Saturday, February 28, 2009

No Posts Yesterday

So I was too busy partying and driving down to Orange County to post anything yesterday. But I did eat a lot, and that's one of my favorite activities. For lunch I went to Opah which is part of a small restaurant chain in Orange County. I chose this place because of proximity to my lunching companions as well as the Gauginesque image on the website. The food was pretty eh. It was really greasy and they used a lot of heavy sauces to mask mistakes. But the food was presented beautifully, which kind of made it taste better. But also, the portions were huge and out of control. Do I really need a pound of fries with my Kobe burger? Probably not, this dish would have been better complemented by some micro greens in a vinaigrette. Oh well, I was the one that ordered it...

For dinner, my husband took me to Cliff's Edge in Silver Lake. That was an amazing meal and a super cool restaurant. They have outdoor seating that surrounds a huge, centuries old, ficus tree. It's one of those magical romantic restaurants that feels warm and relaxing with twinkling lights everywhere. I can't wait to go back.
We started our meal with a blood orange salad with prosciutto and roasted golden beets. We paired this with a dry rose. It was a nice bright start to the meal. Then I had a wonderful fillet with Gorgonzola and a red wine reduction. On the menu it was listed to come with garlic mashed potatoes, but instead was served with a layered potato gratin, which my husband kept sneaking. It was delish. He had a seared pork chop with barley risotto, which was the star of that dish. We paired that course with a zinfandel, which was perfect for my dish but a little strong paired with the simpleness of the pork and barley, an oaky white wine might have been better. We sat and savored our dishes for a while (and stargazed as Oliver Stone and his wife sat down.) We finished off our evening with a pear and apple cobbler drenched in buttery caramel and a few espressos. So good.
As a side note, my birthday was so fun. After dinner we went to see The Little Death, which is a band our friend Laura sings in, our other friend Daron plays the guitar, and Moby plays the bass. It was a fun show for stargazing too. Heather Graham was there, although i wondered to myself where she's been hiding? But Sasha Baron Cohen was there and that was a fun star sighting.

Anyways, it was a good night all together, and if you have a chance to go to the cliff's Edge, do it. As for Opah, I will recommend it as well, but I think they may do better on their lighter dishes.
Happy eating, all!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I Just fell in Love with Pithy and Cleaver

You need to look at their site!
is pretty great so far too

Coveted Brooklyn Food

I've mentioned before that I am turning 30 tomorrow, yikes and double yikes. What I really want to do is go to Frankie's Spuntino in Brooklyn and eat the Homemade Cavatelli with Faiccos Hot Sausage & Browned Sage Butter but going to New York this weekend is not in the cards for me. Although I will be seeing the NYC band, The Little Death, on Friday. But that's as close as I'm gonna get for a while.

I'm having a little dinner party on Saturday and my immediate thought was to pre make some lasagnas and just heat them up for dinner. But becaue what I really want is Frankie's Sausage and Browned Sage Butter, I figured I would try to make that as best I could. Lucky for me, I can work the internets and I found a recipe for someone trying to recreate this specialty. Thank you! I love you!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Homemade Baby Food

I'm turning 30 in 2 days and the internal clock is doing a baby countdown. For the last year I've been doing all kinds of baby research from cloth or disposable diapers (I'm gonna use both) to what kind of stroller is best. It's all that kind of stuff that makes my husband's eyes glaze over.
But we've agreed to try to start a family in the next few months. Woohoo!

I'm not super worried about the prepared baby food on the market but when I was a child my favorite was Gerber's Blueberry Buckle and that stuff is total sugar, although I would eat it right now if it was still on the market. But we know that the best foods are the least processed (I know there are decent frozen and canned alternatives.) But when you look at it from the standpoint of waste from all the jars and packages, the excess sugar and sodium, and the fact that it's canned and not fresh, it seems like home made baby food might be a good substitute.

I'm not a super "green" person but I like to do my part, and I am totally frugal. I also understand that when you have a kid there is a lot to be said about convenience. But I want to have a good balance of nutrients for my child. I found this great website with a bunch of homemade baby food recipes. I figure it's, at least, good to know about this stuff.

This Is Why Your Fat

I will be adding this to my list of cool websites and blogs, but you need to see this!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mixing Flowers and Vegetables in Your Garden

My husband and I recently purchased our first home and we have all this gardening area that we've never had before. We planted native California plants and succulents in the front of the house as soon as we moved in so we would look somewhat civilized. But we have planters around the back yard that are begging to be herb and vegetable gardens that I have no idea what to do with. My thumb is a bit more brown than green. But I found some great advice on a gardening website's blog that I had to share.
I think it is so important for a cook to have a private garden to select from, whether it is only herbs or a huge assortment of vegetables. Talk about supporting small farmers, support yourself.

French Toast Casserole

Ooooh bread pudding, you are my favorite dessert. I always said instead of having wedding cake I'd have wedding bread pudding with a maple syrup fountain. I got married in Vegas and couldn't find a place that could cater to my every whim (for the price, you know what I mean.) But, no matter, I can still have bread pudding on any other day.

I use less sugar in my recipe than a lot of others because I like to top mine with a very sweet maple whiskey sauce and maybe some ice cream. So there is no lack of sweetness if that's of any concern. I also like to have it for breakfast with just a touch of maple syrup, it will rival french toast any day.


1 loaf french bread- 3 to 4 cups (the more stale the better, but fresh will work fine) torn or cut into 1" cubes
1 c egg beaters or 4 eggs
2 c skim milk
1 c sugar (brown or white will work just fine)
1T vanilla extract
1t cinnamon
2T butter or margerine (for greasing the pan)

Maple Whiskey Sauce:
1/2 c maple syrup
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c butter
1/4 c whiskey
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t allspice

Grease 13 x 9" pan with butter
Layer cubed bread fairly evenly in pan
Beat eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon with fork until mixed
Pour over bread to nearly cover. If it doesn't cover I add a little extra milk over the top
Cover with plastic wrap and press down and along the insides of the dish to seal
At this point you can leave it on the counter for 30 minutes and preheat the oven or you can leave it in the fridge over night. If you do leave it overnight, it must be taken out of the fridge prior to cooking so it is near to room temp when it goes in the oven.
Preheat oven to 375 and bake for 30-40 minutes or until it is set
While the pudding is baking put all sauce ingredients except for the syrup in a small sauce pan on low
Cook until the sugar melts then add the maple syrup, simmer on low for 5 minutes

You can eat this warm or cool. It's good in the fridge for 3-4 days and it really can do double duty as a breakfast or dessert. I am a purist so I don't like nuts or raisins in mine but you can put in berries, raisins, dates, dried fruit or nuts and have an ever changing dessert.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Garlic Tri Tip

Ok, so I have to confess that I often have a problem with over cooking tri tip. It's a really lean cut so it needs to be cooked at high heat for a short time. It can't really be slow cooked, unless you're interested in a rock. And it tends to look a bit more pink than a lot of meats...and I'm not a bloody rare meat eater so I tend to over do it. I found great cooking tips here.
I always have to change things up a bit so I did a wet marinade for 90 minutes, then dried the meat and did a peppery dry rub for 30 minutes. The meat was at room temperature for 2 hours total.

My marinade consisted of everything I had in the fridge, sounds gross but it worked.

2 1/4lb tri tip roast
1/2 c diet cola
1/2 c beer (I used IPA, but that's just what we had)
2T olive oil
2T worchestershire sauce
2T barbecue sauce
1t salt
1t pepper
1t garlic powder
1t onion powder
a bit of HP Sauce
a bit of horseradish

Toss in a zipper bag and let it sit at room temp 90 minutes
Drain marinade and thoroughly dry meat with paper towels
Rub meat with dry rub and let sit for 30 minutes

Dry Rub:

4 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1/2t salt
1t pepper
1t paprika
1/2t chili powder
1/4t cayenne


Preheat oven to 550 for 5 minutes
Cook at 550 for 5 minutes and reduce heat to 450 (the high heat seals in the juices)
Cook at 450 for 15 minutes and start checking temperature.
Make sure the internal temperature is between 115 and 130 (I wouldn't go beyond 130 because overcooking kills the meat, I know, I've done it enough)
Don't cut into the meat, it will look pinker than you want and you'll lose the moisture
Let the roast sit for at least 10 minutes to help complete the cooking without losing the juices
Cut in thin strips along the grain to serve.

I pretty much followed the directions on the site I listed, except for the high heat at the beginning which really get's a nice glaze on the meat. Holy cow, so good. My husband was seriously stoked on the tri tip. And we had plenty leftover for sandwiches! Enjoy!

Fun with Sushi

You can go to the Geekologie site for more details, but this was too fun to pass up.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Just for fun

Awesome Video

Today is World Banana Day

So World Banana Day is about dressing up as a banana to help fight hunger. But here is a super easy banana cake recipe to help you celebrate.


1 box white cake mix
2 smashed bananas
1/2 c crushed nuts (walnuts or pecans are best)
1 c water
3 eggs
1/4 c skim milk
1/3 c oil

Chocolate frosting


Mix all ingredients and cook as directed on the back of the cake mix box
Let cool and frost with any rich chocolate frosting. Pre-made is fine, but here is a great frosting recipe from Candace Nelson of Sprinkles Cupcakes via

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped
1 pound unsalted butter , at room temperature
1 pound plus 8 ounces powdered sugar
1/8 t salt
1 t pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

Melt chocolate in a double boiler and let cool until it is just about luke warm. Beat butter until light and fluffy. With mixer on low speed, gradually add powdered sugar. Add salt, vanilla and sour cream and mix until very smooth. Add chocolate and mix until just incorporated.

Easy Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown butter

This ravioli is another versatile recipe. You can change the main vegetable and have a completely different dish. Instead of butternut squash you can substitute spinach, mushrooms, yams, cabbage, artichokes, etc. Also, you don't have to make the fresh pasta, I use won ton wrappers in this recipe. The won ton wrappers keep really well in the fridge and allow you to have an Italian or Asian meal. I also found this link of fun things to do with leftover won ton wrappers.


1 pack won ton wrappers (48)
1 butternut squash ( about 2 lbs, or you can get pre cut at places like Trader Joes)
1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 T green onions, chopped ( white part only, reserve greens for the sage butter)
1 egg
1/4 c ricotta
2 T grated parmesan
1/4 t allspice
1/4 t cinnamon
Pinch salt and pepper

For Sage brown Butter:
1/2 c salted butter ( I use a light margerine and it browns fine, but purists prefer real butter)
8 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 T green onions, chopped greens only)
1/4 c pine nuts

1/4 c shaved parmesan for garnish

Heat oven to 400
Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds
Drizzle 1 t olive oil, salt and pepper on each half of the squash
Put the squash on a cookie sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes
Saute onions and garlic in remaining t of olive oil for about 5 minutes on medium, set aside to cool
When squash is fork tender, remove from oven and scoop into a bowl
Mash with a potoato masher and put in refrigerator for about 10 minutes to cool
While squash cools, heat 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot
Heat butter over medium in a small sauce pan
When the butter is melted add sage, onions and pine nuts and cook until golden brown
Once squash is cool add garlic mix and remaining ingredients and stir to combine
Spoon 1 T mix into wonton wrapper and and fold diagonaly, brush with water to seal
Drop by batches of 12 into water and cook for 3-5 minutes or until ravioli float to the top
Serve in shallow bowl with a drizzle of brown butter and shaved parmesan

I think 8 pieces are a good serving size. If you have any left over you can freeze the uncooked ravioli for up to a month or you can freeze leftover mix for about 3 months.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Raspberry Chipotle Sauce

I totally forgot to post the name of the raspberry chipotle sauce I used. It's Bronco Bob's Raspberry Chipotle Sauce and you can read more about it here.

Caramelized Onion Flatbread

I really enjoy baking bread. I started doing it by hand only, no dough hook, no bread machine. I like the action of the kneading and I love the fact that it takes a little time to make but that the product is so amazing. I'm definitely better at cooking than baking but I've found some pretty fool proof recipes for breads that make baking fun and easy.
For the flatbread, I use a pizza dough recipe that's pretty great. I just roll it out extra thin. Remember that doughs fight back, so you have to use a lot of strength and really punch them down. I also sub in whole wheat flour for 1 cup of white flour. So you get this super tasty honey whole wheat crust.
Follow the crust recipe for cooking instructions but here are the ingredients for the toppings.


1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
2T light cream cheese, room temp
2T sour cream
3T skim milk
2T olive oil
dash nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c shredded of any white, mild cheese ( swiss, gruyere, fontina, jarlsberg, monterey jack, etc.)


Heat skillet to medium heat and add the olive oil, let heat up for a few minutes
Add chopped garlic
Add sliced onions and stir to coat
Cook for 10 minutes stirring intermittently, every 30 seconds or so
If the onions begin to stick to the bottom of the pan, add 1 T of water to 'deglaze' the onions
I like the onions lightly caramelized but if you want to cook them longer, you can
When onions are finished cooking, remove them from pan and set aside to cool
Mix other ingredients in a seperate bowl
Add onion mix to cream mix and spread onto uncooked flatbread
Cover the flatbread in the white cheese
Bake according to instructions in link

This is a pretty versatile recipe; you can add chicken to the flatbread to make it an entree or just serve it with a big salad for a complete meal. I've also added canadian bacon and some pineapple, which is super yummy. I toss the pineapple in with the onions in the middle of the caramelization and the pineapple get's this amazing grilled flavor.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Beer is A Food Group, Right?

How to Cook an Artichoke

A friend of mine called me a few nights ago and asked me how to prepare an artichoke. Here are step by step instructions in case you have the same question.
FYI, I always cut the top off after I've cooked the artichoke. I find that it steams the interior portion better. But that's just me. Otherwise, I think this article is pretty spot on with good visuals.
Here's a dipping sauce I love on my artichoke

1/4 c light mayo
2T light sour cream
2T cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 t curry
1 scallion, finely chopped (set some of the greens aside for garnish)

Mix everything together and garnish with scallion greens

50 Best Food Blogs

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Beef Stew...with Coffee

I decided to make a stew last night because I had some meat and veggies that needed to be used. I thought about adding some stout for a flavor kick, but didn't want to add the extra calories to the stew. My friend and chef, James Lockwood, recommended I try adding some coffee. We didn't discuss specific amounts so I used what I had left over from the morning, about 1/2 of a cup. It was brilliant. It gave a really nice brown flavor without the alcohol taste the stout would have produced. I imagine I will never make a beef stew sans coffee again.

1lb beef stew meat
1 onion chopped
4 cups cut vegetables (celery, carrots, green beans, peas, corn, parsnips, turnips, potatoes, etc.)
2 T olive oil
1/4 c flour
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 clove garlic, chopped

1 bay leaf
1 t dried thyme or rosemary
2 1/2 c beef broth
1/2 c brewed coffee


Heat olive oil in medium pot or dutch oven on medium heat
Put flour and spices except for bay leaf in a plastic zipper bag and add beef, shake to coat
Place beef in pot and brown on all sides
Reduce heat to low and add onion, cooking till golden
Add water, coffee and bay leaf
Cover and simmer for 2 hours
Remove bay leaf and add all vegetables
Cover and simmer 1 hour longer
Serve with any yummy bread

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More Zombie Food
Just for fun...

Raspberry Chipotle Pork Tenderloin....and cauliflower rice

My husband loves pork tenderloin so that's what I made for our Valentine's Day meal. I don't go out on V Day because I'd rather just spend it alone with my husband than other people and their issues. So I was reading my friends' cooking log and she recommended a raspberry chipotle sauce that is available at Costco. I found a similar sauce at Cost Plus. I will post the name when I get home. I was looking to add some flair to our meal and it was the perfect addition, a little sweet, a little spicey.
It was also really easy.

1lb pork tenderloin
1/2 c raspberry chipotle sauce, plus extra for serving
1 medium brown onion chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
2 T olive oil
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450
Spray a 9x13 glass dish with cooking spray
Heat a non stick pan on medium with 1T olive oil
Place chopped onion, sweet potatoes, 1T olive oil and 1/4 c raspberry sauce in zipper plastic bag and shake to coat
Place potato mix in glass dish and place in oven
Brown tenderloin in pan for 3 minutes on each side
Transfer tenderloin into glass dish with potatoes and rub tenderloin with remaining 1/4 cup of raspberry sauce
Bake 30-40 minutes or until temperature registers around 155
Let pork rest for 3-5 minutes
Cut tenderloin in 1/2 inch slices on an angle and drizzle sauce over it
I also served this with cauliflower rice. I just added a little salt, pepper, butter and peas to my "rice" to make it more like a pilaf.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I'm Strong to the Finish Cause I Eats Me Spinach

I love spinach. It's one of the best foods ever. And, seriously, so diverse. You can have spinach salad, spinach lasagna, spinach frittata's for breakfast, spinach bars for appetizers, savory spinach pie...well maybe that's not the best dessert, but this could be. Fresh or frozen are great ways to eat spinach. I'm not a fan of the can, but if you are, by all means. So this recipe for Pasta Florentine calls for fresh spinach. I used frozen because I happened to have it on hand. Still super yummy. I also used quinoa linguine which ups the protein and lowers the carbs.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tbs butter or margerine
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 quarts water
1 package pasta
2 lbs fresh spinach (chopped)
1/3 cup grated Romano cheese
1/2 c pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste

Saute pine nuts in olive oil until lightly browned
Remove & set aside
In same oil, saute garlic for 3 minutes, set aside
Cook pasta until tender & drain
Reheat oil containing garlic
Add spinach & saute until wilted ,about 3 minutes
Stir in butter
In large bowl, toss pasta, spinach, pine nuts & cheese
Add s&p and serve

Sometimes I add a little pancetta or italian sausage but it's great the way it is. Also, for a mediterranean flair, substitute the romano with feta and add a few tomatoes and maybe some kalamata olives.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Another Food Pyramid

So the name of my blog is taken from the movie title "28 Days Later". I'm a huge fan of splatter and grindhouse films, especially zombie ones. I have a special place in my heart for "28 Days Later" partly due to the music, the fantastic direction of Mr. Danny Boyle, and it's just pretty darn good all around. Anywho, whenever possible I try to link my love of zombies with food. So here is another food pyramid you may want to look at. Also, stay tuned, I plan to make myself a zombie cake for my birthday at the end of the month. I'll post pictures if it turns out well.

Pixel Cookies

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Garlic Confit

I was at a party this weekend and the host had a wonderful assortment of dips, spreads, and cheeses. He made a fabulous olive tapenade but, by far, my favorite dish was the garlic confit. I've had roasted garlic before and it's so wonderful and sweet and this is similar but without any carmelization. It's also a good thing to do when you have a lot of leftover garlic or garlic that is beginning to smell. It's a good way to keep garlic on hand because it lasts for about 2 weeks in the fridge and when a recipe calls for it you don't have to peel it, just spoon it out.

Olive oil to cover

Heat small saucepan on low
Add peeled garlic(as many cloves as you want)
Add olive oil to cover
Simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes
Test 1 clove to see if it can be pierced with a fork
Don't carmelize

This is great served on crackers or sliced baguette

I save mine in rinsed out spaghetti sauce jars. It really needs to be in glass because I swear you can smell the garlic through plasticware.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Grapefruit Halibut

First off, I don't love fish but my husband adores it, thus I have to make it at least once a month. We also have a freezer full of halibut from an Alaskan fishing trip my husband took that we have to use.
I don't like the smell of fish being cooked, so I wanted to try a recipe that could be grilled. I really don't like the stuff, so I didn't want to have to smell it in the house. I know that everyone says good fresh fish doesn't smell or taste fishy. We had the freshest of fish, so I know that's a bunch of bollocks. I know I sound so whiny but I'm getting to the point here.
So, as I said previously, fish is not my favorite food, so I wanted a very easy recipe that took very little handling. In this recipe I used grapefruit because we had a grapefruit tree, but I assure you lemons or oranges will be equally as good. But there's something about the sour-sweet of the grapefruit that is a nice balance.

Citrus Halibut

2 1 inch thick halibut steaks (other firm white fish works well too)
1 Grapefruit
4 cloves garlic smashed
2 T olive oil
course salt and pepper


Heat Grill to medium high
Make sure the grill is clean otherwise the fish WILL stick
Squeeze juice of the grapefruit into a reclosable plastic bag
Add smashed garlic and 1 T of olive oil and let sit for 10 minutes
Rub salt and pepper onto steaks
Add halibut to bag and let marinate no more than 5 minutes
(This is an extremely acidic marinade and if it is left for any longer the fish will break down) Brush grill with remaining olive oil
Grill halibut for 4 minutes then turn and grill 4-6 minutes longer
Thinner steaks will grill in as little as 5 minutes

So quick, so easy, and seriously no mess. You put the mess in the plastic marinating bag and no smell.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Leftovers Rock

Leftovers are great because they make for a quick and easy meal. I love doubling recipes and freezing 1/2 for this reason. But there are quite a few foods that freeze much better than others. For instance potatoes don't freeze well at all, and things that are heavily starched have problems too, like rice and pasta. That being said, my favorite left over dishes to freeze are soups and casseroles, which almost always contain some type of starch. Potato soup probably wouldn't hold up very well, but lasagna does because the starch is more balanced. Also, having good freezer containers really helps, as does dating the foods and proper thawing.

That said, one of my favorite leftover dishes is lasagna.

This is my favorite lasagna recipe. The only changes I make are substituting ground beef or sausage for the suggested veal (I'm just not a veal gal) and using skim milk as opposed to whole. But seriously, bechamel and lasagna, so effing good!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Easy Sunday Supper

I love Sunday supper. I feel like it should be a healthy, yet hearty meal shared with family around a dining room table. Because it's only Adam and I we usually end up sitting in front of the TV. Here is a hearty recipe, laden with vegetables, that requires no knife, so it's table or sofa friendly. It's also super easy, so you don't have to spend the last day of your weekend in the kitchen.

Chicken Stew and Dumplings

3 chicken breasts (You can use frozen breasts without defrosting)
4 c chicken broth at room temperature (I like low sodium, you can always add a little extar salt if needed)
1 c water
1 boullion cube
1/2 c white wine
2 T flour
2 T olive oil
4 green onions chopped
4 carrots chopped
4 celery stalks chopped
a few fresh sage and thyme leaves or 1/4 t dried sage or thyme or poultry seasoning
1 clove garlic crushed, or 1/4 t garlic powder
1/2 t ground black pepper
3 c vegetables ( chose from: corn, peas, green beans, mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus, etc.)

boxed biscuit mix and skim milk ( I like the Trader Joes Multi Grain Baking Mix, it's always good to get extra fiber)


In a large pot or dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium-low heat
Add the white parts and some green of the onions, reserving enough of the green for garnish
Add chopped carrots and celery and sautee for 5 minutes
Add water, wine, seasoning and chicken breasts
Reduce heat to low and cover
Cook until chicken is no longer pink in the center
Remove breasts and chop into bite size pieces and return to pot
Add in 3 cups of the broth and whatever vegetables you choose to use
Raise heat to medium and cook until vegetables are tender (about 10 mins)
Then mix the flour and remaing broth until flour is disolved and add to stew
While vegetables are cooking make 1 serving of the biscuit mix according to the box
If the stew is boiling, reduce heat, if too gentle of a simmer, raise heat
When the stew is at a nice simmer drop the biscuit mix by large T into stew
The dumplings will sink but will rise to the top
When most of the dumplings have risen give the stew a very gentle stir
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes

Serve in bowls with crusty bread to sop up the creamy sauce