Sunday, August 30, 2009

Amberjack with Purple Spring Onions & Haricot Verts

I'm posting this recipe in honor of my faux-sister, the great Beet-Eating Champion of the Caribbean, who shares my first name, so I'll call her Diva Squared. I'm currently ensconced in her father's house outside San Francisco, eating their food, drinking their wine, and having a grand time! I've learned many valuable things from Diva Squared, including that Quidditch is now a popular intercollegiate sport in which boys and girls run around with broomsticks stuck between their legs, pretending they can fly like Harry Potter. Who knew? Tonight, we're off my Top Chef Bro's restaurant! I can't wait to see what he has in store for us. We'll be occupying the private dining room at Picco! I promise to report on the feast.

While Diva Squared mostly sticks to veggies, she also enjoys a little fish now and again, so this recipe is perfectly suited for her tastes. It's light, refreshing, delicious and super healthy - a great way to celebrate the end of summer, as she pointed out! So check out this recipe - I promise you'll love it!

Domestic Diva's Amberjack with Purple Spring Onions & Haricot Verts

2 amberjack fillets (also known as yellowtail)
bunch of purple spring onions, purple parts thinly sliced
2 cups yellow haricot verts, blanched
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 lemon, juiced
salt & pepper


First, blanch the haricot verts in boiling water for a few minutes, until tender but not overcooked. Place in cool water. Once they've cooled, remove from heat and drizzle with a little olive and season with salt and pepper.

Salt and pepper the amberjack fillets on each side. In a saute pan, heat the grapeseed oil over medium high heat until almost smoking. Add the amberjack fillets, sauteing for a few minutes on each side, until cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add the olive oil to the same pan and then saute the spring onions until tender. Finish with the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To plate, place some of the haricot verts in the bottom of a plate. Top with an amberjack fillet. Finish with the spring onion sauce. Enjoy!

Source for Ingredients:

local yellowtail fillets from Fish King

organic yellow haricot verts & organic purple spring onions from the Hollywood Farmers Market

Music on Tap:

Bob Dylan - Bringing It All Back Home

Dylan is one of Diva Squared's favorite musicians, and this album is my favorite Dylan album. The song "It's Alright Ma I'm Only Bleeding" is amazing beyond words, not to mention, "Maggie's Farm," "Subterranean Homesick Blues," "Gates of Eden," "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue." If you've never heard it in its entirety, I highly recommend checking it out!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Slow-Cooker White Beans with Herbs & Garlic

So, when it's a million, bizillion degrees outside and the mercury is about to explode, who wants to go near at stove? Last night, Kuzak and I dragged our mattress into our one air-conditioned room, which is not the kitchen, and set up camp. Right now, the Monster and I are huddled together by the A/C, only emerging for food and very quick walks outside, with me urging, "Hurry Up!" while the Monster pants and sniffs and digs and then pants and sniffs a new spot, all while refusing to go. Thank goodness I'm heading north tomorrow, first to San Francisco and then further up the coast for Portland, Oregon!

What do I have in store for you? Well, first up, I'm reuniting with my parents, The Original Diva and The Wine Lover, and on Sunday, we're heading to my Top Chef Brother's restaurant, Picco, for a feast! The next day, we're following it up with a visit to Alice Waters' famed Chez Panisse. I'm sure we'll sneak in many other meals, but we're also booked into Beast and Wildwood Restaurant in Portland! I simply can't wait to escape the heat and do some serious eating!

But in the meantime, here's one of my favorite recipes, and it's perfect for hot days because you don't have to go near a stove! Instead, in the morning when it's still cool, plug in your favorite slow-cooker or crock pot, which uses much less energy, and let it go all day. By the time dinner roles around and the sun fades away, you'll be ready to eat! Also, did I mention that white beans are exceptionally healthy? Full of nutrients and fiber? This dish makes an excellent side dish to just about any meal, serve them alongside grilled fish, or pair them with lamb! A truly winning dish!

Domestic Diva's Slow-Cooker White Beans

1 cup cannellini beans, soaked overnight
bouquet garni (rosemary, thyme & a bay leaf tied together with twine)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled
salt & pepper


Place the soaked beans in the slow-cooker and cover with filtered water. Add the olive oil, garlic cloves & bouquet garni. Simmer the beans for 4-6 hours until tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Businesses Mentioned:

Chez Panisse Cafe
1517 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709
(510) 548-5049

Alice Waters' famed Berkeley establishment, the cafe is a wonderful alternative to the more formal restaurant. Dine on her food in a relaxed atmosphere and save a buck while you're at it!

Picco Restaurant
320 Magnolia Ave.
Larkspur, CA 94939
(415) 924-0300

My Top Chef Brother's restaurant! They feature a family style restaurant next to a pizzeria and wine shop. A must visit when in the area!

5425 NE 30th Ave
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 841-6968

1221 NW 21st Ave.
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 248-9663

Music on Tap:

Pearl Jam - Pearl Jam

Kuzak just returned from seeing Pearl Jam in Chicago - a great who from what I hear! - and got me in the mood to revisit their latest album. They have a new one slated for September release and I already have my Ten Club tickets for the Oct. 6th show in LA! Favorites off this album include, "Life Wasted" and "World Wide Suicide."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Panko-Crusted Soft Shell Crab with Spicy Aioli

Summer continues to blaze on in SoCal, and that means hot, hot, HOT temperatures, creeping into the triple digits, and the faint smell of fire on the smog-filled air. Ahh, the joys of Los Angeles! The Monster and I are going to go huddle in my one air conditioned room, but first I want to share a new recipe with you divas!

Summer, besides being synonymous with hot weather and wild fires, also brings soft shell crabs into our lives! Ever wonder what a soft shell crab is exactly? Well, crabs do a nifty thing called molting where they shed their shells and then harden into their new shells. However, for a few precious hours, they are "soft" and that's when they're harvested to be eaten! The great thing about them, is after their gills are removed and and they're cleaned, they can be eaten whole, for lots of extra crabby goodness. While there are other methods of preparing them, I think they taste the best when they're fried. For breading, I prefer using panko, a thick Japanese breadcrumb.

I purchased my soft shell crabs at Fish King and gladly accepted their offer to clean them for me (they'll also bread and fry them for you for an extra $1). To cook them, I breaded and fried them in a saute pan, topped them with a spicy aioli sauce and served them over a generous portion of watercress! The result was one of the most delicious meals I've had all summer long. Just writing it up right now is making my mouth water. So without further ado, here's my recipe!

Note: If soft shell crabs aren't available, shrimp would make a great substitute in this recipe.

Domestic Diva's Panko-Crusted Soft Shell Crab with Spicy Aioli

2 soft shell crabs, cleaned
1 cup panko breadcrumbs (regular will work, too)
1 cup flour (I used a spelt flour)
1 egg, whisked
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
salt and pepper
2 cups watercress

spicy aioli:
2 egg yolks
1 tsp cayenne pepper
4-5 tbsp lemon juice (fresh is possible)
1 1/2 cups olive oil
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
2 tbsp soy sauce
salt & pepper


To make the spicy aioli, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Then, slowly add the olive oil, a little bit at a time, continuously whisking to form an emulsion. Once all the olive oil is added, the mixture should have a texture similar to mayonnaise. Then, whisk in the remaining ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper.

If the sauce seems too thick, it may be thinned out with a little water to aid in drizzling it on the crabs.

Note: Instead of whisking by hand, this can be made in a blender for great results!

To make the soft shell crabs, sprinkle them on both sides with salt and pepper. Then, coat them in the flour, dip them in the egg and finish by coating them with the panko breadcrumbs. Repeat with the second crab.

In a large saute pan, heat the grapeseed oil over medium high heat until almost smoking. Add the crabs and cook for a few minutes on each side until browned and crispy. Remove from heat and let rest for a few minutes.

To serve, place a bed of watercress on each plate and top with one of the crabs. Drizzle with the spicy aioli. Enjoy!

Source for Ingredients:

soft shell crabs from Fish King

organic eggs, watercress, and organic panko breadcrumbs from Whole Foods

Music on Tap:

Green Day - American Idiot

I just saw the BEST Green Day concert last night! It was the last date on their North American tour and the Forum was completely sold out. They played for no less than 3 hours, complete with a final acoustic set for the third encore by Billie Joe. While I love many of their albums, their epic opus, American Idiot, remains my favorite, and last night the songs held up. Highlights included Holiday, American Idiot and Jesus of Suburbia.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Amberjack with Peach, Serrano Pepper & Basil

So, I'm still flying solo today, just me and my trusty sidekick, The Adorable Monster. While I'm Kuzak-less, I've continued to create and eat great food! I've done everything, from whipping up my famous braised cassoulet (click here for recipe), to journeying west, a rare occurrence, for the sole purpose of dining at Fraiche with the A-Girl, to throwing together a huge batch of homemade hummus with toasted curry powder (recipe forthcoming), to visiting the Hollywood Farmers Market this morning. I'm only sad the Monster can't join me in my feasting!

What does all of this mean? More recipes, restaurant reviews, wine tasting notes and much more coming straight to you! To get you started, here's a great summer dish that takes advantage of the unbelievable peaches that are still in season, using them in a fresh way. I paired a local, sashimi quality amberjack (also known as yellowtail) with fresh peaches, peppers and basil and finished it with citrus and olive oil. While it's pretty simple to throw together, the dish has great depth of flavor sure to impress anyone. So go ahead, give it a try! I know you want to!

Domestic Diva's Amberjack with Peach, Serrano Pepper & Basil

1/4 lb sashimi quality amberjack (also known as yellowtail), cut into cubes
1 peach, pitted, peeled and cut into cubes
1 serrano pepper, seeded & finely chopped
1 tbsp basil, chopped
1 lime, juiced
2 tbsp good olive oil
salt & pepper


In a bowl, toss together the amberjack, peach, pepper and basil. Squeeze with the lime juice and then drizzle with the olive oil. Toss all the ingredients together and then season to taste with salt and pepper.


Source for Ingredients:

local amberjack from Fish King

organic peaches, serrano pepper and basil from Whole Foods

Music on Tap:

The Lovell Sisters - Time to Grow

I've been on a bluegrass kick, and these sisters really know how to bring it! Click here to download two of their songs FREE songs from Amazon!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Kuzak Flies the Coop! A Solo Thursday Night!

This is in my oven right now roasting away!

Well, Divas, I'm all on my own tonight, cooking for one. It's just me and the Monster in here. Kuzak has flown the coop, bound for Chicago on a jet airliner for his fantasy football draft, pretty much the most holy occasion for most red-blooded American men. Of course, he is managing to fit in a jaunt to Publican tomorrow night, the sneaky bastard, in the middle of his testosterone fueled weekend. So what, oh what, will I do with myself?

Well, for starters, tonight I'm making my Roasted Tomato Soup (click here for recipe). It's delicious and great for leftovers! I also was fortunate enough to procure some La Quercia Speck at Whole Foods, so I'm pairing the soup with a speck and arugula salad. A great, healthy dinner! For wine, I'm sipping a half bottle of Justin 2006 Cabernet. And finally, for dessert, I have organic peaches, organic strawberries and organic raspberries as well as some Ciao Bella Blackberry Cabernet Sorbet. Kuzak just doesn't know what he's missing!

"Awesome, it's just me and The Diva here tonight! Now I get to sleep on Kuzak's side of the bed!"
-The Monster

And what's a Diva to do tomorrow? Well, I'm planning to whip up a batch of homemade hummus! I think I'm actually harboring a serious addiction to the stuff. If I could mainline it, I would! I make mine extra garlicky. I'm also planning to add some toasted curry tomorrow. Another cool trick is that I make a huge batch, and then freeze several portions so that it will last me for weeks. And, trust me, the store bought stuff pales in comparison. And, oh yeah, I have a chicken carcass in my freezer just begging to be transformed into stock. I can hear it calling to me now, "Please Diva, simmer me with aromatics for hours!"

And for dinner tomorrow, I may braise some cassoulet (click here for recipe). Anyone want to come over for dinner? Hit me up and let me know! I'll have plenty. And I can promise you the Monster would be thrilled to host guests. More legs for him to hump! In the meantime, I'm wishing you all a great Thursday night!

Businesses Mentioned:

La Quercia

Based in Iowa and using the highest quality pigs available, this husband and wife team make the BEST prosciutto and other cured meats! Seriously, I'm obsessed with their products. Available at Whole Foods and other specialty stores.

Justin Winery
11680 Chimney Rock Rd.
Paso Robles, CA 93446
(805) 238-6932

A great Paso Robles winery that actually makes delicious, not over oaked, affordable Cabernet! What a find! We loved their 2004 vintages, but currently the 2006 is drinking great! Click here to check out their website!

Source For Ingredients:

vine-ripened tomatoes, organic garlic, La Quercia speck, Kenter Canyon organic wild arugula from Whole Foods

organic thyme and organic basil from the Hollywood Farmers Market

Music on Tap:

Sarah Jarosz - Song Up In My Head

This bluegrass phenom is only 19 years old! I'm completely obsessed with her CD! Even if you never thought you'd like bluegress, this girl will blow you away with her song-writing prowess and musicianship. Check out her CD today. Click here for link to Amazon!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

For The Love of Cooking! The Domestic Diva Reviews "Julie & Julia"!

Just about every food blogger has already weighed in on Nora Ephron's new movie, Julie & Julia, so I might as well give my two cents, too! Based on the book of the same title, which in turn was based on food blogger Julie Powell's blog, the movie tells a dual narrative. On the one hand, it depicts Julia Child and her journey to discover French Cooking, and then ultimately, to bring it to American women by writing her famous cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. On the other hand, it tells the story of cubicle slave, Julie Powell, and her insane mission to cook every recipe in Child's book, over five hundred of them, in 365 days, and then to also write about it via her blog.

While Julie calls herself a contender, taking on Julia Child, it is more than clear who the actual winner is. I'll give you a hint. Her first name ends with an "a." Pretty much every review has heralded Meryl Streep's joyous portrayal of Julia Child, a performance that at times borders on caricature, but certainly captures the essence of her character. And pretty much every review has maligned the screen time devoted to Julie, who comes off as childish, peevish, bitchy, and strangely afraid of eggs. I mean, what did an egg ever to do her? More Julia, less Julie seems to be the consensus.

So I knew all of this when I ventured to the theater. Earlier in the year, I'd tried to make my way through the book itself, only to throw it down in frustration after one two many rambling diversions away from the story, but I'd hoped that the adaptation would streamline out these flaws. And it did for the most part, capitalizing on a great vehicle to bring us Julia Child and the Parisian world she inhabited. Yes, my mouth watered. Yes, it was exciting to watch Julia get ravenously worked up over Beef Bourguignon, a dish I happen to love so much I would consider marrying it.

But something was missing from the movie. Or at least, from half of it. And I think I figured out what's bothering me so much about it. Julia Child, and her half of the narrative, is the past of cooking. A time when women actually took the time to prepare family meals. When a cookbook like Mastering the Art of French Cooking could succeed because women were willing to invest in making recipes with real ingredients.

But would Julia Child succeed today, in the primetime of Rachel Ray, or even worse, of fast food and chain restaurants, when everyone is looking for a shortcut, when most people don't even know where their food comes from? I hate to say it, but probably not. She's not flashy enough, not marketable enough. We'd probably look at her the way her first publisher did when she proposed seven individual cookbooks, with one devoted entirely to eggs. We'd tell her she was crazy. I mean, who cares that much about eggs?

But that's not even what bothers me the most about the movie. If Julia Child is the past, then Julie Powell is the present. Her approach to cooking is less about joy than about finishing a grueling marathon, one that sucks the marrow right out of cooking. She doesn't enjoy making almost any of her dishes. Instead, we see temper tantrums thrown on the kitchen floor, dishes dropped, splattered and tossed around the room, followed by more tantrums, followed by blogging about her tantrums, or her fights with her husband, the poor sex-deprived bastard. We see dishes burned, dried up, pushed away. Oh, and I haven't even gotten to the eggs yet.

Watching the movie, I couldn't help but think that Julie was cooking for all of the wrong reasons, and in the process, destroying everything and everyone in her path. I always tell my friends that cooking is an act of love. Loving your ingredients, loving the amazing things you can create out of them, and then selflessly giving the love to those around you! Just watch Julia Child shop in the Parisian markets or joyously chop onions in her Le Cordon Bleu class. That is what cooking should look like. That is what it should feel like. And, most importantly, that is what it should taste like.

Yes, Julie finished her marathon, and yes, she scored a major book deal, one that I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't want for myself, and now it's also a movie. And she did bring us back to Julia Child on a road greased with butter, butter and more butter. So, I suppose, who am I to criticize her at the end of the day?

Just a Food-Loving Diva, that's who!

Potato & Tomato Vegetable "Tartin"!

This morning I was peacefully sleeping, curled up in bed, dreams of Joe Jonas dancing through my head, when suddenly, something small, white and furry pounced on me! The Adorable Monster strikes again! I peeled my eyes open to see him sitting on my chest, staring at my face, his tail wagging, his ears cocked. I snuck a glance at the clock - it wasn't even 6am!

"Go back to bed you little monster!" I muttered, thrusting my face into the pillow.

Plop, he jumped off the bed, then plop back on the bed. A moment of peaceful silence and then, Squeak! Squeak! Squeak! I peeled my eyes back open. The Monster was sitting right next to my face, chewing on his favorite ball that squeaks every time he chomps down.

"Leave me alone!"

Squeak! Squeak! Squeak!

"It's not even light outside!"

Squeak! Squeak! Squeak!

No end to the squeaking in sight, I gave up. I walked him, fed him and then tried to go back to bed, only now he wanted to play. He pounced on me, ran around the bed, until finally I corralled him out of the bedroom and shut the door. I returned to bed finally ready to get a little more sleep, when I heard it.

Beep! Beep! Beep!

Kuzak's alarm clock. He hit snooze. Five minutes later.

Beep! Beep! Beep!

This went on for an hour.

So much for sleep! Now onto food!

This morning I'm sharing one of my favorite vegetable recipes with you. Are you looking for a new way to roast potatoes? How about a gorgeous side dish to serve to company? Did I mention it's absolutely delicious? This "tartin" layers potatoes and tomatoes over a mixture of onion and garlic, which caramelize and season the vegetables, adding amazing flavor. The dish is finished with a dusting of parmesan reggiano. Need I say more?

Potato & Tomato Vegetable "Tartin"
Recipe Inspired by The Barefoot Contessa

10 small potatoes, cut into thin slices (I used Yukon gold)
5 tomatoes, cut into thin slices
1 onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme
2 tbsp olive oil plus more for drizzling
1/4 cup parmesan reggiano, grated
salt & pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place an oven-proof roasting pan on the stove top, add the olive oil and heat over medium. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about seven minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Stir in the thyme and remove from heat.

Note: if you don't have a roasting pan that can go on the stovetop, this step may be done stove top and then poured into an oven-proof dish.

Layer the tomato and potato slice over the onion and garlic, alternating a row of potato overlapped by a row of tomato (see picture for illustration). Once the pan is full, drizzle the potatoes and tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cover the dish and roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Then remove the cover and roast for an additional 25 minutes. Once the potatoes are cooked, remove from the oven, sprinkle with the parmesan and return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is well-melted.

Serve family style straight out of the roasting pan for a beautiful side dish to any meal! Enjoy!

Source for Ingredients:

(recipe pictured made in Floyd, VA)

organic yukon gold potatoes & organic tomatoes from Greens Garage

parmesan reggiano from Harvest Moon

Music on Tap:

Radiohead - These Are My Twisted Words

This new single is available for free download from their website. I simply cannot stop listening to it. It's amazing! Click here for link to free download!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Blueberry Walnut Muffins with Spelt Flour and Agave Nectar

A beautiful Saturday night, and I'm in the midst of preparing dinner for Kuzak, having already fed the Adorable Monster his dinner and taken him to the dog park. He's now frolicking around the house, humping his killer whale stuffed animal. It's like a Kodak moment, except for the humping part, and the part where he tries to kill the whale by shaking it viciously from side to side, probably thinking to himself, "Who's the killer now?! That's what I thought!"

Tonight I'm sipping a 2006 Brewer Clifton pinot and cooking up dinner (organic pork, rainbow chard, garlicky brown rice and heirloom tomato, arugula & bread salad). And tomorrow morning, I'll venture back to the Hollywood Farmer's market for supplies for the week. I'm so excited I can almost taste the mozzarella melting in my mouth now!

But in the meantime I'll leave you with one of my favorite breakfast recipes: blueberry walnut muffins! I make mine with spelt flour instead of wheat flour and agave nectar instead of sugar. These muffins are healthy, packed with whole grains, omega-3's, and a perfect way to start your morning. Make a batch on the weekend, and you can eat them all week for breakfast, or as a great midday snack! They're a total cinch!

Domestic Diva's Blueberry Walnut Muffins with Spelt Flour and Agave Nectar

Makes 8-10 small muffins

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup whole grain spelt flour (wheat may be substituted)
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup rice milk (soy or almond milk may be substituted)
1/4 cup canola or olive oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp agave nectar
1 egg
1 cup fresh blueberries (out of season, frozen will suffice)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and then combine with the wet ingredients (vanilla, rice milk, oil) and whisk together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring to combine, but be careful not to over-beat the mixture. Add the blueberries and walnuts and mix them into the batter.

Oil a muffin tin and then spoon the mixture into it, filling each spot. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown. Enjoy!

Source for Ingredients:

(the muffins pictured were made in Floyd, VA)

organic blueberries & organic spelt flour from Harvest Moon

organic walnuts from Greens Garage

Music on Tap:

Neil Halstead - Oh! Mighty Engine
Pearl Jam - No Code

Thursday, August 13, 2009

North Shore Part 3: The Diva Visits the Haleiwa Farmers Market!

All good things must come to an end, and so I found myself boarding a plane to return from Los Angeles, with only memories, photographs and a few residual mosquito bites to remind me of my time on the North Shore of Oahu. And might I add that they are a few very itchy bites! While it would have been lovely to stay longer, I missed the Adorable Monster and couldn't wait to have him excitement pee all over me!

Goodbye Oahu!

What trip would be complete without a visit to the Haleiwa Farmers Market, considered one of the best sustainable farmers markets in the country? Held every Sunday from 9am - 1pm, it features an array of local vendors, hawking everything from fresh produce, to organic honey, to poultry and eggs, and even cosmetics! The market is also very focused on sustainability, promoting buying locally, urging patrons to bring your own shopping bags, using solar power for the market, and featuring a reduce, reuse and recycle program. The market also hosts a number of charitable organizations every week.

I met up with one of my BDFF's and her family to peruse the market, our plan to make a mouth-watering dinner that night focused on local produce. Quickly, I scanned the market, zeroing on some beautiful, round, light-purple colored eggplant. We also loaded up on a football sized, perfectly ripe avocado, heirloom tomatoes, basil, collard greens, spring onions, poblano peppers, limes and local, smoked marlin. Pleased with our finds, I stopped by the Malama Market for some more local, sashimi quality ahi tuna.

Haleiwa Farmers Market Booty!

That night, we prepared a beautiful dinner. For the main course, I marinated the ahi (see my recipe here). Then, I roasted the eggplant, pureeing half of it, and leaving the rest in creamy chunks to serve with the fish (see my recipe here). But if you ask me, the real star of the night was the Farmers Market Salad I threw together, featuring the huge avocado, heirloom tomatoes, poblano pepper, topped with a citrus dressing and some crumbles of chevre! Simple, fresh, beautiful! Enjoy!

Domestic Diva's Haleiwa Farmers Market Salad

1 large avocado or 2 smaller avocados, cut into chunks
2 heirloom tomatoes, cute into chunks
1 poblano pepper, chopped (may substitute bell pepper)
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
chevre for crumbling

2 limes, juiced
2 tbsp good olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
salt & pepper


Place the chevre in the freezer for a few minutes to harden for crumbling. Meanwhile, arrange the avocado in the bottom of a bowl. Create a composed salad by artfully arranging the tomatoes on one side of the bowl and the peppers on the other. Sprinkle with the basil.

Remove the chevre from the freezer, and crumble on top of the salad. Finally, top with the dressing. Right before serving, toss the salad. Enjoy!

Businesses Mentioned:

Haleiwa Farmers Market
Kamehameha Hwy

Haleiwa, HI 96712

(808) 388-9696

Considered one of the best green markets, it takes place every Sunday from 9am - 1pm.
Click here to visit their website!

Malama Market Haleiwa
66-190 Kamelhameha Hwy
Haleiwa, HI 96712
(808) 637-4520

Local market with surprisingly good offerings, including organic eggs, organic chicken and local seafood.

Source for Ingredients:

avocado, heirloom tomatoes, thai basil, poblano peppers, limes from Haleiwa Farmers Market

local ahi tuna from Malama Market

Music on Tap:

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Pig Lib
Pavement - Slanted and Enchanted
Neil Halstead - Oh! Mighty Engine

Sunday, August 9, 2009

North Shore Part 2: Domestic Diva's Pan Roasted Salmon with Mango Salsa

I'm coming to you live from the North Shore of Oahu once again! Even though a hurricane was barreling down on us (don't worry parents - it's already downgraded to a tropical storm), we've had fantastic weather, plenty of beach time, snorkeling and even some sea turtle sitings. And those damn mosquito bites - even Kuzak has succumbed - but it's a small price to pay for paradise!

This morning I woke up bright and early to meet my friend Alison, her progeny, Pierce and her mother-n-law at the Haleiwa Farmers Market, rumored to be one of the best markets in these parts. Haleiwa (pronounced Ha-lei-eeeva as my local friend taught me) is the historic town next to where we're staying, full of small shops, shaved ice stands and shrimp trucks. The farmers market was great, featuring local purveyors of everything from organic honey, to eggs and chicken, to heirloom tomatoes and lots of produce.

Our goal was to select fresh, local produce to cook into a feast tonight for dinner. We made out like bandits, scooping up gorgeous eggplant, collard greens, football-like avocados, basil, heirloom tomatoes and much more! So stay tuned to find out what we make for dinner, but in the meantime, I'll share with you a dinner I cooked up the other night for Kuzak. The house where we're staying has a beautiful mango tree brimming with fresh fruit, so I decided to make use of the local bounty. I pan-seared some sashimi quality salmon and served it with a mango salsa, stuffed full of serrano pepper, garlic, spring onion and plenty of citrus. The result was fantastic!

Note: For a balanced meal, I combined this dish with sauteed spinach and garlicky brown rice.

Domestic Diva's Pan Roasted Salmon with Mango Salsa

2 salmon fillets (I use 4 oz)
1 mango, fruit cut into small cubes
1 serrano pepper, seeded and diced
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
2 spring onions, chopped
2 tbsp good olive oil
2 tbsp grapeseed oil or canola oil
2 lemons, juiced
salt and pepper


To make the mango salsa, place the lemon juice in a bowl. Whisk in the olive oil. Add the mango, pepper, garlic and onion. Toss to combine and season to taste with salt and pepper. If needed, add a little more lemon juice to balance the taste depending on the sweetness of the mango.

To make the salmon, heat the grapeseed oil in a pan over medium high heat until almost smoking. Add the fish, cooking for a few minutes on each side until desired doneness (I leave mine a little pink in the middle).

To serve, plate the salmon and top with a generous heap of mango salsa. Enjoy!

Source for Ingredients:

mangoes from the tree by our rental cottage in Waialua

serrano pepper, spring onion and sashimi quality salmon from Malama Market Haleiwa

Music on Tap:

Air - Moon Safari
Bob Marley - Natty Dread
Angus & Julia Stone - A Book Like This

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Diva Visits the North Shore of Oahu! Blue Water Shrimp & Seafood!

Blue Water Shrimp & Seafood Truck

Hey divas, I'm coming to you live from the North Shore of Oahu.

I've journeyed out here for a wedding, and wow have I been engulfed by wedding season these past few years, jaunting all over the country, and practically the world, for these blessed events. All my friends and family have to be just about married off already, right? One can only hope!

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Diva Visits Fish King! Domestic Diva's Jumbo Scallop Ceviche!

This week I'm off to Oahu for my BDFF's nuptials, and I'm hoping I'll be able to blog from The North Shore, but just in case I'm leaving you with my favorite culinary experience of recent times. It can be summed up in two words. Fish King. A local fishmonger located in Glendale, I'd been meaning to take a field trip out there for weeks, and finally mustered up the energy, rolling in on a Friday morning, ready to stock my kitchen with the best seafood available. When I walked inside, a huge case of fish greeted me. They had just about anything you could ever want!

Quickly, I took a number, waited my turn, deliberating over what to buy, and finally made my selections. I requested the local yellowtail (otherwise known as amberjack), soft shell crab (one of the best things in summer), jumbo shrimp, and finally, the sashimi grade jumbo scallops. Right then and there, I resolved I'd be turning them into ceviche, the perfect, refreshing summer dish. The prices were very reasonable for the quality of the seafood. I also noticed that they had a lunch counter where you could order fried or charbroiled fish! I must check that out next visit!

Quickly, I hurried home, eager to cook up my seafood. All I can say is that Fish King did not disappoint! My ceviche was to die for, thanks in large part to the freshness of the scallops. I served it over fresh, chunky slices of avocado. Now that I'm hooked, there's no doubt I'll be back there in the coming weeks for more!

Domestic Diva's Jumbo Scallop Ceviche

4 sashimi grade jumbo scallops, sliced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 serrano pepper, diced
1 lime, juiced
2 lemons, juiced
2 tbsp good olive oil
1 large avocade or 2 small avocados, cut into large slices
salt & pepper


In a mixing bowl, whisk together the lime juice, lemon juice & olive oil. Add the scallops, serrano pepper, garlic & onion. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for about 3 hours, or until nicely chilled and marinated.

To plate, place the avocado in the bottom of a bowl and spoon the ceviche over the top. Enjoy!

Businesses Mentioned:

Fish King
722 N. Glendale Ave.
Glendale, CA 91206
(818) 244 2161

Widely considered possibly the best fish market in Los Angeles, they also feature an in-house cafe that serves up fresh seafood.

Source for Ingredients:

sashimi grade jumbo scallops from Fish King

organic red onion, serrano pepper, organic lime, organic lemons & organic avocado from Whole Foods

Music on Tap:

R.E.M. - Out of Time
Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
Death Cab for Cutie - Plans

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Red Rice "Risotto" with Olives & Shaved Parmesan Reggiano

This morning I flipped to my calendar, and lo and behold, August has arrived, sizzling hot, king of the summer August. This year has practically flown by, and with August also comes my birthday, right around the corner, staring me in the face, the big 3-0 on 8-3. And what better way to celebrate than with great food and wine? Tonight, I'm planning to cook dinner for some friends, serving up arctic char sashimi with baby arugula to start, a main course of escolar (Hawaiian butterfish in the vein of Sea Bass), over sunchoke puree & sunburst squash, purple bell pepper & shell bean succotash. For dessert, I plan to make fresh strawberry & rosemary tarts. Wish me luck!

Then, to continue the celebration, Sunday night, we're hitting up Lucques' famous Sunday Night Suppers ($45 3 course fixed price) and on Monday, the actual day, I'm contemplating either a return visit to Osteria Mozza for their $35 bar special or a trip to Lou for their $55 tasting menu & wine pairing. What should I choose? Leave a comment and let me know!!

In the meantime, I thought I'd share a lovely rice dish that's a snap to make, super healthy, and positively delicious! It's great to serve for company and pairs great with fish or meat dishes. It's a nice twist on the usual risotto and uses whole grain rice, which has great health benefits. Hope you enjoy it!

Domestic Diva's Red Rice "Risotto" with Olives & Shaved Parmesan Reggiano

1 cup red rice (or short grain brown rice)
2 1/2 cups filtered water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 black or green olives, pitted and chopped
shaved parmesan reggiano
salt and pepper


In a heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil and saute the onions until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Add the white wine and simmer until absorbed. Add the water and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover and allow to rest for 1/2 hour.

After half an hour, uncover and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until all the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat. Add the lemon juice, olives and season to taste with salt & pepper. Top with shaved parmesan and enjoy!

Source for Ingredients:

red rice from Fish King

parmesan reggiano, black olives, organic lemon from Whole Foods

organic garlic from LOVE Delivery

Music on Tap:

Peter Gabriel - Us
Black Crowes - Shake Your Money Maker
Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds - Wetlands Acoustic 1