Friday, December 30, 2011

Potato Leek Soup

This recipe came from the Moosewood Cookbook, which I do not own. But when I lived in Santa Cruz, everyone had it. It turned out being pretty easy and tasty. Though I didn't follow the recipe to a T because I just wasn't in the mood for kale. I would make it again, though one criticism: recipes that require tiny amounts of an ingredient, or leave you with half a can of something you don't know what to do with really irritate me! One example in this recipe is the teaspoon of minced celery that it calls for. Now if I loved celery and always had it on hand, chopping up a quarter of a stock of celery wouldn't be a big deal. But I don't, so now I've got a whole lot of celery to use up. It shouldn't be that difficult, a little in salad, mirepoix for soup, or cut up with carrots and olives for a nice crudités on New Year's Eve. Not a biggie, just makes me wonder if anyone tested or edited this recipe.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

LA

It's true, I have been a complainer about Los Angeles in the past. But as of late, I've really tried to see all the good, and exciting things that go on there, and that I have access to. One thing (if you're dorky and into this kind of thing) is running into people that are in bands, on TV or in the movies. Last weekend we went to a friend's birthday party, where I had drinks with all of the above. It's true, I'm a dork- but it was kind of exciting! Just to hang out with people that have jobs just like anyone else, but their coworkers are famous!!
The venue was a place called El Cid. I had driven by it several times, but this was the first occasion I had to go there. It was pretty cool. Will have to return for a normal dinner, perhaps in the summer, on the patio, with a pitcher of margaritas.

Making time

This time of year, it's difficult to make time for one's self. So many people, so many parties (hehe). Before you know it, your OFF time is all scheduled up, and you didn't even get to do some of YOUR favorite things! Last week, I had a weekday off from work. I spent it alone, which was glorious! I had a beauty appointment in the a.m., did some light shopping, went to the movies, and had breakfast at a new-to-me place in Seal Beach called Cafe Lafayette. It was fantastic! I can't wait to return for another meal, probably dinner because they had some good looking wines on their wine list.
Spinach, Portabella and Feta Omelette.. just perfect

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Neighborhood/Organic/Sustainable/Local

... this is what is printed at the top of the menu at Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria in Encinitas. And it should be every restaurants mantra.
We visited B.R.A.P again last Sunday, and it was super. It is becoming a new San Diego favorite. There were 6 of us (including 2 kids), and we were able to share everything. We sat on the outside patio on a brisk, but sunny day. Heat lamps made it totally pleasant. Shared two baby greens salads with pomegranate seeds, blue cheese and candied pecans. Appetizer of black seed popcorn with truffle salt and parmigiano reggiano cheese. And three pizzas: one with sausage and pepperoni, one cheese for the kids, and one special of the day with butternut squash, and arugula that we added the house-made sausage to. It was all quite delicious. It's unusual that kids and adults can go out together, easily find something they both like and equally enjoy the experience. But we did!
We also shared one phenomenal butterscotch pudding for dessert. It was fantastic! Dense and flavorful, with little salt crystals every now and then adding a bit of excitement. I keep thinking I need to learn to make this pudding myself. And while it would be a fun challenge, I know I'd end up consuming more pudding than is advisable. Best to leave it for the special occasion of dining at B.R.A.P.
I believe the true test of a restaurant, is how good the simple dishes are. How good is the house green salad? the basic cheese pizza? the pasta with red sauce? At B.R.A.P., we sampled the simple dishes, and they were superb. Fresh ingredients, balanced flavors (showing creativity AND restraint) with prompt and friendly service makes dining here a pleasure.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Bees Knees

A delicious gin cocktail I made last night from the PDT Cocktail Book

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Lately

Lately, it's been difficult to find things to post about because I haven't been cooking much, aside from the same old staples (beans, rice, roasted veggies, oatmeal..) Haven't been to the Farmer's Market much, because of a busy schedule. And -it's about to get real- ESPECIALLY because of this darned heartburn, acid reflux, gerd, ulcer or whatever-it-is that's been making my upper GI ache recently. So my adventurousness in cooking and eating has been, well, temporarily paused.
I recently read an article about a nutritionist who has developed something called The Plan which I will investigate further. The brief article mentioned that several foods we think are good for us, in fact are recommended for health and weight loss by doctors and nutritionists, may not agree with us at all. A common one is oatmeal (which I eat regularly). Apparently it can do more to cause bloating and gum up the system, causing more bad than good. Might I be allergic or sensitive to oatmeal? I don't know. But I'm hopeful I will figure it out. And learn something along the way. 
Seems strange that on the biggest eating holiday of the year -Thanksgiving- I have no pictures or recipes or notes to share. I DID enjoy myself, as I always do on Thanksgiving. I made the same Balsamic Green Bean with Roasted Onions dish I always do, and totally forgot to document it. It was easier this year now that I have a little more cooking knowledge under my belt. I cooked, I ate, I loved hanging out with my family and friends.
And for no particular reason, here's a picture of my favorite guy enjoying a Fall day.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gumbo Notes

Made gumbo again.. getting pretty good at it. Especially now with my new stool! This time, making the roux was a little different because from the beginning I put the heat up a little higher than my usual conservative-don't-wanna-burn-it, low level. It went from blond, to caramel to dark caramel much faster, though still about 90 minutes of constant stirring. The hardest part is the anxiety of judging exactly when that color has gone to the perfect "milk-chocolate" tone. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Try

I'm going to try something new every time I go to the farmer's market. Last time I hit up three new ones. Persimmon, peashoot, and some kind of kale.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Burn

This is the pasta dish that forced me to realize - I have a problem. I don't know if it's called heartburn, or GERD, or acid reflux ... or what. I DO know that I've been in denial for years. Apparently eating a delicious bowl of acid-heavy tomatoey, garlicky pasta does not agree with me anymore. I really should have realized the correlation between dishes like this, and the subsequent three days of misery. Anyway- I'm looking for suggestions/recommendations on what to take, what to do/not do, etc. I am determined to not let this keep me down. I mean, when I go to Chicago, I WILL be eating deep dish and sausage. So, I best find the antidote pronto.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

NYC!_3

We ate some great food. And enjoyed. So much so that documenting all of it with good photographs really was secondary to the enjoying (evidently...) Here's a little sunthin' anyway.


I went a couple places with my boss, places that he had been and recommended: the Post House, Patsy's, Carmine's. Then on my own time, with friends or my sweetie, we went to other fun bars/restaurants: Les Halles, Manitoba's, Ray's, Walter Foods, Viniero's, Schnipper's, Joe's Shanghai, PDT... So great. Seriously, when does the cleanse start?

Friday, November 11, 2011

NYC!_2

New York State of Mind..... 9 days in New York, you'd think I would have had many great pictures. Apparently not. But here are a few that show the general mood of the city, at least part of the experience that I chose to document.





Thursday, November 10, 2011

NYC!_1

Just got back from a work/fun trip to New York City. It was great! Chilly and expensive, fun and tiring and illuminating, inspiring, thought-provoking, and of course too short! Well, actually, I'm glad to be home, so perhaps it was just the right amount of time. Ate a LOT, walked a lot, saw a lot, need to do another cleanse...
Lots of pics, not sure any are great. Here are a few from the High Line. LOVE the high line btw...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I have so much to say and post about recent NYC trip.. But this first!

We came home with a cocktail book from a super secret cocktail bar in the East Village. First cocktail attempt from this book-- a success! It's called "A Little Bit Country"

LACMA

We finally saw the Tim Burton exhibit. It was CROWDED! It was great though. If I had the time, I would have loved to go back at an off hour and really look at all the drawings, doodles, and read more of his movie and story notes. The little bit that I read, it reminded me that even though someone is famous and successful and creates fantastic art, they had to start somewhere. I'm only witnessing the end, the result. They had to start somewhere. With an idea, it develops, perhaps over weeks or even years, through several drafts, with other people... Reading his notes made me realize that everyone starts somewhere, and how important it is just to start.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October

This time of year makes me want to hike and admire the turning of the leaves, make pumpkin-flavored everything, and buy knit-hats and scarves in all shades of autumn colors. Living in SoCal, the changing of the seasons is subtle compared to other places, so I have to take notice and celebrate in my own unique way. Already camped, so next up - COOK!! Here's a start...
Pumpkin Soup

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cali-appreciation

I'm having a wave of feelings of love for California. 
We just got back from camping in El Capitan. It was beautiful, moderate temperature, lovely sunsets, mountainy and beachy at the same time! We hiked, we played backgammon, we read magazines, took photos, played with the hound, made a campfire (and s'mores) took a drive to wine-taste, had lunch of tri-tip sandwiches outdoors at a favorite biker hangout spot in the santa barbara mountains, saw shooting stars, drove great stretches of the 1 and visited our friends' campsite in point mugu. Here are some pics from the weekend:


La Super Cuca in Santa Barbara on the way up to El Capitan,
and the sunset the first night
Otis chilling out in the wood chips

Buellton for some wine tasting at Alma Rosa
and the cool/creepy deer head mantle at cold spring

The bridge on our hike from camp to the beach



Monday, September 26, 2011

as of late

I've been too busy to cook anything! This last weekend, we went out of town, returned with about an hour to spare, and bailed again to intercept an old friend and see his new documentary film Urbanized. It's fantastic, please go see it, he's touring with it around the country. It may be in your city tonight!
Anyway- though I did not cook, I did eat some good food this weekend all in Encinitas. Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria and Union Kitchen and Tap. Here are some pics.
Fresh salad, with blue cheese, vinaigrette, sliced peaches and crostini

Delicious artisan pizza from B.R.A.P. 

The Union is now open for brunch! They really celebrate bacon here (see it pictured in the Bloody Mary), but they also had three vegan options on the menu. Equal opportunity!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

watts towers

Instead of cooking this weekend, I spent some time with family, went to my nephews' soccer games, caught the Saturday night fight, and took the train up to Watts for a photo workshop. I ate big lunches out, and came home exhausted and not hungry (my usual motivation for cooking). Anyway- here are some photos from the shoot... 













Tuesday, September 13, 2011

accomplished

Well, I successfully made all but one of the above list. It was many hours of cooking, but kind of nice on a Sunday to start up a pot of beans for example, then have a seat, watch a little football. Get up and turn on the oven, make a marinade, throw veggies into the oven, then watch a little football until the timer goes off, etc. So, hours went by, but I had all elements of dinner ready by the time we were ready to eat. The one dish that didn't photograph too well, but still tasted pretty good was the Pinto Bean/Plantain Stew. I'm not sure I understand how you call this stew, unless I didn't do it right. Regardless, I will throw it over rice throughout the week, and it will be a new spin on my ol' favorite Rice and Beans. Funny, this recipe is from a cookbook called Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. Another dish I made from that cookbook a couple years ago had a really snappy name: Seitanic Red and White Beans Jambalaya. It too had the same mush/mash consistency. Maybe that's what they're going for. Anyway, here are some pics...


Kale and Farro salad with sesame oil

Lemony roasted potatoes

Roasted portobello mushroom over
spicy mustard vinaigrette-dressed greens

Plantain and pinto stew



Saturday, September 10, 2011

Big plans

Here are a couple of dishes I plan on making in the next couple of days:
Roasted portobello mushrooms over spicy mustard vinaigrette-dressed greens
Lemony roasted potatoes
Plantain and pinto stew
Marinated lentil salad
Kale and farro salad with toasted coconut and sesame oil
Steel cut Irish oatmeal sweetened with apple juice, topped with walnuts
A cocktail

Wish me luck

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Potato Gratin with Asparagus and Saffron

...vegan style, with soy milk. this photo is before the oven. too hungry to snap a photo afterward..