< Fresh Approach

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Mexican Seviche with Cumin-Chili Chips
It is still really warm here in Los Angeles, so I thought I would make ceviche. As with most traditional dishes, there are thousands of possible variations, but for me, simple works best. Why re-invent the wheel, right? Do try to find Mexican limes if you can, if not, regular limes will do. This recipe makes four generous servings. Seviche, sadly, does not hold well, so it is best to eat the day it is made . Enjoy!2 pounds highest quality mixed cubed white fish, squid, bay scallops, and de-shelled shrimp: RAW4 red jalapeno chilies cut into rings (more if you like)1 red bell pepper, diced1 green bell pepper, diced1/2 small red onion, diced 1 bunch cilantro minced1 tsp brown sugar1 1/2 cups Mexican lime juice zest of two limes¼ cup vegetable oilSalt and pepper to taste1 avocado, diced1 English cucumber, peeled and dicedCombine everything except the avocado and cucumber, in a large non-reactive bowl and allow to marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for two hours. In this time, the seafood should turn opaque (the acid in the lime juice will have chemically “cooked” it).When the fish is cooked, add the avocado and cucumber and serve on a bed of shredded iceberg lettuce, in martini glasses. (If you have them!) Traditionally seviche is served with popcorn and corn nuts, I like these baked tortilla chips as a garnish:2 (10-inch) flour tortillas2 tablespoons fresh lime juice1 teaspoon chili powder1/2 teaspoon ground cumin1/4 coarse kosher saltPreheat oven to 400 degrees F.Brush each flour tortilla on one side with lime juice. In a small bowl mix chili powder, cumin, and coarse salt; sprinkle mixture over lime moistened side of tortillas (may not use all of mixture - use to taste). Cut tortillas into quarters or eights; arrange in a single layer, seasoning side up, on a baking sheet. Bake approximately 10 minutes or until chips are crisp and lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.
# posted by Rachael @ Friday, September 10, 2004
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Cold Pea Soup with Buttermilk
It was 101 degrees yesterday in the Hollywood Hills. (That's about 36 for you Celsius people) Much too hot to eat a big dinner, so I pureed a batch of this cold soup. You can substitute any herb you like for the mint, if that isn't to your taste, and if you are feeling really wild, add some butterleaf, romaine or bibb lettuce leaves to the peas when you are cooking them. I cooked the peas and broth in the microwave. I just couldn't bring myself to turn on the stove. 1 box frozen petite pois peas1 1/2 cups chicken broth4 tablespoons mint leaves1 cup buttermilk Salt and white pepper to tasteGarnish: Sour cream and mint leavesSimmer the peas and broth for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove and reserve some of the peas to use as garnish.In a blender, add the peas and broth, mint and buttermilk and puree until very smooth. Add more or less liquid to reach your desired consistency. Strain if you want the soup even smoother. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.Refrigerate until cold. Serve with additional peas, a dollop of sour cream and a mint sprig.Serves four____________________________________The Microwave was invented after a researcherwalked by a radar tube and a chocolate barmelted in his pocket.
# posted by Rachael @ Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Simple Salad: Greens and Chickpeas
It has been really warm here the last few days -- perfect weather for a simple, crisp salad3 tablespoons champagne vinegar4 tablespoons best quality olive oilsalt and pepper4 cups butterleaf lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces1 cup mixed herbs (tarragon, basil, oregano and chervil would all be good), leaves only3 large carrots, shaved into long strips with a peeler1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shavedIn a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, and a pinch of salt.Toss remaining ingredients with vinaigrette; season with salt and pepper.Serves four
# posted by Rachael @ Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Saturday, September 04, 2004
Hibiscus Cooler
I love cooking with edible flowers. Here is a quick and easy drink made with dried Hibiscus, a great source of vitamin C, that is available at most health food stores, and -- much less expensively--at Latino markets, where it is sometimes called Jamaica.4 green tea bags (I use two regular and two decaffeinated) 1/2 cup dried hibiscus flowers Zest of one large orange1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced5 tablespoons sweetener (I use sugar. Honey or whatever else you like works fine too)1 quart waterCombine all in a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and allow to steep for four minutes. Strain, chill and enjoy. Green tea has been shown in studies to reduce the likelihood of breast cancer in women.------------------------------------------------------------------The intention of this blog is to share recipes I am developing with everyone, so you can try them and enjoy them. This blog is not really much about my life, or thoughts or politics. But sometimes, life and thoughts and politics need to be addressed. In that light, here is a link to an article that I read today that really had an impact on me. It calmed me down for a few minutes, and helped me reflect on all the good in the world. Food nourishes our bodies, life nourishes our souls. I'm off to my yoga class...http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/gate/archive/2004/09/03/notes090304.DTL
# posted by Rachael @ Saturday, September 04, 2004
Friday, September 03, 2004
Orange Punch
This is a great drink to serve your friends and keep cool and mellow over this hot weekend. If you are planning a BBQ, this would be a great addtition, along with our Asian Coleslaw, Guacamole and Jamaican Burgers. Have a fun and safe holiday weekend!Zest of 3 large juice oranges Juice squeezed from the same oranges, strained1/2 cup sugar1 1/2 cups water1 cup best quality bourbonJuice of one small lemon1 bottle cold, dry sparkling wineIn a saucepan over medium heat, combine the orange zest, sugar and water. Bring to a gentle simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occastionally. Remove from the heat and let the syrup cool.Strain the cooled syrup into a large pitcher and add the bourbon, orange juice and lemon juice. Refrigerate until cold. Then pour in sparkling wine. Enjoy in champagne flutes garnished with an orange slice.
# posted by Rachael @ Friday, September 03, 2004
Thursday, September 02, 2004
Watermelon Soup with Crab
I made this soup last night, and let me tell you, it was Fan-Tas-Tic-Outta-sight-Dee-lish-us!! Trust me on this one, you will LOVE it! I left out the cilantro and used mint instead, try it with either...another thing I did which is a touch complicated to explain is that I did half the recipe with yellow melon and half with pink, then I poured it in the bowl with two ladles simultaneously and made a sort of ying-yang pattern. If that makes sense, and you can find yellow watermelon, give it a whirl...6 cups coarsely chopped, seeded watermelon (without the rind)1 small shallot, finely chopped 2 tablespoons finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic2 tablespoons vegetable oil1 small Thai red chile finely chopped (with seeds)Juice and zest of one large limeSalt (Sea salt, if you have it) 2 cups lump crabmeat ¼ cup finely minced fresh cilantro2 tablespoons vegetable oil Garnish with lime wedges and black sesame seedsPurée watermelon in a blender until smooth and transfer to a bowl.In a 2-quart heavy saucepan cook the shallot, ginger, and garlic in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until pale golden, about 4 minutes. Add about one third of watermelon purée and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, 4 minutes.Remove watermelon mixture from heat, then in two batches, transfer to blender along with chile, lime juice and zest, and salt and blend until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids, never fill the blender more than half way).Add remaining watermelon purée as another batch and blend briefly. Combine all and season soup with more chile, lime juice, and salt as desired, blending more if necessary.Pour soup through a sieve into a bowl, pressing on and then discarding any solids. This step can be skipped, but I don't think you should, it makes it so much more elegant. Chill soup, uncovered, about 2 hours.To prepare the crabmeat simply toss it with the cilantro, oil, and salt.Divide crab among 4 soup plates, mounding in center, and pour chilled soup around it.Soup can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Cover after 2 hours of chilling.Serves four___________________________________Watermelon is really a vegetable. Cousin to thecucumber and kin to the gourd, watermelonscan range in size from 7 to 100 pounds. The world record for the largest watermelonis 255 pounds, grown by Vernon Conrad of Oklahoma.
# posted by Rachael @ Thursday, September 02, 2004
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Ban on imported caviar imposed by UN
There are twenty nine species and subspecies of sturgeon and almost all of them are threatened or endangered. Many are nearing extinction. Why? Caviar. A once abundant food stuff that has become a coveted status symbol. (And is really delicious to eat!)Caviar is technically the unfertilized eggs of female sturgeons. Beluga Sturgeon, for instance, the grande dame of these fish, can reach a length of 20 feet, a weight of almost 2 and a half tons and live for 150 years. One Beluga female may produce up to 12 per cent of her body weight in caviar. But with the high cost of caviar, there are less and less of these fish in the world, and we need to work to preserve them.The Caspian Sea, the world's largest inland water body, is the center of an increasingly lawless sturgeon catch and caviar trade, one characterized by poaching, illegal production and smuggling on a massive scale, predominantly by Russians. (Please refer to current economic conditions of Russia before passing judgment.)Even though Iran, one of the countries bordering the Caspian is doing a great job protecting the species, their neighbors, the Russians, are not. So, in an effort to save the species, yesterday, The United Nations agency that controls trade in endangered species announced they have halted exports of caviar until all of the countries where it is produced comply with an agreement to protect sturgeon.So like in the days leading up to Prohibition, enjoy your Beluga, Sevruga and Osetra caviar while you can! (Or start to appreciated California farmed caviar, an environmentally positive alternative) The ban goes into effect in January 2005. Hopefully the ban will help raise levels of this great fish, and prevent extinction.The shelf life of caviar is about 18 months, so if you still want to try some, contact www.paramountcaviar.com, an excellent (law-abiding) purveyor of Iranian caviar, and then eat.Caviar is best served simply, very cold, and preferably in a non-metallic bowl nested inside a larger bowl filled with ice. (Silver and metal bowls and utensils should be avoided due to oxidation, which may impart a metallic taste to the caviar.) with toast points or bland, unsalted crackers. Nothing should interfere with the flavor, but if you must, common accompaniments include lemon wedges, sour cream, créme frâiche, hard-cooked egg (yolks and whites chopped separately), and minced onion. Follow each bite with a sigh and a sip of ice-cold vodka or champagne. Enjoy until you are satiated, until you are broke (Quality caviar runs about $100 an oz.) or until the ban goes into effect.
# posted by Rachael @ Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Caviar (Photo From NYTimes.com)
# posted by Rachael @ Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Baked Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes
I had a great class last night with some familiar faces and some new ones. We made a plum galette, peach turnovers and pizza margarita. (The class was all about dough!) I also told a friend I would post a simple recipe here for him to try...so this is it:2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise2 teaspoons (10 ml) olive oil1 teaspoon fresh thyme or rosemary, minced1 lb pasta shells or rotini (something short, and hollow to catch the sauce)1 ¼ cup mascarpone cheese (if unavailable try ricotta cheese) 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated1/4 cup minced fresh chivespinch of cayenne peppercoarse salt and pepper to tastePreheat oven to 400 F/200 CLine a large shallow sheet pan with aluminum foil. Butter the foil lightly.Arrange tomatoes in a single layer, cut sides up, on the sheet pan, drizzle the olive oil over them and sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and thyme. Roast until slightly plumped, about 15 to 20 minutes.Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 12 minutes. Reserve 1 ½ cups of the pasta cooking water, then drain pasta well and transfer to a large bowl.Add the mascarpone cheese to the pasta and stir until melted. Add back the reserved cooking water, tomatoes, half the parmesan, 3 tablespoons chives, cayenne, salt and pepper and toss well, then allow the mixture to cool to until warm.Butter a 3-quart (13- by 9-inch) shallow baking dish and add the pasta mixture. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese over top. Bake uncovered until golden and bubbly, 18 to 20 minutes. Garnish with remaining tablespoon of chives. Serves sixThe pasta can be prepared, but not baked, 3 hours ahead and kept, uncovered, at room temperature. It can also be eaten right from the pan, and not baked.ADDITIONS: 1 oz soft goat cheese, 4 oz. chopped ham, 2 tablespoons chopped basil, or 4 oz. sautéed baby shrimp.
# posted by Rachael @ Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Monday, August 30, 2004
Dirty Bloody Mary
I really love Dirty Bloody Mary's with a lot of lemon4 cups ounces tomato juice (V-8 works too) 1 1/2 cups best quality vodka (I use Skyy. For a much spicier drink, use Absolut Pepper)4 dashes Tabasco sauce1 teaspoon grated horseradish 2 dashes Worcestershire sauceJuice of two small lemons1 oz. pickle juice or (green) olive juicePinch of celery salt Pinch of black pepper Ice Celery spears, pickles or large green, stuffed olives, for garnishCombine all (non-garnish) ingredients in a pitcher.Run a lemon wedge around the rims of 4 large glasses. Fill the glasses with ice, then pour in your Bloody Mary, garnish and enjoy.Drink, enjoy, repeatMakes four drinks
# posted by Rachael @ Monday, August 30, 2004
Bloody Mary
# posted by Rachael @ Monday, August 30, 2004
Sunday, August 29, 2004
Basic Guacamole
Today I need to make guacamole for a party. It's an easy enough recipe, but one that a lot of people don't make. As a matter of fact, there is a commerical running these days that has a sad looking man tearing an avocado in half and putting it, pit, seed and all into a blender, before proclaiming "Guacamole, it's harder than you think." Funny though the ad is (which, BTW, is an ad for a fast food guacamole bacon burger) it sure is wrong! Guacamole is as simple a recipe as there is! Try this and see.BASIC GUACAMOLE 2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and mashed with a fork ¼ cup finely minced onion1 fresh chile including seeds, minced 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, or to taste1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste1 small tomato, diced Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Makes about two cupsHere is more information on avocados from the California Avocado Commission “The best way to tell if an avocado is ready for use is to gently squeeze. Ripe, ready-to-eat fruit will be firm yet will yield to gentle pressure.To ripen an avocado, place it in a plain brown paper bag and store at room temperature until ready to eat (usually two to five days). Including an apple or banana in the bag accelerates the process because these fruits give off ethylene gas, a ripening agent.To Peel An Avocado:Start with a ripe avocado and cut it lengthwise around the seed. Rotate the halves to separate.Remove the seed by sliding the tip of a spoon gently underneath and lifting out. The other common seed-extraction method - striking the seed with a knife - is dangerous and not recommended.Peel the fruit by placing the cut side down and removing the skin with a knife or your fingers, starting at the small end. Or simply scoop out the avocado meat with a spoon.” For more information on avocados, visit www.avocado.org
# posted by Rachael @ Sunday, August 29, 2004
Saturday, August 28, 2004
Orange Ricotta Pancakes
Serve these with maple syrup and a large glass of fresh squeezed orange juice. Mmmm. 2 cups ricotta cheese1/3 cup white sugar2 eggsZest of one large orange½ cup flour3 tablespoons vegetable oilPowdered sugar for dustingWhisk together the ricotta cheese, sugar, eggs, and the orange zest until combined. Stir in the flour until just combined. It is ok if the batter is lumpy. Do not overmix. If batter seems too thick, add up to ¼ cup of cold water.Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Working in batches (and adding more oil to skillet as needed), add batter, using a scant 1/4 cup for each pancake. Cook until browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side.Serve hot, dusted with powdered sugar
# posted by Rachael @ Saturday, August 28, 2004
Friday, August 27, 2004
Roasted Feta With Mixed Peppers
In honor of the Olympics in Greece, I thought I should include a recipe that uses one of Greece's great exports. Feta cheese. This is super simple, and open to tons of variations:
ROASTED FETA WITH MIXED PEPPERS4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil4 thin rings of red bell pepper4 thin rings of green or yellow bell pepper3/4 pounds Greek feta, cut about 3/4 inch thick1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepperPinch hot red pepper flakesPreheat the oven to 375º.Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over moderately low heat. Add the bell pepper rings and saute, turning occasionally, until they soften but still hold their shape.Put half of the peppers in the center of a large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Top with the feta, in one layer. Season the feta with oregano, pepper and pepper flakes. Top with the remaining bell peppers and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Fold the foil loosely around the feta, sealing well.Bake until the cheese is quivery, 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully transfer the cheese and peppers to a serving plate and pour the juices over. Serve immediately with crusty bread.Serves 6
# posted by Rachael @ Friday, August 27, 2004
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Greek Feta Cheese (Photo From SFGate.com)
# posted by Rachael @ Thursday, August 26, 2004
Heirloom Tomato, Celery and Basil Salad
Americans love tomatoes. Americans buy tomatoes. Most of the recipes I post include tomatoes!In the final glory days of summer, wet, wild, luscious tomatoes -- tomatoes as they used to be -- are splashing a rainbow of colors across farmers' markets and grocery stores. If you can, smell tomatoes when you buy them. They should be faintly aromatic. If they smell of nothing they will probably taste of nothing. The stalk leaves should be fresh and green and the fruit should be firm with a bright, unflawed skin. Never store tomatoes in the fridge as this impairs natural ripening and flavor, instead store them at room temperature. Over-ripe tomatoes will deteriorate even more quickly if chilled. Take them out of plastic packaging as soon as you get them home and leave them to "breathe" in a bowl.
Heirloom Tomato, Celery and Basil Salad4 heirloom tomatoes, sliced crosswise 1/2 sweet onion sliced crosswise (Vadalia or Maui would be best)4 stalks celery with leaves, thinly sliced crosswise, leaves tornSmall handful fresh basil, torn1/4 cup olive oil3 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar3 tablespoons heavy creamSalt and pepper to tasteIn a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, celery, celery leaves and basil; set aside.In another bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, and cream; to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over salad and toss to coat; serve immediately.
# posted by Rachael @ Thursday, August 26, 2004
# posted by Rachael @ Thursday, August 26, 2004
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Aquavit Spiced Salmon
I love the herbs and spices used in this dish. It's almost refreshing. If you can't find aquavit, season the sour cream with 1/4 teaspoon ground fennel seeds, 1/4 teaspoon ground dill seeds, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1 tablespoon vodka.1 pound salmon fillet, skin on, bones removed2 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed2 teaspoons cumin seeds2 teaspoons dill seeds2 teaspoons fennel seeds1 teaspoon salt1/4 cup fresh lemon juice1/4 cup sour cream1 tablespoon aquavit (Scandinavian alcohol)1 teaspoon caraway seeds1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chervil or parsley2 teaspoons white wine vinegar, or to tasteRinse the fish under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels.In a small skillet, over low heat, toast the coriander, cumin, dill, and fennel seeds for about 2 minutes, until they start to release their fragrance. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl, add the salt, and combine.Rub the fish with the spice mixture and place in a baking dish. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.To prepare the aquavit sour cream, in a small bowl, mix together the sour cream, aquavit, caraway seeds, and chervil. Add vinegar to taste. Cover and refrigerate.Preheat the oven to 350°F.Place the baking dish with the fish on the middle oven rack and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until it flakes nicely with a fork.Serve the fish topped with the sour cream and accompanied by the fennel.
Recipe adapted from Andreas Viestad, author of the incredible book KITCHEN OF LIGHT: New Scandinavian Cooking
# posted by Rachael @ Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Sunday, August 22, 2004
Owning a restaurant
People ask me if I would open a restaurant. I always answer (emphatically) no. For one thing I love meeting people the way I do, getting to give personal service and without the enormous pressure a restaurant brings. I have thought about opening a tiny retail space to have classes, but in the end, I think that is just as stressful (with the rent I would be obliged to someone, something I don’t want.) I read a great article in the San Francisco Chronicle today that explains a little better than I can why opening is a restaurant is so tough. Its super long, so here are some excerpts. For the full story go tohttp://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/08/22/BUGCL8BS221.DTL"A love of food and beverage is not enough," said Hudson Riehle, a spokesman at the National Restaurant Association in Washington. "A restaurant operator has to focus on managing the expenses side of the equation."Consider Gayle Pirie, 40, and John Clark, 44, the husband-and-wife chef team who revitalized Mission District restaurant Foreign Cinema when they took over the kitchen three years ago.Although it's clear their real love is creating culinary art, they, like most modern chefs, are forced to keep an eye on the bottom line. It's a constant juggling act to provide customers with a bountiful experience while keeping close tabs on the costs of food, labor and a horde of incidentals, from the candle tax to the courtyard heaters to site repairs.The 220-seat restaurant serves about 1,300 to 1,400 diners a week, with an average per-person check of about $40. After adding in revenues from private parties and people who just have drinks in the bar, it had 2003 sales of $3.2 million and is on track to do $4 million this year.Foreign Cinema is cash-flow positive, but it won't realize a genuine profit for at least five years, because it carries $2 million in debt. Its earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization were $86,000 last year. With higher sales and a tight grip on operating expenses this year, they may hit $400,000.Their food and beverage costs average about $21,000 a week, or 30 percent of their weekly revenue of $70,000.Of every dollar a full-service restaurant brings in, it spends roughly a third on food and alcohol; another third on salaries, wages and benefits; up to 10 cents on rent; and up to 20 cents on other costs such as marketing, according to studies by restaurant associations.That leaves about 4 cents of pretax profit. As with all restaurants, alcohol is far more profitable than food. "We pay $25 for a bottle of booze and sell it for $100," McDonald said. (Beer and wine have slightly lower markups.) "Many people who start out in the restaurant business end up owning bars or in real estate."----------- Now you see why I think a restaurant isnt the way to go for me! :-)
# posted by Rachael @ Sunday, August 22, 2004
Friday, August 20, 2004
Jamaican Jerk Burgers
I made a huge dinner for twenty-five people on Wednesday, with the help of my favorite assistant Gila. It was so nice to spend a day just making a TON of food. I did get a little stressed out towards the end, but overall it was worth it. Here is a recipe for Jamaican Jerk Burgers that I made:In a blender puree:1 bunch green onions, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)1 tablespoon fresh thyme1/4 cup parsley2 medium jalapeño chili, seeded, chopped1 garlic clove, peeled 1 tablespoon fresh chopped gingerzest of one small orange, and the juice1/2 cup brown sugar1/2 cup vegetable oil1/2 cup soy sauce1 teaspoon ground allspicePour mixture into 3 pounds of ground beef and combine well. Make into patties and grill as normal.
# posted by Rachael @ Friday, August 20, 2004
Monday, August 16, 2004
Peach Barbeque Sauce
I don't think anyone doesn't enjoy a really ripe, juicy peach. At this point in the summer though, some people are looking for more things to do with peaches (and all stone fruits) than just eating out of hand, which is why I started making this simple and amazing BBQ sauce...Easy Peach Barbeque Sauce. My new addiction.4 large, ripe peaches (or any stone fruit. If the peaches are not really juicy, add a few teaspoons of orange juice)1/4 cup rice wine vinegar OR white vinegar1/4 cup tomato paste1 small chili pepper (I use a Thai birds-eye, but you can use any you like), seeds removed2 tablespoons brown sugar1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce1 teaspoon minced garlic1 teaspoon orange zest (bright orange rind of the orange. Do not include the bitter, white pith just under the zest.)Slice peaches. In a blender or food processor, blend until smooth with vinegar, tomato paste, chili, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and zest. Remove about 1/3 cup sauce to baste over flank steak or chicken for last few minutes barbecuing. Pass the reserved sauce at the table._____________________________________Wanna be my favorite person EVER?Tell Daily Candy about Fresh Catering Cooking Classes!Go tohttp://www.dailycandy.com/contribute.jsp?city=2and direct them to our website www.LA-SpecialtyFoods.comTHANKS!
# posted by Rachael @ Monday, August 16, 2004
Stone Fruits
# posted by Rachael @ Monday, August 16, 2004
Thoughts on Spam.
Did you know Spam is a low-carb food?SPAM®. Before it was an annoying email, it was a food made by Hormel - Spiced-Ham. I am thinking about Spam for two reasons, one because I am making a Luau themed dinner with a client on Wednesday, and two, because I sent an email to a lot of people last night! LOL. Here is some interesting info on this spiced ham product. I have never tried it...have you? It is one of those things that really challenges my mantra, "Don't yuck someone's yum." SPAM luncheon meat was first introduced in 1937 in Austin, Minn. "No single product in human history is better known for its heroics during wartime, its accomplishments during peacetime and its popularity during mealtime than SPAM Classic." (Or so the Hormel website tells us.) "Spam, the lovable spiced ham in a can, rounds out any true Hawaiian's diet. After being introduced to Spam by the military during World War II, islanders quickly incorporated the food into their cooking. Despite mainland conceptions of Spam as pedestrian and unappealing, islanders are addicted. Hawaii now boasts the highest Spam consumption in the world (11,000 cans daily), and local cooking contests such as the SPAMARAMA in Honolulu and Maui's SPAM cook-off are more popular than ever." In case you are inspired to try some Spam yourself, here is a recipe I found online at www.hormel.com. 1 (12-ounce) can SPAMwhole cloves1/3 cup firmly-packed brown sugar1 teaspoon water1 teaspoon prepared mustard1/2 teaspoon vinegar Place SPAM on rack in shallow baking pan. Score surface; stud with cloves. Combine sugar, water, mustard, and vinegar, stirring until smooth. Brush over SPAM. Bake in 375°F oven 20 minutes basting often. Slice to serve. Serves Six.Mmmmmmmm. Spammy.
# posted by Rachael @ Monday, August 16, 2004
Sunday, August 15, 2004
# posted by Rachael @ Sunday, August 15, 2004
Saturday, August 14, 2004
Julia Child
Julia Child, cookbook author and television chef (among other things) passed away.She loved food and loved the camaraderie that came with it. "Dining with one's friends and beloved family is certainly one of life's primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal," she said in the introduction to her seventh book, "The Way to Cook." "In spite of food fads, fitness programs, and health concerns, we must never lose sight of a beautifully conceived meal.""You have to eat to cook. You can't be a good cook and be a noneater. I think eating is the secret to good cooking."(From CNN.com)
# posted by Rachael @ Saturday, August 14, 2004
Friday, August 13, 2004
Julia Child 1912 - 2004
# posted by Rachael @ Friday, August 13, 2004
Thursday, August 12, 2004
A note on formatting. This site is great because I can post my recipes pretty much with the touch of a button. What isn't so great is that it kind of has a mind of it's own when it comes to formatting what I write. It also sort of makes me batty how BUSY this page gets, with all the links and colors and whatnot. Oh well, at least the information is there, right? Right.Animal crackers, and cocoa to drinkThat is the finest of suppers, I thinkWhen I'm grown up and can have what I please,I think I shall always insist upon these.-Christopher Morley
# posted by Rachael @ Thursday, August 12, 2004
NannyCuisine (TM)
YOU DON’T LIVE ON PIZZA & CHICKEN NUGGETS, & YOUR CHILD SHOULDN’T EITHERIntroducing your children to a wide variety of foods at an early age is a great way to encourage a lifetime of smart, healthy and sophisticated culinary choices.Unfortunately, with today’s busy schedules, very few parents have the time to prepare or supervise all the meals their children eat. That is why Fresh Catering, LA offers NannyCuisine™: the perfect way to introduce your childcare worker to recipes and food preparation techniques based on the foods you want your child to eat.Good habits begin early and NannyCuisine is an ideal way to start your children down the path of good eating habits. It is also a great solution if you child has dietary restrictions your nanny may not be familiar with - Kosher, Vegetarian, Sugar Free, or Wheat or Dairy Allergies, for example; or if you will be traveling abroad and want to accustom your child to the foods they might encounter while away from home. Even something as simple as wanting new recipes to try is a perfect reason to sign up for NannyCuisine classes. The reasons are endless, and so are the menus Fresh Catering, LA offers.Fresh Catering, LA’s chef instructors are very friendly and extremely knowledgeable, with years of experience.We teach all of the classes in your home, during the day, (so none if your nannies time is spent away from the children) and come with the recipes, ingredients and equipment to teach your nanny how to create delicious meals your children will love to eat – as well as offer instruction in basic sanitation and nutrition. Children are encouraged to watch and learn too – a fantastic way to get them interested in the foods they eat.Each class runs two hours and is taught based on your family’s approach to food. After the lesson, the Fresh Chef does all the clean up related to the class.Classes May Include:Organic Baby FoodsSchool LunchesAfter School SnacksMake Ahead Dinner for KidsSpecial Diet Meals (Wheat Free, Low Fat, Kosher, Milk Allergy, Picky Eaters, etc.) You can choose to have just one class ($110) or opt for a series of six informative lessons ($600).We can be reached at 310-801-8252, or at http://www.laspecialtyfoods.com/Please call if you have any questions. We are here to help!
# posted by Rachael @ Thursday, August 12, 2004
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Fig and Prosciutto Sandwiches
Figs are in season!
Figs are one of the most delicious, sensuous fruits. Usually they are eaten just as a fruit, but there are many recipes that incorporate their distinct, sweet flavor. Everything from Fish and Grilled Meats to Tarts and Blue Cheese tastes amazing with a fresh fig.
There are several hundred varieties of figs, ranging in color from pale yellow to green to purplish black, with flesh that can be cream-colored but most often is a vivid pink and studded with edible seeds. Fresh figs are generally available here for a brief time in late spring and again from late July into October. Here is a recipe for Fig and Prosciutto Sandwiches.
1 loaf rosemary focaccia
3 figs, cut in thin rounds 1 slice prosciutto One handful arugula, washed Extra-virgin olive oil Freshly ground pepper Thinly slice 4 pieces of focaccia vertically. Place layer of figs on one piece of focaccia. Add a slice of prosciutto and a handful of arugula. Sprinkle arugula with olive oil. Season with pepper to taste. Top with another slice of bread, and press firmly on sandwich to flatten. Cut in half. Repeat from step 2 with 2 more slices bread. Makes two sandwiches.
# posted by Rachael @ Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Black Mission Figs
# posted by Rachael @ Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Turophiles. Cheese LoversHave you ever tried to make your own fresh cheese? I have, and it didn't exactly work (8 hours of work ended with a blob of "mozzarella" that we ended up using as a Super Ball)...SO, I buy cheese (like most people) from a wide array of places...The Cheese Shop of Beverly Hills and the Cheese Shop of Silverlake, (knowledgeable owners, and they offer a taste before you commit. I think most food should be sold that way...)Whole Foods of course has a great selection, but your cheese should not be wrapped in plastic, it's dying in there...unwrap it and put it in butchers paper or waxed paper, then keep it someplace cool and dark...
(For more on that go to http://www.cheesesociety.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=5)A good online source is The Ideal Cheese Shop (http://www.idealcheese.com/).Smart and Final in West LA has a good selection, but the one in West Hollywood, oddly, does not.For other fun information, visit the American Cheese Society at www.cheesesociety.org
and make sure to read the article they have posted on Noella Marcellino, AKA The Cheese Nun.Other helpful sites:
and www.marinfrenchcheese.comSo the cheeses that I eat are pretty varied, and cover most of the ones everyone likes, but here are some you may not have tried, that I recommend:Ribafria (Portugal) - Aged Goats Milk CheeseSaint Nectaire (France) - Cows Milk Cheese, soft with nutty flavorAfuega'l Pitu (Spain) - Semi-Soft Cow's Milk cheesePecorino Folige Noce (Italy) Semi Firm Sheeps Milk CheeseHumboldt Fog (USA) - Creamy Goats Milk Cheese with a thin layer and coat of vegetable ashShropshire Blue (England) - Sharp, aged, blue veined cows milk cheeseWhy not try a new cheese today! (Just not anything by Kraft, ok?)
# posted by Rachael @ Tuesday, August 10, 2004
# posted by Rachael @ Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Monday, August 09, 2004
Fresh Pasta with Prosciutto and English Peas
I'm getting feedback from people saying I don't write enough on this site...that it's just recipes...well, that was sort of the idea, but also, I should point out, I don't really like writing! I don't know, its just not my thing...So, on that note, I had a TERRIFIC class last night...and in the interest of writing I will say that it came about because I donated one class to a silent auction for a charity event a month or so ago...the winner(s) were absolutely the sweetest people...its incredible to me how many awesome people I meet doing this! It was the first time I've ever actually written the menu without having them have input, so that was fun too. We made: Fresh Mission Figs with Humboldt Fog Cheese, Classic Adalusian Gazpacho (they liked it, I thought it came out much too oniony...), Fresh Pasta with Prosciutto and English Peas (that was a winner!) and a Mixed Fruit Crisp with Boulder brand French Vanilla Ice Cream (I really like Boulder brand, try some if you ever see it!) Here is the pasta recipe...NOT low fat! 1 pound wide spaghetti1/3 cup whipping cream2 teaspoons unsalted butter 1 cup shelled fresh peas, blanched4 ounces thinly sliced Prosciutto, chopped Zest of one lemon, plus juice of half the lemon¼ cup ricotta salata cheese, gratedGrated Parmesan for toppingCook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain; reserve 3/4 cup pasta cooking liquid.Simmer cream, butter and lemon peel (not the juice, the juice will make it curdle) in heavy large skillet over medium heat until slightly reduced, about 1 minute.Stir in Prosciutto and let heat through, about 1 minute. Add pasta and cheese and toss to coat, adding enough pasta cooking liquid to moisten if needed.Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper.Garnish with peas.Serves two
# posted by Rachael @ Monday, August 09, 2004
Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Anchovy and Potato Pintxos
Pintxos. It's a Spanish word that basically means tapas or canape. There are hundreds of variations, but most are just served as a small bite to be enjoyed with a drink. This recipe is for Anchovies, Roasted Peppers, Potato and Egg. The recipe is pretty much just assembly, and its really easy to do that! Try it and see. Anchovies aren't quite as loved here as in Spain, but they are really delicious and this is a great way to have them.1 large green bell pepper, halved lengthwise, cored and seeded1 large, ripe red bell pepper, halved lengthwise, cored and seeded1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the peppers1 tablespoon sherry vinegar8 ( 1/4 -inch thick) diagonal slices from a thick baguette (slices should be about 2 inches by 4 or 5 inches) lightly toasted1 to 2 tablespoons mayonnaise2 hard-cooked eggs, cut into thin crosswise slices 1 medium red potato, boiled, peeled and cut into thin slices8 white anchovies (packed in vinegar), drained8 brown, oil-packed anchovies, drainedMinced flat-leaf parsley, for garnishHeat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil and oil it lightly. Press the peppers gently to flatten them and place them on the cookie sheet skin side up. Brush with a little oil and roast until the peppers are tender and lightly charred, about 35 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 15 minutes. Peel the peppers, return them to the bowl, and toss with the oil and vinegar.To assemble the canapés, cut the peppers into 1-inch thick strips. Spread each toast lightly with mayonnaise and place a slice of egg and a slice of potato side by side slightly overlapping on each toast. Place a strip of green pepper and a strip of red pepper side by side along the length of the toast, trimming as necessary to fit. Top the red pepper strip with a white anchovy and the green with the brown anchovy. Repeat with the rest of the bread slices. Sprinkle the canapés with parsley and serve.Serves 8
# posted by Rachael @ Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Pintxos: White Anchovies, Roasted Bell Pepper, Potato and Egg
# posted by Rachael @ Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Friday, July 23, 2004
Eggplant Curry
I really love Indian food, and the amazing spice mixtures they use, but am sometimes not in the mood to go through ALL of the steps the truly authentic recipes require. That is why I get so excited to find a recipe like this, for Eggplant Curry. I sometimes add a garnish of fresh mint, but that's up to you! Enjoy!3 lb Asian eggplants (about 6), cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick rounds1 teaspoon salt1 clove garlic, chopped1 tablespoon fresh ginger peeled and chopped2 teaspoons chopped fresh jalapeño chile1 teaspoon mustard seeds1 teaspoon cumin seeds1/2 teaspoon turmeric3 tablespoons vegetable oil1 large onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced lengthwisetiny pinch cinnamon½ cup water1 tablespoon packed brown sugar1/4 cup roasted cashews, choppedAccompaniment: steamed riceMash garlic, ginger, and jalapeño to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt with a large heavy knife, then stir in mustard and cumin seeds and turmeric.Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat until hot, add the onion, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden. Add spice paste and cinnamon, then reduce heat to moderate and cook, stirring, 1 minute.Add eggplant and cook, stirring, until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in water, brown sugar, and remaining salt and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is tender but not falling apart, 20 to 25 minutes. Season eggplant with additional salt. Serve eggplant sprinkled with cashews.
# posted by Rachael @ Friday, July 23, 2004
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Bananas Foster
My last class, had a distinct sizzle to it! We made stuffed chicken breasts, pureed vegetable soup and banana' s foster.
In the 1950's, New Orleans was the major port of entry for bananas shipped from Central and South America. Owen Edward Brennan challenged Paul Blangé, the chef of his eponymous restaurant Brennans, to create a banana dish that would promote the fruit. The dessert was named for Richard Foster, owner of the Foster Awning Company, a frequent customer and a very good friend of Owen.
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 ripe bananas, peeled, sliced lengthwise and halved
1/4 cup rum
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pint vanilla ice cream
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until the sugar completely dissolves, about 2 minutes. Lay the bananas in the pan and cook on both sides until they become slightly soft and begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the rum and cinnamon.Tip the pan slightly and carefully ignite the alcohol with a long kitchen match or kitchen lighter to flambe. Put the pan back on the heat and shake it back and forth, until the flame dies out.Divide the ice cream among dessert bowls. Gently lift the bananas from the pan and place on the ice cream. Spoon the sauce over the ice cream and serve immediately.
Alexander the Great discovered bananas in his conquest of India in 327.
# posted by Rachael @ Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Friday, July 16, 2004
Leek Wrapped Trout
I have been fascinated with the ongoing changes to British food for awhile. In the last 15 years England has become a real culinary destination. The greater availability of fresher, higher-quality products at, in effect, lower prices has triggered more competition among individual chefs, each one trying to excel the other. I love reading about what they are doing over there and adapting it. I'll write more about British food later, but in the mean time, check out the BBC's food page. http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/ Or whip up this recipe for trout that I made last night. Very basic, but very tasty. Try it and see!1 large leek2 trout, filleted and skinnedzest of 1 lemon2 sprigs fresh marjoramSalt and freshly ground black pepper12, boiled new potatoes, to serveSauce:1 very large bunch of watercress, washed and rough chopped4 tablespoons butter½ cup heavy cream1 tsp capers, drained and rinsed (always rinse your capers!)salt and freshly ground black pepperTiny pinch of freshly grated nutmegPreheat the oven to 350°FWash the leek, trim the green ends off and cut in half. Cut each half, length ways. Steam until tender and then place under cold water to keep the nice bright green color. Put half the lemon zest and marjoram in eachside trout and season with salt and pepper.Wrap the trout in the leek strips and place in a buttered ovenproof dish, cover with foil and bake for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through.While the fish is in the oven, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a saute pan and add watercress. Cook until it wilted and some of the liquid released has evaporated. Add cream, capers, salt and freshly ground pepper and nutmeg. Serve hot over the trout.
# posted by Rachael @ Friday, July 16, 2004
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Tuesday Night Dinner Club
Last night I went out to Calabasas (wow is that ever far!) and taught a class to a group of friends who hold a Tuesday Night Dinner Club. They were all really sweet and enthusiastic about learning (which, you know, I love!) and are all great cooks! We made some pretty simple dishes...Ahi Tuna with Grapefruit and Mint, Chicken Chermoula, Israeli Couscous Salad with Pistachios and (yes, again...) Broiled Pineapple with Honey Creme Fraiche. They all seemed to love the food. I hope they call me again, because having clients like that makes it totally all worth while!Maybe you will be inspired by them, and start your own dinner club!
# posted by Rachael @ Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Client Pictures
Last Night's Cooking Class
# posted by Rachael @ Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Friday, July 09, 2004
Some Spanish Food
Below is a picture of some of the food we ate in Spain. It was the most amazing trip. Clockwise from the left: Bombon de Foie from the restaurant Az-Zait in Seville (amazing place, cannot recommend it highly enough.), typical Spanish salad: Iceberg lettuce, olives, eggs, white asparagus, tomatoes and tuna, with local olive oil on the side; also from Az-Zait: Salteado de Vieiras y Esparragos Verdes con Salsa Cafe de Paris (Crab and Scallops with Asparagus and a coffee sauce.) and from my brothers wedding: Ensalada de langostinos Sobre Timbal de Frutos Tropicales y Salmon (Shrimp and Salmon on top of Mango-Kiwi salad.
# posted by Rachael @ Friday, July 09, 2004
Photos From My Trip To Spain
Spanish Food
# posted by Rachael @ Friday, July 09, 2004
Monday, June 28, 2004
I have a new couple I am teaching and they are super. Really interested, and ask a lot of great questions. Tests my knowledge, which I love. They wanted to start by learning really traditional sauce making, so (can you believe?) we made Hollandaise and Bearnaise Sauce! (Over poached salmon and a pan seared steak). After all that whisking, they decided for the next class to try something more, well, useful for everyday cooking. It was a trip to make Hollandaise again...I hadn't done that since cooking school! In honor of my trip to Spain (I leave tomorrow! SO excited!) here is a recipe for Gazpacho:4 large red tomatoes, very ripe1 slice white bread, crust removed OR 1/2 cup skinless almonds1/2 red onion roughly chopped1 cucumber, seeded and roughly chopped1 red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped4 tablespoons olive oil2 cloves garlic1 teaspoon salt2 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegarPuree all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Add tomato juice if the mixture is too thick.
# posted by Rachael @ Monday, June 28, 2004
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Gin Bramble Cocktail
This is a drink called a Gin Bramble. I doubt anyone has Creme De Mure, but if you do, try this, you will LOVE it. If you don't, go buy some!2 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin1 teaspoon simple sugar (equal parts sugar and water, heated to dissolve, then cooled. Make about 2 cups, it keeps forever in the fridge)1 teaspoon lemon juice1 oz. crème de mure (blackberry liquor)Shake gin, sugar solution, lemon juice and liquor vigorously with ice, strain into a glass and garnish with blackberries (if desired.)Recipe from Bombay Gin
# posted by Rachael @ Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Thursday, June 17, 2004
Rick Bayless
Everyone has a favorite chef, (well, not everyone, but some people.) and I am no exception. The trouble is, I change my allegiances pretty often. One week I will go on and on about how incredible I think James Peterson is, or how Alton Brown is so cool, then turn right around and lament that Jan Birnbaum closed Catahoula. But this week, I am fixated on Rick Bayless. He owns several very authentic Mexican restaurants in Chicago, (Frontera Grill and Topolobampo ) has a few cookbooks out, (Authentic Mexican, Salsas that Cook, etc.) a show on PBS (Mexico, One Plate At A Time) and a website (that I have a link to, to the left). What makes him so interesting to me is that his passion for food is so encompassing, and for all the right reasons. Since I cannot possibly start to wax on about him in a way that does him justice, I will just encourage you to buy his book or check out his show and see for yourself what happens.Today’s horoscope for me. I’m an Aries. "You're almost there. At last you have the right crowd's attention. Keep your message simple and your comments positive."
# posted by Rachael @ Thursday, June 17, 2004
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Grapefruit and Mint Tuna Tartare
I know it's silly, but I just realized WHY (scientifically) when you are making tuna tartare, the tuna is dressed with the oil before adding the grapefruit juice...it's so the fish is coated with the oil to protect it from getting "cooked" by the acidin the citrus. (The citrus cannot penetrate the fat. Remember that oil and water don't mix? Same principle.) If you don't want to the tuna to turn opaque (cook.) make sure to coat it really well with oil before adding any acid. Every tuna tartare recipe I've ever used does that, but I never though about why until last night. Here is the recipe I developed:4 Tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice (if not sweet, add 1 teaspoon sugar or sweetener)4 Tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chiffonade1 Tablespoon pickled ginger, minced1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar1 tablespoon sugar1 medium red jalapeno, seeded and mincedOne small cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced6 oz sushi grade tuna6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oilPinch of saltPepper to tasteCombine first six ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.Toss together cucumber, tuna, oil and salt. Dress with vinaigrette and serve immediately.Serves four as an appetizerAdditions: Diced Avocado, Grapefruit Segments, Chives, Bell Pepper, Sesame Seeds or Toasted Cashew Pieces. _____________________________Wanna be my favorite person EVER?Tell Daily Candy about Fresh Catering Cooking Classes!Click on http://www.dailycandy.com/contribute.jsp?city=2and direct them to our website atwww.LA-SpecialtyFoods.comTHANKS!
# posted by Rachael @ Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
I have had so much on my mind lately, I thought cooking last night with the Magnificent Seven would be a chore, instead, for a few brief hours, it really took my mind off of my worries. Just goes to show. It was our last class, and we made a heavy menu! Sangria, Ahi Tuna with Grapefruit and Mint, Butternut Squash and Parsnip Soup, Wild Mushroom and Polenta Stuffed Peppers and Turkey Meatloaf Roulade with Sundried Tomatoes. Altogther an inexpensive, easy meal! I was so happy when they all thanked me for the lessons, and said they feel a lot more comfortable in the kitchen. To me, that was the best compliment ever. Here is a recipe for Tiramisu they had requested.3 large eggs, separated½ cup sugar1 cup mascarpone cheese½ cup chilled heavy whipping cream2 cups very strong brewed coffee or espresso, cooled to room temperature3 tablespoons Kahlua or Baileys Irish Cream18 Italian ladyfingers or pre-made pound-cake cut into strips2 tablespoons cocoa powderBeat together yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Beat in mascarpone until just combined.Beat whites with a pinch of salt in another bowl with cleaned beaters until they just hold soft peaks. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating, then continue to beat whites until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat cream in another bowl with cleaned beaters until it just holds soft peaks. Fold cream into mascarpone mixture gently but thoroughly, then fold in whites.Stir together coffee and liquor in a shallow bowl. Dip 1 ladyfinger in coffee mixture, soaking it briefly on each side, and transfer to an 8-inch glass baking dish (2-quart capacity). Repeat with 8 more ladyfingers and arrange in bottom of dish, trimming as needed to fit snugly. Spread half of mascarpone mixture evenly over ladyfingers. Make another layer in same manner with remaining ladyfingers and mascarpone mixture.Chill tiramisu, covered, at least 6 hours.Just before serving, sprinkle with chocolate.
# posted by Rachael @ Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Rhubarb Ketchup
The Magnificent Seven were ON FIRE last night (figuratively speaking.) We made some fun things, most of which I've done with other clients. Asian Coleslaw, Red Snapper with Tomatoes and Olives, Coconut Shrimp with Spinach and Mixed Berry Cobbler. (YUM!) We only have one more class, I'll be sad when it's over! One thing I learned is that lite coconut milk (the only type available at my local Trader Joe's) is not really good for cooking with. Oh well. Here is a recipe for Rhubarb Ketchup. Rhubarb is so under appreciated!1 pound rhubarb stalks, cut into 1/2-inch dice1/4 cup ruby port1/8 cup red wine vinegar1/2 cup sugarZest of 1 small orange, peeled in wide stripsPinch of SaltPinch of Cayenne pepperIn a medium saucepan, combine the rhubarb with the port, vinegar, sugar and orange zest and bring to a boil.Remove the pan from the heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Cover and simmer over moderately low heat, stirring often, until the rhubarb is just tender, about 5 minutes. Discard the orange zest.Transfer to a blender and puree. Season with salt and cayenne.Makes about 2 cupsServe with roast chicken, pork, game or add a little to balsamic salad dressing
# posted by Rachael @ Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Something I took from Rick Bayless..."It’s important for everyone to know how to cook— kids, teenagers, adults—everyone. Not only does it make all of us more independent and better able to take care of ourselves, but it helps us better appreciate the world through flavor and the satisfaction of mastering a simple craft. And it helps us make more knowledgeable choices about our own nutrition, as well as about political, cultural and environmental food issues. Food is, after all, one aspect of life we all have to share in."Is he brilliant or what.Today is my brother's birthday...happy birthday to him! Here is a recipe I think he would like:PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE2 cans pineapple rings in juice3/4 stick unsalted butter3/4 cup packed light brown sugarFor batter:1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour2 teaspoons baking powder1/4 teaspoon salt3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened1 cup granulated sugar2 large eggs1 teaspoon vanilla1 tablespoon dark rum1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice2 tablespoons dark rum, for sprinkling over cakePreheat oven to 350 degrees F.Melt butter in a well seasons cast iron skillet. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Arrange pineapple on top of sugar mixture, overlapping pieces slightly.Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in granulated sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and rum. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture and beat on low speed just until blended. Beat in pineapple juice, then add remaining flour mixture, beating just until blended. (Batter may appear slightly curdled.)Spoon batter over pineapple topping and spread evenly. Bake cake in middle of oven until golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cake stand in skillet 5 minutes.Invert a plate over skillet and invert cake onto plate (keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together). Replace any pineapple stuck to bottom of skillet. Sprinkle rum over cake and cool on plate on a rack.Serve cake just warm or at room temperature.Special equipment: a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet
# posted by Rachael @ Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Steak With Diablo BBQ Sauce
Oh wow am I worn out from my marathon of cooking! At this point, all I can hope is that I came in first. We made so much food! It started with a typical beef stew, then coucous salad, roast chicken with olives, capers and artichoke hearts over pasta, (that last one is based on my favorite thing to order at the late Charlies Crab on St. Armands Key in Florida. Mmm. Mmm.) mixed greens with raspberries and candied pecans, honey glazed salmon steaks, potato gratin, lasagna verde and ended with strawberry bread pudding. I can honestly say, that was a lot of food to make, and it took five hours, plus two hours of shopping for ingredients. Phew...Happy Memorial Day!Porterhouse Steak With Diablo BBQ SauceServes 4Diablo BBQ Sauce3 tablespoons olive oil1 Spanish onion, finely chopped4 cloves garlic, finely chopped1 tablespoon red pepper flakes3 cups canned plum tomatoes, pureed2 tablespoons tomato paste1 cup dark brown sugar2 tablespoons honey1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley2 tablespoons chopped fresh basilsalt and freshly ground pepper2 porterhouse steaks, about 1 1/2-inches thickHeat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until soft, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until thickened, about 35 to 40 minutes.Heat grill to high. Season steaks on both sides with salt and pepper. Grill, on one side, until crusty and slightly charred, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn steaks over, close the hood and continue grilling for 6 to 8 minutes for medium-rare doneness. Baste with the sauce during the last few minutes. Remove from the grill and brush with more of the sauce. Let meat rest for 5 minutes, then slice into 1/4-inch thick slices and serve.
# posted by Rachael @ Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Monday, May 24, 2004
Cookbooks. There sure are a lot of them out there (and hopefully, one day, mine will be too!)and picking which ones work for you can be tricky. But don't worry; there are some basic books that can really inspire you! I know people like pictures to help them along, and that makes a lot of sense, but not every good book has them (only one of the following do.)These are my top five favorite basic cookbooks, all of which can be found on www.ecookbooks.com.The Joy Of Cooking-There really isn't much this book doesn't cover.The Fanny Farmer Cookbook-Another classic. If you only want to have just have one book, this should be it.The San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook-The SF Chronicle has the best food section in America (Sorry NY Times!), and this book proves it. Eclectic recipes, leaning towards Asian, that are well written and easy to make.Classic Home Desserts By Richard Sax-A book that really does what it claims. Provide a lot of simple recipes for home style desserts.Fish And Shellfish by James Peterson-James Peterson is the best cookbook author out there, and this book (and his others, Soups, Sauces and Vegetables) covers everything you would ever need to know about fish cookery.I know I didn't include any ethnic cookbooks, of which there are many good ones, but this list was for basics, and I have plenty of room on this blog for more thoughts later...so until then, Happy Cooking!
# posted by Rachael @ Monday, May 24, 2004
Sunday, May 23, 2004
Polenta Stuffed Peppers
This morning we made some fantastic food. The client I was working with had never had polenta, and I think we can now count her as a convert! We made quite a few things, including; Orange, Olive and Red Onion Salad, Baked Fish with Tomatoes and Lemon Tea Cakes. We also made Polenta Stuffed Peppers. Here is that recipe...3 large red bell peppers2 teaspoons butter (or margarine)½ lb. Assorted mushrooms, sliced1 large shallot, mincedPinch of dried thymeBlack pepper to taste1 cups instant polenta1 ¾ cups water1 large egg½ cup mascarpone cheese6 tablespoons parmesan cheesePreheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.Slice the red peppers lengthwise, remove core. Place in a single layer in an oven proof dish.In a large sauté pan, heat the butter. When melted, add the shallot and mushrooms, in a single layer. Do not stir for a few moments, allowing the mushrooms to brown. Remove from heat and add the thyme and pepperIn a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil, salt liberally and add the polenta, stirring until soft, about 4 – 6 minutes. (Follow directions on the package.)Remove from heat and stir in the egg, and cheese, when incorporated, mix in the mushroom mixture.Using a large spoon, scoop the polenta mixture into the peppers. Top with the parmesan.Bake, covered for 20 minutes, uncover and continue to bake until the tops are browned and the peppers are soft to the touch, about 15 more minutes.Makes six peppers.
# posted by Rachael @ Sunday, May 23, 2004
Saturday, May 22, 2004
Vodka Spiked Watermelon
I don't know how I got roped into this, but my friend Claire has been saying for month's that it seemed like a good time for me to host another party...so tonight I am hosting a Hillbilly Party -- we keep saying White Trash, but that's not so nice. The menu has been a challenge, since, well, I don't normally make food like this, and I didn't want to end up with a lot of leftovers (for instance, Pork Rinds. Funny though they are, I would have just thrown them out)...So this is what we ended up with:Sandwich Platter:Fluffernutter (That's peanut butter and marshmallow fluff on white bread, a DELICIOUS concoction that teenaged dope fiends and trailer vixens everywhere feed on.)Bologna and Cheese (B-O-L-O-G-N-A. Except not Oscar Meyer brand, so it's not quite as upscale.)Pigs In A Blanket (My concession. Typically this seems to be hotdogs wrapped in biscuit mix, or some variation. OUR variation is Adiells Chicken and Artichoke Sausage wrapped in Puff Pastry.)Cheese Puffs (Mmm. Cheesy. I had a choice of these or Cheese in a can, but that was $4.00, so obviously, I went with the puffs -- at half the price)BBQ Chips (People like their BBQ sauce, so this is my homage)Chips with Clam Dip (Clam Dip! Clam Dip! Clams-From-A-Can-Dip! YUMMY! YUMMY!I couldn't bring myself to buy French Onion Soup Mix for this.)Jello Shots (Green apple, like the Appletinis that went out about 3 years ago -- IE: Perfect.)Beer (Tall boys galore! No bottles! I have two classes to teach tomorrow, and a brunch, so I guess the drinking will be kept to a minimum...)Moon Pies and Twinkies (Lard and Sugar all in one! BONUS!) www.moonpies.comSpiked Watermelon (Well, I just like watermelon, what can I say...)The soundtrack, of course, is heavy on Lynard Skynard, Drive By Truckers and the ilk.Here is a recipe for Spiked Watermelon: Start this the day before you want to eat it. All you do is make a hole in a watermelon (with seeds!) about as big as the opening on your bottle. Use a small knife and take out some of the melon, enough to make room for a pint of vodka. Save the plug (rind) that you cut out. If your melon takes the vodka fairly fast before your cookout, push the plug back in. Turn the bottle (carefully and slow) upside down and stick it in the melon. Push it down tight. Let it drain in. If not eaten in 2 days will become very mushy.
# posted by Rachael @ Saturday, May 22, 2004
Thursday, May 20, 2004
Client Praise
I got an email today from one of my clients. She told me that she had gone on the very popular website Chowhound and posted a nice review of our class, that was immediatly taken down by the moderator. When she emailed the moderator, asking why that had happened, in light of the fact there are many reviews of cooking classes on that site, she got a really rude email back, that actually called her names, and was quite upset. I have posted on Chowhound for some time, and have always noticed that the people who run the site have a little bit of a chip on their shoulders, but I figure, it's their site, let them do as they please...until now. Insulting my clients (anyone really) is uncalled for. So I say shame on them. I will post what was so nicely written about our class at a later time, but for now, I hope you will all stand by my client (I won't give her name) and myself and avoid Chowhound from now on. Thank you! Rachael
# posted by Rachael @ Thursday, May 20, 2004
Monday, May 17, 2004
Asian Style Cole Slaw
My latest class was a super success. We were grilling, which is really nice this time of year, and nothing could have been better than the basic kebobs, steak, corn and nectarines we threw on there. On the side we made a simple Asian coleslaw, and here is the recipe:Dressing:5 tablespoons rice vinegar3 tablespoons oil1 ½ teaspoon sesame oil1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger1 teaspoon jalapeno chile, chopped1 tablespoon sesame seeds1 teaspoon sugarSalt, as needed½ Napa cabbage thinly sliced¼ cup thinly sliced green onions1 small red bell pepper, sliced4 tablespoons cilantro, chopped½ cup marinated tofu, cubed¼ cup peanuts, choppedIn a small bowl, whisk together the dressing. (This dressing can be used as a marinade also)Combine the rest of the ingredients, add the dressing, and toss to coat. Let marinate up to 3 hours. Serve cold or at room temperature. Can be made two days ahead, but will wilt.Serves four
# posted by Rachael @ Monday, May 17, 2004
Friday, May 14, 2004
Healthy Eating
I have pretty strong thoughts on weight loss and why it is Americans struggle to lose weight. As someone who is constantly around food, I understand how much of a struggle it can be to maintain your ideal weight, so I thought I would share my thoughts on the subject.1. Eat real food. Stop eating strange, processed, diet,low-cal,low-carb,low-fat foods. Your body needs real food, not substitutes. Buy fruit, vegetables, meats and legumes and grains. Like your friends (ha ha) at Breyers say, if you can't pronounce the ingredients on the label, you shouldn't be eating it. Nothing in your cupboard should have a shelf life longer than your life expectancy.2. No more soda -- drink water. Even diet soda is bad. Cut it out of your life. Try green tea. 3. Stop eating junk. Just stop. Don't buy it, don't have it in the house, avoid it at the office. There is no middle ground. Do not buy junk substitutes, just don't eat junk. Period.4. Stop and eat. When you are eating, just do that. Sit down, at a table, and eat, slowly. It takes your brain up to 30 minutes to realize your stomach is full, so you could eat almost 4 times what you really need in the time it takes your stomach to feel full. So slow down. Chew. Savor. Enjoy.5. When you buy groceries, take the extra ten minutes to chop everything up. Mince those onions, put them in a baggie and have them on hand. Peel some carrots and store them for snacks. It makes cooking easier and snacking healthier.6. Taking carbs completely out of your diet is not a healthy way to lose weight. Sure, cutting back on them makes a difference, but cutting back and cutting out are two different things. Try portion control and go from there. Bread is good, a lot of bread isn't. Also, there is a risk with low-carb eating -- you don't get fiber. Fiber is important to your health.7. Eat seasonally. Vegetables have seasons. Find out what they are, and eat accordingly. You know peaches won't be any good in the middle of winter, but potatoes will...so choose accordingly.8. Exercise. Walk, run, hop, skip, lunge, leap...whatever it takes.I don't know if that sounds easy or hard to you, but if you change the way you deal with food, you can change the way food affects your life. We have such abundance, it can be overwhelming, but it shouldn't be. You are in charge of your weight.
# posted by Rachael @ Friday, May 14, 2004
Thursday, May 13, 2004
Mixed Fruit Crisp
Yesterday we made a lot of fun things, including couscous salad, pasta salad with peppers and olives and a really nice fruit crisp. Here is the fruit crisp recipe. Easy, peasy.1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter3/4 cup all-purpose flour3/4 cup packed light brown sugar3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats3/4 teaspoon cinnamon1/2 teaspoon salt¼ cup water2 teaspoons cornstarch3 pounds assorted fruit1/2 cup sugar (or more if needed)Preheat oven to 375°F.In a food processor blend flour, brown sugar, 1/2 cup oats, cinnamon, salt, and butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. In a bowl stir together flour mixture, and remaining 1/4 cup oats.In a small bowl stir water and cornstarch until combined. Toss with fruit and sugar as needed. Transfer mixture to a 15 x 9-inch (3-quart) baking dish.Sprinkle topping over fruit. Bake mixture in middle of oven 40 to 45 minutes, or until topping is crisp and golden, and cool on a rack 10 minutes.Serve dessert warm.
# posted by Rachael @ Thursday, May 13, 2004
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
Let's see...last night I made a middle eastern feast as a demonstration...I don't know why, but the eggplant for the baba ghanouj took more than 1.5 hours to soften in a 400 degree oven...next time, I will start earlier, I guess. It turned out fantastic though. Really smooth and smokey. We also made Spinach, Mushroom Phyllo Pie, Tabbouli and Hummus. I subsituted yogurt for some of the tahini in the hummus recipe, and I think it came out great. Here it is:1 teaspoon minced garlic1 can chickpeas, drained2 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt1 tablespoon olive oil1 tablespoon tahini4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice2 tablespoons waterSalt to tasteAdd ingredients to blender; blend until coarse puree forms, occasionally scraping down sides.Season hummus to taste with salt.Transfer to small bowl.Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving. Serve with pita chips.
# posted by Rachael @ Tuesday, May 11, 2004
Sunday, May 09, 2004
Earl Grey Tea Chocolate Truffles
After a wonderful Mothers Day Brunch with my fam, I headed up to Malibu to teach a class for a woman and her mother, grandmother, aunt and cousins. They wanted something fun, so I demonstrated how to make quick fudge, and then got everyone's hands in to make mocha and raspberry truffles. It was the perfect,quick class and they seemed to enjoy it. Of course, who doesnt love chocolate, right?2/3 cup heavy cream2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces1 ½ teaspoons loose Earl Grey tea leaves or any liquor* of your choice (optional)6 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate1 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder or powdered sugar½ cup cornstarch (for dusting hands)Bring cream and butter to a boil in a small, but heavy saucepan and stir in tea leaves. Remove from heat and let steep 5 –10 minutes.Meanwhile, chop the chocolate and transfer to a bowl. Pour cream through a fine-mesh sieve onto chocolate, pressing on and discarding tea leaves, then whisk until smooth. Chill mixture, covered, until firm, about 2 hours.Put cocoa in a bowl. Using a spoon, scoop up the ganache in one teaspoon sized chunks and place on a baking sheet, then dust your palms lightly in the cornstarch or cocoa and roll each piece of ganache into a ball (wash your hands in cold water and redust about every 3-4 truffles). Drop several balls at a time into bowl of cocoa and turn to coat using a fork. If the ganache gets too warm, return to the refrigerator for 5 minutes.Transfer as coated to an airtight container, separating layers with wax paper. Chill until firm. Can be kept refrigerated up to 2 weeks.
# posted by Rachael @ Sunday, May 09, 2004
Sunday, May 02, 2004
Caprese Salad
Today I went to the Hollywood Farmers market to get some ingredients for my classes this week. The tomatoes I got are so perfect, I might end up eating them myself! Cherries have just appeared, and they are delicious too, so I bought a pint to see if I can make a nice tart later this week. Here is a recipe for a basic caprese salad to use some of those amazing tomatoes2 medium, ripe tomatoes, red or gold or both, in thick slices6 oz. fresh mozarella cheese. Sliced thick12 leaves basil, torn up.1 oz. best quality olive oilA sprinkle of the best quality salt you haveLayer the tomatoes, cheese and basil on a platter, drizzle with oil and salt. Enjoy!_____________________________Wanna be my favorite person EVER?Tell Daily Candy about Fresh Catering Cooking Classes!Click on http://www.dailycandy.com/contribute.jsp?city=2and direct them to our website atwww.LA-SpecialtyFoods.comTHANKS!
# posted by Rachael @ Sunday, May 02, 2004
Saturday, May 01, 2004
Shamless Request To Buy My T-Shirts
The menu for yesterday's class went over really well. We made a cold honeydew melon and mint soup which was light and refreshing. I also had a bunch of t-shirts created, that are for sale at www.zazzle.com When you get to the home page, just put Fresh Catering in the product search and you can see them all. (And vote if you like them! Hint. Hint. Wink. Wink.) I hope you are having a great day too!
# posted by Rachael @ Saturday, May 01, 2004
Friday, April 30, 2004
Thai Inspired Bean Sprout and Mint Salad
Well, in the world of Kosher food cooking, things are going smoothly. I have learned that one needs seperate OVENS for milk and meat products. Who knew! So our fritatta, which had cheese in it, couldn't go under the broiler, since the turkey meatloaf was in there earlier. The meatloaf, which was my sister Pamela's recipe, was really quite good. Meatloaf sure is easy to make, no wonder it's such a standard. I decided I need to start including more "ethnic" foods in my classes, since everyone notes my cuisine is very Cal-med and uses very light/fresh flavors. (I guess calling my company Fresh wasn't so silly!) I think in the spring and summer eating lighter food is better, so I tend to make foods with less oil or strong flavors this time of year. Here is a recipe for a salad I made the other day, for me.Dressing:Juice of one limeTablespoon of veg oil½ teaspoon sugar½ teaspoon saltDash of chile powderCombine and pour overSalad:½ cup bean sprouts1 stalk celery, sliced½ cup mixed mint and parsley leaved, torn¼ cup water chestnuts, sliced¼ cup chile spiced peanuts, chopped½ cup cooked white rice, warmCombine all. Eat. Yum.
# posted by Rachael @ Friday, April 30, 2004
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Last night was my lesson with the Magnificent Seven as I call them. Seven really cool Hollywood player women who make me LAUGH. We made a LOT of food. Mojitos, Hearts of Palm and Avocado Salad, Spinach Feta Quiche, Caribbean Jerk Pork Chops, Filet Mignon with Cognac (when I flambed that though, I forgot to turn off the vent so the fire was HUGE, I totally thought the house was going to go up in flames. How I kept my cool, and didn't scorch my eyebrows off, I don't know. Note to self: No more flambe.) and Ginger Pear Sorbet. I was stoked to learn one of the women actually went home after our last lesson and made the Shaved Artichoke and Parmesan salad recipe from our last class!
# posted by Rachael @ Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Friday, April 23, 2004
Well, things are going well at Fresh. I've learned a lot about Kosher cooking these last few weeks! But the best recipe I've done lately is for Sangria. Here it is!2 gallons Zinfandel (yup, the dreaded pink stuff. Use Chardonnay if that really offends you)½ cup Triple Sec½ cup brandy1 cup sugar2 liters 7-UP or Sprite3 cups orange juice3 oranges, thinly sliced or cut into wedges1 pint fresh raspberries1 bunch green grapes, halved(Other fruit can include, lemons or limes sliced thin, peaches, nectarines, blackberries or kiwi peeled and sliced)ICE (approx. 40 cubes)Thoroughly chill all ingredients. Pour wine, Triple Sec and brandy into a large punch bowl. Stir in the sugar until it has dissolved. Add ice cubes, orange juice and soda and garnish with fruit. Serve in 4-ounce punch glasses or wineglasses.Make about 100 drinks. Can be halved. Or doubled.
# posted by Rachael @ Friday, April 23, 2004
Monday, April 19, 2004
Hi. I'm Rachael. I've never "blogged" before today, but I saw this site and thought it might be an interesting way to get the word out about Fresh Catering, LA, and what we do. We offer private cooking classes, in your home, here in Los Angeles. Every class is catered to you. we bring all the equiptment, food and recipes, then we teach/cook, and do all the clean up. You watch, learn, ask questions, chop a few things and then eat. It's a great way to learn new things, improve on what you already know and just have fun. We do group lessons too. People who take our classes come from all walks of life, (Moms with newborns, Dads with new grills, girls looking for something fun to do, guys who want to impress their girlfriends, people who are looking for new low carb recipes...) and kitchens of every size.Some of our more popular classes are Grilling, NannyCuisine, Weeknight Dinners, Low Carb and Romantic Dinner for Two.My website is www.LA-SpecialtyFoods.com, check it out and learn to cook with a FRESH approach!
# posted by Rachael @ Monday, April 19, 2004

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