Quinoa and Black Bean Burger and a “Grain Mains” Book Giveaway

September 10, 2012
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The media is awash in the benefits of “whole grains” these days. So much that the big food companies have jumped on board touting “whole grains” in everything from cookies to crackers to Cheerios. While my guess is that those products might be slightly better for you than their more processed counterparts, I can’t help but feel this is a bit akin to greenwashing.

This is why I find myself trying to cook with whole grains in their original form more and more. The benefits are clear; whole grains are good for the body. They fill you up with soluble and non-soluble fiber which encourages you to eat less and aids in digestion. They are a heart healthy food, scouring the body of cholesterol and can help cut the risk of diabetes. In addition, not only do they taste good, but they are easy on the wallet, especially when …

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Roasted Halibut with Radicchio-Pancetta Sauce, Peas and Artichokes from “Good Fish”

June 13, 2011
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Cooking seafood is one of those things which many people find intimidating. I can understand why; most fresh fish and shellfish need to be cooked quickly, yet with care not to overcook. In addition, many people don’t have a lot of experience eating seafood beyond fish and chips and shrimp cocktail and swear they don’t enjoy fish (most likely because they have a bad association with poorly prepared or low quality product).

Fortunately, there’s a new cookbook out there which can dispel most of this uncertainty in an easy to use, approachable manner. Becky Selengut’s book, Good Fish: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the Pacific Coast is one of the most thorough books on cooking seafood I’ve seen in a long time. It’s beautifully presented and the friendly, no-nonsense take on cooking fish and shellfish is refreshing and non-intimidating for novice cooks. In fact, each chapter contains five recipes, ranging from …

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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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Making My Own Burgers, Review of the Maverick 5501 Grinder, and a Giveaway!

January 3, 2011
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I have long wanted to try grinding my own beef to make hamburgers from scratch. This desire grew stronger after seeing the movie Food, Inc.; I haven’t been able to eat commercially ground beef, and more specifically, a fast food burger since. That doesn’t mean I haven’t had a hamburger in the last 2 years, but when I want a burger, I usually make one at home with organic beef (albeit imported from Australia, so not exactly local). Since I’m a do-it-yourself kinda gal with a healthy dose of “Type-A” personality thrown in, I thought I’d opt for a little more control over my burgers and make my own from scratch.

A little while ago I was approached by Pleasant Hill Grain, a Nebraska-based company which specializes in quality kitchen equipment and supplies who asked if I wanted to try their Maverick 5501 Meat & Food Grinder

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Pig Candy (Bacon Peanut Brittle) and the Good Meat Book

November 15, 2010
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It seems like everywhere you look in the last couple of years bacon is a key ingredient in everything from savory to sweet, from casseroles to cupcakes, so I guess putting it in candy makes sense in some weird way.  I’m not late to the party here, I’ve simply been trying to avoid the bacon frenzy and not buy into the hype. Bacon is trendy, and like all trends it will be replaced by something else soon enough and then we can all go back to having it with our eggs in the morning. I was happy to ignore the trend until I saw the recipe for “Pig Candy” in the book Good Meat: The Complete Guide to Sourcing and Cooking Sustainable Meat and suddenly, my mind was changed.

Good Meat, is a weighty hardcover book filled with over 200 recipes and absolutely stunning photos of both raw primal cuts …

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55 Knives (e)Cookbook

May 25, 2010
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I get a lot of offers to “participate in something exciting” which usually isn’t either exciting or really an offer.
Most of the time, these “offers” are a thinly veiled way of saying, “Hey, I like your stuff, gimme some free recipes and photos and in return I’ll ‘promote’ you while I make all the money and you do all the work.”

Ummm…no thanks.

Sometimes though, these requests turn out to be the real deal. Last year I was approached by fellow blogger Nick from who asked if I would like to contribute to a cookbook he was putting together with recipes from a total of 55 bloggers (hence the name “55 Knives”). The difference here is that he wasn’t just asking for free stuff and for other people to do all the work.

First and foremost this was a labor of love and his focus was …

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