Monday, January 29, 2007


Tortilla de Patatas Espanol (Spanish Potato Tortilla)

Apropos of nothing…I went to a birthday party for a one-year old this weekend that was (In the best possible L.A. way) a bit over the top. Mind you, not as over the top as the one for a three year old that had the theme “Christmas in July”, replete with snow – despite the 75 degree day - Santa and real reindeer, but still...

It was so totally loco, that at one point the moon bounce and the chocolate fountain became one giant adults-only mess. Disturbing. Shocking. Hilarious. I loved it. (And no, I did not participate) Especially when they managed to pop a hole in the thing. Doh!

And while I'm talking about it, I simply must share my favorite quote of the afternoon, as heard from a very handsome, bleached-blond, 40+ year old man with a chubby cheeked infant strapped to his torso…”Dude, I so want to charge that half-pipe in the yard, but I’ve got the baby today. Parenthood man, it’s so awesome and such buzz kill! (Holds up margarita.) Oh well, let’s find some more margies!” Groan.

Needless to say, the whole shin-dig was catered. The food was outrageously good, too. They served…um…pasta? Okay, I admit, I forget. It wasn’t only the salt-water-for-brains fboys hitting the margaritas! AI do remember the cake though…oh heavens, the cake. Let's just say, there were easily 200 people at this gathering and there was plenty to go around. Plus leftovers. Now that’s one big cake!

What can I say, that baby Dylan sure knows how to throw a soiree! Happy birthday little guy!

Now, should you be in the mood for a more low key party, maybe you should try this recipe for Tortilla de Espanol. Easy to make, delicious to eat – hot or cold – it’s a tasty morsel.

Try it, and enjoy!
Olive oil
1 large onion, halved and sliced into half-moons
3 clove garlic, crushed with 1 teaspoon salt
4 medium-sized Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced thick
Black pepper
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
6 eggs
Parsley for garnish

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a sauté pan. Carefully, layer the onion, garlic, pepper and potatoes into the oil.
Gently cook until golden-brown and potatoes slightly softened. Add salt as you go.

Carefully tip potato-and-onion mixture and pour out any excess oil.

Beat the eggs with the paprika, pepper and some more salt.

Stir and pour over the potato mixture.
Cook with foil or a lid and continue to cook over a low heat for 10-15 minutes.

Transfer pan to a preheated broiler until top is browned.

Slice and serve.


Tortilla basically means round and flat, so it applies to this as much as a circle of flatbread.

It has been claimed that the Germans invented birthday cakes, and celebrated birthdays with a cake called "Geburtstagorten".

Doctor Robert Bohannon, a molecular scientist, has developed a way to add caffeine to baked goods, without the bitter taste of caffeine. Each piece of pastry is the equivalent of about two cups of coffee. Bohannon has approached some heavyweight companies, including Krispy Kreme, Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks about carrying it.

Looking for something to do in (West) Los Angeles this Friday (Feb. 2nd)? Why not take a Simple French Desserts cooking class?

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Round The World Via My Fridge


I sometimes lament there is nothing to eat in my fridge.

Silly really, since there is always something to eat in my fridge.

Just take a gander at this random assortment of edibles that crowd it.

Herring. Goose liver. Mexican Beer.

My goodness, its a regular party in there!

I should stop lamenting and eat something already. (Just not the durian cake. That is there for novelty purposes only. The thought of unwrapping it terrifies me.)

That said, I wanted to share my 1-20 list. It's a meme that's going round and I just plain felt like taking part. So here goes.

1. Number of people I am responsible for feeding
2. Two drink minimum. One of my favorite expressions
3. Number of people currently signed up for the Simple French Desserts class I am teaching
4. There are four kinds of mustard in my refrigerator
5. Is how many wine glasses from my set of 12 that are still intact
6. I was six when I was tricked into eating chick-peas by being told they were something entirely different called garbanzo beans
7. I met my partners in crime, The Queen of the Valley and Ms. McGee seven years ago
8. Eight is how many siblings I have (that includes halves and steps.)
9. I have nine different patterns of dinnerware
10. I hosted ten cocktail parties in 2006. Four too many me thinks.
11. There are eleven bottles of wine in my bar
12. I own twelve paring knives
13. Thirteen people were at the Last Supper (which is why it is considered a bad luck number)
14. Minutes is how long I have been waiting for my friend The Ombudsman to show up.
15. Years is the minimum one has to wait for really good Scotch
16. People came over for dinner last week
17. I was seventeen when I first learned to make fresh pasta.
18. There are eighteen restaurants on my current "must try" list
19. Minutes is how long it takes me to drive from my house to the California Chicken Cafe
20. Aw heck, I'm out of things to about this: 20 is how many people I want to do this meme too. Hee hee hee.

...Well, now at least the pate is gone.

Have a great day!


In the UK 18% of sausages are eaten for breakfast and 44% for the evening meal. 83% of sausages are made from pork.

McDonald's Corp., the world's largest fast-food chain, said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter profit more than doubled, thanks in large part to the spinoff of burrito chain Chipotle and strong sales in Europe.

Overheard by: aroseMom: We'd like the walnut lentil pate. Is that popular with children?--Angelica Kitchen, East 12th Street


Monday, January 22, 2007


SHF (On a Monday) Chocolate By Brand - Russian Chocolate Vodka Cake

Last summer, my beach read was Chocolate, by Mort Rosenblum. I figured devouring a book about chocolate while lounging in the 85-degree sun was an all-together better plan than eating actual chocolate while wearing my bikini.

It’s a great book, touching on the history of chocolate while following one mans quest to learn as much as he could about what “good” chocolate really is. Simply irresistible. It fascinated me to learn how different each and every brand of chocolate really is, and WHY.

While meeting and greeting with the worlds foremost experts on the subject, it should come as no great surprise to anyone that Mr. Rosenblum sussed out Mr. David Lebovitz to check on what he had to say.

Reading the book, I got all giddy. I just love me that Mr. Lebovitz. I mean, he has a blog! He loves chocolate! He is foxy! Everything a girl like me gets swoony over. Who can resisit a food-blogging-chocoholic-ex-pat-boy. Too, too fantabulous. He just plain rocks.

And then, a few weeks ago, Mr. Lebovitz called out to the world, asking if people would take part in Sugar High Friday. An online baking event that he was hosting. The declared theme was, “Chocolate by Brand.” To choose a chocolate we love and to bake and blog. I was in. So what if I can’t bake my way out of a paper bag? I just had to give it a try. It just seemed like a super-fun-tastic challenge, ya know? Try some chocolates and pick something that I really love to feature.

Choosing the chocolate was tricky. While my natural inclination is to get something Free Trade, I was in a pinch and couldn’t make it to the market that sells such a thing, so I looked elsewhere. The stores offered the usual suspects, the Vahlronas and Hersheys and all sorts of other brands. my spell checker finds bothersome.

So I looked in my cupboard, to see what I really do buy. To see what I typically bake with.

Hiding far back, slumbering in the dark, a brick of Callebaut sat waiting, as it has been for months. I don’t know if you all have contended with industrial sized blocks of chocolate, but I have, and as a home baker, my suggestion is to leave them to the professionals. The type of professionals who have strong forearms and don’t mind heavy lifting or whittling away at something that seems determined to stay in its original form.

My second choice was the winner. A few bars of…Russian chocolate. A. Korkunov chocolate. Something that had been given to me as a gift and I had yet to try.

Award winning Russian chocolate. Too perfect. I grabbed all three bars and started baking.

Now we all know chocolate is a tropical product, and that Russia hasn’t got any tropical regions. So that the sources of this chocolate aren’t noted is a bit of a bummer. I would have liked to know what made this chocolate taste so…different than anything I have ever, ever had. Smooth, creamy, low in sugar (it’s 72% cocoa after all.) and somewhat…flinty. Like someone used hard-water to blend it, and then let the natural mineral compositions settle. I LOVED it.

It's not that warm and sensuous chocolate, it's steely and bracing, it's strong and assertive, it's Russian chocolate through and through. I kid you not, its as if this chocolate was blended to go not with a glass of milk, but with an icy shot of vodka.

Was I influnced to think that simply based on the fact it is Russian chocolate? Maybe, but when I made this Russian Chocolate Vodka Cake, dense and moist and gooey, I served it with vodka to my confused friends...who all agreed, it was a combination made in heaven. Or maybe Moscow. The perfect way to highlight this interesting chocolate.

Try it, and enjoy!

7 eggs- separated, reserve whites
1 cup white sugar
4 oz. butter
8 oz. unsweetened chocolate
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 oz. raspberry flavored vodka
Whipped Cream to serve

Butter a 9” removable bottom cake pan and place a round of parchment paper in the bottom, then butter again and flour the pan.

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate, and butter.

Place the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl, and mix until the yolks become white and double in size. Remove the chocolate from the heat, and let cool for a few minutes.

Place the whites in a separate mixing bowl with a pinch of salt, and beat until soft peaks form. Don’t over beat or they will become dry. Add the chocolate to the whipped yolks, and gently fold just to incorporate. Add 1/3 of the whipped whites and gently fold. Add the rest of the whites to the mix, and fold just to incorporate, being careful not to over mix.

Place in the prepared spring form pan, and bake in a 325 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the center of the cake just starts to get firm. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.

Let cool and serve.


Ten percent of U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance of iron is found in one ounce of baking chocolate or cocoa.

Cadbury Dairy Milk was first launched in 1905

Hershey, the number-one selling chocolate in the United States, owns Bay Area favorites Scharffen Berger and Joseph Schmidt

Hershey reports that U.S. dark-chocolate sales have grown by 11.2% in the last four years. As a result, the company is concentrating almost half of its business on dark-chocolate production by expanding already popular products, such as Hershey's Special Dark, the best-selling dark-chocolate bar in the U.S., and by making limited-edition flavors of products like Hershey's kisses in dark chocolate. - Forbes


Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Ricotta & Herb Dumplings

What makes dumplings so great? Their pillow-like perfection? The dreamy ease of making them? Their outstanding versatility? Maybe its just that they are comfort food. Happy, warm, comfort food. And with this winter chill in the air, that is certainly the order of the day.

Any which way you look at it, dumplings rock. (Unless they are too dense, in which case, they are rocks. But fret not, this recipe isn't rock-like. Promise.)

Made with basic pantry staples, they are a quick delight, and (bonus!) great to make with kids. You can also make them ahead, and freeze. And who doesn't like that? Try them in soup too...something brothy.

I made these for a most wonderful friend, who was feeling the winter blahs...she declared they are the perfect winter food...with just a hint of summer. I couldn't agree more. (Well, I could, but it wouldn't be too smart.)

Try them and enjoy.

1/2 cup ricotta cheese, drained
1/4 cup grated semi-hard goat cheese
1/4 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan
2 cups flour
1 egg, yolk and white seperated
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh herbs. I used basil and tarragon
pinch of salt

Pesto to serve. Jarred works fine.

Bring a very large pot of salted water to a boil.

In a bowl, combine the cheese, flour, eggs yolks, pepper and herbs. Stir to combine. The dough should be a bit stiff. Add a touch more flour if it seems too wet.

In another bowl, whip the egg white with the salt until it forms medium peaks.

Fold the egg whites in to the cheese in three parts. Combine well.

Scoop a bit of the cheese into the palm of your hand. Cup it gently and form in to a (an American) football shape.

Drop in to the boiling water and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Skim out the dumplings and dry on a towel. Serve with brown butter or pesto.

Makes about 20 dumplings


Savory dumplings are mounds of dough that are dropped into a liquid and cooked until done. - Thank you, Epicurious, for that insighful definition.

Even more excellent info, this time from the beloved Oxford Companion to Food: "Dumpling. A term of uncertain origin which first appeared in print at the beginning of the 17th century, athough the object it denotes--a small and usually globular mass of boiled or steamed dough--no doubt existed long before that."

And because I know you want to read are the
lyrics to Sugar Dumpling, by Sam Cooke.

Labels: , ,

Monday, January 15, 2007


Asparagus Phyllo Appetizers

I personally have never had a doorman. It’s an L.A. thing I guess. They don’t exist here much. And lemme tell ya, that fact is total culture shock for some, but whatever. I think it mostly bothers newly transplanted New Yorkers. Back east, when someone gets a new apartment they seem to make sure to point out "doorman" as one of the features. Us Westcoasters just smile and nod.

To me, there is something so…random, about having a man you pay to…open the door. And if you don’t know that old adage about L.A….well, it’s something like this…when the reporters come knocking after a neighbor has gone postal, the only thing we usually say is that “They were quiet and kept to themselves.” We like it that way. Impersonal. No one popping by, asking for sugar (which we don’t have in the house anyway) or to run lines with them. It’s a good thing. (No one said this is an easy town…) Can you imagine if some doorman was around all the time? Would mess that all up. All. Up.

But suddenly kittens, just recently, my opinion has changed! (At least about the door man concept) And I'm so excited to share!

Late last week, the temperatures hit obscene. I don’t remember asking Alaska to come for a visit, but apparently it has anyway. And heaven knows, my wardrobe was ill equipped. Brrrr.

It was Saturday night. A soiree awaited. My arms were full of trays, since I do not show up to parties without at least some sort of foodstuff. Usually something that cannot be tipped, or set down on the pavement (ew!) so I was in trouble. The building loomed. My arms weak under the weight, what was I to do?

While staring blankly at the door as I weighed my options, right smack out of the blue, a man in a uniform swung open the door and ushered me in to the vestibule. It was then and there that I got it. I didn’t have to struggle. No need to shiver. No need for keys or phones or putting down and then picking up parcels. The door just opened. Open sesame.

He called the elevator. He pressed the button for my floor. He said goodnight. It was a dream. So simple, yet so fab. A mere seconds later, I sailed in to the party, popped these into the oven for 12 minutes, and well, we all had a swell time.

Try these, and should you need to make them ahead, do so. Up to two days. Just line them up like little soldiers on a tray and bang them into the oven as needed. Doorman optional.


1 Package phyllo dough, defrosted (you will not use it all)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 bunch green asparagus, trimmed
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
Coarse ground black pepper

½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon grated horseradish
1 teaspoon capers, minced
2 teaspoons whole seed mustard
salt and pepper to taste

If making immediately, preheat your oven to 350F.

In a small bowl, combine the mayo, horseradish, capers and mustard. Taste and adjust seasonings. Reserve until ready to serve.

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Toss in the trimmed asparagus and blanch for 2 minutes, or until bright green. Drain into a colander and shock in a large bowl of ice water. Pat with paper towels and set aside. (This can be done a day ahead)

Remove phyllo from package and place a barely damp towel over it to keep it from drying out. (If the towel is sopping the phyllo will get mushy. And that is no good.).

Remove one sheet and lay it out on your work surface. Brush with a thin layer of melted butter, then sprinkle on some parmesan and then pepper. Place another layer on top and repeat with the butter and cheese, until you have 3 layers.

Divide the phyllo into 5 equal strips and then down the center so you have 10 rectangles.

Position a stalk of the asparagus on the bottom edge of a rectangle and roll it up. Brush the tips and outside with more butter and place on a lined sheet pan, seam side down.

When ready, bake until golden brown, approx. 15 minutes. Serve hot with the sauce.


Filo (also spelled phyllo) is very thin sheets of pastry.

White asparagus has been grown without letting it emerge from the soil, thus preventing exposure to sunlight, and stopping the color from developing. The smae technique keeps Belgian endive white.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Pear Charlotte

I should be at the gym, I should be at the gym, I should be at the gym.

I really should go to the gym.

Really. I should.

I used to go so often! What happened? (And how come I weigh less now than then?)

I should go to the gym.

But there is bread in the freezer left over from a party. And some pears. And I would be at the gym for two hours! That’s a long time.

Maybe I should just whip up a few charlottes.

Yes, I think I will do that instead.

1 loaf, thin sliced white bread
6 pears, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
2 teaspoons alcohol (I used Pear William. Vodka or rum will do)
Whipped cream for garnish

You will need a standard sized 9-muffin tin and a serrated knife.

Slice the crusts off of the bread. Reserve 9 slices

Butter one side of each slice. Cut each slice diagonally. Then slice each triangle into two scalene triangles (what? You don’t remember which kind that is? Check here.

Butter the muffin tin.

In a large bowl, combine the pear chunks, vanilla, cinnamon, sugars and alcohol. Toss to coat.

Now, starting with the pointed end of the buttered bread in the center of the muffin cup, layer, overlapping the bread and making sure it comes up over the lip. Each cup should take about five triangles. Smoosh the bread to fill in any gaps.

Fill the muffin cups with the pears. Fold over the ends of the bread and top with a circle cut from the reserved bread. Butter the bread top of the now contained pears.

Place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes or until golden browned.

Remove and serve with whipped cream. They can also be cooled and frozen.


California produces 60% of the nation's total Bartlett pear crop

Charlotte - a classic dessert begins made with a mold lined with sponge cake, lady fingers or buttered bread

Girl Scout Cookies go on sale this weekend!!!!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Meyer Lemons

Its community service day here at Fresh Approach…

The Well Fed Network has announced the winners of the 2006 Food Blog Awards. Many congrats to all the sensational nominees, and to the winners!

The 7th Annual Bloggies is compiling nominations (And there IS a food category, so get yourself over there and nominate this site! Or, Chez Pim, who actually has a chance of winning...)

The photo there is of a Meyer lemon and a common lemon (from left). Just in case you were confusing the two. If you are ever in doubt, remember, a Meyer lemon can be peeled by hand, is rounder and has a darker yellow skin. The flesh is also sweeter, so that should be the best indicator.

According to that infalliable news-site The Onion, Frito-Lay has announced they will offer healthy snacks.

If you are in Los Angeles, and want to take a Spanish Tapas cooking class (I hear the chef rocks), whip up a cocktail party worthy of the Oscars, or finally master some Simple French Desserts, ,well, you will just have to sign up today!

Then again, if you are in Wisconson this weekend, why not check out the 3rd Annual Bay View Wine & Beer Fest in Bay View, Wisconsin it is a fundraising event at the Marian Center For Non-Profits 3211 South Lakeshore Drive, in Bay View's most historic building. Enjoy tastings & samplings from Bay View, St. Francis, and other Milwaukee establishments, side by side with wine and beer samplings. Advance tickets are $20, and $30 at the door, and can be purchased by calling Paul at 414-482-2069, or Jeff at 444-6544.

That's all for now kids!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Eggplant, Pumpkin & Tofu in Garlic Sauce

He asked if I wanted to get dinner some time.

I said yes, but added that I was going away for a few weeks.

Typical LA stuff really. I was going to a retreat and there would be no phone access. Had to get my chakras aligned.

That's the trouble with getting together in this town...

You meet someone great and the next week they are off to Hungary to work on the new Steven Spielberg project, or they have to finish a script in three weeks and then start pre-production and then do revisions until fall but they really want to get together, so what are you doing the third Thursday in May of 2008 because I think I will be free...


But somehow, several weeks later, our schedules did end up coordinating. He had a night to himself and my chakras were sparkling (or, um, pulsating, or whatever they are supposed to do.)...we met at Toi on Sunset. (I give no pause to the Santa Monica's a shallow imitation...)

I love Toi. It's dark and loud and rock n'roll (a recurring theme in places I habitually visit. Jones Hollywood and Swingers being other examples.) And they serve something for everyone.

We split spring rolls and the red duck curry. I ordered the eggplant and pumpkin because I always do. Because it is the best thing on the menu.

He balked at the eggplant. He turned his nose up at the curry.

The relationship was doomed before it began.

I on the other hand, paid close attention to what I was eating and have recreated it here. For you rock stars who can't get out to Hollywood for a taste of delicious.

The dish is all about the feisty mix of textures, while being sweet and spicy and pungent with garlic.

Try it, and enjoy!

2 medium Japanese eggplants
1 small Japanese pumpkin
1 small red bell pepper
1 medium onion
1 small thai bird chile
½ cup tofu (optional)
5 cloves garlic, slivered
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons fish sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ cups vegetable stock (mushroom is best)
1 small handful Thai basil

Chop all of the vegetables into large dice. Mince the chile, add to the veg and set aside.

In a small bowl combine the cornstarch with some cold water (a tablespoon or so) to create a slurry.

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, minced chile and sugar. Add the vegetables and the veg stock.

Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft. Remove the lid and let simmer another 5 minutes to reduce slightly. Add the slurry, stir to combine. Reduce the heat and add the basil.

Serve with rice.

Makes enough for four


Japanese pumpkins are also called Kabocha It is dense and sweet and has a texture more like a potato than pumkin.

As a child my family's menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it. ~Buddy Hackett

Check out this fantastic Spanish Tapas cooking class taking place in West Los Angeles! Why not sign up?

Tofu was first used in China around 200 B.C.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, January 06, 2007


Made In L.A. - Food From The Hood

Maybe you have noticed that on the side bar on the left, towards the bottom of the page, there are some links to a few charitable organizations.

And perhaps you have wondered why they are there. Maybe - better still - you have clicked on the links to learn more. (I do hope so)

Let me explain their presence on this food blog, since most of them are not food related.

What they are, are links to organizations that I volunteer for, my friends have started, or that I just feel do good in the world. Like everyone else, I believe in giving back in any way I can, and these organizations are how I do just that.

The sites listed are varied and touch many lives in many different ways. What they all have in common is that they do good.

There are a lot of ways to do good in the world, aren’t there?

Of course, one of the very, very best ways is to do something for your local community. To see what needs attention and to engage in the simple act of paying attention to it.

Which brings me to today’s MADE IN L.A. my humble attempt to spotlight nationally available products made right here in Los Angeles, CA. Why? Because this is my community. Simple as that.

That said, allow me to introduce you to Food From The 'Hood.

Salad dressings made and marketed by the youth of Crenshaw High School. The profits help students pay for college, the experience helps them succeed in life.

If you are unfamiliar with Crenshaw it is a large area in South Los Angeles, with more then their fair share of problems. It is also a strong community of hard working people, where change visible is every day.

I hope you will check out their site and learn more.

There you will read about how a few kids and a teacher took a weedy lot behind a football field and made it their own personal field of dreams...

Or...take the next step and order some of their salad dressings...

I bought these two bottles at the Whole Foods in Beverly Hills a few days ago. I usually make my own dressing, but in this case it was a double-good deal.

Something new to try, that was made in L.A. and something that helps others. What could be better?

The dressings themselves taste great.

The ranch is tangy, the Italian is a perfect balance of vinegar and oil with pepper and herbs balancing it out. These are not the fancy dressings you keep on the shelf, these are dressings you use everyday, because you crave something on your salad that just tastes good.

But if you are looking to do something even more with your dressings try this amazing mushroom recipe.

It was a perfect appetizer on my holiday table. It simply pops with flavor. Try it, and enjoy!

2 cups small button mushrooms, cleaned
1/2 cup Food From The 'Hood Creamy Italian Dressing
2 tablespoons water
large pinch of fresh pepper
2 teaspoons fresh herbs, minced (I used parsley and oregano)

In a large sauce pan, heat the dressing with the water, and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the mushrooms and cook for three minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the pepper and the herbs and let sit for 1 hour.

Serve as an appetizer with toothpicks or tossed with butter lettuce as a hearty dressing.


To date, Food From the 'Hood has awarded over $140,000 in college scholarships to the student-managers. 77 program graduates have attended two-year or four-year colleges or technical schools.

There really was a Hidden Valley Ranch. It was a resort in California, and it was there that Ranch Dressing was 'invented' sometime in the 1950's.

At 2.8 kilograms annually, Canadians enjoy one of the world's highest levels of per capita mushroom consumption.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Rice Noodle Pancakes

And a happy new year to you!

Was your revelry as over the top as mine? (I sat home with a good friend and an even better bottle of bubbly. Shamefully understated and perfectly delightful. Wait, did I just imply the booze was better than my friends company? Doh! I didn’t mean that!)

But now that the holidays are over its time to get cooking, right?


And this here, lemme tell ya, is the perfect dish to get you back in the swing. Symbolic (I do simple adore the food symbolism - and noodles are a new-year must in many Asian cultures) as it is delectably tasty, you will go mad, mad, mad for it after just one bite.

It's all good with this easy to create, simple scrumptious appetizer.

I concocted it after rifling through the cupboards of the-man-who-works-too-much's kitchen. All the boy had on hand was some rice noodles and four extremely large bottles of fish sauce.

Suspicious pantry choices for a 30 something Latin man who doesn't cook. Anything. Ever.

Then again, it's really not at all suspicious when one realizes he inheirited the apartment from a outrageous woman (and one of my dearest and most revered friends. Because anyone who can describe herself as fabulous and lazy, without sounding the least bit off, will always have a place in my world) with an penchant for kimchee and a weakness for fermented fish juice...well, it just starts to make sense.

So with just those two items to start with, and a tum calling out for vittles, these became a reality in a jiff. And yes indeedy, they are good stuff.

The trick to making the dish beyond compare is to serve them h-o-t from the pan. Waste no time in getting them right onto your guests waiting plates, then its up to them to decide how hot is too hot to bite into...a tricky decision, but one they will just have to make on their own...they are crunchy and spicy and may just become your new favorite food...

Try this, and ENJOY!

1 medium package dried rice noodles (aka rice sticks)
Hot water
2 teaspoons fish sauce (0ptional)
1 scallion, minced
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 small Thai bird chile, deseeded and minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/2 carrot, peeled and minced
1/2 small red bell pepper, minced
minced cilantro to taste (optional)
1 large egg
1 heaping teaspoon curry powder
Vegetable oil
Fresh herbs (mint, cilantro) for garnish

Place the rice noodles in a bowl. Add enough boiling water to cover, add the fish sauce and let sit until softened, about 15 minutes. When soft, drain completely and pat dry with a paper towel. (Adding the fish sauce now allows the noodles to absorb the saltiness, much like adding salt to pasta water.)

In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients - except the oil and garnish. Stir to combine. Add the noodles and let rest 3 mintues or so. Just to let the flavors meld.

Heat a large saute pan and add enough oil to coat the bottom.

Working quickly, scoop out enough noodles to form a 2-inch pancake. Do this by pinching the noodles between your index finger and thumb and twisting as if winding a watch. Add to the pan and crisp 2-3 minutes per side. Repeat with all the noodles.

As mentioned previously, serve hot.

Makes about 10 pancakes.


In many cultures long noodles symbolize long life

Pastries and other foods sold at half of Starbucks U.S. outlets will be free of artery-clogging trans fats starting this week, a spokesman for the coffee shop chain said on Tuesday. Starbucks has been working on cutting trans fats from its products for about two years. - Reuters

Garum is a condiment or sauce made of fermented fish that was widely used by the ancient Greeks and Romans. There are several modern versions of this, including pissalat from Nice and nuoc-mam in Vietnam

Labels: ,

... Chefs Blogs

... Click for Beverly Hills, California Forecast

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

All of the original words and pictures on this site are copyrighted property. (So there. Nyah.) With that in mind, please ask permission first and give due credit, if you plan on reproducing any part of it. Thanks so much!

2003-2008 COPYRIGHT (C) Fresh Approach Cooking