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Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Candied Kumquats

19 Jan

Great combination of flavors…Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Candied Kumquats from K & L Bistro in Sebastopol.

I sure wish I could figure out how to get my Kumquat tree to be more productive!

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Duck Fat Breadcrumbs

29 Dec

I know this may not be all that healthy, but I just love this idea of using Duck fat to crisp up breadcrumbs. This dish was on the menu from Zazu Restaurant

Of course, using Duck fat to sauté potatoes is another delicious option!

Next time you cook up some Duck, I hope you’ll save some of the rendered fat and give it a try 🙂

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White Truffles – Mother Nature’s Best Perfume

22 Dec

There is nothing in this world like the aroma of a fresh White Truffle from Italy. This particular one is from Tuscany, and was served at Oliveto in Oakland. Lucky for us, since Antiquity, someone figured out that this ugly duckling is worth the hunt!

One of the best ways to enjoy them is thinly shaved over a fresh, buttered Tajarin Pasta or soft-scrambled Eggs (Parmigianno-Reggiano optional). So simple and so divine!

For a more affordable way to get that special flavor and aroma, I really like La Tourangelle White Truffle Infused Oil. It’s delicious when added to a vinaigrette (take any standard recipe and replace 1/2 of your Olive Oil with the Truffle Oil) or drizzled over Popcorn in lieu of Butter. If you can find 479 Popcorn in your grocery store, the Black Truffle and White Cheddar flavor is a real treat. They have gift packs online too.

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Restaurant Reviews for Los Angeles

18 Nov

Friday night, I had the good fortune to try Lukshon in Culver City for the very first time. It’s the kind of restaurant that is excellent to go to with friends–that way, you can share more of their delicious dishes. It was recommended by our waitress that we order 2 per person, and since it was hard to narrow down the choices, we ended up with about 9 dishes for the 4 of us. Here is a link to the menu.

Another new one for me this weekend was FarmShop in Brentwood. The restaurant is located in a marketplace where you can shop for gourmet food (both fresh or for the pantry) and there is a very tempting bakery as well. I couldn’t resist getting a blueberry streusel muffin for breakfast today! If you’re looking for brunch, this is definitely a good option.

And, if you ever want to celebrate a special event, Figueroa Hotel in downtown Los Angeles is a great venue. The decor is Moroccan and it’s a great escape from the ordinary and I especially loved the lighting. I was there for a party and we ate traditional dishes, like braised lamb, chicken with lemon and green olives, bastilla (with ground chicken, cinnamon, phyllo dough) and couscous…very tasty and excellent service! After dinner, we were entertained by beautiful and talented belly dancers…such a fun evening!

Where have you been lately? Would love to hear your recommendations!

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Mushroom & Gruyere Omelette

3 Jul

Omelettes are wonderful for a satisfying meal any time of day! I enjoyed this one for lunch at K & L Bistro. Eggs are a great option for eating vegetarian, and I prefer a meatless meal much of the time. I love vegetables and just about any of them go with eggs.

There are so many ingredients for filling them, such as sauteed red and yellow peppers, onions, spinach (one of my favorites in an omelette!), feta, peaches, sliced prosciutto, crab, and more! They are also a great vehicle for using up leftovers, like a ratatouille, or sausage ragu.

If you’re not comfortable with the idea if making an omelette, you could also use the same ingredients to do a frittata or even just scrambled eggs. Add a salad of greens and you’ve got a quick, delicious and affordable meal that won’t heat up your kitchen for more than about 10 minutes!

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Deconstructed Pork Tamale from Bocanova

8 Apr

It takes a creative chef to turn a Tamale, or anything for that matter, into something memorable. This dish definitely hit the mark! Imagine the inside of a delicious, homemade, authentic Tamale with stoneground Masa, slowly cooked Pork shoulder, seasoned with Onions, Garlic, Cumin, and Mexican Oregano, maybe some Epazote or Cilantro. But then, don’t hide all those delicious ingredients inside the Husk.

Instead, layer the Husk, Tomatillo sauce, Masa (think of a round slice of Polenta, but with more texture than a traditional Masa since this one had bits of corn kernels added), and Pork that has been cooked a long time so it melts in your mouth (think of Confit), then garnish with some Guacamole, Queso Blanco, Micro-greens and Red Bell Pepper. This modern and elegant dish would work well for a dinner party too. The other photo here is a Crab Pozole…also delicious!

Bocanova’s Executive/Proprieter Chef Rick Hackett provides an ever-changing Pan-American menu for brunch, lunch and dinner, including many great options for Vegetarians. The restaurant  is located on the waterfront at Jack London Square in Oakland, CA.  I highly recommend Bocanova!

A Seasonal Vegetarian Antipasti Platter

11 Mar

Whenever I think of an Antipasti platter, I think of various cured meats, such as Prosciutto, Salami, Sopresatta, and Bresaola. The one pictured here, from Peter Lowell’s Restaurant in Sebastopol (West County Sonoma) was all Vegetarian and I didn’t miss the meat one bit! I’m definitely going to be ordering it again.

This one included Grilled Radicchio with Balsamic Vinegar (I think it was White Balsamic), a head of Roasted Garlic, a small slice of Frittata, Roasted Potato sprinkled with some Parmesan, Roasted Beets, Bosc Pear slices, a Mustard Greens Pesto (delicious!) and Kalamata Tapenade with Kumquat (a very nice creative twist!), Olives (including Castelvestrano which are one of my favorites), Caperberries and a couple of Pickled Red Chiles, Brie, Crostini, a bit of fresh, lightly dressed Kale, Curly Endive and Watermelon Radish.

I recommend trying to put together your own Vegetarian Antipasti–I think you’ll love it!

And of course, if you’re in the area, visit Peter Lowell’s…it’s one of the best places in town (open 7 days a weeks for breakfast, lunch and dinner).