Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Happy Halloween



An Excellent Epitath - Found in Virgina, Headstone marked 1748

Here lie the bones of Joseph Jones
Who ate while he was able.

But once overfed, he dropt down dead,
and fell beneath the table.

When from the tomb, to meet his doom,
he arises amidst sinners.

Since he must dwell
in heaven or hell,
take him whichever gives the best dinners

-Final Exits

Monday, October 30, 2006



I swear, suddenly I'm all "edu-ma-cational" and whatnot on this site!


So I'm just going to wow-pow you with a recipe to make (practically) slime free okra, and I'm not going to yammer on and on about what makes it slimy and oh how faboo it can really be.

Either you, (my dear sweet peaches,) are or are not going try this recipe. Urging from me, well, it will be minimal.

I'll just say one thing. TRY THIS, IT'S REALLY TASTY!


Air kisses,

1 pound okra
1 tablespoon garbanzo bean flour (or any flour really)
1/4 teaspoon vegetable oi.
3 tablespoons ginger, minced to paste
4 cloves garlic, minced to paste
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 red onion, sliced into thin half-moons
Salt to taste

Cut the top off of each pod of okra then slice lengthwise, then lengthwise again. You want strips. Toss with the flour.

In a large (non-stick if you have it) wok, add the oil (there should barely be any) and heat over a medium high flame. Add the okra and toss to coat.

Reduce the heat to low.

Add the rest of the ingredients.

Toss to coat.

Saute for 10 minutes, until browned and slightly crispy.

Remove from heat and serve.

Makes enough for four as a side dish


KFC Corp., the fast-food chicken restaurant chain with 5,500 outlets, said Monday it was switching to zero trans fat cooking oil.The Yum Brands Inc. unit said all restaurants will begin using low-linolenic soybean oil beginning April 2007. - AP

Bite-sized chocolate candies are the post popular type of candy to be included in Halloween activities (76 percent), followed by bite-sized non-chocolate candies (30 percent). - Candy USA

The roots of the marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) were the source for the original marshmallow candy, made by boiling the soft inner pulp from the roots with sugar until very thick.

Lady's Fingers is another name for okra. This name only dates back to the early 20th century, and originally applied to a small variety of okra.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, October 27, 2006


Baby Kiwis


Baby Kiwi's


So cute!

Fuzzless, grape sized, edible joy. (You eat the skin and all)

Available now at Trader Joes and other fine retailers.

Happy, happy, food.



Kiwifruit are called Yangtao in China, their country of origin. They were renamed Chinese gooseberry when they were introduced to New Zealand in 1906, and finally named kiwi fruit when imported into the U.S. market in the early 1960s.

Trader Joe's started out as a small chain of convenience stores called Pronto Markets in 1958. In ’67, the founder, the original Trader Joe, changed the name.


Sausage and Peppers

My darling friend The Queen of the Valley is a predator. And last week she decided to devour some serious prey.

Actually, I think that should be spelled pr-editor. An excellently inspiring compound of producer-editor. Terrifically crafty title, don’t you think? Gives me a chill. Happily, she is a warm woman and it’s just a job description meaning she produces and then edits her work.

That work, brilliant though it may be, takes up hours upon hours of her days and nights and weekends and whatnot. Cutting in to her home life, and most importantly her social life. The social life that on occasion - much to my delight - includes me.

This past week, she managed to put her work aside just long enough to fire up the grill and have a few of her nearest and dearest over to indulge. The spread was incredible, with something for everyone. We laughed the day away for sure.

I know in most of the country its much to chilly for any sort of grilling, but here in Southern California, the markets declare it is still summer, and they are offering a curious mix of figs and persimmons, berries and pumpkins. Temperatures are hovering in the “perfect” zone too, so we will continue to celebrate the warmth of the season.

For her spectacular grilling extravaganza, (replete with an authentic barbacoa de cordero) I offered up my humble version of sausage and peppers. Festive colors, bright flavors, a touch of spice and all it requires is a bit of slicing and you are on your way. Serve with some beer, or sparkling wine and enjoy!

12 Spicy Italian-style sausages, grilled
2 red bell peppers
2 green bell peppers
2 large white onions
2 bulbs fennel
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
salt and pepper to taste

Seed and slice the peppers into long strips. Slice the onion into large half moons and the bulb of the fennel into thin strips.

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil. Add the fennel first and cook over medium heat until just starting to wilt. Add the rest of the ingredients and saute until just crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and serve with the grilled sausage.

Makes enough for 6 people (2 sausages each)

You can also make this in a pan on the grill, or in a foil packet in the grill (away from direct heat)

Barbacoa de cordero - goat bbq

Gov. Jim Doyle said that he'll do everything in his power if he wins re-election to keep the state No. 1 in cheese production. Doyle said that he'd increase state incentives to help cheese plants upgrade and train their workers. He said that Wisconsin won't take a backseat to California as long as he's governor.

In the US - October 27th is Wild Foods Day, National Potato Day and American Beer Day. Cheers to that!

Labels: , ,

Monday, October 23, 2006


Turkey Mole - Gringa Style

True-life confession time.

I'm not exactly an autumn enthusiast.

Sure, sure, people (my sister, for one) wax on and on about the glory of the falling leaves, the bright crisp air, the rosy apples and the glowing pumpkins...and to all that I say...eh.

To me, fall is when it gets chilly. When it starts to rain (and for full disclosure, I am the worst of the worst stereotypical L.A. driver in the rain. I turn into a 90 year old, slow to a near halt and act as if I am going to wash away at any second. Sorry if you are the New Yorker behind me, but I just have to do my thing. Safety first!), when sandals don't work and when clothes are suddenly dark and much, much, much to demure for my sun-kissed shoulders taste.

What can I say...I am more of an endless summer girl.

But the one arena in which I do sorta dig fall is the change in foods. (And when it is freakishly hot, as it has been for the last week.) While I miss my fruits and berries, the corn and the tomatoes, bountiful herbs and melons galore (wait, thinking of all those things I think I'm talking myself out of my next statement...darn) I also love the heartier persimmons, large artichokes, sweet potatoes, parsnips and pumpkins that suddenly grace our tables.

And of course, the inevitable turkey.

I sorta wonder why turkey has to be such a seasonal food. But it really is. I mean, most people eat turkey sandwiches all year long, don't they? So why save the whole bird for just one meal a year (that is, if you are North American and celebrate Thanksgiving.) instead of indulging all the time?


Well, with this recipe, (which is really, most likely pathetic to anyone who has ever made a true mole, since, that is like, really, complex, ) you have an excellent and delicious excuse to eat turkey on another day.

In my defense, I did make mole once. It took three days and 36 ingredients. SO worth it, (because the real thing always is) but at the same time...SO not worth it, when you can order it in many fine restaurants...

But for those of us in a hurry, I came up with this and I think it is grand. Complex and delicious. Really a head turner. It is the most sensational brick color and the smell is like you walked into someones (your?) Abuela's kichen. Heady. Spicy. Rich. Perfect.

So if you don't have time to individually fry each ingredient, and to mash and grind and simmer and stew, try this. It's better than what comes in a jar and you may just be inspired to bust out the real thing someday.


10 assorted, whole, dried chiles (I used New Mexico, Pasilla and Mulato)
3 cloves garlic
1 large onion, diced
4 corn tortillas
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup golden and black raisins, rough chop
1 cup dried apricots and apples, diced
2 chipotle chiles with adobo sauce
2 cups diced tomatoes, in juice
1/4 cup tomato paste
5 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried epazote
1 teaspoon dried cumin
1 tablespoon ground corriander
1 bay leaf
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 large, bone in, turkey breast
Salt to taste

In a large, dry pan, over high heat, briefly heat the chiles to brown. Add the garlic and do the same. Remove and place in a bowl. Add just enough warm water to cover. After they have soaked for 10 miutes, remove from the water, (keep the water for later) destem and deseed and set aside.

Add the oil to the pan and saute the onion until transclucent. Carefully add the pumpkin seeds and tortillas. The pumpkin seeds will pop.

When they are browned add the raisins and other dried fruit.
Let cook, stiring, for a minute.

Add the rest of the ingredients (except the turkey and chocolate), including the water the chiles were soaking in and stir to combine.

Let simmer for 30 minutes.

In small batches (remember, blenders explode when full of hot liquids) puree the sauce until smooth.

Return to the pot and add the chocolate. Stir to melt.

Next, add the turkey breast. It should be submerged. If the sauce is too thick (it should be thick, not soupy) add more chicken stock.

Cover and simmer the turkey breast for 1 hour.

Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.

Pull out the turkey breast, slice and serve with additional sauce.

Good right out of the pot, but better the next day.

Serves 6 - 8


Heritage Turkeys are the ancestors of the common Broad-breasted White breed of turkey that comprises 99.99% of the supermarket turkeys sold today. Most breeds of heritage turkey were developed in the United States and Europe over hundreds of years, and were identified in the American Poultry Association's turkey Standard of Perfection of 1874.

Mole is the generic name for several sauces used in Mexican cuisine, as well as for dishes based on these sauces. In English, it often refers to a specific sauce which is known by the more specific name mole poblano. Mole poblano comes from the Mexican state of Puebla. It is prepared with dried chile peppers, nuts, spices, chocolate, salt and other ingredients.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, October 18, 2006



Spinach is back, baby!

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, or Kate Moss reviving her career...spinach is big and bold and green as ever. And (please, please) here to stay.

Three cheers for spinach.

Reviled by some, but loved by others, no matter how you feel about the power-green, you have to admit it's good to see it back.

After all the tragedy associated with it of late, I admit I was hesitant to buy it, but since I have never been the pre-bagged-buying type, it was no big deal to get some of the frozen variety (yes, frozen) and add it to some soup. (Since I am still a bit paranoid, I figure putting it into something that is simmered is a better idea than making a salad...)


The ultimate meal in a bowl. Hearty, filling and good-fer-ya, it’s an autumn staple and a snap to pull off when the days are gloomy and the nights getting long.

(Could this post be any more cliche ridden? Eek!)

So try this my warming potion my peaches, and enjoy.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, sliced medium
2 tomatoes, diced
1 zuchinni, diced
5 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 cup cooked cannellini beans
1 cup frozen spinach
¼ cup small pasta (I used shells and grattoni)
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
a few leaves of fresh basil or a teaspoon dried
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat the oil over a medium-low flame. Add the onion, garlic and carrot and saute until the onion is just translucent, about 6 minutes (this is called "sweating").

Add the carrots, celery, auchinni and tomato and continue to saute for a few minutes.

Add the stock, tomato paste and oregano. Bring to a gentle simmer. Taste and add more tomato paste if needed. Let simmer for 25 minutes.

Add the beans, spinach, pasta, basil and cheese. Stir to combine and let simmer for another 10 minutes or until the pasta is soft.

(If you are going to store the soup, cook the pasta separately and add when serving.)

Season to taste and serve.

Serves 6-8


Spinach originated in Persia, where it was known as "aspanakh".

Disney Cleans Plate of Junk Food: Walt Disney Co. said Monday that it would start lending its characters' names mainly to healthful foods. Disney said it would essentially follow federal guidelines for children's diets. In its parks, it will replace French fries and soda in kids' meals with vegetables and juice. In its licensing deals, by 2009 Disney will limit portion sizes and in most cases refuse to tie its brand to foods that get more than 30% of their calories from fat, more than 10% from saturated fat or more than 10% from added sugar. Exceptions will be reduced to 15% of Disney-related foods by 2010- LA Times.com

Minestra is Italian for "soup," Minestrina ("little soup") is a thin broth, while minestrone ("big soup") refers to a thick vegetable soup that generally contains pasta and sometimes peas or beans. - Epicurious

Labels: ,

Monday, October 16, 2006


Caviar and Scrambled Eggs

Charlie is back in town. Creating havoc and confusion in his wake. In the best possible way of course.

It was a slightly chilly night when I got the text message his plane had landed and he needed a ride to the hotel. Of course, I had no warning he was hitting town. I scrambled to get glam and headed out the door. I’m a sucker for this man and his mayhem. He makes VIP seem pedestrian and makes me laugh so hard I can skip going to my abs class for a week.

For no apparent (to me) reason, he had reservations for a suite at a somewhat dodgy hotel out by the airport. He said it was "gonna be a riot." I said I didn’t doubt it, but murmered please check into the Peninsula or I was going to have to reconsider hanging out.

With a twinkle in his eye and a grin like a Cheshire cat, he stepped out to call a friend. 30 minutes later we were in a town car headed to Beverly Hills. My car was to stay out in dodgy-town..in case. In case of what I didn't want to know. (And for the record, my car is perfectly acceptable to any valet in town. It is shame free…now that it's been detailed…) I suspected this was part of a master plan. For what, I was yet to learn...

Now that’s what I call the start of a good time!

It was 2:30 in the afternoon afterall.

We hit the town running. Cocktails all around. We went back to the uber swank hotel. I took advantage of the palatial suite and drew myself a bubbly bath (that’s a bath with bubbles and a glass of champagne) while he went off to do whatever it is he does when I'm not looking.

Almost immediatly some of his more raucous cohorts appeared. They lured us out. We went to dinner at some sort of Hollywood nightmare so-VIP-it-doesn’t-exist private supper club (no photos allowed). The sparsly furnished room smelled like leather and woodsmoke. They served lamb so tender and flavorful I forgot to look up from my plate until it was gone.

We ended up a club that served smoked bar nuts in fishbowls. I'm officially over clubs. On to a party where the only food was a bag of oddly orange cheese puffs sitting forlornly in a bowl. We drank cranberry juice from a glass slipper (more on that some other time) and danced on a plexiglass covered infinity pool overlooking a twinkling canyon. We didn't fall in. Lucky thing, since that is the last thing I clearly remember. (And I clearly remember being perfectly okay right up until that point.)

In the morning, (or was it mid-afternoon) I awoke to a decidedly singed smell and it wasn't the room-service toast growing cold outside of my door. It was coming from him, crashed out on the divan in my room instead of his own. Nothing seemed amiss until I noticed the eyelashes on his right eye were decidedly gone and the perfectly cut blazer he had been wearing (but was now using as a blanket,) was missing a sleeve. He refuses to tell me what happened. For my own good he says.

I rolled my eyes.

I wondered about my car.

He drowsily made a call. This was all part of the plan.

Two hours later a lanky British C-list celebrity sporting an eye patch (I couldn’t make this up if I tried) and reeking of Axe, appeared at the door, tipped his hat and handed me the keys. He told me it needed to be detailed again and to tell Charlie "Thanks."

Head swimming, I stumbled back to bed.

This may not be love, (for the record, Charlie is just an old friend) but when we got to my house 48 hours later, he did make me eggs with caviar. Creamy, dreamy salty perfection.

He's cute AND he can cook...

I haven't got a clue when or where he got the ingredients (certainly not from my fridge) and when it comes to Charlie, it's better just to go with the flow. I just tucked in and sighed with contentment.

So my peaches, if you want to have a Charlie-style morning, all you have to do is make these and indulge. That's all there is to it.

1 pat unsalted butter
6 eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon creme fraiche (more for garnish)
2 heaping tablespoons caviar
minced dill or chives for garnish

In a large double boiler, melt the butter.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, creme fraiche and pepper (to taste).

Add to the butter and stir until creamy and cooked

Remove from the pan and divide between two plates.

Top with caviar and additional creme fraiche if wanted.

Serves two


Caviar refers to the salted eggs (roe) of the fish species, sturgeon. Caviar comes from the Persian word Khaviar which means "bearing eggs". About.com

The legendary Peninsula Afternoon Tea is served daily to the accompaniment of a classical harpist in the beautiful Living Room. dining space.

For their 10th Anniversary WINE SPECTATOR is offering a month of FREE ACCESS TO THEIR ONLINE ARCHIVES.

Crème fraîche is made by inoculating unpaseurized heavy cream with cultures, letting the bacteria grow until the cream is both soured and thick and then pasteurizing it to stop the process. Thus, it cannot be made at home with pasteurized cream—the lack of bacteria in the cream will cause it to spoil instead of sour. - Wikipedia

Labels: ,

Friday, October 13, 2006


Rock Goddess Peach Pie

I call her The Rock Goddess for a reason you know...

Because she rocks!

Which brings me to the peach pie you see here. She made it. Because - get this - she goes to the Hollywood farmers market every weekend, skips on home, and bakes a pie. That's right kids, every weekend.

Could she be any cooler?

Not by my standards!

She may look the part of a rock star, and work it like she owns it (and baby, does she ever) but along with that arty exterior is a food lovin'-pie-makin'-good-time-a-havin-mama. Sweet as pie indeed.

And this week, she made a peach pie. It may be October, but at more than one stand, the fragrant, golden fruits were still lingering, somewhat hard, but perfect for a dreamy pie. She scooped them up and headed home. (Next week she says she is baking up a sweet potato version...I am so there.)

Heaven knows, I love me a peach. I even call everyone "peach," don't I? Yes, I do. And why? Because to me, there just isn't anything better. Except maybe this pie. Simple to make, no high brow old school crust making skills required. Just some peaches and a little bit of time...

So try it, and rock out...

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted
6 medium peaches, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon honey
pinch of ground cloves
Sugar as needed
1 cup oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon flour
pinch of salt
1/4 cup crushed macadamia nuts (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350F

In a medium bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, salt and butter. Press this mixture evently into the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate (plate/pan/tin, whatever you call it).

Chill the crust in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

In the same (now empty) bowl, add the peach slices, cloves, cornstarch, honey and sugar if the peaches are tart (RG used under-ripe peaches, so while they weren't juicy, she didnt need much cornstarch. If yours are juicy, add a teaspoon more. Ya?) Let rest while you make the topping.

In another bowl, combine the oats, flour, butter, sugar, salt and nuts if using. Stir to coat/combine.

Pile the peaches onto the crust and top with the, uh, topping.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until the top starts to brown and the peaches are slightly softened.

Makes one pie.


Ferdinand Schumacher founded German Mills American Oatmeal Company in 1856, after selling oats in his Akron, Ohio, store for two years. In August 2001 -- after one hundred years as a publicly traded company -- Quaker merged with PepsiCo, Inc., and became a unit of PepsiCo.

Sean 'Diddy' Combs has agreed to join Burger King Corp.'s promotional efforts for the world's No. 2 hamburger chain. Burger King, which went public this summer, also is an official sponsor of the rapper-producer's tour.

There are over 700 varieties of peaches


Thursday, October 12, 2006


Drink of the Week: Metaxa and Sparkling Wine

Seriously. Until a few happy hours ago, I had no idea what Metaxa was.

But there I was at a late night barbeque. I pointed to an outrageously tall and brightly labled bottle behind my hostesses well stocked bar and inquired about its contents.

Instantly I was served a glass, swilled and swooned.

I had a second glass.

I encouraged my fellow revelers to imbibe.

I was a dilettante on a mission to convert the masses.

I wanted to start a trend.

I wanted everyone to know the glory of Metaxa.

I was a bit tipsy at that point.


The next day, upon further research (ooh, I do love research!) I learned Metaxa is a classic and somewhat coveted Greek beverage. A flavored brandy, sort of like gin, but you know, starting with wine instead of clear alcohol.

The flavor is strong but sweetish, with juniper, rose and herb notes. It is mellow but bold and broad. It is delicate but the taste is huge. It's a whole lotta flavors all at once. Complexity in a glass.

That must be why it was served to me mixed with sparkling wine. Alone it could possibly overwhelm a girl. Then again, I think it did anyway.

Mixed it was a coy shade of amber. Mysterious. Pretty and bubbly.


Perfect with Greek meze or (in my case) barbequed chicken. The sweetness of the bbq sauce was a perfect compliment to the herbaceousness of the alcohol.

Find some, try it and enjoy! You will be a convert too.

1 oz. Metaxa
3 oz. sparkling wine

Pour the Metaxa into a glass, top with the chilled wine and serve.


Metaxa is a Greek spirit that was invented by a silk trader named Spyros Metaxas in 1888 in the Attica region, in the province of Athens.

The first advertisement for jelly beans was published in the Chicago Daily News on July 5, 1905

Residents of Hong Kong eat out at sit down restaurants the most at 8.7 meals per month. Russians eat at restaurants an average of 0.3 meals per month.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Proscuitto and Roasted Pepper Stuffed Flank Steak

Don’t you just love making/being served rolled foods? Sushi rolls, lavash sandwiches, turkey pinwheels and the like? Whimsical and edible. A real touch-your-inner-child delight. It just plain makes me giddy.

Of course, because these are the things that occupy my silly little mind, I do on occasion wonder - presentation wise - if rolled food it isn’t just a little bit over the top. As if someone was trying to impress me with just a splash of color and/or a Martha Stewart/Donna Hay-like flair for making fancy with butchers twine or a bamboo mat, when it all could have been tossed together, slapped on a plate and tasted just the same. I mean, is it really worth their effort? Are we really that impressed?

Hee. I sure am.

Really. Every time. I just love it. My friend are too. (Or so they claimed when I served this!) So my rally call today is, roll up your food my dears! Roll away! So what if it smacks of circa 1986 banquet dinners. The one you really didn’t want to go to in the first place and then out of boredom you had a cocktail or six too many and…oh wait, maybe that was just me…

Oops. I digress.

Joyfully, the rolling and the presentation - in all it’s sassy and fab glory - has a purpose beyond looking swank too you know.(Really, it does!)

It’s a sure fire way to add flavor that haphazardly throwing things into the pan wouldn’t accomplish. (Except in the case of sushi/sandwiches. Natch.) The rolling adds dimension. It tenderizes the meat and adds a umami charged depth. It takes simple steak (in this case) to another faboo level.

So upon seeing it, should your guests coo, ooh or aaah, well, that’s (in the words of the great poet Bobby Brown) their prerogative, but it is in the tasting that they (or you) will really understand how outstanding rolling your food can be.

Try this my peaches, and enjoy!

Special equipment: Butchers twine or Food Loops

1 lb flank steak, pounded thin (to a rectangle-esque shape)
salt and pepper
6 large leaves basil (optional)
2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs (I used rosemary and oregano)
1 roasted red bell pepper, cut into strips
4-6 slices salty deli/cured meat (I used proscuitto and mortadella)
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup beef stock
4 cloves garlic, sliced
8-10 medium mushrooms, cleaned
1 large onion, diced
1 pat butter
Parsley for garnish (optional)

Preheat your oven to 300F

After you pound our flank steak into a large thin rectangle, arrange it on the counter with the long side in front of you.

Salt and pepper the meat.

Evenly layer the next five ingredients over the meat, leaving a 1 inch border on all sides. Try not to pile the stuffing ingredients too high. They are for flavor, not to stars of the show.

Roll the meat and secure with butchers twine (for how to do this, click here)

In a large, oven proof and stove top ready dish, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the meat and sear on both sides until browned, about 4 minutes per side.

Add the wine, beef stock, mushrooms and onions and cover the pan with a lid or foil. Place into the oven and let cook for 45 minutes (this is for medium If you like your meat cooked well, leave it in another 15 minutes)

Remove the meat from the oven and then from the dish. Set aside to rest. Meanwhile, pour the remaining liquid through a strainer into a clean pan. Discard the mushrooms and onion that are left behind, or you can serve them, your choice.

Simmer the liquid over high heat for five minutes. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Skim as much fat off as you can.

Add a pat of butter and allow to reduce further, until thickened, at least five more minutes. If you want to make it more gravy-like add a slurry of 1 teaspoon flour and 1 teaspoon cold water that have been mixed together. Otherwise strain again and serve.

After the meat has rested for 10 minutes, remove the twine and slice.

Serves six to eight


Flank steak substitutes: skirt steak, hanger steak, top round or tri-tip roast

Salami is a term that describes sausage made from ground pork and spices, which is then encased and often cured. Salumi is also made of pork (usually) but denotes a product that has been preserved in salt (and spices) and not encased before aging. However there are examples of Salumi that does use a natural casing, therefore all Salami are Salumi, but not all Salumi are Salami. - Life in Italy.com

The 11th Annual
Boston Vegetarian Food Festival is being held October 21st

I was very flattered that this post was included on Slashfood, under the title Food Porn. It is also an entry for DMBLGIT, check it out at Spittoon Extra

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Sicilian Style Eggplant Caponata

Oh kittens, you so wish you had been there!

I certainly made enough food…there were leftovers for days.

Which was kinda the idea.


Moving in to my third house in this calendar year (Eek. Sigh. Can you imagine? For pity’s sake and all that business) was quite the experience. But the result is bliss. Total bliss. I am home.

But you are here for the food more than my silly rambling (or are you?) so I will share a glorious treat with you that was the very first thing I made in my bright n’ shiny-new kitchen.

Did I mention that I am blissful?

Home. Hearth. Sanctuary. Eggplant.

(Well, something like that, I think.)

Eggplant caponata. A Sicilian eggplant dish that is the ideally complimentary to bliss.

Like life, it is sweet, bitter, salty and sour, light and filling, perfect warm, and perfect cold. In other words, balanced. The way every day should be.

Considered an appetizer or side dish, it can also be eaten with rice, or over noodles, room temperature with crackers, or stewed with chicken. Then again the simplest slice of country bread is really all it needs. Utter bliss.

Try it and enjoy.

1 large eggplant, diced
¼ cup olive oil
1 large onion, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 large red (or yellow) bell peppers, roasted and sliced
12 Kalamata olives, pitted and diced large
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 cup tomato puree
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Minced parsley for garnish

In a large pot with a lid, heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the diced eggplant and toss to coat (absorb).

When slightly cooked, (six minutes) add the garlic and onion and toss to coat. Continue to cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring once or twice to brown.

Add the rest of the ingredients, (except the parsley) stir and cook, covered, for about 25 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. You are looking for sweet and sour balance.

Makes about 6 cups


President Thomas Jefferson is credited with introducing eggplants to North America.

Male eggplants tend to have fewer seeds, and are therefore less bitter than female eggplants. To sex an eggplant, look at the indentation at bottom. If it's deep and shaped like a dash, it's a female. If it's shallow and round, it's a male. - What's Cooking America.net

Sweden is now the highest per capita consumer of Mexican food in Europe. Explaining why in 2001, the Swedish Nordfalks spice company changed its name to Santa Maria, after its most successful brand.
Interestingly, Mexican food wasn't brought to Europe by Mexicans, it was introduced by American companies. Most European grocery stores sell Mexican food products made by companies such as Old El Paso, part of General Mills, the same company that brings you Cheerios and Hamburger Helper.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Nectarine Jam

No doubt about it, I am what is classically known as a dizzy dame. A spacer. Even flaky at times. Whatever phrase you want. It’s just a fact. Doesn’t bother me.

Wandering around the Hollywood Farmers Market last weekend, I was so overwhelmed with choices I ended up sort of standing in the middle of the street staring ditzily at the trippy kaleidoscopic wonders covering the tables. Sunshine and peppers in every hue, the scent of lavender and bountiful apples, it would stop anyone in their tracks. (Except apparently, all the people bustling around me...oops.)

After drinking it all in for a few moments, a man at one of the fruit selling booths across the way caught my eye. Probably because he was gesticulating wildly in my direction.

Momentarily brought out of the clouds, I floated over to see what he wanted. Hippy-dippy smile plastered across my face.

Apparently my aura had been shining in a bright and golden way (his words, not mine, but who am I to deny such a compliment) and I needed to take a large bag of his finest overripe and under-glamorous nectarines to cook with and maintain that special glow. (Seriously, that was what would you have done! He was adorable.) Free of charge. Now that’ll make a girl glow, eh?

While I’m not sure the nectarines were the key to retaining the special light of that morning, they certainly didn’t hurt either. Blemished and browned, they were redolent with that heady scent that drives me wild. It permeated the car as I drove home in the heat and filled my mind with wonder.

He had said to make jam. I did as I was told. Simple and unadorned. Sometimes that is just the way to go. And while I’m not sure if my aura is still golden, I know my thoughts are.

Try this with the last vestiges of stone fruits in your area and enjoy.

10 large nectarines
3 thick slices of lemon zest
¼ cup sugar (more or less as needed)
Tiny pinch of salt

Remove the pits from the nectarines. Cut off any really brown spots and roughly chop them into chunks. Add to a large stock pot with the zest, sugar and salt. Add enough water to come half way up the fruit. The pot should not be too full. If it is, take some of the fruit out. Boiling sugar overflowing will make a horrible mess.

Boil over medium heat until thick. This may take an hour. Stir a few times during the process.

When it is done, fish out the lemon zest. Now you can strain it or not. I wanted it more rustic, more au natural, so I didn’t and it was fine. More than fine.

Makes about 4 cups


A nectarine is a fuzzless variety of peach. California grows over 95% of the nectarines produced in the United States.

Jam is a type of fruit preserve made by boiling fruit with sugar to make an unfiltered jelly.

Jerome Monroe Smucker first pressed cider at a mill he opened in 1897. Later, he also prepared apple butter, which he sold from the back of a horse-drawn wagon. Today Smucker's – a family owned company - is the market leader of fruit spreads, ice cream toppings, health and natural foods beverages, and natural peanut butter in North America

Labels: ,

Monday, October 02, 2006


Champagne Trout

It isn't often in my tame little world that a whole fish appears and needs to be contended with.

I can remember exactly when the last time was in fact. Last year with my edgy Food Loop bondage experiements. (An item I am tickled to say I have used time and time, and time again.)

Anyway, the other day this fresh water friend found it's way into my kitchen and just begged to become dinner. (Well, intitially it was going to go into the smoker, then into some dip, but alas, I was half way home when I remembered my stove top smoker was way too high up on the shelf for me to bother with and I havent got a back yard version anymore. Or a back yard for that matter. Pout.)

Then again, all this just gave me an exciting excuse to bust out my shiny fish poacher. (A tragically space-hogging pan I never really should have purchased, but well, I did, so there you go.) It only gets used, I'd say on average, once every three years? But when it does...good things happen. Like this.

Due to an enormously egregious error in alcohol-consumption judgement the other night left me with (the horror!) a half full bottle of champagne, (I know, can you believe?) my only choice was to find it a recipe to meld in to...

I can't say it's the fastest dish ever, but it isn't too complicated either. Mostly, it's just a divine way to practice making your basic fish stock. Or as our French friends call it, fumet de poisson. Either or, right? As long as it results in dinner. And in this case, heavens, dinner tastes just like it was served on a silver platter. (Which it could be of course, depending on your personal serving platter selection...)

The flavor is light and just elegantly sublime. Anything made with Champagne is bound to be! The grapes can be left out if that doesnt appeal to you, but I love how they swell up and add their fresh juice to the broth. (But peaches! If you want to skip making the fumet, that's okay! Use a pre made stock. No worries!)

So try this, and enjoy.

1 lb fish bones* (ask your fish monger)
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon each chervil and tarragon (additional for garnish)
zest of one lemon
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 cup flat sparkling wine or dry white wine

1 large (2#) trout
Tarragon, chervil and parsley
1 cup flat Champagne or dry white wine
1 carrot, sliced thin
1 onion, sliced into thin half moons
1 cup green grapes, halved

In a stock pot, melt the butter over a low flame and add the carrot, celery, fish bones, onion, wine and enough additional water to cover the bones. Simmer, VERY GENTLY (just below boiling) for 20 minutes. Add the herbs and simmer another 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let cool completely and let everything settle to the bottom of the pot. Do not disturb. Using a ladle, strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.

Preheat your oven to 300F

Wash your fish in cold water, inside and out. Stuff the cavity with the herbs and 1/2 the lemon zest. Place in your poacher and ladle in the fish stock. Add the additional wine and season with salt and pepper.

Poach for 20 minutes in the oven.

Remove the fish and the vegetables from the poacher, place on a plate. Remove the herbs from the fish and discard. Tent the plate with foil while you make the sauce.

Strain the remaining liquid into a large, shallow pan. Simmer over high heat with two pats of butter until reduced and slightly thickened., about four minutes.

Pour the sauce over the fish, garnish with additional herbs and serve.

Make enough for two (with leftovers)

*The fish bones should not be from an oily fish such as mackrel, but from salmon or trout.


To cook food simmered in a liquid, just below the boiling point

In 1999, then Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman proclaimed October as National Popcorn Poppin’ Month

Grapes come in more than 50 varieties in black, blue, blue-black, golden, red, green, purple, and white colors with a juicy pulp inside

Huh. Two grape recipes in two weeks! LOL. I must be going grapey.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Cassava Chips

I'm not exactly up there with The Chippie, but I sure do enjoy a good deep fried and salted slice of starch now and again...

So today I bring you a product review of a sort of off-the-beaten path kinda item. Something you may pass by at the market on your way to something else. But if you do, oh my peaches, you are missing something good.

As a die-hard fan of a quality chip, I have noticed that I rarely venture far from my beloved potato variety, (because heck kids, if I'm going to indulge, I'd best be sure it's going to be worth my while!) but then again, I always like to try something new. Especially when I'm feeling feisty.

That said, I encourage you to try, as I did, these excellently different Cassava Chips! Made from Cassava, (also known as yucca root or manioc and about thirty-six other names) a starchy tuber widely grown and consumed in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. And now, hopefully, here! (Or, where ever you are!) They really are a tasty treat.


They are, um, hardier than a potato chip, and have a bit more, chew to them (must be all that fiber) and a scoatch less, crunch, but overall, taste-wise, they are maybe a touch nuttier. All that and the big good happy news is that they are about 1/3 less calories and a good source of (the aforementioned) fiber and vitamin C. Big good happy news, right?

So if you see them around, try some, and enjoy!


The average Russian household spends about $12 a year on potato chips

Florida is second only to Brazil in global orange juice production, and puts out more than 90 percent of all juice consumed in North America.

"A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness." - Elsa Schiaparelli

... 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