Thursday, January 24, 2008


Wild Rice with Pecans & Dried Blueberries

Oh peaches, my heart broke into a zillion itsy bitsy bits of bits of shards of bits yesterday, as my darling camera took it's swan song picture, whimpered, whirled and - alas - ceased to work.

It's death, well, it was a truly sad moment. Let's all take a micro-second of head-bowing silence in its memory, shall we? Just a micro-second though. The true trials of the world deserve our real head bowing.

Much like my fancy-pants cell phone that was unceremoniously murdered last week by a fast approaching hardwood floor - the cameras passing was a bit of a bother. And just like in the instance of the phone, I learned that in this disposable age, digital camera repair doesn’t actually exist. Can you believe? And to add insult to injury, the darned thing is barely recyclable. Oy. (And for my readers who speak the Queen's English, that isn't a salutatory "oy," that's a lamenting "oy.")

But enough of my whinging (and for my Non-British readers, that’s a synonym for whining – I’m just here to help.) on with the show…which may be on temporary halt until I figure out this situation, do some research and figure out the best route to take. Wish me luck.

This concoction was thrown together last week, in an effort to cast a bit of summery fun into the rain-soaked Los Angeles I inhabit of late. And it’s mission was indeed accomplished.

Try it my peaches, and taste the joy.

½ cup olive oil
¼ cup blueberry or raspberry vinegar
2 T. port wine jelly (omit if you don’t have)
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 cup cooked wild rice
3 cups cooked brown rice
2 tablespoons flax seed
¼ cup green onion
¼ cup dried blueberries and/or cranberries
1 cup pecan halves as garnish

Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, jelly, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.

Toss ¾ of the dressing with the wild rice, brown rice, onion and dried berries. Let the dressing absorb for 15 minutes or until ready to serve. When ready to serve, re-toss with the remaining dressing, garnish with pecans and serve.

Makes 6-8 servings.


The good folks at Lipton Tea want you to get outdoors~

North American Blueberry growers ship more than 100 metric tons of fresh blueberries each year to Iceland, and more than 500 metric tons to Japan. -

People who eat two or more servings of red meat a day are much more likely to develop conditions leading to heart disease and diabetes, University of Minnesota researchers have found. The study in a study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute also found that diet soda consumption was linked to these elevated risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, echoing the findings of a study published in July. - Daily Mail.Co.UK

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Pear and Almond Tart

I have a cold.

Um. Yea. That's all I got.

And I don't want to share.

But I will share this recipe.

Try it, and taste the joy.

1 batch of your favorite pate sucre recipe, enough for a 10 inch fluted tart pan
1 cup blanched almonds
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons frangelico or limoncello
1/2 cup whole almonds, rough chop
5 pears, peeled, quartered and cored
zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon flour
2 eggs
pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 350.

Roll out the pate sucre and line a 10 inch fluted (removable bottom) tart pan with it. Line the inside with foil, add some beans or pie weights, then bake for 10 minutes. Remove when slightly golden. Let cool.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the slivered almonds, sugar and alcohol. Process until it is crumbly - almost a paste.

Add the lemon rind and flour and pulse to combine.
Add the eggs one at a time to combine.

Spread this into the cooled tart pan. Top with the pears, in a fan-like shape. Top that with the rough chopped almonds.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove and let cool.

Serves eight to ten.


Delegate Page Elmore, of Maryland wants to add the 10-layer Smith Island cake from the Eastern Shore to the list of state symbols, as the state's official dessert.

Happy Birthday MOAOM

In 1893 a unique popcorn, peanuts and molasses confection that was the forerunner to Cracker Jack caramel coated popcorn and peanuts was introduced by F.W. Rueckheim and Brother, at the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago's first World's Fair.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Carrot-Ginger Slaw

Here in Los Angeles, we are experiencing the "dead of winter."

Ironically, that translates to picture perfect weather all around.

Which is why, the Ombudsman and I went over to the beach yesterday for Bloody Mary's and a bit of splashing around.

There wasn't a tourist for miles...the air was clean (as clean as it can be I suspect), and the gulls are out of town. The waves were big and the light was bright. It was just wonderful. Just, wonderful.

Ah, LA, how I love you so.

Winter at its finest.

And now for a recipe. A slight variation on my previously posted, Moroccan Carrot Salad, this may look similar and has a bit of spice too, but it's an all-together different experience.

Bright and sunshiny, crunchy and divine.

Try it my peaches, and taste the joy.

6 carrots, peeled
1 cup chopped parsley
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon ground Szechuan peppercorns
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated - use a Microplane for this!
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Sesame seeds and more parsley for garnish

Using the large holes on your box grater (or the shredder disc on a food processor), shred the peeled carrots.

Toss that with the parsley.

In another bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, Szechuan pepper, ginger (and the juice!), mayo and sesame oil. Taste and adjust to your taste. (And add salt.)

Stir that into the carrots, let rest for a few moments, garnish then enjoy!


The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has developed a coding system that explains where a meal was caught. That code often appears on fresh and frozen fish sold in the United States and Europe, but deciphering it requires specialized knowledge (FAO Zone 34 is Ghana, for example). - NY Times

Looking for flavored salts created in Los Angeles? Salt + Artistry = Saltistry

Baby carrots are full-grown carrots cut into 2-inch sections, pumped through water-filled pipes into whirling cement-mixer-size peelers and whittled down. Miniature carrots are the brainchild of Mike Yurosek of Newhall, Calif. Baby carrots come from one place: Bakersfield, Calif. The state produces almost three-quarters of U.S. carrots. - USA Today

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Spiced Lentils with Spinach


I've never been.

Have you?

I was supposed to go once, but at the time things just didn't work out. (And thank goodness for that. My father took my brother instead and they bonded and went hiking. For weeks. Shudder. Wow is that ever not my idea of a party.)

Actually, its seems like everyone has been but me. I mean, my father goes all the time it seems. World traveler type and all. The Ombudsman went for a few months after college. My sweet aunts even went last year, and took such pretty pictures too. And my darling cousin (I only have three cousins all told, by the way. We are a small family. Close knit and tres international.) he is there as I type. But not as a tourist...he went because he needed to talk to a man about a girl.

See, he asked that girl to marry him, and needed to check in with her father.

And guess what that means peaches? It means I'm going to India! For a wedding! Yea for me.

I am beyond psyched. Oh baby oh baby oh baby. I'm thinking I will wear an orange sari, with my hair down and sort of wavy, and loads of bangles and gold eyeshadow. Am I allowed to wear a sari? Gosh, I hope so. I've always wanted to!

Okay, so, outfit aside, I am extremely over the moon happy for TM and VN and cannot wait to touch down and start eating. Talk about my kinda food. Ooh-eee.

In the mean time, (the wedding isn't until late summer or early fall...they are consulting with an astrologer for an exact date...) I made this the other's warm and hearty and filling and divine.

Try it my peaches, and taste the joy.

1 1/2 cups dried brown lentils
5 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup fresh cilantro
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp ground coriander
6 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tbsp salt
6 cups fresh spinach leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup small shapes of dried pasta (I used orzo)
Plain yogurt for garnish (optional)

Put the lentils in a bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak for 30 minutes.

While they are soaking, put the garlic, cilantro leaves and stems in a food processor and process to a paste.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and cilantro paste and gently fry until it is browned all over. Stir in the ground coriander. Add the stock to the pan. Drain the soaked lentils and add them to the pan. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer for about 25 minutes, until the lentils are tender.

Season the broth and add the spinach and pasta. Bring back to the boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat and simmer for a further 10 minutes, or until the pasta is tender. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls to serve.

Garnish with optional yogurt

Makes 8 - 1o hearty servings


This isn't actually an Indian's a variation on a Lebanese Rishta (lentils with pasta).

Coriander is mentioned as an aphrodisiac in The Tales of the Arabian Nights.

"Every good wine is someone's passion, which makes each bottle a work of art." -

CONGRATULATIONS, and MANY thanks to Anna, Susan and Sharon my own personal Menu for Hope winners...ladies, please email me at freshrachael (at) gmail (dot) com and I will explain how to get your prizes!!!!!

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Potato Soup with Fire Roasted Vegetables

I suppose, that somewhere in my mind, people visit this site for the recipes, and not for my witty banter.

It's a supposition that calms me. Since I kinda-sorta dig my recipes (fancy that!) and am pretty sure my girly life is hardly fodder for an interesting read. (Debatable, sure, but still my contention.) A redundant read, yes, but compelling...not so much.

I am toying (as I write) with the idea of devising a template post and just changing the adjectives/superlatives/details with each passing post, to fill this space, without having to drive myself to distraction and you all to another site! (Heaven for fend!)

I imagine it would go something like this:

Hi (Peaches, Darlings, My Dears, Cats and Kittens)!

Today I (headed out, ventured, traipsed, found my self at, was abducted and taken) to (a party, bbq, a sailing excursion, random event, the farmers market, on vacation, and/or got lost in the dreaded Valley) with (The Ombudsman, The Rock Goddess, The Hostess, The Pastry Chef, Charlie, my abductor, a Steve McQueen impersonator...)

On the way there, I (got lost, got inspired, was trapped in a paparazzi-induced traffic jam, detoured through the dreaded Valley) and was (uncharacteristically late, perpetually early, caught in the rain, dazzled by the amazing weather, distracted by a fleeting glimpse of an Olsen twin).

When I arrived, I was (surrounded by striking writers, overdressed for the occasion, under-dressed for the weather, ladened with food, giddy with delight, balancing three platters, four platters, six platters and a pitcher of pre-mixed cocktails) but still managed to find my way in and (got tipsy too quickly, ate myself silly, bowled over by the winter theme - replete with snow - in this heat, un-impressed with the star turn out, blase about the star turn out, bemused by the star turn out, pleased in general, ready to get the party started)

We all (ate, drank, debauched, were demure, giggled, chatted, enjoyed, reveled, huddled for warmth under the heat lamps, melted into chaise lounges) and (lazed the day away, partied the night away, stood on deck - mesmerized by the sea, drowned in a pool of cliches). Overall it was a (rockin' good time, delightful soiree, mind-bending experience, beyond words, chic and fab, too wanton to print, utterly fantabulous.) and I (wish you were there, wish I could remember more details, wish I had enlisted a driver, wish I could figure out my on-board navigation system and hadn't ended up in the Valley, wish you all a day as fun, wish I had taken the weather in to account when I threw on that sheer sheath.)

And since (I made such a tasty dish, ate such a tasty dish, was given the recipe for such a tasty dish) I simply must share.

So try this my (peaches, loves, angels, dears) and taste the joy.

2 large baking/Idaho Potatoes
5 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 jalapeno peppers
2 green bell peppers
2 red bell peppers
1 cup corn (in LA, there is (oddly) still/already corn available at the Farmers Market, so I just went for it. )
1 large zucchini, diced
2 teaspoons smoked paprika

Heat a dry (cast iron) pan over medium high heat. Add the whole jalapeno peppers and let blacken on all sides. This may make your kitchen smoke, so make sure the fan is on, or a window is open. When charred, remove and place in a bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let steam that way for at least 5 minutes.

Toast the corn in the same dry skillet until slightly charred. Remove and set aside. Repeat with diced squash.

Roast the red and green bell peppers over an open flame, or under the broiler. When blackened, repeat the process you did for the jalapenos.

When the peppers are cool, pull off the tops then rinse off the char and seeds, then dice.

Peel and quarter the potatoes. Simmer in the vegetable stock with the tomato paste, until soft, about 15 minutes. When the are soft, turn off the heat and let cool slightly then puree with an immersion blender,or in a large blender (keeping in mind not to fill the blender up more than half way, or else it will explode. Kaboom. Soup on the ceiling.) Add salt to taste, and the smoked paprika. Stir in the corn, peppers and zuchinni.


Looking for somewhere to eat in the San Fernando Valley? And I do hope that my darling Valley readers, should there be any, know I'm just's a lovely place. I'm sure.

Starbucks ousted CEO Jim Donald yesterday and said that, effective immediately, Mr. Schultz, the chairman, will take on the additional role. Mr. Schultz, 54 years old, came to the Seattle coffee company in 1982 when it had four locations and nurtured it to become the empire it is today. Serving as CEO from 1987 to 2000, he presided over the company's 1992 public offering. Starbucks now has more than 15,000 locations around the globe, products on supermarket shelves and its own record label.

Smoked paprika, hails specifically from La Vera, Spain. It is available as sweet, bittersweet, and hot. - Big

Labels: , ,

Monday, January 07, 2008


Spicy Marinated Peppers & Tomatoes

Well my little peaches, how are you today?

All settled in to 2008?

That's good to hear, my dears!

I am geared up for all sorts of happy changes myself. And thinking positive isn't the only plate du jour. Oh, no, I've got recipes too. Scads of them. And I think I shall share them with you. Novel, I know.

So to really kick off this bright and shiny new year, I present a salad that I just cannot get enough of.

It's just fab, and a snap to get mixed on up. And after eating it for two days, I minced it up and added it to some tuna salad, to ward off palate boredom of course...mmm, mmm, mmm.

Do try it my loves, and taste the joy.

3 large red bell peppers
1 cup sun dried tomatoes, in oil
1 large ball, mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Olive oil

Over an open flame, roast the peppers until good and charred. Remove from the flame and put into a bag or a bowl with some plastic wrap over it to capture the steam. When they have steamed for awhile, carefully remove, rinse off the charred skin, and pull off the top and out the seeds.

Slice the peppers into long strips.

Rinse off the cheese, and slice the ball in half, then slice the halves into slices.

Stir everything else together, except the oil, in a container that it just fits in. Taste and add pepper and salt as needed. Now toss with a really good amount of oil. Enough so that it pools at the bottom of your container.

Let marinate 1 day. Then serve.

Serves four.


Are you reading celebrity gossip blog Breakfast at Tiffany's?

McDonald’s is selling more burgers than at any time since it arrived in Britain 34 years ago. Despite concerns about obesity, there were more than 88 million visits to the “Golden Arches” around the UK last month alone. The figure is up nearly 10 million on the previous year, or roughly 320,000 more each day — equivalent to the population of Cardiff. Sales in this financial year are growing at close to the fastest rate since the late 1980s. -

Most buffalo mozzarella available in the United States is made from a combination of water buffalo milk and cow's milk. -

Labels: , ,

Saturday, January 05, 2008


Celery Root with Capers

In life, there are some people you wouldn't mind being stuck in an elevator with.

And as with life, there are some people that you fear being stuck in an elevator with.

I have found myself "stuck in the elevator" over the years, with a profound range of people.

But in a wonderful, kismet-kinda moment, I was recently cloistered up with someone who, in a few small moments, changed my life, changed my perspective and offered me the opportunity to take hold of my dreams. A pretty lucky thing, indeed. All that, and she inspired this recipe.

And that, darlings, is how my 2007 ended. I hope yours was as good.

Viva 2008.

Now try this wintery delight my peaches, and rejoice in the prospects of your new year.

1 large celery root
3 teaspoons real mayonnaise
3 teaspoons whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon Dijon style mustard
1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup capers
Salt and pepper to taste

Carefully peel the celery root. Slice into thin matchsticks.

Drain and rinse the capers and rough chop.

Toss all the ingredients together, then let rest five minutes to let the flavors meld.

Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Serve at room temperature.

Makes enough for four as a side dish.


"Depending on your gut bacteria, that doughnut might have more calories for you — possibly as much as 30 % more — than for your neighbor.” and "the liver best detoxifies booze between 5 and 6 p.m" Facts from “Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream,” by Jennifer Ackerman

Invented in St. Joseph, Missouri and introduced in 1889; Aunt Jemima pancake flour was the first commercially sold, ready-mix food.

The 13th annual Great Fruitcake Toss is taking place in Manitou Springs, Colorado this weekend

Labels: , , ,

... Chefs Blogs

... Click for Beverly Hills, California Forecast

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

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

2003-2008 COPYRIGHT (C) Fresh Approach Cooking