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It as been quite awhile since I blogged about anything, having to much fun since I moved to LA, family illness, and numerous other distractions have sidelined me from blogging. What a better way to ease back into it by blogging about my beloved show #Supernatural. While I hated season 6, this last season has had good moments and bad ones, but all in all .. not bad. So here goes: 

 1) You want Castiel back as Cas

2) The leviathian story line sucks. Lets get back to Lucifer & the archangels.

3) You miss the Trickster.

4) There really is a purgatory.

5) Sam and Lucifer have an unbroken bond.

6) Spike (james marsters) is fabulous as David Stark. More! Bring more!

7) Bobby didnt really need to die.

8) Crowley is the king of hell.

9) 1944 was cool, so was Eliot Ness.

10) Clowns are totally fucking scary. Period. 

11) Working in a post office blows.

12) Never trust a real estate agent who smiles all the time.

13) Lucifer isnt going anywhere.

14) Hunters are your friends.

15) Beware of ballet slippers.

16) A Shojo is NOT the korean drink soju.

17) Cursed objects are real.. look 4 the canadian seires “Friday the 13th” about cursed objects in an antiques shop. Brilliant show. 

18) Amazon warriors really are women.

19) Jensen Ackles is hotter than ever.

20) jared Padalecki & his wife just welcomed a baby boy in to the world. Congratulations!

 

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Loving LA..

Ah Los Angeles..how I love thee.. First my dance card has never been so full. It’s a wonderous experience discovering this amazing city. Secondly, I don’t think i will ever want to leave! While there are most certainly asswipe drivers, it really is nowhere near as bad as New York City.

I plan on blogging about food, wine & of course places I fall in love with. Eventually working up to my own special spot in LA. I am already scouting locations..so fingers xxxx.

to be continued.

The Morning After..

Thanksgiving on a Bun..

No, I’m not talking about the next day after partying too much, staying up to late watching old movies, or even a bad date. I’m talking about the day after Thanksgiving. You know, you have eaten yourself to the “I’m almost to full to move point”, tomorrow is Black Friday and do I go shopping or stay home. Plus you still have a house full of out-of-town family & friends. What to do?

You wake up  hungry as your food induced coma from the day before has worn off. Pancakes? French Toast? Omelets?  Nah, that all requires effort, something one is sorely lacking this morning.

No, what I think is the perfect “morning after” Turkey day nosh is what I call Thanksgiving on a Bun. While that pretty much describes it perfectly, there are a few guidelines to be followed. Sort of like a pirates code, but slightly more flexible.

To start: you need a sturdy vessel to hold all the ingredients, and while I have made do with a buttermilk biscuit in the past, my bun of choice is a toasted, buttered brioche roll. Perfectly toasted, golden & glistening with a nice smear of sweet butter. If alas, you have no access to brioche or cannot make your own, an english muffin will suffice in a pinch. Thomas’s only though please.

Next assemble the components. Fresh sliced turkey, white & dark meat is my choice, a tablespoon or two of cornbread stuffing ( no sausage or mushrooms, though onions are fine). Dollop of cranberry sauce or cranberry chutney, NOT the stuff out of a can, and a teaspoon or so of homemade sage mayonnaise. If you can’t make your own, Hellman’s / Best Foods will do and just stir in a chiffonade of fresh sage, dash of lemon & white pepper. Lastly some leftover turkey gravy, as much as your heart desires, to dunk in.

Build your sandwich: warm the turkey & stuffing. I do this separately. take the golden toasted bun. Layer stuffing on the bottom, top with turkey, then cranberry sauce & spread the sage mayo on the top half of the bun. Place the  top half on the bottom half.  Heat the gravy. Serve that in a small side dish for dunking. If your feeling indulgent its okay to add a sprinkle of durkees french fried onions to the works.

Feel free to eat this standing over the kitchen sink, with your bowl of dunking gravy next to you. Or make numerous sandwiches, awake your house guests, let them munch and send them out into the abyss that is known as Black Friday.

At least they will have sustenance to get them thru the day and they wont need a can of pepper spray. Or so one can hope. There is always the option of enjoying said sandwiches at home by the fire and shopping from ones’ laptop while the rest of the masses knock them selves out trying to nab the latest computer game. Let them be the stupid ones. This way you can always go back for seconds and even toss in a piece of pie. After all, Thanksgiving does only come once a year. Why not enjoy it!

Will upload a picture tomorrow. If that doesn’t inspire you I don’t know what will. 🙂

Tiger Lilies in the kitchen

At last! Its happened. After numerous trips to Los Angeles we knew wanted to call it home. In August, on our last day here after a 2 week visit, I found it. The perfect house. 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, huge kitchen, 2 fireplaces, and more storage space than one could possibly imagine. Even an “extra’ garage out back just waiting to be converted into a pool house, guest house or work studio. Enclosed landscaped backyard so we could even let Gordie out the back french doors without being on a leash. Something we could never do in CT.

Simply lovely. Wonderful little neighborhood called Cheviot Hills. Flanked by Fox Studios on one end & Sony Pictures on the other. Nestled between Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood & Culver City as our borders. Quiet, private, kind of like Wilton back in CT, yet about 15 mins to anywhere. Perfect.

After a whirlwind of packing and closing up the CT house Lauren, myself & Gordie hit the road on Sept 23rd for our trip across country. This is a journey I never want to make again, or at least I wont take 1-40 for over 80% of the drive. What a nightmare. Though we did think New Mexico was absolutely beautiful. Georgia O’Keeffe & Ansel Adams were certainly on to something. Its stunning stark landscapes will haunt you.

I will say that Winslow, Arizona was a complete bust. So much for the Eagles immortal song. Pfft. Nothing but fast food and heat. Landed in the city of angels on Sept 28th. Parked ourselves at the Residence Inn in Beverly Hills and awaited the arrival of all our worldly possessions. Gordie took to the city & the new house like a duck to water. We were amazed! The van arrived on Oct 2nd, and by the 4th we were in the house.  After a few trips to Ikea in Burbank we were all set. I don’t think we’ve stopped going since.

I had no idea that Lauren &  I would fall so deeply completely in love with the city. Going to see a show, Katy Perry at the Staples center, Sia, Ellie Goulding, at the Wiltern, Howard Jones at the Music Box, and numerous others is no longer a 2 hour ordeal. While we lived exactly 50 miles from mid-town Manhattan, getting in & out of New York City always takes longer than one expects. Since I have now been on & mastered every single freeway, discovered shortcuts & back roads, LA is, relatively, a piece of cake. Though as in any major city, it does have its moments. We have discovered the great Los Angeles secret, hardly anyone is out & about on the weekends! Virtually little to zero traffic. I think Sunday may be my favourite day to explore and be out and about.

Have had incredible meals at Spago, Hatfields, Mozza, Matsuhisa, Nobu, Jar, Natalee Thai, A-Frame, to name just a few & found some really great little spots. Robata-ya on Sawtelle ( bows to mako-san the chef), The Six on Pico, Royal T on Washington Blvd in Culver City, Pici Enoteca on S. Beverly, The Nosh in Beverly Hills, our local diner hangout (waves to Linda our fav waitress). Grub in Hollywood. Discovering the Kogi food truck parked on Olympic in front of the Goodwill in West La. The Misfit & Border Grill in Santa Monica. So so many others I have decided to start a blog devoted to my culinary adventures as I learn all the city has to offer. Details on that later.

Meeting a slew of the cities best chefs, farmers & purveyors at local farmers markets. My favourite being the Sunday Beverly Hills Farmers Market, where I have on occasion rubbed elbows with Wolfgang Puck. Made friends with the Smokin’ Mamas, 2 really cool ladies who have some great artisanal foods. I have been collecting their gourmet handcrafted salts every week. Their home cure jerkys are stellar. http://www.smokinmamas.com Not to mention the very good-looking mushroom guy, flower vendors, farm fresh eggs, herbs, all manner of produce, and the freshest fish in all of LA. I get inspired to create a fantastic sunday supper & fill my house with stunning bouquets of color popping blooms.

Been scouting sites for my own space. Cafe/ Patisserire/ Boulanger/ cool little hangout, serving what I love to cook and my friends love to eat. This will keep me occupied for the “winter” and I should have something in the works by spring. Stay tuned.

So its safe to say we aren’t going anywhere for quite a while. Maybe a quick trip  to San Fran or Hawaii or even Sydney, but this is home base central for now. New York will always be there and if I get the urge to see snow, or ski, Mammoth and Tahoe are a short distance away.

For now I’m content to get up, see the sun shining, make my cuppa tea and take it out to my back garden and revel in another day in LA and see what surprises are waiting for me, some maybe even just around the corner.

the haute dog truck

They are everywhere and in every city. No longer just a shiny metal box dispensing watery coffee and a cardboard sandwich at a construction site, nope the food truck phenomenon has taken the country by storm. In a world obsessed with food and all matter of it, it seems only natural that the things we love and crave would take to the streets.  Crepes ~ Donuts~ Cupcakes~ Hot Dogs ~ Burrittos~ BBQ~ Sushi~ Ice Cream ~ Cuban~ you name it, there’s one out there serving what you desire. Gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘meals on wheels’. Mobile chef’s taking street food to a completely new level. What took so long?

While “pop-ups” continue to grow in strength and numbers, food trucks have a bit more longevity. And nowhere is that more evident than in Los Angeles. Opening a real restaurant can cost you millions and millions of dollars. A food truck can be had from anywhere from $30,000 to $150,000. Permits in LA run around $700. NYC is far more difficult as there is a cap on the number of permits allocated for a certain period of time. The one city they seem to be sorely lacking in is San Francisco, though the Onigri ( japanese rice snacks)  truck parked in front of the Ferry Market Plaza is worthy of a visit.

Also to be taken in to consideration is weather, parking ( think “turf wars”) , storage, pre-prep space , gas and the most important, location location location!  All are key to a successful food truck operation.

Twitter helped the Kogi LA food truck achieve a level of notoriety and cache previously unheard of  for an upscale mobile vending cart. The power of the Internet. Amazing. Another fledging company that could use help  get the word out is Cripple Creek Barbeque. A little company with a big conscience. Based in Colorado and owned by John & Stacy Lynch, they are on a quest to bring great BBQ to the masses. With roots in sustainable & environmentally friendly cuisine, this is a win-win idea.

To visit their website and make a pledge for their drive to raise money for a food truck and get some great offerings in exchange, please, they need you help to achieve their goal. Visit: http://www.cripplecreekbarbeque.com/index.html

You can also follow their progress in their quest on Twitter at @CrippleCreekBBQ  .. the pledges only work if they meet their goal. Lets help a foodie dream come true.

Now for some of my favourite Los Angeles food trucks to watch are as follows ~

Phamish ~ for Banh Mi

Buttermilk ~ for a breakfast biscuit

Flying Pig ~ for tamarind duck tacos

Iggys ~ for hot dogs

Raja Fries ~ for fries you never dreamed were possible

Seeing that LA has more cars per capita than any other city, the fantastic food trucks parked all over are no surprise! The best place to find some of these and numerous other trucks is Mon to Fri on Wilshire Blvd in front of LACAMA. Most move somewhere else for the evening hours. And of course visiting one of the best art museums in the states is just icing on the proverbial  “cup” cake. You can get those across the street. LOL. Enjoy.

my lobster roll

Just a quick post inspired by the amazing amount of hits my Lobster Club picture has received on Twitter. So here’s an homage to the humble bug of the sea. So ugly yet so delicious. But first a bit of history.  Lobsters are part of a group of arthropods (crab/ shrimp/ krill) . They have an exoskeleton which they must moult in order to grow. They also have separate sexes and reproduce sexually. Try visualizing that one. Two lobsters hooking up. LOL. Little known fact, some can even change their sex during the course of their lives.  A transgender lobster. Who knew!

I personally love lobster. Succulent, moist, briny, sweet. They hit the mark on all taste levels. Dipped in melted sweet butter, drool worthy. Anyone who doubts that should Netflix the movie Flashdance and watch Jennifer Beals slowly savouring and sucking the meat out of one. Who cared if she could dance, that scene was quite simply, highly erotic. If you’re not dying to eat a lobster after watching that, then you have no libido. Okay, I digress. Back to the sea.

Lately lobsters have been a steal at my  market. My local fish guy (who happens to be a hottie) will give me a call when they are going on sale to give me a heads up (okay to flirt too). This past weekend they were $4.99 a lb. A veritable bargain. So I went and picked up a few of these beauties.

Now there are many ways to prepare a lobster, though most people over -cook theirs, but if you follow this simple rule you will be guaranteed melt in your mouth goodness. Everytime.

I prefer to quickly “steam” my lobsters. Get a very large pot, add barely an inch of water, and if you wish toss in a few peppercorns and a lemon slice. They wont flavour the meat, its more for aromatic purposes. Makes the kitchen smell nice. Put in the lobsters, turn on the heat, cover and steam for 10 minutes. No more. Lobster meat cooks quickly and can become tough and chewy when overcooked. If you plan on sauteing or grilling, steam them for only 3-5 mins, cool and proceed with whatever recipe you plan on using. Drain. Cool. Shell. Proceed to melt some butter, dip and enjoy. Nirvana has been achieved.

One of my favourite ways to enjoy a lobster is the classic lobster roll, Connecticut style. Take a brioche or Martini’s potato roll, butter and griddle it. Set aside. Coarse chop the meat, toss with some melted butter, spread the bun with a small amount of mayonnaise, top with the warm lobster meat and sprinkle of chives. Enjoy as the butter and lobster juices drip down your chin. Orgasmic.

Though if you want a more impressive dish with a wow factor this is something I made when I was Executive Chef of a Country Club in Darien, Ct. Most of our members worked in New York City on Wall Street and were used to 5* cuisine. They expected that same level of quality from me. It was a job I adored, but after 4 years and 80 work weeks, well it got tiring.  Though this recipe never does. It was a dish I could never take off the menu and ten years later it still rocks it out.

Lobster Mashed Potatoes w/ Seared Sea Scallops & Beurre Blanc

Make a batch of yukon gold whipped potatoes. Cook/ cool/ shell a lobster. Reserve the claw.  Remove meat & coarse chop. Stir the lobster into the potatoes. Panko crust 3 jumbo sea scallops. Pan sear. Blanch haricot vert or grill some asperges. Make a champagne beurre blanc. Place lobster mashed potatoes in center of a plate, surround with 3 sea scallops, the veg & drizzle with the beuerre blanc. Top with the lobster claw and a dollop of osetra caviar and garnish with a chive stuffed yukon gold potato “chip”.

So the next time you want to impress your better half, your  friends, your in-laws,  your boss, make this. You’ll be guaranteed a table full of smiles. And if it’s just you and your significant other your chances of getting lucky are 100%. Cause after all lobster is sexy. Just ask Jennifer Beals.

No, not me! Though some would beg to differ.  I’m talking about pancakes. Or even better Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras. A precursor to what is other wise known as Shrove Tuesday. Though Fat Tuesday sounds like a lot more fun. And if you’ve ever been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans (or can at least remember it!) you know it’s all about wretched excess. But oh so enjoyable. So are pancakes. They satisfy on all levels of comfort and delight. Most pancakes are considered a quick bread, as they contain some form of leavening to help them achieve that light fluffy melt in your mouth texture. National Pancake week kicks off on March 1st. It also  heralds the start of Lent which officially begins on March 8th.

Shrove Tuesday’s original intent was to use up pantry staples that were considered rich or decadent. Sounds good to me. Which after indulging in, one was to spend the first day fasting and in prayer. I’ll just take the pancakes. Sweet or savory, for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a midnight nosh, there is no wrong time to whip up a batch. Delish! And im not talking I-Hop here. No way. Cardboard discs with whipped fake margarine belong in the garbage, not on your plate. So get out grandmas pottery mixing bowl, your whisk and a few simple ingredients and you are on your way to making your mouth really really happy. Not to mention your tummy.

So first, a tiny bit of history. Drum roll if you please. In Russia the pre-lenten pancake feast, known as Maslenitsa, is celebrated by indulging in thin buckwheat crepes known as Blini. Often topped with caviar, honey, jam, sour cream or butter. YUM -O! These are traditionally based on little symbols of the sun. Golden, round, warm, they signify the end of winter and the beginning of spring.  Hell Yes! After one of the longest and snowiest winters in the history of the east coast I am more than ready  for spring to arrive. In America the original pancake was called the “johnny-cake” and made from cornmeal. In France they are known as crepes. The Swedish make a pancake with rice & saffron and baked in the oven. In China, its “cong you bing” an incredibly popular street food otherwise known as a scallion pancake. You can make it sweet by adding red bean paste. Though my personal favourites being the Danish “Aebleskiver”. Little round puffs cooked in a special pan stuffed with jam & cream cheese. Heaven. I add a zest of lemon and warm brown sugar syrup. Fantastic.

Alright now for some ideas. Sweet. Savory. Short silver dollars, stuffed or dinner size plates, whatever stack you make will fit the bill. Some of my favourite combinations follow.  In no particular order. Just enjoy. Only try not to drool on your Mac. :O

Cheddar & candied bacon w/ whipped maple butter.

Lemon/ white chocolate & warm blueberry compte.

Cranberry & orange topped w/ duck hash.

Sweet potato & pecan w/ toasted coconut & melty marshmallows (homemade plz)

Apple & cinnamon w/ whipped cream & warm pomegranate syrup.

Dark Chocolate w/ sun-dried cherries & sweet cream butter.

Ricotta pancakes w/ candied ginger & lingonberry sauce.

Peking pancakes w/ duck confit/hoisin drizzle & scallion whipped cream.

Potato pancakes w/ sliced brisket & onion balsamic jam.

Poppy seed w/ lemon curd and fresh raspberries.

Pinneaple “upside -down” pancakes w/ toasted macadamia nuts &  coconut anglaise.

Cinnamon w/ carmelized bananas & carmel peanut butter sauce.

Scallion pancakes w/ sautéed shiitake & spicy short rib ragu.

Stuffed pancakes.. while the batter is on the griddle lay in a pre-cooked maple glazed sausage.  Cook. Roll. Top w/ butter & warm syrup. Nice.

You get the general idea. Let you imagination take you away.  Create. Experiment. Have fun! Cooking, if not fun, well then .. whats the point? We need to eat to live, yes. But hell why not have a good time doing so!

So to conclude my love of pancakes… I’m including my grandpa’s pancake recipe and one for all my gluten intolerant friends. Feel free to use what ever recipe that makes you happy, or has been passed down to you.

Grampys Pancakes ;

2 cups a-p flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sel

3 tbsp sucre

2 eggs

3 cups buttermilk

4 tbsp melted butter

mix the dry. add the wet. let rest at least one hour. have fun!

Okay for my celiac buddies : Gluten free pancakes!

1/2 cup oat flour

1/2 cup rice flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 egg

1 cup soy milk

1/4 cup melted vegan butter

splash of vanilla & pinch of cinnamon.

Mix dry. Add wet. Let rest. Enjoy! No tummy ache !

*I owe the inspiration for this post to @fugimama ( Rachael) on twitter. Who got my creative juices flowing. ((hugs))