Monday, June 29, 2009


Last night I had a little recipe experiment, I made a chile paste called zhug or zhuk or skhug or סחוג. Mmmmm! It was tasty!

Zhug is a Yemenite Jewish hot sauce. I guess it can be made with red or green chiles. The recipe I first saw in
Mediterranean Hot and Spicy was with green chiles and it sounded super tasty! I love anything spicy so I figured I'd give it a try. Plus I liked the name - I like words with Z or X in them. LOL!!

My general recipe (serves 2-4) was as follows:

2 serranos and 1 jalapeno (depending on the heat of the chiles and the spiciness you prefer)
3 garlic cloves
1/2 bunch of cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste

Toss all in a food processor and blend up until a smooth paste is formed, like pesto. (variation: you can also add cardamom - I did, but it ta
sted awful to me - I'd leave it out next time)

I think zhug is typically eaten with pita or flatbreads or added to soups and stews. I put it on top of fish and veggies. I slathered a bit on the fish before I cooked it and then put some dollops on top of the finished dish. It was good! Very spicy and super garlic-y! Whoa. If you eat a lot the vampires will not bother you for a day or so. I ate a lot. haha!

If you like spicy and GARLIC - try it!

After dindin I went for an evening walk. It was the perfect temp out- mid 70s I'd say with a nice breeze. Scattered clouds with a silvery sky peeking through, turning to navy blue. What a nice night!

Enjoy the day! :)

Chicken stock - questions for you!

I made up a big pot of chicken stock this weekend. Chicken carcass, smoked turkey bones, carrots, onion, garlic, rosemary, chiles = lots of delicious savory liquid -mmm mmm!
I have a question for you all....when you use a leftover carcass to make the stock, what do you do with the meat that remains afterward? I have heard that people give it to their dogs. I'm wondering- can't you eat it or does it taste bad or something? My doggie enjoyed it but I was a little bit jealous.

Another question- is there an easier way to sort through all the leftover meat without just feeling it all with your fingers to pick out the tiny bones? I don't mind using my hands but I imagine someone about to eat the leftover meat might find the sight kind of gross. hehe! Luckily, my dog doesn't mind. He is not discerning at all. The cat gave me a dirty look though.

Too much fun this weekend

Whew! I went to a fun party this weekend and drank way too much champagne! I love champagne and sparkling wine. Mmmm. At this party they were serving a champagne cocktail that I had not heard of before - champagne and St Germain liqueur. Wow- it was really tasty, but after 4 of them I had a killer hangover the next day. It was worth it..I think?

Have you heard of St Germain before? It's made from elderflowers. It has a wonderful flavor and aroma. Fruity, floral, minty. Yum. Hunter Angler Gardener Cook has a wonderful post about making elderflower syrup and liqueur yourself. Way cool.
Last night I made up some more bison patties. But this time I tried to make a persian eggplant dip called kashk-e bademjan to go along with it. Sadly, it really tasted disgusting, so I won't bother you with my failed recipe. Maybe I'll try again. The bison was great- I added fresh mint leaves to the meat.

Have a great day!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Carne asada

Had a nice little BBQ of carne asada last night. Have you had Mexican style carne asada before? It's marinated (typically) flank or skirt steak, fired up on the grill until a little smoky and charred. People usually chop it up for tacos, or eat it with rice and beans.

Sometimes I'll grill up some veggies and make an awesome veggie mix to eat with it. Other times I will just make a fresh green salad. Last night I made a spinach salad with some avocado chunks to go alongside my meat. Over the top of everything goes any delicious salsa that you prefer.

It goes great with a nice glass of Pinot Noir from the Santa Barbara area. :)

I'd give you this salsa recipe, but I have been sworn to secrecy. Sorry!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Photo of the day

A deserted beach in Uruguay. Very peaceful. Perfect for a long walk, or running sprints!
Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chicken drumsticks on the grill

For dinner I marinated some organic, free-range chicken drumsticks in olive oil, garlic, rosemary and lemon juice and zest for about an hour or so. Then threw them on a medium heat grill for about 20 minutes. Delicious and juicy! If you don't have a grill you could try broiling them in the oven.Alongside I sauteed up a bunch of frisee greens in a little bacon grease with chopped garlic and red pepper flakes. Quick, healthy and easy.
Sorry this photo does not look appetizing at all but it tasted great! (That's my super old and burnt up cookie sheet that I use for roasting veggies. Sorry it looks so dirty and gross!)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Farmers Market

Hello everyone! Today I thought I'd share with you a collage of a few images from this morning's farmer's market. I usually go before work on Wednesdays.

A bounty of fresh fruits and veggies!Enjoy the day!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Romesco sauce

Happy Tuesday everyone!! Getting through the week one day at a time....

Last night I made something new so I thought I'd share with you. I made romesco sauce, or at least something similar. I broiled up a bunch of veggies (eggplant, zucchini, red peppers) and cooked some shrimp and poured the sauce on top.Have you had Catalonian romesco sauce before? I was craving something with a bit of fat and good flavor so I figured I'd try making this sauce.

I looked up recipes online and then made up my own variation. Following is an approximation of my "recipe" which would make about two servings:

1/2 red bell pepper, broiled until softened
1/2 tomato, broiled until softened
1/4 cup mixed nuts - marcona almonds and hazelnuts
2 gloves roasted garlic
1 clove fresh garlic
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
generous pinch (handful-haha) red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil

Throw the garlic cloves, tomato and red pepper under the broiler until softened. Then toss all ingredients in the food processor and blend up to a paste. That's my lazy girl "recipe". If you want the perfect emulsified sauce, add the olive oil in a stream while you blend. I didn't and it came out fine. The only problem is I had to use my mini-processor and it just does not grind things up properly. But it still tasted awesome!!

Many romesco recipes say to add bread, of course I didn't. Most recipes also are much more involved, removing the skins from the tomato, etc. Forget that! I like the fiber! :) OK, OK - I'm just lazy.

The sauce was satisfying and garlic-y. I originally had used just the roasted garlic but it lacked a punch. The one clove of fresh garlic kicked it up. You can make the sauce with a wide variety of ingredients - different peppers etc. I think I'll try that next time! I'm excited for the leftovers tonight!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Lunch salad

I had a great little salad for lunch today. I heated then crumbled up some leftover Applegate Farms bacon and sprinkled it over fresh greens and diced tomato. A bit of balsamic vinegar and olive oil and some red pepper flakes for a bit of tang and spice.Almonds and cherries with tea (Numi Tea's Organic Honeybush) for an afternoon snack.After (boring) work I'm off to run the steps again tonight and do some leg exercises and sit ups. It's bikini time!!!

Korean BBQ

This weekend I went out to Korean BBQ with a gang of partiers for a friend's birthday. YUM! A delicious and paleo meal of grilled meat, salads, and pickled veggies. Living in smoggy Los Angeles, I am lucky to have access to tons of great foods from all over the world. I really LOVE Korean BBQ though.
Everything was delicious! The spicy red paste has some sugar in it and I think the kimchee does too. But it is fermented so it has some other benefits I think? I'm not really that picky about a little bit of weirdness in sauces etc (as in the 80/20 rule) when I am eating at retaurants, I like to enjoy myself and not be a stick in the mud. I cook my own meals most of the time anyway.

I fasted all day so that I could really enjoy the masses of meat. Unfortunately, sometimes when I don't eat for a while, once I start eating again I get full quickly. Luckily there were other diners in our group who were more than happy to chow down on the food I could not fit in my tummy! Here's a pic for you of all the little veggie dishes, the "panchan". I lovvvvvveeee these little dishes, especially the bean sprouts. The salad at this particular restaurant is also divine. I wish I knew what spicy fresh dressing they put on it? MMMMMMMmmm.

I hope everyone had an awesome weekend!

Friday, June 19, 2009


My breakfast at work was a big one today. I guess I felt super ravenous! Since it was a big one I thought I'd share it.

One egg scrambled with leftover zucchini, cilantro, cumin, and a sprinkling of cotija cheese. A dash of jalapeno tabasco on top. Coffee with cream. And some delicious delicious cherries. The seller at the farmer's market said it's the last of the season. Boo hooooooo!!!!
Y'all have a good weekend!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

White sea bass with basil pesto

A friend of mine is a fisherman and is kind enough to occasionally give me delicious fresh fish that he catches off the coast of California. This week I was lucky to receive some white sea bass fillets. YUM!

I sauteed the fillets in a pan with olive oil. Meanwhile I made some pesto with basil, lemon juice, olive oil, a few random nuts and a clove of garlic in my mini blender thingie. And in the oven, I broiled sliced up zucchini.

When the fish and veggies were done I topped them with pesto and served it all up on a bed of lettuce and sliced tomato. Sorry I am so boring - I just keep eating white fish!! But it is a great summer meal.

Squeeze a bit of lemon on top and a scattering of chili flakes and dinner is served! Wowee. It tasted great after a day of fasting and a good workout.

Photo of the day

A photo of a glacier from my trip to Alaska last summer.
I felt like looking at something blue and peaceful today.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Randomness from the refrigerator

I made a tasty dinner last night with what was left over in the fridge. I thought I would share my somewhat weird recipe with you!

I had some nice fresh snapper, which I lightly coated with crushed macadamia nuts and some coconut flakes and sauteed in a tablespoon of coconut oil. I was craving some tropical deliciousness.

I wanted to make some kind of pesto or sauce for a kick of flavor, but I didn't really have anything in my kitchen except cilantro. So I blended that up with a garlic clove, lemon juice and a dash of olive oil. I tasted it and it seemed...boring. So I looked in the fridge again and saw Sriracha sauce. I figured what the heck and added it to the cilantro mixture. Damn it was tasty! Weird, but tasty.

I served it up on a bed of lettuce with a little lemon juice squeezed over the top. The fish was delicate with a bit of crunch and tropical flavor. The sauce was tangy and spicy.

Tasty and so filling!

I have to brag and say that I fixed my camera myself. YES! I am an electronics genius! I took the whole thing apart with all the tiny screws and then put it back together. But that is not what fixed it. I fixed it by banging it on the table. And that's the truth. haha!!

I hope you all have an amazing day!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Joshua Tree

I hope everyone had a nice weekend! I had a fun-filled weekend with quite a bit of hiking and swimming. A great weekend!

I took a trip out to Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park. I haven't been to this park in quite a while. We did several short hikes, my favorite of which was a hike to "Mastodon Peak". Cool name, too. The view from the top of the rocks was unreal. You could see for many many miles in all directions, yet not a human to be seen. It was awesome!

We did a fair bit of bouldering and scrambling over rocks. I had a great time pretending to be a prehistoric hunter hiding in the rocks waiting for game to pass by on the flats. But I have a terrible fear of heights, I'm a total wimp when I am four feet off the ground! Eek!

Unfortunately, I dropped my camera on Friday and it broke! Darn it. So no photos of my hikes. I stole some photos off the internet for you though.

I also dined well on my trip. At a french restaurant we ordered the local free-range bunny rabbit. I had never tasted rabbit before. It was GOOD. Kinda like chicken, haha.

Have a great day!

Mastodon Peak photo from Geoff's Picasa Album
Teddy bear cholla cactus photo from Fantom XP.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ode to the Lemon

Just a little snippet of a poem by Pablo Neruda for you this weekend.

Cutting the lemon
the knife
leaves a little cathedral:
alcoves unguessed by the eye
that open acidulous glass
to the light; topazes
riding the droplets,
aromatic facades.

I love lemons!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bison meatballs

Another bison patty "recipe" for y'all!

I purchased some more ground bison from our local farmer's market purveyor Lindner Bison last week. Very economical and versatile! With the last bits I decided to make some meatballs/patties.

I chopped up some garlic and some fresh rosemary and oregano from my garden. I mixed these in with the ground meat and added some red pepper flakes. I cooked the little patties up in some olive oil and served them with a leafy salad, chopped tomatoes, and basil leaves. I added a sprinkle of parmigiano reggiano on top for some delicious saltiness, a dash of olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. It was really good. Yum.

They would also be great with some tomato sauce over them if you are into that. I'd put some melty cheese on top. Did I mention that I really like cheese a lot? :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I've been reading a bit about how much sleep we adults need. Most sources say about 7-9 hours per night.

I've also heard that it is good to go to sleep early - a few hours after sunset, like 9 pm. Whoa, that is pretty early to me. Although I do get tired pretty early if I am camping and there are no lights around.

Anyway, I have been trying to go to bed before 10 pm but I'm having a hard time staying asleep. I wake up at about 1-2 am and I am wide awake. I don't seem to have that problem if I go to sleep a little later, like at 11.

What do you guys think? What time do you usually go to bed and wake up? How many hours of sleep do you get?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Perhaps some of you have wondered what the heck is this blog name all about. Well, I dunno. It's kind of dumb but I've always thought of myself as a gatherer. You know, like hunter-gatherers... I am just gathering yummy things to eat!

I don't know about you, but I kind of love the market! I enjoy wandering the aisles and looking at the foods and grabbing this and that and checking out the ingredients. I find it relaxing most of the time. I love 'ethnic' or 'international' grocers and we have a ton of different ones all over LA with interesting exotic products.

I feel even happier at the farmer's markets. I love looking at, touching, and smelling the delicious, beautiful veggies and fruits. In other words, I enjoy gathering my food. It's not the thrill of the chase but it is a satisfying feeling to come home with my totes full of booty to put away or start cooking!

Of course, there are times when I hate grocery shopping. For instance, if I ever have to go really late at night. I hate the glaring fluorescent light and the music and....the creepy night people buying cigarettes and cough medicines. haha! It's bizarro. I also hate waiting in line at the supermarket, but I do enjoy the tabloids!

Tell me, do you enjoy food shopping? What do you like about it? Would you prefer to gather your food from your garden or in the wild? I know I do. But the damn gophers eat everything first! Now I only grow herbs. My gophers don't like herbs. Or jalapenos.

Monday, June 8, 2009


Have you tried Intermittent Fasting? I think it is super cool.

Some experts say that you should fast every day for 19 hours and eat for 5 hours, or that you should do a weekly 24 hours. The fasting is supposed to have health benefits such as increased longevity, weight control, improved blood glucose, etc. The benefits are said to be akin to those realized on a long term calorie restricted diet. Some say that you should be sure to work out when fasting because it increases growth hormone and also signals to your body to maintain muscle proteins instead of consuming yourself. Paleo proponents believe that the intermittent fast is more like our ancestors would have eaten, as there would not have been a grocery store or refrigerator stocked with snacks nearby at all times.

It kind of goes against a lot of the conventional "dieter" wisdom that says if you skip meals (esp breakfast) that you will shut down your metabolism and get all fat and stuff. That scares me a bit, but the research seems compelling.

There are many resources that give directions of "how" to do it, (check google) but I don't follow directions well so I made up my own way. I just skip meals once in a while. Maybe once a week, maybe twice. Usually I am busy on the weekends so I skip breakfast and lunch on Saturday for a fast of about 20 hours. Or I'll do it when I am at a party or event where there is not anything appropriate to eat. Instead of eating off my plan, I just don't eat. Once I break the fast it is with a regular meal and I am satisfied. I don't feel the need to pork out, I just eat a meal and then I am OK.

I really think this would have been difficult on a regular carbo diet because insulin is not stabilized. On the higher fat/proteins of the paleo type diet it is not really that hard at all. I will say that once I do break the fast I feel tired like I had a vigorous day. Tired in a good way.

What do you all think? Do you fast regularly? What benefits have you seen, if any?

For more research, check out Eat Stop Eat and the many other resources.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Scallop ceviche

Watching the NBA playoffs on TV this weekend? Here's a snack I enjoy eating in front of the tube.

My local Whole Foods has a big tub of frozen bay scallops, you know- the little tiny ones. Buy a pound or so and thaw them in the refrig. Once thawed and drained, juice enough lemons or limes to cover the scallops with liquid and put them back in the fridge for an hour or so. Meanwhile, juice a few more lemons or limes and mix up in another bowl with some diced jalapenos or serranos, diced tomatoes, diced cucumber and sliced avocado. You can add diced onion or even tropical fruits, but I like it without. When the scallops are done marinating and are "cooked through" by the acid, drain them and add them to the mix. Salt or not as you prefer and throw some chopped cilantro on top.

If you are wary of raw seafood, you can cook the scallops in a pan and add them to the other ingredients. Sometimes I do this if I am short on time. It still tastes di-no-mite!

Of course, the regular way to eat this delicious ceviche would be with some tortilla chips. You could add the mix atop a salad or use romaine leaves to scoop it up. Even jicama slices would work as "chips". I often just eat it with a fork! Enjoy!

photo of scallops: National Geographic

Friday, June 5, 2009


My weekday breakfasts are almost the same every day. I scramble one egg and throw in various ingredients I have on hand. This week it was mainly spinach, cilantro, avocado, and a bit of cotija cheese. Lately I'm really into the green version of Tabasco - it's so sour! With my little egg dish I'll have a cup of coffee or tea, and it's enough to keep me satisfied, but I am typically really hungry at lunch time.

Sometimes mid-morning if I remember I'll have some fresh fruits - usually berries or (lately) cherries.

On the weekends, I tend to make a bit larger and more elaborate breakfasts, but the same type of ingredients. A few eggs and some veggies, maybe some salsa, maybe a bit of cheese. Well, OK, almost always a bit of cheese - I do like cheese with my eggs. Also on the weekends I'll usually have some meat with breakfast - whether bacon or chorizo or sausage. And I usually make a nice cup of organic coffee in my little french press - with raw cream. Often I'll have this breakfast a little later on the weekends and then skip lunch while I am out and about for a little tiny IF. Or, I'll skip breakfast and come home from the farmer's market and cook up a ton of veggies for lunch.

I love the eggs from the farmer's market, the free range ones. The yolks are extremely yellow and thick. The shells are thick too. I'm always sad when I have to get eggs at the grocery store.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


I've been trying to incorporate more "playful" and "primal" moves into my fitness routine. Yesterday after work I walked for about an hour and did some sprints at the local high school. Afterward I decided to do some balance moves so I practiced walking on some narrow retaining walls and jumping off of them. Then I thought I would do some hopping on one leg. I tried hopping up stairs. Well, that was a funny mistake....I fell on my face! Unfortunately, there are always teenage boys hanging around this high school playing basketball so I embarrassed myself in front of a gang of them. Oh well.

Hopping is hard! I have to practice that some more.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Fillet of sole

I was craving fat so I decided to make some fish and veggies with a little butter sauce. It turned out delicious. Sorry the pic is not so lovely, but it was tasty!

I cooked up the zucchini in my aforementioned favorite fashion. Meanwhile I sauteed up some Dover Sole fillets in a small pan with olive oil. I had seasoned the fillets with red pepper flakes, salt and fresh thyme leaves from the garden. When the fish and zucchini had finished cooking I plated them then quickly sauteed some raw, pastured butter in the pan with some chopped garlic, more thyme and a squeeze of lemon. I poured this sauce over the fish and veggies. I threw in a couple of olives and the meal was ready.

It could have used some leafy greens/some more color, but I ran out of veggies. The farmer's market is tomorrow. But it was a filling and satisfying meal and hit the spot.

By the way, the local wild Dover Sole was UNBELIEVABLE!! So tender and moist and mild. I will be buying that again for sure!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Lamb's Quarters

Have you tried lamb's quarters? No, not a lamb leg....the leafy veggie (Chenopodium album)! I was at the farmer's market last weekend and a lady was buying several bunches of them and extolling their virtues. I love greens so of course I grabbed some to try. They were soooooo yummy sauteed up quickly with some toasted sesame oil and garlic. One of my new faves.

According to online sources, it has a ton of vitamins A, C and calcium. It also has oxalates which I guess can be bothersome to some people.

photo from

Zucchini and chorizo

MMMmm. Last week I sauteed up some of the homemade chorizo I made and ate it for dinner with some zucchini, cilantro and a squeeze of lemon.

Whenever I make zucchini for family gatherings it disappears. Even the non-vegetable eaters devour it. I always make it with different seasonings and it always gets raves and requests for the recipe. Well, the secret is not in the seasonings - it is in the cooking method!

Lucky readers, I share the simple secret of cooking yummy zucchini (and all other veggies) with you: slice up the zucchini however you like, I think it tastes extra great when cut in little lengthwise strips. Take a big cookie sheet and throw the sliced up zucchini, seasoned with a little salt and olive oil, under the broiler, until it gets brown spots and is tender. Then you can add whatever other seasonings you like - red pepper flakes and lemon, pesto, or just eat as is. The broiler creates a sweet caramelization that makes this humble veggie one of my all time favorites.