Food: BOTANICA

A  healthful restaurant & market in L.A.

Botanica’s Salsa Verde  Photo: Atelier Doré.

The restaurant uses this recipe to spoon over cooked Japanese sweet potatoes (purple skinned with white flesh kind).  But you can use the salsa for multiple uses; fish especially. Spoon generously over the potatoes or fish.  Garnish with cilantro. Yum!

Salsa Verde

Makes about 1½ cups

1 large shallot, minced
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped (tender stems are okay, too!)
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped (ditto)
2 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup delicious olive oil
Sea salt

Place shallots and sherry vinegar in a medium jar, stir, and set aside to soak for 15 minutes. Drain the vinegar (we think this gives just the right amount of acidity) and reserve (in case you want to add it back in for more acidity), then add the rest of the ingredients to the jar and stir well. Add a nice pinch of salt and a couple grinds of pepper. Stir again and taste: You’re looking for a balance of acid, salinity, and herby freshness. If it tastes too harsh, add a few more splashes of olive oil. If you want it punchier, add a bit of the vinegar back in. It’ll keep in your fridge for a couple of weeks, but the chances of it lasting that long are slim!

LA is a veritable Eden, and the vegetables and fruits that we’re able to buy locally never fail to amaze us. What better way to eat than to celebrate what’s beneath our noses? If we can inspire someone to get excited about produce, or to shop at the farmers’ market — that feels influential.

Taken from Atelier Doré, an integrated creative studio + website @ http://www.atelierdore.com/

Food: Homemade Herb Pesto

When it comes to pasta sauces I cannot think of any I do not enjoy, although pesto is not at the top of my list of favorites. But that was before this.Recently I made an absolutely delicious pesto by accident (kind of) out of herbs I just wanted to use up and the freshest and/or best ingredients possible.  The next time I make pesto I’ll be looking for this exact combo.

Basically I used  three large handfuls of a fresh mix of :

Watercress, Dill, Basil, Cilantro, Parsley and Sage.  Seems like a lot (or an odd lot) as you can just use basil, but this combo really rocked.

Two large garlic cloves (market fresh russion river garlic)

1/3 cup walnuts

½ cup parmesan cheese (I buy a block of Parmissimo Parmigiano Reggiano and roughly grate it myself)

½ cup organic cold-pressed olive oil

Fresh squeezed  lemon (to taste)

Hot pepper flakes (to taste)

s+p

In a food processor chop the garlic with the herbs.  Then add the walnuts and parmesan.  Lastly while blade is still running, slowly add the olive oil until everything is finely mixed together (I prefer pesto slightly chunky but oily).  Then you can squeeze some lemon, add pepper flakes and salt/*pepper to taste.

Make your favorite pasta according to directions, drain and put back into pot the amount you need.  Then add pesto sauce and turn on element to gently heat the sauce with the pasta.

I’ve been making (but not from scratch obviously) my own country pepper spice mix using Tellicherry black peppercorns, chopped onion, garlic, chilli pepper + italian seasoning.  It’s fabulous!

I should really bottle and sell this but it’s too much work!

 

 

 

 

 

Food: One Pot Veggie + Spaghetti Squash Skillet

Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Skillet

Photo: d. king

Last night was the first time I made this dish. I’ve been in the mood to try satisfying meatless meals and something easy to prepare & fairly quick to cook. It’s a keeper. This one is filled with goodness like mushrooms, chickpeas and marinara sauce. Plus it’s only 143 calories per serving for those of you watching your weight. Why Spaghetti squash? (see bottom for some of the health benefits). This squash possesses an uncanny resemblance to spaghetti strands when cooked, and for this reason is known as vegetable spaghetti which makes the dish when combined with the rest, taste somewhat like a vegetarian lasagna. You can add other veggies like zucchini, red bell peppers or broccoli. It was delicious especially with the added sriracha hot sauce (I always zip it up with a little heat on the side).

Serves: Makes 8 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 (3 lb.) spaghetti squash
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ tsp ground oregano
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups marinara sauce (your favorite kind)
  • 1 ¾ cups (no salt added) chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • ¼ cup minced flat-leaf parsley
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese (animal rennet-free for vegetarian)

Instructions

  1. Using a large, sharp knife, pierce the spaghetti squash in several pieces.
  2. Place the spaghetti squash in a glass baking dish and cook in the microwave on high for about 15 minutes, turning the squash halfway through cooking.
  3. Before handling, let the squash stand for 10 minutes. Cut in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and fibers. Using a fork, twist out strands of the spaghetti squash flesh and place in a large bowl.
  4. Preheat the broiler.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet, set over medium-high heat.
  6. Add the onion and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and just starting to brown, 5 to 6 minutes.
  7. Add the garlic, oregano, pepper and salt. Cook for 1 minute.
  8. Stir in the reserved spaghetti squash, marinara sauce, chickpeas and parsley.
  9. Spread the spaghetti squash mixture into an even layer in the skillet. Top with the Parmesan cheese.
  10. Place the skillet under the broiler until the cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 1 cup | Calories: 142.9 cal | Fat: 4.1g | Saturated fat: 1.0g | Carbohydrates: 22.1g | Sugar: 6.7g | Sodium: 182.6mg | Fiber: 5.5g | Protein: 7.5g | Cholesterol: 3.3mg

Notes

Weight Watchers Points: 3 (SmartPoints), 4 (Points+), 2 (Old Points)

Health Benefits of Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is also rich in the B vitamins riboflavin, niacin, and thiamin, which promote optimal cellular function. Folate is also found in this bright-colored vegetable. Folate supports the formation and development of new cells and may help prevent birth defects, making this squash an ideal food for pregnant women. This nutrient can also help filter out homocysteine from your blood and promote cardiovascular health.

Potassium, a mineral that maintains proper muscle and nerve function, is also present in spaghetti squash, making it helpful for people with high blood pressure. Manganese, a mineral that assists in bone and tissue heath, metabolism, calcium absorption, and nerve function, is another key component. Spaghetti squash also contains the essential minerals calcium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc.

Another reason to consume spaghetti squash is for its omega-3 and omega-6 fats content. Omega-3 fats are associated with the prevention of inflammation, which may cause heart disease, arthritis, and certain types of cancer. On the other hand, omega-6 fats are linked to proper brain function. It is critical to maintain the ideal 1:1 ratio of these fats.

Not bad for starters eh?

Above taken from Dr. Mercola Website

Food: Sustainable Sablefish in Asian Marinade

Sablefish in this marinade

is truly one of my all time favourite dishes.

With its rich and buttery flavour, Sablefish is considered a delicacy by chefs across the country.  This recipe takes barely no time to prepare, ready in minutes and then disappears almost instantly.

Sablefish has a high oil content which allows it to be cooked at high temperatures. It also makes this fish an ideal source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which many health experts suggest reduces the risk of heart disease.  AND the taste is unbeatable.

You can alter this made up recipe depending on how many people you’re serving.  This is for two:

In a small dish mix equal amounts (1 tsp. each) of sesame oil, low sodium soy sauce, fresh grated ginger & sake (the alcohol burns off when cooking but you can omit this).  To the bowl add a little less amount of chili oil + yuzu hot sauce (a vinegar/citrus japanese sauce).  Mix together.  Pour over two equal size pieces of Sablefish and let sit in fridge for several hours.

When ready to *cook, pat the fish dry and bake in pyrex plate (350F) until done – about 10 minutes or until a fork inserted in the middle comes out easily. Top with sesame seeds (optional; I used “everything but the bagel” seasoning which also has sea salt, garlic + onion and gives fish an extra tasty crunch).  This one is available at Trader Joe’s.

With the added sesame seeds. Sides: buttered acorn squash, steamed local asparagus + vegetable casserole.

*This time I did not bake the fish.  I used my (almost untouched) George Foreman Grill on highest heat sprayed with a little coconut oil (and did not pat the fish too dry so it would not stick).  Left for a couple minutes, it was seared perfectly on both sides and came out intact and it tasted amazing.  Just in case you happen to have forgotten about the GFG, it can still work magic (and not just for grilled cheese sandwiches).

Sometimes we play with these things for a little while, put them away and then forget about them.  Now I’m re-imagining useful ways to use my older cookware like the grill, the slow cooker and clay pot.  It’s fun.

Photos + Recipe: d. king

 

 

Recipe of the Week – Tuscan White Bean Dip

Party Pleaser

whitebeandip

Photo: d. king

Here’s a foolproof simple, healthy happy hour dip.  It’s a creamier and delicious alternative to hummus.

  • 1 (14-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • roughly 1/3 cup olive oil, plus a little extra to drizzle over top
  • 1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • Course Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (you can also use oregano – fresh or dried)
  • a little sprinkle of cayenne
  • *Zaatar (optional but worth it if you can find it)

Tip: if you want a thicker consistency you can always add some Tahini (sesame seed paste used for making hummus) or less olive oil.  Play around with it.  It will be great either way.

Place the beans, garlic, lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, and parsley in the food processor or blender. Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the bean puree to a small bowl. Garnish with rosemary and/or other spice.

**ZAATAR (an exotic middle eastern spice mix made of sumac (from a flowering plant), thyme, roasted sesame seeds, marjoram, oregano, course salt. FYI: also great sprinkled over plain olive oil & balsamic for dipping.

Serve with pita, tortilla chips or fresh crusty french bread.

Sidenote: I have this thing for lazy susans.  My fridge is full of them – it makes life easier if you have lots of jars, condiments + such.  Now I bought a large round bamboo serving dish which I place overtop one of my lazy susans to place a variety of stuff on when company comes over.  People don’t have to reach over you to get another slice of cheese or whatever…they can just rotate the tray towards them.  I think it’s a better serving alternative.

Recipe of the Week: Seafood in Coconut Curry Broth

Last week I made this delicious flavorful dish for an important celebration

my 25 year wedding anniversary! And I might add that the time has flown by.

Who says you have to go out? An evening spent at home with good food, good company, good wine, conversation, music and candlelight cannot be beat by going out to a restaurant.  Add to that a glass or two of bubbly to start…a perfect evening!

We were craving seafood and I hadn’t made this in a very long time.  It’s quite simple as everything is made in one pot.  You can alter the seafood depending on what you like as it’s adaptable as long as you’re using a variety of fresh seafood.  I have to admit the mussels make a huge difference for added flavour & appearance.  Originally I followed a popular recipe from an Indo-American Bistro, but as per usual I changed it and did it my way and it turned out perfect.

1 Tbsp. butter

¼ cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 shallot, minced

2 green onions, chopped

1 large tomato, chopped

1-2 tsp. Madras curry powder

salt + pepper to taste

1 cup coconut milk

1 cup fish stock  (you can make from scratch by boiling bones in water or you can buy from your local seafood store).  I bought frozen halibut stock which dissolves quite easily).

Splash of dry white wine or more (or none)

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Saffron threads

For Seafood: I used scallops, halibut, prawns & mussels

½  lb. sea scallops (if large, cut in half)

1 lb. white fish cut into chunks (halibut or cod)

1 ¼  lb. mussels (scrubbed + debearded)

8 large prawns (shelled + deveined)

Recipe serves 4 people

In a large saucepan, melt butter and sauté garlic, shallot and green onion for a few minutes over a low heat.   Add the olive oil and turn to medium high heat.  add tomato and sauté for 5-7 minutes, or until soft.

Stir in curry powder, salt and pepper.

Add coconut milk, stock and cilantro.  Cook for 5 minutes.

Add scallops, fish, mussels and prawns all together.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes.  Discard any shellfish that have not opened.

Best served in large soup bowls with naan bread for dipping.  YUM!

Enjoy!

Photos: d. king

A Recipe From Paris’s Famous Poilâne Bakery

The following is brought to you (via me) by My Little Paris, a website that I’ve lately become addicted to for fun French musings on life, cooking and je ne sais quoi else.bakery1

3,451 miles. That’s how far Apollonia Poilâne used to go to get her bread every week.

Okay—technically, it was FedEx delivering the loaf from the Poilâne bakery in Paris to Apollonia’s mailbox in the US. But still. The woman clearly takes her bread seriously. She had to: when her parents died in a helicopter crash just months before she left France for college, 18-year-old Apollonia spent four years running the entire bakery from—no kidding—her Harvard dorm room. The following recipe is not for bread (it’s impossible to recreate a Poilâne loaf at home, trust us). But it’s one of Apollonia’s personal favorites, and involves chocolate, crushed butter cookies, and salted butter. Kind of hard to complain.

(Tip: they’re best made with Poilâne’s punition biscuits (which you can order here), but any old butter cookie will do.)
In Paris? Stop by Poilâne’s flagship bakery at 8 Rue du Cherche-Midi for breakfast (or lunch, or both). Not in Paris and desperate for a loaf? FedEx yourself Poilâne’s famous 4.5lb sourdough here.

Food: Fish Tacos

Making fish tacos is the closest I feel to being at the beach in Mexico. 

fishtacos1 Because some of my best food memories is eating fish tacos on the beach in Mexico.

Somebody said that it’s not the food itself but all the bonds and memories the food represents.

But I never follow a set recipe for tacos because there are so many variations.  These are closest to typical baja style with a little twist and without the sauce. Okay, maybe they’re just my own version.

Buy small street tortillas (they’re easily found in many supermarkets now – I prefer corn to flour) and make pico de gallo from scratch.

Pico de Gallofishtacos2

  • Chopped fresh red + yellow grape tomatoes, jalapeño, sweet maui onion, handful of cilantro, sea salt + squeeze of fresh key lime.
  • Sprinkle chili/lime seasoning blend on both sides of fish (I used Mexican seabass but you can substitute any white fish). Grill until done – a couple minutes per side. Divide fish among warmed tortillas and add pico de gallo, shredded purple cabbage, extra salsa if you like, top with more cilantro, sliced avocado, squeeze of lime & fold in half.  Add a side of chopped mango for added sweetness.

Buen apetito!

They’re fairly fast and fun to make and definitely delish!

Photos: d. king

 

 

 

Food: the versatile rice bowl

I’ve rekindled my love for rice bowls.  Not only nutritious & delicious but easy to make.

vegetarian coconut rice bowl

vegetarian coconut rice bowl

It’s a good way to use up all kinds of leftovers. Energize your meal with protein: chicken, salmon or steak. Substitute quinoa or noodles instead of rice as a base and play with a variety of different veggies and dressings to turn it Mexican, Indian, Asian+ for endless possibilities.

Let’s try unlikely combos.  Let’s eat things that are good.  Let’s eat things that make us feel good.

Vegetarian Coconut Rice Bowl Recipe

Yield: 4  bowls

1 cup uncooked jasmine rice, rinsed
* 1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
* 1 cup chopped cilantro, divided
* 2 limes
* 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
* 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
* 1 red bell pepper, diced
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 Tbs. freshly minced ginger
* 1/2 cup frozen edamame
* 2 scallions, finely sliced
* coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place the rinsed rice in a rice cooker. Add 3/4 cup coconut milk to the cooker, and 1 1/4 cup water & cook.

When the rice is done, add the juice of half a lime along with 1/2 cup cilantro. Stir.

Heat the oil over medium-high in a large sauté pan. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they become tender and dark brown, about 4 minutes. Add the zucchini and bell pepper; season with salt and pepper and sauté another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger; sauté for about another minute.

Now add the remaining coconut milk, edamame, remaining cilantro, scallions & another good squeeze of lime juice. Let it simmer 3 minutes, or until the edamame warms through.

Serve over coconut rice garnished with more scallions and fresh lime wedges.

Here’s a growing fast food chain I really like:

Freshii is a (fairly new to Vancouver) fast food restaurant chain that specializes in healthy rice bowls, salads, juices and smoothies.  I recently stumbled upon it when I was hangry (that place when you’re really hungry, bordering on the verge of cranky anger) and enjoyed the *Oaxaca bowl very much.  I wondered why there were not more fast food places like it. The story behind it is interesting blending fashion & food.

Matthew Corrin is the founder & CEO of Freshii.  While working in New York City for fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, Matthew was inspired by “mom-and-pop” delis with fresh food but lackluster branding & service. He sought to “add magic to the fresh food business” & brand the commodity of fresh food not unlike Starbucks branded the coffee bean. He’s a recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, Canada’s Top 40 under 40, Inc. Magazine’s Top 30 under 30, and Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals Restaurateur of the Year. In 2005, he founded Freshii.

Oaxaca Bowl

my Oaxaca Bowl

*brown rice & kale, avocado, beet slaw, black beans, corn, salsa fresca, crispy wontons, lime wedge, spicy yogurt sauce (1927 W. 4th in Kits).

Source for vegetarian recipe: bevcooks.com

Food: Brasserie Bourride (Fish Stew)

Yesterday I posted about the dreamy dinner for two prepared at the Frick Museum by Michelin chef Daniel Rose of Le Coucou brasserie in New York.

The bourride, stewing.Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine

The bourride, stewing. Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine

Rose, an intense young chef originally from Chicago, made his Michelin-approved reputation conjuring clean, seasonal recipes from the old French canon at a small Parisian establishment not far from the Louvre called Spring. For his New York debut, however, he has provided the kind of grand, ostentatious stage you rarely see anymore in this populist era of chef burgers and haute pork buns. The T-shaped space, on the ground floor of a downtown hotel called 11 Howard, is lit with rows of circular chandeliers that look like they’ve been heisted from one of the castles in Game of Thrones.

Below is his recipe for one of the Entrées he served up for he and his lucky wife:

Recipe: Bourride With Aïoli

Bourride in case you are not familiar is a provençale fish soup which is akin to a classic Mediterranean fish stew and which is much less complicated and expensive to make than bouillabaisse.

Phone: 212-271-4252

Source for Daniel Rose: NYmag.com