I love pickles but have never made them. I’m not one to can, preserve etc. It all seems too complicated and I would fear poisoning myself somehow for not respecting the perfect canning rules. I don’t follow directions well. I succeeded in making delicious dill pickles with a hint of heat. The good thing about these pickles is they could just be stored in the fridge for up to two months. The trick was to get them to last more than two weeks in our pickle loving household.
One hot pepper sliced in circles. Keep the seeds if you want it extra spicy. Note: When cutting hot peppers wear gloves, unless you want to do what I did and have hot pepper on everything, including my coffee cup.
Cut each cucumber lengthwise into four spears or as I did in rounds. In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, dill, onions and garlic; set aside. In a pot, combine the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; cook and stir just until salt is dissolved. Pour over cucumber mixture; cool.
Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. Yum!
We no longer can use our grill at our apartment due to California law and fires, so this meal is an ode to the grill. I accompanied the Grilled pork chop with a mushroom ragu, a side of steamed spinach and grilled red and yellow peppers.
For the pork chop I used some of my Cabernet Sel de Cali, a special wine infused salt from California, infused with California Cabernet and dried in the California sun.
For the mushroom ragu I used about one tablespoon of unsalted butter and sautéed some shallots. Just as the shallots were tender I added a splash of Marsala cooking wine. I then added a mix of mushrooms: cremini, portabella and shiitake, any mix will do. I wished I had oyster mushrooms or other kinds. I cooked it until tender. I grilled the peppers that were drenched in olive oil, Sel de Cali and pepper while the pork chop was cooking. It turned out to be a nice end of the grill meal.
I received my farm fresh to you box at my door. It was filled with yummy vegetables including organic celery, Nantes carrots, fennel and some radishes of all sorts of different colors. I decided to do a quick saute and it ended up delicious. I used a bit of olive oil and chopped up garlic and shallots to start. I then added my finely chopped carrots, celery, fennel and then some radishes. In the end I seasoned with some of my Sel De Cali, the chardonnay infused salt and a few sprigs of rosemary. I can’t remember what the main protein was for this meal, but I’m sure it was either steak, chicken or pork chops! It was the first time I added radishes to a saute and it turned out delicious!
I decided that I would eat my still life, autumn display. I had made a butternut squash soup before and an acorn squash soup, but never did I put the two together. I started out with about 3 tablespoons or so of butter and melted it into a pot, I added 1 sliced, sweet onion with about 4 fresh sage leaves. I let it cook for about 5 minutes or more because it was so tough cutting up my acorn squash and butternut squash. I would advise cutting them up in cubes prior to cooking the onions. I then added the cut up squash. I let it cook for about 3 or 4 minutes with the onions. Then I added about 4-5 glasses of water and two bouillon cubes. I let it cook for a while till the squash was tender. It was too thick, so I added more water, each time letting it cook together well. This soup can be thick or thin depending on taste. I like it in between. I used the hand blender to mix it all up. I cooked it some more. I saw many recipes that added heavy cream, yogurt, or even cream cheese. I had none of the above, but I did add about 1/3 cup milk, or one big pour. It added to the creamy-ness and made the soup silky smooth. It was delicious. At the end add a bit of nutmeg. I served this in my Japanese Ramen bowls which made it look nice, but the photo doesn’t do it justice. The lighting was bad and we didn’t eat till 10pm. My husband came home super late from work. I served this with some french bread. I buy the – french small french baguette from trader joes. I put them right in the freezer. When I want them, I just heat the oven up to 350 and pop the frozen par-baked bread in for about 10 minutes. It turns out great. No preservatives and the closest thing to fresh baguette I get in Rancho Palos Verdes. This dinner is very inexpensive, filling and yummy. Enjoy.
This was the most amazing and simple dessert I made. During our stay in France, we were at a cafe eating lunch. My husband and son didn’t want a dessert, fine for them, I was thinking I’m going back to the states in 4 weeks, time to eat up all the wonderful things possible on this visit. I ordered l’ile flottante a lovely french desert. It arrived at the table and my husband was curious and took a bite. Basically it’s a big poof cloud on a liquid creme anglaise. It’s so delicious. He gobbled up most of my desert. My son only 6 still scared of liquidy looking, strange things passed on it. I decided I needed to try it at home back in Los Angeles. I searched on line for many different recipes. I found some that added corn starch or other things. I knew it was a very simple desert, so finally I found one that just asked for 1.5 cups of milk, a split vanilla pod, 3 eggs separated and 115 grams of castor sugar. Voila. I found it and made it.
I did what they said. Beat the egg whites, add a pinch
of salt until the eggs have firm peaks. Continue beating the eggs while slowly adding 40 grams of sugar. The eggs can be either put in boiling water or do what I did… 45 seconds in the microwave which is totally unheard of for me. I don’t like microwaves, but I am a horrible egg poacher, I just couldn’t see how I could do egg whites. So I thickened out, oh no, sounds bad while talking about eggs. Anyway, I used the fast, microwave route. They were perfect. I put them on a plate and in the fridge to keep. I then made my custard. Or wait, I made my custard first, but I don’t think it matters. I heated the milk over a low heat with the vanilla pod slip in it. I took out most of the seeds and added it mixing the milk. Heat the milk till it bubbles a bit then remove from heat. In a bowl mix the egg yolks and 75 grams of sugar. Then pour the hot milk on this egg mixture. Mix well. Pour the mixture into a clean saucepan, add heat over low heat for 5 minutes stirring constantly. It shouldn’t boil! After a few minutes the custard will thickened a bit, but thicken even more in the fridge. Place it all in fridge. Try and find fun bowls, martini glasses, whatever you have to make the desert look wonderful. Add the vanilla bean as a garnish. This was too good and not bad for you. The ingredients are so simple
1.5 cups milk, 3 eggs, 115 grams sugar and a vanilla pod-easy and yummy
I didn’t have much time to prepare anything fancy, but somehow my simple dish made it to the “I’ve been slaving away in the kitchen” category in my husbands eyes, even though it took all of 10 minutes to prepare, if that. I searched for something interesting to make for a side dish. We are staying away from so many starches and cauliflower just has that satisfying taste that not all veggies have. I chopped up, trying to keep the “flowers” in tack, 1/2 a cauliflower, sliced about 8 nice white mushrooms that I bought from the local farmer’s stand and then added a few sliced garlic cloves. Voila, just a few drizzles of my herb infused extra virgin olive oil and a few sprinkles of my black trufflesea salt, it was ready to go into the oven. I put it at 375 for about 30 minutes covered with foil and then 5 minutes uncovered. In the meantime I grilled up my usual grilled chicken, but this time I played around with the flavors a bit, using more salt and rosemary, from my friends salt concoction she calls, Herbs de PV. She blended sea salts with natural growing herbs from Palos Verdes. I think our meal was great and it was definitely healthy.
I love ceviche. I had the real deal 10-years ago when I went to visit my sister in Peru. We traveled all over sampling some of the most amazing Peruvian dishes, but for me, Ceviche is my favorite. I had never tried making it until today. Inspired by the Peruvian restaurant and my local fish monger, I decided to try it out when I was buying my weekly fish. The fish guy told me to try his frozen tilapia. I’m a purest and didn’t feel like buying frozen fish, why after all, I was in fresh-fish heaven? However, he convinced me by saying, “It makes for a wonderful ceviche” I bought four filets for about $5 dollars. I went home thawed out the fish and started squeezing my bags of lemons and limes. I know you can use one or the other (lemons or limes), but this was my first and I wanted it “cooked.” I was on a time constraint so the only thing I did was cover my fish completely with lemon and lime juice and put it in the fridge. I let it sit for a few hours, the time to get my son, bring him to an afterschool event and then back. So my ceviche was done in several stages. So, three hours later…… I chopped up some fresh hot peppers– I had bought a little medly of peppers and I can’t remember all the names of each, but in general any spicey pepper will do. Some were super spicy and others more mild. I also chopped up a big bunch of cilantro. I really love the fresh taste of cilantro, so I probably added more than the average Peruvian would add. Next I cut up half a red onion in the thinnest slivers possible with a chefs knife. A mandolin would have been perfect, but I don’t have one. I also added 4 half of garlic cloves for flavor. Lots of Sel de Cali– the chardonnay version, a bit of fresh, ground pepper and I put it all in the bowl with my fish and back into the fridge to “cook” some more. Just before serving, maybe 2 hours later, I boiled a sweet potato to go on the side. Generally this dish is served with big corn and a sweet potato. I didn’t have big Peruvian corn, so we settled for the lovely orange-colored potato. I have to say, it was delicious. We had enough to feed several people. I had used all 4 filets. Next time I think I will use two filets, if it’s a main course for two people. This dish would also be a great party appetizer. It could be served on a tortilla, on a lettuce wrap, or just alone in little individual ramekins. Now that I’ve made it the possibilities are endless if I am to entertain. Just make sure you keep the ceviche cold, nobody likes a warm ceviche.
I love salmon! And I love super fresh Salmon from my fish monger. I call it the freshest seafood in southbay. I’m seriously lucky to have this wonderful fish available when I want. Luckily, my friend was with me and wanted salmon as well because we had to buy the whole fish. That’s what you get when you shop at a warehouse . The big debate was how we wanted it split. She wanted a filet with the skin off, I wanted a steak, but said fine for the filet, yet in the end, I had to have the skin off, too. I didn’t want Tony to do too much work, it was already a favor for him to clean the fish for us. This decision dictated my preparations for dinner. I had planned to grill it on the BBQ, but instead would bake it. We each had enough for 7 -8 people each. So I guess you could say one big Salmon would have fed 16 people! And it only cost about 24 dollars for the whole fish!!!
I peeked at recipes online for inspiration and decided to make an herb incrusted salmon in the oven. I took what I had growing on the balcony. I grabbed a bunch of fresh Italian oregano and some Thai basil. I chopped it up and added some Chardonnay Salt from Sel de Cali and placed the salmon on a bed of thinly sliced and de-seeded lemons. I baked the salmon for about 15 minutes at 350F. In the meantime I steamed some asparagus that I bought from Jacques produce stand. I set up the rice medley in the rice cooker. Yet, something was missing, I needed color so I cut up some delicious tomatoes that I also purchased from the veggie stand. I made a really simple tomato salad. I used a few scallions and then just finished it off with Sel de Cali, the Cabernet one. It was simple but added a deliciously fresh element to our dinner. Yum. We actually enjoyed it in front of the TV, which isn’t ideal fro great dinner conversations, but it was late.
This is so easy, yet so delicious. I love simple dishes. I bought some wild caught smoked salmon at the local market. I made myself the easiest and not to mention healthiest dinner. I wasn’t in the mood to cook, but I wanted something good. I added some heirloom cherry tomatoes and some organic persian cucumbers on the side for some crunch appeal. I cut up lots of lemon slices for my salmon. There is nothing better than simple flavors with salt, I of course used Sel de Cali, for the taste and beauty appeal. This is now one of my favorite, easy meals to prepare that can also transform into a great appetizer or hors d’oeuvre platter. I would however dress it up a bit more when serving it to guests. I would add a few capers on the side, maybe some red onions, little crackers, blinis, or just simple pieces of bagels or some type of vehicle to place the salmon and veggies on it. A great cheese that goes with this is of course, cream cheese, but also a marscapone, ricotta, boursin or even goat cheese. There are many possibilities. And for those who are staying away from carbs, a great way to serve this is with Belgian endive leaves, they are a perfect little vehicles to serve the salmon. You can also make it in advance by placing a bit of cheese, a piece of salmon and a few capers with an onion on a piece of endive… or play with the combinations. I personally wouldn’t mix the lemon with the cheese, however. If you don’t have time to prepare it, in a rush, just add all the elements to a plate as nicely as possible and call it the deconstructed hors d’oeuvre. Smoked salmon is something I always have in my fridge, you just never know when you will have an impromptu guest over. Enjoy.
How delicious. I finally used my fish stock that I made and froze a few weeks back.
I steamed my clams in the fish stock with a bunch of chopped shallots that Paul had accidentally chopped when making Boeuf Bourgignon, when the recipe he was using asked for whole shallots, so I had pre-chopped shallots. Yay. I have to say that you should soak your clams in fresh water, a bit of salt and a spoon of polenta or some type of grainy flour, if you have. Soak for at least one hour to make sure the clams purge all the sand out. There is nothing worse than chewing on sand. Once I got my clams situated, I stuffed a gorgeous red snapper with a big bunch of parsley and sliced lemons. I dusted the fish with lovely Sel de Cali and then popped it in the oven for about 20 mins at 350 degrees. Since the fish was large, I fileted it once cooked. I didn’t do the best job presenting my meal. I think it lacks color for sure, but I was hungry. Had it been for guests I would have added a small bed of parsley with lemon slices and something red, like a little cut out red pepper flower or something to accent my Sel de Cali.
The meal was really delicious and thanks to my fresh fish shop, inexpensive. I don’t know what I would do without the San Pedro fish warehouse. It’s truly the best fish in South Bay! I would have payed 4x’s as much for this fresh fish. In the end, it just cost 7 dollars paying the extra $1 to get it cleaned. I made the mistake of cleaning it myself before and I just didn’t want scales all over the tiny apartment kitchen again! I had scales everywhere, even in my hair! Yulk. But onto better more appetising thoughts, this meal was great! So good that my husband wanted us to save the stock and have clams the following night, too! Super YUM