Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Jam of the Day

Happy Hump day everyone. This is the day we all look forward to the least... the middle of the work week... the weekend still far away... knee deep in papers, emails, phone calls....

But don't worry. I have the fix for you. Here is a little song that always puts me in a good mood, and gets me moving in my seat.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pear and Gorgonzola Cheese Pizza

I did it again. Something sweet and salty! I'm sorry... I have SUCH AN ADDICTION! But let me also give my defense and say that Trader Joes stopped making (or supplying in my area??) their pear and Gorgonzola pizza. And I have been craving it for a longggg time. Other than CPK, I don't think I know of a place that makes a pear and Gorgonzola pizza anymore, which makes it really hard on me when I have cravings. So, I just made it myself.

1 pizza dough (homemade or store bought)
1 pear
1/2 pound or 8 ounces Gorgonzola Cheese
1 red onion slice
olive oil
Arugula (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lay corn meal on your pizza stone and stretch it out to the desired width and shape. I have begun to realize that "circle" doesn't really exist when making homemade pizza. Its more of an oblong round shape, but I think it gives it character.

Cornmeal is a must to prevent sticking

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Turkey Bacon BLT with Mission Figs and Heirloom Tomato

I spent my morning treating my dog to an excursion at the dog park while I did homework. He was the cutest little pup running around and made another girlfriend named Kai. Such a ladies man. Deciding that I was #1 mommy this morning, lunch time was my treat time. I had already agreed upon busting out this applewood smoked turkey bacon I had got from Trader Joes. But, upon running out of mayo and having to get another jar from the cupboard, I saw them. My figs. My dried black mission figs. And then it hit me.

If you haven't noticed a theme by now, I ADORE (!!!!) salty and sweet together. It might be somewhat of a problem. But think about it; what better way to make your palette dance around in joy than to give it multiple sensations. Turkey bacon and figs? Cmon. It was a no brainer!

2 slices favorite bread, toasted
3 pieces Turkey Bacon
3 Dried Mission Figs
1 small- medium Heirloom Tomato
1 red onion round, sliced on the thinner side
1 tbs mayonnaise
1 handful arugula
2 toothpicks

Start by making sure yout bread is toasting and that your bacon has been crisped. I just turn my pan on medium high, place the turkey bacon in it for a minute or two on each side, and get it crispy.

Candied Mango and Mint Popcorn Squares

This is what happens when you come home and crave something sweet... you make popcorn bars. Trust me, they are worth it. And so delicious. But make sure you only eat one if you can.... oh k maybe two.... three??
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/2 canola oil
1/2 cup dried candied mango, diced
1/4 cup roughly chopped mint
1 cup cornnuts, salted
4 tbs butter, unsalted
2 cups marshmallows
Start by making your popcorn. If you don't usually make popcorn from scratch, you should. Its really easy and a lot healthier for you. Take a medium sized pot and pour the oil into it. Next, add the corn kernels. Cover with a lid. Once the popping stops, your popcorn is done.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

800 Degrees Pizza

My friend Desiree who works with me at UCLA, and has her own blog Bundts of Steel, has talked about this new pizza place that opened up in Westwood CA a number of times, and I finally went with her on Friday. It is amazing. Its sort of the concept of Subway, where you stand in line, pick you base, choose the add ons, and in a few short minutes get your meal. But instead of being low quality sandwiches, 800 Degrees Pizza is excellent quality, high end ingredient, pizza. PIZZA. Made to order and cooked in 60 seconds. Phenominal.

When you look at the menu, you notice things like prosciutto, rock shrimp, and truffles. Or how about a list of cheese that include Fontina, Smoked Provalone, and a Fresh Burrata Bar. The items to choose from are all high end. Something like mushrooms does not include your traditional Domino's white caps. Instead, you get a slightly marinated mixed group of mushrooms that have been wood fire roasted. They even have charred broccolini.

Short Rib Sliders with Mango Coleslaw

I had a dinner party on Friday and before the party, was seriously lacking some inspiration as to what to make. My invite said to make something sinful; a guilty pleasure you don't get to eat all the time. My go to item is usually my Macaroni and Cheese. Everyone loves it, everyone asks for it, but I have done it... a lot! So I began to think about what else I could make. Baked Brie? Fig Bread Pudding? Vanilla Rum Cake? Butter Cake?

And then it hit me... almost literally hit me.... Driving home around my neighbor hood the other day, the Kogi BBQ food truck almost rear ended me. And then I thought about it... sliders. Small, easy, DELICIOUS. Kogi has some of the best Asian inspired sliders in Los Angeles. Mine, however, were going to be a little bit different.

The reason this post is labeled easy entertaining is because it is semi homemade. Meat takes time to marinate and when you are having a party after work, you may be strapped for time. Like I was. But to make things that are semi homemade taste delicious, and not like they came from a store after sitting for hours, is to make it only part prepackaged and part you and your creative efforts. This is why everything else but the meat was homemade, giving the slider its freshness.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Playing with Cheese: Killer Baked Brie

Its a love affair that I am not ashamed to admit. Cheese is so good. You can eat it plain. You can melt it. You can shred it on top of things. You can broil it. you can fry it... It's just so versatile.... and delicious!
In July, I posted about how to make a simple Cheese Platter for easy entertaining. But cheese can also be doctored in other ways to make it even more exciting, and keep every dinner party fresh and new. Seeing as I have a dinner party coming up this weekend, I thought I would treat myself to a Valentine's Cheese filled dinner, and maybe give a few of my friends some inspiration.

Sidenote, I start Graduate School today! Super excited... and if you are reading this, wish me luck :)

1 wheel brie cheese (8 inch diameter)
1/4 cup fig jam or fig butter
1/4 cup crushed nuts (pecans and walnuts work best)
1 pie crust or puff pastry sheet
1 egg
, beaten, with a little water added

crackers or bread to serve it with

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Using a sharp knife, cut the wheel of brie in half horizontally and separate the top half of the wheel from the bottom half. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bailey's Whipped Cream

Kerry, my neighbor from downstairs I have mentioned before, is having a birthday this week. You must know what that means... time for a Birthday Cake! She loves chocolate, but she also loves a good beer. I remember eating a Guinness chocolate cake a year or so ago and fell in love with it. Today, I am recreating Nigella Lawsons recipe for Chocolate Guinness Cake. I opted to make a Bailey's whipped cream instead of the cream cheese frosting from Ms.Laweson's site. I thought a fluffy light cream would be better, plus its spiked with Bailey's. I think she is going to love it.

1 cup Guinness stout (NOT including foam. Make sure the beer liquid goes up to a cup)
10 tbs (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3/8 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups sugar
3/8 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tbs vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsps baking soda

2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
1/3 cup Bailey's Irish Creme

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a cake pan or bundt pan. I like the look of tbe bundt pan so that is what I am using. You can also use a spring-form pan. In a large saucepan, melt the butter, but do not turn it on too high (you do not want the butter to brown). Once mostly melted, combine the Guinness by slowly pouring it into the saucepan. Once all the butter melts, remove the saucepan from heat.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Man's Perfect Dinner #1: The Perfect Steak


Five simple letters that when put together, get the attention of any man. I am not the biggest meat eater, but I have friends that could eat hunk of beef every day. My mother makes the best steak, and I wanted to share her recipe with you. I will post photos up hopefully this weekend, I just need a few volunteers for steak eating.

Pair this hunk of meat with potatoes and killer chocolate desert, and ladies, we have a winner. I hear a Valentine's Day dinner in your near future.... :)

The Meat
1 steak, thick cut
1 1/2 tbs butter
1 tbs rosemary
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper

You want to make sure you get a nice cut of beef. AND never get a lean cut... steak needs to be fatty so it stays juicy. This recipe is meant for a thick piece of meat. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Melt the butter and olive oil in pan on highest heat. Add the rosemary and garlic. Let the herbs and garlic infuse the butter. If you have a cast iron skillet, this would be good to use.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Jam of the Day

I know this is a food blog, but I love music. Sorry for half of my posts being about the songs currently stuck in my head. In Los Angeles, there has been this great song that just started playing on the radio. Its called "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotye. Here is the video:

It is a stellar song, weird video. But then someone showed me this....

It is not often when I think a cover of a song is far more exceptional than the original, especially an original that is already really good. Not only does Walk Off The Earth sing it swimmingly, the music video they make is amazing. 5 people playing on 1 guitar?? Possible.

Check this out and enjoy :)

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I start this recipe off by saying, it is not that healthy. But there are some days that call for a lot of cheese and butter. Monday was a long day at work. A long day in life. So I decided to make myself something... comforting.... delicious.... bad for me. I present to you, my Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Drool.

2 slices of your favorite bread
*something with a little of a tougher crust but soft on the inside works best for most grilled cheeses*
1 jalapeno
3 tbs cream cheese
2 ounces cheddar
1 ounce shredded mozzarella
2 tbs mayonnaise
2 tbs butter
1 cup crushed jalapeno kettle chips

To start, take your cheddar cheese and dice it up into chunks. In a bowl, add the cream cheese, cheddar cheese and the shredded mozzarella. Mix them together

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Austin Texas Has Been Conquered!

So Austin Texas was a great city and I intend on going back. There is a Chick-filt-a and a Whataburger on every corner, the weirdest street names I have ever seen, and cowboy boots galore.

Thursday night, I headed downtown with my friends. I was so nervous I was not going to fit in with my LA clothes and shoes, etc... but it was quiet the opposite. Downtown is the mecca of college kids in Austin on a Thursday night, and kind of reminds me of Main street Santa Monica. The coolest part is that 6th street in downtown gets its streets blocked off so the people walking around can stay safe and have a cool going out environment that is kind of private from the rest of Austin. It is like a giant street fair, just every week. The drinks are typical, just a lot cheaper than LA, and the company was great. Everybody in Austin just sort of loves each other, which is so refreshing from people in LA who I feel just judge one another. And there wasn't an overload of country music, which was my immediate fear. Just regular old kids having fun, so I felt right at home.

Friday I got BBQ with my Great Uncle Eddie at the famous Rudy's. I had wanted to go to the Saltlick, but my Uncle Eddie insisted we try Rudy's. I should have listened to him in the first place because the food was INCREDIBLE. If you ever go, and do not try the Moist Brisket, you are just... doing yourself a disservice. The coolest part about Rudy's was the way they treat you on your first time there. Not only do they have great customer service, they insist you try a little bit of everything. So there I was, at the counter, with little morsels of all their meats, and some creamed corn in front of me, testing everything before I made a decision. My Uncle Eddie, being the smart man he is, told me to get the moist brisket, but I had to try everything just in case. And guess what I wound up with... the moist brisket! Second on my list would have been the smoked turkey which was insanely juicy. We also grabbed some banana puddings and potato salad. Oh, and let's not forget, they give you a stack of good old white bread so you can make your own sandwiches. Divine.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Texas & Jam of the Day

As I get ready to depart to Austin Texas, I promise you 2 things...
1) I will be eating a lot of good food
2) I will tell you about it

And with that I leave you with an old school Jam of the Day

Have a great beginning to February!!!

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