Friday, April 29, 2011

Weekend food plans

I always want to cram a lot into a little bit of time. I guess I'm a dreamer, an idealist. Anyway- these are my food plans for the weekend. Perhaps I can accomplish them all!

Deviled eggs (w/ some spice!)
Asparagus wrapped in prosciutto with balsamic reduction sauce
Turkey patties with capers and sage

I also want to finally make those Energy Bars in one of Heidi Swanson's books. I bought the ingredients weeks ago, and ran out of steam. But I still want them.

Also- we are going to dine at a Sausage place in downtown Los Angeles tomorrow evening to celebrate a friend's birthday. I've never been there, but I've heard good things! It's called Wurstküche.

And, we'll take a good look at our yard, decide and mark what needs to be pulled, and start placing some of the new purchases (New Zealand flax and Spanish lavender) around to see what kind of composition will look best. THEN decide on what herbs will go where! I must have rosemary and sage. And perhaps carve out a place for a citrus tree.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Something old/Something new

I just spent way too long writing and rewriting a post about two dishes that I made over the weekend, which did not turn out quite the way I had wanted. It happens. I've decided that all I really need to write about these is two lines for next time, to be noted on the recipes themselves:

Saffron Scented Potato Gratin with Asparagus: must cook until finished (no day-before partial cooking unless you want still-crunchy potatoes)

Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookies:  watch oven temperature carefully, adjust timing as needed, do not overcook.

Now - on to my huge success of the weekend: GUMBO! Damn was it good! The recipe is from Mr. B's cookbook for Gumbo Ya-Ya. I did "ya-ya" whilst constantly stirring the roux, you have to do something. I talked to my brother, my husband, my dog, checked facebook, and listened to a podcast during the 1.5 hours it took to achieve the right darkish-mahogany color. The end result was soooo worth all that stirring and attention to detail up front. The only thing I changed from the recipe was that I threw in shrimp instead of chicken because I just wasn't in the mood for bird. I used raw frozen shrimp, thawed in the fridge for a couple hours, thrown in during the last 5 minutes of simmering. Here are some pictures:



I bought French bread at lunch today for dipping, and I cannot wait to get home for leftovers tonight!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mmmmm, that's good Bass!

I bought a juicer about two weeks ago. And finally carved out some time to glance at the manual, clean some fruits and veggies and give it a spin. WOW- what a magnificent invention! Why did I wait so long?

Juice #1: blueberry, beet, ginger, cara cara orange and tangerine
This one was my favorite (above). The ginger was a really nice touch, giving it a wonderful zing.

Juice #2: Honey Crisp apple, lemon, carrot, tangerine and beet
Pretty good, pretty good. I added lemon because the apples didn't quite give the tartness I was seeking.

Juice #3: Strawberry, beet, carrot, orange, tangerine, lemon, kale, ginger and mint
I pretty much threw in everything I had left. At first very strawberry-y, so I added some mint and more kale (two whole heads). These additions elevated this concoction to the number one slot for my husband. One query though, I'm not sure whether or not to add the stocks of the kale to the juicer or just the leafy parts.

Juice #4: Tangerine, asian pear and ginger
I thought I had made enough juice and was ready for clean-up until I realized I still had a giant bag of tangerines. So why not use them up? Results: surprisingly not as tangerine-y as I had hoped. And having used about 5 inches of ginger, not as ginger-y as I had hoped either. Two things I learned after the fact which might have effected the results: the filter was pretty clogged up with ginger, and the tangerines on their own weren't very juicy and tangerine-y. Now I know for next time.

All in all, a successful maiden voyage in juicing. I didn't even hate cleaning it as much as I thought. Nor the nearby cabinets and my eye glasses from errant spatter. I am ready and armed with knowledge, cash and reusable market bags for this week's farmers market. AND I'll be submitting words like strawberry-y and ginger-y to Merriam-Webster for consideration.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fun for Fam

My husband has never particularly been into fruits and vegetables. It isn't a flavor thing, it's mostly a consistency thing. For example, he likes the taste of pico de gallo, but not the chunks. He will dip his chip into the liquid, without getting any of the tomatoes or onions on his chip. Meanwhile, I think- really? But I've learned to live with it.

Anyway, over the weekend I experimented with my new juicer (more posts to follow). I was shocked and pleased to discover that he participated in the experimentation by tasting - and enjoying I might add- and also snapping a few photos during the process. His photos are great! I love how they look a little dark and edgy, even though making juice is all about freshness and health and invigorating natural nectar! You see, juicing can be fun for the whole family!!

Photos by Greg Jacobs

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chopping chiles, making Chicken Mole, listening to the Dead Weather

Action shots of Mole Prep, courtesy of Greg Jacobs

peanuts measured

chiles rehydrating

chocolate measured

onions chopped

fresh chiles, roasted and sliced

tomatoes broiled

seeds and stems set aside

chiles rehydrating 2

Monday, April 11, 2011

Listening to Prince, making Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter

Sent from my iPhone

Baked Oatmeal and Blueberries

This recipe is from the new-to-me cookbook author, Heidi Swanson, who focuses on incorporating whole grains and natural foods into her dishes. It was super easy to make, delicious -- even my co-workers enjoyed it, and they are not known for their whole foods intake. I had some dried cherries I wanted to use up, so I threw those in even though the recipe did not call for it. So far, I am guessing that her recipes are open for interpretation and inspiration or using up what you have on hand.