So, how is everyone feeling this morning? Groan...
Friday, November 26, 2010
So, how is everyone feeling this morning? Groan...
Monday, September 27, 2010
Those of you who are lucky to grow your own food know what I mean when I say that fresh is always best. A fresh plucked cherry tomato off of a sunshine-warmed vine is absolute heaven. Apricots picked off of a heavily laden tree so ripe that the flavor explodes in your mouth, is a culinary delight by itself. Even fresh churned butter recently milked from your cow is something that you have never tasted at the supermarket. Fresh is always best.
For the rest of us, we shop at our local markets. The fruit and the vegetables have been picked and shipped days before, rinsed repeatedly and then displayed in cold cases at the supermarket. The flavor loss is profound along with the nutrient content. Try to shop at great markets such as well-known Whole Foods that feature "Farmer's Market" produce. Or try to organize your local neighbors and share the produce that may be growing in their own backyards.
The best place for those of us in California are the Farmer's Markets. Local farmers flock into locations convenient for city dwellers and sell their produce. The markets are divine.
Freshly picked that morning, the produce has traces of the rich soil still clinging to the gems. Beets, onions, carrots, squash, herbs are in their glory when picked fresh. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage can be eaten raw; the flavors are so rich. And, fresh corn... why cook it? The just picked corn is a flavor delight that can't be matched by store bought, frozen or canned.
If your town has no Farmer's Market or Farmer's Cooperative, try to organize one. Farmers and growers are generous souls. They want to see their produce sold and shared. They do not want to see any of locally grown produce wasted.
- Contact a local government official and share your idea. They will put you into contact with the rules and regulations for food safety and other restrictions in government.
- Contact the growers. Try to have common every day produce along with exotics.
- Pick a one time date (start small) to organize a Farmer's Market festival.
- Form a volunteer group to create flyers, email alerts and a Facebook event.
- Locate a shaded area w/ public transportation nearby.
- Provide large sturdy tables for the growers.
- Bring a small local musical group to entertain the attendees.
- Contact ethnic communities to bring demonstrations of food cooking. The food demonstration will draw in a lot of cooks and chefs to watch how other cultures prepare food.
- Contact all restaurant buyers/owners in the area. They will flock to the event for the opportunity to buy fresh produce for their culinary staff.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
I was born and raised in Japan in a traditional Japanese household. The sushi I ate was made beautifully and carefully by a parent who created eye-pleasing art with a reverence for each ingredient.
Then I came to California. OMG! Sushi became an adventure of strange ingredients that I never dreamed of combined with the simple seasoned rice and seaweed. But, it is surprisingly good never the less. Almost everyone in California and the entire West coast has eaten the California Roll. It's a staple in everyone's diet out here!
1 cup of cooled cooked small grain white rice (sub a more nutritious brown rice)
small glass bowl
1 Tbsp of seasoned rice wine vinegar (mirin)
small crisp cucumber sliced into long julienne strips
large avocado medium sliced
2 dried seaweed sheets (nori)
optional : thin julienne carrot strips, toasted sesame seeds
optional : crab or imitation crab (ick)
garnish : wasabi mustard with soy sauce, pickled ginger slices
Mix room temperature, cooked rice w/ vinegar (mirin). Do not smash the rice grains. Set aside. Optional: add sesame seeds to your liking and mix in.
On a piece of saran wrap (plastic) or clean kitchen towel, place seaweed sheet down. Add the rice on half the sheet in a thin layer. Add strips of cucumber and avocadoes (add optional carrots).
Roll the rice end of the seaweed tightly and before you roll completely, carefully wet the end of the seaweed w/out rice with a smear of water. Then finish rolling completely. The moisture will "glue" the seaweed to itself so that the roll will not come undone. (How to roll sushi)
With a sharp wet knife, slice the roll into pin wheels. Serve w/ soy sauce flavored with wasabi and serve a side dish of pickled ginger.
Ta da ki mas!
Friday, September 24, 2010
This is an easy recipe to adapt to outdoor grilling and cooking!
I just had this lovely dinner at a friend's home tonight. I watched as it was prepared. If you can't get the wild steelhead; store-bought salmon is a great substitute. High in Omega 3 oils, the oil content is much higher than Chinook Salmon. This recipe is very quick and easy to make. Have the sous chef prepare all ingredients as the cooking time goes very quickly and you do not want to overcook the fish.
Wild Steelhead w/ Mango Relish
1/4 cup of olive oil
filet of wild steelhead (substitute salmon)
salt & pepper to taste
sliced pineapple into small wedge shapes (fresh)
3 small lemons cut into wedges for squeezing & garnish
small glass bowl
1 cup diced ripe mango
1/4 cup of thinly sliced red onion
1 Tbsp of balasamic vinegar
1 Tbsp of olive oil (from above)
2 cups of cleaned & air dried arugula
Prepare all ingredients prior to turning the stove on. Set all ingredients to the side. Add enough oil to the pan to cover surface. Turn pan on to medium to medium-high heat to sear the fish. Drizzle oil over fish and wipe oil over the surface of the fish. Add salt & pepper. Place fish skin side down into the pan carefully. Sear for 4-5 ( or less depending on thickness) minutes. Turn fish and cook until medium done. Squeeze half of one lemon into pan. Take fish out of pan and set aside to rest. (cooking time depends on thickness of fish). Add pineapple to pan and sear until slightly blackened on both sides. Take out pineapple and set aside.
In a glass bowl, toss diced mango, red onion, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. (I think you could make this part ahead of time and let it marinate, but the balsamic vinegar will change the color of the bright color of the mango.)
Lay a bed of argula onto the plate. Squeeze 1/2 lemon over the argula. Lay fish down on top of argula. Dollop generous mango relish over fish. Surround the interior of the dish with pineapple slices. Serve immediately with wedges of lemon.
Note: I watched my host make this in 30 minutes. The flavors were out of this world! The combination of the bitter greens w/ the fresh tart, carmelized pineapple with a mouthful of fish and sweet mango and tangy red onion... omg! Heaven!
Options: Try this with other firm fish. Change the fruit to plums, peaches, raspberries or blueberries. Fruit and fish are a wonderful pairing. Be adventurous!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I would say 99.9999% of all mankind love Nutella. Yes, it is one of those concoctions that someone created that has an almost cult-like following. You can spread Nutella on anything and make it a dessert.
1) Waffles and Nutella
2 waffles (homemade or store bought)
Nutella spread (as much as you can stand)
1 heaping Tblsp of muesli (mix of rolled oats, dried fruit, nuts)
maple syrup to drizzle
Toast waffles. Spread generous amount of nutella over waffles. Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon of muesli over each waffle. Drizzle maple syrup over all. Serve immediately. Be prepared to go to heaven.
2) Peanut Butter & Nutella Sandwich
2 slices of whole wheat bread (oat nut, multi-grain)
Nutella spread (be generous)
Peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
Strawberry or raspberry jam (use jam instead of jelly)
1 Tblsp of dried cranberries and/or dried cherries
Smear one slice of whole wheat bread with Nutella. Smear the other slice with peanut butter. Slice banana neatly in rows on peanut butter. Smear jam over on Nutella side. Sprinkle with dried fruit. Close sliced bread together forming a sandwich. Slice into quarters. Eat and dream of the good life.
Option: Both recipes above can be calorized into sky high numbers with the addition of chocolate chips and/or cream cheese! Be prepared to go on a diet for a week.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I was picking figs from a neighbor's tree. The branches hung over my fence allowing me to pick those ripe black figs for breakfast this morning. After picking a bowl, I thought about how I would eat the bountiful harvest!
I love the traditional recipe of Lamb and Prunes and thought I could substitute the prunes for figs. Figs are jam-like sweet with a chewy skin. They are like candy and addicting. I hope I have enough for this recipe!
Lamb and Figs
2 large onions, diced
3 cloves of garlic (use as much as you like)
1/8 cup of olive oil
3 - 4 lbs of boneless lamb, cubed
1 cup of chicken stock (homemade is better)
1-1/2 cups of California Merlot or dry red wine
3 Tbsp of Balsamic vinegar
1 heaping tsp dried mustard
1 heaping tsp ground cumin
1 heaping tsp coriander
pinch tsp cinnamon
pinch ground ginger
pinch chili flakes
salt to taste
10 fresh figs cut in half
brown sugar to taste (optional)
hot rice for side dish
Add figs and brown sugar (go easy on this one since figs are very sweet). As the mixture reduces, the lamb will take on a nice sweet glaze. Test for tenderness with a fork. Serve immediately with rice.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
- Marinate your steaks, chicken prior to packing them.
- Use sturdy zip lock freezer bags and add your favorite marinade.
- Pack these tasty packages next to the ice in your cooler.
- When you get to your destination; add chopped green onions/scallions (leaves and bulb)
- Carefully pull out the meats to grill on the stove or campfire grill.
- Dry spices are the easiest.
- Fresh spices and herbs taste the best!
- Wrap each herb/spice in a dry paper towel.
- Place each bundle in a zip lock baggie.
- These will last throughout the duration of a short term camping trip (2 to 5 days).
- Rosemary, garlic and onions are the easiest to pack and pack the most flavor to any dish.
- Keep all herbs, spices, onions & garlic as dry as possible.
- potato (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
- celery (sturdy, keeps well; add to canned soups or vegetable saute)
- carrots (sturdy; add to salads or shred for toppings on sandwiches)
- onions (everything!)
- cabbage (salads, quick saute, etc)
- beets (wrap & bake in coals or roast on grill; slice for sandwich, salad or side dish)
- sweet potato (wrap & bake in coals or roast on grill; side dish)
- apples (sturdy, keep cool; bake or saute slices w/ sugar, cinnamon for a great dessert over cake or pound cake)
- bananas (fragile, use first or second day; great additions to cereal or saute as side dish)
- oranges (sturdy; add juice to salad dressing, slice away membrane and add to dessert)
- greens (wrap fragile leaves in paper towels or clean towel and place greens into a dry zip lock baggie; use on first or second days of cooking)
- eggs (keep in egg container; they will survive if placed on top of cooler)
- dry soups
- canned soups
- canned chile con carne
- canned red kidney beans
- canned corn
- hot chocolate
- mint candies (add to hot chocolate or crushed over a dessert)
- muesli or dry cereal (add to nuts, raisins for a quick snack)
- boxed cake yellow mix
- pound cake
- sliced deli meats
- cheese block or sliced
- small amount of flour (dust chopping board or make a gravy w/ meat juices in your grill pan)
- butter (great on toast; mix in garlic/herbs for a simple topping on steaks)
- sugar (add to hot chocolate or sprinkle on toast w/ cinnamon)
- olive oil for saute, cake mix or condiment
- saffola oil for frying
- balsamic vinegar (or apple cider vinegar; great for quick salad dressing or seasoning)
- asian oyster sauce (awesome on stir fried vegetables; marinade for meats)
- sturdy zip lock baggies in different sizes
- paper towels
- serving utensils
- aluminum foil
- channel lock (handy tool to pick up hot items such as grills)
- oven mitt or silicon glove
- chopping boards (plastic)
- plates (plastic or metal)
- cups (plastic or metal)
- bowls of various sizes for mixing & prep work (plastic or metal)
- dish soap (biodegradable)
- hand soap (biodegradable)
- black sharpie pen (label stuff as you prep and work in kitchen)
- paper bags (great for soaking up oils on fried items; also good for organizing items)
- baked potatoes (use first day or second day for a quick breakfast hash or as a potato salad for lunch)
- mixed spices in a waterproof plastic container (salt, pepper, chili, rosemary or whatever you want to mix together) labeled w/ ingredients
- frozen homemade soup (this is killa! its a block of frozen soup that will help keep the cooler cool)
- cake mixes and any other boxed items; place dry goods into sturdy zip lock baggies (tear off the labels and toss into bag to identify your dry goods; this will take less space when you pack your dry goods)
- mix butter & garlic together and freeze it (use on toasted bread or top a grilled steak)
- make a cold pasta salad w/ broccoli, carrots, olives & peppers; toss into zip lock baggie for a first lunch or first dinner*
- if you make baked potatoes at camp, make more than you need; use left overs for salad, side dishes or an entree
- same with rice; make more than you need if you make it at camp; use for salads, side dish or an entree
- Use block ice or dry ice to keep items cold. Pack all meats and perishables near the ice. Pack apples, veggies towards the top. Keep drinks and frequently needed items in a smaller cooler and tell everyone not to open the other coolers. This will keep items nice and cold.
- Instead of one large cooler, use several smaller ones. Duct tape the coolers closed and label them accordingly: Day 1, Day 2, etc. This will help to keep perishables cold. But, this also requires you to break up items and pack the coolers wisely for each day. (Grand Canyon Colorado trick where we can be on the river for 12 days or more!)
- I had ice cream on day 5 of a river trip using a small cooler and dry ice; duct taped and never opened until the day we wanted it.
- Don't leave the cooler in the hot sun or place the bottom in the hot sand on the beach. Place under a tree instead or place on top of a folded blanket if you only have hot sand. Keep the cooler cool so it doesn't work so hard keeping your items cool. Another trick is to leave it in the raft on the water. Just take out your cooking items and walk it to the grill on the beach (use the handy paper shopping bags or a sturdy tote to carry your items) Beach side may be warm at night, but the cooler air above the river will help to keep the cooler cold.
Monday, May 24, 2010
1 cup of flour
1/4 cup of unsalted butter(cubed very cold)
1/4 cup of fine sugar
1/4 cup of currants(optional)
1 large egg (room temperature)
1 teaspoon of cream of tarter
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
small amount of milk (only if batter becomes too thick)
Mix all ingredients together with your hands, but don't mix too much or it will make the dough tough.*
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut small circles using a small glass turned upside down. Place on a silpat, parchment paper or seasoned dutch oven. (Just remember to use a seasoned dutch oven & you can forgo the parchment paper or silpat)
Brush lightly with milk and sprinkle sugar on top.
Place in pre-heated oven 450 for 8 to 10 minutes
Serve immediately with warm butter, cream and any jams that strikes your fancy.
This recipe serves four. Not to be saved, but enjoyed immediately with your favorite tea, coffee or fruit juice!
* Our Secret Chef says, "Don't over work the dough! Mix once and then roll-out; otherwise, you will end up with hockey pucks instead of tender, flaky scones! There is such a joy in baking these wonderful morsels of schoonbrood!"
... a little history about the scones:
Scones origins go back to Scotland where the Scots formed them into small round flat breads called "schoonbrood." The first mention of this word was in 1513 and was likely originated from the Middle Dutch. The Scottish would cut the flat breads into triangular wedges reflecting the current shape today. Today, the flat breads are called bannock and the cut out triangles are called scones.
Scones are popular in United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and United States. Most are made with wheat, barley and/or oatmeal. They are usually served with tea, Devonshire cream and jams.
Note: We think our friends will be surprised to see this on their group rafting trip this year!
Monday, May 17, 2010
Here is one of my favorite side dishes that can accompany fowl, meat or fish. Make this on your next dinner party or camping trip. It will surely be a hit!
Riviera Swiss Chard
I bunch of Swiss chard
3 Tblsp of unsalted butter or 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
1 tsp of honey
1 Tblsp of finely chopped rosemary
1/3 cup of golden raisins roughly chopped, or left whole, depending on preference
2 Tblsp of roasted pinenuts
A pinch of Fleur de sel, or salt, and cracked pepper to taste.
Remove the stems from the leaves and the thick part of the vein which runs down the leaves. then roughly chop. ( remenber this is a rustic dish)
In a large frying pan preferably cast iron, melt the butter or olive oil until the pan begins to smoke. Add the Swiss chard immediately with rosemary and stir well to coat all the leaves. Cooking time is quick so it should only take a minute or two. Add the raisins, and the roasted pinenuts, and serve immediately.