Friday, September 30, 2005


Falafels (Which Happen to be Vegan Too)

What with all this rampant veganism working its way across the blog-o-sphere I have been inspired to make that classic vegan standby, falafels, from scratch, since anything had to be better than the stuff from a box (tried that once...was a little bit underwhelmed). I was super excited to see how easily they came together and how enjoyable the whole process was. While not the quickest meal to make, they are extra tasty, and re-heat well, so you can make a gigantic batch and eat them whenever the fancy strikes.

My only question, to myself, is: What in the heck took you so long? I finally have the falafels I want, heavily spiced, crunchy and delicious. (Not that I'm suddenly going to be passing up lunch at LA's best falafel stand, Eat-A-Pita or anything though!) They may be quite a deviation from the traditional, but to me, they are perfection. As a funny aside, I baked the first batch, and they were outta sight, then the next day, all ramped up, I thought I would just go for the gusto and deep fry a second batch to see how much better that could be. Oddly, they just dissintegrated over the course of about 6 minutes in the hot oil and I ended up with a deep-fried-pot-o-crumbles. It was hilarious. I don't think I'll bother doing that again. The ones I bake, I served these with a tomato-cucumber and mint salad, some minced chiles, onion slices and tahini sauce (made with tahini paste, lemon juice and salt), I didnt bother with pita, but I did include some dolmas on the plate, since I always have them in the house. It was a supreme meal, vegan friendly, delicious, filling and nicely balanced. So try them and enjoy!

3/4 cup cracked wheat
1 cup water
2 cloves garlic
1/2 small yellow onion
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups chick peas (I used canned)
1/2 cup parsley
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
large pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon lemon zest

In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil, add the wheat, cover and remove from the heat. Let stand 20 minutes or until the wheat is soft.

Coarsly grind the cumin and coriander in a spice mill

Meanwhile, saute the onion, garlic, lemon zest and spices until just softened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a food processor, (or you can just do this by hand) pulse together the remaining ingredients until they are mixed but still coarse.

Let rest 5-10 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 400F

Form the mixture into small balls (or, as I did, small disks). Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes about 30 falafels

(My actual IMBB 19 recipe, btw, is here) Tagged with: +

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week said it was considering an application by Kraft Foods to lower the minimum required curing period for Parmesan style cheese from six months from the current 10 months. In Italy, Parmigiano-Reggiano producers must cure the cheese for at least 12 months. Italian producers are worried about the competition from the big US companies - especially if they can produce the cheese faster, in greater quantities and for a cheaper price than they can. The Italians also worry that reductions in the strict production methods they use would lower quality and harm the image of the cheese.

Garbanzo beans (or chickpeas) are the most widely consumed legume in the world.

These men are vegans: Bryan Adams, Steve Jobs, Rick Rubin and Moby

I love The Millenium Restaurant Cookbook, which is all vegan food. Simply Heavenly is also quite charming, and has a unique spin on veganism, as it was written by the Abbey of a Christian monestary. Go figure.

You know what isn't vegan at all? SHORT RIBS WITH A CELERY DUO! Post your recipe today for The (Second) Really Big Cook-Off!

Thursday, September 29, 2005


Miso Glazed Baked Eggplant

It was 9 am on Sunday when I took a call from a out of town friend inquiring if I wanted to go out with a small (and highly unruly) band of NY glamazons, who had all decided the mission of their visit was to show some West coast boys what it means to go wild NYC-style. The only trouble was that their Big Apple rules just don't apply here in LA-LA-Wood, where most restaurants stop serving at 10, last call is at 2, and the next stop is never walking (or cabbing) distance away. So after I explained all that, they said no problem, just go get ready.

Next thing I know, a retro-fab, brown limo slows down outside my door, at the serious hour of 11:30 am, and without even coming to a full stop, an arm emerges and I was yanked into their debauchery. I can't go into many details, since my knowledge of what constitutes a misdemeanor and what is just girls being mischievous is vague, but I will say, at one point, in a very loud and crazy-crowded sushi joint, we (well, more like they) managed (with outrageously overt flirting) to have fourteen orders of miso-glazed eggplant sent to us by seven different tables of mush-eyed men in the course of, oh, eleven minutes.

I'm not sure if the consumption of this dish can raise you to rock-star status, but if those fine ladies are living on it, well, I suspect there must be some star-dust in the thick and salty, umami rich appetizer we could all use a sprinkling of. Try it, and enjoy!

1 large globe eggplant, sliced thick
3 tablespoons white miso
1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
sesame seeds and scallions for garnish

Preheat your oven to 350F

In a small bowl, combine the miso, yolk, sesame oil and vegetable oil. Stir vigorously with a fork.

Generously oil a sheet pan with sides.

Spoon a medium-thick layer of the sauce onto one side of each eggplant slice. Top with some sesame seeds and place in a single layer on the sheet pan.

Bake, uncovered for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and pour 1/2 cup of water onto the sheet pan (this is why you need it to have sides. Dig?) return the pan to the oven and continue to cook for 10 minutes or until the eggplant is cooked through.

Remove from the oven and let the eggplant cool to room temp. Garnish wish sliced scallions and more sesame seeds. Serve.

Makes 4- 6 servings

Perfect as an appetizer or as a vegetarian main course


In addition to the four main taste components (sweet, sour, salty and bitter), there is the additional taste characteristic called "umami" or savory.

Check out the amazing, beautiful and earth-friendly bamboo cutting boards at Totally Bamboo

When you really want to get your groove on, no band says good times like Les Sans Culottes

Want to see what someone else thought of this recipe? Check out Sunday Night Dinner ans see what they had to say

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Chicken With Figs

Question of the day: do you like to cook with figs?

As you can tell from the last few weeks, (if you are a return reader I should say. If not, just scroll on down, the evidence is there in glorious technicolor) I have been really taking advantage of the seasons bounty and made quite a few fig-tastic treats. This idea I came up with using the last of my rare little jewels, the honey-like Calimyrna fig.

I started with a recommendation from another (beautiful, and fantastically well-written) site, The Traveller's Lunchbox, well, it was more like a launching point than a recommendation really. As with most recipes, I usually see a title that sounds good, and pretty much go my own way from there. I don't always want to follow the directions so much as feel my way through, which is how I ended up with this fig and vinegar chicken. It took about sixteen minutes from start to finish (reduction of the vinegar took up most of the time) and as we devoured it, and the sweet and lucious juices ran down our chins, we were reminded how glorious food really can be. Try it, and enjoy!

1/2 cup raspberry vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar or honey
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 small onion, sliced thick
2 inch branch of fresh rosemary
6 -8 figs, sliced in half
black pepper and salt to taste
olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin

In a small sauce pan, combine the vinegar, sugar, raisins, onions and rosemary over medium-high heat. Reduce by half. (About 10 minutes) Remove the rosemary branch, add the figs, reduce the heat and continue to cook while you prepare the chicken.

In a large skillet, heat your oil until shimmering. Add the chicken breasts and don't fuss with them for 4 minutes. After four minutes, turn over cook until done (about another three minutes, but that also depends on the thickness of the chicken and the heat of your flame). Remove from the heat, and serve with the fig reduction.

Makes two servings.


Chicken Farmers of Nova Scotia Canada produce more than 43 million kilograms of chicken each year. That's more than 20 million chickens

There are 2800 chicken farms in Canada

In Vermont, there are about 12 vineyards and more being planned. Apparently, the hot and dry summer they just had was ideal for grape growing. The heat caused the grapes to produce more sugar as they ripened. And a near average rainfall reduced the chances for fruit rot, a constant challenge of growing grapes.

Did you post your version of Short Ribs with Celery Duo for The (Second) Really Big Cook-Off? I hope you will!


Tuesday, September 27, 2005


IMBB - Vegan Edition - Carrot Cashew-Cream Pasta

I put a lot of thought into Sassy Sam's IMBB "Trick Someone Into Eating Vegan" and have decided it affords me the perfect opportunity to give up this charade I have been perpetuating and come clean.

You see kids, I'm not really a cute girl who lives in LA, I'm not really a chef, and I don't ever, ever eat meat. It's all been an elaborate (and super time consuming) hoax that I am giving up just for this post. That photo over the the right though? That's no hoax. It's an ad from The Chicago Diner, a super sassy vegan restaurant!

I'm actually a 48 year-old man named Crispy, and I am incarcerated in a large and overcrowded prison in Oklahoma, for the crime of splattering livestock with turquoise dye from a 10-gauge paint-ball gun while erratically driving a stolen pick up truck wacked out of my gourd on sinus medication and super-sour grape jell-o shots. Shocked? Its true! (Or is it?) The photos you see every day I found on the prison library computer after the wardens wife downloaded them from her start up catering business as part of a failed vocational program from a few years back. The rest is a mixture of too-much-free-time-fantasy and meticulous research (relying heavily on old copies of InStyle magazine and the Martha Stewart website) during my quiet study hour (as permitted by the freedom of edu-mah-cation act of 1999.)

So for the next 43 months I will be here (have been for the last 21) in my tightly controlled world, subsisting on prison slop and dreaming about the day I will be set free and can pick up on my crusade to ruin all the living leather in a thousand mile radius (I sure hope the parole board isn't reading this!) and to preach the gospel of veganism, the purest form of economic anarchy I can think of. (Other than taking yourself off the grid)

Now, to set you on your way to a vitamin B-12 free existance, here's a recipe for Pasta with Carrot-Cashew Cream, that takes about 15 minutes to make and is a creamy vibrant delight. Try it, and enjoy! (Oh, and since I 'm not on KP I wasn't able to trick anyone into eating this. Besides, tricking people in the hoosegow is a sure way to get cut with a shiv, and I'm trying to avoid that)

1 pound whole wheat pasta, cooked
6 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup cashews
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons orange zest
1/2 small onion, minced
2 tablespoons finely minced lemon-thyme
black pepper

In a large pot just cover the carrots and garlic with salted water. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 6 minutes (You can be making the pasta while you do this too.) then add the cashews and continue to cook until the carrots are completely soft. (About six more minutes, depending on how thin your slices are)

Reserving 1/2 cup of the water, drain the carrots and puree in a blender (with the cashews and garlic.) Season to taste. Mix the carrot cream with the pasta and top with grated orange zest, onion, lemon-thyme, salt, pepper and a sprinkling of paprika. Serve immediately.

Makes enough for four people

Additions: Cubed tofu, shredded carrots, chopped black olives, minced ginger, red bell pepper or toasted cashews, minced parsley, diced dried apricot or stir-fried seitan.

Tagged with: +


I really just wanted to use the word hoosegow in a post. Plus, I don't have much of anything to say about veganism that I figure the rest of the people taking part in this won't have said already. All that and I wanted to make you laugh. Did you laugh? Huh? Didja?

Places to eat vegan in Los Angeles: California Vegan, Real Food Daily, Inn of the Seventh Ray, Solar Harvest, A Votre Sante, Manis Bakery, Native Foods, Urth Cafe, Vegan Glory, Newsroom Cafe, and um, you know, a lot of Asian restaurants. Of those, I really like Native Foods, Urth and Newsroom. I also think A Votre Sante and California Vegan are pretty good too, but I rarely go. Inn of the Seventh Ray is only worth it for the location, Everything at Manis tastes like lead to me, Real Food Daily has a weird vibe and I have never tried Vegan Glory (but I like the name!) or Solar Harvest.

From Harpers Magazine/Findings Sept. 2005: A physicist calculated that mass worldwide conversion to a vegetarian diet would do more to slow global warming than cutting back on oil and gas use.

Tiffany was vegan once, but the girl can't live without chicken soup. Could someone please send her man, DK a recipe for some?

Are you taking part in The (Second) Really Big Cook-Off? Post your entry before Friday!


Monday, September 26, 2005


Peanut Butter Cookie & Chocolate Mousse Sandwiches

When it comes to baking, I may be the worlds most stubborn girl, because no matter how many times I fail at making something that I have my heart set on, I keep returning to it. Case in point, the peanut butter cookie recipe from The Joy of Cooking, that my mother and I would make together when I was a little girl. With her gentle hand to guide us as we followed the instructions, they always came out perfect, yet as an adult no matter how many times I have tried, I could not get it to work for me. So bothersome. Especially because they bring back such warm memories.

Well, last week, I read somewhere about a dessert spot (I totally forget where) that serves peanut butter and chocolate mousse sandwich cookies, which sounded to me like a dream treat. With stars in my eyes (or were there just blinders?) I knew it was time to bust out that troublesome PB cookie recipe one more time. And it is with immense joy and a glad song in my heart that I can report I finally got it right (the trick for me seemed to be not using crazy-processed peanut butter and I instead tried it with the type of sugar free product we would have had at home when I was small) and then, with the addition of a simple chocolate mousse it became the decadant, yet homey treat I had anticipated. It is crunchy, creamy, sweet (but not cloying), satisfying, and very, very messy. The best course of action with these two recipes is to do the first step of the mousse (up until you need to chill it) and then bake the cookies. Then when the cookies are cooling, you can fold the cream in to the chocolate and then compose the entire dessert. Try it, and enjoy.

Chocolate Mousse:

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 large eggs
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (not shown)
8 oz. best quality dark chocolate, melted (via double boiler or in the microwave)

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs and sugar.

Heat half the cream over a low flame until warm, remove from the heat and then slowly whip it into the bowl with the egg and sugar mixture. (You are tempering here so that the eggs will not cook from the shock of the heat) Strain that back into the pan (this is to remove any bits of egg that may have scrambled despite your best intentions) and heat over a medium flame, stirring constantly until thickened (about 3 minutes tops) then strain back into the bowl. Add the vanilla and stir. Then add the slightly cooled melted chocolate and stir to combine.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate until cool.

Right before you remove the mousse from the refrigerator, whip the remaining cream to stiff peaks. Gently fold that into the chocolate mixture and chill until ready to use.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
pinch of salt
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350F

Blend the butter until soft. Cream with the sugars. Blend in the eggs, salt, then the vanilla, and then the rest of the ingredients.

Roll the dough into small balls and space out on a greased baking sheet. Using a fork, press down a cross-pattern into each cookie. (While I wonder if that is actually needed, it certainly is traditional)

Bake for 10 -12 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to rack to cool.

When the cookies are cooled, find sets of equal sized cookies, then spread some mousse on one and sandwich with its mate. Refrigerate in a container until ready to serve.

Makes about 50 cookies and 25 sandwiches.


"The H.B. Reese Candy Company began manufacturing a product made with specially processed peanut butter and HERSHEY'S Milk Chocolate in the 1920s. Introduced as simply peanut butter cups, the popular candy item is known today as REESE'S peanut butter cups. In 1963, the H.B. Reese Candy Company, Inc., was sold for $23.5 million to the Hershey Chocolate Company"

In the United States and Canada a cookie is a small, flat baked cake. In British English they are called biscuits. Its name comes from the Dutch word koekje which means "little cake".


Saturday, September 24, 2005


Drink of the Week: Mojito

I wanted to share with you all a recipe for the minty sweet treat, the mojito. While not exactly a mystery to make, its sometimes overlooked by the home bartender, and that is a crying shame, since it is a most perfect cocktail. One that is refreshing, and summery and quenches your thirst like no other. (So yes, this post may not be seasonally appropriate. Then again, some of you are in Australia, right?)

So what is it? The drink itself is native to the island nation of Cuba (and rumored to have been a favorite drink of Hemingway) which is also home to more than a few sugar cane fields. My little addition to this (almost) classic, is to include a sugar cane swizzle stick, because I love me the sugar cane and any time I can work it in, I do (and so far, this is the only recipe I actually have worked it in to!) So for some breezy giggles, try this and enjoy!

8 mint leaves
2 tablespoons sugar syrup
Juice from 1/2 lime
1 1/2 ounces white rum
Splash of club soda

For the sugar cane, use a (really) large, (and super) heavy knife (have you got a machete?) and split it in half, then whack it into shorter pieces at the ribs, peel and cut into rectangles. To enjoy, just bite down (not through) on the stick and suck. Mmmm. That my friends is pure, unadulterated sugar.

For the drink, combine the mint, sugar syrup and lime juice in a tall glass and using the handle of a long spoon, crush the mint. Add the rum and ice, splash with soda water and garnish with mint and sugar cane stick.

Repeat as many times as needed.

Makes two drinks.


*** Wow, as I write I am listening to Eddie from Deep End Dining talk about Balut on KCRW. Check it out! Its awesome to hear a LA Food Blogger on the radio!!!! ***

Sugar Cane originated in the South Pacific where people believed that their first ancestors came from two sugar cane buds.

A two foot long cane of sugar (cane) was $0.99 at the Whole Foods in Santa Monica, CA this week

Christopher Columbus planted the first sugar cane in the new world on the island of Hispanola (Present day Haiti and the Dominican Republic) in 1493

I like to order mojitos at: Blue on Blue (Hotel Avalon, Beverly Hills), Havana on Sunset (West Hollywood) and Lola's (On Fairfax)

This Sunday, at noon Ill be at the Atwater Village Farmers Market, 3250 Glendale Blvd., at Larga Ave., Glendale for the chile contest! To enter Call (323-463-3171) or e-mail for more info.


Friday, September 23, 2005


The (Second) Really Big Cook-Off Announcement

I know, I know, you thought I had forgotten. Forgotten to announce The (Second) Really Big Cook-Off! But I haven't my little kohlrabis I just got distracted and was waiting for the right recipe to inspire me. In a way, it's lucky I did, because wow did I land on a beauty.

It took awhile but the spark did come. You see, what with hurricane relief efforts, my new (pending) gig (more on that later) and the anniversary of 9/11, I tragically forgot all about the Ms. Divine-Sunshine, my apple-pie sweet friend from Bean-Town had celebrated a birthday earlier this month. So I lamented, I chagrinned (can you do that?) and I felt guilt, until, in a flash of insight brought on by her tenure at Daniel (a NYC temple of food, pantheon of cuisine and overall kitchen hell-hole that up and coming cooks like to have on their resumes) I went to their site and decided to have this months recipe be in her honor. (And to overnight a faboo belated-birthday gift, of course)

It's a tasty (lets hope) concoction, that is swank and fab (as she is), yet homey and comforting (as she is too) and a perfect autumn dish. (Or any time of year actually) Since it is most likely not going to be the most glamourous dish, I will be adding (this month only!) a small prize for the person who submits the best shot along with their entry. (Judged by me and anyone else who wants to throw in their two cents)

So, with no further ado...this months recipe for The (Second) Really Big Cook-Off will be BRAISED SHORT RIBS WITH A CELERY DUO. (It's the anti IMBB for sure. And sorry to any vegetarians out there who may not want to join in although if you are feeling crafty, you certainly could use seitan...and I must point out that minus the flour for dredging, the whole thing is gluten free and low carb...) I know it looks long and complicated, but overall Im sure its a cinch, so are you up to the challenge??

To recap:

You have seven days to complete this recipe (if you choose to) and post your experience on your site. The due date will be SEPTEMBER 30th.

When you are done, go ahead and email me a link to your recipe at Include your name, site, link and any notes you want

As for the recipe itself: (These are just suggestions)
Gussy it up, tone it down, or keep it exactly as it was.
What substitutions did you make and why?
Did you regionalize it? (I live in LA, so it may need some sprouts, or a blessing from my yogi...)
Tell us what you liked about it and what you didn't.
Let us know how hard or easy it was and if you would make it again.
Include the cost of the ingredients if you like.
How long did it take?
Have you ever eaten at Daniel? Did you order this?
Tell us EVERYTHING. Don't be shy.

The round up will be posted on OCTOBER 5th. So check back here and see how everyone fared!

Thanks so much for participating everyone! I hope you will have fun! (Oh, and this recipe was originally enough for eight, I cut it in half)

So here it is.......................reprinted with no permission what-so-ever....................

The Short Ribs:

1 bottle dry red wine
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 short ribs, trimmed of excess fat
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
Flour for dredging
5 cloves garlic, peeled
4 large shallots, peeled, trimmed, split, rinsed, and dried
1 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 stalk celery, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, coarsely chopped, washed, and dried
3 sprigs Italian parsley
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 quarts unsalted Beef Stock or store-bought low-sodium beef broth
Freshly ground white pepper

1. Pour the wine into a large saucepan set over medium heat. When the wine is hot, carefully set it aflame, let the flames die out, then increase the heat so that the wine boils; allow it to boil until it cooks down by half. Remove from the heat.

2. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

3. Warm the oil in a Dutch oven or large casserole over medium-high heat. Season the ribs all over with salt and crushed pepper. Dust half the ribs with about 1 tablespoon flour and then, when the oil is hot, slip the ribs into the pot and sear 4 to 5 minutes on a side, until the ribs are well browned. Transfer the browned ribs to a plate, dust the remaining ribs with flour, and sear in the same manner. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot, lower the heat under the pot to medium, and toss in the vegetables and herbs. Brown the vegetables lightly, for 5 to 7 minutes, then stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute to blend.

4. Add the reduced wine, browned ribs and stock to the pot. Bring to the boil, cover the pot closely, and slide it into the oven to braise 2 1/2 hours, or until the ribs are tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork. Every 30 minutes or so, lift the lid and skim and discard whatever fat may have bubbled up to the surface. (If time allows make the recipe up to this point, cool and chill the ribs and stock in the pan, and, on the next day, scrape off the fat. Rewarm before continuing.)

5. Carefully (the tender meat falls apart easily) transfer the meat to a heated serving platter with raised rims and keep warm. Boil the pan liquids until they thicken and reduce to approximately 1 quart. Season with salt and pepper and pass through a fine-mesh strainer; discard the solids. (The ribs and sauce can be made a few days ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator. Reheat gently, basting frequently, on top of the stove or in a 350 degrees F oven.)

The Celery Duo: The Celery Root

1/2 quart whole milk
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 pound celery root, peeled and cut into 4 pieces
1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut in half
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

1. Put the milk, 2 cups water, the coarse salt, celery root and potatoes in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat and cook at a simmer until the vegetables can be easily pierced with the point of a knife, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the vegetables and return them to the pan.

2. Put the pot back over low heat and toss the vegetables around in the pot just enough to cook off their excess moisture; transfer the vegetables to the work bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and process--taking care not to overwork the mixture--just until the purée is smooth and creamy. (Alternativly, you could puree this in a blender, with a food mill, or just mash by hand) Season with salt and pepper. Keep the purée warm in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. (The purée can be made up to 6 hours ahead. Cool it, cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap against the purée, and refrigerate. When you¹re ready to serve, rewarm the purée in the top of a double boiler over simmering water.)

The Celery Duo: The Celery

1 bunch celery
1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 carrot, peeled, trimmed, and quartered
1 turnip, peeled, trimmed, and quartered
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 cups unsalted Chicken Stock or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth

1. Trim the bottom of each head of celery - but make certain the stalks remain together - then, measure 4 to 5 inches up from the bottom and cut the celery top off at that point (you¹ll be using the bottom part). Remove and discard the 3 or 4 tough outer stalks. Run a vegetable peeler over the exterior of the outer celery stalks to remove the stringy part of the vegetable, then cut each bunch of celery lengthwise into quarters. Keep close at hand.

2. Warm the oil in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots, turnips and celery quarters, season with salt and pepper, and cook, without coloring the vegetables, 3 minutes. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Adjust the heat so that the stock simmers steadily and cook the vegetables for about 25 minutes, or until they can be pierced easily with the point of a knife. When the vegetables are tender, the liquid should be just about gone, so that you should have tender vegetables lightly glazed with the stock. Remove and discard the carrots and turnips and serve the celery immediately. (If it¹s more convenient, you can make the celery up to 6 hours ahead, chill it and then rewarm it gently at serving time.)

To Serve:
Pour the sauce over the meat. Serve the celery duo on the same platter - the celery root purée can go under the ribs, the braised celery over them.


Daniel 60 E. 65th St. NY 10021

There’s “true joie de vivre in the air” at Daniel Boulud’s East Side flagship, a “crème de la crème” experience where the “sumptuous” New French cooking (rated No. 3 in this year’s Survey) is the “stuff of dreams”, the wine list “vast”, the service “flawless” and the flower-festooned room “opulent to say the least”; in sum, it’s the “ultimate special-occasion restaurant”, and as for the price, it’s “still cheaper than a midsize car.” (Average dinner check $102.00) - Zagats

What do you think we should make next month?

I know, I know, all of a sudden there is a contest from Gourmet magazine called "Cook the Cover" and they are offering a trip to NYC as their prize...but really now, that's so impersonal! And besides, isn't NY just a touch overrated? ;-)

Beef Short Ribs at the Whole Foods on Fairfax and Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood were $5.00 a pound today. 2 ribs weighed one pound.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Banana-Date Bread

Many, many years ago in a not so far away land there were some maidens who wanted to earn some extra cash to fund their leisurely lifestyles. They were clever and crafty young things and oh yes, they had the drive to succeed. All that held them back from their riches was the perfect idea. They had the will, the skills, the determination and let's just say it, the deadication to really do something outstanding when they got down to it.

For a short while they dabbled in hand-made custom order apron-dresses, (Kinda like this. Actually, exactly like that. Hmm. I must have issues because I still think they look sort of cute. Yikes.) but that proved to be excessively time consuming. Next up, they thought they could break into the fimo dough bead market, but alas, that was well covered. Then one starry night as they lay in a field somewhere in the middle of nowhere Indiana, staring up at the stars with the strains of music lingering in their ears it came to them like a bolt from the blue. The way to their financial freedom was as simple as whipping up that tasty tropical treat, banana bread.

You see kids, in those days there was a fantastically popular band who roamed the globe with a merry band of followers, and if nothing else, that lot tended to be hungry. Very, very hungry. They pretty much seemed to subsist on a diet of burritos and grilled cheese, cookies and stir fry, popcorn balls and something a little more tricky called goo-balls. They ate tofu-jerky and quesadillas, and as our young heroines learned, they also craved banana bread, and could eat lots of it. So with that solid information, all our puerile misses had to do was hawk it at 1 slice for $3.00 or 2 for $5.00 from sweet little ribbon festooned wicker baskets in parking lots all over the nation and watch the money roll in.

Tweaking a recipe from the outstanding and infallible Joy of Cooking, they brought their banana bread forth, (six varieties in all) and it was good. Oh heavens was it good. So good in fact, they ended up making a tidy bundle of cash, and one of them (your narrator, I fear) ate so many gosh darned 'nanas she developed an allergy to them that persists to this day. Happily, that does not stop the former little chicky from baking her cosmically delicious bread from time to time, the scent of which brings her back to a long forgotten place, where "everybody's dancing in a ring around the sun."

Try this, and enjoy.

1 1/2 cups white flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
6 tablespoons butter (or shortening)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 large, completely ripe (brown) bananas, mashed
1/4 cup dates, diced

Preheat your oven to 350F

In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, wheat germ, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Cream throughly (when you think you are done, keep beating for another minute) then add the eggs and bananas. Beat together completely. Fold in the dates.

Pour your batter into a well buttered loaf pan. Bake 45 minutes to one hour, or until a knife inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

Cool in the pan. Slice and serve.

Makes one loaf or about 10 slices


A Short List of Bands/Singers with Food Names:
Meatloaf, Bread, Moby Grape, Jelly Roll Morton, Ice-T, Spice Girls, Cream, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Salt 'n' Pepa, String Cheese Incident, Smashing Pumpkins, Leftover Salmon, The Cranberries, Black Eyed Peas, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Phish, Skankin' Pickle, Vanilla Fudge, Hot Chocolate, Blue Oyster Cult, Cake, Korn, The Lemonheads, Flying Burrito Brothers, Electric Prunes and Ray Anton and the Peppermint Men

Remember the Chiquita Banana Song?

"I'm Chiquita banana and I've come to say - Bananas have to ripen in a certain way- When they are fleck'd with brown and have a golden hue - Bananas taste the best and are best for you - You can put them in a salad - You can put them in a pie-aye - Any way you want to eat them - It's impossible to beat them - But, bananas like the climate of the very, very tropical equator - So you should never put bananas in the refrigerator." Music © 1945 Shawnee Press Inc.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Green Bean Salad With Ginger-Miso Dressing

Fast food. Its so popular (and popular to bash on) that even revered chef/television personality Jacques Pepin wrote a book on what he considers quickie cuisine. And while it certainly brings to mind greasy fries and fat laden burgers, it really should just mean, food you can start in on almost as soon as you decide you want to eat.

I have been known to have a little daydream about starting a healthy fast food drive through, (all about brown rice maki and ostrich burgers) but alas, I am not the restaurant-starting type. (If there is one thing they drill into your head in cooking school, its that restaurants fail more often than not) So in light of not having a convenient place to grab a healthy meal when a craving hits, it to always make sure I have fresh (look up, see the title of this site? There's a reason for that) foods ready to eat that satisfy my soul and my palate and my stomach and my sense of well being all at once.

This recipe, which I keep on hand in the warmer months fits the bill to a "T." (PS - I am sitting outside at the Coffee Bean and Jami Gertz just walked by. She is looking GOOD! Go Jami!) Try it, and enjoy

1 pound green beans
1 small red bell pepper
1/4 cup sliced water chestnuts
sesame seeds for garnish
1 tablespoon miso
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon mirin (or sake if you want)
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon finely minced ginger (not shown)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until just crisp-tender. Remove and drain immediately, then run under cold water to stop the cooking (or you can add them to a bowl of ice water) Drain and pat dry with a towel, the dryer the better so the sauce clings.

In a small bowl, combine the miso, oil, sugar, mirin, garlic and ginger. Stir to combine.

Toss the beans with the red pepper, water chestnuts and dressing. Garnish with sesame seeds. Refrigerate until cold. Will keep four days refrigerated.

Excellent additions include: Green onion, flaked salmon, cubed tofu or shredded carrot


Did you know Pepin means umbrella in French?

Hailing from Southeast Asia, water chestnuts are actually roots of an aquatic plant that grows in freshwater ponds, marshes, lakes, and in slow-moving rivers and streams.

This just in from KEYC TV (where ever that is) Bovine tuberculosis has now been confirmed in three beef cattle herds in Roseau County, in northern Minnesota. The state board of animal health says cattle from two smaller operations that bordered an infected herd also have tested positive for TB. The first cow infected with the disease was detected in July, the first time the disease had been found in Minnesota cattle since 1971. Ron Eustice, executive director of the Minnesota beef council says beef consumers need not worry. The infected herds will be killed and disposed of. The USDA is working on the details, and the herd owners are cooperating

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Sweet Pickled Watermelon Rind

This past weekend, when my all time favorite boy, (who from here out will be known as) the honorable Ombudsman Vibrato and I had overindulged on cocktails to the point of illness, we thought a great solution would be late night consumption of a few jars worth of the pickled watermelon rinds that I had made in June.

By means of explanation as to what the heck we were thinking, the truth is, I don't know. Somewhere in the course of our previous evenings carousing, a guy (who I seem to recall was wearing a baseball cap, sideways, in a swank bar,) swore it was a sure fire hangover cure, and we latched on to it as the gospel. Turns out, (of course) it didn't do a thing to remedy the fact we had (and this is SO not a joke) actually consumed maple syrup and bourbon shots, (and a hearty thanks to whoever thought THAT up) but it did do a bang up job cleansing our sand-papered palates.

Only time and some serious self reflection could actually cure something as wrong as what we drank, but the pickles were still a tasty treat that I heartily endorse. They are sweet (really, almost cloying) with a lot of spice and a fun crisp-tender texture. Sure, canning tomatoes is practical, but this is like capturing a season in a jar. (And they are still in the markets kids, so don't you go telling me this post isn't timely.) Try them, and enjoy!

As with any canning or preserving, it is of the utmost importance that all of your equipment is sterile.

Rind of one large watermelon, uniformly chopped into rectangles, green skin removed
1/2 cup salt
1 quart white vinegar
2 tablespoons pickling spice
1 large bunch thyme
6 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pink peppercorns
6 cinnamon sticks

Add the rind to a large bucket or bowl with enough water to cover (about 3 quarts) and 1/2 cup of salt. Soak overnight in your refrigerator. The next day, drain the rinds.

In a very large pan, add the drained rinds and fresh water, to cover. Boil the rinds for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, in another large pan, boil the vinegar, sugar and spices for five minutes (to infuse flavor), remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes, then add the (drained) rind and bring to a simmer for another 45 minutes or until the syrup is slightly thickened and the rinds are transparent.

Pack the rinds into hot sterilized 1-pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch room, and seal tightly.

Makes about six pints


The first cookbook published in the United States in 1796 contained a recipe for watermelon rind pickles.

Food Historian John Martin Taylor says that early Greek settlers brought the method of pickling watermelon with them to Charleston, South Carolina.

Farmers who grow grapes for juice and concentrate could be looking at an extra-large harvest this year. That's making a lot of them uneasy. The first of the few processors in the area sent out notices earlier this week about what growers will be paid for their Concord grapes: $100 per ton. That's down slightly from $105 per ton last year, and a sharp decline from the $200-plus per ton farmers were getting for their Concord crops several years ago. -Associated Press

Customize your M&M's!


Monday, September 19, 2005


Figgy Tapenade

I seem to be on quite the single-subject/ingredient roll these days, wouldn't you say? For a few weeks it was all about mint, but these last few days I find I am seriously immersed in a fantastic fig extravaganza. What a wonderful place to be.

Now then, with that said, I give you todays recipe. I suspect there aren't too many people out there with an over abundance of figs and not a clue what to do with them; but should that small segment of the population that does, in fact, have that problem (ah, sigh. To have that trouble) include you, I highly recommend this tasty solution. Figgy tapenade. A bright combination of sweet and salty, it is delicious and I'm certain if someone who was an expert on those sorts of things gave it some thought, nutritious. It's a breeze to make (takes all of three minutes I would say) and you will see, it will be a suprisingly addictive addition to your cocktail hour snack repetoire. Deeeee-lish. Try it, and enjoy.

6 large, ripe figs
1 teaspoon capers (rinsed)
4 sun-dried tomatoes (the kind in olive oil)
a few leaves of parsley (not pictured. whoops)
10 black olives, pitted
1 teaspoon pine nuts or walnuts
1/2 clove garlic (you really want to go easy on this)
olive oil
coarse black pepper

Coarsely chop all. Let rest for about an hour to let the flavors meld. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Serve on crackers. Its also quite delightful served over cold roasted chicken.

Makes about 1/2 cup


"The heroes and villains in The Future of Food, Deborah Koons Garcia's sober, far-reaching polemic against genetically modified foods, are clearly identified. The good guys, acknowledged in the film's cursory final segment, are organic farmers along with a growing network of farmers' markets around the United States that constitute a grass-roots resistance to the Goliath of agribusiness and the genetically engineered products it favors. The bad guys, to whom this quietly inflammatory film devotes the bulk of its attention, are large corporations, especially the Monsanto Company, a pioneer in the development of genetically engineered agricultural products. In recent years, Monsanto has patented seeds that yield crops whose chemical structures have been modified to ward off pests. " - NY Times

a preparation from the Provence region of France, consisting of black olives, anchovies, capers, olive oil and garlic pounded to a thick paste, used as a dip or condiment.

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Sunday, September 18, 2005


Minted Eggplant

What? A recipe using MINT? Could it be? What a wacky idea!

Ok, Ok, I know, almost every post (with a recipe that is) this month has had mint in it. (At least, the ones that didnt have figs in it) Its just that when autumn really hits and its gone I will be missing it like crazy, so I am intent on getting my fill now. Cant blame a girl for that, can you? I didnt think so. Grin.

This is so versatile it is also the basis for a dish I call ugly-pasta. I just puree the whole thing and pour it over whole-wheat noodles. If you dont puree it, it is a great side dish with lamb or any type of kebob. Its delicious, but a tad bland looking. (Ok, its just downright gloopy and grey, which is fine because it tastes vibrant and strong and smooth and delcious as can be.) This is one of those cases where you have to get beyond looks and taste a real sensation. Try it, and enjoy!

1 large eggplant (I used a Graffiti eggplant, only because it was so sassy looking. It didn’t taste any different than any other eggplant I typically encounter)
1 bunch mint, leaves rough chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 chile pepper, seeded and minced
olive oil
salt and pepper
fresh peas (in the pod is nice, but shelled is good too)

Dice the eggplant and steam for 20 minutes or until cooked. Raw eggplant isn’t good, so make sure it has turned totally grey.

When the eggplant is cooked remove from the heat and set aside.

In a medium sauté pan, cook the garlic and chile in the olive oil until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add the peas and toss to coat. Add the diced eggplant and toss again. Remove from heat and let cool.

When cool, add the mint and season with salt and pepper. Add more olive oil to taste.

Serve room temperature or chilled. Alternatively, you can puree the whole thing and serve over warm pasta.


The head of a panel considering whether to reopen the Japanese market to U.S. beef said on Monday he would prepare a draft report on U.S. beef safety by the panel's next meeting, a comment that suggests a decision is near.

The panel, a subcommittee of Japan's Food Safety Commission, met on Monday for the sixth time since May when the Japanese government asked it to rule on the safety of U.S. beef and beef offal, which have been banned in Japan since December 2003 when a case of mad cow disease was discovered in the United States.

Without approval from the commission, an independent group of experts who assess food safety, the government cannot implement an agreement made last October with the United States to resume imports of U.S. beef and beef products.

Before the ban, Japan was the top importer of American beef, with imports valued at $1.4 billion in 2003. - Reuters

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Thursday, September 15, 2005


Fig and Blueberry Tart with Rosemary

If at first you don't succeed aren't you supposed to try, try again? Well, in the case of this beauteous tart, I knew I had to make it work, no matter how many times I failed because it was just too perfect a concept to fail. Figs, marscapone and blueberries just cannot go wrong, right? And yet they did. The first time. You can't even imagine how bummed out I was.

You see, late last summer the fab Ms. MgGee was hosting a brunch (as she does. and with such aplomb) at the swank yet cozy Normandie Towers and I thought I would bring this little treat along for the gang to nosh on. The only trouble was, after spending a painstaking morning making it, I took a greedy little bite, made a face and threw the whole confounded concoction into the bin. It was just plain inedible and that was un-ac-cept-able. Pout. The addition of cornmeal to the crust had made it so gritty it really was like biting down on sweetened gravel. I was so sad but determined to make it again someday. Who knew it would take more than a year to get back to it!

Happily, (as you can see) I did make it again. I followed the directions (to a point) and in less than an hour had these resplendent treats ready to devour. What I had done wrong last time, and have realized wasn't wrong so much as not to my taste, was to include too much corn meal, making it unpleasantly crunchy. For this version, (loosely adapted from Bon Apetit mag) I cut it down quite a bit, and instead of a sand tart, I had a uber sophisticated dessert that I will be making again and again. Try it, and enjoy!

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons yellow cornmeal (not stone-ground)
2 tablespoons sugar
small pinch salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
4 to 5 tablespoons ice water
1 cup non-fat lemon yogurt
1 cup mascarpone cheese (8 oz)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 lb fresh figs
1 cup blueberries

Special equipment 8 small fluted tart pans

In a large bowl mix together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and rosemary and continue to combine until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Drizzle evenly with 4 tablespoons ice water and pulse until just incorporated. Gently squeeze a small handful: If it doesn't hold together, add more water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time.

Press the dough evenly onto bottom and up sides of tart pans and trim dough the dough so it is flush with rim. Chill pans until firm, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Bake the tarts in middle of oven until center and edges are golden, 25 to 30 minutes (don't worry if bottom of crust cracks), then cool in pan on a rack.

Whisk together yogurt and mascarpone and sugar in a bowl, then spread the cream in the shells. Cut figs lengthwise into slices and arrange decoratively over cream along with the blueberries. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary if you like.

Serve at room temperature.



The whisky liqueur Drambuie was once as much a part of the traditional British after-dinner ritual as coffee and cigars. But sales have slumped as tastes have changed, and now the MacKinnons, who ran the company for more than 250 years, are taking a back seat as new management tries to reinvent the brand. The liqueur once favoured by bank managers and retired colonels is to become a trendy long, mixed drink for a younger clientele, and many of the company's assets are being disposed of in a slimming-down operation. Drambuie's Edinburgh headquarters and London office in St James's are being sold off, along with its corporate art collection, which is expected to fetch £3 million to £3.5 million. -The Gaurdian


Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Tomato and Canellini Bean Salad

The calendar may say we are well into September, (and I have started seeing glowing, rotund pumpkins in the stores) but there are still loads of fragrant ripe tomatoes, lively herbs and other wonderful things to eat. Here there is a soft warm breeze drifting down through the canyons and I am clinging to it with a smile on my face and a song in my heart (gush) and making salads left right and center to keep up with the bounty of the markets.

This is a silly recipe in its simplicity, but a delicious one and worth your 45 seconds of prep time. Try it, and enjoy!

1 1/2 cups white beans, cooked
1 small handful of basil, shredded
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 sweet onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
salt and pepper

Combine all, season to taste and dinner is served.

Makes enough for four as a side dish.


The canellini bean is a traditional white Italian bean, sometimes known as white kidney bean. It is an haricot bean that was originally cultivated in Argentina.

Today is National Peanut Day and International Chocolate Day, interestingly, it is also the anniversary of the birth of Milton Snaveley Hershey (b. 1857 )

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Figs with Blue Cheese and Honey

Oh kids, what am I to do? I have had a Johnny Cash ditty swimming around in my poor little head for a week now! There is an actual scientific name for that (when you get a song stuck I mean) I just don’t have the first clue what it is. (Do you?) Sigh. That has nothing to do with today’s recipe, I just wanted to share, in hopes it would make it go away (I love the song, I really do, its just the endless mental loop is a touch grating) so far it hasn’t helped, but I'll keep positive. What else can you do, right? (Suggestions welcome!)

With that said, I just wanted to post this shot of figs with blue cheese, walnuts and honey that I made as a snack the other day. With figs in season, and honey always a treat, this was an ideal cocktail snack. I have another fig recipe to post this week (I must be off mint! It's amazing!) so stay tuned for that, but in the mean time try this, and enjoy!

24 plump, ripe figs
4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
¼ cup walnut pieces

Using a sharp knife, cut an X shape into the fig from the top to almost the base. Using your index fingers and thumbs gently squeeze the figs to open them up. Fill them with some cheese, nuts and then drizzle with honey. Serve room temp. Makes 24 snacks.


Don’t say I didn’t warn you: Fig wasps are wasps of the family Agaonidae which pollinate figs or are otherwise associated with figs. Among the Agaonidae, the female is a normal insect, while the male is wingless and never leaves the fig he hatched in.

Most blue cheeses today are either injected with the (naturally occurring in the right circumstances) mold or the mold is mixed right in with the curds to ensure consistency in the product.

Making honey begins when field bees fly from flower to flower collecting nectar from flowers. With their tongues, bees suck out the nectar and store it in sacs within their bodies. After filling their sacs, the field bees regurgitate the stored nectar into the mouths of house bees.

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Monday, September 12, 2005


Old School Comfort Food - Cauliflower and Dill Kugel

This here is a shout out to all of my peeps. It's a hey-how-do-you-do to the excellent members of the tribe and a big sloppy kiss to the general crowd who are out doing good things each and every day. It just so happens, I am in a fine mood today (despite the prevailing sadness of the Katrina aftermath) and cannot contain my self. You see, the other night (actually a few nights ago at this juncture) I made a meal that just plain startled me out of a culinary funk and into a whole new world of yum. It startled me because it was so tasty, so simple, and, most importantly, just so shockingly old school that I was in awe. Lucky for you, I took pictures. Hee hee.

What was this dish that left me gaping and licking my plate clean (Oh how proud my sweet mother must be. Such nice table manners! Licking a plate. Oy!)? Since you'll never guess, I'll just shout it out. I made scrumptious cauliflower kugel.

Cauliflower what? (Or, more to the point "What kind of kugel? Not noodle? Not even pineapple? Cauliflower? Tell us more, I am enthralled.") Yes kids, cauliflower kugel. A taste sensation, a culinary delight, a fantastic epiphany of flavors all right there in one humble dish. A dish full of happiness (if I do say so myself) that is easy to make and easier to devour.

If you arent familiar with the kugel concept, allow me to explain...kugel is a Yiddish word meaning ball, but really refers to a "crusty baked pudding made of potatoes or noodles" (though matzoh and farfel also come into play quite often) and for the most part, it isn't exactly what one would call sophisticated. Delicious, yes, fancy, no. For those familiar with it, it is humble home style fare that (while for some, could be called comfort food) some people have had every single Saturday for their entire lives (along with a nice brisket and some cholent. More on cholent some other time my dears) without fail, and without much in the way of variation or fan fare. Which is why this was such a revelation. Who knew such a standby could be updated in such a fantastic way! Yum!

Me, I have kugel whenever the fancy strikes, and that dear readers, isnt too often. But somehow, there I was, ingredients in hand and time to spare, whipping up this dish that made my head swim with its simplicity and utter and complete top-ten-dish-of-all-time-ness. Seriously. It was that good. You know what, I can't even tell you how good it was. You just have to try it for yourself to see. Who knew such a simple thing as a head of cauliflower could elicit such excitement! I have adapted this from Bon Apetit magazine. Try it, and enjoy.

1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large onions, large dice
1 large roasted red bell pepper, large dice
6 tablespoons unsalted matzo meal
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1/2 cup slivered almonds, slightly crushed

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the cauliflower until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to large bowl then mash coarsely with potato masher.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until tender and just beginning to color, about 5 minutes. Add the onions and roasted peppers to the cauliflower and mix in the matzo meal. Beat eggs, 1 tablespoon parsley, 1 tablespoon dill, salt, and pepper in small bowl to blend then stir into cauliflower mixture.

Brush 8x8 baking dish with 1 tablespoon oil. Spread cauliflower mixture evenly in prepared dish. Mix almonds, remaining 7 tablespoons parsley, 7 tablespoons dill, and 2 tablespoons oil in medium bowl to blend. Sprinkle evenly over kugel. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and chill.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake kugel uncovered until set in center and beginning to brown on top, about 35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes.

Makes 8 servings


In the 17th century, sugar was introduced to kugels, giving home cooks the option of serving it as a side dish or dessert.

In 1950, the Bundt pan was developed for cooking kugel, though it eventually became known as a pan used for a variety of other cakes.

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Sunday, September 11, 2005


Friendship Cup

Yet another (and gee, lets hope the last for a while) public service announcement...

If you arent a total wreck over Katrina (as I am) and your mind has wandered back to 9/11, here is a great event to get involved with. The Friendship Cup is a hockey tournament that takes place every year in Stamford Conn. to honor the memory of two men who's lives were lost in the World Trade Center attacks. It is a worthy cause (as they all are) and (despite the sad reasoning) a fun time.

I promise, promise, promise...tomorrow, back to food.

Friday, September 09, 2005


Drink of the Week: Plum Wine and 7-Up

We have all been to a Japanese restaurant with someone who doesnt like sake, right? Well, maybe they will like this. Its a delicious and refreshing (though crazy sweet) beverage that is available at most places that serve sake. Equal parts Plum Wine and Lemon-Lime soda. I cannot reccomend it highly enough.

On a different note...

Did you know,

"Ohio State University research has found that white adults who reduced their body mass
index score by 10 points saw their net worth rise about $12,000." and "people who say they
drink 'moderately' earn 10% more than people who abstain while 'heavy drinkers' earn 12%

Food (and libations) for thought indeed.

I promise to be back to my frivolous and fancy-free, food-lovin' self soon...


Thursday, September 08, 2005


Helping Out

Tonight, 20% of all proceeds from Sushi Roku, BOA Steakhouse, and Katana will be donated to the American Red Cross.

On Friday, there will be a silent auction "LA for LA" to help disaster victims including restaurant workers.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


WBW13 - Wine and Chocolate - 1999 Chateau Clerc Milon

(I actually got the dates messed up and wrote this a few Wednesdays ago but am just posting it. Thankfully, since my mind is overwhelmed with Katrina right now and I'm sure I could not have mustered up the chipperness I did then.)

Wine choices tend to reflect allegiances. For instance, as an L.A. girl, whenever I visit people who aren’t from here, I am certain to bring a California wine, since there are so many fantastic ones to choose from. When I am with my family, I will always bring a South American wine (knowing their preference for all things Latin.) but in my home, I almost always drink French wine. Just a quick browse of my (ahem) cellar I can see that 90% of the bottles (you know, of the 28 there are) are French with a few Italians are thrown in, but not a California wine is to be seen.

I don’t know if it because my first serious exposure to wine was as a teenager visiting friends in the Loire valley, or maybe it was the Wines of France class I signed up for a week after my 21st birthday or perhaps (and most likely) that my (much adored) French speaking grandmother (Who was not French, but said, “Why darling, all good families speak French” Seriously, she said that. In French. Which I barely understand) always had a lovely bottle of red open for dinner, all leading to me developing a sincere love of French wines. I also can (sort of) decipher the labels, (it’s tricky, if you don’t speak French and it requires memorizing regions/appellations. A challenge all around, but totally worth the effort. It's also a great party trick.) which I know helps.

For this weeks Wine Blog Wednesday, I pulled out a bottle of 1999 Chateau Clerc Milon that was suitably dusty and and brought it over to Baby-Barc's house for a little snort. The idea (dreamt up by Clotilde) of this weeks challenge was to find a wine that pairs well with chocolate. And while I’m certain this wine would, I admit I just wasn’t in a baking mood. Or a chocolate mood (I had my fill earlier this week thanks) and since there wasn’t even a bit of the stuff in B-B's house to nibble on, I will have to talk about the wine without the benefit of a perfect accompaniment. We drank and talked while the ladies indulged in clove cigarettes (mmm. Clove-y. Not a common pairing for a good bottle of wine, but who am I to dictate) while we took notes on the wine and compared.

Overall, it is a heavy wine, but balanced. The color was a vibrant claret and the first notes (what we smelled when the bottle was uncorked) were fragrant and heady. We chatted a bit about what balanced wine really means, and decided that in this wine, it meant there was a full mouth feel, (a plus) strong dark-red fruit notes (mostly cherry) that softened a lot of the tougher, leather-tobacco-coffee flavors that Cabernets (this is a blend, but mostly cabernet) are known for. Those are the flavors that make it a good pairing for steak, chocolate or a good cigar. It seemed to us that the tannins (you know, the property that makes your mouth dry and puckery) were a little harsh, but that is most likely because of the age of the wine. It certainly was drinkable though. Very drinkable. We actually loved it.

For a $35 bottle, I think it is a sensational buy for a new collector, and if you can find an older bottle (say 1988) I suspect it would be a dream. This bottle comes from a Rothchild estate, (they bought the 180 year old vineyards in 1970) where they have been making wines for forever and a day, and have a wide range of choices (price wise) but always a tendency (in my opinion) to make build a wine for aging. I think this wine is just like that. It needed a few more years (10 perhaps) to really round out, but overall, it was worth opening. Had we only had some chocolate.


Read a professional review of this wine here

In 1935
the Institut National des Appellations d'Origine (INAO), was created to manage the administration of the process for wines.

The total area of France is 211,208 square miles, which makes it smaller than the state of Texas. Yet, there are
there are 467 appellations and 80,000 wine producers.

Ah ha! Here it is kids, the info you wanted! There really were Hedgehog flavoured crisps (potato chips) in the UK. It should be noted, they haven't made them in years

I bought this at Wally's Wines. A fantastic store all around.


Sunday, September 04, 2005


Orange Cauliflower

Why yes kids, that is in fact ORANGE Cauliflower. It's not just bad lighting. I guess someone out there thought cauliflower needed beta carotene. Fun with frankenfoods! Just a quick post on yet another food oddity found at my local Ralphs.

Saturday, September 03, 2005


Paper Chef - New Orleans Style

In times of sadness, comfort can come in the form of food and companionship, virtual or actual, and this meal, made for this month's Paper Chef was quite comforting, but not nearly enough. I really wish there were more I could do for the people who are suffering. My heart goes out to them.

I feel a little bit guilty and really conflicted about saying this, (considering the circumstances so many people are living in) but this dish was lick-your-plate-clean delicious. (If I do say so myself. )

The cakes were golden, dense and crunchy, with large juicy bites of spicy sausage. The tomato ketchup was fantastically smokey, and complex (but a breeze to make) and tasted perfect with the briney, succulent shrimp.

Overall, this was not only supremely tasty, but took less than 20 minutes to make (minus cooking the rice) and I will be making this again (and again), so thanks to Owen at Paper Chef, and his choice of themes, for inspring a new meal, and for thinking of something compassionate we could all take part in.

2 links andouille sausage, rough chopped and cooked
1 large onion
1 stalk celery
1 small bunch parsley, minced
1 large egg
4 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup cooked wild and brown rice mix
1/4 cup beer
4 large tomatoes
2 chipotle (dried, smoked) chiles, chopped fine
1 tablespoon olive oil
pinch each: ground ginger, white pepper, cloves, allspice, paprika and cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, mashed
pinch of salt
1/2 pound (30-40 count) shrimp, shelled and de-veined

In a large bowl, combine the rice, sausage, onion, celery, parlsey, egg, flour, cornstarch and beer. Mix to combine. Form into patties and saute in a large pan until browned on both sides (about 4 minutes per side) Remove from heat when done.

Add the oil to a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic, chiles and spices. Heat gently for about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice. Let simmer for about 3 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until curled and just pink (about 2 minutes) remove from heat and serve on top of the rice cakes.

Makes four large or 8 small cakes. Serves 4 - 8


Red Cross

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Friday, September 02, 2005


Thoughts Regarding Life (Not Food)

The aftermath of the hurricane has me quiet and pensive. It seem too flippant to be giddy about food and lifes little pleasures when so many are going (needlessly!) without.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


Butterleaf Salad with Peaches, Grapefruit and Fennel

I haven't got a summer house to shut down for the season, I don't have a boat that needs to be dry docked or a child preparing to go back to school, but the end of summer is almost here, and just thinking about it makes me a touch melancholy (which really makes no sense, since its not like the weather is about to drastically change or anything.)

It's the words "the end" that really get me, knowing that my favorite fruits and vegetables will soon be scarce, the bounty of my garden will be fully reaped and that in a blink of the eye, I will be decking the halls and not lounging pool side.

That said, there is still a little miracle of summer left yet, and just because it is Labor Day (here in the States) doesn't mean I am at a total loss for grandiose things to make and indulge in.

As a matter of fact, just yesterday afternoon, I made a salad for my lunch that may have to go into my own personal hall of fame for yummiest things ever. Using my almost ubiquitous ingredient, mint, I added all the goodness of the season into one bowls worth of fan-flippin-tab-U-los! With the addition of some grilled shrimp or some thick slices of luscious avocado, this could be quite a substantial meal, but as it is, it is light and refreshing. Try it, and enjoy!

2 heads butter or bib lettuce, leaves separated
2 large peaches
1 large pink grapefruit
1 small bulb fennel, sliced thin, fronds reserved as garnish
1 small onion sliced thin
a few small green picholine olives
parmesan cheese
olive oil
salt and pepper

For the dressing, combine a few tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper with the grapefruit juice (from the segments) and parmesan. Wisk to combine, taste and adjust seasonings.

To segment a grapefruit (or any citrus) carefully slice the top and bottom off so it can stand on the countertop and not roll. Using a very sharp knife, remove the peel and the pith (the white interior layer) following the shape of the fruit. When the peel is removed, remove each segement by slicing flush with the fruit on each side of the membrane. Reserve the segments and squeeze the juice from the remaining membrane (sorry about that word, it was all I could think of right now) into a bowl.

The idea of this salad is that it is as if the ingredients are bursting out of the head of lettuce, so to compose it, start by re-building the head of lettuce in a shallow bowl, then tuck the rest of the ingredients (including whole leaves of mint) in, dress and dig in.

Makes four small salads


"Confectioner and beverage maker Cadbury Schweppes PLC said Thursday it plans to sell its European beverages business as it focuses on more profitable lines, including operations in the United States. The company, the producer of Dr Pepper, Mott's Apple Juice, Dairy Milk chocolate and Trident gum, didn't say how much it would seek for the unit, but analysts said it could likely fetch more than 1 billion pounds ($1.8 billion)." AP

Beans are considered "filler" by the Chili Appreciation Society International and therefore disqualify any chile that contains them from contests judged by the group.

The Carmel TomatoFest, will be held Sept. 11 at Quail Lodge Resort in Carmel Valley, California

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World Blog Day Event (Better Late Than Never)

Oh dear, I feel extra lame to be tardy with this post, (to link to 5 new blogs) there are just so very many blogs I love, (look to your left, those are there because I read them all every day) that finding five that aren’t exceptionally well known was quite a challenge. Like a lot of other people who took part in this event, I am including some that you most likely know and a few I hope you will find and start to read. I certainly could have made this list much longer, but here is my spotlight group. These are not all foodie blogs, but they are all well written and worth frequent visits.

Chef Kristy – OK, so I may be the spaciest girl ever, because until this event I didn’t even realize I have actually MET Kristy and taught her and her fab friends a class! I mean, I am crazed in love with her blog, but I had no clue until today that I actually knew the girl! And what a total doll she is! Check out her fun blog, with wonderful ideas and a real sense of style.

Pink Sun Drops – Mrs. Drops is just about the dearest (young) woman writing on the web. She lives in one of my favorite spots on earth, Santa Cruz, CA with her husband and two little guys and she has a way of capturing life and its sweet moments like very few other writers.

Query Letters That I Love – I have read a lot of query letters (Usually unsolicted letters intent on introducing unrepresented screenplays) in my day and they usually have me laughing my head off. This site brings that all to you with a snarky attitude. Check it out.

KokBlog – Johanna at kokblog hasn’t got a digital camera, and I for one am glad. She actually draws (amazingly adorable) pictures of her food instead and it is awesome.

Becks and Posh
– Have you heard of this little-teeny-tiny blog? Probably not, but its worth a look. A sassy, soggy-French-fry-lovin' British woman named Sam takes us on a culinary tour of her world, and it is a delicious trip. I sure do hope more people will find this site, I feel like I have kept it to myself for far too long. Enjoy!

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