Archive for the ‘Entrees’ Category

Cherry Tomatoes with Almonds & Mint

July 20, 2011

This quick summer salad makes for an easy meal. The recipe came together by chance one afternoon while I was visiting my parents.

For as long as I can remember we have had our own tomatoes every summer. Growing up on those sweet little gems forever spoiled me from store-bought tomatoes.

Although cherry tomatoes from the store can sometimes be fairly sweet, this dish, like anything with tomatoes, is incomparably better with those from your own garden. If you must buy yours at the store, get the sweetest sort possible.

Read more, and the recipe after the jump…

Paleo-plācenīši (caveman croquettes)

July 10, 2011

Though I don’t really follow a diet, my general attitude is stay away from processed, and highly refined carbohydrates. I stick mostly with fresh vegetables, fruits, leafy greens, lots of dairy, and good meat and seafood. Coincidentally, the layout of my dining habits happens to correspond to a lifestyle people have been talking a lot about lately – the paleo diet.

Apparently, eating like a paleolithic caveman has numerous health benefits. The theory is that metabolic evolution does not take place apace with intellectual and technological development, and the energy content of our modern diets has long since outstripped our bodies’ processing power. This has led to the so-called obesity epidemic, and countless other modern health problems. Paleovores assert by eating only foods for which our metabolisms have been evolutionarily calibrated, we will experience a newfound sense of vigour, and do wonders for our health. On a basic level, the idea makes sense.

Read more, and the recipe after the jump…>

Shallot-Basil Burgers

July 7, 2011

Few things in life conjure up such positive associations as burgers. They are classic American summer fare, and are inextricably linked to thoughts of freedom, blue skies, warm weather, cold drinks, and good company. No matter how hard things might be at the rat race, knowing that you can always come home and stoke the barbecue flames till they lick the sky is a source of constant comfort. Everyone has something to complain about, but the solace of the backyard kitchen is an eternal refuge for the work-weary. Over the coals, worries melt away like fat dripping from juicy patties, and after that first tender bite, the savoury trinity of char, spice, and smoke brings repose to troubled hearts, and satiety to rumbling bellies.

Recently the LA times ran a feature on the best burger recipes from reader submissions. Some of the burgers selected in this little contest sounded so mouth-watering that I could not help but be inspired to craft my own burger recipe. Now, all of the recipes ran in the feature had slightly ethnic twists to them – the german-cuban pork, the southwestern, the mexican. To me this really demonstrates the versatility of a burger. If the thing itself weren’t such a solid foundation, then it wouldn’t support all the variations on a theme so well. But, because a burger is such a classic, it is important to not stray too far, or else that underlying greatness might get lost in the enthusiasm and confusion of experimentation. After I had read that article, I realized I had some leftover Thai basil, and shallots, from the kohlrabi salad earlier this week, and was taken with a flash of inspiration.

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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…>

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…>

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…>