April 2011

Peko Peko: A Charity Cookbook For Japan

April 18, 2011
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The first time I ate cold soba noodles was while flying on Japan Airlines. The noodles were served in a little black lacquered box with dipping sauce, a step up from the airline standard cup ‘o soup snack. I tucked in and was surprised to find the noodles were cold! These noodles were a revelation; they were so refreshing! I know airplane food is not normally inspiring, nor usually the best example of a nation’s cuisine, but these noodles were shockingly good.

When I got home, I wanted to try making them myself and thought it might be nice to combine the noodles with some tofu and beautiful fresh Maitake mushrooms. Of course, you can replace the tofu with the protein of your choice; fish, chicken, or even roasted pork belly. After I made this dish, almost 7 months ago, I’m not sure why, but I never posted the recipe.

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Sherry Braised Chicken Thighs with Meyer Lemons and Green Olives

April 12, 2011
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One of the questions people frequently ask me is “do you cook every night?” The short answer is “no” but what I really want to say is “define cook.” We certainly don’t eat out every night and even when I don’t cook a full meal, there’s almost always something to forage from the refrigerator rather than eat fast food. Sometimes dinner is a mixture of home cooked and store bought. And speaking of fast food, while I haven’t eaten anything from a large chain fast food place in over 2 years, we often go to our local Vietnamese, Thai and Mexican places which dish up a pretty darn fast bun cha, tom kha gai, or burrito mojado. That’s my idea of fast food now.

When I do cook dinner at home, it’s often something quick because, like many people, I work a full time job with …

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Wild Mushrooms with Polenta, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

April 4, 2011
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Spring has sprung in Southern California! In one week we’ve gone from rain and chill to sunshine and 90 degrees. It was quite a shock to the system and I suddenly find myself craving lighter food, salads filled with fresh vegetables and meatless meals. This dish fit the bill perfectly, served one night with a glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc and a small spring salad with a light vinaigrette.

Recently, I was contacted by the nice people at Gourmet Mushrooms who asked if I was interested in trying out some of their organically grown mushrooms. This offer piqued my interest because they had some mushrooms I’ve never tried, nor seen in my local market. A box arrived via FedEx, and surrounded by insulated packaging, was a wicker basket tightly packed with 2 pounds of gorgeous mushrooms.  These mushrooms are certified organic, and while not technically “wild” they are certainly …

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Home Made Chicken Stock

April 1, 2011
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A couple of weeks ago I posted about how to brine and roast a chicken where I wrote how I always assumed that everyone realized that roasting a chicken was easy and how that assumption made an “ass out of u and me.” My second assumption was that people also knew how easy it was to make chicken stock and did not need me to provide that information. Again, I was disabused of this notion.

So, here we are with my easy-peasy recipe for home made chicken stock. You don’t need much more than a big soup pot, the leftover bones from that roasted chicken, and some vegetable odds and ends. There are a couple of options here as to how you make the stock.

Option #1 is the recipe below where the chicken bones are roasted first with onions. This results in a nice rich stock with a …

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