i had this beautiful & totally unrealistic fantasy (as though most fantasies are realistic...) of how i would be blogging up into and inside the holidays... and look at what happened!! i am so sorry....i have some deep blog guilt that i am working out & trying to surrender to...the truth is....i was working, cooking & creating food up into christmas with no time to share about it...and now i am just plain ol' exhausted....so i am resting up for a new year filled with new posts, colorful images of rustic beauty to inspire all of you & more ideas on how we can continue creating a kitchen culture in our homes and in america...until then have an amazing new years eve and day. i will see you in the kitchen in 2010xxx
Sunday, December 6, 2009
(again...dover sole.. not sea trout ;0)
welcome back! i guess i should be saying that to myself too as it has taken me a week to get on my feet from thanksgiving... i think about you everyday and i just have not been able to get to you... alas here we are again..ahhhhh!... i guess that is the long way of telling you that i missed you! and... i am so excited to share the holidays with you...the savory & the sweets that are coming for all your holiday cheer and inspiration! i am starting december off with dover sole that i continued to call sea trout the entire thanksgiving potluck at ocean's school... as i was going through the photos i am thinking that is not sea trout... it's dover sole! oy... so fish is the easiest thing to cook... i almost can't believe how easy it is....the reason for the dover sole you ask? it's was fresh & locally caught.. from marilyn's truck (hollywood market) the sunday before the potluck & i thought it would be a nice break from the turkey, chicken, squab, cornish hen party....so here we go. cut a nice cube of butter (2 tbs...ish) off the stick and put it in your widest pan on medium....the best one, my absolute favorite pan ever is here. it has been worth every cent and then some... so if you are wondering what to ask for during the holiday season this is a great place to start. allow butter to melt and add fresh sage..let hang out for a minute and then add figs, cherry tomatoes, pomegranate seeds...let all these beauties get to know each other for a few minutes and then add the sole.. 1-2 pieces at a time depending on how big your pan is and then squeeze an orange over it...watch for the seeds... the valencia oranges are the juiciest and sweetest if you can get a few. you can put the top on for a few minutes and flip over... they cook fast so don't start a batch of cookies during the process... and yes we will get to some good cookie posts up too! see you in the kitchenxxx
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
there is so much fancy in nature..... i know you got it: i like fancy....and when you shop (local) at your farmers market or your health food store.. you give yourself the incredible gift & opportunity to expand your veggie repetoire...these purple carrots are gorgeous and they come from my friend alex at weiser family farms...there is nothing like peeling & slicing them...it's as though the sun comes up everytime i see the inside of one, two or twenty...and whoever is coming over to eat...you can pass on the facts that purple carrots do exist to your friends & family... not to mention kids love purple carrots! the cauliflowers come from underwood family farms who have a new set up in hollywood on sundays but they get around...check out their schedule & their cauliflowers....the taste is crisp and pure goodness...the colors are sheer magic. and of course the old brussel sprouts side... it's rare to get organic brussel sprouts because supposedly the afids (msp?) get to them really fast and so they usually look like a moth eaten mini cabbage if they are not picked at the perfect time... if you can get your hands on some and you really don't like them (i am challenging you)...massage these babies with olive oil in a casserole dish...add a bit of salt & roast on 350 for about 20 minutes or more depending on your altitide and your oven. i think you will love it. roasted brussel sprouts are on the up and up on my list... and the other day i added some home made pesto to them created by my amazing neighbor peter and it was a beautiful out of body but so in my body experience. these are all beautiful sides for your thanksgiving table...give yourself the gift of getting your veggies from the hands that picked em'... the farmers markets are popping up everywhere..check here for your local stop...see you in the kitchenxxx
Sunday, November 22, 2009
we use them all the time... they are in so many of the meals we make... from breakfast to deserts to stuffing...since they are such an integral part of the recipe (even if it's just a wash on the pot pie) let it be the best egg possible. you wanna go with a local farm if you can...free range, grass fed, organic chickens....raised with love. it's the only way to go. if you are in los angeles....the eggs i love are from peacock family farms, healthy family farms & soledad goats farm. whatever you do.. buy organic when it comes to eggs.....see you in the kitchenxxx
Saturday, November 21, 2009
warming salads are the way to go to get your greens in during the colder months as our bellies are more equipped to deal with them.... and they are just gorgeous... i can't get enough chard...i am almost having an affair with it: i love how it grows out of the ground so tall & proud, how many colors it has & shares with us, how strong & confident the stem is as it holds up the round, lush leaves of it's upper body...if i had to compare it to something we know (and you know i want to) it would be like an audrey hepburn green...sophisticated & always dressed for a night out on the ground. are you getting the picture? ok...then match it with some abundant & fertile pomegranate seeds mixed with a pinch of deep earthiness from the pinenuts and you have an amazing side salad. you can join it with some purple fancy rice or any rice or anything for that matter....as this baby can sit anywhere on the plate...this is also a beautiful thanksgiving side as it's really easy to create, matches all the themes in color and season & is desperately needed to digest all the stuffing, turkey etc... how is it done? oh. right. in a medium saute pan on medium heat: drop some olive oil... then a medium chopped onion... and allow the glaze to happen.. wait & stir (every now and then) for about 5 minutes.. you will begin to smell when the glaze has done it's thing.. add pomegranate seeds and pinenuts (you can also toast these on a baking sheet in the oven and add at the end if you prefer)....allow them to get to know each other.. and then add the chard...put the lid on for a few minutes so everything can come down from the excitement ;) then open it up and stir the love around. you will know when it's ready to go....yum...see you in the kitchenxxx
Friday, November 20, 2009
one of the renaissance mama mantras is to find the fancy in everything....i believe there is something deep & significant about allowing the fancy in you to come out...i am all about fancy the you already have going on in your kitchen...behind the vitamins in that weird cabinet that holds everything but the kitchen sink....and in the very back is grandma's silver..or your wedding china...or your mom's tea cup....BRING IT OUT and let it shine. if you have it, use it. maybe that's the mantra? no more plastic over the couch....when are you going to sit on that thing without the plastic? well, whatever the case purple rice fits just the bill when it comes to fancy in my wooden bowl with salmon & veg or on the thanksgiving table with pinenuts and currants or pomegranate seeds...i found this rice in the bulk bin at whole foods and i am getting ready to buy stock in it...maybe b/c my numbers keep going up...on my mastercard....purple jasmine rice = fancy. i could list a million things you can do with it because... it's rice. it only adds to the beauty of your meal and what kid doesn't like purple rice....expand their view on how amazing rice can be. my dad loves rice and he always said to me as a kid 'rice is nice.' and yes dad this rice is really nice & fancy! see you in the kitchenxxx
Thursday, November 19, 2009
abundant & plenty is what comes to mind when i see the crates of yams & sweet potatoes (are they one in the same??) at the market....it's that time again... thank you day is here! and we are pulling out the ideas of what to make, create, cook! from the ol' recipe box or the tattered cookbooks with the binding coming undone like my roots.... we always have something sweet potato in our thanksgiving story....oh! did you say something about their shape? yes! speaking of their shape...i mean is there a name for the body they have....they are so mysterious, almost crater like, solar system inspired & yet they couldn't feel more like the earth or our connection to underneath the soil..... how can you not feel something from these amazing roots... i know, i know....they seem callous and hard to approach... but they are the sweetest once they are peeled, boiled, pureed, cut, roasted...really anything you do to connect with them they provide such a beautiful, light and yet deeply sating side.
here are some very simple ideas: yam chips... cut, massage, roast. this one in the picture is a jersey yam.. which has white flesh and almost hits the yucca vibe in texture. it's so sweet, so good & easy. this is great to have out (best warm & crisp out of the oven) when people come over to nosh....as it's so random as a nosh and so good... if someone is starving but the meal is in an hour or so....this is a great solution. also - the kids LOVE it.. shape and all. put the oven on 375, convection roast or just roast or bake works too. cut into chips or any shape really....you can put in a medium sized bowl olive oil, curry, cinnamon, garam masala & a bit of salt... mix up with your hand (best spoon in the house) and dip each chip in, massage and place on parchment paper on the baking sheet & put in oven for about 20 minutes or so.... gotta watch how your oven works... convection is stronger than regular so that is something to remember. the other pictures are of sweet potatoe puree... that lead into adding some buttermilk and flour into a dough for biscuits that were SO good...the ones in the pic were shaped with a biscuit cutter... and the huge, lush one was the last of the dough that i squished together with my hands & the most rustic beauty came out. here is the recipe. i found that this recipe made so many more than 8 biscuits....so be open to the flexibility (always with cooking)...these are a great starter to have out as well...you can add proscuitto, goat gouda, bartlett pear or apple and make a BEAUTIFUL sweet potato biscuit sandwich. it's fun for everybody... i mean who doesn't love a little tiny layered story in an orange blanket of biscuit love? it's different and i assure you it will be a success. these also sate the piece i continue to passionately share... FOOD ALL THE TIME....both of these give that to your home and your family...see you in the kitchenxxx
Saturday, November 14, 2009
if there is anytime better than this time to go get your bread knife and cut open a squash or pumpkin....please write in and let me know because i think it's right now! when i look at these incredible round nourishing shapes with a melody of colors that sings to every fall like feeling inside me...this place where maple leaves lyrically dance to the ground & those orange brownish hues make the only enterance we know as thanksgiving time. i made some pumpkin bread the other day (recipe coming) and it called for pumpkin puree or 1 can (15 oz) of pumpkin. i just couldn't do it.....with all these pumpkins around me at the market, on my dining room table & throughout the house....and i am telling you to cut it open but i am going to open a can? (i mean i definitely have and i will open another can this year)...for the first pumkin bread of the season... it just didn't sit write with me....so i broke open that sugar pumpkin adorning the cake plate, kept the seeds in (as they are easier to take out after) and got right to it. turn the oven to 415 or 425 convecton roast or just roast or bake for that matter...place in a casserole dish lightly laquered in olive oil & an herb or two if desired. then massage the pumpin with some love, herbs & a pinch or less of coarse kosher salt. place them flesh down & skin up. this pumpkin was going to be pureed for the bread so i did not do any herbs. for the butternut squash....i used sage which gets beautifully crisp and reusable for the topping of a soup or something special. i checked on the squash after 30 minutes or so and it needed about 15-20 more minutes (all in all about 45 - 60 minutes)... it's important that you do the check in...b/c every oven is so different & you never know how they are going unless you check in on them. you can use a fork to test the squash... allow it to get pretty soft where the fork can slide in and out without the resistance of hard flesh.
take it out and let it cool. spoon out the seeds and dig out the rest into the cuisineart....where the puree begins. you can do this in a big batch or small batches adding a tiny bit of water...or if you are pureeing for taste you can add some melted butter, cream, milk or 1/2 and 1/2 & maybe some brown sugar...as for the butternut squash you can spoon out the flash and add some water & vegan bullion or chicken broth to blend and make a soup...this is basic squash stuff so i am sorry if you squash lovers are wondering what the heck? don't worry as more is coming in terms of this being a first prep step... with that said...a lot of people, mamas, me included did not know how to do this until they learned... basics are essential and this is one basic not to miss during the holiday season. more to come.....see you in the kitchenxxx (and if you have to throw the pumpkin across the room to get it to open... sometimes it might take that...i hope you have a smooth squash opening)
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
what is this? inspiring women in the kitchen? in paris and italy they are wondering how someone could stay busy doing what i do.... the movement & the conversation is creating a kitchen culture in america. and yes inspiring women back into the kitchen...embracing this piece inside each and everyone of us....adding water to a box (no judgement) is not cooking and it's not food. bummer and true....let's wake up together and support each other through some very old, ancestoral, not passed down stories and create the kitchen culture we want in our kitchens ....with our families...and make some memories...we will find all sorts of magic in there if we open ourselves to what is inside our cabinets. behind the cell phone charger & the 10 year old bullion...there are many layers patiently waiting to be opened...and we haven't even made it to the pantry! and here comes monday... you have no food in the house which means snacks for the kids & milk...you shop those 3 markets and on that journey you see things that you would like to make in the week...and you make temporary peace with that starving place inside of you by buying a few of those question marks...you feel good about filling the fridge...and at the same time confused b/c you don't know what to do with a celery root & an acorn squash....and then you watch that food die a slow death in your produce drawer for a week or so...you watch it...day by day grow a little less vibrant and a little more wilty...and you feel the same way...between your guilt for wasting & your shame for not knowing & your no-time life & the fight you just had with your husband & your screaming hungry baby....TAKE OUT!!! i am about to call for pad thai just writing this...because we have all been there and we will be there again. let's not live there...let's create food all the time for our families to eat.
this work is not a job...it's a passion, it's a deep hunger in me to nourish a culture that lacks a kitchen...or is it nurture a kitchen that lacks a culture...this is happening all over america....we have no idea what we are eating....cooking... feeding...creating...buying...and inside us...somewhere...we yearn to know...we are the mamas and we create what happens in our homes...we protect through food and we must reconnect this piece as it's essential that our kids know our stories..once you begin gathering food in a new way, loving your kitchen in a new way, feeding your family...you feed yourself with something incredible...call it motherhood, the old you, the new you...it's a creative outlet (once you have the confidence, support & know how) that is efficient & sustainable. you can feed yourself by feeding your family. it's happening...kitchen to kitchen as i witness & observe families changing just by making some fancy water & putting it out on the table (we do more than that). i want to keep talking this way...hearing your stories & supporting you to create a kitchen culture in your home...we are hungry and ready for the change. see you in the kitchenxxx
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
i have been waiting.....hoping...waiting.....yearning....waiting...for this to change and there is no changing the reality that the november issue was the last of gourmet magazine, the vogue of the food world is going night night. every single month there were photographs you wanted to frame, there were recipes i couldn't wait to try, stories connecting us to places far away that made it into my kitchen. the layouts were beautiful, doable & inspiring...the pages were gorgeous and it was so so fancy. it brought fancy into the kitchen. AND FANCY IS ESSENTIAL in the kitchen & in our lives....a teaspoon of fancy is exactly what you need to keep going. what makes me most sad is there is nothing fancy about bon appetit. i haven't seen it. i will look again. i will try to find it. fancy was in the bones, the genes, the chromosomes of gourmet magazine. fancy = gourmet. the dna of the magazine showed us that we can have beauty anywhere we are... we don't need to buy something to be fancy... it's just here inside you. inside your kitchen. maybe we need to redefine fancy. i am not talking patent leather shoes and pressed pants.
fancy is pulling carrots out of the ground.
fancy is finding an heirloom tea cup in the back of your cabinet that still smells like your grandmother.
fancy is bringing out the silver just because.
fancy is having nothing and creating something.
there is a lot of fancy and we can find it in every kitchen.
this is what gourmet did.....naturally.
mediocrity is winning to keep it short and simple. i want to cry all over my wooden spoons. i will not. i will stand strong with love. my heart beating through every copper pot i covet and can't wait to celebrate in my kitchen. what happened to wanting the best? to knowing you can have it even if it's a piece of special thread or a penny found on the ground. the excitement & the joy in something sacred, meaningful. something that moves you, shifts your perspective, creates that cozy place that bookmarks the feeling of beauty, celebration, something different, creative expression, inspiration, ambition....
it's definitely a job for the renaissance mama. we are all about fancy, finding it deep, inside the layers of tupperware & tea cups, mothers & grandmothers, between the swans down & the can of tuna fish...we will find the fancy and bring it back hard core...the new york times and conde naste say that the money is with mediocrity. everybody wants a pal instead of ruth reichl....well the renaissance mama is here to stay and i am bringing fancy and love and silver spoons with wooden bowls into your kitchen whether it's as big as a shoe box or smaller than a castle. and ruth is going to be with me all the way....bring it on & see you in the ktichenxxx
Saturday, October 31, 2009
we actually have a lot in common...we both love a good chocolate chip cookie & we love to eat them dipped in organic cream topped 'cow milkies'....we love to be cozy and warm in our bodies whether it be a cashmere cardigan or a blue fur body....and we love to have fun in the kitchen...happy halloweenxxx
these starfish like lotus flower lily pads floating on the thick river of the orange blossom cake are persimmons....you may have not known that if you cut them on the bias....they give you this gorgeousness. i mean ...can you believe the beauty beaming from this fall fruit? i couldn't stop photographing it as though i have become the persimmon paparatzi (p.p. for short) ok that might be the name of my next book...the funny part here (brace yourself) is i actually never tasted this cake...i baked it for a family and never tried it! the only critic i heard about was the lack of moisture...so maybe you can up the anty on the oil in the recipe. i am on the search for more fuyu persimmon recipes...please share if you know of any and stay tuned for an incredible hachiya persimmon pudding...once those hit the stands at the market. i found this recipe here. if you live in los angeles and find yourself at the hollywood (sunday) or santa monica (wednesday) farmers markets..these fuyu persimmons are from peacock family farms...where you can also pick up eggs, nuts, raisins, the end of the grapes season, cucumbers, eggplant and basil...tell scott & faye i sent you...they will treat you with the renaissance mama love. see you in the kitchenxxx
Monday, October 26, 2009
fall is here.... even in los angeles. it was 93 degrees in my car today & supposedly it was the last hot day....well whatever the weather is saying....in the kitchen: it's definitely fall. i am feeling so lucky, honored & almost a little giddy to see all of these incredible squashes & pumpkins that are making their way to the surface... the colors, varieties, textures are magnificent! we are so lucky...and they are not just for your table decoration! roast those babies... and then go out and get more... keep the cycle going. how do you roast a squash? don't be afraid to ask... you have a lot of company as probably 85 - 90% of us (random guess) do not know how.... so here you go...turn that oven to bake or convection bake to 400 degrees... cut the squash in half...massage with olive oil, herbs if you have some, a bit of coarse salt...place them on a baking sheet with parchment paper and/or a casserole dish (or anything you have that will fit & is oven proof) and back for 40 or so minutes depending on your oven...place flesh down & skin up...it's easier to take the seeds out after the squash has cooked b/c it's so soft...or you can scrape them out before & toast the seeds on a baking sheet....check the squash with a fork...make sure it goes in all the way. i am beyond myself with the white carrots...yep- those are not parsnips....and the persimmons....wow. breathe. take it in. the ones pictured above are called chocolate persimmons as they have a chocolate color inside within their bright orange flesh. they are so good and their seeds are almost prehistoric looking.... i found them at the santa monica farmers market on wednesday mornings by this sweet french woman who has a name i can't recall...they are grown in placer county at penryn orchards..check them out. let me know how the squash goes...see you in the kitchenxxx
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
i am still steeping in the awwwwe of these pomegranate seeds... i try different farms and they all range in flavor, juice, sweet, sour...i am now just offering these as an addition to any meal on the table...the other night it was lamb with red lentils & rice. i had to share how beautiful they beamed in this torquoise vessel. i can't promise that this is it on the pomegranates...see you in the kitchenxxx (ps: has anyone tried one for the first time or the fortieth? share the love...)
Monday, October 19, 2009
i am in deep awe of the pomegranate....abundance, royalty, fertility, unity & eternal life...bring it on. they are something amazing....many of us do not venture beyond the table when it comes to a lot of these fall fruits, root vegetables & squashes...we adorn our home with them and yet we never break it open & use them....get into the renaissance mama spirit...i give you my support...now...getyour bread knife and cut! there is so much to see, take in, be in awe of...you can see their place in the world among the yellowish/creme tissue of the fruit. you get to taste, share, live inside it for the season....i know, i know....it's easier to buy them all packaged and ready to go. i get it and i do that too if i need to. this fall season... open one up...there is no right way when it comes to your first time. your kids will love them & so will the kid in you.... the pomegranates spirit wants to live all over you so wear your paint clothes and go crazy...live with reckless abandon & allow the earth to inspire you...see you in the kitchenxxx
roasted golden beet & pomegranate salad (above)
400 for 40 minutes...cut, quarter & massage beets with olive oil, mint (or any herb...i love dill, rosemary too) peel beets...add pomegranate seeds and some fancy oil or not...i used walnut oil....anything will do b/c the combo is good..so breathe & enjoy the abundancexxx
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
there is nothing like abundance...especially when you bring it out from the cabinets & let it shine. when it lives inside of you...there is no void. love is this way. it's barefoot and pregnant. it's that sated, grounded, all you want to do is give feeling. it's at the intersection of freedom avenue & amazing boulevard. i live for that corner. a really great short cut to this place can be a warm tea in the palm of my hand. maybe a milky rooibos with agave or an earl grey with a brown sugar cube. no map covers this area. it's an inside job. this holiday feast we shared with new friends had a bit of this feeling plus the bohemian vibe that resonates in our home....it had a depth that only my ancestors could bring inside the cobalt and gold and brisket....reflecting inside every silver bullion spoon....round, warm, familiar. may this feeling be sealed. see you in the kitchenxxx