Archive for September, 2010

Frittata with Shrimp, Basil, Scallions & Avocado

September 20, 2010

This was fairly tasty. Unfortunately, law school consumed my life for a while, just like preparing for the bar exam is doing now. My memories of the detail of this recipe were consumed therewith. I hope you will at once forgive me , and condemn the institutions of legal education in the united states for this loss.

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Grilled Lamb Leg Steaks

September 19, 2010

My eating habits put me in the de-facto vegetarian camp. More often than not, if I’m eating, you’ll find me crunching away at some root, flower or fruit. This has been the case for so long that, each time my father sees me, he comments that my ears look a bit longer, and asks if I’m sure I haven’t sprouted a tail. What a funny one, that fella’.

Sometimes, though, even us vegetarians-by-habit are overwhelmed by dietary deficiency. Our bodies’ ancient hunter-gatherer metabolic pathways, awakened by vegetable-laden circumstance, signal a solid cut of meat is the only relief for our psychic disquietude – and like Christopher Walken & his Blue Oyster cowbell, it is simply all that will do. After all, proteins are the building blocks of life, and most people in the know admit that you can’t really be fit absent your fair share. Moreover, who am I to ignore the signals my body sends me. I’m vain, like everyone else, but not so much to think my ideas are wiser than nature’s wordless ways.

So, every now and again, I’ll stoke up the grill, and char some beautiful cut. Like in other visceral affairs, I’m a leg man – always have been. This probably came from my father too. I still remember him cooing in awe at the pepsi girls surrounding Ray Charles on those old tv ads. What can I say, the apple hasn’t ever fallen far from the tree.

Recipe after the jump…>

Baked Eggs with Wilted Arugula & Balsamic Glazed Onions

September 9, 2010

Eggs are one of the standby staples of my diet. They are essentially nature’s perfect food: ultra low in calories, full of protein, and all kinds of other essential minerals. It is no mere happenstance that the contents of an egg feed the young chicklets waiting to hatch. Nature’s design has made sure they are perfectly nutritive for those that need the most nourishing.

As far as preparation goes, Baking is by far my favorite way. Baked eggs have some of the best attributes of other egg preparation. The whites develop a fluffy, pillowy texture that you otherwise only find in perfectly poached eggs, yet the edges can still be cooked to crisp up like a country egg fried in freshly churned butter. Even more exciting is the potential for deliciously runny yolks so ideal for mopping up. When eggs are baked properly, the whites set just so, leaving the yolks perched on the pillowiness of a savoury base, quivering for the pendent puncture of a tine to free them to drip sumptuously through whatever may make their flavorful bed. A better egg than a baked one is unlikely to be found.

Yet, somehow, this amazing method is relatively unknown. I actually only thought about it sometime last year, after I stumbled upon a Mario Batali recipe for an Italian Classic called Uova in Purgatorio, or eggs in purgatory. Even though he doesn’t call for baking in his recipe, I discovered many variations of it do indeed require baking, and find that it really improves the end product. The brininess of the olives, together with the sweet flavor of the caramelized onions, and the spicy heat all tied together in the rich tomato base make this recipe a true Sunday breakfast delight. Everyone should try it. After all, if it started an egg baking revolution with me, who knows what it might inspire for you?

Recipe after the jump…>

An Easy Breakfast: Fresh Tomato Salad with Scallions & Camembert

September 9, 2010

Assorted salads have always been my favorite kind of dishes. Though they might not make the most impressive entrées for a large dinner, they are nonetheless always delicious, and eating fresh helps a lonely bachelor like myself keep his figure trim.

I think the thing that I like most about salads though, besides their healthiness, is the creativity they inspire. Finding new ways to combine the ingredients that are currently in season at market, or one simply has lying around is always a fun little game. The possible combinations are endless, and therefore, so is the number of potentially resulting delicacies. Even more importantly, fresh salads are a great way to introduce yourself to new flavors, and how they mix with one another. As ingredients often show their truest colors in their raw state, the fresh salad is an excellent experimental palette.

I make these mixed fresh salads so often, that my sister recommended to me I start a restaurant chain called “The Salad Hovel,” partly because I make this sort of thing all the time, and partly on account of the refugee-like ingenuinty with which I’ve so far been able to deftly combine heretofore unmatched ingredients. Maybe one day the hovel will be erected, but for now, I will just share with you all from here.

This salad was my breakfast this morning, and came together from a simple mix of what was ripe in the garden, and what was scavageable in my fridge and cupboard. It really turned out deliciously well, and made for a sunny-colored, healthy, tasty start to sunny Thursday.

Recipe after the jump…>

Ottolenghi’s Char-Grilled Broccoli with Chilis and Garlic

September 5, 2010

A number of the food writers whom I read have recently mentioned a book published by the cooks behind a restaurant in England called Ottolenghi. I cannot say enough good things about this place, or their philosophy on food. Their recipes are fresh, creative, and delicious. They incorporate ingredients, techniques, and styles from the world over, and always in innovative, exciting ways. Their emphasis on fresh, seasonal produce is not only healthy, but a celebration of our world and its seasons. Theirs is food that has deep meaning. Even more importantly, they aim to make food that showcases fine cuisine and great ingredients while at once avoiding all fussiness in the preparation or presentation. Ottolenghi’s cooking is not the sort that is to be picked at, or fussed over, but instead, simply celebrated and enjoyed with great gusto in the presence of good company. This is dining with spirit! Dining that refuses to ever let form trump substance. A better example for the direction of modern cuisine is impossible to imagine, and so, I say three cheers to them. Check out their recipe blog, and I am sure you will agree, once you finish wiping your mouth of all that inevitable drool.

My lovely mom and I share a passion for good food. Recently, we were chatting, and I mentioned some of the Ottolenghi recipes I had seen so far, telling her she must look some up, as they all sounded brilliant. Being the darling peach of a woman she is, she immediately, and surreptitiously ordered me a copy of their cookbook, and had it shipped off to me in California. This wasn’t for my birthday, or anything else, but just because. I count my lucky stars for having been blessed with someone so sweet for a mother. I truly am lucky.

Every single page of this book is a feast for the eyes. The photographs are beautiful, and the recipes are doubly stunning. I will be sharing more and more from this book as I have the time to try out the recipes, but it is more than a worthwhile investment.

This recipe is the first thing I have made from it. Let me tell you, it is one of the best things I have prepared in a long time. It was so delicious, that I ended up eating two whole heads of broccoli! There are few ingredients, it is easy to prepare, and the flavors fit together brilliantly. Not to mention that it is an incredibly healthy dish. This will be a staple of my diet from here on out.

Recipe after the jump…>

Deconstructed ‘Hummus’ Salad with Toasted Chickpeas and Briney Olives

September 5, 2010

My brother is a rock & roll musician with the group Runner Runner. Make sure to check ’em out, they are a lot of fun! Having found some serious success recently, I’d certainly not put them in the category of starving artists, yet there is no doubt that all of the guys have very healthy appetites. I’m told they are always excited for my visits to Huntington Beach, because they know they will be cooked for, and well-fed. After all, what sort of guest shows up empty handed, and what better gift than sharing something you love to do? This recipe has proved a consistent favorite of the RR guys. More importantly, it is très simple to make, and you probably already have the ingredients in your kitchen. In fact, circumstance and necessity had me prepare it the first time, as the range of dishes to be made was dictated by what I found in Runner Runner’s cupboard. With the help of a little inspiration from another great food blog, Smitten Kitchen, the dish came together brilliantly. It was so good that the guys from Runner Runner actually asked for it three days in a row!

Recipe after the jump…>

Kohlrabi

September 4, 2010

Little in life is more enjoyable than sleeping in late on the first day of a long weekend. One wakes at their own pace, rubbing the sleep from their eyes, only to realize that this luxury is, as is so rarely the case, set to repeat itself twice over. From this realization, the heart fills easily with hope of finally achieving that long desired but ever-elusive restorative repose that only time off can bring.

This morning was of just that sort for me. Slithering from bed, I enjoyed a long  yawning stretch, and proceeded to skulk cat-wise out of doors to my garden where I basked myself in the sun’s warm morning rays. Rejuvenated with vitamin d, an inspection of my produce was the obvious next step. A better turn of events couldn’t have been asked for –  a bunch of kohlrabi were ready for harvest.

More after the jump…>

Seared Red Cabbage

September 3, 2010

Large appetites seldom develop when it’s scorchingly hot outside, like today in San José.  Full scale cooked meals are certainly neither a desire nor an option. Typically, I can only muster the strength to eat a light salad, or some fresh cold fruit. But, one gets bored quickly chewing on leaves all the time.

This super easy recipe, by Martha Rose Shulman from the New York Times, is the perfect compromise. Although the recipe demands you light your stove to make it, it’s hardly fair to call the effort involved cooking. The resulting fare is also appropriately light for hot weather.

I have always personally loved cabbage, and it has forever been one of my favorite snacks. So crunchy, and fresh, with just a touch of that familiar cruciferous vegetable bite. I like it so much, that, as a child I begged my mom for cabbage hearts as a snack. I still can’t believe a lot of people throw this part away! What a mistake. It is the spiciest part of the cabbage, and so very crisp. I couldn’t have been happier than crunching away at those little wedges, and this recipe requires keeping them intact.

Don’t let the simplicity of this dish turn you away. The lightly seared flavor of cabbage really is incredible all on its own. But, this seared cabbage dish isn’t only for dyed-in-the-wool cabbage-fans. I’ve converted attested cabbage loathers by serving them this dish. They never knew their newfound love could spring so deep.

Recipe after the jump…>

Breaking a fast: Chorizo and Leek Scramble with a Spinach, Arugula and Tomato Salad

September 1, 2010

I have a dietary habit that many regard as peculiar. I fast every Monday. I have fasted like this without fail (except once or twice, I’m only human) for nearly three years now. There are a number of benefits, both health and psychic that I think, and feel I derive from this habit. But, this is a food blog, not a diet blog, and we are here to talk about enjoying food, not avoiding it!

Needless to say the meals with which I break my fasts are some of those I savour the most.  Just remember that “If all the year were playing holidays, to sport would be as tedious as to work, but when they seldom come, they wish’d for come…” After all, “sweets grown common lose their dear delight.”

Today, I broke my fast with something that came out, if a little salty, quite deliciously. A sauté of leeks with garden grown fresno peppers, fried with chorizo, then scrambled together with eggs. To tie the whole thing together with a little ruffage I made a fresh salad of baby spinach, broccoli arugula and orange tomatoes, tossed with olive oil and red wine vinegar. If you know me, you’ll know I was fast into a catnap after that.

Recipe after the jump…>

Menu for a Wild Party: Aubergine roulettes with lemon, and goat brie; Beef and rosemary meatballs with bacon and scotch; Pork meatballs with lemon-thyme, and aji limon peppers; Queso fresco crostini with honey, lavender and mint

September 1, 2010

We had an enormous party at our house this past weekend. My roommates are quite keen on beer pong. I myself, not so much. The thought of guzzling piss-poor beer with grubby ping bong balls having taken a marinating swim in it is not so appealing to me. Regardless of my take on it, the game is astonishingly popular in the united states. Go figure.

But, hey, to each his own! Everyone had a great time, and that is what counts most for a party.

Instead of joining in the reindeer games, I thought I’d enjoy playing host more. This way all those athletes would have a way of satisfying the hunger such strenuous play is bound to engender. You all might have already guessed the menu from the title of this post.

Recipe after the jump…>