Saturday, May 31, 2008

Shrimp Saute with Orzo

There is something about Fridays that makes me want a nice home cooked meal at the end of the day. At the same time I want something that's fast and easy. I have just had a long week, I don't want to spend all night in the kitchen. I have had a love affair with lemons this week so continuing that theme, I made...another shrimp and orzo dish!! I halved the recipe and left out most of the butter for a light sauce that didn't skimp on flavor. Try boiling the orzo in chicken broth for even more depth!

Shrimp Saute with Orzo
(adapted from Everyday Food)

Makes 2 servings

1/2 c uncooked orzo
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail off
1/8 c fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 lemon zested and juiced
1/2 c dry white wine
1 tsp unsalted butter
1 tsp capers

Bring a medium saucepan of salted water with a splash of olive oil to a boil. Add orzo and cook until al dente (about 10 minutes). Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and cook over low heat for 1 minute, be careful not to burn. Add shrimp, salt and pepper, and half of the parsley. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes over low heat. Turn and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes or until opaque. Remove from pan and keep warm.

Add lemon juice and wine to skillet. Bring to a boil then lower heat and reduce by half, about 2 or 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add remaining parsley; stir in butter, lemon zest and capers. Adjust seasonings if necessary and pour sauce over shrimp and serve over a bed of orzo.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cheddar Dill Scones

I hate doing laundry. I really do. I schedule a time to do it, but I can usually find a way to get out of it. It's just such a pain living in an apartment without a washer/dryer hookup. Getting it all together, lugging it down the elevator and then praying the machines are not in use...I can find much better things to do with my time. Today was no exception. I have tons of dill leftover from our Greek potluck and I have been wanting to try Ina's cheddar dill scones for a while. I don't know what it is with me and scones this week, but it is a recipe I am determined to master in every possible way. Just a note, this recipe makes a lot of scones. I saved half of it and froze it to use at a later date. These scones are delicate and flavorful. I may try adding some garlic flavor in the future, but for now, these are just perfect.

Cheddar Dill Scones
(adapted from Ina Garten)

4 cups plus 1 tbps all-purpose flour, divided
2 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
3/4 lb cold unsalted butter, diced
4 large eggs, beaten slightly
1 c 2% milk
8 oz extra sharp shredded cheddar
1 c minced fresh dill
1 egg beaten with one tbsp milk for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine 4 cups flour, the baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and mix until butter is in pea-sized pieces*. Mix the eggs and milk quickly and add them to the flour and butter mixture. Combine until just blended. In a separate bowl, toss together the cheddar and dill with 1 tbsp flour and then add them to the dough. Mix until they are almost incorporated.

Dump the dough on a well-floured surfrace and knead for 1 minute until the cheddar and dill are well distributed. Roll the dough 3/4 inch thick. Using a flour-rimmed glass, cut the dough and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake 20-25 minutes until the outside is crusty and the inside is fully baked.

*I did this by hand since I don't have a mixer, but if you are lucky enough to have a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, this process will go by a lot quicker.

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Chicken Milanese...For One

I cook for myself most of the time. Sometimes I am just too lazy and stand in the kitchen and eat whatever is in the fridge or pantry. The other day I saw this post on The Kitchn and finally came up with a solution of what to do with that chicken breast that has been sitting in my freezer for a while. The thing I love about it most is that it has a lot of ingredients that are already in your kitchen and it's such a snap to prepare.

Chicken Milanese For One
(adapted from Everyday Food)

1 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 cup breadcrumbs mixed with 1 tbsp grated parmesean
2 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten with a splash of milk
Coarse salt and ground pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon, plus lemon wedges, for serving
handful baby spinach
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 small beefsteak tomato, sliced

In a bowl whisk together olive oil and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper. Add spinach and toss.

Place chicken breast between two large pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or bottom of a small heavy pan, pound until 1/2 inch thick. Use separate dishes and season flour, egg mixture, and breadcrumb and parmesean mixture. Coat chicken on both sides with flour (shake off excess), then dip in egg and milk mixture (shake off excess), then dredge in breadcrumbs.

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a skillet. Cook chicken over medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Place chicken on plate and top with spinach, onions, and tomato. Serve with lemon wedges.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Roasted Shrimp with Orzo

Last year I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Greece to share in a good friend's wedding celebration!! It was a marvelous time of eating, drinking, dancing and friendship. It was such a great time and we still talk about it all the time. To celebrate our one year anniversary of our trip we decided to have a Greek potluck. This is especially special as we came up with the idea of having (somewhat) monthly potlucks with a different theme each time while we were on that trip. A while ago I saw this recipe from Ina and I knew I had to try it. It's not specifically Greek, but Greek inspired. I picked up some wonderfully fresh dill, parsley, cucumber, onions, and lemons from the Farmers' Market and I wasted no time bringing them home to prepare.

Roasted Shrimp with Orzo
(from Ina Garten)

Kosher salt
Good olive oil
3/4 lb orzo pasta
1/2 c freshly squeezed lemon juice (approx. 3 lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 lbs shrimp peeled and deveined (tail off)
1 cup minced scallions (green onions)
1 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 Japanese cucumber peeled and medium diced
1/2 cup small diced red onion
3/4 lb feta cheese diced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tbsp salt and a splash of oil and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until it's cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Wisk together the lemon juice, 1/2 cup of olive oil, 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Pour over the pasta and stir well.

Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread out on a single layer. Roast for about 5 minutes until shrimp are cooked through.

Add the shrimp to the orzo and then add the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber and onion. Toss well. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired. Add the feta and stir carefully. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and bring back to room temperature before serving.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Butternut Squash Scones

Continuing my food-centric weekend, I decided to bake some scones. Now let it be said, I don't bake very often. I am not the most patient cook and the exact measurements sometimes make me nervous. Once in a while though, I like to test my skills. This past winter I fell in love with butternut squash. It is a ginormous pain in the arse to prepare, but once it is done, it is absolutely delicious. Then, about a month ago I saw this pre-peeled and cubed squash at Trader Joes and the it was at a reasonable price. I bought it, stuck it in the freezer and then kind of forgot about it. My mom was always baking scones when I was younger and has always said they are one of the easiest things to make. After today, I couldn't agree with her more. I know it sounds weird to put squash in a scone, but try it. The squash is sweet and I used cinnamon which enhanced the flavor. The consistency of these is so soft and moist with warm, earthy tones it was hard for me to only eat one. I finished them off by sprinkling them with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Like my hero Ina always says, make sure your ingredients are as cold as possibly for the flakiest scones.

Butternut Squash Scones
(adapted from Food Network)

8 oz butternut squash, peeled and cubed
8 oz self rising flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1 heaping tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 oz sugar
2 to 3 tbsp milk

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

Place the squash in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain and let dry over heat. It's important to make sure there is no water left in the squash. Mash squash with a potato masher and drain again in a towel, if necessary.

Sift flower, baking powder, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.

Stir in the sugar and then the mashed squash. Stir in milk, 1 tbsp at a time until you have a soft dough. With a wooden spoon, combine the dough thoroughly and gently.

Turn the dough onto a well floured board and press down lightly until the dough is about 1 inch thick. Use a cutter or a glass to cut the scones and places them onto a lightly greased baking tray. Flouring the glass each time is very helpful.

Using a sifter, dust each scone with flour. Bake 12 to 15 minutes until well-risen and golden brown. Lightly dust powdered sugar and cinnamon over warm scones if desired.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Chipotle Mac and Cheese

This wonky So Cal weather (tornadoes in Riverside county?! flash floods in Orange county?!) has me longing for warm, comforting food. I grew up in a foreign household where things like mac and cheese only came out of that "blue box". My sister loved it...I thought it was the grossest stuff ever. My only other experiences with the stuff were greasy church buffets or the semi good stuff the moms of my friends made. I have only ever tried homemade mac and cheese one other time in college and the bechamel was beyond my comprehension at the time. Probably too many beer bongs. So a little over a month ago, I went to a beautiful wedding in the Bahamas and for dinner we had the best mac and cheese I have ever had. Lucky for me, the couple gave us the recipe. Ever since I saw another recipe for mac and cheese on Tastespotting, I had been longing to try this particular brand of cheese. As I am trying to be green and kosher food is almost as green as you can get, I was longing to try it. However, it was very frustrating trying to find out where they sell it. Then lo and behold, today I am at the grocery store about fifty steps from my apartment there it was!!! I did a mini dance in the store, but then had to restrain myself because of the weird looks I was getting. After I picked up the rest of my ingredients I headed home, but I was so tired I couldn't even think about cooking. I tried to take a nap, but failed. All I could think about was this mac and cheese. I used the original recipe from the Bahamas wedding, but added some of my own modifications. PS, this is not a super creamy, milky kind of mac and cheese so if that is what you're looking for...keep looking. However if you are looking for a super cheesy, oniony, bacony, smoky flavor - well, follow the recipe below!

Chipotle Mac and Cheese

16 oz Cavatappi pasta
8 oz Sugar River Cheese Company White Cheddar and Chipotle Cheese
2 oz shredded sharp cheddar
8 slices (or more if you want) of bacon - cooked and chopped into bite sized pieces
1 small or 1/2 large onion chopped
1/2 c of milk (normally I drink nonfat, but I used 2% in this recipe)
1 large egg
2 or 3 tbsp of butter
1 tsp of cayenne pepper
about 1/4 c of breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Boil pasta in salted water until it is well done - al dente. Drain well. Add the butter and milk and mix well. Then add the cayenne, bacon, chopped onion, and most of the 2 cheeses. Add more salt if needed. Mix until the pasta is well coated and then add the egg and mix again.

Grease an oven proof dish with a little butter and pour macaroni mixture into dish. Top with breadcrumbs and left over grated cheese and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crusty and all of the liquid is absorbed. Let sit for about 10 minutes before cutting into.

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Grilled Bok Choy with Spicy Vinaigrette

Sometimes I make mistakes. It is rare for me to admit it, but it happens. Tonight I got home and wasn't hungry, but I didn't want my farmer's market veggies to go to waste and I had seen this recipe last week and thought it looked pretty interesting and a nice way to dress up an otherwise mild vegetable. Like I said I don't really measure, but I don't think that was the problem. I cooked this on my indoor grill pan instead of my outside grill which is in need of new propane. I know people always like to say that grill pans make "such great grill marks", but they don't necessarily add that grill flavor. I think the essence of this recipe is in that grilled flavor. I will definitely try it again cause I think this would be an awesome summer side dish. In other awesome week news, my Wii Fit came today and I already can't get enough. You know where to find me this weekend!!

Grilled Bok Choy With Spicy Vinaigrette
(adapted from Food Network)

1 or 2 heads of baby bok choy
1 tbsp chili sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
salt and pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
2 or 3 green onions, chopped
sesame seeds (optional)

Mix chili sauce, vinegar, salt, pepper, and green onions. Whisk in oil and then toss with bok choy. Grill on a super hot grill for about 3 minutes on each side. Serve with any leftover vinaigrette if desired.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

An Evening with Adele

So this is supposed to be a food blog, and it is...but it's also about me and the goings on in my own life and last night I had the absolute pleasure of attending "An Evening with Adele" at the Roxy. It was such a wonderful show even though we had to wait quite a long while for it to start. Her voice is just so pure and beautiful it just takes you to another place. Please visit the website and download the album 19 from titled because of her age when the album was released. Such a young age to have such an amazing talent!

SeeqPod - Playable Search

(Image from Tony)

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Analletti with Sausage and Greens

I tried this recipe about a month ago and I can't get enough of it. It's seriously the easiest thing to make and is so tasty. I added a little extra crushed red pepper cause I like it HOT. I have tried this with turkey Italian sausage and with chicken chorizo. I prefer the Italian stuff. I used just half a bag of the "spaghettios" and had food for DAYS.

Analletti with Sausage and Greens
(from The Kitchn)

1/2 lb Analletti pasta (available at Trader Joes)
2 or 3 links of spicy Italian sausage, crumbled
1 tbsp of minced garlic
4 or 5 handfuls of baby spinach
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 c grated parmesean cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Boil pasta for about 12 minutes and drain. In the same pot that you cooked the pasta in, add the sausage and then the garlic, chili pepper and salt and pepper - cook until sausage is browned. Add spinach and combine until it is just wilted. Add pasta and then cheese and stir until it is all combined and the cheese has started to melt. Serve immediately.

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Turkey Burgers Part Deux

I re-tooled the turkey burgers. I knew I would. Well, part of the problem was that this was the first time in history I didn't EAT at Chaya...what the WHAT?! I know. So I was a little hungry when I got home and had food on the brain (as I normally do). Anyway, I added some honey to the turkey mixture and carmelized the rest of my red onion...I cannot wait for lunch tomorrow. Turkey burger for lunch and the ADELE concert tomorrow night. Have a feeling it's gonna be the Best Day Ever!

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Chipotle Day

For our Quatro de Mayo feast I made this deliciousness but it left me with a lot of leftover chipotle in adobo. It sat in my freezer while I thought of a way I could use it. Then last week it came to me...chipotle turkey burger!! My friend Raul makes amazing turkey burgers and instead of using a bun, he wraps them in cabbage. It's great because cabbage is sturdier than lettuce and you don't miss the bun at all. After my trip to the Beverly Hills Farmer's Market I concocted my creation. I don't remember the exact measurements because I rarely measure anything unless I am baking (which is rare), but this was one tasty, spicy burger. Enjoy!

Chipotle Lime Turkey Burger

1/2 lb ground turkey
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 small red onion, chopped
2 or 3 chipotles in adobo plus extra sauce
pinch of cumin
2 cabbage leaves
whatever toppings you desire on your burger - for mine I used tomato slices from the market, colby cheese and bacon (mmmm...bacon)

Combine all the ingredients in the turkey and grill till done. Seriously, it's that simple. Like I said, this came out amazing, but I may make a couple of changes. I craved a little sweetness with this burger so maybe next time I will use some ketuchup as a topping or carmelize the onions, or some honey to the turkey mixture. I still have more than half of this burger mixture left and I can't wait to use it!

Chipotle Orange Shrimp Skewers
(adapted from Food Network)

1 lb shrimp peeled with tails on
2 oranges - zest and juice one and just juice from the other
1 tbsp chopped chipotle in adobo plus extra sauce
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 c cilantro plus extra for garnish

Combine all ingredients and let shrimp marinate for about 20 minutes. Skewer shrimp (if using bamboo skewers make sure they have been soaked in water for at least 30 minutes so they don't burn) and grill on a hot grill for about 2 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro if desired.

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My Heart Belongs to Chaya

It's almost embarrassing to admit how many times I have been to Chaya Brasserie. I have lived in the neighborhood for almost three years, but have only discovered it's brilliance in the past eight or nine months. Now, if someone suggests going out for drinks I always name Chaya as my top choice. My favorite thing on the menu is their amazing cheeseburger with the sweet, caramelized onions and that mayo with a little's to die for. They make an excellent pomegranate mimosa and their pomegranate margarita ain't so bad either. The patio is a great place to go and read on a warm Saturday afternoon and even if the service is a little slow, the wait staff is always super friendly. I am thinking about how I love their garlicky cheesy fontina mac and cheese and if I am there during "Industry Hour" (which is usually the case) I satisfy my cheeseburger fix with the minis that come with a healthy serving of their fantastic fries. Oooh, I want to go right now...oh wait, I am going in an hour!

(Image from Chaya)

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Return of the Glamorous Life

Two months ago I got my life back...literally. My first completely free weekend in months and the weather could not have been more perfect. Raul and I had a most amazing Saturday eating and drinking at the Getty. Oh wait...they have art there? Yeah, we didn't see any of it that day. We began with beautiful salads of mixed greens, portabellos, balsamic vinegarette and bacon. Mmmm...bacon. Of course we washed this down with a bottle of wine, followed by another bottle - and a brownie. After our "decadent" lunch we sat on the lawn and read and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. Eventually we had to return to the "real world" - drunk cooking our Easter feast. Raul made the most amazing deep fried mac and cheese. Unfortunately for him, I wouldn't stop eating the bacon. For my contribution I made shrimp salad in endive leaves (crab is super expensive) and espresso chocoalate mousse. God bless Giada!!

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How I Got Here

I'm a busy entertainment industry professional, but in between long working hours and weekend script coverage, I love to cook! I spend much of my free time scouring recipes and part of my weekends looking for the best locally grown produce.

I am trying to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle so all of my produce and most of my herbs come from the farmer's market. Chicken and eggs are always free-range and organic, and beef is organic and grass fed. Bacon is certified humane and center cut because it's a personal preference and I am slowly making the move towards sustainable seafood.

Except when baking, all measurements from original or adapted recipes are approximate because I hate to measure.

I am very much into educating not only myself, but others about how to live a sustainable lifestyle. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please email me at

I also like to post random musings on life or what is interesting to me in this world...please bear with me...

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