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The Man Yam Scam!

November 13, 2012

Well it’s that time of year again… Pumpkin carving, leaves falling, pie baking, scarf wearing, present giving time of year!  Its holiday time, the time of year when we get together with our loved ones to celebrate, bake, and make memories that last forever.   The malls and their halls are being decked, lights are being hung on main street, and the farmers markets are saturated with beautiful warm colors.  Hues of rusty browns, oranges, drab greens, deep aubergine, and rich reds are everywhere I look.

Its one of my favorite times of the year.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sunshine girl for sure, but I can’t resist the idea of snuggling up in a warm cashmere sweater with a hot cup of cocoa.  It’s also the time of year that inspires me to get in my kitchen and start baking.  This year I was thinking sweet potato pie.  Mostly because it reminds me of a casserole my mom used to make at Thanksgiving.  Growing up this dish was my favorite part of Thanksgiving.  It was a gooey mess of maple, brown sugar, and creamed yams topped with marshmallows and then baked until they turned brown on the tops.  Now that I’m all grown up (kinda) I have an idea to recreate my moms famous sweet potato dish, with a healthier  version.

My idea – sweet potato and banana, poured into a pie shell and then sprinkled with maple sugar. Yum!  I make my list, I check it twice and then I headed out to the market. I had collected everything on my list except for the spuds, so I stopped in the produce section, and that is where the confusion began. Baskets of sweet potatoes in ten different colors start my mind spinning. There are white sweet potatoes, orange sweet potatoes, long sweet potatoes, small yams, large yams, and WTF? It seemed so simple until now.

Yams, sweet potatoes whats the difference, and which one will make a better pie? I was stumped.  I had to get to the bottom of this controversy, but how?  Well I turned to my trusty friend, the almighty,  Alton Brown.  A brilliant man, who’s gastronomic knowledge has helped me out of many a culinary crisis.  I asked him for some insight on my tater puzzle, and once again I was rescued by his words of wisdom. Not only did he tell me the difference between the potato, the sweet potato, and the yam, but he showed me several varieties and colors of the sweet potato. I learned about the origin of the yam, and how the yams that we know today are not yams at all but sweet potatoes with a southern slang name. Another American marketing scheme…

Armed with new spud knowledge, I was ready to take on my pie!  I am experimenting now, and next week I will post the recipe and pictures, just in time for Thanksgiving.  Thank you Alton, for saving the day once again, you are an infinite source of cookery knowledge, and your potato expertise has given me perfect pie guidance.

If you’d like Alton Brown to share his spud knowledge with you, or if you just want to know what the hell a Man Yam is, then  check out this video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzTpG6Rz5YI

Theres a new kid in town…Superba

October 9, 2012

Fried Brussel Sprouts in a dashi broth, sous vide egg, chives

I can’t believe I am actually writing this, but I am afraid that my 3 year love affair with Gjelinas is over.  Until now, I have found no other that could compare. The dark swanky ambiance, the thin as paper pizza, the salted butterscotch pot de creme, OMG! How could anything ever compete?  I wasn’t sure anything could, but then I found Superba, and my new crush had begun.

Nestled on Rose ave the once dark and dodgy street that was lined with liquor stores and laundry mats is now abuzz with an electricity.  There are new boutiques, cafe’s, juice bars, wine bars, and several loft style apartments in the works. The scene is young, eclectic, and full of life. Its the perfect stretch for a row of hip new foodie finds.

That must be what owner Paul Hibler, also owner of Pitfire pizza chain,was thinking when he decided to open here, and I’m so happy he did.  Superba fully embodies what Farm-to-table is all about. Taking pride in using only the finest local, organic, sustainable ingredients, from their own farm, ensures that their beautiful entrees are as fresh as it gets.

Minimal clean lines and a large open patio dotted with Navajo blankets for chilly guests greet me as I approach.  I take a quick peek inside before I put my name down for a table (they don’t take reservations) and I notice its small, but the atmosphere is inviting. After a short wait for a table, our hostess takes us to our seats, and I think she must have liked us, because they were the best seats in the house!  Somehow we got lucky enough to score a spot at the bar right in front of the open kitchen. We watched as chefs prepared and tossed fresh pasta. It was magical.

The menu is compiled of charcuterie, fruits and veggies celebrating their garden, and elegant hand-made pastas. We ordered four or five dishes, as they are small and meant to share.

Sticky Finger Lick’n chicken at Superba

Starting with the charred figs and Burratta, dusted in a walnut powder, opal mustard, fresh mint and I think a bit of lemon curd. We were over the moon with our first choice, when our crispy broccoli shows up. Fried little florets bursting with savory flavor dissolve in my mouth. Next a plate of sweet fried chicken appeared before my eyes. Smothered in a sticky sauce and red peppers, I cant wait to dig in. Before I could tell the owner Paul, how happy we were with everything, he was sending more entrees our way.  We had smokey pork meatballs, deep-fried brussel sprouts bathed in a dashi broth topped with a sous vide egg, and a showstopping velvety pappardelle w/braised ox tail, dried cherries & ricotta salata. Just as we held up our white flag our server brought us a small hinged jar of something I can only describe as pure decadence. A wonderful homage to the childhood campfire favorite, S’mores! As we open its lid, I’m giddy to see layers of charred marshmallows and rich chocolate are layered into this little glass treasure pot.

velvety pappardelle, braised ox tails, dried cherries, ricotta salata.

Full of food and sick with gluttony, we thank our chef for an amazing show, and a lovely dinner experience. I cant wait to come back!

533 Rose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90291

(310) 399-6400

Get your glow on…

September 1, 2012

Nothing says summer time more than a radiant, fresh, sun-kissed glow. I’m not talking about a double dose of sun damage here, I’m talking about a look that says, I’m active, I play outside, and I take care of my skin.  Sunny turmeric and cool enzymatic yogurt make a natural skin brightening facial mask that will enhance your golden goddess, and really let her shine!

I use this rejuvenating facial mask once a week in the fall/ winter and twice a week in the spring /summer.  It can also be used just under the eye area to decrease the appearance of dark under eye circles

Turmeric has been used for centuries to brighten the skin and help increase the blood flow, it has antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, which make it an ideal ingredient to use to fight acne, and psoriasis.  It is also thought to decreases hair growth on the body and face.

 Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of organic plain Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon of turmeric powder

 Directions:

Mix the two ingredients together in a small bowl until they form a bright golden paste.

Apply a thin layer to your face with your fingers or clean make up brush

Cover your eyes with two slices of cucumber, turn on some relaxing music, and  relax for 10 minutes

Rinse off with  warm water and enjoy your golden, fresh skin!

WARNING: I have accidentally left this mask on for over ten minutes and it caused some redness and mild irritation. I suggest washing off between 8-12 minutes depending on your skins sensitivity.

Hey There Honey Bear…

August 21, 2012

I ‘m kind of obsessed (as you can see by my empty jar) with this sweet, rich caramel colored honey from the Guerilla Beekeepers. Its Local, treatment free, unfiltered and cold packed. Not only is it delicious but eating locally harvested honey can help to alleviate allergies caused by pollen, and did you know it is also great for your skin! Here are a few DIY skin purifying recipes that all use honey. 

Honey is an amazing natural anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, antioxidant that can be used in several face products to reduce acne and redness. It absorbs the bacteria from the skin when applied directly to it, reducing oil and breakouts. It can be used to make facial masks, cleansers, moisturizers, lip balms, hair conditioners, and even skin toners. Honey has a wonderful ability to retain moister, it can help protect the skin from UVA and UVB rays from the sun.

The Chinese used it for hormonal acne, the Greeks used it combined with yogurt to treat sunburns, and the Egyptians used to cultivate raw honey and eat a spoonful of it each day for longevity of life. they believed that bees where a sign of sacred femininity.

Here are just a couple of recipes that I have found and tried. Keep in mind that the better the quality of the honey, the more beneficial the honey will be for your skin.

#1 Mix three tablespoons of honey plus one teaspoonful each of nutmeg & cinnamon and some droplets freshly squeezed lemon in a container (to kill bacteria and calm acne). Blend all the ingredients well by shaking the container vigorously and refrigerate it for at least an hour. Now the mask is to be applied and left on for thirty minutes & then rinsed off with gentle soap and warm water.

#2 Slightly warm one tablespoon of honey and mix it with one tablespoon of whole fat Greek yogurt, (to reduce redness) do not use fat-free or low-fat, apply to face and leave on for ten to fifteen minutes. This face mask not only reduces bacteria on the skin, but it also locks in moister.

#3 This mix is a combo of apples (to moisturize and soften) sage (the sage’s antibiotic, anti-fungal and astringent properties help to clean your skin) and honey. Start by taking one apple and remove the core, then puree it in a food processor until its pulpy in texture but not too liquidy. Add two tablespoons of slightly warmed honey, and one tablespoon of sage or about eight small leaves and blend all of the ingredients together until they form a paste. Allow the mix to cool in the fridge for twenty minutes and then apply to face. Lie down and let the mask sit on your face for twenty minutes. Wash off with warm water and apply moisturizer right after skin has dried. This should seal in the moister.

Weekly Farmers Market Recipe ~Rainbow Carrots

August 21, 2012

Check out my recipes page to see what I do with these beautiful rainbow carrots that I got at the Santa Monica Farmers Market.

The Dory Fleet cant be beat!!

August 19, 2012

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Just a forty-five minute drive from my home there is a magical little place called The Dory Fleet. A small fish market established in 1891 by a local fisherman as a place for the locals to get a fair deal on fresh seafood. If you get here early enough in the morning, and very possibly on your one day to sleep in, you can swoop up some fantastically fresh fish for next to nothing. Just like the pro’s. For me that’s the only reason that I need to set the alarm clock on a Saturday morning.

Nestled on the sand next to the Newport Beach Pier on the Balboa Peninsula you’ll find an enchanting sea bungalow. The Dory Fleet, that any given weekend morning is filled with sleepy seafood lovers, standing in line with a coffee in one hand and a cooler in the other. Their eyes widen as they browse over this weeks catch. Bellies start to rumble, and coolers are getting filled to their brims with crabs and prawns that are still kicking.

All kinds if live shell fish like crabs, large prawns, and snails. Beautiful seasonal fish caught locally, within hours of their sale are all out on display. There are fishermen cleaning and gutting black cod and their are seagulls begging at their feet like the family dog. Crabs are crawling over each other, and large spotted prawns are jumping out of their shallow container pools of ocean water. Its any chefs dream, but this sustainable fish market isn’t for the chefs, or the wholesalers. Its for people who love to cook and people who love fresh seafood, but don’t feel that they should pay such a steep mark up on the price.

The Dory Fleet is open every weekend, if the weather permits, and its open to the public! That means fresh, local, seasonal, sustainable seafood starting at $2 a pound. Yes, I wrote that correctly…$2!!!!

I make the trip down to Newport about once a month. I am always happy with the delicious seafood that I find there. The selection is decent, and The Dory Fleet update their website weekly so that you can check their catch before you head to the pier. Its the best seafood I have ever had, and the most wonderful part is that its also the least expensive!!! Now that doesn’t happen very often.

A Sustainable Kitchen Blog comes to life!

August 17, 2012

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A wonderful new blog, brought to you by the Venice based team at A Sustainable Kitchen, aimed at providing its subscribers with weekly sustainable news, seasonal farmers market recipes ~ by yours truly, and provocative interviews with other local, sustainable fanatics. Its worth stopping by for sure, so check it out:

http://a-sustainable-kitchen.blogspot.com/

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