gluten free

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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Tofu Tacos (a la Kogi BBQ)

February 22, 2010
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I never thought these words would ever come out of my mouth;
“Oh my God, these tofu tacos are so good!”
But that was before the 21 day Cleanse Diet, before I was desperately hungry one night after working late, and before the Kogi BBQ truck entered my world.

For those who are not aware of the gourmet food truck phenomenon which had gripped Los Angeles, the Kogi truck is credited with starting the frenzy about a year ago. Sure, LA had always been home to many traditional taco trucks, but in a stroke of pure genius chef Roy Choi decided to combine the flavors of Korean BBQ and Mexican tacos. When they started with their first truck they brilliantly utilized Twitter to let people know where they were going to be and the lines were legendary. Now they have 4 trucks and it’s easier to get a taco …

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Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto

February 13, 2010
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Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto

Most people think the creamy texture in risotto comes from the addition of lots of butter and parmesan cheese. This can be true, especially when you order it in a restaurant where they may take shortcuts or have a heavy hand with the cheese. In reality, it’s the natural starch surrounding the arborio rice kernel and patience while cooking which creates this effect.

The slow stirring of the rice releases starch which binds with the cooking liquid (stock or water), resulting in a creamy texture without adding a lot of butter or cheese. Traditionally, risotto is finished with a small knob of butter and a few spoonfuls of parmesan, so if you want to add those in, by all means do so. I left them out because I’m still doing the 21 day cleanse diet.  The earthy flavors of the mushrooms and the bright taste of the fresh asparagus …

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Black Bean Soup with Avocado Salsa

February 8, 2010
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I’ve been thinking a lot about food lately. No surprise there, right? However, I’m not thinking about which dessert to make next, but rather how I can eat in a healthier, more responsible, and sustainable way. Because of this, I’ve decided to do a 21 day “cleanse” diet. I’m not going to go into the whole story here, but if you’re interested and would like to read more about it; why I’m doing it, what I’m eating, and how I feel, see the link at the top of the page which says “21 Day Cleanse Diet” or go here.  At the bottom of that page, you’ll find links to each week’s progress reports.

One of the reasons I’m doing this is to challenge myself as a cook. Can I make healthy, gluten-free, vegan food that people will actually want to eat, regardless of whether they are purposefully choosing to eat …

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Butternut Squash Soup with Pancetta and Pomegranate

November 4, 2009

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I was in my favorite market last week in the middle of a produce buying frenzy (I hadn’t cooked for a while) when I had a flashback to college which froze me in my tracks. No, not that kind of flashback. What brought me back to the mid eighties, was a stack of ruby colored fruit and suddenly, there I was with my sophomore college house mate, “L.”, eating pomegranates.

I’m not sure I’d ever eaten a pomegranate before I met L, but I have memories of sitting in the tiny, funky, living area of our on-campus apartment (dubbed “Farenheit 451″ due to our address), making a mess of eating pomegranates, and laughing our asses off. Now, I can’t see this fruit without thinking of her.

Butternut squash soup is one of the easiest and most satisfying fall soups to make. It’s also very adaptable to different flavors and additions. …

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Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Parmesan

August 24, 2009

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My very first job in a restaurant kitchen was as the pastry chef for a small mom-and-pop Italian restaurant. How I got that job with no experience is a story for another day. But after working there for about 6 months, I moved to working on the hot line part time. One of my responsibilities was to make the batches of eggplant parmesan and lasagna. I loathed doing the eggplant because this meant I had to stand over a scalding rondo pan of hot oil and fry rounds of eggplant for what felt like days.
Later, when I was a head chef in another resaurant and would somehow end up with an extra case of eggplant, I never forgot how much I hated all that frying and came up with a much healthier version of the dish, grilling the eggplant instead.
I haven’t made this for over a decade, but …

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