Archive for May, 2009

Early Summer Potato Salad

Posted on May 27, 2009. Filed under: recipe, vegetable |

This potato salad is great for early summer parties. It’s a French style potato salad, meaning there’s no mayo in it, making it easy to transport and keep out. The flavor is lighter & fresher than traditional American potato salads.

In a large pot, boil for 25 minutes:
2 Pounds Waxy New Potatoes

Meanwhile, whisk together:
4 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
3 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon Spicy/Brown/Dijon Mustard
1 Teaspoon Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper

Slowly whisk in:
10 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Add olive oil one tablespoon at a time, making sure it all incorporates into vinegar

Allow cooked potatoes to cool 15 minutes, then cut them in half. Stir in dressing, until potatoes are just coated. Don’t over-dress them! Finally finish in dish by stirring in:

1/4 Cup Fresh Italian Parsley, chopped
1/8 Cup Fresh Dill, chopped
1 Small Bunch Chives, snipped

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Chili Lime Chicken

Posted on May 19, 2009. Filed under: easy, grill, poultry, recipe |

This is an easy to make grilled chicken that has a bit of a kick. Eat it as is, or add some cheese and make it part of a killer grilled chicken sandwich.

3-4 Chicken Breasts
Juice of 2 Limes
1/8 Cup Olive Oil
1 Tsp. Dijon Mustard
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1/4 Tsp. Fresh Cracked Pepper
1/4 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1/4 Tsp. Onion Powder
1/4 Tsp. Chili Powder
1/4 Tsp. Cumin
1/4 Tsp. Ground Coriander

Juice limes. Whisk in mustard. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Whisk in spices. Stop using word whisk.

Coat both sides of chicken with mixture. Let stand, at room temperature, one to two hours. Grill over high heat, 7 minutes per side.

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(Almost) Success

Posted on May 15, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Awhile back, I decided to try to make pizza at home. Not just any pizza- coal oven pizza. Sadly, previous attempts ended in failure. Terrible failure. Happily, the new smoker opened up new possibles.

I picked up a nice square of terra cotta for 25 cents at the Home Depot. Yup, 25 cents! Screw you, expensive pizza stones. Made a crazy hot charcoal fire. Threw in a chunk of hardwood just for kicks. Grew excited. Very excited.

Excitement. That was the big problem. Lack of patience. I’m pretty sure the stone needed at least another twenty minutes to get to ideal heat. One of the things that makes coal oven pizza is the charred crust. The biggest thing lacking in my pizza was…charred crust.

Although the pizza lacked charred crust, it was otherwise pretty good. I had a nice sauce/cheese balance, and the addition of a little garlic and basil was fantastic. Overall, I was much happier with the result- especially compared to previous attempts. But pretty happy is not the goal.

Next time, more time. And, hopefully, success. Good thing I’m off to New York next week. For research, of course.

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GiGi’s Farmers’ Market

Posted on May 12, 2009. Filed under: hodgepodge, review |

What do you get when you take a handful of food vendors and pair it with a production designer? GiGi’s Farmers’ Market.

Every Saturday from 10AM to 2PM, the Americana at Brand plays host to GiGi’s Farmers’ Market. Award winning production designer Kelly Van Patter was hired to create “an atmosphere that conjures the spirit of European marketplaces.” From a design perspective, at least, Van Patter’s work is a great success.

The market, named after developer Rick Caruso’s daughter, is, undoubtedly, the prettiest farmers’ market in Los Angeles. The vendors’ stalls are clean and bright, overflowing with beautiful looking food. The European homage is unmistakable. It looks as if the market is a permanent fixture, rather than a passing four hour fancy on Saturday afternoons.

Although the market is pretty, the uniformity takes a bit away from a true farmers’ market experience. It’s hard to imagine individual small farms, when all the vendors are wearing “GiGi’s Farmers’ Market” aprons. The illusion is further broken by having some of the Americana’s corporate tenants setting up stalls beside the family farms. It’s a very pleasant atmosphere, but, personally, I’m a bigger fan of the discordant hubbub of Sunday’s Hollywood market.

Diversity seemed to be the key word in choosing vendors for the market. In addition to the standard fruit & vegetable offering, shoppers at GiGi’s Farmers’ Market can expect to find French pastries, organic poultry, fresh fish, preserved and prepared foods, and a small spattering of hand-crafted items. Prices match those found at other Los Angeles farmers’ markets. 

Overall, the Americana’s addition of GiGi’s Farmers’ Market is a big plus. Sure, it might be a little more slick in design than other Los Angeles area farmers’ markets.  But, by being located in an open air mall, the market will attracted a huge amount of people who otherwise might never experience a farmers’ market. Hopefully, they’ll enjoy their experience enough to find other local farmers’ markets and pay them a visit.

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Stupid Labels

Posted on May 7, 2009. Filed under: hodgepodge |

Nearly a year ago, I wrote about the importance of reading labels. Clearly, this is a very good idea. It’s necessary to provide people with as much information as is practical. But, instead of focusing on helpful things like where our food is sourced, companies tend to use labels either as marketing tools or as a place for useless information.

Fat free water?! Really. Well, thank you Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf for inventing that. Oh…water is naturally fat free? Is that because it’s…WATER?! I’m not sure what the point of this is. Does anyone not think that water is fat free? Although, maybe some fat in water wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Bacon fat infused spring water, anyone? Now that’s a label I’d like to see!

Here’s a baffling example of protections applied in the wrong place. Indeed, it is very important for people with wheat sensitivities to know if there is wheat in what they’re eating. However, is is really necessary to hit people on the head with it? If the ingredients of something are wheat & water, I bet anyone who takes the time to monitor their wheat intake every day could probably detect that there is, indeed, wheat in this matzo. Perhaps, instead, they could let us know where that wheat came from…
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Easy Meat Sauce

Posted on May 5, 2009. Filed under: easy, one pot, pasta, recipe |

This is an easy to make, stripped down meat sauce. Not a lot of hard work involved in this one!

28oz. Can Ground Tomato
1/3 Cup Olive Oil
4 Cloves Garlic
1 Tsp. Onion Powder
1 Tsp. Sugar
1 Tsp. Dried Oregano or Italian Seasoning

1Lb. Ground Beef
15% Fat, Grass-fed preferred
1 Tbsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tsp. Onion Powder

Season ground beef. Brown for about 3 minutes in a large pan. Drain fat, add remaining ingredients. Simmer at least 30 minutes, preferably for one hour.
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