Monday, July 28, 2008


Drink of the Week: Vegetarian Bacon Martini

Okay, I give up. When did this whole "bacon" thing become a trend?

Are you kids really just clamoring for that much more bacon in your lives?

So much so that it has to invade the sacred realm of cocktails? (Well - as a purist, I consider it a sacred realm. Anyone out there adding things like chocolate and six varieties of fruit may beg to differ. In fact, to them, the realm as it were could be categorized as a bit of a free for all, or a brave new world, wouldn't you say?)

I guess so.

I mean, as the sweet boys (so dang sweet) at the local hot spot Animal can attest, bacon-chocolate combo desserts are pretty much the must-try treat these days. Almost everyone who saunters through the door at their minimalist space tops off their dinner with it.

Downright wacky stuff, eh?

So in the interest of trying my hand at the more-bacon wave, I started asking around, "What would you put in a bacon martini?" Because, facts being facts, I prefer a cocktail to dessert any day. Uh-huh. Drink it up!

The responses to my query started out quite basic (try bacon infused vodka) and then rapidly started veering in to places that would make a hog-farmer wince. And might make a distiller cry. Not to mention the elaborate schememing and garnishing being described would have involved a battery of kitchen equipment...never a good thing once the drinking has commenced...

So I pulled back and went simple. Followed my heart. Kept it chic.

What I ended up concocting not only works well with bacon dishes, but doesn't actually include any honest-to-goodness porcine delight. (Having tried a few bacon vodkas I deemed it not up to my standards. Or appealing to my palate. Heck, I just plain didn't care for it I tells ya!) The secret to its pork-like taste is thanks to my friendly shaker of Bacon Salt. When used as a garnish it just adds that certain something to the heady and smoky bevvie. And downing one of these will knock you on your you-know-what.

In other words…it’s perfect.

Now try it my peaches, and taste the joy.

Scotch Whisky (the smokier the better)
Bacon Salt
Cocktail Onions

Pour three parts vodka to one part whisky over a mixing glass full of ice. Cap and shake vigorously.

Pour no more than two ounces (its straight alcohol! You don’t want to fall over after one!) in to a glass that you have rimmed with bacon salt.

Garnish with onions and serve.

© 2008 Fresh Approach Cooking

© 2008 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking" This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, or at the aforementioned url, the site you are looking at is guilty of infringing upon terms of copyright. And generally cheesing me off.

For 1,200 years, an imperial edict banned the eating of meat because of a Japanese Buddhist belief that it was unclean. Fish was central to the Japanese diet, and meat was consumed furtively, only for medicinal purposes. In 1872, Emperor Meiji lifted the ban, “To catch up with and overtake the superior culture of the West.” NY Times

Want to see a photo of a bacon-chocolate martini. Here's one!

In the early 1800s salt was four times as expensive as beef on the American frontier - it was essential in keeping people and livestock alive. - Food


Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Two Toned Melon Gazpacho

Now mind you, I am not the only woman vying for The Ombudsman’s time. Sure, his quality time is spent with me, (or so I like to think. Being that kind of friend) but he also spends some hours with The Historical Babe, doing all sorts of bendy yoga maneuvers and dining on raw foods.

Seriously, it seems as if they're always getting massages and doing all sorts of calming activities. It's sexy stuff.

So when I ran in to them outside of the very chic and delightful Akasha restaurant in when-did-this-place-become-cool Culver City the other night, I wasn't the slightest bit surprised. Having just eaten there myself in the company of everybody's favorite Texan, Pace, I was able to vouch for it's excellence and tranquil vibe.

The ideal spot for the health and environment conscious who still want a super star meal.

What is so darn-tastic loveroo about it is that they are all about the whole grains and locally sourced biz-nizz. Makes a girl happy. Plus, the food is just dreamy fabulocity. All earthy and groovy without getting too darned granola. (Not that I don't love my granola-eatin' peeps mind you, but this restaurant is just not that vibe) In other words, it gets my kudos rating.

Having split a roasted artichoke, tomato tart (so delish!), short ribs and a summertime trio of desserts (yum. rhubarb. yum.) I did think I may have gone a bit on the heavy side for such a postcard perfect evening. So the next day, with my farmers market bounty calling, I made this fun soup duo to balance things out. Light for heavy. Vegetable for animal.

Easy as can be to zip together and a visual delight to present. It's light and refreshing and just what a girl needs on a lazy summer day. Especially after sampling Akasha's key lime and hibiscus cocktails...

So do try this my peaches and taste the joy.

4 each tomatoes, 2 red, 2 yellow
4 cups melon, 1/2 watermelon, 1/2 cantaloupe
2 each bell pepper, 1 red, 1 yellow
2 each jalapeno chile pepper, one red, one green
2 each cucumber, peeled and seeded
2 cloves garlic
3/4 cup olive oil
4 teaspoons sherry vinegar
2 cups white bread , crusts removed
2 tablespoons sugar, as needed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
salt and pepper
3 bunches chervil , optional, for garnish

In a food processor, combine all of the red ingredients (including all of the tomato paste) and half the garlic, olive oil , vinegar and bread. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding sugar only if needed.

Clean out the food processor bowl and do the same with the yellow ingredients, (excluding the tomato paste) taste and adjust seasoning (salt, sugar, vinegar) as needed.

Refrigerate each batch until chilled.

To serve, you can either pour the two colors into a bowl simultaneously (side by side) or use chef rings (round cookie cutters) to make a bulls-eye pattern. You can also use a toothpick, drawing out from the center to create a pattern.

Garnish with chervil and serve.

© 2008 Fresh Approach Cooking

© 2008 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking" This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, or at the aforementioned url, the site you are looking at is guilty of infringing upon terms of copyright. And generally cheesing me off.

Stellar Organics Wine from South Africa is the top selling organic wine brand in the UK. Organic wine is now the largest sector in the organic alcohol category, and accounts for 56% of its sales; which with an extra 267,000 shoppers buying organic wine this year compared to last year, is an increase of 42% year on year. Stellar's wines are organic and Fairtrade, the only wine to gain both labels. –

It costs farmers £1.45 to produce a kilo of pork, according to BPEX (the British Pig Executive), which represents the pork industry. At the beginning of 2008 supermarkets sold pork for £1.05 a kilo, and by May - eight months after farmers had started bearing the increased cost of feed - it had still only gone up to £1.20 a kilo. 78 per cent of the British public said they were prepared to pay more for pork to help farmers who have been campaigning for a better price. - BBC

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Monday, July 14, 2008


Triple Lemon Grilled Arctic Char

Everything is daisy-sunshine happiness these days. Summer rocks!

In other words...what's not to like?



And me, I'm taking the summer one day at a time. Lots of relaxing and lots of tooling around thinking about the wonder of it all.

And one great place to spend an hour or so is one of our lovely outdoor markets.

I'm sure you know (or have maybe read), the SoCal farmers markets are a bit of a dream in terms of edible options. A cornucopia if you will.

So if you are open minded, flexible with your menu and willing to try new things (and eat a lot of fruit) it really can be a guilt free and lovely day-time excursion.


So here is my recipe for a grilled triple lemon fish - ingredients for which can usually be found year round at any good farm stand. Sustainable, delicious, delightful. Perky too. Zippy, really, if you must know. And except for the pepper, it all came from my local farmers market.

I only wish I had captured a better shot of this before we ate it on down...

Now try this my peaches, and taste the joy.

6 each lemons
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup black olives, diced, dry cured such as Gaeta
4 each Arctic Char, fish steaks, six ounces apiece
1/4 cup olive oil
1 each lemon, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon pink peppercorn, coarsely ground
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine the honey and lemon juice and set aside until ready to grill.

Marinate the fish in the lemon oil, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, pink pepper and salt at room temperature for no longer than 1 hour.

Using vegetable peeler, remove peel (yellow part only) from lemons in long strips. Squeeze 6 tablespoons juice from lemons. Blanch peel in small saucepan of boiling water 30 seconds; drain. Bring 6 tablespoons of the lemon juice, olive oil, canola oil, garlic, and pinch of salt to simmer in small saucepan. Add lemon peel and simmer over low heat until peel is soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the black olives.

Preheat your grill.

Grill the fish for 7 minutes per inch, basting once with the honey-lemon glaze. Remove and serve with lemon confit as garnish.

© 2008 Fresh Approach Cooking


© 2008 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking" This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, or at the aforementioned url, the site you are looking at is guilty of infringing upon terms of copyright. And generally cheesing me off.

The city of Beverly Hills gave final approval Tuesday night on a deal that will bring a local restaurant from Thomas Keller, the only American chef with two 3-star establishments.Keller will be opening one of his casual-dining Bouchon bistros in Beverly Hills by fall 2009.

Popcorn was $11 for 20 lbs in January of this year. It's now $17 for the same bag.

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Monday, July 07, 2008


Red Seaweed (Sea Vegetable) Salad

Oh dear, oh dear.

I am officially a guilt-ridden bourgie girl with a food-complex.

How could this happen? It's so tragically cliche.

In the last few weeks (between reading a few intense books The Ombudsman threw my way in his ongoing effort to nurture my inner nerd/keep me single) I managed to read The Omnivore's Dilemma and Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood.


Now peaches, in case you aren’t familiar with these tomes, they are of the genre that can best be described as, “we are all going to h*ll in a hand-basket unless we start making some informed decisions - stat.”

These books are informative, brilliantly written, methodically researched, heartbreaking and scary and happily (very happily) also tinged with hope.

The hope part being that, if we really do all pull ourselves together (for heavens sake!) just a tiny bit - and pay attention to our food choices - crisis can be averted and our lives and health and the world in general may just well improve. Super-fab news indeed. (And what a relief to hear!)


My immediate (band-wagon-esque) instinct after all this intense info was to run out to the farmers market (as I do every week. I'm not really that new to this bandwagon) and buy something, anything, that I could feel chic and eco about. Naturally I ended up with...sea vegetables from The Carlsbad Aquafarm.

I mean, talk about a non-controversial food choice! It's (mostly) local, it's (totally, fer sher)healthy and it grows back quick as a wink.


Sure, sure, it could be argued that it looks like something Little Orphan Annie's plumber pulled out of her shower drain...(oy!) but thrillingly, it's crisp, ocean breeze taste trumps it's trendiness impaired looks. In fact, there is also an delicate beauty to it that cannot be denied.

Keeping it light simple, I added a few salad-y ingredients and voila, a perfect summertime meal. And guilt free to boot.

Try it my peaches and taste the joy. (And I promise this is my last preachy post. For now...)

1 cup red seaweed, torn apart
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, large mince
1 small jalapeno, large mince
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
A few drops of sesame oil
1 green apple
English cucumber
Sea salt (naturally!)

To make the dressing, combine the ginger with the jalapeno, vinegar and oils. Taste and season with salt.

Peel and dice the cucumbers and add to the dressing.

Slice the apple and fan out on two chilled plates. Top with the sea vegetable. Spoon some of the cucumber over it and serve immediately.

Makes two large salads.

© 2008 Fresh Approach Cooking

© 2008 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking" This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, or at the aforementioned url, the site you are looking at is guilty of infringing upon terms of copyright. And generally cheesing me off.

The latest edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, now includes edamame (immature green soybeans), pescatarian (a vegetarian who eats fish) and about 100 other newly added words that have taken root in the American lexicon.

2007 vodka sales at the supplier level reached $4.3 billion, a 7.65% increase over 2006

Joey Chestnut is the 2008 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest winner. It was initially a tie between Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi at 59 hot dogs each, which lead to a sudden death show down. This year's event was cut down to 10 minutes vrom 12. Prior to Chestnut's record - Japan's Takeru Kobayashi had been the crowning champ for five years straight. - Gambling911

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