Monday, July 30, 2012

Away We Go

The Circus is dark for a week and I'm about to run away for a much needed vacation. I have a guest post or two that I'll try and get up, and I may check in when I can. If I don't see you though, have a lovely week. I intend to!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Clams with Fresh Corn and Heirloom Tomatoes and Happy Endings

Okay, this. This was one of those amazing kick ass plates of food that you make, and then instantly think about who else you can make them for because you feel like showing off.
I've been knocking around the idea of tomatoes, corn and white wine for a while, and I know this isn't a new idea because I've seen other people make variations on the theme. I put this together for a lunch with Myles.

I think I've mentioned Myles before. He's my best friend here in the desert and he's just landed a touring job with the circus. He was on my show, but now he's off to travel the world. He starts in Tel Aviv at the end of next week and he'll be going to Italy and Greece and Germany and pretty much everywhere. He's excited and I'm excited for him. This is his happy ending.

So he was supposed to come over and drop off some stuff. He doesn't need his pantry anymore, so I inherited it. I now have a huge amount of grains that I have no idea what they are because they are unlabeled (one of them is blue). I also have a plethora of alcohol, including two huge full bottles of Blueberry Vodka. I have no idea what I'm going to do with most of it, but it's going to be fun playing around.

I used this exchange of goods as an excuse to make this nice plate of food. It took five stores to find fresh clams, and I was looking for mussels, but it was worth it. Fresh seafood in the desert is not exactly easy to come by.

It's a really amazing lunch, very balanced, quite delicious, and super quick. The broth is absolutely divine and the sweetness from the corn is a great pairing with the acidity of the wine and the tomatoes.

Bon voyage and bon spectacle, Myles. This one's for you.

Clams with Fresh Corn and Heirloom Tomatoes

Pick good quality corn and tomatoes for this dish. They really are the glue that holds the dish together and should be yummy and fresh and delicious. I found little heirloom tomatoes at Trader Joes, so if you have one in your area it's a good place to start. As for wine, I used a very very cheap Pinot Grigio. Go for a wine that isn't too dry.

12 Fresh Littleneck Clams or 18 Fresh Mussels
1 Ear Fresh Corn
1 Cup Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
1 Cup White Wine
1 Shallot, minced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons Fresh Chives, minced
3 Tablespoons Butter
1 Loaf Crusty Bread

Soak your clams or mussels in a big bowl or sink of fresh water for thirty minutes. This will get a bunch of the dirt out, though they shouldn't be too dirty.

In a very large wide pan that you either have a lid for, or can invert another pan over, melt a tablespoon of the butter. Add the garlic and shallots and saute over a medium heat until softened, about 5 to 10 minutes. Cut the corn off the ear and add that with the tomatoes, chives, clams or mussels, and the wine. Add a few grinds of pepper and stir around. Bring up to medium heat and cover. When covering, you want to make sure that the clams will have room to open, so you don't want the lid to be tight over them. I used another pan that I placed upside down. It didn't form a perfect seal, but it was enough.

Simmer over a medium heat until all of the clams or mussels have opened. Probably about another ten to fifteen minutes. Pour everything out onto a curved plate or in a shallow bowl so that the clams are swimming in the broth.

Eat with a loaf of fresh bread, tearing it off in chunks to soak up the broth with your best friend while you talk about the awesome adventures they are about to embark on.

Serves 2. 

One Year Ago: Whole Wheat Couscous with Goat Cheese and Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Apple Torte and Skipping Ahead

When my Stunt Guy was in town a couple of weeks ago, he was working a convention that provided lunch for all of the volunteers. Those silly people were going through their lunches and pulling out their apples, and they got dumped into a big bag. At the end of the convention, everyone was leaving town and the bag of apples needed a home. Since they knew he has a girl that lives here, they gave the bag to John and he in turn gave it to me.

So  had a giant bag of apples and a sweet tooth. My first thought was to see about making Tarte Tartine. There is a recipe in Molly Wizenberg's book A Homemade Life that I keep meaning to make. On further inspection, though, it required puff pastry and I didn't have any on hand. So I decided to turn it into a simple torte.

I used my fancy new quiche pan that I hadn't broken in yet and wished after that I'd used a pie pan, because it didn't spread the way I thought it would. I pulled is out of the oven, let it cool, and drizzled on some whipped cream. Not bad, I thought, after chowing down on a slice. But nothing to blog home about. I then wrapped the torte in plastic wrap, got busy, and left it on the kitchen counter.

Skip ahead.

Two days later I'm craving a snack (and some more counter space). I decided to see if I should throw the Apple Torte either in the trash or in the freezer. I pull off another slice, drizzle over a smidge more cream, and take a bite, fully expecting a stale and horrible mouthful of sawdust.

Woah. Not the case my friends, not the case indeed. Over the two days, the juices from the apples had soaked even more into the surrounding sponge, and the cake was now flavorful.....moist...delicate.... delicious! Everything that I had wanted it to be after pulling it out of the oven. I was stunned and delighted.

So you should make this. Then, you should leave it wrapped up in plastic wrap and eat it a day or two later. It's delightful.

Apple Torte

Use apples that are on the tart side rather than the sweet side for this. 

3 Apples, peeled and diced (or sliced)
4 Tablespoons Butter, softened
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 Cup Flour
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/8 Teaspoon Salt

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch pie pan.

In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Mix well. Sift in the flour, baking powder and baking soda. You'll have a fairly thick dough. With your hands, add in the apples and work into the dough as best you can. It'll be stiff and seem like a lot more apple than dough. Press into the pie pan.

Bake for one hour until the top is turning golden brown. Let cool all the way.

Eat, two days later, with surprise, delight, and a drizzle of cream.

Makes 8 servings.

One Year Ago: Fried Green Tomatoes

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tilapia Fish Cakes and Being Prepared

I really like tilapia. I think I might be one of the few people that adores it. It's a really great base fish. It's easy to cook and it takes seasoning very very well. It's also pretty inexpensive, which is another big tick in the plus column for me.

That was very British, wasn't it?

Anyways. I've been cooking in batches recently to try and replenish my freezer with things that do not require much attention. I generally go through phases where I make extras of things and put them in the freezer so that when I get busy I have quicker options. My reserve was drastically depleted over the last month, so I've been playing around with some good stock up recipes. I hate when I have nothing in the freezer. I feel unprepared for disaster. I think I need to make some quiche again, that worked exceptionally well last time.

I have a secret weapon when it comes to Tilapia. I buy Louisiana Fish Fry in a package and use that to coat a tilapia fillet, then I usually just put it straight in a non-stick skillet with no oil. It's delicious. I know I could probably mix my own fish fry seasoning, but one little package of it is less than a dollar and I use very little. I usually keep it in a jar in my pantry and just pull out what I need. Easy peasy.

So I decided to make fish cakes out of some tilapia so that I could keep them in my freezer, and I also decided to coat them with fish fry to give them a little extra something something. They tasted delicious with some fresh tomato and some Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog Chevre.

Tilapia Fish Cakes

6-8oz Uncooked Tilapia Fillets
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley or Chives, minced
1 Shallot, minced
1 Egg
2/3rd Cup Breadcrumbs
2 Tablespoons Fish Fry Seasoning
Salt and Pepper

Put the tilapia fillets in a mixing bowl and mash up with a fork. Add the tomato paste, herbs, shallot, egg and breadcrumbs. Grind in some salt and pepper. Mix well.

In a shallow bowl or on a small plate, shake out two tablespoons of fish fry seasoning. Divide the fish mixture into four pieces and form it into small patties with your hands, about one inch thick. Coat with the fish fry seasoning.

Heat up a non-stick pan and place the patties in to cook. Turn a couple of times so that they brown evenly. Cooking them will take about ten minutes total.

Eat with something fresh and acidic at three in the afternoon on your day off while sitting at the dining room table reading other peoples blogs.

1 Year Ago : Curried Carrot Soup

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Whilst I'm Not Cooking #12

Chocolate Swirl Buns from Smitten Kitchen
I've been swooning over lots of other peoples blogs for the last little while. There are some really gorgeous recipes knocking around the internet right now. Since I don't have much to say, here's twice the normal inspiration!

The Chocoholic's Dessert Bar from Kevin and Amanda (No recipe, just some awesome Food Porn)

Cold Rice Noodles with Peanut Lime Chicken from Smitten Kitchen

Potato Skins from The Pioneer Woman

Chocolate Swirl Buns from Smitten Kitchen (lead photo)

One-Banana Banana Bread from 80 Breakfasts

Tarragon Corn Chowder from Simply Recipes

Mushroom Pate from Vegalicious

Brownie Bottom Caramel Cheesecake Bars from Cookies and Cups

Ginger Bars from The Sweets Life

Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Muffins from How Sweet It Is

Friday, July 20, 2012

Open Sesame

I wanted to take a little trip back into the past to the weekend I spent in LA. Mostly because I wanted to give you a quick restaurant recommendation if you are ever in Long Beach. I went to Open Sesame for lunch with Amee, and had a really darn good meal.

Open Sesame is apparently so popular that they had to open a second location just a few buildings down the road to handle their overflow. It's Lebanese food, and it was really great. We sat in the front of the restaurant at a very very little table. The staff were really nice and very friendly.

We got hummus to start and, as always, not the right ratio of hummus to pita bread. The hummus was very tasty and beautifully presented, but we had about half the dish left by the time we ran out of pita bread. I think we would have taken it home, but we were going to be out for the rest of the day so that wasn't too feasible.

They did have Mango Mimosas though, which made me supremely happy. They were very delicious, made with prosecco. Amee went with the Pomegranate version. Definitely a perfect lunch time drink.

I had the Pita Kafta - Charbroiled Ground Lamb and Beef with onions, parsley, hummus, and I slathered extra hummus on top. It was absolutely delicious, the char on the meat was really tasty and the onions and parsley were almost juicy and fresh. It was a big meal, though, and I ended up only eating half and then pulling out just the meat (which I then covered in more hummus).

It was a good meal, and fairly inexpensive too. If you're in Long Beach I would definitely recommend swinging by for lunch. But make sure you order extra pita!

Open Sesame on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Moroccan Chicken with Golden Raisins

It feels like college was forever ago. There's nothing like realizing you were a freshman ten years ago to make you wonder where on earth your twenties went.

I loved my University. I went to Clayton State University which is a teeny tiny school in Atlanta, Georgia. When I started, they only had 6,000 students. The campus was gorgeous. A little island of beauty in the middle of an iffy county. We had lakes, we had swans, we had awesome professors and over air-conditioned classrooms. We had a little newspaper called The Bent Tree. I loved my school.

I met a lot of great people in college, and I've lost touch with a lot of them. So I was pretty happy when six months or so, Dana started popping up on my radar. She and I weren't super close, but we knew each other.

After college, she went and got a Masters degree, and now she lives and works in Norfolk, Virginia. I don't think I've seen her in at least five or six years. But the neat thing is that she turned into a food blogger too! I started seeing her food pop up on Facebook and started reading her blog. She writes over at Whisks and Words. She is also working on her first novel and I seriously cannot wait to read it.

A couple of weeks ago, she posted a recipe for Moroccan Chicken in a slow cooker. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it, so yesterday I made it. It's ridiculously delicious and pretty darn healthy. I ate a bowlful with some quinoa, and then I ended up going back to the slow cooker at least half a dozen times to grab another bite. Because it makes such a big batch, I'm going to get to take this to work a whole bunch this week, which makes me really happy because I'd gotten bored of sweet potatoes. This is one of those wonderful dishes that develops more flavor as it sits.

If you get a chance, take a peek at Dana's blog. She's pretty darn awesome.

Moroccan Chicken with Golden Raisins
Adapted from Dana and Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook

One of the things I loved the most about this recipe is that the golden raisins get all plump in the slow cooker, and then when you get them on your spoon you can't necessarily tell if they are raisins or chickpeas. It's like a neat surprise every time!

4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
2 Cans Chickpeas
1 15oz Can Diced Tomatoes
1/2 Cup Golden Raisins
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Small Red Onion or 4 Shallots
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
2 Tablespoons Water
1 1/2 Teaspoons Cumin
1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Paprika
Pinch of Cinnamon
Salt and Pepper
2 Tablespoons Peanut Butter

Grab your crockpot or slow cooker. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and add them with the tomatoes, tomato paste, water, cumin, cayenne, paprika, cinnamon and raisins into the crockpot. Dice the bell pepper and onion and add them in. Stir everything up. Then, cut up the chicken thighs into 1 inch pieces. Try and trim away as much fat as you can. Lay the chicken pieces over the other ingredients and grind over some salt and pepper.

Turn the slow cooker on high and put the lid on. Let cook for twenty minutes so the ingredients all come up to temperature. Stir in the chicken. Cook for ten more minutes on high, then turn down to low and cook for four more hours. Turn off the heat and stir in the peanut butter to finish.

Serve over quinoa, rice or couscous, or eat straight from the slow cooker after going to the gym. Try really hard not to splash any of the liquid on your tummy while stirring it, because that will hurt like hell. Three guesses how I know.

Makes about six large servings.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pepper and Corn Summer Salad

I didn't mention it, but a few days ago this little baby blog of mine turned a year old. I think it's getting close to the realm of toddler now. I've been really lucky over the last little while because it seems I'm getting more and more visitors. Hi visitors! Thanks for coming by! Salted Spoon seems to be climbing up the Google charts a little, because lots of people seem to get here by searching for different foods and recipes.

I always find it interesting taking a peek at how people find this blog. It's always fun to see the search phrases that have been put in to get here. I think the most interesting one this week was "where to get cramble up sausage for pizza", which I hope led them to my Sausage and Pepper Breakfast Tortilla Pizza.

But it's interesting, too, to see what other people are really seeking. I get a lot of visitors looking for "cabbage as a snack". I really really like keeping cabbage on hand. I frequently make it as a midnight snack, and I think that my recipe for Charred Cabbage is what is being found.

So I challenged myself to dig through the fridge and pantry and come up with a new cabbage recipe. What I came up with was a fresh, simple and summery pepper and corn salad that uses cabbage as a wrapper. The end result was really yummy and, honestly, I'm pretty happy that I get to put this into my repertoire now.

So, for all you cabbage snack lovers out there, this one is for you.

Pepper and Corn Summer Salad

1 Cup Corn
1/2 Yellow Pepper, diced
1/2 Red Pepper, diced
2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Green Herb (Parsley, Basil, Dill), minced
4 Cabbage Leaves

In a large bowl, mix the peppers, corn, vinegar, oil and herbs together. I tend to have parsley available most often, but I think basil is your best choice here. Mix together and then grind over a generous amount of pepper. Mix again and taste, then adjust the seasonings.

Take four clean cabbage leaves and where the stem is thick at the bottom, cut it out in a little triangle. Divide the peppers and corn mixture between the cabbage leaves, then roll up into little wraps.

Eat over a plate to catch the drips, muttering to yourself about the deliciousness of summer while you make a delightful mess.

Serves 2.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Whilst I'm Not Cooking #11

Frozen Cherry Souffle from Eatori

I'm broke and it sucks. I have so many awesome recipes that I want to make and things that I want to play around with, but I've recently been kicked in the teeth by fate again and need to turn myself into a little turtle and fix my finances.

I'm also out of other projects right now. No pending voice work. No pending twisting (which is a neat wire wrapping thing I do for a very talented lady. When she gets a website, I'll show you). I have a personal writing project to finish but I just can't seem to get going.

What I really want to do is read. I want to curl up with a new book that immerses me. In the grid at the Circus there is a copy of A Million Little Pieces floating around. I wish it were my copy. I've read the first four pages and I want to read the whole thing. I've been reading a set of books for a while and I'm on the last one, but the whole series really hasn't grabbed me. I want a book to grab me and shake me around until I'm either ecstatic or crying. Or maybe both. Any suggestions?

You should make these if you get the chance. Then tell me how they are.

Dill Pickle Kale Chips from The Copycat Cook
I love the idea of these. In my brain they would be reminiscent of Salt and Vinegar potato chips but about 300 times healthier.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread from Bake or Break
This looks so incredibly moist and wonderful.

Frozen Cherry Souffle from Eatori (lead photo)
No cooking is involved in this one. Deceptively delicious, eh?

Carrot Raisin Salad from The Copycat Cook
I love how simple this one looks. I can imagine the flavors bursting on my tongue.

Salt and Pepper Shrimp from Coconut and Lime
Another really delicious and simple looking dish.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Hash House

For a few of the days that my Stunt Guy was in town, his Mum was also with us. Mimi is an incredibly interesting woman. She's done a lot of really amazing things in her life and has a constant deluge of ideas coming out of her brain. I'm a big fan of hers. I was working my socks off this last couple of weeks. The Circus is going through a busy time, and my Stunt Guy was off at a convention that Mimi was also helping out at. So there wasn't much opportunity for us to have any family time. 
We managed to swing breakfast though on Mimi's way out of town. 

She is an avid fan of Chopped and she wanted to check out The Hash House, which is a Las Vegas breakfast spot that I'd vaguely heard of but never tried. It's up past the strip in a little shopping center. Very out of the way and definitely more of a locals spot than a flashy spot. 

The restaurant itself was pretty cute and old timey. Mary, the owner was also working as host and she seemed a little surprised that Mimi had seen her on Chopped. The restaurant was pretty quiet at 10am on a Tuesday.

Mary specializes in Hashes, and they were very prominent on the menu.

This is the Super Hash that my Stunt Guy ordered. It's basically a blend of all of their other hashes. Perfect when you don't know what you want and man it was absolutely delicious.

Mimi went for the Corned Beef hash, which was also really delicious. Not quite as interesting as the Super Hash, much more simply, but really good.

Me, it was Poached Eggs and Turkey Bacon. I was in the mood for something light, mostly because we had hit up Tacos El Gordo (for the fifth time) the night before. I have to say, this restaurant sure knows how to poach an egg. They were perfect.

After our food had been served, the incredibly timid waitress came over with a tray of little cups of homemade jellies. That's the tray in the picture above. We were really sad that they didn't lead with that tray, because we agreed we all would have ordered toast so we could try more jellies. The waitress also wasn't very confident on what the jellies actually were, but she did give it a valiant (if meek) attempt. She was sweet as pie but very timid. The jellies we did try, splitting up Stunt Guy's order of toast, were amazing. He loved the Apple Jalapeno, and I thought the Passionfruit was excellent. The Pineapple was also really good.

I'd love to head back to the Hash House and order their Super Hash some time. I'd also make sure I got a couple of rounds of toast to try their jelly tray. I wasn't crazy about the interior of the restaurant, it could certain do with a bit of freshening up inside if it's going to gain in popularity, but the food was really really good. Try it out and let me know what you think.

Hash House on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pina Colada Upside Down Yoghurt Cake

I've always loved the story of how Molly Wizenberg and Brandon Petit met because of her blog, and partly because of a recipe for French Yoghurt Cake. If you don't read Molly's blog, Orangette, you should add it to your list. She is brilliant.

So, since it's the last couple of days that I'll get to spend with my Guy, I decided it was fitting to make a yoghurt cake. I also had a pineapple. I like pineapple. I like pineapple upside down cake. One thing led to another.

I was sneaky when I made this cake because I pretty much had John make it. While I was making the pineapple, he was putting together the cake. It came out wonderfully.

This is just a quick post because John is taking a phone call and I want to put this together quickly for you while he handles that.

Try this cake. It's yummy. I like it a lot and it's even better on day two.

Pina Colada Upside Down Yoghurt Cake

1 1/2 Cups Flour, Sifted
3/4 Cup Sugar
2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Canola Oil
1/2 Cup Plain Non-Fat Yoghurt
3 Eggs
Zest of 1 Lemon
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Coconut
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Coconut, toasted (for the top)

For the Pineapple

1 1/2 Cup Pineapple
1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar

Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients for the cake into a smooth batter, except for the extra toasted coconut.

In a small pan, add the pineapple and sugar and cook over medium heat for five minutes or so until the sugar has become a thick syrup. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan. Put the pineapple and syrup in the pan and even spoon over the cake batter. Don't stir it up, you want the pineapples at the bottom.

Bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown and a knife comes out clean. Let cool in the pan completely. When cool, run a knife around the edges of the pan and then put a plate on top. Flip over so the top of the cake is on the plate and the bottom is open to the air. It will be syrupy with big chunks of pineapple everywhere. Top with the toasted coconut.

Eat in wedges at 11pm after walking home from the movies with your beloved while furiously debating the fight sequences in The Amazing Spiderman and smuggling in your own beer.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Whilst I'm Not Cooking #10

Grilled Fontina and Blackberry Smash Sandwich by How Sweet It Is
Well, the sucky news from today is that, yet again, Great Britain did not win their own tennis tournament. We haven't won since my grandmother was 5 years old. It's extremely disheartening.

I was the crazy person on Pacific Time who got up at 6am to see it. Since my Stunt Guy had to leave to head to the convention he is working out, it seemed like I should suck it up and wake up too. So I watched the tennis, got sad, then went to take a nap with the intention of getting up and making cake. My timer for 20 minutes went off. I switched it on for ten more, then promptly woke up an hour and a half later with less then 20 minutes to get ready and out the door for work. See if you hit your timer when you are sleeping, sometimes you hit the button twice by accident. I switched my timer off when it still read 9:59.


So, since I didn't get to make cake, I thought I would just have to show you a few other things that I didn't make. Here are a few of my recent food blog favorites. 

Grilled Fontina and Blackberry Smash Sandwiches from How Sweet It Is (lead photo)

Blackberry Gin Fizz from Smitten Kitchen

Vegan Mac and Cheese from Vegalicious (The base is carrots, which is such a neat idea!)

Yoghurt Cake from The Actor's Diet

Carrot Cake Bars from Fat Free Vegan

Friday, July 6, 2012

Mango Oat Pancakes

I go through breakfast phases. I often stay within the same phase for a week or two and then rotate. Sometimes it's yoghurt and granola, sometimes poached egg on toast, sometimes cereal with fruit. When my guy is in town though, I like to break out of the phase and make something different. Something that takes enough effort to say "I love you" but not enough to make me have to get up two hours early, tear my hair out, and curse his name.

We eat fairly healthy in my house these days, and having just splurged a little on the calories the night before, I decided to whip up some pretty darn healthy oatcakes. I made Mango the theme of the day because we had the making of some kick ass Mango Mimosas, and nothing says classy like drinking out of a champagne flute at 10 in the morning.

These pancakes are tailored for my guy. Healthy, hearty, fruity. They are also really easy to make because honestly the best way to put them together is to throw all of the ingredients in a blender. You could use other fruit than Mango to similar result here. What you get is a cross between oatmeal and a pancake. Yummy, hearty, healthy, fancy looking, easy to make.

Mango Oat Pancakes

1 1/2 Cup Oats
1 Cup Non-Fat Milk
1 Tablespoon Low-Fat Butter substitute, melted
1/2 Cup Mango
2 Teaspoons Equivalent Stevia or 2 Teaspoons Sugar
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Egg

Put all of your ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. In a non-stick pan, melt a little butter for just the first pancake. Pour a quarter of the batter in and cook over medium heat. When the edges start to get pretty tacky, flip the pancake and cook on the other side. The first side is about three minutes, the second side is closer to two.

Repeat for three more pancakes. Keep warm in the oven.

Top with fresh mangoes, raspberries or other fruit and syrup if you like. This would also be great with some non-fat yoghurt on top.

Serve with a mango mimosa if you can scrounge one up. Eat, sip, plan your day.

Makes two hearty servings

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


I would give you recipes, like the Mango Oat Pancakes I made this morning, or the ideas behind random attempts at cheese souffles, or tell you about the Tilapia..... thing... that I plan on making for dinner tonight.

But right now, it's my day off. There are twenty fingers and twenty toes hanging out in this room, and we've got three months worth of TV to catch up on. Today will be about my Stunt Guy.

Happy Independence Day to all of the Americans.

Happy Murray made the Semi-Finals to all of the Brits.

Happy Wednesday to me.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Vintage Enoteca

I was really happy that I managed to squeeze in a trip to LA last weekend. It takes about four hours to drive there from the desert if you swing by Cypress to pick up a gorgeous lady called Amee.

A couple of years ago, the ridiculously talented Mike and his beautiful wife Carolyn, whom I often refer to as "the classiest person I know", moved out to LA. A few months ago, Amee also moved out there. My Stunt Guy and I had managed to pull off dinner with Mike and Carolyn back at the tail end of our San Diego trip last summer, but we hadn't seen them since their wedding last fall.

Mike and Amee are both great actors, and I remain hopeful that wonderful things will happen for them soon. I sometimes feel like Carolyn could be my food soulmate. Her taste is impeccable and she really really knows food.

Carolyn suggested dinner at Vintage Enoteca. We were planning on heading to a show not far from there, and they had a pretty hard to beat happy hour that timed out perfectly with when we would like to be there.

Vintage Enoteca is lovely.

We decided to sit outside. The front of the restaurant is almost like a big covered porch. The benches around were strewn with comfy cushions and, though the street was noisy, the atmosphere just felt really good. I instantly tucked in to some really stellar Blackberry Sangria. It was light, fruity and perfectly balanced.

The Happy Hour special was for half off food not including the cheeses and salumi. With prices like that it was so easy to try several great things off the menu.

Carolyn and I are both really into cheese and I wish I had had the presence of mind to write down what we ate but, well, that didn't happen. One of the cheeses was a smoked blue cheese though and it was simply stunning.

I adored the Medjool Dates, which were stuffed with Manchego, Goat Cheese, Pepper and Speck. They were piping hot and quite good.

Next came a Bruschetta Trio. I went for Grilled Peach with goat cheese and bacon marmalade, Blue Crab with lemon and mint, and Chicken Pate with pickled shallot. Holy crap they were amazing. All three were just insane. So delicious. The crab was light and tangy and delicious. The bacon marmalade was out of this world. The pate, oh the pate. The pickled shallots were perfect on top. If you find yourself at this restaurant, you have to order those three. They were beyond superb.

I grabbed a bite of Mike's Mac and Cheese. It was really yummy, but I just wanted to get back to my Bruschetta. 

Seriously. Grilled Peach. Goat Cheese. Bacon Marmalade. Perfect.

The last dish that came out was the Gnocchi with Fava Bean Puree and Truffled Ricotta. This is the dish that I keep thinking about. The gnocchi was light as air with a perfect crisp edge to it. The truffle was pronounced, yet balanced, and the puree was unexpectedly good. I could have eaten it on it's own and loved it, though it's not something I would have thought to order.

Our bill was remarkably low for dinner and drinks for four people. I think we came out to less than $30 each including tip which strikes me as impressive in LA.

Spending time with friends was so worth the drive. I'm so happy for a lovely meal in such great company!

Vintage Enoteca on Urbanspoon