Monday, February 20, 2017

Turmeric & Coconut Milk Veg Bowl with Poached Eggs


I haven't posted for a ages but I've certainly been cooking and eating a lot! This particular dish has been on repeat for over a month now and for numerous reasons, most of which because it's incredibly savory and delish.  The other being that last year I threw my back out and ended up in the ER only to discover I have something called degenerative disc disease in my lower back. I've experienced chronic pain for almost a year now and have been determined to try every possible method of healing myself from within through food and supplements as well as through physical therapy, acupuncture, etc. One healing method I've read a great deal about is incorporating turmeric into your daily diet as it's an anti-inflammatory healing agent that's been used throughout the ages. I've been tossing 1/2 a tsp. into my daily morning pressed juice as well cooking with it most nights. Thank God I love it! When I found this recipe it was meant to be a vegan dish but my philosophy has always been to throw an egg on it!  And now that I have mastered the art of egg poaching (recipe included), I really love what the runny yolk does to flavor this dish, not to mention the added protein. Here's the recipe:

1 C Brown basmati rice

1 13.5oz. can full fat coconut milk
1/2 C water
1/2 head broccoli chopped
1 C shredded carrots
2 tsp turmeric
3 bay leaves
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 shallot diced
2 cloves garlic diced
1 lime for garnish
chopped cilantro for garnish

To start, boil your rice. You can use white rice or anything you like I just happen to like the health benefits of brown rice and this one from TJ's is great. One cup of rice to two cups water covered and boiled for about 30 minutes should do the trick. While it cooks...





Throw the coco oil into large pot and heat on medium until it's in oil form. Add shallots and garlic and cook 2 mins until translucent. Add the coco milk and water and bring to a boil for about 2 mins. Add the turmeric and the bay leaves. Next, add the veg and bring back to a boil for a few mins then lower heat and let simmer for 15 mins...




Have a taste and perhaps season with some salt and pepper, I like to sprinkle the curry boil with cayenne pepper for some added heat and add'l healing properties as well. Simmer for an add'l 5 minutes. Then throw some rice in a nice big (pretty) bowl and top with the mixture. If you're at all like me and love an egg atop anything! Here is the greatest poached egg recipe:


Boil water. Add 2 Tbsp. white vinegar (so the egg whites don't separate whilst boiling). Add some salt to the water. Crack eggs into small measuring cups so that the egg yolks don't break and you can lower the eggs into the boiling water without the whites separating. Add eggs to water and let boil for 3-4 mins for perfectly runny yolks.





Remove eggs from water with a slotted spoon as to let the water drain out. Throw on top of the rice/ curry bowl and you have literally the most savory, rich and healthy meal EVER. Oh, and if you want to be totally crazy squeeze a little fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro on top as 
well. ENJOY. 



Saturday, April 16, 2016

Best Fillets Ever


If I want to cook to impress, this is absolutely my go-to dish. But it's certainly not lite eating. The two secrets that make this recipe sing are 1. searing the meat in a VERY hot cast iron skillet and 2. the salty butter you pop on top when you throw your steaks in the oven. I should mention that I have been making these bad boys on Friday nights before my long Saturday morning runs and they have provided me with so much energy! There are so many conflicting studies on whether to carb-load vs. protein-load prior to race day but a big juice steak has been working for me so when my half marathon rolls around, this is what I'll be eating the night before. But I digress, per usual. Here is the recipe for two:
  • 2" thick grass fed fillets from a good butcher, 8-10 oz each. I've been getting mine at Whole Foods & Gelson's
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter (I like to stick to the super organic kind as well, you taste the difference)
  • EVOO
  • Kosher salt
  • Cracked pepper
Here is what you do:
  • Remove your steaks from the fridge an hour before preparation and coat with olive oil and then cover in Kosher salt and cracked pepper (very important for the proper crusty sear)
  • When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425 degrees
  • Heat the cast iron on high heat for 5-7 minute, I put a dash of olive oil in the pan. You want to see the pan steaming (open your doors or set the kitchen fan on b/c you will set off the smoke alarm)
  • Pop the steaks in pan and sear on 5 different sides for two minutes a side. (top, bottom and three edges)
  • Place 1 Tbsp of butter on each steak and transfer to the oven. Cook for 6 mins for medium rare, 8 for medium
  • Let the steaks sit for 10 minutes after removing from the oven, this is VERY important. I like to take a spoon and pour the pan drippings, aka butter, over the steaks several times to really let the buttery flavor permeate the steaks. Don't cut into the steaks before serving, this destroys the process!
I like to serve with either roasted potatoes or crusty garlic bread along side a beautiful garden salad with tons of veg. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Greek Salad


It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how to whip up a great Greek salad but I'm including this recipe on the blog because A.) I believe the Greek dressing recipe is worth it's weight in gold and B.) the salad recipe is intended as a reminder of how simple making dinner at home can be, not to mention healthy. I use the dressing as a substitute for mayo on a sandwich or simply drizzled over roasted veggies. Also, there are lots of variations on the salad ingredients, most often I like to grab a rotisserie chicken and pop some slices atop the salad to make it a complete meal.  I also like to keep a lot of the ingredients aka the pre-made dressing and the bell peppers and cucumbers pre-chopped in my fridge so that when I get home from work all I have to do is cut up an avo and an onion and toss everything into a bowl and voila. The recipe serves four.

The dressing:
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 Tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 Tsp Dijon 
  • 1/4 C apple cider vinegar (healthiest vinegar option)
  • 1 Tsp Kosher salt
  • Few turns of freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 C good EVOO
The dressing recipe is more than enough for a salad for four, I like to save it for later use, 3/4 of the recipe is perfect on a salad for four.

The salad:
  • 1 bag of lettuce, I'm partial to romaine and butter lettuce and toss in some arugula
  • 1 ripe avo, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 4 oz. crumbled feta
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 1 diced cucumber


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Chicken Piccata



Ever since I was a little girl my favorite Italian dish has been chicken piccata. There's something so comforting about breaded chicken in a thick lemon and caper sauce. It always send's me right back to my childhood dining with my family at the Chase restaurant in Santa Barbara. So when I saw a chicken piccata recipe on Jocooks.com, I thought I would try whipping it up at home. Let me tell you, the dish was just as good as any restaurant, divine. The secret is using Meyer lemons, they have that extreme lemony flavor and produce so much juice.

Here's what you'll need:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise, organic if possible
  • Flour for dredging chicken 
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO
  • 1/3 C fresh lemon juice (Myer if possible), requires about 4 medium sized lemons total, 3 for juice, one for garnish
  • 1/2 C dry white wine or chicken stock (I prefer wine)
  • 1/4 C brined capers
  • 1/3 C fresh parsley, chopped

Here's what you do:
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in flour.
  • In large skillet, melt 2 Tbsp of butter with olive oil over medium to high heat
  • Add chicken pieces to skillet and cook on both sides for about 3-4 minutes until a bit browned. Remove chicken from pan.

  • Remove skillet from heat and add the lemon juice, capers, chicken stock/ white wine and scrape up the bits from the pan for extra flavor and stir. 
  • Return skillet to heat and bring to a boil.




  • Return chicken to skillet and simmer for about 5 mins.
  • Remove chicken from skillet and add the other 2 Tbsp butter to pan and whisk for a minute or so while the sauce thickens. Remove from heat.
  • Return chicken to skillet and garnish with parsley and lemon slices. 




Thursday, March 10, 2016

Snickerdoodle Apple Bread



Anyone who knows me would tell you I am not much of a baker (other than pies which I cover in a previous entry). But since I'm training for a half marathon I seem to have acquired an insatiable appetite. I saw this recipe on Cookiesandcups.com, check out the site if you're a baker or like looking at sweet treats. Most of the ingredients for the bread are pantry staples and it's a very simple recipe. And your house will never smell better while the bread is cooking. It's a perfect Sunday morning treat for you and yours. Here's what you will need:

  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 C flower
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 C light brown sugar
  • 1/4 C granulated sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1 sour apple, diced and peeled
Cinnamon sugar topping:
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Here's what you do:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • grease 9x5 loaf pan
  • whisk together salt, baking powder and flour, set aside.
  • In a bowl of stand mixer or bowl large enough to accommodate all ingredients to mix with hand blender, beat butter, both sugars and cinnamon for 2 mins on medium speed and add in both eggs and vanilla and continue mixing until smooth, scrape sides if needed. 
  • Turn mixer to low and add in flower mixture and milk until combined. Set mixer aside.
  • Add the diced apple to mixture and stir until combined. Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan.

  • Mix together the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on top of the batter


Finally, bake for 50-55 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for ten minutes and then transfer to warming rack and then -- GET. IN. THERE. 











Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Chicken in Red Curry


In an effort to cook in more often I decided to try making my own version of one of my go-to Sunday night Seamless delivery orders, chicken in Thai red curry. The inspiration for this recipe came from one of my favorite bloggers, Cupcakes and Cashmere who sang the praises of TJ's red curry sauce. This dish is super easy, tasty and healthy. Trader Joe's does most of the work for you so you can simply drop all the ingredients into your slow cooker and go about your day. All the components in the recipe come from TJ's so not only is it one stop shopping but it's on the cheap as well. Here's what you will need (serves 4):
  • Two boneless, skinless chicken breasts (organic if possible)
  • 1 container TJ's red curry sauce 
  • 1 C shredded carrots
  • 1 C peas (I prefer English peas from the fresh section) 
  • 1 C brown basmati rice (follow directions on package)
Set your slow cooker on high and add the curry sauce and two chicken breasts. Cook for one hour. Then add the carrots and peas and cook for an additional hour. Prepare the rice 40 minutes before serving. For an added twist, I tried subbing orzo for rice and it was equally tasty and a little bit more filling. I've also done a vegetarian version and simply added bell peppers and snow peas and omitted chicken. I like to cook up a whole batch on a Sunday afternoon and have prepped for weeknight dinners. 


Friday, March 4, 2016

Cassia



Cassia Interior

Cassia had been at the top of my dining list for months. My first visit had me returning within the same week, it was that good. Can the team at Rustic Canyon do anything wrong? You take the farm to table eloquence of Rustic Canyon/ Milo and Olive/ Huckleberry and marry it with Bryan Ng's (of now shuttered Spice Table) Vietnamese flare and you have something truly unique. The cuisine is unlike anything on the west side. I should also mention that the aesthetics alone would draw me back in an instant: the white marble, sea glass tile and open airiness makes me want to settle in for hours with friends sipping cocktails whilst sharing plates of wonderful seafood and Vietnamese soups and small plates. Cassia is that impressive, in fact, that Jonathan Gold included it in his infamous 101 best LA restaurants list even though it's brand new. Here is what he wrote:


A Vietnamese charcuterie plate? Sure, why not? Delicate terrines, whipped lardo with slivered herbs, smoked duck, air-dried lamb, candied pork belly, ruddy salami flavored with Vietnamese spices — it could make up the filling of the best bánh mì you've ever tasted. Pot-au-feu shares roots with pho, and when the clear beef broth is scented with burnt onion, cinnamon and star anise, the resemblance is obvious. A crock of snails may take on even more resonance when the garlic butter is zapped with lemongrass and it is served with naan-like flatbread fresh from a wood-burning oven. What former Spice Table chef Bryant Ng has done here is to reimagine the populist California bistro as Vietnamese the way that Campanile reimagined it as Italian a generation ago, and the results are thrilling: plum salad with wild arugula, egg custard with uni, a mayonnaisey jellyfish salad you could imagine encountering on the Left Bank and what is undoubtedly the best Singapore-style white pepper Dungeness crab in town. Better than any other local restaurant at the moment, Cassia encapsulates the erasure of boundaries between expense-account dining and street food.

It's a tough reservation so I suggest going early and snagging a patio table. The bar is lovely as well.