Quinoa Salad with Shrimp, Asparagus, Fresh Corn and Herb Lime Vinaigrette

May 27, 2010
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We were ahead of our time.
Flashback 1993: big hair, dark red lipstick and restaurant baseball cap on backwards. Clogs and Chef’s Wear baggy pants with wild prints on them (come on, if you worked in a restaurant in the 90′s you know you wore them too).

I was part of the opening team of a new restaurant with an ambitious concept; “healthy food”, whole grains, no red meat, lots of seafood, organic produce whenever possible, and no hard alcohol. There was a “harvest table” with a daily selection of incredible salads and vegetables, most made with the aforementioned whole grains and organic produce. The matchbooks were filled with wildflower seeds not matches. We had the best of intentions and everyone was excited to be a part of it.
Unfortunately, the healthy concept and the harvest table did not last long, victims of the times, the location, poor …

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Coriander Crusted Ahi Tuna with Cucumber Slaw and Wasabi Vinaigrette

June 15, 2009


One of the benefits to working in restaurants is that I have access to product which might otherwise be difficult to get or expensive. Occasionally, I ask one of the chefs I work with if I can buy something and thankfully, they almost always say yes. The company I work for specializes in seafood and the nice thing about buying from them is that I know the fish is of the highest quality and I’m able to get it at a reasonable cost.
I find fish in most supermarkets suspect because it’s too hard to tell quality and freshness, not to mention sustainability issues. There are some local fish markets I like, but when the cost per pound exceeds my age, or I don’t feel like making a special trip, I look to the chefs in my company.

One day last week as I was leaving the house for work, …

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Orzo Salad with Asparagus, Artichokes, Tuna & Lemon Vodka Vinaigrette

June 8, 2009
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Asparagus. Artichokes. Tuna….Vodka?
What do these ingredients all have in common? Not much, but that’s the point.

They are the four ingredients chosen at random for this month’s Paper Chef  Challenge by last month’s winner, Allison of Local Lemons. I almost didn’t participate because I really don’t like vodka. My passionate dislike goes back to an “incident” involving one too many Screwdrivers (the drink, not the tool, though come to think of it, a certain boy was being a tool which is what led to the the Screwdrivers…but I digress) in my freshman year of college. Let’s just say it’s been over 20 years and I still can’t touch the stuff.

So it was with some difficulty I came up with a recipe which included the dreaded spirit. I thought about doing a pasta with vodka sauce, but really, I wanted to be able to eat

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How to Make a Basic Vinaigrette

May 4, 2009
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marketveg1 Saturday mornings there’s a decent sized Farmer’s Market in Pasadena, CA. It’s been a while since I’ve been there, but I went this past weekend. I have to say it puts my local market (which is barely one step above mini swap meet) to shame. Really, the assortment of vegetables was impressive.

I ending up buying 4 different colors of tomatoes, strawberries, pea shoots, fresh eggs, fuji apples, and baby lettuces, all local, all farm fresh. It was hard not to buy more, but I really didn’t want anything to go to waste.

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Beet Salad with Barley, Goat Cheese, Arugula & Mint

April 22, 2009
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A couple of weeks ago when we were at A 16 in San Francisco we had a wonderful “Roasted Beets with Full Belly Farm Farro Salad, roasted cipolline, mint & ricotta salata.” I said at the time, “I’m going to have to make this.”

Fast forward and I’m roaming the sad, pathetic, small Farmer’s Market in my neighborhood and I see some beets and think “now’s the time to make that salad!”
Of course, I forget that I don’t have farro, cipolline or ricotta salata at home. So it’s use-what-you-have time to make a beet salad.

My process:
I have barley. That’s a grain. Ok, it’s not Farro, but it will work.
I have Mint and Arugula (also in the inspiration salad) in my garden so I’ll throw that in along with a few springs of fresh Thyme.
Ricotta Salata? No such luck, but I have …

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