Friday, July 29, 2011

Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Arugula Chimichurri Sauce

Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Arugula Chimichuri Sauce

The end of the week is here!

Have you been running around like crazy, too? I feel like I have, but fortunately, August is almost, and things always seem to slow down in August.

For the weekend, I thought I'd share another sous recipe with you. Of course, I made this with my fabulous Sous Vide Supreme. This time, I took on beef tenderloin. I seasoned it with a rub, cooked in the sous vide machine for about two hours at 130 degrees, and then seared the beef quickly in a cast iron skillet.

I finished the beef with a simple Arugula Chimichurri Sauce, which is my new obsession. It's a simple blend of arugula, lots of garlic, lemon juice, a serrano pepper, a little olive oil, and salt and freshly ground pepper.

This stuff is super addictive -- spicy and refreshing at the same time. The arugula goes great with the beef. I could eat tons of this sauce (and I did, trust me!).

Note: this recipe would work with conventionally cooked beef tenderloin, too. 

Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Arugula Chimichurri Sauce
Serves 4 people
Cooking time (active): about thirty minutes
Gluten-free; dairy-free
Print Recipe

  • 4 beef tenderloin fillets (about 4 ounces each)
  • about 4 teaspoons of dry steak rub 
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 cup fresh arugula, packed
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 serrano or jalapeno, seeded (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Preheat the Sous Vide Supreme to 130 degrees for medium rare.
  2. Rub the steaks with the dry steak rub (and salt if the rub does not already include salt), or just sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper if you don't have a dry rub on hand.
  3. Vacuum seal each steak into its own bag.
  4. Place them in the Sous Vide Supreme so that they aren't touching. Cover and allow to cook for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
  5. Meanwhile, to make the Arugula Chimichurri Sauce, place the arugula, garlic, serrano or jalapeno pepper, and lemon juice in a food processor or blender. Pulse until mixed together. Add the olive oil and pulse again. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Set aside.
  6. Once the steaks have finished cooking, remove them from the Sous Vide Supreme and cut them out of their bags.
  7. Quickly sear the steaks for a minute or so on each side in the grapeseed oil, until nicely browned. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
  8. To plate, arrange the steak slices on a place and top with a generous portion of the Arugula Chimichurri Sauce. Enjoy!

Source for Ingredients
  • all natural beef, organic arugula, organic garlic, dry steak rub, and organic lemons from Trader Joe's 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Spicy Paprika Lemon Potatoes

Spicy Paprika Potatoes

Happy new week! And happy Monday!

It's is lovely and hot in California (though nothing like the steam bath that has recently swept through a large swath of the country). This will be a full day. After this post, I'm off to the West Hollywood Farmers Market to pick up some grub for this week. After reading Feast for Crows last night (Game of Thrones series book 4), I'm thinking I want to eat clams and mussels.

Yes, to answer your burning question, I am a certified nerd.

Or maybe I'll make a Fish & Smoked Oyster Chowder (my friend Jennifer Pooley gave the recipe a shout out on her delightful blog, which you must read for a burst of sunshine in your life and fabulous book recommendations).

Regardless, here is a little gem of a recipe that I cooked up first in Des Moines, using spices from All Spice, this amazing bulk spice store downtown. I'll admit that I went a little crazy in there. And you should, too. You can never have enough great spice in your life, if you ask me. Even if you're not in Des Moines, they have an online store, and their prices are fantastic. Check them out, too....

So back to my spice buying binge. I have a paprika obsession. Not that bland stuff from the grocery store that tastes like nothing. But Hot Smoked Paprika, which is what I bought at All Spice.

Taking a page from the Spanish handbook (Patatas Bravas is one of my favorite dishes in the world), I decided to roast potatoes with the spice, and then serve them tossed with lemon juice. This is a healthier take on the Spanish recipe, in which the potatoes are fried and served with an aioli of sorts. And yes, it does not lack in flavor in any way whatsoever.

I loved this recipe -- and the spice -- so much, that I made it again in Los Angeles. It's going into my permanent rotation at home. And it should go into yours, too.

Spicy Paprika Potatoes
Serves 4-6 people
Cooking time: about 50 minutes
Vegan; gluten-free
Print Recipe

  • 6 cups red potatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon hot smoked paprika (you can add more to make them spicier)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • juice of one lemon, plus wedges for garnishing

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 
  2. Place the potatoes in a roasting pan and toss with the olive oil and smoked paprika. Salt generously. 
  3. Roast them in the oven for about 40-50 minutes, turning them one or twice, until their crispy, but still soft on the inside.
  4. Remove from the oven and toss with the lemon juice. Garnish with the lemon wedges. Enjoy!

Source for Ingredients
  • hot smoked paprika from All Spice
  • red potatoes and lemons from West Hollywood Farmers Market

Wine Pairing
With this spicy recipe, we drank the Saxum James Berry "32" (2006). This crazy, amazing, dazzling bottle of wine -- an experimental cuvee -- earned a stunning 97 points from Robert Parker. Sadly, only 100 cases were produced, and we were the lucky recipients of this bottle. A blend of 43% Syrah, 38% Grenache, and 19% Mourvedre, it was aged 32 months in small barrels (that's what the "32" refers to). this wine was everything you would want from a bottle of Saxum -- and more! Deep black, inky, voluptuous, full of licorice and lavender, long finish.

In short, a masterpiece! I cannot wait to drink more of their huge, brilliant wines! For any wine lover, Saxum is a must taste situation.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Grilled Pork Chops with Peach Salsa

Grilled Pork Chops with Peach Salsa

Summer brings many wonderful things (and a few unwanted ones, too). Peach season is among the highlights.

We're experiencing it full blown right now. Grocery stores and farmers markets alike are overflowing. My cup runneth over. On my list of favorite foods, peaches this time of year are near the top.

I'm always looking for fun ways to incorporate them into my recipes. Peach Salsa is a definite no-brainer. Spicy, sweet, and everything in between, it tastes fabulous on grilled meat like the pork chops featured here, or any kind of grilled fish. So next time you're hosting a dinner party, or just having a quiet night at home, bust out the peaches and try making salsa for a taste of summer itself.

Grilled Pork Chops with Peach Salsa
Serves 4 people
Cooking time: about 30 minutes
Dairy free; gluten free
Print Recipe

  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 peaches, pit removed and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 shallot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon or basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  1. Preheat the grill.
  2. Generously salt and pepper the pork chops.
  3. Grill the pork chops for a few minutes (depending on thickness) on each side until cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, mix together the peaches, jalapeno, shallots, and herbs. Add the lemon juice and olive oil, tossing to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. To serve, place a pork chop on a plate and top with a generous portion of peach salsa. Enjoy!

Source for Ingredients
  • organic pork chops, organic tarragon, organic lemons, jalapenos, and extra virgin olive oil  from Whole Foods
  • organic peaches from the West Hollywood Farmers Market

Monday, July 18, 2011

Meatless Monday: Mushroom Ragu with Homemade Cavatelli

Mushroom Ragu with Homemade Cavatelli

There's lots of news swirling around this Monday.

First up, Meatless Monday is featuring my recipe for Pomegranate Guacamole this week, so hope on over and give the recipe some love! It's delicious, healthy, and Susan Feniger even loved it (it placed second in a guacamole contest).

Second, the Environmental Working Group has just released the Meat Eaters Guide to Climate Change and Health, where you can calculate the carbon footprint of your diet. This tool can help you reduce your environmental impact and eat healthier by cutting down on your meat consumption. It also helps identify which protein sources, such as beef and farmed salmon, are the least carbon friendly. So check it out!

Now on to this week's Meatless Monday recipe for Mushroom Ragu with Homemade Cavatelli. While I paired this meaty meatless sauce with my homemade pasta, which I blogged about last week, it would work with any boxed pasta, too. Just try to pick up something made from whole grains. For an extra special treat, instead of using parm, I topped the pasta with ricotta cheese. It added a lovely, creamy layer to the dish, and went beautifully with the sauce. This is my favorite pasta recipe that I've made recently, and I can't wait to try it again!

Mushroom Ragu with Homemade Cavatelli
Serves 4-6 people
Cooking time (for the sauce): about 40 minutes
Print Recipe

  •  4 cups portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • 28 ounce can of tomatoes, pureed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • pinch of chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 recipe Homemade Cavatelli or other pasta

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat.  
  2. Add the onion and carrots and saute until starting to soften, about 5 minutes.  
  3. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender, another few minutes.
  4. Then, add the garlic and chili flakes and saute for another minute. 
  5. Add the red wine and bring to a simmer and allow it to reduce in half.
  6. Finally, add the tomatoes, bay leaf and thyme. Partially cover the pot and allow the sauce to simmer for about 35-40 minutes.  
  7. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. 
  8. To serve, place the pasta in a bowl and top with a generous portion of the Mushroom Ragu. Finish with a scoop of fresh ricotta cheese. Enjoy!

Source for Ingredients
  • portobello mushrooms, onions, carrots, garlic, and thyme from the West Hollywood Farmers Market
  • ricotta cheese from Trader Joe's

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Roasted Tomato Soup with Thick Cut Bacon

Roasted Tomato Soup with Thick Cut Bacon

I know it's been a busy week for me, has it been for you, too? Luckily, we've survived Carmageddon with no issues. In fact, traffic has been a dream this weekend with everybody staying home. They should do this every year!

My mother reminded me of this recipe for Roasted Tomato Soup with Thick Cut Bacon that I first made in Floyd a few years ago. Boy, time flies! She cooked it right before the 4th of July, which inspired me to make it in Des Moines for my in-laws, with bacon from the local Des Moines Bacon Company and tomatoes, both purchased at the farmers market. The results were... heavenly!

It's essentially like a fresh take on the childhood favorite -- tomato soup. Only here, the tomatoes are roasted, and crispy bacon takes the place of a grilled cheese for dipping in the soup. It's perfect for tomato season.

I'm featuring the recipe this week in my weekly recipe column in West Hollywood and Hollywood Patch.

Here's a direct link to the recipe and photos

Monday, July 11, 2011

Meatless Monday: Homemade Cavatelli Pasta

Homemade Cavatelli Pasta

This is my favorite kitchen experiment of late: making homemade cavatelli pasta!

Yes, it's a bit labor intensive, but it reminded me of being a kid and messing around with Playdoh. Rolling it into ropey tubes. Running a pasta cutter over it. Mashing it with a fork. Now what's better than that? I guess that fact that you get to eat it when you're finished. Not so with Playdoh...

Cavatelli are a type of pasta that resemble a dumpling, typically made with flour and water. Sometimes, as with this recipe, ricotta is added to the dough. While similar to gnocchi, they differ in that gnocchi is made from a softer dough that incorporates potatoes. This recipe was adapted from Eating Cleveland, which has fabulous pictures and step by step instructions on making the pasta by hand. Definitely check it out!

I topped my cavatelli with a vegetarian Mushroom Ragu Sauce (recipe coming next week), but any pasta sauce should work.  Enjoy!

Homemade Cavatelli Pasta
Adapted from Eating Cleveland
Makes 4-6 servings
Cooking time: about 50 minutes, including 30 minutes of resting time
Print Recipe

  • 16 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 3 cups (1 pound) All Purpose Flour 

  1. Pour 2 1/2 cups of the flour into a bowl and make a well in the middle.
  2. Drop the 2 eggs and the ricotta cheese into the well. Using a circular motion, slowly incorporate the flour into the eggs and cheese.
  3. Once all of the flour has been combined with the eggs and cheese, knead the dough together until a soft, but not sticky dough is formed. It can depend on the day, but if the dough still remains sticky add more flour.
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest for at least a half an hour.
  5. After half an hour has elapsed, take your ball of dough and divide it into quarters.
  6. Working with one quarter at a time, lay the dough out on a lightly floured surface and divide it into quarters again.
  7. Take a piece of the divided dough (now and 1/8 of the original amount) and roll it into a long tube 1/4 inch in diameter. Some people find it easier to work the dough into a tube while holding it in the air and spinning it back and forth between their palms.
  8. Divide the tube into pieces 1 inch long with either a pastry cutter or a knife.
  9. Using the edge of a butter knife or pastry cutter, with the device at a 45 degree angle, press on each piece of dough and pull across the length of it.  You find that the motion causes the dough to curl up the edge of the device. This process is definitely easier to understand with the pictures below. If you don’t get it at first, don’t be discouraged. Just keep working with the dough, using different amounts of pressure on the dough.
  10. When you are done with each cavatelli, have a lightly floured pan near by so you can toss them in and move on to the next. 
  11. To cook, drop the cavatelli into a pot of salted boiling water for about 5-7 minutes. When they are finished cooking, they will float to the top of the water. Strain and top with your favorite pasta sauce. Enjoy!
Note on storing cavatelli: There are two options for storing  cavatelli: the refrigerator or the freezer.  To store cavatelli in the fridge, let them dry a bit on the counter, at least an hour. Once you’re sure they won’t stick together any longer, pack them into a Ziploc bag and stick them in the fridge. Make sure you use them within a week. However, the  best option for storing your cavatelli is by far the freezer. Once you are done with your cavatelli making, place your pan into the freezer for a half an hour. That should be long enough to allow the cavatelli to tighten up a bit and they should no longer stick together. Then, place  the chilled cavatelli in a Ziploc freezer bag and store them in your freezer for up to a year.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Blackened Swordfish with Tarragon Yogurt Sauce

Blackened Swordfish with Tarragon Yogurt Sauce

If the recent heat wave means anything, we're already deep into the heart of summer. In Des Moines last week, the temperatures topped out at around 100 degrees. Same in Denver when we flew through the airport. And back in LA, it wasn't much better. Upper 90's for days. Today it has finally cooled down. A bit.

The net result is that I've been firing up my grill a lot. Not only do I love the flavor, but it doesn't heat up my house (which is NOT air conditioned). It also makes me feel like summer is here. Standing in my carport, glass of wine in one hand, grill tongs in the other, the Adorable Monster scratching desperately at the front door, begging to be let out so that he can be in closer proximity to grilled meat smells.

The other night, I came up with a delicious grilled swordfish recipe. First, I rubbed it with Cajun seasoning for some spicy kick, and then grilled it up.

I topped the blackened fish with a Tarragon Yogurt Sauce, which adds a cooling element that counteracts the spicy rub

I did have one minor almost-disaster.

When I snuck outside to throw veggies on the grill first, the Adorable Monster pulled a raw piece of swordfish off a plate and try to chow it down. Luckily, Kuzak caught him in the act and rescued our dinner. Whew! He really is a little monster sometimes!

Disaster averted, we had a lovely summer dinner. And the poor Adorable Monster got to lick absolutely not plates afterward...

Blackened Swordfish with Tarragon Yogurt Sauce
Serves 4 people
Cooking time: about 15 minutes
Print Recipe

  • 4 swordfish fillets (about 4-6 ounces each)
  • 4 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon, stems removed (or cilantro would be great)
  • salt

  1. Preheat the grill.
  2. Wash the swordfish fillets with cold water and pat dry. Rub with the Cajun seasoning, dividing it evenly between the fillets and coating them well.
  3. Quickly, grill the swordfish, flipping once until cooked through (a few minutes on each side depending on thickness). Remove and allow to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.
  4. Meanwhile, make the Tarragon Yogurt Sauce by placing the yogurt, tarragon, a pinch of salt, and lemon juice into a food processor or blender. Process the mixture until smooth. Check seasoning and adjust if needed.
  5. To serve, place a piece of swordfish on a plate and top with a generous amount of the Tarragon Yogurt Sauce. Enjoy!

Source for Ingredients
  • wild caught swordfish, Cajun seasoning, organic lemons, and organic tarragon from Whole Foods
  • organic nonfat Greek yogurt from Trader Joe's

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Patch 'Market Fresh Recipe' Round-Up: Frittatas, Burgers, Veggies & More!

As some of you may know, I'm the food writer for AOL's West Hollywood Patch.

In addition to reviewing restaurants and covering local food events, I also write a weekly recipe column called "Farm to the Table" where I share Market Fresh Recipes based on my finds at the local farmers market.

The column is regularly one of the most read articles on the website, and several other local Patch sites are starting to pick it up and publish it. Since I've compiled quite a few recipes, I thought that I would share a round-up of them for your reading enjoyment. There's everything from frittatas and burgers, to veggies and macaroons.

If you like what you see, please Facebook share them, Tweet them, comment on them, share them with your friends, etc. As always, your love and support is much appreciated!

Farm to the Table on AOL's Patch

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

From Des Moines, Iowa!

I'll be back in town and posting new recipes this week. In the meantime, have a great holiday filled with friends and food. Happy 4th of July!