Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Diva Download: The Bazaar, Sushi Nozawa, Grilled Cheese & Champagne & The Street!

The Bazaar's Skirt Steak

Divas, it's been a whirlwind weekend so far and it's not even close to over! I want to take a moment to catch you up and all the great food happenings in my life. The Chicago Foodie has returned, and where she travels, great food manifests itself. We hit up The Bazaar by Jose Andres on Thursday night for trip numero quatro!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Pasta Salad with Yellowtail Tuna, Fresh Peas & Tarragon

I've had a divalicious week, full of great cooking, dining and wine! I'm here to share a great, simple pasta salad recipe I made for lunch the other day. I served it as part of a larger spread that included steamed organic artichokes served with a lemon-olive oil sauce, leftover braised white bean & chicken sausage cassoulet & brownies fresh from The Farm. For the pasta salad, I combined some canned yellowtail tuna that I always keep in my cupboard and organic peas that I blanched until tender but not mushy. I added tarragon to bring out the flavor of the peas and served it with pasta in a balsalmic vinagerette. The result was a fresh healthy dish, packed with protein, light and delicious.

Domestic Diva's Pasta Salad with Yellowtail Tuna, Fresh Peas & Tarragon

1 cup fresh peas, blanched (frozen will work also)
1 can yellowfin or other high quality tuna packed in olive oil
1 tbsp tarragon
1 shallot, diced
3 cups penne or other pasta, cooked al dente
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp good olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


Combine the peas, tarragon, tuna, shallots and pasta. Drizzle with the balsamic and olive oil and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Books That Are Cookin: Did Cooking Lead to Human Evolution?

A novel theory has just been posited by a Harvard professor in a new book called, "Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human." In it, he argues that learning to cook our food was responsible for the break from other species and the onset of human evolution. The most startling aspect of his theory is that it's new! Even Darwin overlooked our ability to cook our food as the most important evolutionary advance we made as a species. He writes:

“Cooked food does many familiar things. It makes our food safer, creates rich and delicious tastes and reduces spoilage. Heating can allow us to open, cut or mash tough foods. But none of these advantages is as important as a little-appreciated aspect: cooking increases the amount of energy our bodies obtain from food.”

He goes on to debunk the raw food movement and diet, arguing that humans cannot derive enough energy from it to sustain themselves - something I've noted for years. Well, no worries in this household! The Domestic Diva loves to cook! Guess I'm part of that evolution thing. :)

Click here to read the NY Times Article on this new book!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Grilled Organic Pork Tenderloin & Spinach Salad

Hey divas, as always, my life has been full of wonderful, healthy foods. So many in fact, that I have to share them with you! If you read my blog, then hopefully you caught my fantastic grilled organic pork tenderloin recipe I posted this week (click here to read). The pork, rubbed with herbs and olive oil and cooked to medium rare perfection on the grill, was positively delicious. Lucky for me, I also ended up with some leftovers after the meal was finished.

The next night as I prepared my braised white bean cassoulet, Kuzak mentioned that he was starving. "When's dinner?" he asked hopefully. I glanced at my timer and noticed that well over an hour was left (braising takes some serious time!). So to satiate our hunger, I threw the leftover pork together with spinach and served it with a sherry shallot vinagerette. It was great, light, refreshing and perfect to tide us over until dinner.

Domestic Diva's Grilled Organic Pork Tenderloin & Spinach Salad

1 cup grilled pork tenderloin, diced (click here for recipe)
4 cups spinach
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1/4 olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
parmesan reggiano
salt and pepper


In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil slowly into the sherry vinegar. Add the shallots and season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat a small skillet over medium high heat. Add the vinagerette and the pork, sauting for a few minutes until warmed. Toss with the spinach, sprinkle with some parmesan and serve. Enjoy!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Fava Beans & Roasted Tomato Salad

Happy Memorial Day to my divas! As my special gift to you, I'm sharing my grilled pork tenderloin recipe I made this weekend. Inspired by the holiday weekend, the great organic, seasonal fare and my recent trip to Lucques, I put together one of the very best dinners I've cooked in a long time! Recently, I'd been lucky enough to procure a beautiful piece of organic pork tenderloin. I'd also collected lovely organic fava beans which happen to be in season right now. Working with these two ingredients, I formulated my complete menu. To prepare the pork, I crusted it with herbs and grilled it until it was medium rare, serving it over the blanched fava beans. I topped it off with a roasted tomato feta salsa and a sherry shallot vinegarette. I also prepared some lovely roasted new potatoes to serve with the main dish.

Domestic Diva's Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Fava Beans & Roasted Tomato Feta Salad


pork tenderloin
1 tbsp thyme, chopped
1 tbsp rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp sage, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup fava beans

tomato feta salad:

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp goat feta cheese
salt and pepper

sherry shallot vinegarette:

2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1/4 olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
salt and pepper


To cook the fava beans, shell them and then blanch for 2 minutes in salted, boiling water. Remove from the water and cool in an ice bath. Peel off the shells around the beans and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the cherry tomatoes seed side up in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until well cooked and soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Mix them with the feta cheese to make the salad.

To make the vinegarette, place the sherry vinegar in a bowl and slowly whisk in the olive oil. Add the shallots and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the pork, coat it in the olive oil and herbs. Meanwhile, heat up the grill. Once it's hot, throw the tenderloin on the grill and cook, turning every few minutes until medium rare. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

To place, place some of the fava beans on the bottom of the dish. Layer a few slices of pork on top and top with the tomato feta salad. Drizzle the vinegarette on top. Serve with roasted potatoes if desired. Enjoy!

Wine Tasting Notes: Blackbird 2005 Paramour

Diva Rating: 4 stars (out of 5 stars)

To pair with this great dinner, Kuzak opened a spectacular bottle of Blackbird's merlot/cabernet franc blend with a tiny bit of cabernet added. A big, smooth wine that we decanted and that showed the most character by the end of the night, we enjoyed it down to the last drops. It had great fruit and nice structure, a wine that could withstand aging, but that was also drinking great right now. While they've raised their prices recently, this is a wine that I would consider buying again.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Happy Memorial Day a/k/a Time to Fire Up the Grill!

Hey divas, I hope you're all enjoying the holiday weekend! For me, Memorial Day always marks the start of summer and thus, in my food obsessed household, time to fire up the grill! Last night, I made an absolutely fabulous dinner inspired by my recent trips to Lucques where I combined several wonderful seasonal ingredients like organic fava beans and roasted cherry tomatoes with a big slab of grilled organic pork tenderloin. Will also pulled out a spectacular bottle of wine - Blackbird 2005 Paramour, a blend of 50% merlot and cab franc. Wow, it was so great that I was sad when we'd finsihed it off. Having resolved to watch less TV, we sat around and listened to some great music before finally retiring to bed.

Enjoy your weekends & I promise to post my recipe for grilled pork tenderloin this week! Also, look for tons of great content coming up, including a shift to summertime grilling recipes!

The Diva

Friday, May 22, 2009

Divalicious Restaurant Reviews: Lucques, Osteria Mozza & The Bazaar

Lucques' Suckling Pig

Last weekend, the Original Diva (my mother), The Wine Lover (my father) and The Top Chef (my brother), all arrived in LA in the spirit of family and food. To kick back, have a drink, relax by the pool and meet the Adorable Monster. And I must report that this time around, he behaved himself admirably! No humping. Ok, maybe only a little. No biting. Ok, maybe a lot of biting. The Top Chef remained unconvinced, telling the puppy, "you have to earn my trust!" Let's hope that by the end of the weekend, he did just that!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pan-Roasted Grouper with White Wine & Tarragon

The Diva here bringing you another of my delicious recipes. This week while searching for a fun, affordable fish to cook for dinner, I settled on fresh, wild caught Pink Grouper. A member of the Sea Bass family found in warm waters around coral reefs, its fishing is closely monitored to ensure it's not overfished. It has a wonderful, steaky texture and is a favorite for those seeking out healthy foods. Because it's low in fat, it necessitates some basting while cooking to keep it moist and full of flavor. I choose to pan fry the fish, searing it on both sides for a few minutes, before adding some white wine and tarragon to the pan. Then, I scooped the sauce over the fish while it reduced to keep the fish moist. The result, was delicious! I served my fish over my vegetarian southern style green beans & parmesan reggiano strewn organic yellow corn grits! Scroll below for those recipes.

Domestic Diva's Pan Roasted Grouper with White Wine & Tarragon

2 grouper filets (Mahi Mahi would also work)
2 tbsp tarragon
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp grapeseed or canola oil
1 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper


Quickly marinade the fish for 20-30 minutes by covering it with the lemon juice, olive oil and sprinkling with salt and pepper. This will also allow it to come up in temperature to ensure even cooking.

Heat a saute pan over medium high heat. Add the grapeseed oil, cooking until almost smoking (a minute or two). Then add the fish, searing on each side for a minute or two until golden brown. Add the white wine and tarragon to the pan. and reduce the heat to medium. As the fish cooks, spoon the hot liquid over the top of the fish until cooks through.

Remove from the pan and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Serve with the white wine & tarragon reduction drizzled over the top.

Click here for DD's Southern Style Green Bean Recipe!

Click here for DD's Parmesan Reggiano Grits Recipe!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Organic Asparagus & Prosciutto Omelette

Hey Divas, good morning. Here's a great way to get started - and while it looks amazing, it's quite simple to make. It's been my favorite breakfast for the last week, precipitated by my purchase of some thick, juicy organic asparagus this week. I'm also a big prosciutto lover and always keep a package of some all-natural stuff in my fridge. I make my omelette with one whole egg and one egg white. To add extra zip to this simple, healthy omelette, I added tarragon and a little lime juice. Give this a try - I promise you'll love it!

Domestic Diva's Organic Asparagus & Prosciutto Omelette

1 egg, beaten
1 egg white, beaten
1 tsp fresh tarragon
2 slices prosciutto
2-3 asparagus stalks, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
lime or lemon juice
salt and pepper


In a small frying pan, coat with oil or a non-stick spray and pour in the eggs to make the omelette shell. Cook until set for a few minutes and then flip one time. Place on a plate.

In the same pan, add the olive oil and asparagus and saute until cooked, also a few minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and place on the omelette shell.

Sprinkle the asparagus with the tarragon and give it a drizzle of a little lime juice. Layer the prosciutto on top and then fold the omelette in half. Enjoy!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Books That Are Cookin'!

Look what I just ordered from Amazon!! Based on my Top Chef Bro's advice and a trip to Osteria Mozza, I'm adding Mario Batali's Babbo cookbook to my arsenal. I can't wait until it arrives and I can start trying out some of his food!

Great Fish Stew Recipe!

Yummy-Looking Fish Stew Recipe

Good morning, Divas! Did you feel the earthquake yesterday in Los Angeles? I was busy cooking dinner last night, a lovely pasta of thick, tender organic asparagus, prosciutto and fresh clams, when I felt everything shake. At first I thought it was the power of my culinary skills, but alas it was simply a natural disaster, and not a very major one at that. Dinner came out great and I promise to share my recipe this week.

As you dive into your Mondays, check out the frittata recipe I posted yesterday! There's nothing like kick-starting your day with a big dose of protein and veggies. Also, stay tuned this week as I bring you more recipes, health news, restaurant reviews and more! To get you started, here's a great recipe for fish stew. I bought some lovely grouper at the store yesterday and I may just have to try to this one out for myself.

Click here for the fish stew recipe!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Organic Arugula & Baby Pepper Frittata

To all my BDFFS, I hope you've had divalicious weekends - I know I had an amazing time with my family (The Original Diva, The Wine Lover & Top Chef Brother). We had several fabulous meals, the highlights being our dinner at Lucques, Osteria Mozza & The Bazaar by Jose Andres (our third trip to this establishment). This time around, we brought our own wine which they graciously decanted and served us (2003 Tablas Creek Panopolie, their top bottling, and 1994 Dominus, one of my Wine Lover father's favorite wines). At my Top Chef Brother's urging, we also opted for the Chef's Tasting Menu ($65/person), thus bypassing the overly complicated menu. The result was one of the best meals I've had since, well, since Friday anyway! I promise to blog all the details of each of our meals this week so stay tuned!

In the meantime, I'm coming to you this Sunday with my recipe from my Mother's Day brunch for Arugula and Baby Pepper Frittata. I'm a big fan of frittata's - they're light, lovely ways to start your morning with protein and veggies. I make this healthy breakfast treat with half egg whites and top it with crumbles of goat feta cheese. The result is a protein-packed, delicious way to jump start your day.

All Natural Prosciutto Served with Brunch

Click here to read my earlier post with my full Mother's Day Brunch menu!

Domestic Diva's Organic Arugula & Baby Pepper Frittata
Serves 4 people

5 organic eggs
5 organic egg whites
2 cups orgnic arugula
1 cup organic baby peppers, sliced into rounds
2 tbsp good olive oil
goat feta cheese (or regular feta cheese)
1 tsp fresh thyme
salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat the eggs and egg whites together until combined and slightly frothy. Season with salt and pepper. In a small pyrex dish, grease it with olive oil. Add the arugula and then cover with the egg mixture. Sprinkle the pepper rounds on top for a lovely presentation. Top with the crumbled goat feta cheese, the thyme and then drizzle with the olive oil. Top with salt and pepper.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the oven, cut into slices and serve. Enjoy!

"Hey Diva, do I get some frittata? Smells delicious!"
-The Monster

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Guide To Divalicious Dining: Comme Ca, The Bazaar by Jose Andres & Lucques

The Bazaar's "Smoked" Salmon
For Mother's Day weekend, Kuzak and I had the pleasure of hosting his parents. From the moment they were fresh off the plane from Des Moines, the dining extravaganza began, kicking off at Il Pastaio, a lovely Italian eatery in Beverly Hills, where we feasted on delicious antipasto, including the Rillini di Melonze (eggplant wrapped with goat cheese) and the Bresaola (cured beef served with arugula and hearts of palm).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Diva Download

Hey Divas! Hope you're all surviving your weeks. Tonight, I'm off to a Ladies Night mixer where I'll hopefully mingle with my girlfriends and nosh on mini cupcakes (they are divine)! And tomorrow, parents and my Top Chef Bro are flying into town for along weekend of food and fun! The party starts at Chateau Marmont with a late lunch and then continues at my pad. I'll be making supper for everyone, and I must confess, in the face of my mother, the Original Diva, my Top Chef Brother and my Wine Lover father, I'm a little nervous. Kuzak will have to man up and raid his wine cellar, digging to the back for some truly special bottles. I'm leaning toward making my famous braised cassoulet with mussels - I love serving it family style. Wish me luck!

Also, keep your fingers crossed that the Monster will behave himself and we won't have a repeat of the humping incident where he decided that Kuzak's father was his favorite humping post of all time.

Click here to check out my famous recipe for Braised Cassoulet!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Meatless Monday: Slow-Cooker Two Bean Chili

Whew! I'm still catching my breath after a whirlwind weekend with Kuzak's parents. I promise to report soon on all of our fabulous meals at joints like Comme Ca, The Bazaar by Jose Andres & Lucques. In the meantime, I'm going to leave you with a great, simple crock pot recipe that also happens to be vegetarian (as I promised I'm blogging meatless recipes). Beans, in addition to having fiber and nutrients, also make a complete protein when paired with rice. I serve this two bean chili with a whole grain rice. So give this a try - I promise you'll love it!

Domestic Diva's Slow-Cooker Two Bean Chili

1 cup cranberry or pinto beans, soaked overnight
1 cup white beans, soaked overnight
4 cups vegetable broth
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 bay leaf
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup cooked whole grain rice


Add everything except the rice to the crock pot or slow cooker. Simmer for 6-8 hours, or until the beans are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with 1/2 cup of the rice. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the Momma Divas! In celebration, I'm cooking brunch for Kuzak's mother, Shelley B. at my house. Meanwhile, the Monster is preparing to hump Kuzak's father incessantly like he did on Friday night, making Kuzak and I look like the worst monster parents ever. We're also planning hike and a visit to Lucques for their famed Sunday Night Supper.

For my brunch, and in honor of the economy, I'm whipping it up from ingredients I already have in my house. Here's my menu:

-Organic Veggie Frittata made with arugula, baby bell peppers and goat feta cheese.
-Oven Roasted New Potatoes
-Rosemary Toast with Garlic and Olive Oil
-Organic Strawberries

Check back in for pictures and to see how my brunch turns out! If you're lucky, maybe I'll even share some of my recipes. Enjoy your Sundays Divas. Also, coming soon will be my reviews of all the restaurants we hit this weekend, including Il Pastaio, BLD, Comme Ca, The Bazaar by Jose Andres and Lucques!

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Diva Visits 2 Wine Bars in 1 Week! Reviews of Lou and Palate!

So much has been happening in Diva Land that I have to take a minute to share! In the last week, I've hit up both Palate in Glendale and Lou on Vine, two of the best wine bars in LA if you ask me.

Now, I'm a regular at Lou, loving their farmer's market menu, oddball wines and cheese. Last night, I ventured out to Lou, bringing my fellow lover of all things food, Sara S., for her first taste of one of my favorite spots. Located in a nondescript strip mall next to a laundromat and marked only by a simple sign that says, "Lou," it's a great place that feels off the beaten path. I love Lou for the modern decor (one day I must have that tree wallpaper somewhere in my house), focus on fresh, simple ingredients and of course the wine. The owner, Lou, can often be found behind the bar pouring wine, and last night was no exeception.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Piccante Dolce's Rosemary Rubbed NY Strip with Chianti Butter

Hello Divas! I'm so happy to be back for another guest posting on Domestic Divas. For this post we are making an uber easy and delicious steak, appropriate for any night but especially perfect for a summer time dinner party. Delicious and when paired with some grilled asparagus and a caprese salad, a perfectly impressive and low maintenance meal. It's a Italian inspired steak reminiscent of Bistecca alla Fiorentina, the mother of all steaks in Italy and my absolute favorite!

Now for you those of you divas with a man in your life (for blogging purposes I refer to mine as "the boy" much to his family's delight), I'll venture a guess that he generally does the grilling. At least that's how it is in our house. Well this steak is so super simple that you can do it all on your own and you should.

Piccante Dolce's Rosemary Rubbed NY Strip
serves 2-3

2 NY strip steaks
5 sprigs of fresh rosemary
sea salt & fresh cracked pepper
Chianti Butter - recipe below
1/2 lemon - for serving

1. Strip rosemary leave from the stems and finely chop. Remove steaks from packaging, pat dry and sprinkle half of the rosemary over the first side of the 2 steaks. Press in with your fingers, flip and repeat on the other side. Let sit on your counter top (but in the sunlight) for 30 mins to 1 hour. This is to let the rosemary flavors infuse the steak, but to also get the steaks up to room temperature for better grilling.
2. Preheat grill to medium high heat. Sprinkle sea salt and pepper on each side of the steaks. Place on the heated grill. Cook for 6 minutes per side for medium rare (warm red center)
3. Remove from grill. let rest for 5-10 minutes (you want the juices to settle before slicing). Slice steak against the grain, place on a serving platter, topped with pats of Chianti butter, sea salt & pepper and garnish the plate with lemon wedges.

Chianti Butter

1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter
1 1/2 Tbsp Chianti
sea salt

1. Cut butter into chunks and place in your food processor with the Chianti and good pinch of sea salt. Pulse to combine.
2. Remove from the food processor and use plastic wrap to roll into a log. Seal by twisting either end of the plastic wrap in opposite directions and place in the fridge until ready to use.

This steak was a winner all around, the flavors were simple and rich. The squirt of lemon juice just as the butter was melting cut through the richness and really brightened it. It was my first time making a compound butter and I must say I love it and plan to do it a whole lot more moving forward. It's a perfect easy and no-brainer addition to just about any protein. Pair this dish with you favorite Chianti (that you hopefully used in the butter) and Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wine Tasting Notes: Copain 2006 Hawks Butte Syrah

I've often blogged about Kuzak and my shared love for Copain, and wonderful winery that produces both great pinot noir and syrah. Hawks Butte is an unusual vineyard grown at a high elevation, and the 2005 is one of my favorite wines I've tasted in the last year, partially because it actually tastes like bacon. Based on that, I've been excited to try the 2006 even though it wasn't as great of a year in California as 2005. It was a great, inky purple syrah with a deep body and nicely balanced, but alas, no bacon flavor this time around. Still, it was a wonderful wine that had us drinking until the last drops. I highly recommend checking out Copain! They're truly producing some amazing wines. (Retail price around $50)

Diva Rating: 3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)

Piccante Dolce Guest Blog Coming Tomorrow!

Tomorrow, I'm posting a brand spanking new Piccante Dolce guest blog! So check back - I promise this is a recipe you won't want to miss! I'll give you a hint - it combines steak, wine and butter. Yum!

Click here to check out Piccante Dolce's blog!

Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan Reggiano

Looking for a simple, fresh spring appetizer sure to wow anyone? Nothing beats fresh, organic asparagus which has been springing up in the grocery stores. My rule of thumb when working with great product is not to over do it, but rather to subtly enhance the flavors. I served up this lovely appetizer the other night - topping some gently roasted asparagus with some parmesan reggiano shavings and a little squeeze of lemon juice. The result was divine - sweet and succulent. I'm also including a link to a recent NY Times article discussing how to prepare asparagus stalks for cooking. I'm a firm believer in the snapping method (as discussed in the article) because I don't like to leave valuable product behind by cutting higher than necessary. In this recipe, I also shaved the ends to add a more delicate touch, but it's not a required step.

Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan Reggiano

1 bunch of asparagus, tips snapped off and ends shaved
2 tbsp good olive oil
1 lemon
parmesan reggiano
salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the asparagus in a roasting pan and top with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the asparagus is lightly caramelized and tender, but not overcooked.

Remove from the oven and spread on a plate. Shave some parmesan reggiano on top and then squeeze some lemon juice. Enjoy!

Click here to read the NY Times article on asparagus!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

James Beard Award Winners Named!

Only one chef outside of New York was recognized for a James Beard Award's dinner on Monday night. Jean Georges won outstanding restaurant and Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns won the outstanding chef award. Rising star of the year when to Nate Appleman, chef at A16 in San Francisco. Now I must venture there on my next trip to the city! While I extend my heartfelt congrats to all of the winners, I can't help but think that their scope is too NY-centric, forgoing diversity, both culinary and regional, in favor of their hometown favorites. Perhaps they should examine their voting and vetting process. It might make these awards feel more relevant to the average diner not living in NY!

Click here to read about all of the winners!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Risotto With Roasted Purple Cauliflower

As I blogged earlier this week, I'll be blogging vegetarian recipes once a week to help inspire us all to eat without meat on occasion. This week, at the grocery store I found some gorgeous organic purple cauliflower. I'm used to finding the white and yellow varieties, but this was something new! I decided to roast it in the oven first to add some caramelized crisp, and then to fold it into a classic risotto. The combo was colorful and delicious! So without further ado, here's my recipe!

Note: If you can't find the purple variety, any cauliflower will work!

Risotto With Roasted Purple Cauliflower

1 head organic cauliflower, chopped roughly
4 tbsp olive oil
4 cups vegetable broth
1 shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup parmesan reggiano, grated
salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the cauliflower in an oven proof roastings pan. Drizzle with 2 tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until caramelized and tender. Remove from the oven.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil on a heavy bottomed pan. Add the shallots, sauteing until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for one more minute. Then add the rice and stir for another two minutes. Pour in the white wine and stir until absorbed.

Slowly add the vegetable stock 1/2 a cup at a time, stirring until absorbed before adding more stock. Once the rice is cooked al dente, stir in the roasted cauliflower and the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Walnut-Crusted Pacific Rockfish

I'm always searching for new healthy ways to prepare fish. Lately, I've been very into walnuts, snacking on them, adding them to salad. They're one of those superfoods we all read about, loaded with omega-3's and protein. So after I found some gorgeous, super fresh Pacific Rockfish, I decided I'd encrust it with walnuts to add a nice, crunchy twist. I served it over sauteed kale and wild rice for a balanced meal. This is a simple dish to make with only a few ingredients - perfect for whipping up after a hard day of work. The fish cooks after only a few minutes in a hot saute pan. If you can't find rockfish, this preparation would also work great for tilapia or snapper.

Domestic Diva's Walnut Crusted Pacific Rockfish

2 rockfish filets
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped (if possible, in a small food processor)
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 egg
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dill


Heat a saute pan over medium high heat. Add the grapeseed oil.

Meanwhile, spread the walnuts on a plate, then in a wide bowl, beat the egg. Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper on both sides. Coat a fillet with the egg then with the walnut. Repeat with the other fillet.

Place the fish in the hot pan, cooking on each side for a few minutes until crust is crispy and the fish is cooked through. To serve, top with the lemon juice and dill. Enjoy!

Wine Tasting Notes: Williams Selyem 2006 Pinot Noir Hirsch Vineyard

Williams Selyem 2006 Pinot Noir Hirsch Vineyard

Diva Rating: 3 stars (out of 5 stars)

One of the classic boutique Pinot Noir producers in California who produced their first wine in 1981, Williams Selyem makes an array of nice wines with grapes grown in the Sonoma Coast. Over the last few years, Kuzak and I have regularly enjoyed their offerings. This 2006 Hirsch while not dazzling, was a solid wine with nice cherry fruit and tannins. It possessed a more acidic character which tasted best when pared with food. The body is on the lighter side, but it did not showcase the depth that would make it worth aging over the long term. None the less, I recommend checking out Williams Selyem and tasting their wines!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

New Guest Blog On Piccante Dolce!

Divas, you must check out my new guest blog on Piccante Dolce! In celebration of spring, I made a fennel and apple poached halibut. It's a spectacular dish full of fresh, clean flavors inspired by my favorite chef, Charlie Trotter.

Click here to check out my guest blog!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

My Fave Bites: The Gumbo Pot

For years, I've been hearing about The Gumbo Pot at The Farmers Market in Los Angeles as a bastion of classic Creole cooking, but I'd never been brave enough to go. No, it wasn't the spice keeping me away--rather the throngs of tourists and babies that populate The Grove shopping center, located right next to the Farmers Market. The most I'd endured was slipping grumpily into a movie at The Grove movie theater, and then racing away as quickly as possible.