in a stroller that didn’t exactly fit in the narrow aisles, something I can relate to just a little bit. She spotted boxes filled with brightly colored antique recipe pamphlets, the kind that were once distributed by brands as a thank you for purchases but really were just brilliant marketing devices, since all the recipes called for that brand’s goods, and in a haste to leave, scooped up as many as she could carry. She ended up going back for more and more, amassing quite a collection, and the resulting baking she did — with flavor and ingredient tweaks for modern tastes — is assembled in this book. Butterscotch pecan curls, pull-apart cinnamon raisin pull-apart flake bread, sand tarts, sour cream jumbles, and cornflake macaroons, I want to make everything in it. But I think I started in the right place.

Read more »

pasta salad with roasted carrots and sunflower seed dressing

Almost every year, I attempt to set off the summer with a pasta salad that aspires to be everything the underseasoned, swmming-in-mayo pasta salads many of us grew up dreading were not. That is, unsoggy pasta that still has a bite to it, dressings with crunch and acidity, and vegetables that are there for substance, not just flecks of color. But this is the first year I did it by public polling, and by public I mean, my husband keeps reminding me how much he likes roasted carrots, Sara, who helps out behind the scenes here, reminded me how much she likes the roasted carrots at the Dig Inn chain, and many of you have told me over the years about nut allergies and nut-free schools and workplaces, which means it’s high time to give sunflower seeds their time in the spotlight. (Besides, I’d choose sunflower seed butter over almond or cashew butter any day, wouldn’t you?)

sad from the store but taste fine
ready to roast

Look, I don’t know anything about dating or making fashion choices by algorithm, but I think the results of this new-recipe-by-polling were exceptional. Carrots are out at the markets right now, but have also come a long way at the grocery store, where I bought these rainbow pretties, although monochrome carrots work too. While they’re in the oven for a quick, high-heat blast, you grind sunflowers (but not all the way, no powder here) with garlic, parmesan (if you wish), lemon zest, and some carrot greens, and if yours came without, a few kale leaves. The green is important here (and I should have used more) because the natural color of sunflower seeds is a bit gray/beige, not exactly the summery brightness one hopes “sunflower” would impart. You then stir in olive oil, lemon juice, more salt, and pepper, more than you think you’ll need because carrots are sweet, pasta is neutral, and you’re going to want the seasoning to stretch across all of it.

Read more »

ruffled milk pie

I first learned about ruffled milk pie from Vefa’s Kictchen, a substantial Greek cooking volume that first came out in 2009. A type of galatopita (“pie made with milk,” aka a baked custard pie), this is more striking in appearance than most due to wound and rumbled sheets of pastry, which also providing texture and crunch. It’s so pretty and it sounded so simple — there are 7 ingredients and I bet we keep 6 of them around — it was absolutely, unequivocally something I could get into and want to tell you about immediately save one thing: it uses filo. And would rather do almost anything than work with filo. And I have! I’ve had two kids. I’ve written two cookbooks. I’ve moved apartments. I have planted gardens and taken up running and gone on vacations and okay, maybe I didn’t do all of these things just to avoid using filo in one single recipe, but I can tell you that when the top two items on my to-do list sifted out last week as 1. Purge too-small clothes from kids’ overstuffed dressers, and 2. Make ruffled milk pie, I at last found something I hated more than more than I dreaded working with filo. I am pleased to tell you that my kids clothes are still an unmitigated disaster but this pie is fantastic.

first sheetmessily ruffled filostart your rufflesready to bake

“Geez, Deb, what did filo ever do to you?” Fair question and, in short, it stresses me out. It tears and cracks. It likes to dry out before you can blink and it’s unforgiving once this happens. You’re supposed to keep a piece of plastic on the open package of sheets followed by damp towel on it but when I run a towel under faucet and wring it out, it’s always too heavy and wet and manages to glue all of the sheets together at the edges. I’ve opened up boxes that were nothing but shards. I know, I know, way to sell a recipe, Deb. [Don’t worry, I’ll share some tips for the filo-averse below.]

Read more »

chilaquiles brunch casserole

I have never met an intersection of tortillas and salsa and cheese and eggs I did not love excessively, or at minimum, could leave a restaurant where it was on the menu without ordering. Things were relatively controlled between the earliest iteration of huevos rancheros on this site, to a still-favorite, almost shakshuka-ish baked eggs in ranchero sauce with beans, a cheesy broiled lid, and strips of fried tortilla chips in my first cookbook. But it was during a brief trip to Mexico City two years ago that my obsession really went off the rails as I realized I’d need a month to get through all the glorious ways to eat eggs/salsa/tortillas, see also: huevos revueltos al gusto, rancheros mexicanos, divorciados, motuleños, al albañil, and ahogados, not to mention chilaquiles.

12 small corn tortillascrisping the tortillasfried tortillascheddar and monterey jackassembly timestart layering like this

Actually, let’s talk about chilaquiles. Fried tortillas are smothered with red or green salsa and simmered, then topped with shredded chicken, refried beans, or eggs, followed by crema and crumbled cheese and it’s quite amazing on any plate, at any time, anywhere, but when my friend made us this casserole-d version for brunch on New Year’s Day, I threatened to never leave. [Also there was champagne, freshly baked cinnamon buns, and not a single person discussing a cleanse or resolution, praise be.]

ready to bakebake for 15 minutes without eggsadd the eggsfinished

Read more »

triple coconut cream pie

I would like to tell you that I made coconut cream pie because after 12 years of requests for it, I submerged my doubts over whether it was my “thing” and finally saw the light. Or that apparently this specific coconut cream pie created by Tom Douglas at Dahlia Bakery in Seattle is so well-known and loved, a previous president would ask for it by name. Or that I made it because I was delighted by the history of coconut in America outlined by Stella Parks in her Bravetart cookbook (which we are already way into), where she explains that the earliest packaged coconut you could get in the US, after the Civil War, was dry and chewy, and not very appealing unless you soaked it in something. That thing became cream for custard, because we have very good tastes. Or that in one of those food holidays I’m a bit dubious of but not above mentioning should the stars/cravings align, apparently May 8th is National Coconut Cream Pie Day, and we might as well begin preparing today.

let's make the pie doughall the buttercoconut crustthin crustthis crust is a (delicious) painready to par-bake, no weights

None of these are true. I actually — in a veritable sad trombone after a build-up like the above — made coconut cream pie because I went so overboard buying coconut for a certain wedding cake I made last summer that I had quite a bit left to use up before its okay-let’s-be-honest-I-blinked-and-missed-it expiration date.

Read more »

crispy tofu pad thai

Like a lot of people who go way back in the land of food blogs, I learned how to make pad thai from Pim Techamuanvivit. Pim wrote Chez Pim for many years before moving onto make jams (still the best apricot I’ve ever had) and then, homesick for the food she missed from growing up in Bangkok and disappointed by the versions of Thai food she saw in American restaurants (and “the tyranny of peanut sauce”), opened her first restaurant, Kin Khao, in San Francisco in 2014. It received a Michelin star a year after it opened because why do anything mediocre?

what you'll need

But in 2007, she wrote a seminal post called Pad Thai For Beginners that I’ve read and reread so many times over the years, I’ve practically memorized it. As pad thai is one of the most popular street foods in Thailand, she encouraged us to approach it at home the way the street vendors do: the prep is already done, so you can finish it in a flash. First, she wants you to make the sauce in advance because the ingredients are not standardized — fish sauces and tamarind concentrates will vary in intensity between brands — and you’ll want to adjust as needed, not over a screaming hot pan while your noodles get soft. And she wants you to make extra because it keeps well, and then if your dish needs a little more oomph, you won’t have to run back to the fridge to measure more from bottles and jars. Finally, she wants us to never make more than two portions at once, which will lead to “clumps of oily, sticky noodles.” She explains that the textures and flavors of a proper pad thai “derive largely from the way the dish is cooked, that is to say its quick footloose dance in an ultra hot wok. That simply means you can’t do many servings at once.” This doesn’t mean you cannot feed a crowd, you simply prep as much as you’d need, but only cook a portion or two at a time.

Read more »

fig newtons

I have grandma tastes. I don’t have a pocketbook full of butterscotch candies or a plastic cover on the sofa or anything, but I’m sitting on it right now and think our elders are probably onto something, especially when you have two kids with an unnatural contempt for napkins. But I will stan [Grandma Deb has Googled this word, feels ready to give it a spin] for thick cardigans, tins of Danish butter cookies, Walkers shortbread, and Fig Newtons.

stand mixer doughfood processor doughoops forgot to chop themeasy peasy

I’ve wanted to make a homemade version of fig newtons since I started this site nearly 12 years ago. In that time, I have bookmarked a dozen versions that claimed to be like the original packaged cookie but all seemed off somehow — too sweet or too wholegrain, to muddled with other flavors, not actually shaped like the original, or just so fussy, if even I couldn’t muster the motivation to make them, it didn’t bode well for talking anyone else into it. I am glad I waited because last fall pastry wizard Stella Park’s BraveTart cookbook came out and if there is anyone that can be trusted to come up with a version as good as the original but with a more appetizing ingredient list, it is her.

Read more »

asparagus and egg salad with walnuts and mint

I found my new favorite spring lunch salad while I was hiding from a pot of brisket, which is the kind of thing that happens three days after Passover. Day one (which is actually day two or three after you’ve cooked the brisket, because you know I’d never lead you astray, right?) is lovely: my goodness, why don’t we eat long-cooked, saucy slabs of beef more often? Day two isn’t so bad either, albeit a touch less enthusiastic: yay, brisket. Day three is: my god this isn’t natural, nobody should eat this much brisket, what am I going to do? I cannot waste food. It’s too long into the brisket’s lifespan to freeze it now. And my thoughts turned to the vibrant green asparagus stalks we’d had with it, and that brisket was instantly relegated to a side dish.

well-toasted walnuts
walnuts, parmesan, lemon zest, salt, pepper, pepper flakes

I wasn’t even a little bit surprised that I found inspiration for asparagus in the Six Seasons cookbook. Have you bought it yet? I know this is awfully bossy of me, but I think you should. I think that if you, like me, delight in inventive but not overly complicated vegetable preparations (225 of them, even), things you hadn’t thought of but that you’ll immediately tuck into your repertoire, you’re going to love this book as much as I do. I confess I’ve had it for almost a year. In that year, I’ve been almost overwhelmed with how much I’ve wanted to cook from it — a favorite so far has been the comfortable cabbage and farro soup with parmesan and lemon — almost to the point of paralysis, which is as ridiculous of a first-world problem as having too much brisket to eat, but here we are and at least one impasse helped resolve another.

Read more »

melting potatoes

A few weeks ago — although, you can imagine, it feels like it’s been much, much longer* — I learned bout something called melting potatoes and had to make them immediately. This is my favorite way to fall into something new: swiftly and static-free, even better when it has outsized pleasing results. I find the energy that comes from it kind of infectious. Why limit this fun to potatoes? Why don’t I do something random and new and unpredictable every single day? I should start right away. Or after I make these potatoes again because the only bad thing about them was that we had plans that night and I left them with the kids and babysitter. I did sneak one off the pan. It was hot. I dropped it. I definitely definitely did not eat it anyway. I am way too classy for that. Totally.

one-inch slices, just do itready to roastbubbling in the ovenflipped

Do you love a circuitous recipe path? Me too. I saw it on the Instagram Stories of Dawn Perry, who is the food director at Real Simple, and it seems to have been discovered by associate food editor Grace Elkus, who found it on Pinterest, where it is very, very popular. It feels like a pared-down version of fondant potatoes (pommes de terres fondantes), a French dish in which cylinders of potato are browned very slowly in butter, with stock added in increments until the potatoes are crisp on top but creamy inside, but also somewhat glazed and booming with flavor. [Also, I love any dish that allows us to apply high praise usually reserved for meat, i.e. “meltingly tender”, to a vegetable.]

Read more »

1940-2018

My dad passed away last week. You might have known him here as SantaDad. He took great delight in that nickname, which came from an early story about how confusing as a kid I found the pictures of my dad on a fire truck dressed as Santa Claus as a) we are Jewish; and b) everyone knows Santa Claus comes down a chimney, duh. I realize this doesn’t make it any less head-scratching and I’ve decided to not even try to clear it up.

Read more »