Monday, February 20, 2006



Here kibbee, kibbee, kibbee.

You may all recall a few weeks ago (was it that long? Where HAS the time gone? Where in the heck have I been?) there was a Paper Chef competition that asked participants to use Quinoa, Citrus, well, I forget the rest of the ingredients, but what I do know is that I had actually done something with all of them a few days before the announcement.

I had made my version of kibbee.

For those of you who don’t frequent, um, Lebanese (?) restaurants with great frequency (and if you don’t, please start now…the food is just plain YUM!) this is their version of a meatball. Like any other classic dish the variations are endless, but the idea is always the same…deliciousness.

My turn on the recipe is updated from the basic concept and is really spectacular. While the authentic dish is more involved to make, these are just as tasty and full of flavor. They can be baked too, which is a nice option. What you end up with is a perfectly crunchy, moist and spicy meatball. If you pass them at a party with the sauce on the side, oh baby will you ever get raves! Try them, and enjoy.

1 lb ground lean lamb
1 cup quinoa cooked
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
Pinch of allspice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ cup minced fresh coriander or parsley
1 small onion, minced
1 small chile pepper, de-seeded and minced
1 cup plain yogurt
½ cup fresh mint, minced
Salt and white pepper

In a large bowl, combine the lamb, quinoa, cumin, coriander, allspice, zest, parsley, onion, chile pepper and salt. Mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 8.

Remove your meat mixture from the fridge and using your hands, form into football shaped meatballs.

In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, mint, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 200F. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.

In a large sauté pan, heat at least ½ inch of oil. Do not add too many at a time, as this will lower the temperature of the oil. Turn a few times, browning on all sides.

As they are done, put them on the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.

Serve with pita bread, the yogurt sauce, and whatever else tickles your fancy.

Serves 4-6


Based on a 3 ounce lean portion, lamb is comparable in price to the finer cuts of beef and pork - Superior

The national dish of Lebanon is kibbeh, an emulsified paste of the freshest lamb and bulghur wheat. -

McDonald's Corp. is facing at least three lawsuits related to its disclosure last week that its french fries contain wheat and dairy products.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Another Meme - Again

So I am pet sitting at the glamorous Chateau Rossmore and lemme tell you kids, it's better than eating a cheese sandwich. Tivo, big comfy bed, silence…it’s heaven indeed. Makes finding new digs hard though, since the motivation is low...

The only snafu so far was when the pup ate a bunch of chocolates. Alcohol filled chocolates. The chocolates pictured here in fact. I never even got a one. Sigh. Plus, it turns out, chocolate is really, really bad for our canine friends. Who knew. Needless to say, I was in a dither. Happily, after several calls to the vet, he is fine and I am free to share my answers to the Meme of the month, as given to me by that lovely lass, Miss Sarah of The Delicious Life. And just to be fair, the darling Crazy Gaijin from Nihon No Ryori tagged me for another meme (10 things you don’t know about me) which I seem to have neglected, so I will make this a two-fer. Enjoy!

Four Jobs I have had in my life:
Teaching Cooking
Product Development Test Kitchen
Stringing Pearl Necklaces
Being My Parents Daughter

Four Movies I watch over and over:
True Romance

Double Indemnity
The Big Lebowski

Four Television Shows I love to watch: (I have terrible taste in TV, sorry!)
How I Met Your Mother (if you ever wondered what my friend the Ombudsman looks like, the actor who plays Barney is his doppelganger)
Project Runway
New Scandinavian Cooking

Four Places I have been on vacation:
The Galapagos Islands



Four (almost all non-food) websites I visit daily:
New York Times Online

Four places I would rather be right now:
A massage table at the spa
The dermatologist’s office getting botox
Tom Ford’s house
Having lunch with friends on a patio someplace warm

Four of my favorite foods:

Wasabi Peas

Four places I have lived:
Albuquerque, NM

Selly Park, England
Andover, NH

San Francisco, CA

Now, as if that wasn’t riveting enough, here are 10 random non-food related facts about me:

I am the youngest of my father’s four children, the younger of my mothers two and the second youngest of all eight of us. (You figure it out, I’m confused)

I have been to 49 of the 50 US States

My eyes are hazel

When I’m reading a book, I typically do it in one sitting

There is a baby crying in the office next to mine

I know how to say goodbye in 14 languages

I have serious issues with Proust, but then, don’t we all?

My car is “Atlantic green”

I subscribe to four magazines and two newspapers

My favorite painting of all time is Primeval Resurgence by Lee Krasner


In Torino, Italy, fast food giant McDonalds is launching their new nutritional information packaging. Consumers will now be able to plainly see that a Quarter Pounder With Cheese, has 730 calories. - Brandweek

Tesco, the leading supermarket retailer in the United Kingdom, will be introducing a convenience style store on the West Coast of the US in 2007. Plans are not yet finalized


Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Radicchio & Egg Salad

Sure, sure, the whole “working” thing is fun and rewarding and all, but at the same time, I realized I haven’t set foot outside in two days now! Yikers. What's the point of living in such a glorious place if I never see the sun? Sigh. I really must remedy that soon. Maybe I'll take over where Miss Sarah left off and do reviews of all the local lunch spots. At least to get myself out of this room. Or not. We’ll see.

Anyway, last night, in a raging fit of hunger I prepared this salad, since it’s a true comfort food for me and I just plain needed to unwind. Taking all of 12 minutes to make, bursting with bitter-salty, rich and complex flavors it is a dream to make and a delight to eat. I serve it (to myself, never having felt it was quite company worthy) with some lightly toasted country bread, then mash everything up like mad and devour. Fan-flipping-tastic.

If you like strong flavors, this is really the way to go. Try it, and enjoy.

½ small head of radicchio
Small handful parsley, torn
2 eggs
2 anchovies
1 tablespoon strong French style mustard
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Bread crumbs (optional, I used large bits tossed in olive oil)

Bring a large pan of cold water to a boil. Using a pin, prick a hole in the large end of your egg. Gently lower the eggs into the water and simmer for 8 minutes. Remove from the heat, fish out the eggs. Set aside.

Slice your radicchio into thin shreds. Toss in the parsley leaves, minus the stems.

In a small bowl, mash the anchovies. Add the mustard and oil and stir to combine. Salt and pepper to taste.

Crack the eggs and peel. Slice into quarters.

Toss the radicchio with some of the dressing, pile on a plate, add the eggs and drizzle over some more dressing (amount to taste). Top with bread crumbs and pepper to taste.

Serves one or two.



Happy Birthday to my C*!

Last Thusday, Krispy Kreme said it had terminated the license of Great Circle Family Foods LLC, which operates 28 Krispy Kreme locations in Southern California. Krispy Kreme said it took the action because the company had not paid required royalties and fees. But Great Circle officials announced Friday that the companies has reached an agreement that ends the donut hole-y war.The company says in a statement that shipments of ingredients to permit continuous operations will resume immediately. - AP

Radicchio was first grown commercially in this country in 1981 in California. It looks like red cabbage, but it’s actually a chicory family member.

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Monday, February 06, 2006


Potato Fennel Gratin

Oh my dear ones, how does this beautiful day find you? Thankfully, my champagne induced hangover has worn off (praised BE) and I am back to my own chipper self, but let me tell you, I had a few hard lessons this weekend, and I am compelled to share.

First, if you want a quality champagne (as in, sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France) go to a fine liquor store, but remember to bring your wallet. Should you be like me, and show up at the store without one, and without a charge account at that store, you will be (as I was) decidedly out of luck, leading you to the worst case scenario solution…a frantic stop into the exceedingly well-lit joint known as BevMo. Oh DEAR from BevMo. (Insert head shaking) You see kids, BevMo is all kinds of good if you are seeking commonplace wines and beers galore (though I prefer Cost Plus for interesting beers and pretty much anyplace else on earth for wine) at a deep discount, making it the ideal one-stop-shop if you are walletless and actually DO have an expense account there (which, thanks to my clever last minute claim that my dear friend The Ombudsman – who does have an account there – and I are really one and the same. An interesting ploy since I am 1. not male 2. had no id to back that up, and 3. had no idea what my phone number, address or account number was.) you can pick up a bottle of bubbly, so long as your price point (for a chilled bottle) is (Gasp) under $50, since their normal patrons tend to shop lift more expensive bottles. The manager told me that. Twice. Excellent promotion of their quality store, don’t you agree? Nothing says happy times like being surrounded by low end liquor and possible thieves. Charming stuff I say.

Joyfully, the bottle I did procure was delightful, dry and drinkable (It was Veuve Clicquot I seem to recall. Well, in my fervor I remember grabbing a bottle with a yellow label) and the company I drank it with made it that much better. The hang over cannot be blamed on the drink I should point out, but may have been due to the lack of food (other than some outright delectible caviar. Mmm. Salty) or the late night addition of several dirty martinis, but hey, it was all in the name of fun, and my lesson was learned. Namely, don't forget your wallet and even if you do have it, always check and see if a friend (who won't freak out) has a charge account! Hee.

So if you are like me, and find yourself in a similar day-after situation, you are going to need something starchy and divine to settle your stomach after such debauchery. I strongly urge you to try this gratin. The fennel is the perfect solution to an upset tum and the protein in the eggs is good for readjusting your chi. The results are smooth, and creamy, mellow and earthy and altogether fantasticness. Trust me. It's a great cure. Its also good pretty much any other time too! So please do try this, and enjoy.

4 large baking potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
1 large bulb fennel, sliced thin
3 eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup pecorino cheese, grated
Tiny pinch of nutmeg
White pepper and salt
Butter, 1 teaspoon melted
2 slices day old bread
Dried herbs to taste

Preheat your oven to 375F.

Crumble the day old bread and toss with some melted butter (and the herbs) to coat. Season with some salt and pepper and set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cheese, nutmeg, pepper and salt.

In a well buttered, oven proof dish, (that holds about 3 cups) layer the potato and fennel, pouring on some of the egg mixture until the dish is full.

Top the torte with your bread crumbs, cover with foil and bake on a baking sheet (to catch drips) for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for 15 minutes.

Turn on the broiler and finish the torte by letting the top brown.

Remove from the oven, let cool, slice and serve.

Makes enough for 4-6 people


Gratin - A dish that is topped with cheese or breadcrumbs and grilled until golden and crispy.

In the UK , candy makers Cadbury and Masterfoods UK are to place the message ‘Be Treatwise’ on all of their confectionery products, in a response to calls for health labeling. The voluntary move is part of an attempt by confectionery companies to stave off anti-obesity laws as proposed by consumers and some legislators. Food manufacturers and retailers, along with the Institute of Grocery Distribution issued a voluntary code last November in an attempt to pre-empt moves by the Food Standards Agency to impose a rule on health labeling.– Food Navigator

On Feb. 6th A 100-pound woman ate 26 grilled cheese sandwiches in 10 minutes winning the World Grilled Cheese Eating Championship. Sonya Thomas won $8,000 US for the contest at the Planet Hollywood restaurant in Times Square in NYC on Wednesday but said she was disappointed in her performance. "I could have done better," she said, adding that she was aiming for 30 sandwiches.

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Thursday, February 02, 2006


Seared Tuna with Sesame and Orange Zest

Greetings from the land of milk and honey!

I know I have been a bit of a slacker with the whole posting thing lately, but my life has really been crazy hectic. I started my new gig last week, and am rapturously happy if not busy as sin. The people are nice (I know you were concerned) and the view out of my office window is of our friendly neighborhood Bloomingdales, so that is a great motivator to be the super star they think I am. Sure, being employed has cut into my fun time, but so far, I haven’t noticed too much. Its all so new!

Now let’s talk tuna, shall we? Mmm. Tuna. Me likey.

What I love so much about working with tuna is that if you have a truly great bit, anything you do to it is just icing on the cake. Am I right? Sparkling fresh tuna can be melt in your mouth delicious. This recipe sure is.

For this particularly tasty little entrée, all I did was coat with a simple mixture, sear, and voila, a perfect complement of crunchy warmth and smooth coolness. It is quite rich, so I suggest it as an appetizer, paired with a salad maybe. It is a recipe you can fiddle with easily and will come back to again and again. This particular version had me over the moon with the nutty, crunchy, zesty exterior working as a foil to the fish. Try it, and enjoy.

4 tuna steaks
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
4 tablespoons white sesame seeds
2 teaspoons black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon dried orange zest
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the bread crumbs, black and white sesame seeds, orange zest and vegetable oil together and toss to coat. Pour onto a shallow dish and one at a time, press both sides of each of the tuna steaks into the mixuture to coat.

In a scortching hot dry pan, add the tuna steaks and sear for about 1 minute per side. Remove, slice and serve with wasabi-orange zest mayo or some soy sauce for dipping.

Makes enough for four


Sesame seed is one of the first recorded seasonings. It grows widely in India and Asia. These tiny seeds come in shades of brown, red and black, but the most common color is a pale grayish-ivory. -

Fast Food chain Burger King's parent company said Wednesday it plans to sell shares to the public for the first time in the fast-food chain's 52-year history

American bread crumbs originated around 1947; around 1970, Panko bread crumbs originated in Japan. There are many differences between the two crumb styles, with the main ones being the texture and density. The American crumb coating is heavier and denser with the Japanese crumb being lighter and less dense. - Asian Food

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Kitchen Project: Citrus Zest Powder

I normally feel as if my recipes include a whole variety of different ingredients. I can get pretty excited about something new, but then again, in a lot of cases, I return with frequency to certain flavors that appeal to me/are ingrained in my brain. Fresh thyme, olives and of course, citrus. In this fourth Kitchen Project post, let's go through how to get the most out of your zest. Mmm. zesty. As with my other posts on this subject, this is something that will take some time, athough this particular project is the shortest so far.

Zest is the outer (colorful) part of citrus. After the zest you got your pith, the bitter white layer, and then the pulp and juice combined as flesh.

SO, what is the deal with the zest? It's where the essential oils are. Meaning the flavor but none of the sourness. (Unless you are eating those Persian Lemons. Have you had these? Freaked me OUT. It looks and smells like a lemon, but when you eat a slice, its...sweet. It was akin to eating lemon-scented cleanser. They bred out the sour! Oh those wacky Persians.) The idea behind using the zest is that you get all the flavor, none of the sourness, and no additional liquid in your dish.

When I have a lot of citrus, and am in a kitchen project kind of mood, I go right ahead and dry some out to make a powder out of it that will last pretty much into the next millennium. It's great to have on hand and sprinkle over any number of dishes to add another dimension of flavor. This is not something you should do with any savory foods in the oven, the commingling of flavors isn't recommended.

Remember kids, waste-not, want-not. And for citrus peels nothing could be more true. Whenever you are going to eat an orange, juice a lemon or rim that glass with lime (oh yea!) why not take the extra few seconds to save the zest. Here's how.

Scrub your citrus well. Bacteria is not our friend.

Using a super duper sharp knife or a peeler (I don't recommend your zester for this particular task) remove the outer layer from your citrus in the largest strips you can. Do your best to only get the zest and not the pith.

Preheat your oven to the absolute lowest setting. 170 - 210F is ideal.

Line a baking sheet with foil. Add all your zest in a single layer.

Bake until quite dried. It sort of depends on the thickness of your strips, but 2 hours is typically enough.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Using your spice grinder or an extra clean coffee grinder, dust those suckers!

And that's all there is to it!

Now what? Well, add it to salad dressing, mix it with some goat cheese and chives for a spread, combine it with sesame seeds and cayenne for an outrageous dry rub or sprinkle a touch over your baked fish. Try it in tomato-fennel sauce, stirred into your polenta or as a twist in tapenade. Its also the perfect addition to pound cakes and sugar cookies. Simple glamour indeed.


In-N-Out Burger said Tuesday that it fired a top executive who had claimed in a lawsuit that the Irvine hamburger chain was trying to dump him as part of plan to push aside founder Esther L. Snyder. Richard Boyd was removed from his position on the three-member In-N-Out board and relieved of his duties. The action was taken by the two other members of the board. The dismissal was the latest chapter of a bitter fight pitting Boyd, who retained his role as co-trustee of nearly two-thirds of the private company's stock, against Taylor and 23-year-old heir, Lynsi Martinez. She is the only grandchild of Snyder, who helped open the first drive-through In-N-Out stand in 1948 with husband Harry. - San Jose Mercury News


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