Thursday, March 31, 2011

Breaking News: I'm the New Food Writer for West Hollywood Patch!

I wanted to announce that I'm the new food writer for West Hollywood Patch, AOL's local news website.

I'll be writing weekly recipes based on finds at the WeHo Farmers Market in a column called, "Farm to Table." I'll also be covering restaurants and local food events, like last week's fabulous Taste Art (article below). Lucky for me, West Hollywood plays host to some of the city's top dining destinations like Lucques and Comme Ca, and the hotly anticipated Ink from Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio.

I love the new gig -- and it lets me do what I do best, which is write about all kinds of food and develop healthy recipes based on fresh, local ingredients.

Pinches Tacos
My article on Pinches Tacos was published today in the "Bites Nearby" column:

Pinches Tacos: Holey "Mole" Tacos

Here's my article on Taste Art, the unique dining experience that pairs fine art with haute cuisine: 

The Avenues Serve Up 'Taste Art'

If you like what you read, please like the articles on Facebook, Tweet them, email them, do whatever you do to share great food with your friends!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Restaurant Opening: Son of a Gun Holds Up L.A.'s Third Street

Son of a Gun is the best restaurant to hit L.A. in a long time.

The brand new seafood eatery from Animal chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo has only been open four weeks, but it's already firing on all cylinders. On Sunday night, I hijacked the communal table with a coterie of friends (for a birthday celebration) and chowed down on some of the best food that I've tasted this year. As much as I adore Animal, they may have outdone themselves with this place.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Meatless Monday: Fried Zucchini Spaghetti

Fried Zucchini Spaghetti
Pasta is the ultimate comfort food, don't you think?

Inspired by a recipe from Gywneth Paltrow's new cookbook My Father's Daughter, I dredged baby zucchini slices in flour and fried them up in my cast iron skillet. These were combined with whole grain spelt spaghetti, parmesan reggiano, and chopped mint (instead of basil) for a simple, delicious dinner. Now who can resist that?

To make a gluten-free free version of this pasta, use a gluten-free flour to coat the zucchini and a gluten-free spaghetti. To make it vegan, simply leave out the cheese.

Serve with Navy Bean Bruschetta and Panko-Crusted Squash Blossoms

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Charity Event: Bakesale for Japan on Saturday, April 2nd at 10am - 2pm

We all know that baked goods make the world go round -- but they can also make the world a better place!

On Saturday, April 2nd from 10am-2pm, Bakesale for Japan is putting on old fashioned bake sales across Los Angeles and the country to benefit relief efforts in Japan. Other cities involved in the fundraiser include San Franciso, Portland, Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Austin, Salt Lake City, and Hawaii, to name a few. 

Proceeds from the bake sales will be donated to Peace Winds Japan, a non-governmental organization that is currently contributing 100% of its donations to the relief efforts in Japan.

Los Angeles Locations
  • Forage (3823 West Sunset Blvd., Silverlake) 
  • Angeli Caffe (7274 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles) 
  • Black Cat Bakery (519 S. Fairfax Avenue, West Hollywood) 
  • BLD (7450 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles)
  • Akasha (9543 Culver Blvd., Culver City) 
  • Chefs Center of California (45 N. San Gabriel Blvd., Pasadena)

So check it out and chow down, all for a great cause!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Foodie Event: Truckit Fest Returns to Downtown LA's Union Station on Sunday April 3rd

If you missed the first go round, now is your chance! 

Truckit Fest returns to Downtown LA's Union Station on Sunday April 3rd from 11am - 5pm. The event features over 40 food trucks, local vendors, and music.

New trucks participating in April include Meet ‘n Potatoes, Piaggio, Jody Maroni, Happy Cup, Auntie’s Frybread, The Cheeseball Wagon, Macho Nacho, The Yummy One, Louks To Go, Wrap Me Silly, Ludo Truck, and VesuvioLA. Meanwhile, the shopping section of homemade art and accessories is now open to the public (no entrance fee needed), and now includes antiques, vintage and collectible items.

TruckIt Fest will take place monthly; the next date is Sunday April 3rd, from 11am-5pm. 

Union Station is located at 800 North Alameda Street. 

General admission is $5, V.I.P. is $25, and kids under 12 are free. 

Valet parking is available for $15 and self-park in the Metro Water District Building is $10. Guests who take Metro and show their valid Metro pass, Metro Rail ticket or Destinations Discounts card train ticket get $1 off admission. Tickets are available online or at the event. For more information visit or call 866.966.9495.

Click here to read about last month's Truckit Fest

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Is Modernist Cuisine Bound for the Home Kitchen?

Imagine modern wedding registries peppered with digital scales, centrifuges, freeze driers, and vacuum sealers, and home kitchens outfitted more like laboratories. The Jetsons might approve, but is this really where we're headed?

Take for example the newly released Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, a six volume set carrying a hefty $625 price tag. It's the passion project of Dr. Nathan Myhrvold, who made his fortune working for Microsoft. His background, including advanced degrees in mathematics, geophysics, and space physics, certainly seems appropriate for shedding light on the science of cooking.

More encyclopedia than cookbook, the pages of Modernist Cuisine are filled with dramatic, full color images and detailed instructions on everything from strategies for sous vide cooking, which involves vacuum sealing proteins or vegetables, and then cooking them in a temperature controlled water bath for extended periods of time, to instructions on making foams, gels, emulsions, and all sorts of fancy techniques that regularly grace the tables in fine dining establishments, but rarely enter the home kitchen.

Modernist Cuisine's stated mission says that it's "destined to reinvent cooking," a lofty goal indeed. Celebrity chefs are quoted as deeming it, "the cookbook to end all cookbooks!" (that's from Momofuku's David Chang), and "Amazing! Unparalelled in its breadth and depth" (that's from Wylie Dufresne of WD-50).

And while "Modernist Cuisine" certainly isn't the first cookbook to take on this challenging subject matter -- take for example Grant Achatz's "Alinea" cookbook -- it's certainly the most ambitious and comprehensive to date.

Sure, these books are cool to flip through. And it's fun to ogle at the sculptural images of food that, well, doesn't even really look like actual food, but are they practical for the home cook? Or once purchased, will they be maligned to a life spent as coffee table decor? Or worse, displayed in the kitchens of cocky home chefs, much like peacocks flash their colorful plumes?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin with Shallot-Apple Confit

Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin with Shallot-Apple Confit
This sous vide recipe combines pork tenderloin with a shallot-apple confit, in which the shallots are sauteed in rendered bacon fat, and then doused with sweet apple cider and a touch of sherry vinegar. The sauce is reduced until the shallots are tender and flavorful, perfectly complimenting the delicate pork.

If you don't yet own a Sous Vide Supreme, the sous vide machine for the home cook, then this recipe may be made conventionally by searing pork and then roasting it in the oven to preferred doneness. Finish it with the sauce.

Serve with Salt-Crusted Baby Potatoes and Kale with Currants & Pine Nuts

Salt-Crusted Baby Potatoes

Salt-Crusted Baby Potatoes
These salt-crusted baby potatoes are roasted in the oven until tender, and served garnished with chopped parsley. An elegant and delicious side dish.

Salt-Crusted Baby Potatoes
Serves 4-6 people
Cooking time: about 50 minutes
vegan, gluten-free
Print Recipe

4 cups baby potatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Using a fork, poke holes in the potatoes. Place some salt on a small plate. Coat the baby potatoes in olive and then roll them in the salt mixture. Roast the potatoes in the oven until tender. Remove from heat and toss with the chopped parsley. Enjoy!

Source for Ingredients
baby red potatoes from the West Hollywood Farmers Market

extra virgin olive oil from Trader Joe's

Kosher salt from Whole Foods

Monday, March 21, 2011

Meatless Monday Features My Recipe for Greek Frittata

Greek Frittata
This week, Meatless Monday is featuring my recipe for Greek Frittata, a delicious egg dish made with Greek flavor profiles, like briny olives, tangy feta cheese, sweet cherry tomatoes, caramelized red onions, and wilted spinach. It's full of healthy veggies and protein -- the perfect way to kick start your week.

So click on over and check it out!

And remember, One day a week, cut out meat!

Click here to view my recipe for Greek Frittata 

Serve this frittata with fresh baby arugula tossed with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil and Carrot Cake Muffins

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Don't Wear Green -- Eat Green on St. Patrick's Day!

Edamame-Spinach Dip
Forget about wearing green -- eat green instead!

Not only will it keep you from getting pinched on St. Patrick's Day, but green-colored foods tend to pack a nutrient punch. Things like spinach, kale, broccoli, edamame, and all manner of herbs are nutrition power houses. And with my fabulous recipes, these green foods taste great, too.

Why limit yourself to green beer -- have green food, too!

"Green" St. Patrick's Day Recipes

Zingerman's Bacon of the Month Club: Sam Edwards' Dry-Cured Berkshire Bacon from Virginia (Bacon #5)

Sam Edwards' Dry-Cured Berkshire Bacon from Virginia

I'm back with more bacon porn for you bacon lovers!

This installment of Zingerman's Bacon of the Month Club featured Sam Edwards' Dry-Cured Berkshire Bacon from Virginia (my home state, as it happens).

Like most of the bacon from the club, this one is produced by a family operation. Edwards still cures and smokes his bacon the same way that his father and grandfather did. He's also always experimenting with new ways to improve his product -- recently introducing peanut-finishing of hogs and going back to old breeds of pig like the Berkshire.

The Berkshire pigs used to produce this bacon are an heirloom variety that have been grazing fields in this country for centuries. They're renowned for their concentrated, porky flavor, which has mostly been bred out of white pigs. Many chefs revere these pigs for their fattier meat and superior flavor.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Foodie Event: Udi's Brings Gluten Freedom to Natural Products Expo West

Jennifer Brody (center) with Gluten-Free Bloggers
On Saturday, Udi's Gluten Free Foods, one of my favorite gluten-free purveyors, sponsored me to attend the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim.

Right in time for grill season, they're celebrating the launch of their new line of gluten-free hot dog buns and whole grain hamburger buns, a much needed addition to the gluten-free universe.

Udi's has an almost cult-like following amongst gluten-free dieters for their soft, flavorful breads, muffins, pizza crusts, and bagels (yes, gluten-free bagels!). This isn't the dense, hard-as-a-rock bread that most of us had to rely on for years. This stuff tastes like the real deal -- and it's made with fantastic, all natural ingredients.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Meatless Monday: Oatmeal with Walnuts, Dried Cranberries & Maple Syrup

It's all about breakfast--it will set the tone for your day.

Sadly, this is the meal that many people opt to skip, or rely on overly processed foods for (cereal, fast food, etc.).

So bypass all those processed cereals (since when is "cereal" worthy of an entire grocery store aisle?). And the frozen processed waffles and the like. And even bypass the instant "sugar bomb" packages of oatmeal (if you want to know more, read Mark Bittman's article on how McDonald's ruined oatmeal). They're less healthy and more expensive than plain, old oatmeal.

Instead, pick up a carton of plain oatmeal, and know in your heart that you have the power to embellish it yourself. I love both the regular stuff, which cooks up in about five minutes flat--how's that for fast food?--and steal cut oatmeal, which takes a little longer but pays you off in flavor.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Foodie Event: Truckit Fest Brings Food and Culture to Downtown LA

On Sunday, Truckit Fest rolled into downtown L.A.'s historic Union Station, bringing with it over 40 food trucks, art vendors, and music performers.

As a wise man once said, where the food trucks go, the foodies soon follow. This was certainly the case on Sunday's packed event.

With my VIP pass, I arrived bright and early, ready to sample the offerings. In addition to serious food lovers, I spotted a lot of local press coverage, including foodie haven the LA Weekly.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sous Vide Scallops with Pea Tendrils and Buerre Blanc Sauce

Sous Vide Scallops with Pea Tendrils and Buerre Blanc Sauce
Scallops + Bacon + Peas + Butter

Don't those flavor profiles sound fabulous?

Continuing with my Sous Vide Supreme experiments, here's my latest recipe for Sous Vide Scallops with Pea Tendrils and Buerre Blanc Sauce.

I cooked the scallops sous vide with rendered bacon fat to a beautiful medium rare (all vacuum sealed together in a bag). Then I seared them on the stove, and served them over sauteed pea tendrils with a tangy Buerre Blanc sauce.

The sous vide scallops were stunning. That's the only word for it.

Kitchen Basics: Beurre Blanc Sauce

Here's my version of Buerre Blanc Sauce, which is just a fancy way to say tangy butter sauce. It literally means "white butter" in French.

This sauce especially delicious over vegetables, pan-roasted chicken, fish, and shellfish.

Buerre Blanc Sauce
makes 1/4 cup
cooking time: about 10 minutes
Print Recipe

An Exclusive Look at Son of Gun Restaurant from Animal Chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo

Courtesy of Huffington Post
The Huffington Post was granted an exclusive sneak peek at Son of a Gun, the new nautical-themed, seafood-centric restaurant from acclaimed Animal chefs, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo. They're also two of my favorite chefs.

Check out this great article by Anna Almendrala to find out what three heavy-hitter chefs were dining that night (hint--one of their names contains silver), what they served for their staff for dinner, and what Chef Shook was snacking on in the kitchen that night. There's also a slideshow, featuring the prep and creation of their dishes (I love seeing inside the kitchen).

Animal is one of my favorite restaurants, and despite being known for meat, the fish dishes show surprising finesse. I can't wait to check this place out!

Click here to view the article on Huffington Post

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New Restaurant Opening: Fig & Olive Spices Up West Hollywood

Fig & Olive Restaurant
Fig & Olive, the restaurant chain with four New York locations, has finally journeyed west and descended on Melrose Place (yes, that Melrose Place). I had the pleasure of attending last week's launch party, and it's doors formally opened to diners over the weekend.

Featuring riviera and coastal cuisine from the south of France, Italy, and Spain, the restaurant is the brainchild of founder and owner Laurent Halasz and Executive Chef Pascal Lorange. Aptly named and decorated (the interior designs features walls studded with glistening bottles of olive oil), the restaurant will present diners with an extra virgin olive oil tasting with their meal.

Halasz even goes so far as to pronounce olive oil the restaurant's "core ingredient, which we use in place of butter in our dishes."

Monday, March 7, 2011

Meatless Monday: Carrot Cake Muffins

Carrot Cake Muffins
I have a new food obsession to report--Carrot Cake Muffins.

And they're healthy, packed with carrots, walnuts, whole grains, golden raisins, and natural sweetener. It sounds too good to be true doesn't it?

I've always loved carrot cake for the rich combination of spices and fresh carrots, which somehow balance out the cake part. And now I have a way to enjoy it guilt free, thanks to Martha Rose Shulman. The recipe appeared in her Recipes For Health column in the New York Times last week.

Friday, March 4, 2011

My Fave Bites: 9021Pho

90210Pho Restaurant
If there's one thing that the L.A. dining scene is lacking it's good Pho, a Vietnamese soup usually made with chicken or beef. The soup includes noodles made of rice and is often served with bean sprouts, basil, lime, bean sprouts, and peppers that are added by the diner.

We're overrun with sushi joints, K-Town BBQ's, Thai shops, and Taco stands, but Vietnamese restaurants are far and few between. There's even been a ramen resurgence in greater Los Angeles of late (read about my addiction to Jinya Ramen).

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Smoky Red Beans and Rice with Saag's Ragin' Cajun Sausage

Smoky Red Beans and Rice with Saag's Ragin' Cajun Sausage
Another day, another delicious sausage recipe.

I love living with a refrigerator full of sausage thanks to Saag's--it's like a domestic diva's dream come true. The Adorable Monster loves it, too. Although, he rarely gets to partake in the juicy, meaty goodness. Just lots of sniffing and plate licking.

For this recipe, I decided to take on the classic dish red beans and rice. It's a traditional Creole dish, and the perfect way to showcase Saag's Ragin' Cajun smoked sausage from their All Naturals line. I'm a huge fan of spicy, andouille sausages and couldn't wait to bust these out and give them a try.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Foodie Event: Truckit Fest Rolls into Downtown LA

What could be better than 40 of LA's best food trucks all in one location?

Try a monthly event in downtown's historic Union Station with food trucks, over 200 local designers and artisans, and a live DJ. It's called Truckit Fest.

Union Station
The brainchild of flea market veteran Philip Dane, the Grand Opening will be held this Sunday, March 6th from 11AM-5PM (a VIP pass will get you in an hour earlier plus other perks).

Participating food trucks include Komodo, Border Grill, Gourmet Genie, The Munchie Machine, Crepes Bonaparte, Barbie’s Q, Sweets Truck, Slammin’ Sliders, Del’s Lemonade, the Yummy One, Canter’s Deli, and Mandoline Grill.

I'll be in attendance on Sunday, and can't wait for a fun day filled with food, art, and music. Now what could be better than that?