Archive for February, 2009

Chicken with Snow Peas

Posted on February 28, 2009. Filed under: poultry, recipe |

Once again, my efforts in the garden were successful.  Previous attempts at growing snow peas resulted in just a few pods.  This time, thanks to cooler weather (don’t grow snow peas in the summer, my friends!), I had a pretty decent harvest.

2 Chicken Breasts, thinly sliced
3 Tbs. Soy Sauce
1 Tbs. Mirin
1 Clove Garlic, crushed
2 Tbs. Corn Starch
1 Tsp. Sesame Oil
2 Cups Snow Peas
2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
Small Pat of Butter
1/4 Cup Chicken Stock
1/2 Tbs. Hoisin Sauce
sub. 1 Tbs. Soy if you don’t have it
1 Tsp. Fresh Ginger, crushed

Marinate chicken for 1/2 hour in soy, mirin, garlic, sesame oil, and corn starch.
Heat pan to medium-high, add butter, and saute snow peas & garlic for about 30 seconds.  Remove from pan, raise heat to high, and cook chicken for 2 minutes.  Return peas/garlic to pan, and add stock/sauce/ginger.  Cook for one minute.
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Seasoned Salt

Posted on February 26, 2009. Filed under: recipe, technique |

I felt a little bad not sharing all my chili secrets, so I’m going to let you in on one of my secret seasoning salts.

1 Tbs. Kosher Salt
1 Tsp. Sugar
1/4 Tsp. Ground Coriander
1/4 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1/4 Tsp. Chili Powder
1/4 Tsp. Ground Sage -or- Poultry Seasoning
1/8 Tsp. Ground Celery Seed
1/8 Tsp. Onion Powder
This salt is a nice blend of sweet and spicy.  Great on chicken and grilled NY strip steaks.
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Posted on February 21, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

There is something very satisfying in succeeding at something you initially failed at.  Last August, I wrote about how failure could be a good thing, because failure is often just a step on the path to success.  Well today, after two previous failed attempts, I pulled a couple of carrots from the ground.  They were…actual carrots! 

So don’t give up.  Even if you think something is too hard, it’s probably not. 

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Posted on February 17, 2009. Filed under: beef, one pot, recipe |

With all the talk of fresh and seasonal these days, you might forget that it’s winter.  Fresh and winter don’t exactly go hand in hand.  Is it possible to be preserved and seasonal?

Chili is the perfect vessel for our experiment.  It’s a cowboy dish.  Close your eyes.  Picture a group of cowboys searching the fields for perfect leaves of sage and delicate edible flowers.  If you’ve ever seen a cowboy movie, I bet you a have pretty silly picture in your mind’s eye right now.  The great cowboy cooks of yesterday traveled with bags of dried herbs & spices, so that’s what we’re going to do too.

If you feel like being purely preserved, you could use beef jerky as your protein, though I wouldn’t recommend it.  (If you do, use less salt!)  I would encourage using grass fed beef.  Not only does it taste better, but you’ll also be keeping the cowboy spirit.  Cowboys might not have spent hours searching for the most beautiful sprig of rosemary, but they didn’t feed their cows corn, either!

They say a great chili cook never reveals his secrets.  Well, not exactly, at least.  So all you get is a list.  Since I’m a nice guy, I’ll give you a little help; ingredients are listed by the amount I used, & I didn’t use more than two tablespoons of anything.

2 Lbs. Grass Fed Ground Beef

1 32oz. Can Ground Tomato


Chili Powder

Crushed Ancho Chili

Cocoa Chili Blend

Garlic Powder


Onion Powder

Black Pepper

Italian Seasoning

Ground Sage

Bay Leaves

Worcestershire Sauce


The Kitchen Sink

Brown beef & remove excess fat.  Add half your spice mix, and cook one minute.  Add tomato and remaining spice mix. Cook at least 45 minutes, up to 3 hours.  Stir occasionally. 

*It’s best to slowly build the flavor of the chili. Start with less spice than you think you need, then add as necessary. 

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Blood Orange

Posted on February 13, 2009. Filed under: fruit |

You’re probably noticing an abundance of citrus at the market these days.  (If you haven’t, pick a better market, Buster!) 

Blood oranges are fairly new to the American market, but they have been popular in Southern Europe for centuries.  Happily, we’ve gotten on board, so you should be able to find them anywhere.  There are three varieties: moro, tarocco, & sanguinello.  
As the moro is the most common variety in the States, let’s focus on them.  The color ranges from burnt orange to nearly black.  When you cut the orange open, it actually looks as if it’s bleeding.  Pretty amazing!  Moro oranges taste like someone took a traditional orange, then rubbed it with raspberry and pomegranate sour patch kids.  
My favorite way to enjoy a blood orange is to drink it.  The fruit can be a bit messy, so save yourself some annoying stain removing and break out your citrus juicer.  
*Morro orange juice is wonderful for creating spectacular looking drinks.  Grab some gin, and add a little color to your winter drinking!
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Chicken Soup (Of the Jews)

Posted on February 10, 2009. Filed under: one pot, poultry, soul, soup |

I hadn’t been planning on posting two recipes in a row, but I have a feeling the cold spell won’t last.  Yup, it’s actually cold enough in Los Angeles to make soup.  (Note: It is NOT cold enough to wear a parka.  If you are an Angeleno who breaks out the mittens and scarves when the temperature drops below 65, please email me.  We’re going to take a little field trip.  To Canada.)
I thought this recipe was pretty timeless, but, this time around, I actually found a way to improve it.  Amazing.
1 Big Old Chicken
5 Carrots
5 Stalks Celery, including leaves
1 Onion
2 Parsnips
1 Turnip
Big old chicken?  Indeed.  The older the bird, the more flavor in the bones.  So look for a chicken labeled ‘roaster’.
Rinse the chicken.  Place it in a large stock pot, and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil, and let the scum rise to the top.  Remove chicken, and rinse both the bird and the pot.  Return the chicken, add remaining ingredients.  Cover with more cold water.
Simmer for about 4 hours.  Simmer, my friends, not boil.  Strain broth.  Save the chicken and carrots, they’re good eating.  Compost the rest.
If you want a really clear broth, you can return the strained soup to the pan, and add two lightly beaten egg whites. Allow to boil for a few minutes, and the extra junk will be picked up by the congealing protein in the egg.  Strain this through a cheese cloth.  The result will be a nice clear broth.  For me, the work/flavor/beauty ratio favors work waaaay to much to make this worthwhile.  But, if this sort of thing matters to you, do it!
Now for something special: Right before serving, I chopped a small handful of celery leaves and added them to the soup.  Balls.  I enjoyed this much more than adding chopped dill, which is the traditional garnish.
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Roasted Broccoli Raab

Posted on February 6, 2009. Filed under: easy, healthy, recipe, vegetable |

I’m not sure why I decided to grow broccoli raab (also known as rapini) in my garden, but I’m glad I did.  It’s a nutty, earthy, and very good.  Also, it’s closer botanically to the turnip than to broccoli, which I find pretty nifty.  Rapini is an excellent source of vitamins a/c/k, as well as potassium, calcium, and iron.

1 Bunch Broccoli Raab
4 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1 Small Hot Pepper (optional)
Olive Oil
Toss ingredients.  Roast at 375 for 5 minutes.  Easy.
*There are two varieties; Italian and Chinese.  The Chinese variety is much less bitter.
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Idea: Buy My Movies!

Posted on February 2, 2009. Filed under: hodgepodge |

It’s not very often you can say that you have two movies coming out on DVD on the same day.  But, tomorrow, I have two DVDs coming out!  Hooray!  So check them out:

Bottle Shock is based on the famous “Judgement of Paris” wine tasting in 1976.  We follow Steve Spurrier’s journey to Napa Valley to see what’s up with the upstart wine industry there, and the story takes us all the way to the outskirts of Paris, where Chateau Montelena changes wine forever.  Beautiful cinematography, underdog story, brilliantly acted.  Cast includes Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, Chris Pine, Eliza Dushku, Freddie Rodriguez, Denis Farina, and me!
Killer Movie is a thrilling slasher film.  Written & directed by reality TV veteran Jeff Fisher, Killer Movie takes us behind the scenes of a reality TV film crew stuck in rural North Dakota.  When people start disappearing, the shoot takes a surprising turn.  Not only does the movie make you scream & laugh, you’ll also question why we value what we do in the entertainment industry.  Cast includes Jason London, Kaley Cuoco, Leighton Meester, Rob Buckely, Nestor Carbonell, plus great cameos from entertainment celebrities Mary Murphy & J.C. Chasez. On top of that, you’ll see me in some wicked awesome velvet tracksuits.
So, on your way home from the farmers’ market, go buy some movies!  Do it!  I’ll get a penny.  
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