Poached Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce

June 29, 2013
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Summer has arrived with a bang, seemingly overnight. There are “excessive heat warnings” all over Southern California this weekend with temperatures expected in the 100-110 range. If you’re still willing to cook, I’ve got the perfect meal for a warm night or a Sunday brunch served al fresco. And if you’ve never poached fish before, it’s an easy method which every cook should have in their repertoire, so now is the time to learn!

Poaching fish and shellfish is one of the lightest, healthiest ways to cook seafood and it showcases the true flavor of the fish because the cooking method is gentle and lets the flavor of the fish shine.  Traditionally, poaching is done in a court bouillon, a French culinary term which translates to “short boil”, and refers to a lightly flavored broth traditionally used to poach fish, shellfish and even vegetables. Court bouillon usually contains …

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Roasted Asparagus Gremolata

June 3, 2013
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Some recipes are are so brilliantly simple you want to slap yourself for not thinking of it first.

This is one of those recipes.

I’m fortunate to work with a few talented chefs from whom I gain inspiration every day. I’ve made classic gremolata for osso bucco dozens of times, and even used orange zest in lieu of lemon, for the gremolata garnish on a cannellini bean and beef soup. But it never occurred to me to add olive oil and turn it into a dressing for asparagus (d’oh!) until I tried it one day at work and I knew I had to make my own version. The punch of flavor from the gremolata takes ordinary asparagus from “nice” to “I want to put this on my head, it’s so good” as my friend Jessica likes to say.

Traditional gremolata is lemon zest, minced garlic …

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Summer Garden 2013- What’s Growing?

May 14, 2013
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I’ve decided to keep it small and simple this year for our summer garden and we’re only using the two smaller raised beds we have. There’s more space available for gardening, just no space in my life right now for more of me gardening. I’m happy with what I’ve got and so far, so good.

This year, there have been no garden monsters, thankfully, pulling up my plants. I’ve finally learned from years past and covered the plants with chicken wire until they were big enough to crowd the boxes and keep the masked bandits out.

Changes this year:

Tomatoes: Almost every year we get big beautiful plants which develop plenty of tomatoes and then get blossom end rot. This year I buried several crushed egg shells in the bottom of each hole where I planted the tomatoes. Supposedly the extra calcium in the egg shells will help prevent …

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Sicilian Inspired Wheat Berry and Tuna Salad

May 6, 2013
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I can’t wait for summer.

Why? Is it because I’ll have big fat vine ripe tomatoes in my garden? Yes…but, no.
Is it because I love bright sunshiney days and summer salads like the one below? Yes…but, no.
It’s because I have plans. Oh yes, BIG plans and they don’t even involve a trip somewhere across the world. Instead of a trip, we’re doing a full-on kitchen remodel. A take down the walls, rip out the floors, start from scratch, kitchen remodel.

And you know what I recently discovered about myself? I like planning a remodel almost as much as I like planning a trip or a big dinner party. I love looking at flooring, figuring out which cabinets and paint colors, and researching appliances just as much as researching some exotic location and finding that perfect hotel or restaurant. For the last few months I’ve been …

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Lemon Curd and Chocolate Ganache Tart

April 22, 2013
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Curd.
It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue does it? How can something with a name so funky, taste so luscious? It’s the magic of chemistry that turns basic ingredients like sugar, eggs, butter and lemon, with a little heat, into a silky, sweet, and tangy spread that you would swear should not have a name like curd.

The pairing of lemon and chocolate is one of my favorites and goes all the way back to my college years when I had the opportunity to go with my boyfriend’s family to Europe for a summer. This was my first time traveling out of North America and I was so determined to go, I sold my car to be able to afford the trip. It was an eye-opening journey in so many ways, and when we got to Italy, it was there that my boyfriend introduced me to the …

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Roasted Vegetables with Pesto

March 21, 2013
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After my recent rant about pesto, I thought it only fair to share a new dish using home made pesto sauce. This recipe gets bonus point for being easy. It’s something you can throw in the oven to cook, then grill a piece of fish or chicken while it’s cooking and you have a meal in about half an hour.

These vegetables are something I’ve been making at least once a week for the past couple of months. To give credit where it is due, the dish was inspired by my mother, who offered up some vegetables out of her refrigerator before going out of town for a week. She suggested I roast the eggplant and tomatoes together with the mushrooms. I added a few other ingredients and served it during a weekend away with friends. Wouldn’t you know, it was a hit? The roasted mushrooms seemed to be …

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