Thursday, July 31, 2008


I love salmon. The fattier, the better!  

If you have a favorite fresh fish market near you, great, but not everyone does. Either that or they just don't care to make a special trip to a special store just to get a piece of fish. It's how things work in the real world.  Most people buy their meat and fish at their local grocery. And really, there is nothing wrong with it. The biggest issue I have with grocery store meats is the quality -- they are not always very tender, but with creative cooking, you can still make very good meals. 

Fish on the other hand, most of it is previously frozen and the shrimp is always freezer-burnt and fishy smelling and then the fish is usually just disgusting. The flesh will be separated and half the time it's all skinned and you just have no idea how old it is or where it came from. About the only thing I can buy at the grocery -- seafood wise -- is salmon. I buy the Atlantic salmon, as it is the fattiest and it holds up well to freezing (so if it's previously frozen you should still be OK, just make sure the flesh isn't separated or mushy looking) and the extra fat makes all the difference in the world when it comes to a moist piece of cooked fish. Lots of fat just under the skin also, so try to find pieces that are not skinned. All the fancy varieties, such as Sockeye, are just usually not an option for me. They are much leaner and tend to be much drier when cooked. Plus they are just so expensive. Which would be fine if I felt they were worth it, which I don't. Unless you can find one that is fresh caught and whole, they are usually always badly thawed and just like mush. Eww. 

So this pretty piece of fish is just a cheap cut I got at Von's. $8.99/lb., but it's known to go on sale for as little as $5.99/lb. And it's very good. And good for you. And so easy to cook! 

On a piece of foil I put the fish, a drizzle of olive oil and salt & pepper.  Wrap it up and toss it on the bbq or in the oven at 400 until it just starts to flake, with a teensy bit of pink still inside. Let it rest for 5 minutes off the heat and it'll be ready to go!  

Another way I like to do salmon is to just put it flesh side down into a fry pan with olive oil and cook on medium until there is a golden crispy crust, then flip to the skin side, cover the pan, and cook on low until cooked through. It's absolutely delicious!  

A squirt of lime or lemon, or saute some chopped garlic in a little butter, then add diced fresh tomatoes (or canned tomatoes) and some oregano and salt & pepper to taste -- this makes a GREAT fish condiment!  And how much healthier can you get!

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Gulp. $60 for 2 steaks. I hope they're good. They are Porterhouse steaks, how bad can they be, but $30 each?? Seriously?? Tell me they're going to be good, because I feel faint. 

Sure, I've had Prime Beef before, many times. In restaurants. But I don't buy it for home cooking. I'm too cheap.  

Places will find all kinds of clever ways to throw the word PRIME into their description of their beef. But, Prime is Prime ... there is no "kinda prime" or "sorta prime" or "like prime" or "same as prime." Prime is Prime.  And while we're at it, on the higher scale, beware of the whole Kobe craze. Kobe beef is Kobe beef. Kobe "style" beef is not Kobe beef. Only Kobe beef is Kobe beef. P.E.R.I.O.D. 

So, with that off my chest -- here is my Friday night purchase from the only butcher shop in Coastal Orange County. 

I've grilled a lot of stuff, but never have I had anything flare like these steaks. Obviously all that fat just makes for the perfect fuel :)

With homemade scalloped potatoes - Delish! Was it worth $30?  I suppose. A bargain really, if compared to you'd pay for this baby in a restaurant ($80 or $100). But for eating outside on the patio at home... I just think it's overkill. I mean, it was delicious and tender and all that, but I'd have been just as happy with a few Costco steaks. JMHO. 

For baby we got a small filet -- 1/2" thick little slice of tenderloin. She takes her steak with Ranch dressing. Personally, I wouldn't think to dip my Filet Mignon in Ranch, but honestly, it's not half bad.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Who knew zucchini was so beautiful inside? 

Anyway ...

I know. It looks like lasagna. It's not. It's a zucchini, onion and swiss chard casserole.  Heavenly!  

The swiss chard doesn't have to be in there, but it's good, so why not? I guess you could also do spinach? Either one will need to be blanched in boiling water, then chopped fine. 

The absolute key to getting the right texture is to use a mandolin to slice the squash and onions paper thin. Texture matters. 

So, take your favorite red sauce. I like a red sauce made with sauteed onions in butter, crushed tomatoes, a bit of cream, a dash of sugar and a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (yes, you heard that right. Try it. It's amazing). You can use anything you like, even jar sauce (Yeah, I said it. So what. I don't use it, but you can).

A little sauce on the bottom, then spread half of the squash, chard and onions -- add a light bit of cheese to hold it together, I like mozzerella but you can also use cheddar -- then spread the rest of the squash/chard/onions and top with more sauce. A little cheese on top also. Just a little though. It's about the vegetables, not the cheese. Then into a 350 oven for about 30 minutes. 

This is how it looks at the end -- before the final topping of sauce. This is delicious! 

Monday, July 21, 2008


Simple is best. 

Just simply slice a lime, put it inside the trout with some salt and pepper and wrap it in foil. That's IT. 

The scallops - A little olive oil, salt & pepper. That's IT.

It was DELICIOUS. :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Sweet basil is always good, but man-o-man ... Summer basil is just something else! I was reading David Lebovitz's blog the other day, and he mentioned how the summer basil in Paris is so fragrant you can smell it a few meters away. That's the stuff I'm talking about! 

It's in that same category as the heavenly summer tomatoes and ripe off-the-tree peaches!   Love summer. 

Did you know that basil is best kept at room temperature? Most people keep it in the fridge, but it will actually thrive if kept at room temp, on the counter (out of the sun though) just in a glass of water. Seriously. It LOVES that.  Plus, you can also smell it the whole time you're in the kitchen! Why waste that loveliness? 

Give it fresh water each day.  

Saturday, July 5, 2008


Making pizza at home is not as difficult as it once was. You don't need the fancy pizza stones, and you don't even know how to make pizza dough. You can buy dough at the grocery store, you can pick some up at your local pizza restaurant... or not use dough at all, but instead some flatbread, thick tortillas, or pitas! My new fav is this flatbread. You can even keep it in the freezer and grab it when you're in the mood. And, this particular type happens to be only 110 calories and it's healthy.

You can put anything you want on it. My previous post about garlic pizza sauce revealed that "garlic sauce" is really just ranch dressing. This is surprisingly good on pizza. I swear. 

Then you have the red sauce, which is SO easy to make. 

1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 tsp salt & a pinch of pepper
1 tsp dried oregano (or Italian seasoning)

THAT'S IT.  Mix it all together... now you have sauce.

Optional ingredients
1 or 2 chopped cloves of garlic (yum!)
Fresh herbs such as oregano, parsley, rosemary

Now you have the bread part, and the sauce. You can use mozzarella cheese of course, but also goat cheese (feta or bleu cheese in small amounts) or even shredded cheddar is good as well. 

I thinly sliced one piece of chorizo, and some onion and green bell pepper. You can use whatever you have. Thinly sliced turkey lunch meat and some olives. Or, chopped fresh basil and some tomatoes (even tomatoes from a can are fine, just drain the juice). Whatever you fancy. 

Put your bread or dough on a cookie sheet that is greased with olive oil. Add your toppings. Cook at 450 or 500 until done. The flatbread cooks in about 6-7 min. If you want the top crispier, just turn on the broiler for a minute.  What I like about bread or tortillas is that you don't have to worry about the dough cooking right, you just cook until the crust is crisp.