Friday, October 29, 2010

Artisinal LA

This last weekend was the inaugural Artisinal LA event. I was lucky enough to win tickets from the beautiful and awesome Nastassia of Let Me Eat Cake and The Manila Machine, but even before I won the ticket, I was planning on checking out the event.

Artisinal LA was a showcase of some of LA's best food producers. There was everything from liquor to cupcakes to bacon jam and everything you could imagine in between. For me the highlights were the peanut butter and sea salt truffles from Compartes, the bacon from Cast Iron Gourmet, the sauces and rubs from Sauce Goddess Gourmet, and the insanely addictive bacon jam from the ever charming Chicks With Knives' Perishable Pickle Shop.  As an added bonus, partial proceeds from ticket sales went to benefit LAUSD Edible School Garden Programs.

The gals from Bakelab had a lovely display and I love their hand-drawn art on shirts and aprons.

Artisinal LA

Artisinal LA

Chocolates from Compartes are almost too pretty to eat...almost.

Compartes display at Artisinal LA

I spent a lot of time tasting everything the Sauce Goddess had to offer

Sauce Goddess Display at Artisinal LA

Two words....Bacon. Jam.

Perishable Display at Artisinal LA

CWK Perishable Display at Artisinal LA

Bacon Jam Grilled Cheese
(Put bacon jam on a grilled cheese and try not to die from pleasure)

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Osteria La Buca - Susan G. Komen Menu

If you're driving down Melrose towards the 101, chances are you've seen the bright pink facade of Osteria La Buca. It's not a fashion statement their trying to make, but rather a sign of their support of the Susan G. Komen Foundation during Breast Cancer Awareness month. You can read more about the how the restaurants employees painted the restaurant themselves here. The pink exterior is not the only thing the restaurant is doing to raise awareness. All month long, Osteria La Buca is offering a special menu with 100% of the proceeds being donated to Susan G. Komen. I had the opportunity to sample some of the menu last week.

We started with a little bit of pink sangria. Much of the flavor comes from grapefruit juice. It's a nice refreshing start to any meal.

Grapefruit Sangria

You really can't go wrong with tomatoes, prosciutto, and creamy burrata. Drizzling the plate with basil oil adds to the freshness and is a nice compliment.

Tomato Burrata and Prosciutto Plate

Besides the tomatoes and burrata, one of my other favorite dishes was the pizza. It came topped with ricotta, tomatoes, kale, and dried figs. One of the goals of the special menu is to highlight foods with healing powers such as kale and there was plenty of it on the pizza. I love kale and couldn't get enough!

Pizza with Ricotta, Tomatoes, Kale, and Figs

As I have mentioned many times, asparagus with an egg on top is one of my favorite things ever. This time, the restaurant used a duck egg and topped that with plenty of grated parmesan. So good.

Asparagus with Fried Duck Egg and Parmesan

Next we were treated to butternut squash risotto, osso bucco risotto, and a pasta with lentils, sun dried tomatoes, arugula, and truffle oil. With a few vegetarians in the group, it was easy to please everyone with these dishes.

Butternut Squash Risotto

Osso Bucco Risotto

Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes, Lentils, Spinach, and Truffle Oil

Last was the tiramisu. It was a nice, sweet treat to end the evening.


You still have a few days to get to Osteria La Buca and enjoy this special menu for a great cause! Thanks to Dan Cox and HC for a great evening.

Osteria La Buca
5210 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 462-1900

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Pumpkin Recipe Ideas

Now that the pumpkin drought seems to be over, I've noticed that the searches for pumpkin recipes are spiking on the blog. I thought I would do a round-up of some of my favorite pumpkin recipes. No pumpkin pie for me because I think it's disgusting, but here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy this fall treat.

The number one search by far has been pumpkin oatmeal. It's a great way to enjoy pumpkin every day if you're an oatmeal person and can be changed up a bunch of ways.

From Dishing Up Delights

I think my personal all time favorite are these pumpkin cinnamon rolls. They're so indulgent and totally worth it!

From Dishing Up Delights

Pumpkin shortcakes with apple compote look like an elegant dessert, but couldn't be easier to make. It's a great way to wow your guests at a dinner party.

From Dishing Up Delights

Last year for Eat My Blog I made pumpkin swirl brownies. They seemed to go quickly. Maybe I should make them again this year...

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

The first time I realized I enjoyed pumpkin was in junior high after trying my friend's mom's pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. These aren't quite the same, but definitely brought back pleasant memories.

From Dishing Up Delights

Not all pumpkin recipes have to be dessert. Here's a great savory way to enjoy pumpkin in the form of pumpkin gnocchi. Of course semi-healthy whole wheat pumpkin gnocchi get doused in sage butter, but you know...all in moderation.

From Dishing Up Delights

I hope this round-up has inspired you to go pick up several cans of pumpkin and try some of these recipes. Happy pumpkin season!

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chickpea and Slow Roasted Tomato Stew with Kale and Chorizo

Chickpea and Slow Roasted Tomato Stew with Kale and Chorizo

I mentioned the other day that I'm thrilled that fall has finally arrived in Southern California. I'm loving the cool, drizzly weather we've been experiencing this week. This past Sunday was especially lazy, but a large project was looming in the back of my mind. I just signed up for The Kitchn's Fall 2010 Kitchen Cure. The task this week is to clean out our fridges, freezers, and pantries. I'm of the anal where I actually do this regularly anyway, but I still had some things lurking in my freezer that desperately needed to be used. I haven't really known what to do with my latest batch of slow roasted tomatoes, but as I was attempting to take a nap on Saturday afternoon, a great idea came to me. Originally I thought I would make my soup again, but instead, I decided to kill a few birds with one stone. I could use my tomatoes, some chickpeas, chorizo, onions, and garlic I all had in my kitchen as well as expedite the task of cleaning things out.  I absolutely love to do this kind of cooking, especially at this time of year so I had a lot of fun making this. As usual with my recipes, I give exact measurements, but feel free to play around with the flavors to make this your own. I can't wait to make more soups and stews this fall and winter. 

Chickpea and Slow Roasted Tomato Stew with Kale and Chorizo
(By Esi)

Makes 4 servings

1 cup crumbled Mexican chorizo
1 small onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups slow roasted tomatoes, pureed (about 1 1/2 cups of puree)
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup dry red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
2-15 ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 pound kale, rinsed, leaves roughly chopped
Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
Toasted bread for serving

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook until the fat has rendered and the chorizo is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove the chorizo from the pan using a slotted spoon, leaving the fat behind.

Add the onions and cook 4-5 minutes until the onions have softened. Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Add the tomato puree, chili flakes, water, and wine. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Add the chickpeas to the pan. Bring the tomato and chickpea mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes until the mixture has thickened slightly.

Stir the kale into the skillet. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes until the kale has wilted, but still has some bite.  Add the reserved chorizo back to the pan and stir to combine. Taste again and adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve warm with toasted bread to soak up the juices.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Pesto Quinoa with Tomatoes, Chicken, Arugula and Red Currants

Pesto Quinoa with Tomatoes, Chicken, Arugula and Red Currants

I'm so happy that fall has finally settled in to Southern California. The skies are overcast and it's been drizzling for three days straight...I couldn't be happier!!  The farmers market is bursting with fall produce, but there are still plenty of summer finds. A few weeks ago, I found a pint of red currants. I couldn't really find any recipes that I wanted to make with them so I just threw them into this salad. It totally worked because this salad is really more of a method than an actual recipe. Thanks to Diana, pesto stirred into quinoa is my new obsession.  Measurements here are vague because it's really all to taste. Add what you want, take away what you don't like.

Pesto Quinoa with Tomatoes, Chicken, Arugula, and Red Currants
(By Esi)

Makes 2 generous servings

1 cup cooked quinoa, at room temperature
2 tablespoons pesto
Olive oil as needed
2 chicken breasts or thighs, cooked, cooled to room temperature, and sliced
Handful cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2-3 handfuls baby arugula
Salt and pepper to taste
Handful red currants, picked off the vine
1-2 tablespoons crumbled feta

In a large bowl, toss the quinoa with the pesto. Add olive oil as needed if the mixture seems too dry. Add the chicken, tomatoes, and arugula. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the quinoa on a plate or in a bowl and top each plate with some of the currants and feta.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"End Of the Week" Deli Sandwich

End-Of-The-Week Deli Sandwich

A few weeks ago I attended the last in my series of Hollywood Bowl shows for the summer. I've been wanting to attend the Sound of Music Singalong ever since I first heard about it a few years ago, so I was thrilled to know that no obstacles were in my way this year. Of course, right when the summer ended is when the weather decided to behave like summer and I wanted to make something easy and quick for another great potluck picnic. This recipe did require turning on the oven when it was 85 degrees out at 10AM, but it's only for a short time and well worth it. Bon Appetit calls this an end of the week sandwich because it's made of things that I guess typical families still have in their kitchens at the end of the week. I didn't have most of the ingredients, but I didn't mind purchasing them to make the recipe. By the way, if you ever find yourself in Los Angeles at the end of September, make it a point to try and get tickets to this singalong. It's an epic experience that you do not want to miss!

End of the Week Deli Sandwich
(From Bon Appetit, August 2010)

Makes 6+ servings

1 pound pain rustique (can also use ciabatta or focaccia)
1/2 cup pesto
1/4 cup mayonnaise
8 thin cheese slices (I used provolone, can also use Jack, Swiss or Havarti)
9 ounces assorted deli meats (I used mortadella, genova salami, coppa, prosciutto, capocollo and calabrese salame)
2/3 cup sliced drained peperoncini
Thinly sliced red onion (about 1/2 of an onion)
1-2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
Arugula or other lettuce

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

In a small bowl, mix together the pesto and mayonnaise and spread over both halves of the bread. Top the pesto with the cheese. Bake the bread halves until lightly toasted and the cheese has melted, about 8-10 minutes.

Top the cheese with the meats, then peperoncini, onion, tomatoes, and arugula. Cover sandwich with the top half of the bread. Cut in half, lengthwise and then crosswise into individual sandwiches.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Charleston, South Carolina

I just got back from a whirlwind trip to Charleston, South Carolina. Here are the highlights:

Piggly Wiggly
I knew this place existed, I just didn't believe it until I saw it with my own eyes

Seafood and Grits at Magnolias
My first seafood and grits experience! At Magnolias

Pecan Pie at Magnolia's
My first pecan pie. Also at Magnolias

Charleston Farmers Market
Of course I can't go a weekend without visiting a farmers market. Charleston's was full of Southern flair. These muscadine grapes are weird and definitely a Southern original.

Charleston Farmers Market
Basket weavers are everywhere

Charleston Farmers Market
Red, yellow, and green tomatoes...oh my!

Arthur Ravenel Bridge, Charleston
The Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge is an architectural wonder.

Roasted Asparagus with a Fried Egg at Monza in Charleston
Quick lunch at Monza. Roasted asparagus and fried eggs are two of my most favorite things in the world! Next time, I definitely want to try the pizza.

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston has some interesting history and architecture

This all makes me want to go and re-read Gone With the Wind for the 800th time.

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Bacon Kimchi Fried Rice

Bacon Kimchi Fried Rice
I first came across this recipe via Serious Eats, but discovered it was adapted from the fabulous Momofuku for 2 blog. As many of you know by now, I'm a fried rice a-holic. I love it and can eat it any time. I never find myself with leftover white rice, because I don't really eat a lot of white rice so I prepped the rice along with most of the other ingredients the night before. I prefer to do that so that the rice cooking can go quickly and smoothly. I also prefer to have certain things like garlic and oyster sauce in my fried rice so I had to adapt it for my taste. I love the balance of the fatty bacon with the acidic kimchi in here. I drained most of the bacon fat after reading that the Serious Eats version felt too fatty. For me, it was just perfect and I loved it so much, I made it again a week later! I'm running low on kimchi and some other Korean ingredients so it looks like I'm going to have to make another field trip to Koreatown very soon!

Bacon Kimchi Fried Rice
(Adapted from Serious Eats and Momofuku for 2)

4 slices bacon, chopped
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cold cooked rice (preferably from the day before)
1 tablespoon kimchi liquid
Oyster sauce to taste
Soy sauce to taste
3/4 cup kimchi, drained and chopped (save the liquid)
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 eggs, lightly scrambled
Salt and pepper to taste

Add the bacon to the wok and turn the heat to medium-high. Cook the bacon until crisp and remove from the pan using a slotted spoon. Drain the bacon on paper towels. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the wok and drain the rest.

Add the onion to the pan and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook just until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add the rice and toss to combine making sure to smooth out any clumps in the rice. Add oyster sauce and soy sauce to the rice, adjusting the seasonings to taste. If necessary add salt.

Add the kimchi, peas, and scrambled eggs, and bacon to the rice and toss well to combine. Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.

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