I live to eat and love to cook. Welcome to my life!

August 28, 2010


A gazillion years ago I opted to move out of my parents comfy (free) home and move out in to the world of the grown ups....It doesn't matter that I was barely 18 and was working as a waitress at the Victoria pub making minimum wage and tips...I flipped the P's the bird and was out of there!!!!

Yay me! Parties every night featuring super fun people (I think), boxed pink wine, cheap beer and entertainment that consisted of a coffee table and a few quarters. The house was in a "super fabulous" neighborhood that featured one break in to our house and a stolen car crashing in to our front wall. We scooted out of there right quick in to a studio in midtown that is a dim memory.

You might notice that I didn't mention food, and this is a food blog, right? Because in our first house we subsisted on rice and canned tomatoes with some Top Ramen thrown in for variety. My second apartment I know there was a kitchen but I can honestly tell you I have no recollection of ever cooking there.

Then my friend and I were persuaded to move to LA to live with another friend and share a gorgeous townhouse close to UCLA and join in the party life that our friend was enjoying. The rent would be cheap because there were 8 of us living in a 2 bedroom + a loft with one couple sharing the living room couch. Crowded to say the least, but as we all had jobs and were constantly out and about at night in Westwood partying it didn't feel as squished as it might have. But after while we weaned out the couch couple and it was down to 6 chicks living in there. Me + Heidi in the loft, Mandy & Dre in one bedroom and Paula and Marnie in the last. The last two girls were the only "outsiders" in the house as the rest had all migrated from Ventura for a more active social and party life. Paula and Marnie were straight up LA/OC girls from hoity toity neighborhoods with fat bank accounts supporting their college and social lives. Attending UCLA, involved in sororities, they were everything that us beach dwelling, beer drinking, down to earth chicks were not. At 19, they were shopping at Niemans and we were shopping at Macy's when we were lucky. There were many occasions that they made me feel inferior if only because of the difference in our financial standing. I had two jobs and was hanging by a thread to stay there, where they only had to dip in to the trust fund to get whatever their hearts desired.

The scales tipped though, when it came to things like cooking. Mandy, Dre, Heidi and I had all come from a place where we could and would cook....our moms took the time to make dinner and share their knowledge with us. On the rare occasion that we could afford fresh meat I would buy a whole chicken and marinate and roast it...filling our three story condo with smells from home. Paula and Marnie would come home and ask me if I was Betty Crocker or call me Holly Hobby Homemaker.....My skin is pretty thick so I would laugh it off as they scooted out the door to go to dinner at Houston's or some other fun chi chi restaurant in LA while we were housebound eating my soy sauce & brown sugar marinated chicken with rice because we had no money to go out to eat. Green eyed monster much? A little.

Until the day that I caught Paula cooking.

I walked down the hallway to our front door smelling a rancid horrible smell that only got worse as I got nearer. I opened the door and the smell hit me like a brick wall and I saw Paula flailing in the kitchen flapping a pot holder trying to get a pot to the sink while wisps of smoke were sneaking from the lid.

After helping her calm down and turn off the smoke alarm I tried to get out of her what happened and how it could be fixed (because that is what I do). As it turns out she was trying to cook because she was trying to lose a little weight and was trying to have some steamed veggies for dinner. I opened up the pot and looked inside the double boiled to find char crusted broccoli stuck to the inside.

I asked "Did you walk away?"

She said "no...."

Puzzled I looked at her again and asked "how did you prepare the broccoli?"

She replied "I just cut it up and put it in the steamer....."

My next question was "did you put water in the steamer?"


*more crickets*

Paula "No, I thought I could just put it in the steamer and it would get steamed"

Me after a long awestuck pause "Paula, exactly where in the EFF do you think steam comes from????????"

After that I didn't feel as inferior to the trust fund bound, sorority mentality, under educated girls I lived with because at last I had something up on them.

That's Betty F*$#&^G Crocker to you bitch.

August 26, 2010

Forbidden fruit

There are several different fruits that are considered to be the forbidden fruit from Genesis in the bible....the apple tops the list as it's Latin roots refer to an "evil", however I prefer to think of the #2 choice which is the common fig.

In my way of thinking it makes sense, right? They ate the fruit, got caught eating it (oops!)and then covered up their privates with the ample leaves to walk out of the Garden of Eden. Apple leaves would have been just a smidge more risque for both parties, assuming of course that Adam was bigger than a Vienna sausage. But I'm not here to debate the bible, just to share with you my absolute love and adoration of this forbidden fruit.

Figs are a very seasonal fruit with a shelf life that is too short....they also don't ship well so for those who don't live in our beautiful climate there is little chance to get them fresh. When they are in season, I (and those around me with the same addiction) tend to gorge on them and serve them in any number of fun ways. Being that they are a fruit you will often see them in desserts, but they are so versatile that in just the past few weeks I have made them in 4 different preparations and combinations that all, quite frankly, kick some serious butt.

#1 Fig Crisp

One of my Dad's workers brought us figs from a neighboring ranch....these things were absolutely gargantuan! Each one fit in the palm of my hand and were so beautifully ripe, sweet and juicy that I could just see them as the bottom of a crisp with brown sugar and oatmeal topping. It was absolutely divine!

#2 Fig & Meyer Lemon Preserves

Same figs, just a little overripe and ready to turn to mush.....so I diced them up, sliced some Meyer lemons (skins and all), added about a cup of sugar and boiled them down until they turned in to a thick fragrant jam. I have put this on my toast for the last week and am soooooo addicted that I don't know what I am going to do when it is gone. The candied lemon peel in there give it an amazing depth of flavor.

#3 Took the Fig Preserves, spread it on thin crust pizza dough, added Duck Confit & Bleu Cheese.

Salty and sweet.....Best. Dessert. Pizza. Ever. If you are not crazy like me and have duck confit at your fingertips at all times, you could substitute prosciutto or even crisped bacon.

#4 Salted Pork Chops with Sage, Shallots & Figs

Again with the salty and sweet thing, this is easy and absolutely wonderful. My mom told me she adds a little port to it at the end, so I may try that next time. This recipe is intended for one, although the pork chop was big enough that I ate half one night and had the other for lunch the next day!

Pork Chops with Figs & Sage

1 Large Bone In Pork Chop (or boneless if you like)
1 T Salt (I used Smoked Sea Salt)
1 T Ground Sage
2 T Olive Oil, divided
1 Large Shallot
6 Medium Figs, stemmed & quartered
2 Cups White Wine
2 T Chopped Fresh Sage
1 T Butter
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a mortar & pestle, grind salt and sage together until finely ground. Sprinkle on both sides of the pork chop and let it sit for at least 2 hours.

Heat 1 T olive oil in a skillet and sear pork chop on both sides until browned, but not cooked all the way through. Set aside. Add remaining oil to pan and add shallots, saute until soft and add figs. Cook briefly over medium heat and then add wine and sage. Cook until the sauce is reduced a bit and add in pork chop, cook until the chop is cooked through. Season the sauce to taste, you will most likely not need any salt.


August 16, 2010

Drunk Pickle

One night a few weeks ago....well maybe like a month ago....I was gifted with an overabundance of cucumbers from Papas ranch. Japanese cucumbers, lemon cucumbers, pickling type cucumbers and your garden variety grocery store cukes were littered on my counter and in my fridge. I gave them to my friends who live in my complex, traded my BFF for fresh blueberries from her great aunts farm and took them to work to gift to the folks that I spend most of my days with.

And I still had leftovers.

Greek salads, sour cream cucumber salad....dipped in hummus and salted. I ate them until I was sick of them. And yet I still had one monster left and had no desire to eat it.

It sat in my fridge for a couple days until one night.....

After an ass-full of wine....

I decided to make a pickle out of it.

Yes, that would be "A" pickle...like one freaking pickle. Not a batch, but one.

Because I was drunk and thought that making a pickle sounded like a fine old idea. And hey! I had a jar! That almost fit the pickle....kind of....I only had to trim the ends a little bit to make it fit.

Then I googled "pickle". And then I googled "how to make pickles". And maybe "Dill Pickles".

And I can't tell you half of what I found because most of it was too damn confusing and complicated for my grape soaked brain. So I think I took some info from one...from another and then I made the rest of it up.

I do know that I took some water and salt and vinegar and I boiled it with some garlic. I vaguely remember tasting it and thinking it was kind of OK...threw some dried dill in the pot and simmered for a minute (I think).

I don't remember sterilizing the jar, but I might have. I shoved the pickle inside the jar and poured the boiled water/salt/vinegar stuff over it and threw the lid on top tightly.

The I turned the jar upside down and stumbled up the stairs to bed.

Woke the next morning and turned it over to find the seal was nice and tight and popped my pickle in the fridge to think about itself. Yay me!

I've been checking it out for the past few weeks thinking I should really try my drunk pickle, but never really felt like a pickle (because you have to be in the mood, right?) until tonight.

I cracked the seal....

Pulled it out of the jar and stood it up because really, how many pickles do you know that can stand up on their own?????

Sliced it up.....

And you know what?

Drunk pickles kind of kick ass.

If only I could remember what I put in it now.