Archive | vegetables RSS feed for this section

Take me to the moon. Duh.

8 Aug


First off. Want some discounted Moon Juice? The elixir of people like Gwyneth Paltrow? The shop that touts ingredients like sprouted brown rice, reishi mushrooms, pearl and astralagus? That makes Beauty Dust and Sex Tonic?

Get 20 percent off your first order with this link: http://fbuy.me/d_zpz

Plus local delivery was free for me. It may be for you too.

Yeaaaaa.

The owner, Amanda Chantal Bacon, got a wee chunk of press when interviewed by Elle magazine about her typical daily diet. Haters couldn’t deal with her expensive and oh, let’s call it exotic, diet. But WTF is up with the food shaming?

The woman owns a shop called Moon Juice, for goodness sake. If she wants to have “a copper cup of silver needle and calendula tea” to greet her yoga dawn then well then let’s let her. It’s her friggin’ job to drink fancy.

I had a few days of a liquids-only diet due to superduperfuntime surgery for my receding gums. I wasn’t feeling like human interaction and exhausted in the way surgery makes one. I decided to make the days of liquids and rest fun and find out what makes so many people drink Chantal’s potions. I had a discount code so I got some juices that I figured I would spread out over the next day or so. And they delivered free so I wouldn’t have to take my face, which I was keeping iced most of the time, out. Plus I needed to supplement what otherwise would have been an all-milkshakes-all-the-time regimen whilst healing.

I will start with my favorite juice! Lead with positivity. God the juice is affecting me already.

Roots Royal (green apple, beets, lemon, ginger, turmeric juice) For immune system, kidney function, energy and taming inflammation) So pretty, this juice! I love all the ingredients. Neither the ginger nor turmeric is overwhelming which is hard to do with these spices. I would not have minded if the beet flavor had been stronger but I think the fruits all blend into a perfect flavor I am renaming Burgundian Fuchsia Velvet.

Someone should make a sorbet of this juice. I would do it, but alas I don’t have an ice cream maker. And no I will not make a granita of this. Fuck granitas. They are fine if you dig eating a prickly snow cone on top of your dessert. Not for me.

Anyway. LOVE the Roots Royal. It is like dessert. I may just need more of these.

Enzymatic Tonic (alkaline, mineralized, oxygenated water, aloe vera, full-spectrum plant-based enzymes and probiotics). For glowing beauty and happiness–or so says the website. But of course. The front of the bottle elaborates–this is a “Moon Dusted Cleansing Nectar”. What does this nectar cleanse? My soul? One hopes.

It tastes oddly citric. Maybe that isn’t odd. After all I’ve never eaten or sipped aloe. I had an aloe plant for a while but just used it to moisturize or smear on burns. I’d never tasted my plant but my cat did. He also knocked it over in the process of munching and killed it. Unfortunately my cat is chatty but not in actual words so I couldn’t ask him if the plant had notes of lemon zest and hints of grass. But that is what I tasted in my tonic.

Ooh! Also I can now put a name on something I was having a hard time identifying in white wines. I’ll just say they have hints of Enzymatic Tonic. Just kidding. But in all seriousness if this is what aloe tastes like I am pretty sure I am going to be able to call out the flavor in wine. I’m sure I’ve tasted it in Grüner Veltliners. Yea!

Goodness Greens (celery, cucumber, spinach, kale, parsley and dandelion) For detoxifying, alkalinizing and promoting joy. Ooh joy. Oddly enough I spied this on the sticker on the bottom of this bottle.


Huh. Did they know I delight in random acts of goth?

Anywho the flavor. Very…green? I definitely tasted the celery and cucumber. There was a nice underlying sweetness I bet came from the spinach. I could drink this stuff. I drink it up. Normally I do prefer to eat my veggies but this juice is pretty handy for those of us who having chewing issues who want fiber. The great thing is all these juices had fiber and body to them.

Carrot, Lime and Coconut (those three things plus ginger)This is for the thyroid gland, immune system and energy. I hate coconut. And have carrot issues. Why did I get it? Because I am always trying to break down my own bounderies, dammit. Also sometimes the combo of horrible things equals divinity. Still, I approached with caution. I mean, I need more joy but maybe I have enough energy at this point in juicing.

I’m happy to report that although the carrot flavor shines through a tad more than I would wish this tastes pretty damn good. The carrot lends sweetness, the ginger gives bite, and this juice’s “finish” to borrow from wine tasting is rife with refreshing lime. So just as the carrot is about to send me into flashbacks of having to eat icky icky carrots as a youth, lime saves the day. I guess the coconut mostly gives silkiness and body. Would I drink this again? Probably not. But I am hungry and this is one of the more filling milkshake proxies I ordered.

Okay update, halfway through the bottle and damn this drink has a lot of sugars (natural fruit sugars but all the same) in it. I am buzzing.

Canyon Greens (Collards, rainbow chard, parsley, ginger, celery and cucumber)The website says this feeds immune system, boosts energy, and detoxes. The bottle calls it Immunity Food, Bone Nourisher and Energy Food. I call it green ginger juice. I was really excited for this one as I love chard, and will extol the virtues of it to anyone who will listen. Particularly you kale fanatics. Get on the chard train. There was a hint on green sweetness to this I think comes from the chard. But mostly this is just ginger-y which really is okay by me.

Lait de Coc0 280 4 8 (alkalinized, mineralized, oxygenated water and coconut) For brain, thyroid and skin. Crap I need that shit. But. Oh shudder. See: I hate coconut. I dumped most of this after some forced swigging. Couldn’t handle. It. Not even in the name of brain function. Ugh. Did I mention I despise coconut? Which means the rest of the world will LOVE this. Seriously you coconut lovers-which is like everyone-you will adore this beast.

Me? I am enjoying a chocolate shake now. Health and tastiness balanced. Now if only my gums stop hurting. I want bread. The just doesn’t blenderize well.

 

Advertisements

Spinach and Artichoke Dip on bread. Dip in bowl. Dip da dip dip dippity do

6 Apr

20130921-115716.jpg

Ohhhh my goodness. I am finally done with the season of Girls on GIRLS. Although we will be rolling out cocktail-making segments soon.
And in between doing a bunch of live shows that ran the gamut from improv to sketch to contortion for comedy, I decided to pull out some of the posts I had had in my drafts for a while. This is one of them. A recipe I’ve enjoyed enough to make more than once. That’s a big compliment from me because having to vet new cookbooks leaves little time for old favorites. The genius work of Joy the Baker keeps me coming back.

Here’s the deal:
I LOVE a sandwich. I cannot dislike anything involving ample carbohydrates.

Here’s the other deal with a sandwich though:
I only love it if I can eat it on a plate with a knife and fork so I can deconstruct and reconstruct as I like. Here, a bite of the whole sandwich, there, a forkful of filling. Then a leftover bit of bread from where I swiped the filling. That I may butter.

The third and final deal with a sandwich is that I rarely actually eat things that are supposed to be served on carbs ON the said carbs. I devour bowls of spicy salsa with a spoon pretty much daily. It is not so different from gazpacho right? Then I butter the chips.
And I rarely eat the cheese on cheese plates atop the slices of baguette that come with it. I nibble each bit of fromage individually. The better to really taste the cheese, my dear. Then I butter the baguette.

So I made this dip and enjoyed deconstructing a sandwich made with it, and still had leftover dip to gobble from a bowl. And at some point I ran out of bread but I always keep back-up butter.

Take home lesson from this blog post is this: ALWAYS HAVE BACKUP BUTTER.

Spicy Spinach and Artichoke Dip/Spread adapted from this recipe by Joy the Baker
Olive oil spray
1/2 tsp. chopped garlic
A few handfuls if baby spinach
2 pieces of whole wheat bread
1 Tbsp. cream cheese
2 oz. Swiss cheese, shredded
3/4 c. Chopped artichoke hearts
Pinch of fleur de sel
1 heaping Tbsp. Cottage cheese, mashed with a fork until relatively smooth
1 1/2 tsp. Sriracha
Butter
Spray a pan with the oil and sauté the garlic a bit then add the spinach, an cook just until wilted. Take off heat. Spread the bread slices with the cream cheese. Stir together the spinach mixture, Swiss cheese, artichoke hearts, fleur de sel, cottage cheese, and Sriracha. Heap as much as you want on top of cream cheese on one piece of bread, (save the rest for another sandwich, or if you are like me, eating out of a bowl) and top with other slice of bread, cream cheese side down. Spread outside of sandwich with butter and cook Ina skillet on each side until browned to your liking. Because it is all about you.

Hakka-lujah

20 Jan

20140117-163101.jpg
Oh, Hakkasan. Birthplace of the hakki-sack. I jest. Hacky-sack players are pretty much next to last on the list of people I’d think would eat at Hakkasan. Last would be the guy who is always outside my local Von’s asking for money. I offered him an orange once, which he took, then said “I’d take a banana”. Which I did not have and I doubt Hakkasan does either (except maybe mixed into a dessert?). I wanted to say “I’d take a thank you”, but decided his day had probably been worse than mine so I’d let it go. Not that I’d tell a dude off late at night outside of Von’s. Although I once got in some frat-type guys’ faces in the street late at night. They had kicked a cat. I should have kicked them.

Oh, right. Food.

I told you I was going to write about my LA dining experiences from time to time, so! For your consideration:
Hakkasan.
This is one snazzy Beverly Hills joint. It deems itself as modern Cantonese cuisine. I confess I am somewhat unequipped to really judge Chinese food. I never eat it outside the home. I rarely even cook food that requires chopsticks or qualifies as faux asian-ish.

So let’s start with the visuals. The of interior of Hakkasan is sleek. Dark but not too dark, expansive but somehow our table felt cozy. Really gorgeous wood interior. Tables are divided with the carved oak and Chinese screens. The music was a wee loud but not so much so as to really bug me.

As for the eats, that picture at the top is of the sautéed mushroom lettuce wraps. We didn’t order them, they were apology wraps. Unfortunately, there was a wee bit of a snafu with our vegetarian dumplings which turned out not to be vegetarian.
Oh, obviously but anyway, dumplings are by their cuddly nature adorable:

20140118-153537.jpg
A warning to vegetarians: there is a bit of cultural misunderstanding between us Los Angelenos and the rest of the world when it comes to what being a vegetarian is. At Hakkasan some of the items marked as vegetarian do in fact have seafood in them, so (nicely) grill your server accordingly. Also unfortunately, the very nice French guy who took our order-who I think might have been the manager as our official waitress was somebody else else-misunderstood that I wanted the lotus dish and brought me the stir-fried mushrooms with yam bean, sugar snap peas and macadamia nuts. It was excellent, but I’d been looking forward to the lotus. I didn’t bother bringing this to their attention though. After dealing with the dumpling ado I was not feeling like bringing up more problems, and well, I do love macadamia nuts.

Despite all the veggie confusion, they did get it right that I wanted my salad dressing on the side. This is Beverly Hills, I imagine that is their default. Next to requests to replace the dressing with something not in the menu, or air. I shouldn’t stereotype. East-siders are probably even more particular as to how they want their food.
Onward. My friend’s sea bass was rather gorgeous:

20140118-153051.jpg
And according to her and her empty plate, it was also delectable.

In full disclosure, another reason I did not argue for my lotus was because at that point I had pleasantly been plied with wine and saké recommended by their sommelier, Jared Hooper. Knowing Jared was also the reason I ended up venturing to Hakkasan.

20140118-160150.jpg
The saké was an unfiltered one. My friend had requested sweeter saké, and this was what Jared recommended. I found it quite tasty, and light in texture despite the milky appearance. The white stuff is rice…particles? “Fines” is the word maybe? I could practically have had it for dessert, but for my friend’s sweet-craving taste buds, it was perfect for dinner.

The wine list alone is really reason enough to visit Hakkasan. What I drank for dinner was a Sancerre, because when I see a Sancerre on the menu it’s a Pavlovian dog-like response of mine to start salivating and order it. Later, Jared popped by with a pour of another white he would not disclose the identity of. It was sweeter, more viscous than my Sancerre with a pleasant honeyed taste to it. After making that comparison he disclosed that it was, like the completely different Sancerre I was drinking, also a Sauvignon Blanc, but from New Zealand, as opposed to the Loire valley my Sancerre Sauvignon came from. I love doing blind tastings, especially when they surprise me. Jared is a fountain of wine knowledge, and is obviously passionate about what he does. Trust in his guidance and you will be very happy.
So to sum up. I liked it. I had a good time. A 90210 sip code restaurant is unlikely to become a regular go-to for me, but I’d go back.
After all, I DO need to try the lotus.
Hakkasan
233 N Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Everyone Else is Doin’ It

14 Jan

20140113-145613.jpg

I might jump off the bridge, I dunno. Particularly if it was a bikini bridge. I’m pretty much repulsed by that whole thing. The fact that it started as a hoax should say something about how dumb it is. Has anyone noticed that the latest body goals of women don’t have anything to do with the body, but rather with the absence of body? The thigh gap. The bikini bridge is the empty space between the swimsuit and your body as the bikini stretches across your sharp pointy hipbones. Gross. Okay, that is enough venting.

I have far too much to do to be jumping off Thinspiration Bridge, and I have enough practice with falling from high high heights. Maybe I’d do the real bridge jump, but I would have a nice bouncy trampoline arranged to catch me. That could be fun. Kidding, Mom. Just kidding. I wouldn’t put my head at risk, never fear.

In this post, we are going to look at chocolate as a metaphor for the trampoline under the bridge. And the jumping part I am partaking of is a green smoothie, which EVERYONE else is blogging up these post-holidays days.

My lack of spare time is actually part of why I make so many friggin’ smoothies. The other part is my deep love of wielding my immersion blender aka my kitchen paramour (I fit him in between the sexy beast and my boyfriend). A male friend of mine saw the base of it sitting out and briefly thought that it attached to something that would help me deeply love myself. I showed him the bladed attachment and assured him I am not that much of a masochist.

According to every other single blog in the entire universe, the green smoothie is what will save you, not kill you. Oh yes, it is “cleansing season” which is ridiculous, if you ask me. In theory it sounds lovely but in reality it is just a bunch of vegetables and juicers and blenders and overly enlightened people. Sorry if you are one of them. It’s ok. Different strokes for different folks. You’ve got your bridge and I have my trellis. This smoothie will neither cleanse you nor do your laundry, but it is tasty and healthy-ish.

All this being said, the fact that everyone was making these things called “Green Monsters” was intriguing. A well-named recipe can really lure a girl in. I do enjoy a good smoothie, so I gave a few recipes a try. After recovering from the various taste-bud wounds inflicted from jumping off overly banana-y tasting bridges, I decided to devise my own protein-filled, smooth, tasty, almost-ice-cream-sort-of smoothie that yah, yah, had some green in it, but in the form of fresh mint, yah? Yah. If you don’t have the fresh mint you can use some peppermint extract but then you only have a green-in-theory Chocolate Monster.

This Green Monster is rather pretty, to be called a monster, what with the fresh mint. But then, in real life monsters are neither green nor monstrous. Nor chocolate-y. Discuss.

Mint Chocolate Monster
1/2 cup cottage cheese
6 Tbsp. Chocolate protein powder (this recipe hinges on good-tasting protein, I use the MRM Veggie Protein)
big, big ol’ handful of fresh mint
handful of spinach if you feel it
1/2 a frozen banana, also optional
1 1/4 cup chocolate almond milk
sweetener of any ilk to taste
pinch of xanthum gum, if you like a super-thick drink
Blend like your life depends on it. You needs must blend this until you think it cannot get smoother and then a minute longer to get the aerated smooth texture. Unless you own a vita-mix in which case you probably just have to pulse it a second and you’ll have hot smoothie soup. If you have a vita-mix, good on ya. I’m jealous.

Best hits and what may come for the Gruel: Opinions wanted

31 Dec

20131230-163916.jpg

Happy happy! It is a new year. Yayza. In this delightful little post I am going to recap part of vacay, make a proposal, and then recap a few favorites on this lil’ blog of mine.

I went to St. Louis for Christmas. Whilst there, with my lovely fwife Eleanor I went to the MOST awesome of places, Blood and Sand. The MOST friendly of people work there. They can deduce exactly what you MOST want to drink, even if you do not know.

I drank the two MOST fantastical drinks, along with eating some MOST delightful truffled tater tots. One of the drinks had the MOST awesome of names: “Fast Cars, Danger, Fire and Knives”. It was so much the MOST of the most-ousitous of times. The drink consisted of Rittenhouse rye, brown sugar simple, Punt e Mes, lemon juice, allspice dram and rosé sparkling. If rye and apple pie had an alcoholic child, this would be it. I am contemplating if the different elements of the name stand for different ingredients of the drink, and if so, which. I intend to recreate this come heck or high water. Clearly high standards I have for 2014.

I want to get y’all’s opinion on something. What if I did little restaurant/bar/food reviews from time to time? I do like to get out of the house to dine, shockingly enough. Between trying new recipes for the Gruel and also for my Hello Giggles column The Book Cook, I am getting a bit stressed. And much as I love writing and food-oriented opportunities I want to keep my mind on the acting game and not get too distracted. I still would still do mostly recipes, and I have some exciting theme weeks like a “Carrot Caked” week planned, but I’d like to have the options. I’d like to try new things, maybe even recommend a wine or two from time to time. Could be fun. Why am I nervous about this? I feel like I am asking you to go on a date or something.

It’s my blog and I can do what I want, obviously, but I want to know if there are any major objections out there to the review thing. Ooh, I may not be asking you on a date but maybe I could even go on some blogger dates and tell you about them. There are some LA bloggers I’d like to meet. That would be fun for all. I think.

Okay, now a little bit of year end wrap-up. Because I can. I am going to link you up with some of your most favorite-est recipes. I’m basing popularity, or at least reader interest, on the stats of what was clicked on the most. I’d also like to round up some of MY favorite things, especially from the early days of the blog when my photography sucked even more and not many folks were reading. I could revisit the less viewed recipes and get some better shots of them. Maybe next week. The blog may be a bit more sporadic in January and February, so don’t freak out or anything. I’m still here.

Oddly enough, the recipe that got THE MOST hits this year was this one for a clear chocolate martini. Quite frankly I am a wee bit distressed by y’all’s standards. Is a clear chocolate martini really what you want? With a photo like this?:
20120930-002719.jpg
I am disturbed. But my hope was renewed when I saw the second most clicked upon recipe was for Mark Bittman’s Creamed Bulgur and entitled Bulgur Not Vulgar which of course means it was NOT a chaste entry. But delicious:
20131009-210958.jpgNext up was a Pumpkin Polenta Pizza I would deem to be worthy, taste-wise if not aesthetically, of a few more clicks:
20120404-010431.jpg
Next-most clicked upon this year, and the most clicked upon of all time is this pumpkin soup:
20120423-220546.jpg
It helps that the photo was pretty, I imagine. But I was proud of my recipe too.
The least popular recipe, at least as I write this, was from the long-ago waffle week. I waffled a bran cracker. Enough said.
20120225-015123.jpg

Pâtés for Vegs:

11 Dec

20130107-173834.jpg
I thought maybe the elegant butter knife would give my mushroom pâté a bit of class.

Lemme tell you. Pâté is something we should all eat, in some shape or form. Being a vegetarian I feel shame in saying this, but if you ever get your hands on some pâté de foie gras you should gobble that stuff up. Am I going to be arrested for saying that?

I ate it once. I was in a restaurant on Oahu. In my probably-wrong memory it may have had some stars. Or maybe it just had a lot of dollar bill signs beside it in the guidebook. I was twelve. We had planned the family vacation there based on the fact that my papa had a conference to go to at the Waikiki Hilton Hawaiian Village so hey, that was airfare and board for one person. My parents made the mistake of letting me do a great deal of the research on what there was to do. I voraciously devoured travel guides and made lists of what to see and where to go and most importantly…where we should eat.

I do not actually remember that much about the restaurant or the meal besides that pâté and dessert-they gave us a Diamond Head-shaped chocolate filled with chocolate truffles to take home.

We had the pâté on the table as an appetizer and I did not know what it was. I only knew it was some of the most divine stuff ever. Better than butter? Ye gods. Then I asked my mom what it was and promptly lost my desire for it when I found out it was goose liver. Then later that summer I became a vegetarian-which I had wanted to do for years, but it was a matter of being old enough to cook myself something separately from the family so my lifestyle choice wouldn’t be a pain in the butt for my mom.

I never much cared for meat in the first place, and non-leather shoes are cheaper than leather ones, so being a veg has not been hard. And just so you meat-eaters know, I don’t begrudge you your meat. I think different bodies need different things. Mine needs dairy, hence me not being vegan. It’s sort of sad. It used to be that people would be impressed by my veggie life, but now I just get “Oh, but not vegan?”. To which I emphasize that I buy cage free eggs and organic milk products as much as possible, but still…vegetarians have become the sad middle road, I guess.

Let’s get back to the pâté. I am giving you two meat-free options today, one of them even vegan. I am sure they probably don’t compare with foie gras, but they are not really trying to do that-they are impeccable in their own right. Mushrooms and eggs are two of the most perfect edible things on earth, and I stand by my pâté. Actually it is my dreamboat-cooking-crush Mark Bittman’s pâté. I stand by my man.

The egg one is considerably less chic in appearance than the mushroom I’m afraid:

20121230-020950.jpg
I think I just started gobbling it before it could be molded. I don’t mind if you do that too. Actually, please do that too. Go forth and gobble.

Mushroom Pâté slightly altered from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman
Olive oil
1/2 c. chopped shallots
4-5 baby carrots, chopped
1/2 stalk celery, chopped
1 lb. white shrooms’ cleaned and roughly chopped
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 piece of bread, crumbled

Heat a skillet with a dash of oil over high heat. Add shallots, carrot, and celery and cook and stir until shallot is translucent. Sprinkle in some salt and grind in some pepper. Cool another couple minutes. Add tomato paste, then stir and cook about another ten minutes.
Turn off heat and allow to cool. Then put in your lover-that would be your sexy red Kitchen aid food processor you got for a song because it was factory refurbished.
Add crumbs and lemon. Blend until smooth, adding more bread crumbs if too thin or water if thick. It should be sturdy but spreadable. Give it a Tate and add more salt, pepper or lemon if you want.
Put in whatever mold or dish you want and chill. Find a snazzy serving knife.Yum it up.

Egg Salad Pâté adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped (one yolk discarded)
3 Tbsp. reduced-fat mayo
1 1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 slice bread and butter pickle, chopped
1/2 tsp. dried dill
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Mix it all up. Mix it good. Put in container shaped how you want it to be shaped. Or just get a fork.

Bulgur not vulgar

9 Oct

20131009-210958.jpg

I have been soooo bloody busy. This week involves two shoots in addition to everything else. So as much as I want to throw more cocktails and cakes your way I also think that you deserve a little health. Health comes in the “creamed” flavor, didja know that?

Of course my “cream” involves almond milk but let us ignore that.
The leftovers of this health can be packed and molded and y’all know I love shaped food:

For even more health there is my mush, and deep, deep, philosophical thoughts on Goodnight Moon over at Hello Giggles.

I should ply you with health while I can. I fear that there may be a lot more beverages for you here now that I’m cooking/writing for two. For three counting my lover.

Speaking of lovers (What a segue! It even made sense.), this bulgur comes from my second lover. Well, third lover, counting Trent Reznor.

Because you know Mark Bittman can get bulgur with me any day of the week.

Bulgur not vulgar!

Vulgar is reserved for Trent.

Let’s just get creamy and get it over with. I promise to be chaste next week.

One last thought-leftovers can be packed an molded into shaped food forms. I love food with structure:

20131009-211032.jpg
Creamed Bulgur with chard adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
Olive oil spray
1/3 cup chopped onion
Several cups of cleaned chopped Swiss Chard
1/2 cup bulgur
1/2 cup almond milk
1 cup vegetable stock
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Nutmeg
Heat a pot over medium, spray with olive oil and sauté onion until soft. Add chard, stir, and cook until wilted. Add bulgur, milk and broth. Stir, cover and turn heat to low for 10 minutes.
Turn the heat off for 15 minutes. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Deeeeelish.