Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Celery Root Puree

Why hello there...aren't you darling for stopping by.

Wanna hear the latest?

For no discernable reason, I haven't been a big fan of my side-dish options of late. (Riveting stuff, don’t you agree?)

Rice, potatoes and pasta have all become a bit dull to me. Blase. (That should be blah-zahy, but I am just not clever enough to figure out accents on this program..sorry!)

Do you feel the same way? Is it just me? (I'm hoping this is some sort of epidemic you see. That way I'll feel less...weird about it. Dig?)

Turns out though, there are other options. And most of them seem to be eminating from the low-carb crowd. (Yes, I fear there is still a low-carb crowd.) Mashed cauliflower (which figured in to my lunch yesterday as a matter of fact, and unexpectedly delightful. Mmm indeed.) and this, the ever fantabulous pureed celery root.

Fun stuff indeed.

It's gobble-licious!

Mashed delight.

If you like your celery (and who doesn't like celery? Could such a meager veg inspire dislike? Doubtful.) this is the way to go.

Like your regular mashed taters, but just so much lighter and with that distinct herbal note celery gives. Ethereal, fragrant, spring-like. Of course all this just makes me wonder...would celery scented perfume be sexy? Hmmm...

Sorry, I digress...

What I meant to say is that sexy is a good meal, and this here is it. So try, and enjoy...(and yes, this is a bit of a basic recipe, but it's meant to inspire!)

1 large celery root
2 small yukon gold potatoes, peeled
2 teaspoons butter
a pinch of nutmeg
a pinch of celery seed
salt and white pepper to taste

Using a good, sharp knife, peel the celery root and dice. Do the same with the potatoes.

In a medium sized pot, add a half inch of water, a good measure of salt and the celery root and potato. Cover and steam until soft, about 12 minutes. (Stab a bit with a knife to see if it is soft. Simple.)

When soft, drain the remaining water, add the butter, celery seed and nutmeg to the pan, mash away. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Additions could include parmesan cheese, diced celery leaf, minced chives or anything your heart desires.

Serve warm or room temp.

Makes about four servings.


Pascal variety celery was first cultivated in 1874 in Michigan. It is pretty much the only variety sold in supermarkets in the US.

California produces more than 2/3rds of the celery grown in the U.S.

Per capita U.S. consumption of celery is about 9 to 10 pounds per person annually

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Monday, February 26, 2007


New World Cake - Tomato, Chocolate and Curry

The Rock Goddess had three words of advice last night..."Beware The Boulevard."

It was, after-all, Oscars night. A night akin to Superbowl Sunday here in LA-LA Land. The markets were packed with people buying chic-and-fab snack foods, the streets were emptied, and Hollywood Blvd (where the Kodak Theater - official home of the Oscars - is located) was shut to traffic. (Exception being limos full of nominees...of course.) Getting from point A to B on days like this, if A and B are on opposite sides of The Boulevard?

Your basic nightmare.

I had been directed to bring something sweet to a party taking place three blocks from the event, and of course, north of said street.

And (as I am again going to say) not being a baker, and only having three hours to pull something off, I was in a pinch.

I looked in my cupboard. I scratched my head. I thought about traffic. I thought about thematic foods (Sunshine Cakes? Queen-Mum Cakes? What? I don't know.) I thought about how I had no vanilla. I contemplated bringing something savory. I stared out into space.

I had a revelation.

Why not make a Mystery Cake? (The theme being, "It's a mystery who is going to win!" or maybe "It's a mystery why I sat there for four hours to find out!" Something like that anyway...)

Mystery cake. The ultimate, All-American cake. (Why? Two reasons, ingenuity and tomatoes) Chocolate, and Campbell's Soup. I had always been intrigued, I mean, it just seems SO bizarre. I decided to give it a whirl. I mean, botanically, a tomato is fruit, right? And fruits are good.

Of course, I added my own touches. A healthy dose of curry powder, and a lot more cocoa than the recipe I adapted it from called for.

Your basic measure-mix-pour-and-bake cake, it came together in six minutes. It baked for 40, I frosted it and was good to go. The warm smells filling my apartment made wish for a moment I wasnt bolting out the door, but alas...

My ride (as always) The (Ever-So-Gracious) Ombudsman picked me up promptly at 4, and we headed up to Whitley Heights and The Rock Godesses' casa, where the (amazing, and deliciously abundant) party was under-way.

Heading her warning, we went east, then north, avoided The Boulevard, and all was well.

Later at the party, after abusing our stomachs with an orgy of quality food, we cut in to the cake. It was moist, rich with spicy flavor and an interesting kick. Oh, and no --- we could not detect the tomato at all...beyond the color, which may have been due to the curry, who knows...

Altogether, it was a smash for the Oscars...well, let's just say...with all the Champagne that was flowing, we don't really know who won what, but we were glad it came in on time.

And now, the recipe please....

2 cups plain white flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
5 heaping tablespoons curry powder
5 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
6 oz butter
½ cup, brown sugar
½ cup, white sugar
2 eggs
1 10 ¾ ounce can (that is the standard size) tomato soup
½ cup golden raisins

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Butter and lightly dust with flour, a 9-inch square cake pan.

Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, spices and cocoa powder.

In another bowl, with a hand mixer beat the butter until soft. Add the sugars and cream for 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Add half the dry ingredients and stir together with a large spoon. Add the soup, combine, and then add the rest of the dry ingredients.

Stir in the golden raisins.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake on the center rack for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove and let cool for 15 minutes in the pan. Release onto a wire rack to cool completely, then frost with chocolate butter cream frosting.

To make butter cream frosting? Combine ½ cup butter, 2 cups powdered sugar and 6 oz. melted bittersweet chocolate. Beat until smooth. Add more of any of the three ingredients to get the right consistency.


In 1869, two men — a fruit merchant named Joseph Campbell and an icebox manufacturer named Abraham Anderson formed The Campbell Soup Company. Originally called the Joseph A. Campbell Preserve Company, the business produced canned tomatoes, vegetables, jellies, soups, condiments, and minced meats. In 1897, Dr. John T. Dorrance, a chemist with the company invented condensed soup. -Campbell'

Tomato juice is the official state beverage of Ohio

China is the largest producer of tomatoes in the world, producing over 16% of all tomatoes


Friday, February 23, 2007


Drink of the Week: Moet Cordial

Now here is a cocktail that isn't really fair to be writing about.

Since, so far as I can tell, they don’t make this tempting liquor any more. At least, not so far as I could deduce from my few minutes of online research.

I even thought maybe I'd not bother tell you all about it. But then, maybe some day you too will find a dusty little bottle of Moet & Chandon Petite Liqueur hidden in the back of some great-aunties cupboard (much as I did) too, and wonder what delightful nectar is encapsulated inside.
Fear not, I am here to share.

It’s a golden, almost syrupy, but still sparkling bev. Tastes like sweet wine really. With a hint of almond.

One glass, maybe two and it is gone. A swiftly fleeting dream. (And heaven knows these past few weeks, I have needed the indulgence!)

It is almost too good to believe. And once it is gone...I am sad to report, it really is gone.

I would love to get my hands on a few more bottles of the stuff, but so far have not been able to procure any.


Oh well.

If you know where to get some, I suggest you do. If you know where to get some and want to share, I suggest you email me.

Cheers, and happy Friday to you all!


Most champagne is created from a blend of two black grapes, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, and the white Chardonnay

The first recipe for soufflé appeared in 1742 in Vincent La Chapelle's Le Cuisinier Moderne

Soft drink giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have announced that they will be displaying the amount of caffeine per serving on the new labels as a part of the expanded nutrition labeling in the United States


Friday, February 09, 2007


Mango Chile Chicken with Mint

What the dead of winter really needs is a festive pick-me-up. Something that has zing and pizazz and vibrancy!

This chicken fits the bill for sure. Easy, breezy, slightly tropical, decidedly delicious, it comes together quick and fills you up.

Try it, and enjoy!

(I know, lame post, sorry. Life is getting the better of me this week. I really could use a nap. Or three. And a cocktail. Or four. Bascially, I need a drink and a good rest. Wait, did I already say that? Yea, I did. See? Okay...I'm off...)

4 chicken breasts
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 large mango, diced
1 each red and green bell pepper, large dice
2 medium red onions, large dice
1 Datil (or any small, hot) pepper, minced
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine the mango, peppers, onion, Datil pepper, orange and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium high flame. Saute the chicken breasts for 5 minutes on each side. Add the mango mixture and cover. Let simmer for 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and serve.


In the UK, mangoes outsell fresh pineapples on a weekly basis. They buy and average of £22 million worth of mangoes per year

Eek! Japanese seafood company Nichiro Corp. began recalling nearly 5 million cans of tuna following a consumer complaint that a piece of a box cutter blade was found in a can, officials said Friday

In the U.S. it is National Bagels and Lox Day

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Monday, February 05, 2007


Honey Hazelnut Cake

For some unexplained reason, I didn’t hear from any of my male friends this past Sunday. Not typical on days I have declared I am going to be baking. Normally, I get at least one call asking when I will have something to sample.

But yesterday...nothing. Now, don't get me wrong...I was enjoying the silence. I was focused on recovering from yet another night out at my new favorite bar. And while that took it's time to happen, I churned out this sweet confection.

20 minutes after I pulled it from the oven, I realized it was in fact Super Bowl Sunday that was leaving my phone so silent. Figures I would forget that. I had even been invited to a viewing party too, now that I thought of it.

Without a second to spare before kick-off I sliced it up and put it in a box to go.

The roads were almost as empty as on Christmas morning. It took less than 10 minutes to get to my destination.

I heard the crowd cheering from the end of the drive. I knocked meekly, and entered with trepidation. A wild pack of fans were fixated on a television so large a crane must have been required to get it in the house.

I put the cake down amongst the bowls of chili and nacho cheese chips. I figured it would stay there unharmed while I checked out the scene.

A few commercials later, I gave up on the whole experience, and went back to help myself to this easy to make dessert and of course, to take a photo.

I guess I waited too long.

What you see above is what I saw. One slice remained. I had no idea the frenzy had extended to the cake. I grabbed the lone remaining slice and bit down.

It was sweeter than any football game. Crunchier than any of the bones getting mangled on the pitch (wait, its not called a pitch. Playing field. That’s what I meant.) and most likely just as dense as a few of the players.

It was heaven.

Try this, and enjoy. Just bake two if you are going to a party…

1 1/4 cups chestnut honey
6 eggs, separated
1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
½ cup ground hazelnuts
½ cup whole milk
Walnut oil
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup crème fraiche
2 tsp honey

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Using the walnut oil, lightly oil a 9 inch cake pan, line with a circle of parchment and oil that too.

In a large bowl, combine the honey and the yolks and beat until light, about 3 minutes.
Add a third of the flour, salt and hazelnuts. Stir in the milk, then add the rest of the dry ingredients.

Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the mixture. Pour into the oiled pan.
Bake for 40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Meanwhile, with an electric mixer, whip together the cream, crème fraiche and honey. Set aside until ready to use.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. Turn out when cool to the touch. Peel off the parchment paper, slice and serve with honey crème fraiche whipped cream.


In ancient Egypt, honey was used to pay taxes while in early Greece and Rome honey symbolized fertility, love, and beauty. Today in Poland, Spring is greeted with glasses of honey wine.

It takes 50,000 bees to produce 500 pounds of honey in one year.

Professional competitive eater Joey Chestnut devoured a record 182 chicken wings this past Friday to win his second consecutive Wing Bowl in Philadelphia, PA.

Enter to win $1,000,000 in the Pillsbury Bake Off.
Since 1949, the Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest has recognized and rewarded creative home cooks across America. Submit your original recipe online. All entries must be received by April 22, 2007.


Thursday, February 01, 2007


Dukkah - Truly Good Food


It is 3 am as I type this. I seem to have insomnia. Ironic, since this morning they were talking about just that on the radio.


Do you listen to the radio? I do, quite a bit. (Yet, never in my car, since I do not seem to have a working radio any more. Long, tragic story.)

Not being much of a television watcher, I guess the radio sort of takes the same role in my world. Some of my friends seem to think this is a bit...geriatric of me, but what can I say...I dig it.

Since I was a girl, I have had programs I try not to miss (Check out This American Life or Watusi that's good radio!) and personalities/DJ's that I love and am endlessly loyal to.

And then there is Good Food. Broadcast on local favorite 89.9 KCRW (and streaming/podcasting at it of course, brings together everything I love. Quality radio programming, and food. Happy me. Excellent them.

If you have never heard the show, it is a food-centric dream. Host, Evan Kleiman has a great way of finding amazing topics and coaxing the most interesting information out of her guests (including lots of local food bloggers, I might add) that always gets me hooked. They talk about everything from recipes to the history of tea, where to buy an outdoor pizza oven, to what exactly lutefisk really is. And so, so much more. Foodie-radio heaven.

And every week, at the end of the broadcast they ask food bloggers to link to their site...something I sort of wonder about, but appreciate, since they are always taking the time to chat with bloggers and get their perspective on food, food trends, cookbooks and more. Gotta love that.

So here I am not only linking to them, but dedicating a whole-lotta-post-lovin' in their direction...

Good Food, this dukkah is for you...

Dukkah is a middle-eastern/Egyptian condiment. And waddaya know, a condiment is defined as something that "Enhances the flavor of food." This certainly does that, as Good Food enhances the flavor of my Saturday mornings. As good mixed with yogurt as a dip as it is as a coating for grilled chicken, once you try it you will be hooked. Keep it on hand as you would pepper or hot is, indeed...Good Food...

Try it, and enjoy!

1/4 cup hazelnuts
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 tabelspoons sesame seeds
5 peppercorns
Coarse salt (at least 1 teaspoon)

Preheat your oven to 300F.

On a lined baking sheet, toast the hazelnuts, coriander and cumin for 5 minutes, or until just fragrant. Remove from the oven, and take off the baking sheet immediatly (they will continue to brown if left on the hot sheet)

Meanwhile, in a dry pan, brown the sesame seeds. This will take about 1 minute. Mix with the pepper corns, salt and toasted nuts/seeds.

Ideally you want to then mash everything in a mortar, but a spice grinder works perfectly too.

You want the mixture to be loose and crumbly, not a paste, so stop before that happens.

Keep in a jar on the table for up to a week.


Do you take part in Paper Chef? If so, the 24th edition annoucement is up at Tomatilla.

Speaking of blog love...this week I am crazy for The Restaurant Widow, The Veg Box Diaries and am re-hooked on my old favorite Nosh

Looking for something food-centric to do in LA over the next few months? The Culinary Historians of Southern California sponsors free lectures in the areas of food in culture and society.

And speaking of the Library, did you know that the "Los Angeles Public Library has the largest collection in the world of cookbooks printed in California. It is the only library that owns all three of California’s first charitable books: How to Keep a Husband, or Culinary Tactics, The California Recipe Book and The Sacramento Ladies Kitchen Companion, all printed in 1872. There are more than 1000 books in this collection, including such important works as El Cocinero Espanol, the first Spanish language cookbook printed in California, and What Mrs. Fisher Knows about Old Southern Cooking, the first cookbook written by an African American."

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