Quick and Easy Way To Peel Garlic

23 Feb

If you have a recipe requiring many cloves of Garlic, an easy way to peel them is to put them in a glass bowl and microwave for 30-45 seconds. The skins will slip right off and the Garlic will become slightly soft, becoming more mellow in flavor.

Garlic, like other Alliums, is a powerful antioxidant, so the more you eat, the better! Maybe tomorrow I will make Garlic Confit. I’ll be sure to share the recipe!


Super Bowl Snacks

27 Jan

Yesterday’s lunch at STAX Wine Bar in Morro Bay included a couple of dishes that made me think about Super Bowl snacks.

The first is a Grilled Portobello Mushroom Crostini with Arugula, homemade Basil Pesto and Parmesan Cheese.20130127-085320.jpg

The other dish was a Caprese salad with Tomato, fresh Mozzarella, Basil, Olive Oil and Salt/Pepper, served in a Martini glass with Crostini. I like the idea for a first course for a dinner party too, since it would be so easy to make ahead.


The third idea is actually not from STAX–I saw it on Food52. Check out this link for a Nacho Cheese sauce that has nothing artificial in it. Yum!!!

I think my new fitness plan will have to wait until after the game!

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!


Perfect Winter Meusli

11 Jan

I love my breakfast this morning and thought I just have to blog about it, right now! I recently discovered Jamie Oliver’s Perfect Winter Meusli. He is one of my favorite Chefs. I think his recipes are very approachable, even for not very experienced cooks. This is a perfect example. This Meusli is full of goodness and is so comforting. Super easy too and kid-friendly!

Check out the video here. Sorry I didn’t include a photo but by the time I thought about writing, my bowl was half gone and no longer photo worthy!

Happy New Year to all and thanks to all my followers from around the world. It was a great year and I hope to write and inspire much more in 2013.

And, don’t forget…there’s other content to see on Twitter @FoodOutsdTheBox so if you want, you can follow me there too!

Cookie Art – Part II

29 Dec

It has been an annual tradition to do a Cookie Swap at the office shortly before Christmas. Anyone who wishes to participate brings 2 dozen homemade Cookies.

They are laid out on a table and everyone walks around collecting all the various types, and by the time we’re done, we all go home with an amazing assortment! Best of all, when I’m asked “What’s for dessert?” I know I’ll be set for at least a few days!!

This year, I baked a classic Sugar Cookie and decided to try my hand at decorating. I used a few Pignoli Nuts (a.k.a. Pine Nuts, but I like how the Italians say it!) and designed them to look like a snowflake, then dusted with a bit of blue Sanding Sugar.

Other Cookies included Coconut Macaroons, a Chocolate, Pecan and Toffee covered Saltine Cracker “Bark”, Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies, Pistachio Shortbread and a Jam filled little pastry that was one of my favorites. The ones cut out in shapes of Raindeer, Candy Canes and Wreaths were also very special. I hope we’ll do it again next year!









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 🙂


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!

Cookie Art and Brunch in Seattle

16 Dec

I saw some impressive holiday cookie art over the weekend, while dining with our friends at the Four Season’s Hotel in downtown Seattle. It’s a beautiful hotel, with views of the water from Art restaurant, and it is a wonderful place to enjoy a leisurely lunch. Another surprising feature is that it has some very reasonably priced items on the brunch menu. I couldn’t resist the Dungeness Crab Salad.

From there, you can easily walk to Pike’s Place Market, the Seattle Art Museum (a.k.a. SAM) or there’s plenty of nearby shopping. I just love Seattle, any time of year!

P.S. Stay tuned for more cookie “art” soon…


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!



Grilled Feta Stuffed Figs

10 Nov

Yesterday I saw some lucious, ripe Black Mission Figs and after seeing this recipe today, I wish I had bought them! Check out this tasty idea…

Grilled Feta Stuffed Figs

Of course, you can’t go wrong with a simple pairing of Figs with Prosciutto or Gorgonzola Cheese! I might just have to add one more appetizer at Thanksgiving!