Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Good morning everyone!

So it looks like autumn is here. A few weeks ago I'd walk or sprint in the morning and it would be nice and sunny outside at 6:30 AM. Now it is still dark and pretty gloomy, boo. I always get a little sad when fall comes, I love spring and summer so much, especially the nice long days.

But all is not sadness and despair, no! :) This morning I went for a nice long walk around my neighborhood and noticed something that I LOVE about autumn, and that is: MUSHROOMS!

I used to go mushroom hunting a lot when I lived up north. Now, well, I don't have any mushroom hunting spots in Southern Cal (except the poison ones growing in my neighborhood). Maybe it's time for a road trip soon!?!

But guess where I found awesome shrooms? At the farmer's market. I got some chanterelles this morning. YUMMY! Saute them up in some butter...heaven. Sure it's better when you find them in the woods yourself...
Any mushroom hunters out there? Ever notice that when you eat them you can get a some kind of primal energy? Wild mushrooms are so mysterious.

On another topic, do you listen to music when you work out? Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. But I notice that when I do, I want to go 2x longer. Only problem is that I really really have to force myself to resist singing and dancing in public. Typically I don't mind embarrassing myself, but that just takes it a bit too far. Well, I am a sucky singer too...

What do you listen to when you exercise? Pounding heavy metal or smooth jazz or rap or pop or podcasts or nothing at all? Do you have any recommendations for me? I think I need some new tunes. Please give me your song suggestions! What are your favs? (I like it all...)

Enjoy the day today! Dance and sing a little! :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tangy Shrimp with Mint

My mom gave me a cookbook a few years ago and I decided to take it off the shelf and make a recipe from it. The book is 1,000 Indian Recipes by Neelam Batra. There are quite a few interesting meat and veggie recipes to try.

I was planning to make lamb koftas but I realized at the last minute that the recipe called for a substantial amount of cilantro, which I didn't happen to have on hand. HORROR! So I decided to make "Tangy Shrimp with Mint" because I had most of the ingredients.

Following is the recipe as I made it (1 big serving, or 2 if you eat something else with it):

2-3 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (basically equal parts fresh ginger and garlic ground up together)
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp tamarind paste (I used Goya's frozen tamarind, that stuff is great!)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2" piece chopped ginger
10 fresh curry leaves, minced (recipe called for 2x as much, but I think curry leaves have a strong taste)
1 large jalapeno, chopped
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 tbsp cumin (recipe called for coriander but I didn't have any)
1/4 tsp turmeric
5 jumbo shrimp (recipe called for 16-20 jumbo shrimp)
yellow squash, eggplant (I added these instead of the additional shrimp)
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint

Directions: Cook veggies 90% done however you like and set aside. In a medium saute pan, cook diced ginger in the coconut oil until golden, add ginger/garlic paste, curry leaves, jalapenos - cook on low heat for 1 minute or so. Mix in tomato, cumin, turmeric, tamarind paste - cook for 1 minute. Add shrimp and cooked veggies and cook for 2-3 minutes until sauce is pretty dry. Add coconut milk and cook an additional 3 minutes until sauce is thick. Serve with fresh mint on top.

OK that I blabbed the whole recipe I will give you my review. It was OK. It did have a depth of flavor and tasted exotic. Would I make it again exactly like this? Probably not. I realized that I am not that into curry leaves. I guess they kind of remind me of these bushes we had in front of our house when I was a kid. They just don't taste like food to me...for some reason they taste like landscaping.

Have a wonderful amazing fabulous Tuesday!!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Red curry chicken

Hey kids! Happy Monday!!! I'm fasting today for Yom Kippur and sitting in temple, but I thought I'd share a simple simple meal idea with you. I think I even posted about it before.

I don't know if any of you reading (if anyone actually is reading...) is a flavor fiend like me? I love spices and flavor in my food. I am typically not a big fan of the bland and boring. But I also like easy, simple and quick meals.

I have found that curry paste is a great way to quickly add flavor to my meals. It keeps so well in the fridge, tastes great, and has no weird ingredients. In fact, all the spices have antibiotic qualities and make you feel like a million bucks!

So I mix up a TON of red curry paste with some coconut milk. I have said it before....Mae Ploy is my new favorite brand. If you can't find it, use whatever, or email me and I will buy some and send it to you! I slather this mix all over some cut up chicken breast and let it sit in the fridge for a while. Then I stick it on skewers and throw it under the broiler or on the grill. This time, I stabbed kaffir lime leaves in between the chicken pieces which added a lovely aroma.

Eat it up with some cilantro and lime on top and your favorite veggies. Makes great leftovers.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday farmer's market

This morning I went to the farmer's market. So much good stuff! Last of the figs and peaches. So sad. Summer is over. We're moving on to grapes and persimmons and butternut squash...

You can't really see it but the leaves in the little baggies are kaffir lime leaves. Have you had these before? They are excellent! We have this really cool farmer - Coleman - who sells all kinds of exotic greens and herbs. I love checking out his green leafy stand and seeing what is new and different.  I'll take a photo of the bounty for you next time.

Here's where I wish I was today, floating along in a daze watching the clouds... This is my new computer desktop photo at the office! Only problem is that it makes it hard to work when staring at something so peaceful and relaxing.

Enjoy your weekend! :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Syrian lamb recipe

I just got the most awesome cookbook that I have been lusting after for a few years now called Aromas of Aleppo. It is a book of Syrian Jewish recipes and it is very cool.

I was craving some red meat so I picked up some free-range lamb at the store. I made lamb kabobs out of the ground meat, and ooh they were tasty. Here is the recipe from the book:

1 lb ground lamb
1 onion, finely chopped (I didn't really chop them very well as you can see)
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
t tsp salt

Of course, you may know by now that I am incapable of following a recipe...I added aleppo pepper and used fresh mint instead of parsley. I swear I meant to use parsley but...argh.  I only used about 2/3 lb of lamb and I used the same amount of spices as specified. I made blobs out of the meat, stuck them on (oiled!) skewers and threw it all under the broiler for a while.
To go along with the lamb I scrounged in the fridge and found some shisito peppers, olives and cherry tomatoes. I threw them in a pan with some thyme and a sprinkle of allspice. YUM! I also made a little sauce for the lamb of lemon juice, aleppo pepper, yogurt, mint and cumin. I got this sheep milk yogurt at Whole Foods and I wanted to taste it. It was darn good.

A few red grapes for dessert. An EXTREMELY yummy meal if I don't say so myself! I really love the flavor of lamb. I must say that after being away it was nice to have a meal I cooked myself. After this I passed out cold since I had been awake for almost 24 hrs at that point.

Enjoy your day today! It's Friday!!! What's going on this weekend? I'm going to a football game tomorrow baby!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I'm back!!!

I'm back from vacation, back at work in the office, back in a suit and heels - yuck! But with the addition of about 30 mosquito bites as souvenirs!

I had a blast! Did y'all miss me? I am sure you did not! :) But I missed you!

I thought I'd share a little meal we had in NYC one night. It was tasty! We went to this little wine bar and they had interesting appetizers so we selected a sampling. The meat platter was the most delicious...a grilled chicken sausage with herbs, some kind of thick cut homemade prosciutto, and duck mortadella. The mortadella was AMAZING! It had cranberries and pistachios mixed in, plus some kind of warm spices - maybe allspice and cloves?
We also had a salmon tartare with a curry flavor and boiled chicken meatballs with a cinnamon flavor. Very interesting. As you can see we also sampled some very yummy cheeses. 

Can I go back on vacation please? Have a GREAT day!!!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Happy New Year

Shana Tova!

In case you don't know what the heck I am talking about and think I am in a time warp speaking nonsense, it's Rosh Hashana - the Jewish New Year. So Happy New Year to you all! I love how the new year starts with the beginning of autumn harvest season! I guess I am a pagan at heart.

One ritual for the new year is to eat apples with honey, to make the next year "sweet". I love this! I remember doing it in Hebrew school as a little kid. FUN!

Lucky for me I am in NY and so I am on the hunt for my favorite Honeycrisp apples. I first had this hybrid variety when I was here two years ago. I bought one at the farmer's market in Ithaca because the name sounded cool and they looked so incredibly pretty. I figured it better be good since each big apple was $1.00!!! Whoa. It was the yummiest apple ever! Perfect blend of sweet and tart.

I've had Honeycrisp from other areas but those ones from upstate NY are the best!

Look for different apple varieties in the markets this year...I make it a point to try all kinds of random heirloom varieties I find at my farmers markets. Some of them are yucky but there are a million to try.

I'll be eating lots of apples and honey in the hopes that this next year is the sweetest one for us all!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Off to NYC

I'm off to New York for the weekend! Yay!

Here is a photo from two years ago when I was in NYC at the same time of year. I visited the Union Square farmers market because...well, I just had to of course!

This sign cracked me up! Can you see it?
It says the grapes have "foxy flavor"!

Have a good one, my friends!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Hi all, Happy Tuesday!!!

I had a few peeps over for dindin the other day and cooked up some vittles. I thought I would share some pictures with you!

A couple of snacks to start...

Sliced black mission figs, La Quercia prosciutto, arugula, balsamic vinegar - simple but decadent with some red wine.

And sauteed shisito peppers with cumin and hawaiian pink salt. Have you had shisito peppers before? I love them! I haven't seen them in any regular groceries before, only the asian grocers and the farmers market. I cook and serve them sort of in the style of pimentos de padron - have you heard of those? Popular tapa in Spain, I guess, though I haven't had them YET!
These are an awesome drinking snack...salty, slightly spicy, yummy. Goes great with beer, or my personal fav drink - champagne!

Then for the main meal, I made my chile crusted pork loin. It is coated with chile powder, cumin, garlic salt, red pepper flakes and olive oil. Then I throw it in the oven for about 20-30 minutes at 350-400. I take it out every 10 minutes or so, flip it, add more spices. Sometimes, I throw it under the broiler so the crust dries out a little. After it cooks, take it out of the pan to rest, then make a sauce with the drippings plus lime juice. I usually add more spices and olive oil because the sauce is the best part. Make sure to cook the spices if you add more, they taste gross "raw". You can do this on the stovetop or throw the pan in the hot oven for a few minutes.

Served it up with cauliflower rice, and roasted zucchini and eggplant. Here's an overflowing plate!

A big thank you to Alisha who recommended just breaking up the cauliflower in the food processor instead of grating it. YES! It worked just as well. No bleeding grated fingers! YAY! I added turmeric to it to give it a pretty color.

Have a great day my friends!

Monday, September 14, 2009


As promised, new poll about spices!

What are your favorites? Any you dislike?

Lately, you might have noticed that I am really into Pimenton de la Vera. People, let me tell you...this is some good stuff. REALLY GOOD!

I first heard of this spice on TV, yes I am a dork and I love PBS cooking shows. Have you seen Jose Andres' show Made in Spain? He's adorable, very enthusiastic! I also had the pleasure of dining at one of his restaurants here in LA called Bazaar (and I saw him there too!) Amazing experience. 

Anyway you can find smoked paprika in some stores - specialty groceries and Whole Foods and the like. I haven't tried them all, but I will tell you my opinion anyway. Get the ones that say Pimenton de la Vera. It is totally different than the other stuff. Has an amazing smoky taste and great depth of flavor. The other ones I have tried in comparison are bitter and dull. Of course, I get the spicy one - but there are "hot" and "sweet" versions. (this container is so cute too)

Other favorite spices of mine are cumin - love it, and any chile. I love all chiles. I must have red pepper flakes in my house at all times.

What are YOUR favorites? Any you hate?

I will tell you one spice I don't like - and I will even foolishly tell you why! I have an aversion to nutmeg. The reason is that when I was a teenager I was insane. My friends and I heard that you could get a high if you ate nutmeg so we ate spoonfuls of it. DISGUSTING. Let me warn you, do not try this. Nothing happens except you feel really sick and you hate nutmeg! Stupid stupid stupid! haha!!!

Tell me - any spices you love or hate? Something I need to try??? My next foray is aleppo pepper.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Wine Festival

I just bought my tickets to the Santa Barbara County Celebration of Harvest Wine Festival coming up in October. Woo hoo!!!!

I went two years ago and it was a blast. It is held on a ranch out in the Santa Barbara hills. What better way to celebrate autumn than to enjoy some wines and snacks in the sunshine amid the oak trees? About 50 wineries participate, some of which are really amazing. A few of my favorites are Palmina (their Malvasia Bianca is YUM), Alma Rosa (organic), and Sanford. Can't wait!
OK so this is really fingerlakes region in upstate NY...but I didn't have a pic of an SB vineyard

Lots of good food in Santa Barbara, I'm hoping to eat at The Hungry Cat where I had spot prawns last time! Yummy! I buy some of my veggies at the farmers market from a really cool farm in SB called Fairview Gardens. They are a non-profit community education organic farm, a very neat little oasis in suburbia. When I was there last the pomegranate bushes were going off!!! There is also the very beautiful Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, a wonderful place to take a stroll. I love visiting farms and gardens, they feel so peaceful to me, full of life energy - you know what I mean?

There is this great hole in the wall taco place in SB - Lilly's Tacos...the BEST salsa. They have tacos de ojo - yes, that is EYEBALL, and no, I haven't tried it.

Anyone else happen to be going to the wine festival? Let me know! We'll look for you there! :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Drink and food porn

Went to this really interesting bar the other night and I just had to share their crazy drink recipes with you.  I love to try new things so we ordered a bunch of their funky specialty cocktails to sample the flavors. We ate some amazing too. Some restaurant food and drink porn follows for you...

First here are some of the very interesting drinks we shared.

This one had mescal, chipotles, red jalapenos and lime. It tasted like BBQ. Strange. 
It was my friend's favorite, I thought it tasted too much like a fireplace. Interesting tho.

This one was blueberry, eau de vie, cachaca. It was fruity and sweet.
I'd make it less sweet. That's a giant ice cube.

I have recently gotten into drinks with cucumber and tequila. This was not as good as others I have had.
I had one in NYC with cucumber and jalapeno - so good. And one in LA with cucumber and mint - even better.   
The one on the left one was tasty - it had red pepper, agave and whiskey. And basil. The bartender slapped the basil before he put it in the cup. That made me laugh! or maybe it was the prior cocktails that made it so funny.

In addition to these cocktails we also shared some food. Take a look...

I was so hungry I forgot to take a picture of this until we had eaten 75%. Sorry! It was SO good.
Ahi tuna "ceviche" but sashimi style.
It was over cubes of jicama, with salted avocado on the side and baby cilantro.
So so yummy. The fish was super fresh.

Baby lamb chops with olives, capers and peppers. WoW! I could eat 500 of these. I love grilled baby lamb chops.
They made a face out of paprika or something. Cool.

Oh I just made myself hungry and thirsty...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Happy 9/9/9! :)

Poll time!

What are your favorite herbs to cook with and eat? What is the one herb you cannot live without?

What herbs do you not like?

Me? I love herbs. (that sounds wrong...)

My favorites are cilantro, thyme, basil, rosemary, oregano, mint.
If I had to pick one....gosh, cilantro? It's so versatile - goes with Latin, Asian, Indian foods. Second fav would probably be thyme. But please tell me that I never have to pick just one.

I do not really like parsley. Or dill.

There are so many others - marjoram, sage, lemongrass, shiso, epazote, curry leaf, lemon verbena, kaffir lime, bay leaves!!! YUM!

What about YOU? Any favorite or hated leafy seasonings?

Next time we will talk about spices! :) Perhaps you have noticed I am using one a lot lately? My new favorite!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Check out my awesomest seats at the game! I got so lucky! Last minute I got a free ticket ON the 50 yard line, 4 rows back. Yeah baby! It was FANTASTIC!

So so close!!!

Don't eat these, but aren't they cute?

I don't really know what this is all about...

Final score - yes, that is how we do it, bitches. hehe!

Just fyi,  I really wanted a sausage but I did not partake in anything at the game except a $5 bottle of water. It was SO hot out sitting baking in the sun! Whew! Lots more food options than I remember - lots of BBQ, sausages, chicken. Good to know!

I'm in love!

Oh darling readers...I am in LOVE!

I have found my dreamboat at last...let me introduce him to you...

Mr. Cauliflower Rice!!!

He is delectable, delicious, delightful. He is everything I ever wanted in a companion. Versatile, flexible, and oh so yummy!

Sorry to be a freak! but I have discovered the best food ever. I know that many of you have already tried this tasty treat, but for some reason, I never have! Thanks to Elizabeth's great blog Caveman Food, I finally decided to give it a whirl. Her food always looks SO amazing!

I ate this side dish with other scrumptious foods. I made these really fantastic spicy pork patties with tons of Pimenton de la Vera, garlic and thyme, sauteed some onions with turmeric, a little salad and my new love...HEAVENLY! Who gets this excited over cauliflower? But it tastes like rice! Only better!

My new passion has one drawback. It's kind of a pain to grate by hand. I'm afraid I will grate off my fingers in my zeal. Should I purchase a food processor with a grating attachment just so I can enjoy this delight on a regular basis?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Fig breakfast

Keep your face always toward the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you.
-Walt Whitman
(I was reading this last night)

Here's a pic of my tasty filling breakfast: figs with a splash of balsamic vinegar, and scrambled eggs with green zebra tomatoes and bacon. YUM YUM! (fyi...this is a salad size plate and after this I won't need any lunch)

Do you like fresh figs? I do! Things that have a very short season of deliciousness grab my attention. You only get them for a little while, better enjoy them!

This variety of figs is my favorite! I think they are called Kadota - they are green on the outside and pink on the inside - could they be prettier? Not super sweet, just perfect. They are only around at the farmer's market for a few short weeks, and you have to eat them within a few days of harvest. I think they are great on a salad and go very well with balsamic vinegar and bacon...

Have a great day!!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Football season!

I'm very excited that college football season is starting! YAY! I'm going to the season opener game on Saturday! Can you guess my team? hehe!

These games are all day events with the tailgating before and after. My friends throw the most amazing elaborate catered tailgates, complete with bartenders, so usually I will eat something there. If not, I will try and eat something substantial at home beforehand to keep me from devouring the stadium nachos.

What do you eat when you are at an event like that all day? Do you avoid the beer or endulge?  I really enjoy a good sausage!

I'm so excited to scream, yell, jump up and down, and shake my pom poms! haha! What are you all doing this long weekend? Have fun whatever it is!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Enoki mushrooms

Hey there everyone!

Made a simple dinner last night but I found a new favorite food - enoki mushrooms! Have you tried them? I bet you have. I know I have eaten them in soups at Japanese restaurants. But here is a little something I found out last night - when sauteed, enoki mushrooms seem a lot like noodles. YUM! Because I love pasta, and of course you know I don't get to eat it regularly!

I marinated some shrimp in a mixture of jalapeno lemon olive oil (my mom got it for me), serranos, garlic, thyme, and a little preserved lemon. I like shrimp a lot because they are great for the single diner. You take 'em out of the freezer and they defrost in cold water in a few minutes.

Meanwhile, I sauteed up some  yellow squash with garlic and thyme. When they were almost done I threw in the enoki mushrooms and added some salt.

Quickly cooked the shrimp in the same pan, and that was it! Simple! When I took a bite of the mushroom/squash combo it reminded me of noodles, and I was thrilled. I really love pasta, there's just something about that chewy bite that is so satisfying. Enoki mushrooms have that noodle look and a chewy texture too. YUM!

Looks like a lot of food - it was. Mostly veggies but I couldn't finish it. No worries! Leftovers!

Have a great Thursday everyone!!! It's almost Friday and a long weekend! Doing anything fun?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Spicy chicken skewers

Dinner last night was so yummy!!!

First, I marinated a cut up chicken breast (a HUGE breast! can people really eat one by themselves?) in a mixture of a little coconut milk and a lot of green curry paste. Put it back in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

In the meantime, I used my mandoline to slice some green and yellow squash and quickly blanched them with some bean sprouts. When I say quick, like 30 seconds. Put them in the fridge to cool while I made a little dressing: teaspoon of sambal olek powder, juice from 1/2 lime, drop of fish sauce. I took the blanched veggies out of the fridge and added some grated carrot and chopped cilantro, along with a little toasted macadamia nuts and coconut flakes.

I put the chicken on skewers (oiling them first!) and threw them under the broiler for 15 minutes, turning once.

The chicken came out AMAZING! SO spicy!!!!!!!!!!!!! And juicy and tender too. The Mae Ploy brand of green curry paste is so delicious. If you can find it, try it. YUM!

Leftovers too! Yay!

Have a wonderful day my friends!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Salmon patties

I decided to make some salmon patties for dinner as I had a can of salmon on hand.

Small can wild salmon
1 egg
coconut flakes
2 tblsp diced chiles in vinegar

Super easy! I just mixed all the ingredients together, let it sit in the fridge for an hour or so, then fried up little patties in coconut oil.

To go along with the patties, I wanted a salsa of some sort. I thought a mango salsa would be awesome, and I had half a peach so hey- mango...peach...same thing right? Well, the peach was a white peach and super sweet so it wasn't the best. But it was still good! I made a peach and avocado salsa and put it atop the salmon with a salad alongside. The serrano I added to the salsa was SUPER hot. It's funny how sometimes you buy a bunch of peppers and one is crazy spicy and the others are milder.

Have a great day!!!