Monday, December 29, 2008


Anyone else overindulge in goodies this Holiday? I tell you, I have eaten my fair share of good, fattening food. And not even really sweets, just things like scalloped potatoes with cream & butter, creamy soups, fatty steaks.... Boy-o-boy. And then last night I roasted a duck. And you know, the amount fat that is in duck skin is just beyond words. This is what came off of my duck last night -- over 2 cups -- and believe me when I say that there was plenty left in the skin! And who can resist that! Crispy duck skin... oh MAN.  (yes, of course I kept the duck fat! it's in the freezer.) 

Last night's dinner was the last straw though. Seriously. I just can't take much more. I haven't gained any weight, but I know I'm pushing my luck. We have dinner reservations at Port on New Year's Eve, and I'll totally be having the filet and lobster, but other than that I am going to try and get back to a more healthy menu. Get back to our normal eats! I feel almost like I do after spending a few days in New Orleans. You just hit that fat overload.
So tonight, it's mashed potatoes with kale and salmon. I chopped the kale very small, then boiled it in water with 1/4 cup red wine, a little salt and some granulated dried garlic. Then I processed the potatoes through the ricer, added the kale and some chicken stock to make it creamy.  

Once mixed, I added a few tablespoons of fresh grated Gruyere for flavor and richness, since a little goes a long way. That's it. No butter, no cream. It was refreshingly light, fluffy, and just delicious. Even my toddler scarfed it! 

Then just salmon, simply grilled with salt, pepper, garlic and lemon. :)  Ahhhh....  It's like an ice cold glass of water on a hot day. Refreshing!

Monday, December 22, 2008


Don't be frightened. It's better than you think. Like lemonade with just a hint of lavender in the background. And It's not lavender massage oil you're using, this calls for fresh leaves. The edible kind. I prefer the tender new growth personally. The flavor is just barely there, and the lemon really brightens and lightens the warmth of the lavender. You can find fresh lavender in some health food stores, and I have also seen it at Whole Foods. I picked mine while out on a walk the other day. Don't like booze? No problem! This is awesome with Perrier too!

So, Merry Christmas everyone! It's been pretty busy, and we've been gone a lot, so there hasn't been a whole lotta cooking going on here lately. And what I have cooked is just the average boring stuff you throw together when you're hungry and have no energy and very little time to get food on the table, definitely not blog material. Hey... here we had buttered noodles, and here we had an omelette. Big whoop.  So instead of letting the blog sit here dormant, I just decided to do another cocktail post. Because it's slightly possible that people might be looking for cocktail recipes for holiday parties, right? 

Why lemon and lavender? I have no clue where I got the idea, but it just works. 

~2 oz Belvedere Vodka
~4 teaspoons simple syrup (50% water 50% sugar dissolved)
~2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
~1 heaping teaspoon fresh lavender leaves. I suppose you could also use dried?
~paper thin lemon slices for garnish

Add crushed ice, vodka, lemon juice & syrup to shaker -- massage lavender leaves lightly to release the oils and add to shaker also. If your lavender seems really potent (there are different varieties), cut to half teaspoon or less -- you can always add more later. The point is to have a very faint lavender aroma in the background, not for this to taste like you're eating a Glade air freshener. So anyway, shake well.... Serve in chilled glass. Garnish with the paper thin lemon slices. 

For a NON-alcoholic version, use 7-up or sparking water instead of the vodka. 

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I really don't make cocktails often. Maybe a glass of wine now and then, but I'm so not a mix-master of any kind. But for some reason I have been in a martini mood lately. But not traditional martinis, nontraditional ones. Hence the Acai Berry Amazon from the other day. 

Today I was looking at a plate of fudge my husband got from one of his customers and the next thing you know I had out the Bailey's, milk, and the shaker. 

White Christmas Fudge Martini
1 ounce Stoli Elite Vodka (or my favorite, Belvedere)
2 ounces Bailey's Irish Cream
2 ounces Milk
Whipped Cream (optional)
1 piece of any kind of Christmas Fudge

Add liquids to shaker. Add ice and shake well. Pour into martini glass and garnish with fudge and whipped cream.

Kids obviously can't have Bailey's, but they CAN have whipped cream on their hand! 

Friday, December 5, 2008


Acai Berry is all the rage. Well, in California anyway.

It has powerful antioxidant capabilities. Some believe it promotes weight loss. The juice, in my opinion, is delicious.  

Acai Berry supplements are sold in most vitamin shops, but the juice is not that easy to find. The berries are highly perishable, so you will only find it in pill or juice form. I found this juice at Whole Foods.

Acai Berry Martini
Makes 2 - 3 oz. Martinis

2 oz. Acai Berry Juice
2 oz. Belvedere Vodka
2 oz. Hendrick's Gin
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon lime juice

Add sugar, vodka and gin to shaker. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add ice and lime juice and shake vigorously. Pour and serve with a lime twist garnish. 

For a non-alcoholic martini -- substitute sparkling water or 7-up in place of the alcohol. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Amazing! She ate it! My 20 month old daughter, Charlotte, actually ate a chicken fritter I made, spiked with flax seed and broccoli!  This kid. I tell you. She eats nothing right now. She eats hot dogs. And potatoes. And sometimes, eggs. That's about it. And everything needs a ranch chaser. It's really frustrating. This is not my fault.

She used to eat everything. She ate what we ate, no matter what it was -- I never even fed her baby food. Then all of a sudden, it just stopped about 2-3 months ago and I have no idea why? I read recently on the baby blog that Anthony Bourdain is trying really hard to get his daughter to also eat normal food. Well, his daughter is about a month or so younger than mine, so I wish him luck. And the story made me feel a little better, because at least I know I'm in good company. 

Charlotte also eats salmon, but you shouldn't feed salmon to small children more than maybe once or twice a week. So every day it's a struggle. I make something for her, and she usually just throws it down to the dog. Grrrrr! I try new stuff, I try repeating stuff she's already had (some experts say they have to try something an average of 8 times before they'll eat it) but most days it just gets tossed. 

I roasted a chicken last night, and today was removing the meat from the bones so I could make stock. I decided I'd try some chicken fritters. Unbelievably, she ate it! For the record, they WERE delicious (but I make yummy things all the time, it doesn't mean little miss fussy eater will agree).

1 cup finely diced chicken meat
1/4 cup finely chopped cooked broccoli tops
1 egg
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 Tbsp Flax seed
3 Tbsp bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
4 Tbsp milk or half & half
2 Tbsp Wondra

Mix all ingredients together. Should be thick and sticky, and easy to form patties. Coat patties with Panko breadcrumbs and fry in a generous amount (bottom of pan completely covered) of half olive, half canola oil. Fry until golden.   

Look at how crisp they are.
Intensely crisp outside, tender inside. So flavorful! And although it's fried, it is not at all greasy.

The ranch dressing ..... Ugh.  But she ate. That's all you care about after a while. 

My plate looked a little different than hers. 

The ranch aftermath. The gloss her head, face, hair and hands are covered with -- ranch. Ewww.

Monday, December 1, 2008


This Thanksgiving, instead of turkey, we had Kalua Pork. The inspiration came from a recent trip to Maui. My husband really isn't crazy about turkey, so I thought I'd just make something else this year. Last year I make turkey leg osso bucco, and that was really good, and a nice change-up also. 

My recipe for the Kalua Pig comes from a native Hawaiian. Not everyone has a big pit in their yard to throw a whole pig into, obviously, but you really don't have to have one to get a nice replica of the real deal. It's extremely simple, and each ingredient is very important. You must have the banana and ti leaves. Simply wrapping the pork in foil alone will not do. The leaves lend a particular aroma that is key to get the right flavor. And since you won't be cooking this with real coals, you need to use the liquid smoke. And the cut. You need pork butt. It is the fattiest. The pork ends up basically being almost poached in it's own fat. How bad could that be?!

I start by laying out 2 very large pieces of heavy duty foil, one vertical, one horizontal, with enough overlap to wrap over the pork later. Then, few pieces of string in the pan, 2 pieces each way also -- then lay down a bed of overlapping ti leaves (wash them before use). 

Lay your pork butt inside, and cut slits into the meat.

Season with liberally with salt, and pour the liquid smoke over the pork, then rub in the salt and smoke flavoring well into the pork and into the grooves and slices on top. Finally, lay the whole bananas on top of the meat (I didn't get a picture of that). 

Cover the pork with more ti leaves, and then gently fold them to cover pork. The strings you laid out in the beginning - tie them snugly over the top of the ti leaves. Lastly, wrap the pretty package in the foil, adding additional foil to the top if necessary. Try to avoid holes in the foil. You want the juices to stay inside.  

Into the oven, 325-350, 45 minutes per pound.  When done, remove from the leaves, discard bananas, and shred pork. 


4-5 pound pork butt
2-3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons liquid smoke
4-6 ti leaves (easy to find at most Asian groceries)
2 whole, unpeeled bananas (as green as you can find).