Friday, October 30, 2009

Apple-Glazed Organic Bone-In Pork Chops & Quinoa with Pancetta and Walnuts

Happy Friday, Divas!

Today is a bonus day - you're getting two recipes for the price of  one!

I made this dinner last weekend, and wow, did it turn out fabulous!  I used fresh-pressed apple juice that I made with my Omega Juicer to make my sauce, which really added great flavor. I served the Apple-Glazed pork over quinoa, studded with smokey La Quercia pancetta and toasted walnuts, which really gave the dish a great nutty, earthy component. For wine, we paired this dinner with the stellar 2007 Tablas Creek En Gobelet (CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE), which may be the best wine I've had all year long.  It complimented the dish, and then some, making this one of the best meals I've made this fall.

Now onto more important matters before I share my recipes!  The Adorable Monster, who has been confined to the house for two weeks following his ball removal, is going back to the dog park today!  I know as soon as I utter the two words, "Dog Park!" that he'll leap with fanatical joy and throw himself at the door.  He'll also probably whine in my ear the whole way there, and then run around like a maniac once we arrive, sniffing other dogs' booties and peeing on everything in sight.  I'll report back on how it goes!

If you're curious what I'm cooking, tonight I'm making a chickpea and organic vegetable vindaloo, and tomorrow, a decadent risotto made with pancetta, red wine and radicchio (a recipe from Jamie Oliver, who makes amazing risottos is you ask me).  Next week, I'll be posting more great recipes, wine reviews and more!  So keep reading and cooking!

Apple-Glazed Organic Bone-In Pork Chops & Quinoa with Pancetta and Walnuts
Serves 2 people

2 organic bone-in pork chops 
1 cup apple juice or apple cider, preferably fresh-pressed
1 shallot, chopped
1 apple, diced
1 tsp sherry vinegar
3 sprigs thyme
2 tbsp grapeseed or canola oil
salt & pepper

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
3 slices pancetta, chopped
1/2 cup raw walnuts
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnishing
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
2 cups filtered water
salt & pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make the quinoa, place the olive oil in a pot and heat over medium-high heat.  Then, add the pancetta and saute until crispy and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.  Add the shallot and cook for a few more minutes, until softened and translucent.   Add the quinoa, stir to combine, and cook for one minute.  Add the water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook for approximately 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.  Then remove from heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, spread the walnuts in an even layer in a pie pan or other oven proof dish.  Toast in the oven until golden, about 4 minutes.  Remove from the oven, allow to cool and chop.

Once the quinoa has rested, stir in the parsley and walnuts, fluffing as you combine.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the pork chops, salt and pepper the pork on both sides.  In a saute pan, heat the grapeseed or canola oil over medium high heat until almost smoking.  Add the pork chops to the pan and cook for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked through.  Remove and set aside to rest.

To make the apple glaze, add the shallot to the same pan where the pork chop was cooked.  Saute for two minutes.  Add the apple and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown.  Add the apple juice, the thyme sprigs and sherry vinegar.  Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by two-thirds (it should begin to take on a nice, slightly thicker consistency).  Once it's reduced, remove the thyme sprigs and season to taste with salt & pepper.

To plate, scoop some of the quinoa onto a plate. Top with a the pork chop.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer some of the apple pieces to the top of the pork chop.  Spoon the sauce over the pork.  Garnish with chopped parsley. Enjoy!

Source for Ingredients:

pancetta from La Quercia (via Whole Foods) 

organic bone-in pork chops, organic parsley, organic shallot, sherry vinegar from Whole Foods

organic apples and organic walnuts from Trader Joe's

organic thyme from Hollywood Farmers Market

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Simple Suppers: Moroccan-Style Red Snapper Tagine (Fish Stew)

I'm back with another "Simple Suppers" recipe!  With the advent of cooler weather, there's nothing like richly spiced stews to warm and comfort you.  This dish is inspired by a Moroccan tagine, which is a slowly simmered meat, fish or vegetable dish.  They're usually cooked in earthenware dishes, which flavor the food, but in my case, I used my handy, all-purpose All-Clad braising pan.  For my protein, I used Red Snapper - I'd scooped up some fresh fillets at the Studio City Farmers Market.

I'm including this dish in my "Simple Suppers" series because it meets all my criteria!  It's super healthy, with fish protein, fresh vegetables and healthy fats, and it cooks up in under thirty minutes on the stove top.  I'd recommend serving this dish over brown rice, or if you're feeling extra fancy like I was, serve it over my Raisin-Walnut Spiced Rice (CLICK HERE for recipe).

Moroccan-Style Red Snapper Tagine (Fish Stew)
Serves 3-4 people

3-4 red snapper fillets
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp paprika
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp parsley, chopped, plus more for garnishing
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnishing
1/4 cup green or black olives, pitted and halved
1 cup vegetable stock
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper


In a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes, or until softened.  Add the garlic and ginger and saute for 1 more minute.  Add the cumin, tumeric and parprika and stir into the mixture.  Cook for another two minutes.

Next, add the cherry tomatoes and bell pepper and cook until softened.  Add the vegetable stock, parsley, cilantro, olives and tomato paste.  Bring to a simmer and reduce by half.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, salt and pepper the fish on both sides.  Once the stew has thickened, add the fish and cook for about five minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.  The fish should be one solid color and flaky.

To plate, place some brown rice or raisin-walnut spiced rice in the bottom of a plate and top with a generous portion of the stew.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley, chopped cilantro and fresh ground pepper.  Enjoy!

Source for Ingredients:

red snapper, organic cherry tomatoes, organic bell pepper, organic cilantro, organic onion from the Studio City Farmers Market

organic parsley, tomato paste, organic tumeric, organic cumin and organic paprika from Whole Foods

organic vegetable broth from Trader Joe's

Music on Tap:  

Bonnie Raitt - Bonnie Raitt

As many of my girlfriends may know and much to Kuzak's chagrin, my recent guilty pleasure has been Taylor Swift.  And I don't need to plug her on this blog - she's a young country prodigy who writes all her own music and has shot to superstardom.  Her album was the bestselling album of last year.  However, listening to her made me remember one of my favorite albums of all time by another young country music phenom - Bonnie Raitt.  Her self-titled debut album, recorded when she was only 21, already showcases her slide-guitar skills and holds up to this day!  Now she would go on to massive mainstream success, with songs like "I Can't Make You Love Me," but if you've never heard this early gem, I highly recommend picking it up, and if you have it, but haven't popped it in your CD player in awhile, give it listen!


Upcoming Show: Slipknot at the Palladium tomorrow night!  Woo-hoo!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wine of the Week! New Series on Domestic Divas! Tablas Creek 2007 En Gobelet!

In honor of wine-loving divas everywhere, I've decided to begin a new series of posts called, "Wine of the Week," where every week, I'll feature a new bottle of wine! This week, I'm featuring the Tablas Creek 2007 En Gobelet!

For those of you not yet familiar with Tablas Creek, this is hands down one of my favorite Central Coast wineries.  A partnership between Robert Haas and Perrin family of the famed Chateau de Beaucastel in Rhone, France, they produce Rhone-style wines at reasonable prices and of exceptional quality.  They are also biodynamic and 50% solar powered, making them one of the most environmentally conscious wineries. As members of their wine club, Kuzak and I have enjoyed shipments and discounts on their wines for many years, and they've always been fantastic, but if the En Gobelet is any indication, the 2007's may be their best vintage yet!

Recently, Robert Parker's Tablas Creek reviews came out, and he rated 20 of their newly released wines over 90 points.  I repeat, twenty wines!  Topping the list, their classic 2007 Espirit De Beaucastel, a homage to the Chateau de Beautcastel, received a stellar rating of 95-97 points.  Also, the 2006 Panopolie, their top bottling which Kuzak has resting in his cellar, received 95 points, and the 2007 Cotes de Tablas, a wine that costs under $20 with the club discount, received a rating of 93 points.

Let me sum this up!

These are freaking fantastic wines at prices that cannot be matched!

So this brings me to the 2007 En Gobelet!

This is a new bottling that's a blend of 48% mourvedre, 47% grenache and 5% tannat.  The name refers to the way they train vines in Rhone (and is explained in detail on the label and their website).  This wine tastes of licorice and figs, with intense jammy fruits, and a strong, smoky finish.  Even better, it can be enjoyed now and through the next decade.  I popped the bottle and paired it with an apple-glazed pork recipe, served over a pancetta and walnut studded quinoa (recipe forthcoming).  The wine not only held its own, but it was the star of the evening!  Kuzak and I were literally fighting over the last drops.  It may be the best wine I've tasted all year, and let me tell you, I've had some incredible wines!

I can't wait to try all the other 2007 Tablas Creek wines, and plan to stock our cellar full of them!  So check out the Tablas Creek website and look into their wine club!  This kind of bargain doesn't come around very often!




Great Collard Greens Recipe in The New York Times!

If you read my blog regularly, then you know I'm a huge proponent of loading your diet up with plenty of dark, leafy greens!  I always have a stash of kale, Swiss chard, spinach, broccoli rabe, arugula or collard greens on hand!  I mix them into salads, rice dishes like this one I posted yesterday (CLICK HERE), soups, serve fish and meat over them, or simply saute them up for breakfast, eating them alongside eggs and toast. Just this morning I cooked up some gorgeous organic baby Lacinato kale with chili flakes and lime juice!

So I was thrilled to stumble upon this Collard Greens article and recipe in the New York Times this morning!  For those you who have asked me how to make greens taste delicious, here is one of many answers to that question!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Meatless Monday: Raisin Walnut Spiced Rice

Divas, the holidays are just around the corner!

I'm having a hard time reconciling that fact given that in SoCal the temperatures have been regularly soaring into the upper 80's and low 90's. Despite the summer-like heat, my cooking has shifted gears into fall-inspired dishes, featuring rich spices, stews, chili, winter squash and lots of nuts!

Today I'm bringing you another great meatless recipe!  This is a spiced rice dish studded with walnuts, raisins and Swiss chard and flavored with fresh ginger.  The nuts add a nice source of protein and omega-3's, the chard adds dark leafy greens and the brown rice adds a whole grain.  This can be eaten as a filling stand alone dish or it would go great with my Meatless Monday's recipe from last week for Roasted Acorn Squash and Hazelnut Soup (CLICK HERE!).

This dish would also be a great holiday side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas!  Make it instead of the usual stuffing!  It's got beautiful color and flavor, plus it's a superbly healthy!

Raisin Walnut Spiced Rice
Serves 4 people 

2 cups long grain brown rice, cooked
1 shallot, chopped
1/2 cup jumbo raisins, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
2 cups Swiss chard, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
salt & pepper


Add the olive oil to a cast iron skillet or saute pan and heat over medium-high heat.  Add the shallot and saute for a few minutes, until lightly caramelized.  Add the ginger and cook for another minute until fragrent.

Next add the raisins and walnuts, stirring them with the shallots and ginger, and cook for a few minutes.  Add the Swiss chard and stir into the mixture.  Continue cooking the chard until it's tender.

Finally, add the rice to the mixture and stir to combine.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook for another ten minutes, stirring occasionally.  The rice should  take on a nice, nutty flavor.  Stir in the chopped parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Enjoy!

Source for Ingredients:

organic Swiss chard from Studio City Farmers Market

organic shallot and ginger from Hollywood Farmers Market

organic long grain brown rice from Whole Foods

jumbo raisins and organic walnuts from Trader Joe's

Saturday, October 24, 2009

This is For Dinner Tonight! Great Salad Dressing Recipe!

Hey Divas, check out this great salad dressing recipe I found in The New York Times!  I have some beautiful vine-ripened tomatoes and organic butter lettuce, and did I mention I'm obsessed with Tahini?  I have some raw organic stuff in my cupboard right now.  I think I'll just have to whip up this dressing for dinner!

And what else do I have planned you may ask?

Organic Bone-In Pork Chops!  My current plan is to make an apple glaze from fresh juiced organic apples (yeah, I get to use my Omega Juicer!).  I want to serve them over quinoa cooked with shallots, thyme and La Quercia pancetta, because bacon makes everything taste good!  It should be an epic meal.

If only I knew what wine Kuzak was going to open...

Stay tuned!


Friday, October 23, 2009

Pan-Seared Wahoo with Clams, Cranberry Beans, and Kale

Happy Friday Divas!

So far, I've had a great start to my day! 

I managed to drag my sorry ass out of bed for my 7AM cardio class at my gym, no small feat.  While getting up is freaking hard - even the busting with crazy puppy energy at all times Adorable Monster isn't ready to wake up at the dark hour of six o'clock - I always feel fantastic after an hour of climbing up and down steps with weights.  It's such an ass-kicking class, that I only have to go a few times a week to stay in excellent shape.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Simple Suppers: Curried Shrimp with Brown Rice

Hey Divas, today I'm bringing you another installment in my "Simple Suppers" series!  These are meals that can be cooked up quickly after a long day at work. They require minimal cooking time and typically can be made using one pot.   They're also healthy, featuring my signature combination of protein, fresh vegetables and whole grains.  To view all of my Simple Suppers, CLICK HERE!

Today's recipe is a delicious Curried Shrimp dish that can be made in one pot!  I got the inspiration for this dish at the Studio City Farmers Market on Sunday, where I found a great fish vendor with fresh shrimp for sale.  I also scooped up the organic bell pepper, organic cilantro and organic yellow cherry tomatoes used in this recipe!  I combined these ingredients with some other great flavors, and served the resulting dish over an organic long grain brown rice.  It was so delicious, that I plan to keep this recipe in my regular rotation!

Note: As I've mentioned in previous postings, shrimp is both a healthy source of protein and cooks up quickly!  My Diva Secret of the day is that I always keep a bag of frozen raw shrimp in my freezer to use in a pinch.  It defrosts quickly and tastes delicious.  

Curried Shrimp with Brown Rice

1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger
1 tbsp curry powder
1 cup tomatoes, chopped (I used yellow cherry tomatoes)
1 cup low sodium vegetable broth or filtered water
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper

1 cup brown rice
2 cups filtered water
1 tbsp olive oil


To make the rice, place the rice, water and olive oil in a pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.  Allow to rest for about 10 minutes and then fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat.  Add the onion and saute until translucent (about 5 minutes).  Next, add the garlic, ginger and curry powder and saute for another minute.  Add the bell pepper and tomato and continue cooking until softened, about 5 more minutes.  Add the vegetable stock and simmer for a few minutes until reduced by half.

Add the shrimp and stir to combine.  Cook the shrimp for about five minutes in the sauce, or until cooked through.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To plate, place some of the rice on a plate and then top with the curried shrimp.  Garnish with cilantro and fresh pepper.  Enjoy!

Businesses Mentioned:

Studio City Farmers Market
Ventura Place
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 655-7744

Taking place on Sundays from 8am-1pm, this is a great market featuring a variety of vendors, including a few excellent organic ones, and lots of fun stuff for kids, such as a petting zoo and pony rides when I visited last week!  I especially loved the specialty olive oil vendor and scooped up two bottles of locally made California olive oil!  Stop by to taste test their olive oils and balsamic vinegars.  A great alternative to the larger Hollywood Farmers Market if you're looking for a smaller, easier to manage market.  


Source for Ingredients:

black shrimp, organic bell pepper, organic onion, organic cilantro & organic yellow cherry tomatoes from Studio City Farmers Market

organic garlic and ginger from Hollywood Farmers Market

organic long grain brown rice from Whole Foods

organic low sodium vegetable broth from Trader Joe's

Monday, October 19, 2009

Meatless Monday: Roasted Acorn Squash & Hazelnut Soup

Divas, it's been quite a weekend!

First, the Monster got his balls chopped off, the poor little eunuch.  I'm happy to report that he's feeling much better and healing up beautifully!  Me, not so much.  I've been on constant ball-licking alert since Friday, monitoring every flick of the Monster's tongue, lest he lick his incision. Yes, the vet did give me a cone, but he completely underestimated the size of the Monster's huge noggin.

Here's a play by play of what happened after I placed the cone on the Monster's head.  He ran sideways into the wall, writhed around on the carpet in complete agony and then sat up and promptly licked his balls. There was no ball-blockage achieved whatsoever. The only thing the cone did was make him look so ridiculous that I collapsed in a fit of horrible, guilt-inducing laughter.

I'm a terrible human being!

By the time Sunday rolled around, it was clear a new cone was needed, but thanks to the AIDS Walk which closed EVERY SINGLE MAJOR STREET in West Hollywood, I couldn't reach my vet's office.  I had to take drastic measures and resort to trekking to  the VALLEY for a new cone.  Actually, I exaggerate, since I love Studio City and was even able to hit up their farmers market after I procured my new 20 centimeter cone! Let me assure you that once I strapped this bad boy to the Monster's head, total ball-blockage was finally achieved!

Mission accomplished!  Now meet Conehead, the Amazing Coneheaded Dog!

On top of the trial and tribulations of the Adorable Monster, the power outage last week janked up my dinner plans.  No power = no fridge power = ruined my milk-fed pork chops.  Grrrrr!  But fear not Divas, I was able to improvise and whip up some excellent food despite my adverse circumstances. Take that crappy Los Angeles Power Grid that can't handle one freaking rain storm!!

So today I'm sharing a great fall recipe for Meatless Monday, who graciously published my recipe this week (CLICK HERE TO VIEW IT)! This soup is made from roasted acorn squash and toasted hazelnuts, which add a healthy dose of Omega 3's and protein to the dish.  Winter squash such as acorn squash are in season right now, and this soup is a great way to take advantage of their availability and super low cost!

For a complete meal, pair this hearty soup with a healthy salad!  This soup is also great leftover. Make a big batch and eat it all week long!

Roasted Acorn Squash & Hazelnut Soup
Serves 3-4 people

1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted
1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 garlic clove
3 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp chopped parsley
salt & pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the acorn squash in a roasting pan.  Rub the inside of the squash with the olive oil, thyme, chili flakes and nutmeg.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Turn the squash face down and poke holes in the skin with a knife.  Place the squash in the oven and roast for about 50 minutes or until cooked through.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Once cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh from the skin.

Puree the scooped-out squash with the hazelnuts, vegetable stock, maple syrup and garlic until smooth.  Season to taste with salt & pepper.  To heat the soup, pour into a pan and simmer on the stovetop for about 8 minutes.

To plate, ladle some soup into a bowl.  Drizzle with good olive oil, sprinkle with chopped parsley and fresh ground pepper.  Enjoy!

Source for Ingredients:

organic acorn squash, organic garlic and organic thyme from the Hollywood Farmers Market

hazelnuts from Whole Foods

Music on Tap:

Mogwai - Mr. Beast

This Scottish band creates fantastic, brooding, guitar-laden instrumentals!  I'm a huge fan of their music.  CLICK HERE TO LISTEN CHECK OUT THEIR ALBUM!

Meatless Monday Publishes My Recipe for Apple Walnut Corn Muffins!

I have very exciting news this morning!  Meatless Monday has published my recipe for Apple Walnut Corn Muffins!  They're featuring it all week as their breakfast recipe!  Wow, I'm so honored that they chose me.

These corn muffins are absolutely delicious!  They're packed with omega-3's and take advantage of the great apples that are in season right now.  It's also a vegan recipe, but the muffins taste so great, you'd never even know it.  As Meatless Monday suggests, you can make a batch on Monday and eat them all week long for breakfast.

Click on the link below to check out my recipe!  While you're there, please rate the recipe (you can just click on the rating) and leave a comment if you feel up to it!  I'd appreciate any of your support.  It means the world to me!


Friday, October 16, 2009

Organic Bone-In Pork Chops with Apple-Bacon Slaw!

As I write this post, The Adorable Monster is having his balls cut off.

That's right, snip-snip!  

He'll be Sir-Humps-A-Lot no more.  The poor little guy.  He had no idea what was coming to him.  When I didn't feed him this morning, he looked so sad.  Eating is pretty much his favorite thing to do.  Besides licking his balls.  Sob.  But then when he realized he was getting to go into the car, he reverted into his happy dance complete with maniacal leaps of joy.  If only he'd had some clue as to what fate was about to befall him, he might not have been quite so joyous!

In fact, he may be having them removed as I type this post.  I'm waiting for news from the vet and should be able to pick him up later today.  He's going to be one of those cone-headed dogs, the ones with the plastic cones around their necks, but at least he'll still be pretty darned cute!

Wish the Monster a speedy recovery!

In the meantime, I'm going to share with you the recipe for the dish I made for Kuzak's birthday!  I cooked him Organic Bone-In Pork Chops with Apple-Bacon Slaw.  This dish encapsulates the very essence of fall: earthy, meaty flavors of bacon and pork with delicious apples.  I served the pork over homemade butternut squash ravioli, and while delicious was work intensive, so for a simpler version, I'd suggest simply serving it over roasted or mashed butternut squash.

This dish as a true winner!

For wine, I gifted Kuzak with a bottle of Chacra 2006 Cincuenta y Cinco, Pinot Noir from Patagonia, Argentina.  This was one of the most unusual, but fabulous pinots I've ever tasted.  It paired beautifully with the earthy and sweet flavors of the dinner, pulling everything together.  I'd never had a pinor noir from that part of the world, but this one left me wishing I'd tasted many more!

Organic Bone-In Pork Chops with Apple-Bacon Slaw
Serves 2 people

2 organic bone-in pork chops
1 tbsp thyme, leaves removed from stems
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
salt & pepper

apple-bacon slaw:
1 granny smith apple, peeled and julienned
4 slices american bacon, chopped
1 shallot, diced
1 tsp sherry vinegar
salt & pepper


To make the pork chops, rub them with olive and thyme.  Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.  Then, heat the grapeseed oil in a saute pan over medium high heat until almost smoking.  Add the pork chops and cook, turning once, until they're cooked through.  Remove from the pan and allow to rest for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, make the apple-bacon slaw by sauteing the bacon in a pan for a minute.  Add the shallots and cook for another minute.  Then, add the apple and cook until beginning to caramelize, about 6-8 minutes.  Add the sherry vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To plate, place the pork chop on a late and then top with a generous heap of the apple-bacon slaw.  Enjoy!

Source for Ingredients:

organic bone-in pork chops, organic granny smith apple, organic uncured bacon from Whole Foods

Chacra 2006 Cinceunta y Cinco Pinot Noir from Wally's Wine & Spirits

Music on Tap:

A Place To Bury Strangers - Exploding Head

Reminiscent of Depeche Mode and The Cure, this album grabs you from the first track, "It Is Nothing," and won't let you go.  The bands weaves noisy textures and sounds to create a dark landscape that is both upbeat and entrancing.

Special thanks to JP for turning me onto this band!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cake Wrecks: When Professional Cakes Go Hilariously Wrong!

Ever attend an office party, only to grimace when you saw the cake?

Well, one woman has made a living by posting pictures of "Cake Wrecks" on her popular blog (CLICK HERE) which is now also a book!  Glancing at these images reminds me of why I am a cook and not a baker.  Baking stresses me out!  Pies and muffins push me to the edge of my abilities.  The stress of precise measurements and careful ministrations can still result in irreparable disaster.  I can fix my food - I can't fix a cake gone wrong.

Now if only I could think of something equally amusing to blog about!  Maybe I could get a book deal, too...



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Slow-Cooker Curried Lentils with Mint Rice

I've just survived the horror of all horrors!

For the first time in as long as I can remember, hell maybe even since the dawn of the Adorable Monster, it's actually raining in Los Angeles.  Now given Los Angelenos general disdain for all moisture that hurls from the sky, you might think that's the horror I endured, but you'd be wrong.  I actually enjoy the rain - it's refreshing, cleansing, it washes the smog out of the sky and the soot off the streets.

It was what happened after it rained.  My house lost power.  For almost 10 hours.  That's how craptacular this city is!  It rains one measly day a year, and the freaking power goes out.  I mean, it's not like it was even windy or anything.

No Power = No Internet!

This was the horror of all horrors, but I've survived to blog another day!  I escaped the house with the A-Girl and we grabbed dinner and a movie while Kuzak slaved late into the night, preparing for his trial next week.  The poor Monster sat alone in the dark house, but besides giving me an extra hyperactive greeting complete with excitement pee when I returned home, he seems otherwise unaffected by the outage.

Enough about me, and onto FOOD!  Today I'm bringing you another "Meatless Monday" recipe.  Now I'm perfectly aware that it is not Monday, but the idea behind the Meatless Monday campaign, a nonprofit initiative associated with the Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health, is to persuade people to consider eating vegetarian once a week.  I'm a big supporter of this cause!  Just reducing meat consumption by one day a week can have enormous impact on both your health and the health of the planet.  Plus, I figure if I post this recipe today, you'll have time to figure out how to make it by Monday!

In addition to supporting the idea of one meatless meal a week, I am also a big advocate of convincing people to serve much smaller portions of meat than is normal in the U.S., the land of the supersized!  My suggestions are also in line with what the FDA recommends.  I suggest portions of meat be 4 ounces (or less) per person.  All of my recipes are served in this proportion.  Not only is this the healthier choice, it will also save you real cashola in your grocery bills.  I regularly buy fillets of fish and break them down at home into smaller servings.

So in support of this cause, I'm bringing you my recipe for Curried Lentils with Mint Rice!  I love beans, and when paired with a whole grain rice, they serve as a complete protein.  The great thing about lentils is that they require no soaking (so no advance preparation needed).  I always keep a bag of organic lentils stashed in my cupboard at all times.

I cooked my lentils in my favorite slow-cooker, but they would be great cooked stove top as well.  I paired the lentils with a simple long grain brown rice tossed with chopped mint.  The mint offers a fantastic counterbalance to the spicy curry and adds a great component to this dish.

So next Monday, try going without meat!  Making this recipe would be a great start!

Slow-Cooker Curried Lentils with Mint Rice
Serves 4-6 

2 cups lentils
8-10 cups low sodium vegetable stock
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups baby carrots or 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into big chunks
6 small potatoes, quartered
salt & pepper

mint rice:
1 cup long grain brown rice
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp mint, chopped, plus extra for garnishing


Place all ingredients except the salt & pepper into the slow-cooker.  Cook for 4-6 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low, until the lentils are cooked and the carrots and potatoes are tender.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the rice, place two cups of filtered water, the rice and the olive oil in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a low and cover.  Cook for about 35-40 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.  Remove from heat, allow to cool for 10 minutes and toss with the mint.

To plate, spoon some of the mint rice onto a plate and top with the lentils.  Garnish with chopped mint.  Enjoy!

Businesses Mentioned:

Meatless Monday

A nonprofit initiative associated with the Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health, their goal is to persuade people to go without meat one day a week!  Their fabulous website is packed with health news and meatless recipes to inspire your cooking!  CLICK HERE TO VISIT THEIR WEBSITE!

Source for Ingredients:

organic lentils, organic potatoes, organic mint, organic long-grain brown rice & organic carrots from Whole Foods

Monday, October 12, 2009

Simple Suppers: Mahi-Mahi with Garlic Spinach

Happy Monday!

First I'm very sad to report the demise of the Adorable Monster's beloved frisbee (CLICK HERE to read about it).  After months of chowing down on it, he finally chewed a huge whole through it!

I now request a moment of silence on behalf of the frisbee.

R.I.P. Frisbee

The Monster's first birthday is coming up next month!  Wow, time sure flies!  So I think I know what his present is going to be! A brand new frisbee for him to chew up!

Now onto more important business!  Today, I'm back with another "Simple Suppers" recipe in support of Jaime Oliver's cause to teach American how to cook!  When I conceptualize dishes, one of my main goals is to include:

1) 4 oz. of high quality, lean protein (mostly fish)
2) at least one organic vegetable (often leafy greens)
3) whole grain

From careful study and practice, I've found that this balance of foods is the healthiest way to eat!  This is a simple, inexpensive dish that I make all the time at home.  I love Mahi-Mahi - it's a clean, delicious protein source that usually costs around $14/lb or less.  It also only contains moderate mercury, making it safe to eat a few times a month (CLICK HERE for detailed mercury information). It's great broiled or thrown on the grill!

I bought the Mahi-Mahi used in this recipe from J&P West Coast Seafood, one of my favorite vendors at the Farmers Market! They always have super fresh fish and seafood and the BEST smoked salmon on the planet Earth which they make in-house!  I'll be bringing you more recipes using their product coming up!  Here's what makes their seafood so great:

Most restaurants and grocery chains buy their fish prefiltered to keep costs down, which compromises the quality.  By keeping the fish whole, as J&P does, the excellence is maintained, yet it requires the committment and several caf'e lattes to jump start the process of filleting on site.  Pete is up at the crack of dawn to meet the fishing boats that bring in whole fish for him and his staff to fillet.  Fish are beheaded, gutted, and cut just hours before they arrive at the farmers market for purchase. J&P only purchases fish caught within twenty-four hours.  The best way to select your fish is to check the moisture - the more moisture the better.  If its dry, it's been sitting for too long.  This is often the fate of supermarket purchased fillets. 

To round out my meal, I paired it with garlic spinach, which cooks up in a literal flash, and served it over a whole grain wild rice, but it would be great over any sort of whole grain from quinoa to barley, depending on your preference.  Try this dish out at home!  I promise you'll love it.

Domestic Diva's Mahi-Mahi with Garlic Spinach

2 Mahi-Mahi fillets (I serve 4 oz per person)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt & pepper

garlic spinach:
4 cups spinach
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tsp chili flakes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt & pepper


To make a quick marinade for the fish, pat the fillets dry and place on a plate.  Season both sides with salt and pepper and then drizzle with the olive oil and 1 tbsp of the lemon juice.  Allow to rest for about 15 minutes, both to absorb a little marinade and to come up to room temperature.

Place the fish under the broiler and cook for about five minutes, or until cooked through.  Alternately, the fish may be grilled for a few minutes on each side.  Remove from the heat and allow to rest for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the garlic spinach, heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and chili flakes, reduce heat to medium, and saute for a minute.  Add the spinach and stir it for about three minutes, until it's cooked down.  Add the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To plate, place the spinach on the plate and top with the fish.  Enjoy!

Businesses Mentioned:

J&P West Coast Seafood, Inc.
2210-12 Signal Pl.
San Pedro, CA 90731
(818) 681-9748 

A fantastic seafood vendor, I make sure to hit their booth every week when I venture to the Hollywood Farmers Market.  In fact, they are always one of my first stops (I always buy proteins first)!  Not only do they have a large assortment of super fresh fish and shellfish, but they also have the BEST smoked salmon on the planet Earth!  They make it in-house, which must account for the quality and the fact that it's much less salty than most other cured salmon I've tried.  Stop by and ask Marilyn (owner) for a free sample.  I promise you won't be able to leave without buying some!  CLICK HERE FOR THEIR WEBSITE!

Source for Ingredients:

Mahi-Mahi from J&P West Coast Seafood (Hollywood Farmers Market)

organic baby spinach from Kenter Canyon Farmers (Hollywood Farmers Market)

organic garlic & organic lemons from Whole Foods

Music on Tap:

Air - Love 2

One of my favorite bands, this "French duo" has a brand new album out!  I've been cooking up a storm to it all week long!  CLICK HERE TO CHECK IT OUT!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pan-Roasted Striped Bass with "Ratatouille"

Happy Friday Divas!

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of lunching with my new friend Molly, an organic whole foods private chef (CLICK HERE to read her food blog, Organic Spark), at The Huckleberry Cafe.  Lucky for me, the cafe is situated right next to Santa Monica Seafood, so after noshing on heirloom tomato and white bean soup and salads, I snuck next door and scooped up a bunch of goodies, including a gorgeous fillet of striped bass, a succulent, tender fish that I love, but rarely have the opportunity to work with in my kitchen.

Fresh Striped Bass Fillets

After Kuzak graced me with his presence last night (he's been swamped at work), I quickly settled on my dinner menu, inspired by the fish and my remaining farmers market purchases.  I decided to simply pan roast the bass in grapeseed oil and finish it with a little citrus in order to preserve the natural flavor of the fresh fish.  Then I came up with the idea of serving it over a ratatouille, loaded up with Thai eggplant, summer squash, shallots & cherry tomatoes, and cooked down in my cast iron skillet to add extra flavor.  All of the vegetables featured in my ratatouille were purchased from one of my favorite organic vendors at the Hollywood Farmers Market, Sage Mountain Farm.

Ratatouille in Cast Iron Pan

Continuing with my French inspired menu, after the main course, I served a salad of baby romaine tossed with a mustard and champagne vinaigrette and accompanied by La Brea bakery toasted bread smeared with Soledad Goats cheese (this recipe is forthcoming in later posts).

Did this meal need anything else?  Oh yes, the wine!  We sipped a lovely 2006 Copain Monument Tree Pinor Noir, the smoothest of their pinots, which was drinking wonderfully last night.  This meal was a true winner!

Thanks to Naomi Pomeroy of Beast for her "French Ghetto" inspiration (CLICK HERE to read about the best meal I had all year at her restaurant) and my new BDFF, Molly, for the fun foodie lunch!

Note: While I did not include this recipe in my "Simple Suppers" series because the ratatouille felt a little more challenging, this is actually quite a simple, healthy dish to prepare.  Also, the ratatouille would go wonderfully with almost any type of fish or served as a vegetable side dish to almost any meal.  For a vegan version, toss the ratatouille with beans or tofu and serve over rice! 

Also, I cooked my ratatouille in a cast iron skillet to give it an earthier flavor, but any heavy bottomed pan will work. 

Pan-Roasted Striped Bass with "Ratatouille"

2 striped bass fillets (4 oz each)
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
salt & pepper

1 shallot, chopped
4 summer squash (such as yellow, zucchini, etc.), chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
4 Thai eggplants or 1 small eggplant, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper


To make the ratatouille, heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet or other heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.  Add the shallot and saute for a few minutes until translucent.  Add the eggplant, squash & tomatoes and saute for 7-10 minutes, or until cooked.  Then reduce the heat to low and allow to continue to cook down for another 10-20 minutes while you prepare the fish.  This will give the dish extra concentrated flavor as the tomatoes seep into the other veggies.

To make the fish, heat the grapeseed oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat.  Salt and pepper both sides of the fish.  Add to the pan and cook on each side for a few minutes until just cooked through.  Remove from heat and drizzle with the lemon juice.

To plate, place a little of the ratatouille in the bottom of the plate and top with a piece of fish.  Enjoy!

Businesses Mentioned:

Sage Mountain Farm
40630 Sage Rd.
Aguanga, CA 92544
(951) 767-1016

One of my favorite organic producers at the Hollywood Farmers Market, I always stop by Ronaldo's booth to load up on everything from eggplant and peppers, to summer squash and shallots!  I love that he always asks me how I'm going to cook what I buy from him and offers great suggestions! His booth can usually be found on the Sunset side of the market!  CLICK HERE TO VISIT THEIR WEBSITE!

Huckleberry Cafe
1014 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310) 451-2311

A great new cafe specializing in farm to table ingredients and healthy fare, specialties include their homemade bread and pastries.  Everything they serve is made on site and boasts a variety of high quality including organic flour.  CLICK HERE TO VISIT THEIR WEBSITE!

Santa Monica Seafood
1000 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 393-5244

Other than Fish King in Glendale, this is the best seafood store in the greater Los Angeles area, offering a huge variety of fresh fish and seafood as well as a cafe.  CLICK HERE TO VISIT THEIR WEBSITE!

La Brea Bakery
Original Bakery:
624 South La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 939-6813

Nancy Silverton's famed artisanal bakery, their breads can be found at retailers including Whole Foods!  CLICK HERE TO VISIT THEIR WEBSITE!

Soledad Goats
6501 Backus Rd.
Mojave, CA 93501

Producers of award-winning goat cheese (literally the BEST fresh chevre I have ever tasted), they can be found selling their artisanal cheeses at the Hollywood Farmers Market on Sunday.  Stop by their booth for a free sample and I promise you won't be able to leave without bringing some home with you!

Source for Ingredients:

striped bass from Santa Monica Seafood

organic cherry tomatoes, organic Thai eggplant, organic summer squash & organic shallots from Sage Mountain Farm at the Hollywood Farmers Market

Music on Tap:

Soundgarden - Superunknown

After witnessing the reunification of Temple of the Dog, the supergroup made up of Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, Mike McCready of Pearl Jam & Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron of Soundgarden, I've been on a total grunge kick!  Released in 1994, Superunknown is Soundgarden's first album that debuted at number one on the charts and garnered several Grammy awards for the band.  A true classic album that still holds up!  Personal favorite track is Fell on Black Days!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Domestic Divas Famous Hummus!

You know how Oprah has her "Favorite Things" episodes, the ones where she unveils her favorite things and the screaming housewives in her audience get to cart home all of the booty?  Scoring a ticket to that show is akin to wining the Illinois state lottery!  Well, if I had my own special Divas edition, it would have to include homemade hummus!

After reading this, you're probably thinking that making your own hummus from scratch falls into the "life's too short" category of cooking.  Yes, I'm aware that you can scoop up  ready-made hummus in a gazillion flavors at almost any grocery store, but that stuff pales in comparison to the real deal.  In fact, that's what's driven me on my epic quest to perfect my own hummus recipe!  There's nothing like creamy garbanzo beans, mixed with tahini and fresh lemon, and served up with drizzled olive oil!

And if you're planning to used canned garbanzo beans, forget about it!  While I do keep canned beans in my cupboard to use in a pinch, cooking with dried beans will make a difference both in terms of flavor and texture in your cooking.  Trust me, once you make the switch, you'll never go back!  The other bonus is that dried beans are super cheap compared to canned beans, so you'll save money, too.  The dried garbanzo beans I bought at Whole Foods only cost $1.99/lb, and let me tell you, one pound of dried garbanzo beans goes a long, long way (remember that beans almost double in size after soaking and cooking).

Now the real secret that I harbor about making your own hummus is that I do one big batch all at once, and then freeze several extra portions to eat all month long!  Not only do you get to enjoy great hummus for a month or more all on a few hours of work, but both your palate and your pocketbook will thank you!

Oh yeah, and did I mention the health benefits?  Garbanzo beans are high in protein and fiber and low in saturated fat.  Pair the hummus with fresh chopped veggies, like carrot sticks, and chow down.  Plus, when you make your own at home, you can use higher quality organic ingredients and you'll avoid any bad additives that can lurk in the store bought stuff.

Even better?  You can experiment with lots of different flavor variations by tossing in roasted garlic, tomatoes or toasted curry, my favorite variety!

Did I convince you to give this a try yet?  Well, if not, enjoy the pictures!  I'm overdue to make my fresh batch myself.  I just need to pick up more tahini at the grocery store!

Domestic Divas Famous Hummus

1 cup dried garbanzo beans, soaked overnight or for 6 hours
4 lemons, juiced
1/2 cup sesame tahini
1/2 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves
1 tbsp ground cumin
salt & pepper

optional: 3 tbsp curry powder, lightly toasted


Place the garbanzo beans in a stock pot and cover with at least 3 inches of water.  Bring to a simmer and cook until the beans are soft but not mushy (about 1 hour).  Remove and drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid.

Place the beans in a food processor or blender and add the tahini, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice.  Blend the mixture, adding cooking liquid as needed to achieve desired consistency.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Also, if desired, stir in curry powder or other ingredients to flavor the hummus.

To serve, spread some hummus in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and top with a little paprika and chopped parsley.  Pair with warmed pita bread or chopped vegetables for dipping.  Enjoy!

Note: If planning to make a big batch to freeze several portions, try doubling this recipe!

Source for Ingredients:

organic garbanzo beans, organic sesame tahini, organic lemons & organic garlic from Whole Foods

Music on Tap:

Pearl Jam - Lost Dogs

Last night, I had the privilege of catching Pearl Jam's show at the Gibson Amphitheater in Los Angeles, the third of four dates they're playing at the venue. Let me just let out a big WOW!  I'm a longtime member of the Ten Club, the Pearl Jam fan club, and while I don't have a super coveted low number, I have been in it for about ten years and purchased my tickets through them, which they assign based on seniority.  All I can say is that I got hooked up last night!  Our seats were dead center and only about eight rows back from the stage.

One of the best live band I've ever seen, they really brought it last night!  It was an interesting set list, comprised of plenty of hits like Corduroy and Daughter, but also interspersed with great new material.  I was interested to learn that their new hit single, The Fixer, which is also the best track on the album was penned by Matt Cameron, the drummer.  But the real treat came with the encores.

Playing basically solo with a string quartet, Eddie performed the fabulous Just Breathe and The End off their new album and a hilarious rendition of their two minute punk rock gem, Lukin.  Next came the second encore, and this is where they blew the roof off the place!  Not only did they play Once which is pretty much my favorite Pearl Jam song of all time, and the rarity, Footsteps, which I somehow pyschically knew they'd play.  They also brought Ben Harper, their opening act, out to play bluesy slide guitar on Red Mosquito.

But the biggest surprise came next!  Eddie brought none other than Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) on stage to sing a rousing rendition of the soaring anthem, Hunger Strike, which they've only performed a handful of times live!  Even better?  They closed with Alive and Mike McCready ceremoniously handed his guitar off to Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains), who finished the song on a true high note!  These are the kind of special moments that happen in Los Angeles!

I'm only sad that I'm not going back tonight for their last show!



Monday, October 5, 2009

Simple Suppers: Shrimp Scampi with Lemon-Basil Rice

Divas, today is Kuzak's birthday!!!!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY!  I love you!

"Woof!" agrees the Monster.

While he's slaving away at work today, we had a very nice celebration at home on Saturday night.  I gifted him with a very special and unusual bottle of pinot noir (2006 Chacra, Cincuenta y Cinco, Argentina) and cooked him an epic dinner of my own creation (Organic Bone-In Extra Large Pork Chops with Homemade Butternut Squash Ravioli & Apple/Bacon Slaw).  I promise to share this divine recipe in the upcoming weeks!  Trust me, it's a fabulous fall dish.

In the meantime, I thought I'd bring you another installment in my "Simple Suppers" series, this time featuring my version of shrimp scampi.  The beauty of shrimp is that they're a great source of protein and low in saturated fat. While they are known to be high in cholesterol, in a study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the increase in LDL (bad cholesterol) was lower than the increase in HDL (good cholesterol), resulting in no significant alteration of total cholesterol.  Also, they're rich in vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids and selenium (has been found to decrease cancer incidence).

Even better?  For all you busy working divas out there, shrimp cook up in a literal flash!  That's why this is a perfect "Simple Suppers" recipe.

Local Black Shrimp

For this recipe I used local Black Shrimp purchased from John Wilson, Captain and Owner of the Sea Fever, which he uses to fish off the Santa Barbara coast.  While he specializes in live crab and lobster in season which he sells at local farmers markets, a few weekends ago, he happened to have a nice supple of Black Shrimp on hand that he'd recently caught.  After spying the lovely creatures in his booth, I happily took a pound off his hands.  They were beautiful and still coated in sand from the ocean.

I quickly squirreled them home, along with some organic Sun Gold cherry tomatoes and organic basil, and settled on my dish.  I'd be making my version of shrimp scampi, loaded with plenty of garlic and the cherry tomatoes, and served over a bed of organic short grain brown rice, studded with basil and lemon juice.

Not only was this dish a snap to throw together, it was heavenly on the palate!  John Wilson's shrimp were amazingly sweet and succulent, blending perfectly with the acid of the tomatoes and lemon and the aromatic basil.  A healthy, delicious meal that you must try for yourselves!

Note: While shrimp may be purchased fresh, like the shrimp featured in this recipe, I always keep a bag of raw frozen shrimp in my freezer.  They defrost quickly in cool water and cook up super fast, for a great dinner in a pinch.  I highly recommend keeping them on hand.  

Another great tip for culinary superheroes?  Buy shrimp with the shells on, which can be saved and transformed into shrimp stock for use in dishes like fish stews & shrimp etouffee (click here for my recipe).

Domestic Diva's Shrimp Scampi with Lemon & Basil Rice

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 cups short grain brown rice, cooked
2 tbsp basil, chopped
salt & pepper


To make the rice, stir in 1 tbsp lemon juice and 2 tbsp basil.  Then, season the rice to taste with salt and pepper.  Set aside while you prepare the shrimp.

To make the shrimp, heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat.  Add the garlic and tomatoes and saute for a few minutes, until tomatoes are almost cooked.  Add the shrimp and quickly saute for a few minutes until cooked through.  Season with salt and pepper and finish with the 1 tbsp lemon juice remaining.

To plate, place some of the rice on a plate and top with a generous portion of the shrimp and pan juices.  Toss a little chopped basil on top.  Enjoy!

Businesses Mentioned:

John Wilson
Captain/Owner Sea Fever
Santa Ynez, CA

Specializing in live lobster and crabs that he catches off the Santa Barbara coast, John can be found at the Hollywood Farmers Market selling his catches.  He also usually sells a variety of fish and other seafood, like the Black Shrimp I used for this recipe!

Source for Ingredients:

local black shrimp from John Wilson, Hollywood Farmers Market

organic sun gold cherry tomatoes and organic basil from Hollywood Farmers Market

organic garlic and organic short grain brown rice from Whole Foods

Music on Tap:

Thom Yorke - The Eraser

Last night, I was one of the lucky few fortunate enough to catch one of those special concerts that happen in Los Angeles sometimes, where great artists come together to create magic on stage!  I'm speaking about Thom Yorke's surprise concert last night at the Orpheum, a small 3000 person venue in downtown Los Angeles, where he teamed up with Flea (bassist - Red Hot Chili Peppers), Nigel Godrich (producer - Beck, Radiohead), Joey Waronker (drummer - REM, Beck) and Mauro Refosco (crazy percussionist dude). 
Wow is about all I can say!  They took the stage right at 9pm and dove into material straight off of Thom Yorke's solo album, The Eraser, with Flea dancing up a mad storm on stage while Yorke played piano or alternately electric guitar.  Not only did the musicians all blend together seamlessly, but you could really hear Flea's bass, a huge asset that added a nice kick of funk to the dance-driven material.  After a few songs, Yorke even implored the audience to get off their butts like they were in a "cinema" and groove to his music, an order with which everyone happily complied.

After an hour, the band left the stage, and Yorke returned solo to play a few new songs.  Clutching a guitar, he introduced the next song, an unnamed track that possibly may end up being called "Lotus Flower."  He then promised he'd be working on this track with Radiohead before launching into the incredible song!  Seriously, I can't wait to hear the finished version.  He then played one more new song on the piano, which also seemed like possible new Radiohead material, followed by the Radiohead rarity "Super Collider."  Then, the whole band took the stage again to close out the show with two upbeat numbers.

As I left the venue after first picking up my limited edition Thom Yorke album featuring two new tracks recorded with the new band, I realized I'd just seen something incredible happen - the convergence of incredible musical talent!  For those of you lucky enough to attend, they're playing again tonight at the Orpheum, and they played on Friday night at the Echoplex.  Thom Yorke has also been playing surprise DJ sets at the Roosevelt Hotel, making the most of his time in Los Angeles.  I can only hope he decides to visit more often!



Special thanks to David B., my fellow NIN compadre, for tipping me off to this great show!!!

RIP: Gourmet Magazine!!

Yup, the tough times keep on coming!  Conde Nest shocked the culinary world today by announcing the closing of its famous imprint, Gourmet Magazine.  It has been published since December 1940.

CLICK HERE to read about it, but in the meantime, console yourself by reading my gourmet blog!!  :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Eater LA's 38 Essential Los Angeles Restaurant Picks!

The Bazaar's Eggplant with Bonita Flakes & Edible Flowers

Here's the list, and most of my favorite haunts are on it!  Those include Animal, The Bazaar, Mozza, AOC, Jones, Fraiche, Sushi Nozawa, Sushi Zo, Palate and Pace. 


Whole Thai Snapper with Lime, Garlic & Tarragon

Happy Friday!  Here's a great recipe for the weekend.  I know we're all trying to cram more fish into our diets - they're protein packed and rich in omega-3's - oh yeah, and they're also delicious, but sometimes cooking the can old boring fillet can get old pretty fast.  A great way to spice up your cooking is to prepare a whole fish!  Purchasing a whole fish is actually cheaper than only buying the fillets and has superior flavor, if you ask me.  Favorite small fish to prepare include brazino, rainbow trout and snapper!

For this recipe, I used Thai Snapper, but any Red Snapper or Trout would work, too.  When the fish is purchased, make sure to request that it's cleaned and scaled (unless you prefer to do this yourself at home).  The fish should be fresh and its eyes should look clear (not cloudy).  In my recipe, I cooked my fish with a combination of lime, garlic and tarragon (I love tarragon with seafood), but feel free to substitute any aromatics you can dream up!

Note: I roasted my fish in the oven, but it would also be great thrown onto the grill for a fun summer recipe!

Domestic Diva's Roasted Whole Thai Snapper with Lime, Garlic & Tarragon
Serves 2-3 people

1 whole Thai snapper (may substitute red snapper or rainbow trout)
1 lime, cut into slices
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3-4 sprigs tarragon
1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To prepare the fish, rinse with cool water and pat dry.  Set the fish on a piece of aluminum foil.  Gently score the outside by cutting slits across the width, one inch apart.  Then, sprinkle the cavity of the fish with salt & pepper and stuff it with the garlic and tarragon.  Rub the outside of the fish with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and layer the lime slices on top.

Wrap the fish up in the aluminum, place on a cookie sheet or in a roasting pan, and bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until cooked through (cooking time will vary based on the size of the fish).

Remove from the oven, allow to cool for a minute and then unwrap from the foil.  Gently lift of the skin and then the top fillet, placing on a plate.  Then, pull off the skeleton and plate the bottom fillet.  Enjoy!

Source for Ingredients:

whole Thai snapper, organic lime, organic tarragon & organic garlic from Whole Foods

Music on Tap:

The Sea and Cake - Oui

One of my all time favorite bands, The Sea and Cake might have made one of the happiest albums of all time with Oui.  Like a light, airy summer day, this album captures a perfect upbeat yet mellow vibe.  These guys never quite reached super stardom, but they're incredible musicians based out of Chicago (side projects include Tortoise).  I always catch their shows when they come to town.  So check out this album!  I guarantee you'll love it!