Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Oh no I didn't!  Fry shrimp at lunch?  On a Tuesday???  All I can say is that when I have a craving, I have a craving and nothing can stop me.  Quick and easy and golden.

2 people

1 dozen shrimp, peeled, devained and tail removed.
about 3 cups canola oil
Panko crumbs
1 egg, gently beaten
Your favorite Creole-style seasoning (I just used garlic salt)

2 rustic french mini loaves
1 tomato, sliced
1/2 head bibb lettuce, shredded
red onion, thinly sliced
good mayo
Louisiana Hot Sauce

Start by breading the shrimp.  Place shrimp in egg first, then into Panko crumbs.  ( I add seasoning to the Panko crumbs). Set aside and get the oil up to temperature.
Heat oil in a heavy, deep pot.  Temp should be around 375.  Test heat by dropping a few Panko crumbs in, when they drop to the bottom and immediately rise to the top and start cooking rapidly, the oil is ready.  keep in mind, the temperature will drop rapidly once you start adding shrimp, so slowly cook a few shrimp at a time to ensure frying oil temp stay consistent.  Fry each shrimp about 3-4 minutes, until golden.  Remove from oil, place on paper towel (or brown paper grocery bag), and season with seasoning and some Hot Sauce.

Once all shrimp are cooked, lightly toast bread halves.  (I dug out the bread from the bottom half and made a "boat" for the shrimp to be set in).

Arrange sandwich with mayo, lettuce, onion and tomato and another good douse of Hot Sauce.
Enjoy immediately.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Easiest.  Cake.  Ever.
Perfect for brunch, afternoon tea, summer picnics or for no reason at all!

Taken right off the page from Donna Hay / Entertaining.  

4 oz butter, room temp.
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 TBLS grated lemon rind
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups plain AP flour (sifted)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 and grease an 8 x 8 pan.
Place butter, sugar and lemon rind in a stand up mixer and beat until light and creamy.
Add eggs and beat well.
Fold in flour, baking powder, sour cream and lemon juice.
Immediately place into cake pan and bake for 40 minutes or until cake is fully cooked when tested with skewer.
Dust with either super fine castor sugar or powdered sugar and serve warm with cream.

Friday, April 22, 2011


nogg hen house via design*sponge

Here's to you!  Have a happy Easter!  Thought this hen house would inspire!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Well, strawberries are back in season but you'd never know it, here in LA, as it is currently 56 degrees outside and I am literally sitting in front of the fire.  Let's call this an experiment, kind of R & D, getting ready for the inevitable summer.  Because it will get hot, or even warm, soon.  And I like to be well prepared.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Artichoke, Chive and Goat Cheese Fritatta

Thanks to these gals,  I can get my hands on super fresh, (as in, still warm), beautiful eggs.  They're not mine, but I love them like they were and will one day have chickens of my own.  In the mean time, I'm happy helping my neighbor with her ever-abundant eggs whenever I can.  So this morning, I made great use of ten of these precious gems and made a lovely breakfast.  Fritattas are easy and completely limitless in ingredients.  I used what I had on hand.  I steamed 2 artichokes last night and since we didn't get around to eating them,  they were a perfect addition to the goat cheese and chives.  Always great accompanied by a simple herbed salad.

Friday, March 25, 2011


An ominous and quirky, (It IS David Lynch, after all), video on cooking quinoa.  Couldn't help but share.
***Now go rent The Straight Story and thank me later.

Friday, March 18, 2011

For Japan, With Love...

An amazing group of bloggers (these guys, too) have gotten together to participate in an incredible fund raising event to help those in need in Japan, if you'd like to participate, please click here.

ShelterBox provides emergency shelter and life saving supplies for families around the world who are affected by diasters at the time they need it the most.  Each large green box is tailored to each disaster, but typically contains a relief tent for an extended family, blankets, a stove, cooking utensils, water storage and purification equipment, a basic tool kit and children's activity packet.  A whole box costs $1,000 (US) amd initially, this effort was to raise $5,500, but because of the generosity of so many, they have raised over $32,000.00!  Please do what you can, any amount donated helps!
Thanks, Yvette, for passing this to me.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ina Garden's Pear and Apple Crisp

Let me start by saying that I rarely make dessert unless we are having friends over for dinner, or a holiday comes poking around.  This is partly due to my insecurities of baking and also the reality of only having fleeting moments of a desire for sweets.  But, recently,  I had this unbelievable craving for a fruit crisp and wasn't satisfied until I had a whole 9 x 13 baking pan FULL of crisp siting on the counter staring back at me saying, "I'm here for you, whenever you need me".  Like a really good friend.
There is no baking prowess required to make this, a fruit crisp is literally "desserts 101", but this one especially will impress any and all food snobs alike.  Simply because it is good,  damn good, all thanks to Ina Garden and her wild abandon use of butter and all things naughty.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


My neighbor has 15 beautiful, sexy chickens.  All different varieties. All different personalities.  They are surprisingly affectionate and kind of a riot to observe.  I have spent hours with my neighbor in her chicken yard just observing and laughing.  Now I want chickens.  Not 15, but maybe 5.  The eggs that these wonderful birds lay every day are truly amazing,  the yolks are bright yellow and when you crack them open, they glide out of their shells effortlessly.  They are the most flavorful and gorgeous eggs you've even seen or tasted.  I'm lucky enough to get as many eggs as I need, (most if the time), and I since I am so spoiled, I can't even consider buying eggs from the market any more.  Even free-range, organic eggs in the market pale in comparison to a freshly laid egg, still warm.  
I live in the mountains of LA,  it's a little bit country up here, and having chickens is not uncommon in these parts.  (Although, they do have to be protected by the various creatures of the night, mainly coyote, bob cats, and the ever-reclusive mountain lion... think Fort Knox, but with chickens).  If you live in the city, you can get by with a fairly minimal coop. It's an undertaking, but becoming so much more common place these days.  There are thousands of websites devoted to building coops, and raising chickens.  Here's a great start.
Check out these great modern coops and get in the spirit of the chicken!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Maple, Ginger and Bourbon

I had the privilege of attending an amazing dinner party over the holidays where I was among many creative and amazing people (McGruber was there!).   A fabulous night, under the Los Angeles stars, eating food from these guys and drinking drinks made by this guy. (OK, just kidding, I don't have a website for the bartender, but I do have his email if you live in LA and are in need of a kick-ass bar-tender...).  Anyway,  I was so taken by this particular cocktail, I had to get the ins and outs of it.  Let me be clear, I am not a bourbon drinker at all, (although I always wished that I was.  It has this sexy, dusty, smokey, Southern drawl about it).  I'm wary of drinking brown liquor, especially when combined with sugar = headache!!  This drink has serious hangover potential.  Don't say I didn't warn you!
So, here's the gist, equal parts ginger syrup and maple syrup, to two, (or 3), parts bourbon, (get the good stuff, I used Maker's Mark), a squeeze or two of lemon and garnish with a cinnamon stick.  Perfect for a chilly night among friends and by a warm fire, which is exactly how I've been doing it!

Maple, Ginger and Bourbon over Ice

makes 2 drinks

1 - 2 ounces ginger syrup
1 - 2 ounces grade A maple syrup
6 ounces good/best quality bourbon, Makers Mark
juice from 1 lemon
2 cinnamon sticks for garnish
club soda *optional

In a shaker, combine everything but cinnamon sticks and lemon.  Add some ice and shake.
Pour into 2 rocks glasses filled with ice and add squeeze or two of lemon, or more to taste.
Top off with club soda *optional.
Garnish with cinnamon stick. * I've found good prices on cinnamon sticks at World Market!

Might pair nicely with this dessert?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy 2011! Get to Cookin'

Happy 2011!  As we usher in a new year, we are again bombarded with "healthy" diets and new weight loss plans which always seem a bit far fetched and unscientific.  We promise to change the unhealthy habits and poor eating choices that we make which usually only lasts a few agonizing weeks.
I read this article by Mark Bittman in the NYT, and thought it was a perfect way to kick off the new year as he suggests that even though we say we don't have time to cook healthfully, we spend thirty five freaking hours a week in front of the t.v.  No more excuses, America, this is getting ridiculous!  Use your damn kitchen and start cooking some meals at home!

These are Mister Bittman's 3 must-have recipes for a healthy planet and a healthy population.  All can be altered to fit a meat-eaters or a vegan diet.  Happy New Year!

Broccoli Stir - Fry with Chicken (or not) and Mushrooms

Lentils and Rice With or Without Pork

Crunchy Cabbage Salad

Illustration from New York Times, January 2, 2011.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Easy Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies and Christmas! There are millions of sugar cookie recipes out there, all basically the same, with small tweaks here and there.  I tried this recipe out from The Food Network with great success, with much help from the readers comments who mention how hard and crumbly the dough becomes after resting in the fridge, making it nearly impossible to roll out and work with.  So after I made the dough, I went ahead and rolled it out, cut my shapes and then put them on the sheet pans which went into the fridge for about an hour.  Once I removed them from the fridge, they were firm and solid.  Brilliant!  They baked evenly and did not spread.  This is the way to go.