Monday, December 26, 2011

Cook: Healthy and Delicious Kale Salad

 This is one of our favorite new salads!  It is healthy and delicious!   J found this recipe online and it is apparently one of from Dr. Andrew Weil's True Food Kitchen.   Kale is among the most nutrient-dense commonly eaten vegetables. One cup provides 1,327 percent of the daily value for vitamin K, 192 percent of DV for vitamin A, and 88 percent for Vitamin C!

  • 4-6 cups Kale, loosely packed, sliced leaves with midribs removed (you can get pre cut, prepped kale available in bags by the salad section of the supermarket)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • hot red pepper flakes to taste
  • 2/3 cup grated Pecorino Toscano cheese (or you can use Parmesan)
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (we use Italian seasoned bread crumbs)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cook: Autumn Sausage and Butternut Squash Pizza

For those of you who know me personally, and/or follow my blog - you're probably aware of my passion for pizza making. To make it easier for those who are interested to find other pizza recipes featured on the blog - I've created a new label "Cook - Pizza".  The story behind this week's pizza recipe is that there was a pizza shop, Corner Grille, that J and I used to frequent when we lived in Worcester, MA.  They had this fabulous sausage and squash pizza that I loved, and since I haven't been able to find this combo anywhere in LA, I had to figure out how to make it myself.  It's not exactly the same as Corner Grille's, but if I can say so myself, this pizza is quite delicious!!!  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bake: DeliciousLA Apple-Cranberry Crisp

Hi everyone! I'm back from a little hiatus from blogging. The past few weeks have been so busy! I have many new recipes and things to share. This weekend has been a bit on the cool side for us in LA, and it was perfect for apple crisp. I haven't made one for awhile, so I searched the internet for a good recipe, and then modified it ever so slightly to make it my own.  It came out delicious (so delicious -that I forgot to photograph it before we ate it!) and I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Must Eat: Malibu Seafood, Malibu, CA

After a day of hiking, J and I usually treat ourselves to something good to eat. After hiking the Mishe Mokwa trail to Sandstone Peak, we were exhausted and starving so we decided to stop at Malibu Seafood on PCH.  This is a laid back, no frills, oceanside seafood spot. We ordered the fish and chips based on the rave reviews on yelp, and were not disappointed. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hike: Mishe Mokwa Trail to Sandstone Peak

A few weeks ago, my friend Monica came to visit us.  We wanted to take her somewhere special, so we took her hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains.  We've been meaning to do this trail for awhile but it is a little farther out than the trails we usually do (Solstice Canyon, Temescal Canyon - see prior posts in the "Hike" category for more info).  It was awesome! The drive up the PCH (gorgeous ocean views) and through the winding mountain roads was spectacular in itself.  It was a 6 mile moderately strenuous hike that took us about 3 hours.  The views were absolutely breathtaking!  As an added perk, we stopped by Malibu Seafood (review to come) and Grom Gelato on the way home.  This is probably our favorite hike so far!  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cook: Zinfandel-Braised Beef Short Ribs with Rosemary-Parsnip Mashed Potatoes

We wanted to cook a hearty fall meal so we searched's recipe database and settled on this one.  For those of you who have been following this blog, we paired this main course with the radicchio fennel arugula salad, and finished it off with the caramel apple tart dessert.  J made the short ribs as I prepared the salad and the dessert. Don't be intimidated by the gourmet sound of this recipe, it was actually pretty simple. However, you do need to plan ahead because it needs to simmer for a few hours. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Must Eat: Ramen Yamadaya Culver City

We love Ramen. It one of our favorite comfort foods. We got hooked on ramen at Momofuku noodle bar and Ippudo in NYC and have been searching for a good ramen spot in LA since we moved out here in 2010.  Granted, we'd probably have more luck if we drove down to Torrance, and we still need to make the pilgrimage out to Daikokuya downtown - but during the week, we just want to go somewhere convenient and close to home on the West Side.  We were pretty psyched when we found a new Ramen shop not to far in Culver City!
The tricky part is finding a place that doesn't put a ton of MSG in their broth. MSG gives me a headache and makes me dizzy - which kind of ruins the fun of eating.  True story - when I went to local favorite Santouka Ramen, the broth had so much MSG I almost passed out after eating it!  At Yamadaya, the broth was rich and flavorful and delicious - as far as I could tell either very little or no MSG!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cook: Radicchio, Fennel, and Arugula Salad with Roquefort and Walnuts Recipe

This is a winning recipe that J and I tried recently from epicurious.  The flavors and textures come together nicely in this delicate and complex salad.  It is important to slice the fennel as thin as possible with a sharp knife - this is probably the most time consuming step - but is worth the effort! Alternately, you could use a mandoline, but we don't have one.  :)

  • 6 cups shredded radicchio (about 3/4 pound)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb* (paper-thin)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted, cooled and chopped
  • 2/3 cup crumbled Roquefort (about 3 oz) / (you can substitute other blue cheese)
  • 6 cups arugula, (pre-washed and dried, we used packaged baby arugula)
For Dressing
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bake: Caramel Apple Tart

The other night, J and I invited our new friends Jorge and Angelica over for dinner. We decided to challenge ourselves by cooking up a new menu - from start to finish - everything we made was something we had never tried before. J masterfully created a delightful short rib main course, and together we created an incredibly complex yet comforting arugula, radicchio, fennel, blue cheese and walnut salad (those recipes will be posted soon, so keep coming back and checking the blog!) For dessert, I made this caramel apple tart which is a recipe from Susan Spungen.

Fall is my favorite season.  Being a native New Englander, I find the changing colors of the leaves and the cool and crisp air incredibly romantic and beautiful. People who aren't form the Northeast may find the idea of leaf peeping silly, but I don't find it silly at all. When I look out at a landscape awash in red, gold, and flame orange - a magical feeling comes over me and I think to myself, lucky lucky me. Life is so full of beauty.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Must Eat: Si Laa, Los Angeles, CA

One recent fall evening, before heading out to an event at the museum (LACMA), we decided to get some thai food.  I found the highest rated Thai restaurant in mid-city using yelp, Si Laa on Robertson Blvd.  When we sat down, our waitress came and asked us if it was our first visit. It was, so she  recommend some dishes.  Everything was spot on and delicious. I really loved this meal. This is what we tried.  I would eat it all again and am already looking forward to my return trip!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cook: A Twist on the Classic: Variations of Pepperoni Pizza

I've been posting a bunch of pizza recipes recently.  (FYI - we do cook non-pizza dinners here in the FJ household and I'll be posting some other recipes soon :)  After the last non-meat (turkey bacon per Steph's request) pizza post, I wanted to return to a classic. Pepperoni.

I'll admit. I never was much a fan of the chain restaurant style pepperoni pizza. But after mixing up some higher quality pepperoni (nothing too fancy, I just got it at Trader Joe's) with some hot pepper, pizza sauce, good cheese and fresh basil - I must say, I'm a convert. Of all the pizzas we've made so far, the Pepperoni variations are my favorite.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bloc Party - Signs

After a bit of a hiatus, Music monday is back! I'd love to know what readers are listening to! Please share songs on your current playlist below! :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cook: Fig, Turkey Bacon and Goat Cheese Pizza

Ever since I got my pizza stone, and pizza peel - I've been making pizza about once a week.  It's fun to come up with new combinations - I no longer feel the need to follow any recipes, I just think of something that inspires me and go for it!

Figs have been in season, so I've been having a lot of fun with putting them on pizza. When you add them at the end for about 1-2 minutes, they become nicely caramelized.
This week's pizza recipe was for my friend Steph. She is new to pizza making, so I asked her to bring over some toppings she'd like to see on her pizza. She doesn't eat meat, so she brought over some turkey bacon to go along with some fresh figs she had picked up that morning at the Santa Monica farmer's market. She also brought some goat cheese and arugula. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Must Eat: Meals by Genet, Los Angeles, CA

Every now and then, I crave Ethopian Food. Luckily for me,  Little Ethopia is only a short drive away.  Although J and I have enjoyed every meal we've had on Fairfax (we've tried 3 different restaurants so far), Meals by Genet is our favorite. The restaurant has a nice ambiance - cozy and candlelit. We came with J's family, who was visiting from Canada, and sat at a round table - making it easy to converse, as well as eat, from our communal injera (Ethopian bread) topped with delightful meats and vegetables and sauces.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cook: BBQ chicken pizza

My latest food obsession has been homemade pizza (except the dough part :) The Fig Gorgonzola Proscuitto and Arugula Pizza  (pictured below and recipe here) is one of our favorites, but every time I make pizza, I like to try a new combination.
This time, I decided to give BBQ chicken at try. I searched online for some recipes, but in the end, I made up one myself. :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Must Eat Phoenix: Postino Wine Cafe

This morning, we met up with our friends Galaxie and Brandon for brunch at Postino Wine Cafe . We took advantage of their $5 wines before 5pm deal, and enjoyed a bellini with our brunch. 
Postino is famous for its bruschettas which come in an array of tantalizing combinations. With each order, you get to pick 4 toppings - I chose (pictured below from left to right):  1) Burrata, Bacon, Arugula and Tomatoes; 2)  Prosciutto with Figs and Mascarpone; 3) Warm Artichoke spread; 4) White Bean with Chopped Tomato. 
 J and Brandon got the Farm Scramble which was a hearty serving of Roasted Yukon Gold potatoes scrambled with fresh eggs, herbs, onions, gruyere and white cheddar served with mixed greens and a tomato salad. 

Must Eat Phoenix: Los Reyes de la Torta

I came to Phoenix for a few days for a conference. My brother picked me up from the airport and told me he had discovered a place for dinner that he was sure I would love.  He was right.  Tortas are mexican sandwiches and these were the best sandwiches I've ever had! They were bursting with flavor, meats with avocado, tomatoes, cheese. E had the Torta Milanesa (below) and I had the new chicken Torta (above). 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Must Eat: Grom - Malibu, CA

I'm in Phoenix and according to my phone's weather app, it is 107f right now. I could go for some ice-cream or gelato! Speaking of gelato, my favorite NYC spot just opened in Malibu! After hiking in the Santa monuca mountains a few weeks ago, J and I stopped at GROM at the Malibu country mart for a treat. it was better than I imagined... Luxurious rich creamy perfection in sophisticated flavors. Mmmmmm... So good. I love sweet rose creamery for good old fashioned rich ice cream (also available in exotic flavors), but GROM is the place to go in LA for gelato! (warning - it is kind if expensive - around $5 for a small but I think it's worth it!)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Must Eat: Amelia's Espresso and Panini Bar, Santa Monica

One of my favorite part of the weekend is brunch. We often cook brunch ourselves, but every now and then we like the treat of going to a nice little cafe and trying something new.  We've heard a lot of wonderful things about Amelia's on Main Street in Santa Monica (4.5 stars with 157 reviews on yelp) and decided to give it a try.

Amelia's is a lovely neighborhood mom and pop cafe/sandwich shop. We ordered the breakfast sandwich (pictured above) and the frittata special.  Everything was very gourmet, fresh, hearty and delicious. We left full and happy. 
 Important note: They serve coffee, panini and soup throughout the day until they close at 4pm, but if you want to get your hands on a breakfast panini - you need to get there by 11am :)
Amelia's Espresso and Panini Cafe
2645 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Tues-Sat 6:30a - 4p
Sun 11a-4p

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cook: Jamie Oliver's The Easiest, Sexiest Salad in the World

Jamie was right. This salad is pretty darn sexy. It is an amazing combination of flavors that just melts in your mouth and makes you happy. It also happens to be a very photogenic salad as well. It's fig season in Southern California and we're taking full advantage of it! If you can, I'd strongly encourage you to try out this recipe.  Serves 4

Criss-cross the figs, but not quite to the botton. 1 fig per person is always a good start, but if they are ripe treat yourself and your loved ones to a larger portion, let's say 3 or 4 figs per person.  Place the figs in a dish, and then weave some pieces of Proscuitto around each fig, throw in some torn buffalo mozzarella, and rip some basil into the mix. Finish off by drizzling everything with honey/lemon dressing (6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon good honey, sea salt and freshly ground pepper). Bon appetit!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bake: Mam Papaul's Red Velvet Cake

Those who know me, know that my favorite cake is Red Velvet. I love it so much, that for several years I was on a quest to find the very best one. I think I found it in Truckee, CA at the Old Coffee Shop in town.  Anyhow, we're lucky here in LA - there are many options for good red velvet including Sprinkles and SusieCakes. But there is a certain joy to baking at cake at home, and a few months ago, I had some success with this recipe from scratch

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cook: Pasta with Heirloom Tomatoes and Herbed Ricotta

"This is a great pasta for a hot summer day. The heat of the steaming spaghetti is tempered by tossing it with a tomato salad. It chills just enough to keep the sweat off your brow." 
- Johanne Killeen and George Germon, from their cookbook On Top of Spaghetti

The past two days have been scorching in LA. I wanted to make something out of the ingredients I already had on hand - ricotta, heirloom tomatoes, shallots, pasta, and basil from our new basil plant. After reading the description of this pasta recipe in my cookbook from the chefs of Al Forno (my favorite restaurant in Providence, RI ), it was decided. J and I would eat this for dinner, along with a side of jalapeno pork sausage which I had picked up from Whole Foods a couple days ago. It was just as Johanne and George promised, refreshing and comforting - a perfect summer pasta dish. As an added bonus, this recipe is quick and easy to make. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Must Eat: The Misfit, Santa Monica, CA

Hey everyone! It's been a busy summer and I've actually been cooking a lot of simple meals at home (making lots of the recipes I've posted on this blog -each and every one has been taste tested and approved by J!). I've been a bit slow to post new restaurant reviews, but I have a few to share coming up in the next couple weeks.
Today I'd like to feature "The Misfit" a new gastropub that just opened in our neighborhood here in Santa Monica. J and I tried it last Wednesday and loved everything about it. The bar and ambiance was super cool, the cocktails and white sangria were thirst quenching and delightful. The food was FANTASTIC. We especially loved the roasted shishito peppers that executive chef Bruce Kalman had gotten that morning at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Listen: She & Him - In The Sun (2010)

This is so cute! Songs are written by She (Zooey Deschanel) and produced by Him (M Ward)
Happy Music monday!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fashion: 25 Ways to Wear a Scarf in 4.5 Minutes!

Okay, so this is not a recipe or a restaurant review, but it is a very useful and well-done video I wanted to share! :) I had no idea there was so many ways to wear a scarf!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cook: Savory Roast Chicken Quarters with Fennel, Thyme and Rosemary

Ever since we first tried roasting chicken (we followed Thomas Keller's tried and true recipe with great success), I have been a big fan of making "roast chicken dinners".  There is nothing like juicy, flavorful, tender chicken and caramelized roast vegetables.

I decided to mix things up a bit and created this recipe with some inspiration from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. Since I didn't feel like trussing a bird, I took a shortcut and bought 4 chicken leg quarters (includes thigh and drumstick) and added potatoes so we had a complete meal.  We like to bring leftovers for lunch, so this recipe serves 4. :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Red Velvet: Susiecakes @ Coast in Santa Monica, CA

It's been a while since my last red velvet cake review. Last week, we met up with some good friends for a bite at Coast (in the always lovely Shutters on the Beach hotel) in Santa Monica.  Dinner was great (calamari and burger), but dessert stole the show. The red velvet cake was not made in house, but rather was from Susiecakes Bakery.   One bite led to another and before we knew it, there was none left! This is one of the best pieces of red velvet cake I've had in LA. The cake was moist and flavorful and the frosting decadent and perfectly complimentary. I give it a A. :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Bake: Delicious LA Strawberry Banana Bread

One of my favorite things to bake is strawberry bread. A close second is banana bread. This week, I thought to myself - why not combine the two! My dad used to always get strawberry banana yogurt for me when I was growing up.  I always liked that flavor combo, so I decided to translate it into my latest recipe! We've been enjoying it for breakfast this past week! 

Delicious LA Strawberry Banana Bread Recipe   (Makes 1 loaf or 12 servings)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cook: Fig Proscuitto Gorgonzola and Arugula Pizza!

I have been meaning to make homemade pizza for awhile.  Inspired by photos of my friend Monica's pizza feast on facebook, I decided to give pizza making a try this past weekend.  J and I like our crust thin and crispy so I followed the recommendation of reviewers on line and rolled 1/2 a bag of premade pizza dough as thin as I could, rather than the entire ball of dough. I warmed up with a classic margherita pizza and ended up with this gourmet one inspired by a recipe I found on epicurious. This pizza is so easy to make, but sure to wow! 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Do: Art in the Streets Exhibit @ Los Angeles MOCA

This is it guys. Your last chance to check out the Art in the Streets exhibit at the MOCA. It closes on Monday, August 8, at 5pm.  Some things to note: On Saturday (today) 8/6, the museum will be open until 9pm. On Monday, 8/8, admission will be free (courtesy of Banksy).

I haven't made it there yet, but am planning on it this weekend. I've heard nothing but rave reviews. More information after the jump from the MOCA website:

Friday, August 5, 2011

Cook: Patatas Bravas

Here is part two of the potatoes two ways series :).  Our friend Shannon made these for a potluck dinner party and they were a huge hit. They would go well with the following recipes on this blog:
- Spanish Tortilla
- Chicken and Chorizo Paella
- Seared Squid, Olives, Tomato and Arugula Salad

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cook: Potato Crisps with chive sour cream dip

This week I'm going to feature two fantastic and deliciously addictive potato recipes shared by our friend Shannon. This one utilizes the skins, whereas the next recipe will feature the rest of the potato. Enjoy!

  • 3 cups canola oil
  • thick peelings from 3 pounds of Yukon Gold or Russet Potatoes (roughly 1-by-3 inch strips)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives
  • Freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. 
  2. In a large saucepan over moderately high heat, heat oil to 360F
  3. Fry potato skins in batches, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp (approx 2-3 min per batch)
  4. Using slotted spoon, transfer each batch of potato strips to paper towels to drain, then sprinkle with salt immediately.
  5. Transfer the potato strips to a baking sheet and sprinkle them with the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake for 3-4 minutes, just until the cheese is metled.
  6. Let the crisps cool, then transfer to a bowl.
  7. In a blender or processor, puree the sour cream with the chives and a pinch of salt and pepper until the chives are finely chopped. Transfer the dip to a bowl and serve alongside the potato crisps.