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behind the scenes.

March 14, 2014
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mr. skipper shot these while i was setting up for duck, duck egg.

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duck, duck, egg.

March 13, 2014

mr. skipper was on his way over and i was wandering around the grocery store trying to decide what to make for my newish friend who immediately felt like an old favorite.  so i decided to make an old favorite with a newish friend – a blt topped with a fried duck egg.  do we need to discuss the deliciousness that is a blt?  smoky, chewy bacon with bits of fat, juicy tomato & crisp lettuce.  but look at that egg!  when you bite into the soft yolk it will make a little sauce with the mayonnaise, run down your chin & your fingers & make you happy.  promise.

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blt with a duck egg (makes 4 )
16 slices pepper bacon, thick-cut (about 1 ½ – 2 lbs)
8 slices wheat bread, very lightly toasted
mayonnaise
12 leaves butter lettuce
2 ripe tomatoes, thickly sliced
salt & pepper to taste
4 duck eggs, fried*

in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, high bacon until some fat has rendered but not all & bacon is still soft.  remove from pan & place on a towel to drain.

generously spread each slice of bread with mayonnaise, setting four aside.  top four remaining slices with 3 leaves of lettuce, several slices of tomato, a sprinkle of salt & pepper & 4 slices of bacon.  slide a fried egg onto each sandwich and top with remaining slices of bread.

*some say that duck egg whites, because of their albumen (the protein in egg whites which is higher in duck eggs than in chicken eggs) can become rubbery when fried.  i fry mine at a medium temperature – just keep an eye on them so they don’t overcook.

i am inspired.

February 23, 2014

there is a restaurant here in the bay area and in l.a. called café gratitude.  the menu is vegan, largely raw & the dishes have names like “i am glorious” or “i am pure”.  i will admit that at first, ordering with a straight face was hard to do. but after a few visits i got over the ordering & into the food & into one item in particular – a pad thai-inspired salad, “i am terrific”, which i decided to re-create at home.  the mission of cafe gratitude is about being a person who chooses “loving your life & being grateful every day…having fun & enjoying being nourished”.  that is a sentiment that i can seriously get behind while smiling the whole time.

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you are terrific (serves 4)
my version of café gratitude’s i am terrific
1 bunch lacinato kale, cored and julienned
6 oz. broccoli slaw (or shredded cabbage)
4 oz. shredded carrots
12 oz. sea kelp noodles*
½ C cilantro
½ C basil, torn
¼ C mint leaves, torn
½ C tamari almonds, coarsely chopped

in a large bowl combine kale, broccoli slaw (or cabbage, if using), carrots, kelp noodles, cilantro, basil & mint.  add desired amount of thai almond sauce (recipe below) & dress well.  top with almonds before serving.

*sea kelp noodles are available at my local market in the international aisle & at amazon.com

thai almond sauce (makes about 3 cups)
adapted from café gratitude
½ C lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno, seeds removed
¼ C ginger juice*
1 C water
2 T tamari
1 T salt
1 T agave
½ bunch cilantro
½ bunch basil
1 ½ C almond butter

blend all ingredients well in a high speed blender.  store in a jar in the refrigerator.

note: sauce will become t-h-i-c-k in the refrigerator; simply thin with a bit of water.

*i found ginger juice at whole foods & health food stores

spaghetti squared.

February 23, 2014

i have a weakness for slow-roasting / braising / stewing dutch ovens of meaty goodness & this spaghetti sauce is no different. what is different is that i change it up by serving it over spaghetti squash in place of pasta.  i really like the texture of the squash – more sturdy than pasta – against the thick & meaty sauce.

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meaty marinara (serves 10 – 12)
3 lbs. ground beef
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1 cup red wine
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 tsp. oregano
¼ tsp. red chili flakes
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
½ grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
fistful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped

in a large pot over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef until totally browned. remove the meat from the pot with a slotted spoon and put it into a bowl. set aside.

over medium heat, add the onion to the fat in the pot & stir it around for a few minutes until softened.  add garlic.  pour in the wine, increasing heat to high & allowing to reduce for a few minutes. add the crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, chili flakes, thyme & bay leaves. add the ground beef & stir to combine.
after 1 ½  hours, add the grated parmesan & fresh parsley. stir to combine & allow to simmer for another 30 minutes or so. discard the bay leaves & thyme sticks before serving.

spaghetti squash

2 large spaghetti squash

split the squash in half and scrape out seeds.  place squash in a roasting pan flesh side up.  pour 2 cups of water in the pan & roast for 30 minutes or until nearly fork-tender & fully cooked.  remove from the oven and let rest until cool enough to handle.  using a fork, scrape the strands of squash from the inside of the skin.

chuck wagon.

February 9, 2014

it is a rainy, grey day & that is a great reason to be cozied-up in the house with good music & slow-roasting a chuck roast with red wine, garlic & herbs.  my favorites are coming over for dinner this evening & i am so looking forward to seeing them.  when i have friends over for dinner i want them to anticipate an amazing meal – obviously it has to be delicious, but i also want it to make them feel taken care of, relaxed & happy.  this past week was a somewhat taxing one but i am hopeful that this braised, fall-apart, tender beef will usher in a restful weekend.

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chuck roast with wine, garlic & herbs (serves 6 – 8)
4 – 5 lb chuck roast, well-marbled & boneless
6 cloves garlic, peeled and each cut in half
salt to taste
pepper to taste
2 T worcestershire sauce
1 C red wine
1 C beef broth
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh oregano
1 tsp. dried parsley

fistful fresh parsley, coarsely chopped

preheat oven to 275 degrees.

cut 12 slits into the top of the meat (halfway through) & place one piece of garlic in each slit.  generously season the meat with salt & pepper.  place meat in a shallow braising dish or dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid.  add the worcestershire, wine, beef broth, thyme, oregano and parsley.  cover, place in the oven & roast for 4 1/2 hours or until meat is tender & pulls apart easily with a fork.  top with fresh parsley & serve.

nyong’o on & on.

February 2, 2014
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it is no secret that lupita nyong’o has been killing it at every single sartorial opportunity & last week at the naacp image awards was, for me, a highlight.  it may have been the burnt orange (oranje boven!!) givenchy dress, perhaps her natural-short-yet-always-different hair or her radiant face, subtle make-up & that smile.  she has been, at every turn, flawless.  moreover, it is energizing to see a young actor who comes across as genuinely humble & eloquent, joyful & at times plain giddy.  i look forward to seeing so much more.

2014 naacp image awards / givenchy

2014 naacp image awards / givenchy

out & about.

January 19, 2014
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terry jumpsuit, goodtimeisland on etsy /boots, nine west / necklace, versa / arm cuff, natureware on etsy / bangles, ashby flea market in berkeley, ca

ending on a high note.

January 2, 2014

wishing all of you all of the best in the coming year.

for new year’s eve i made this decidedly decadent creamed kale with bone-in rib-eyes.  cheers!!

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creamed kale with parmesan (serves 6)
1 T olive oil
2 leeks, white & light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 1/2 pints heavy cream
1 1/2 lbs. lacinato kale, stems discarded, leaves coarsely chopped
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste
chili flakes to taste (optional)
1/2 C parmesan

heat olive oil in saute pan.  add leeks & saute over low heat until soft.  remove from pan.  add cream to pan and heat over medium heat until reduced by nearly half, about 15 minutes.

meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  add kale.  boil until just tender, about 3 minutes.  drain and rinse under cold water.  squeeze remaining water from leaves.  add to cream.  add nutmeg, leeks, salt, pepper, chili flakes (if using) & parmesan, stirring well.  let simmer for 10 – 15 minutes so that flavors meld and sauce thickens.

lighten’ up.

December 13, 2013

it has been brought to my attention that i have been slacking in the recipe department.  ahem.  and i can’t even explain what happened with thanksgiving – i cooked the whole thing but somehow documentation of the meal eluded me.  you’ll have to take my word for it that everything was delicious.  so i am easing my way back in with this appetizer of sauteed shrimp – easy to make and especially nice this time of year when there is so much heavy food happening as it is a light beginning to a brunch or festive compliment to cocktails.  the spiciness of the dipping sauce can be adjusted to however spicy you like it.  and yes, yes i do.

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shrimp with lemon & chives (serves 8)
1 T. olive oil
1 lb shrimp, peeled & deveined, tails on
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
zest of one lemon
juice of one freshly squeezed lemon
3 T. freshly snipped chives

heat oil in a pan, preferably cast iron, over a high flame.  add shrimp in a single layer & leave undisturbed for two minutes, then toss and  cook for one more minute until just opaque.  remove shrimp from heat.  add salt, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice & chives, tossing well.  serve immediately or at room temperature.

sriracha mayonnaise
3/4 C mayonnaise
1/4 C sriracha

combine in a bowl & mix well.  serve with shrimp.

leaving on a jet plane.

November 27, 2013

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wrap sweater, jewels4pandas on etsy / pants, aorta apparel on etsy / boots, nine west / lion pendant, thrifted

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