Tag Archives: cooking

“Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” starts tomorrow on ABC

OK, I know it’s a whole day away, but, we are so excited about the season two premiere of “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” tomorrow night on ABC that we just had to blog about it today…er, well…tonight. In any case, now you have a full day’s notice to set your Tivo’s!

And, trust me, you’re gonna wanna them set for this. Because, from the trailers we’ve seen, Tivo-worthy is the name of the game this season on “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution”. I mean, seriously, if you thought those mean old lunch ladies in West Virginia were hard core, just wait till you see Jamie facing off with the shriveled old coots on the L.A. Unified Board of Education. Yikes!

Yep, you read that correctly, this season’s “Food Revolution” is set right here in sunny SoCal, or at least it was until Jamie and company had their permits pulled mid-shoot. The Board also banned “Food Revolution” camera crews from shooting at all public school campuses in Los Angeles to boot! See, I told you this season would be juicy!

So, set your Tivo’s, whip up a healthy snack and tuck on in, because “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” is taking flight tomorrow on ABC!

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Williams-Sonoma “Star Wars” kitchen collection on sale!

I have been waiting for the chance to blog about the super-cool “Star Wars” Collection at Williams-Sonoma for a while now. But, every time I wanted to write about it, something came up, and then, when I heard that the entire collection of cookie cutters, pancake molds, sandwich molds, aprons and spatulas was on sale for 20% off through Sunday 01/23, well, I knew the time had come.

Released a little over a year ago, every piece in the “Star Wars” collection was personally approved by Mr. Lucas himself. And, from the looks of it, the dude likes to eat, so, I’m thinking he knows what he likes in his kitchen gear. And, hello, it’s made by Williams-Sonoma, so, you know this shit is gonna last forever.

We started our collection with the “Star Wars Heroes and Villains Pancake Molds”, and, though the  details on Darth Vader and the Stormtrooper’s masks run together a bit when they cook, as you can see from our pics, the Yoda head pancake looks freaking awesome on the plate.

We also have both sets of the cookie cutters — which work beautifully and look amazing either frosted or un-frosted — the Darth Vader spatula and the “Galactic Empire Cupcake Decorating Kit”, which is like, my childhood fantasy come to life. So cool! Where were you when I was ten, Williams-Sonoma?!

Anyway, whichever side you chose to align yourself with — as you can tell, we lean towards the dark side in this household — the “Star Wars” collection at Williams-Sonoma is a must for any true fan. To paraphrase Obi Wan: “These definitely are the kitchen gadgets you’re looking for! And they NEVER go on sale!” So, get shopping already!

Oh yeah, and make sure and pick up one of those handy Williams-Sonoma Pancake Pens too. They make pouring the batter into the molds easy as pie and they open at both ends, so, clean-up is a dream!

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Missing Martha Stewart…

While putting up our classically cool, white-on-white Martha Stewart Christmas tree this past weekend, Christine told me that she suddenly realized that she really missed being able to watch Stewart’s daytime show “Martha” on a daily basis. I think she said “profoundly missed”, but, I could be wrong.

Either way, there is a void in our lives this holiday season and it is all due to the fact that Martha Stewart moved her show to the freaking Hallmark Channel. Urgh! No offense, Hallmark Channel, many of your made-for-television movies look awesomely bad, but, come on, why you gotta bogart the Martha?

I mean, who even gets the Hallmark Channel?? I know we don’t and I don’t think very many other cable carriers down here do, so, who is watching “Martha” in our absence? Well, according to a recent LA Times article, no one. Stewart’s show is tanking in cable obscurity and it’s just not right!

So, for the love of all things good and baked and hand-made this holiday season, ditch the Hallmark Channel while you can and come on home to network television, Martha. The holidays are so not the same without you…

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Downtown L.A.’s “Ciudad”

On their very cool website, Ciudad invites one and all to “experience the bold and seductive flavors of the Latin World” and last night, we took them up on it!

Located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, Ciudad is the brainchild of world-renowned Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger and though a little pricier than their fare at the similarly-themed Border Grill in Santa Monica and Las Vegas, Ciudad is worth every penny you pay. Seriously…it’s kind of magical.

Although Christine has eaten at Ciudad a number of times over the years — her workplace, downtown’s Central Library is practically across the street from the restaurant — I had only been there on one other occasion, but the memory of that meal has stayed with me ever since.

So after enjoying the sunset from the rooftop bar of The Standard nearby, we hiked on over to Ciudad for a late dinner with some of Christine’s co-workers. And seeing as the late night happy hour at Ciudad had begun just minutes before we walked in — incredibly enough, they have house mojitos, sangria and a number of other rocking good cocktails for only $4 a pop from 9-11 on Friday nights! — we could not have planned it better!

The only hitch to the late night happy hour is that you have to enjoy your drinks literally at the bar and cannot move to your table until after you’ve settled your tab. Fine by us! So we drank ourselves silly at the bar, settled the tab and stumbled to our table around 10-ish.

And the food? Wow…word’s cannot do this place justice. Fusing delicious new and classic authentic dishes from Spain, Mexico, South America, Central America, Cuba and even Portugal, the menu is almost as rich, colorful and varied as the crazy hip decor and art work inside.

We started with some incredible tapas-style dishes. And though the Peruvian Ceviche with plantain chips and Argentine Empandas (with wild mushroom, warm chipotle sauce and swiss chard!) were fantastic, I gotta say that my favorite of the three appetizers we shared was the Fried Spanish Brie. Dios mio, that stuff melted in your mouth…it was incredible.

And this from a man who is not a huge fan of the Brie…don’t get me wrong, I love me some soft cheeses, but Brie has never been my favorite. Until now!

And dinner was even more amazing! Not only were the hip, mid-century dishes super groovy to look at, but the plating of this food was out of this world. Beautiful culinary art on every plate…just gorgeous!

I had the slow-roasted Niman Ranch Carnitas with mashed yuca, organic black beans, fried plantains and grilled corn salsa. Wow, even just typing those words is making me drool. It was probably the best carnitas I’ve ever had anywhere…and that mashed yuca is something I wanna make at home, like, every night. I loved it!

Christine had a huge crusted pork chop from the “Specials” menu that not only tasted like heaven, but rivaled the Brontosaurus bone on “The Flintsones” in heft. That thing was enormous!

And that lovely pork chop was not alone in the size department, because, unlike other hipster haunts downtown, the portions at Ciudad are authentically gigantic. That’s right, they don’t eat dainty in any of the countries listed above, so why should we do it here? Sí se puede, indeed!

I don’t have any pictures to back this all up of course — Christine forbid me to photograph my food in front of her work friends — but you’ll have to trust me when I tell you that even the heartiest eaters out there will not leave this joint hungry. It’s just not possible…

So next time you find yourself downtown on a Friday night between 9-11PM — gotta hit that happy hour, I mean, come on, regular-priced Supremo Mojitos are $15! — check out Ciudad! Sure, it might cost you and arm and a leg, but I swear to God, the food you eat here will flash before your eyes when you die.

Yep, it’s that good!

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Bean’s Roasted Beets & Beet Greens Salad w/Feta

Farmer’s Daughter Bean here again, and this time, I made something really good…hooray!

So, after my sunken cupcake debacle yesterday, I was a bit worried about trying out another new recipe, but I had picked up some really beautiful beets at the Farmer’s Market by my work and didn’t want them to go to waste. So after finally selling Tom on the idea of a roasted beet salad for lunch, I got to work…

First off, I should mention that I’ve never cooked beets before. But after scouring the internet for recipes, I cherry picked my favorite elements from each and then hoped for the best. And thankfully, my second experimental dish of the day turned out to be one of the tastiest things I’ve made in a long time.

And the healthy factor is kind of through the roof with this meal as beets — although not technically a “super food” — are amazingly good for you. I highly recommend them!

Now, the recipe below is a little time consuming, but, trust me, it’s not a lot of work and the pay off is amazing. My skeptical husband Tom liked it so much, he even had seconds! So, happy cooking!

First, roast the beets at 400º F. I used 2 bunches and cut any that were larger than a golf ball in half or quarters. You can peel them before or after they’ve roasted, but I’ve found it’s easier to peel them after. Plus, that way they retain all that juicy beet skin flavor.

Cover them with foil and cook for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for an additional 15 minutes. When they are done cooking, peel them with a paring knife and cut into smaller pieces.

For the greens, cut or tear into 2 inch pieces, then thoroughly wash and dry (they can be a little wet). Mince 2 cloves of garlic and slice 2 – 3 green onions. In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the onions and cook for 1 minute, then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the greens and some salt & pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes or until tender.

Combine the beets and the greens in a bowl and add more salt and pepper to taste. Finish it off with 1 tbsp each of balsamic vinegar & olive oil and then toss to combine. Plate and then crumble some feta over the top and serve. Delicious!

Serving sizes can vary, but this recipe above served the two of us for lunch. If it was a side dish, it would probably be enough for 4 people. Anyway, let me know if you try it and, as always…happy eating!

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Almond Butter Cupcake Disaster

Hey again, Farmer’s Daughter Bean here with another “make” post. Only this time, what I ended up making was a bit of a disaster.

Earlier this week, Tom came up with the brilliant idea of making some “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” cupcakes. I would make the cupcakes, he would make tiny crystal skulls out of marzipan to put on top and we would have “Indy 4” cupcakes to enjoy while waiting in line to see the movie. It all sounded so fun…in theory. The reality was something much worse.

To start with, I have given up sugar and white flour, so I needed to come up with an alternative. Sounds easy, right? Plenty of people substitute agave nectar for sugar, so I picked some up at Trader Joe’s and got to work. I figured the white flour shouldn’t be too hard to replace either, so I used some oat bran and almond meal instead. That doesn’t sound too bad, does it?

Oh yeah, and did I mention that the cupcakes were supposed to be Peanut Butter? But since I’m not eating that either, I just switched it out for some tasty Trader Joe’s Almond Butter instead. So far, so good. Everything went smoothly and even Tom agreed that the batter tasted really good. Sorry I didn’t take pictures of the process, but I was too wrapped up in everything to even think about bringing a camera into the mix.

Coming out of the oven, they didn’t look half bad. I’ll admit the tops were a bit sunken in, but they still looked like cupcakes. So, I let them cool and decided to taste one before frosting them. They didn’t taste bad, but the spongy texture was kind of strange. Tom said they tasted like “hippie” and something tells me that was not a compliment.

To me, they had more of the texture of a bran muffin than a cupcake. In hindsight, I think oat bran is just way too course of a substitute for white flour. Sadly, instead of Peanut Butter Cupcakes, I ended up with “hippie” Almond Butter Muffins, and weird one’s at that.

I did make some frosting too but that was an even bigger disaster, so I won’t even get into that. Tom called it “chocolate soup” and even I had to admit that’s kind of what it looked like. It tasted great, but when you coupled it with my sunken cupcakes, it was not a pretty sight.

As you can probably imagine, Tom never did get around to making those crystal skulls either (sorry, Indy). As for me, I think I’ll skip the substitutions in my cupcake recipes and stick to dark chocolate and fruit when I’m craving something sweet. Or better yet, I’ll just make proper oat bran muffins next time out!

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