We don’t know if it’s the cold weather or the hot toddies talking, but we feel “bakish”, as in “to bake.” Friends who know me, understand this feeling doesn’t come over me very often, pretty much just around the holidays.
It may also be Cathy Shambley‘s fault. You see, she has this beautiful blog, with gorgeous photos of freshly-made food and recipes that are simple and enticing me in.
The vivacious chef is also one of those insanely talented people, you know, the ones who have more talent than one person should rightfully have. A member of the world-famous Groundlings comedy troop, she is also a writer, actor, and oh yeah, a great Mom. (Full disclosure – she is a good friend and our kids, Buster and Mackenzie, grew up together.)
Today we tried her Bacon and Cheddar Puff Pancake (recipe below.) We went a little crazy with the bacon, but who hasn’t had that happen? Not only was it EASY and quick but friends complimented me on the dish! (Though some suspected I had bought it at Bristol Farms and just heated it up.)
For more of her recipes “LIKE” her FB page and if you find yourself whipping up some homemade jam like a crazed Martha Stewart, don’t blame me.
Bacon & White Cheddar Puff Pancake:
In bowl beat 4 eggs, 1 cup Milk, 1tsp Dijon Mustard. Then add 1 cup Flour, pinch salt, 1/2 cup grated cheese and 3 strips crisp cooked bacon, chopped-(stir until blended, but may be a little lumpy.) Chill. Put into a 10″ baking dish: 1tbls butter + 1tbls oil. Place in the oven and allow to melt while preheating oven 400F. Remove batter from fridge, stir and pour into hot baking dish and bake for about 20-25 minutes. Remove, sprinkle with more bacon, cheese and chopped parsley to serve.
For a taste of Hawaii without getting on a plane, head to downtown L.A. where Roy’s does a Hawaiian Fusion menu that will make you feel like you’re back on the Islands.
Modeled after the original in Honolulu, which was founded by chef Roy Yamaguchi, Roy’s blends European techniques and Asian cuisine to create a memorable night out.
But back to the beginning. We started off our feast with the Lobster Potstickers with its unique miso sauce, a “Spicy Togarashi Miso Butter Sauce” to be exact.($11.95.) I could have eaten an entire plate. For an entrée we tried the “Surf and Turf” and I had the Hibachi grilled Salmon in a homemade Japanese Citrus Ponzu Sauce ($15.50.)
(Our waiter informed us that all the sauces are made daily. Roy’s should think about bottling them.)
While my salmon was cooked perfectly, with just the right amount of seasoning, my husband’s filet could have been more flavorful, though the lobster was exquisite.
With the wide variety of fish on the menu - Ono, Opakapaka and their classic Roasted Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi ($18.50), not to mention the sushi (try the Marguro tuna) and fresh shellfish— there’s plenty to choose from. And by all means save room for their signature molten mouse souffle.Wines by the glass are reasonable and they offer some fine bottles as well.
Located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles just steps from the Staples Center and Theater District, Roy’s does a roaring business during the week and then on the weekends fills up with families and special occasion dinners.
As important as the food is the “aloha” spirit. After 15 minutes, our waiter made us feel like we were on vacation, no easy task.
Don’t save Roy’s for an anniversary or once a year occasion; there’s an “Aloha Menu” with $5 appetizers and drinks and a “Prix Fixe Mondays” for only $36.95. Choose a combo of an appetizer, entrée and dessert from the special menu. (At the downtown LA restaurant, the hours are 4:30-6:30.) Check their location page for your area.
It’s like a vacation without the cost of the plane ticket.
When she’s not shopping or testing beauty products, Evan Hosie writes gadget reviews for the site Popgadget.net
Even though I’ve been back at work for weeks, part of me is still on vacation in Spain. I keep yearning for those salty olives and more of that savory aioli. Many people think they “hate” olives. I heard several grown men make that bold statement on vacation in Spain. Our wisest traveler, Bob, routinely responded “Not these olives. You won’t hate these olives. Just try them. I promise.” And then I watched as in turn, each man tried and enjoyed their first Spanish olives. So this week, I’ve included one of my favorite ways to use olives at home- as a complex olive relish on a delicious muffuletta-style sandwich.
The muffuletta is a New Orleans specialty. Although I’ve never been to New Orleans, I can imagine what the French Quarter is like- the smells of freshly sugared beignets and savory gumbos, the sounds of distinctive Louisiana Jazz and Bourbon Street nightlife, and the visual delights of the historical streetscapes. Although this sandwich is a far cry from the original’s baked bread and mounds of salty cured meats, it maintains to integrity of the most important ingredient - the marinated olive salad that acts as its glue. Here, the muffuletta is updated for your “Meatless Monday” rotation, and includes readily available ciabbata rolls and simple roasted eggplant. If you can’t find eggplant (it’s not exactly “in season”) hold onto the recipe until you can get your hands on some fresh, not tired, deep purple fruits. It may just be worth a trip to the closest specialty market!
Adapted from Veganomicon, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
If you are the type of foodie who wrote off olives years ago, give them another try next time you pass the olive bar at your specialty market. If you can find them sold by the pound, get 1 or 2 of a few different olives and compare and contrast in an at-home taste test. This muffuletta recipe is a great way to re-introduce olives into your diet. The olive salad is a salty, tangy, and savory medley of olives, tomatoes, and spices. The left over mix can be spread on lunch sandwiches throughout the week, or tossed in to liven up your next vinaigrette.
☐ 1 medium eggplant
☐ olive oil to brush eggplant
☐ 1 ½ cups cured, pitted olives (Half pitted green olives, half pitted kalamata olives)
☐ 1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
☐ ¼ cup sundried tomatoes (from the jar- drained, or rehydrated and drained), roughly chopped
☐ 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
☐ 1 tsp dried thyme
☐ 1 tsp dried oregano
☐ 2-4 tbsp olive oil
☐ 2 ciabbata rolls (or other crusty rustic rolls)
☐ 1 roasted red pepper (from the jar), halved
☐ 1 cup spinach
☐ dash of red wine vinegar to dress the spinach
1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
2. Partially peel eggplant (lengthwise) about every inch. This will make the eggplant more “bite-friendly” once your sandwich is assembled! Once the eggplant is peeled, slice into ¼” thick rounds. Spread out on rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle, spray or brush lightly with olive oil. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, flipping eggplant over halfway through roasting. Overcooked, slightly mushy eggplant is preferable to undercooked, firm slices.
3. While the eggplant is roasting, place the olives, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, vinegar (1 tbsp), and spices in your mini-prep food processor. Pulse until chunky and combined, about 5 short pulses. Scrape down the bowl often, and alternate using the “Chop” and “Grind” buttons, pulsing the blade in both directions. Remove lid and add a few tablespoons of olive oil. Pulse to combine, about 5-10 more pulses. Be careful not to over-process- the olive salad is best with a chunky, composed texture.
4. Split ciabbata rolls. Spread a few tablespoons of olive salad on top and bottom of roll. In a small bowl, douse the spinach with red wine vinegar and toss to combine.
5. Layer eggplant slices on bottom half of bun. Top with a bit of spinach, half of the roasted red pepper, and a little more spinach. Top with remaining eggplant, and top of bun. Slice in half, and serve! Enjoy with a side salad and a refreshing drink.
Yield: 2 sandwiches, plus a little leftover olive salad
Notes: The mini-prep is recommended, but not required, to make the olive salad. I imagine that it is still entirely possible, but far more time consuming to make this tasty tapenade with excellent chopping skills, a sharp knife, and bit of patience!
Ciabbata, focaccia, and some other rustic loaves are dairy free. Ask your baker or check the label.
To find more delicious recipes from Katie, click here.
There are two things we love: Great food and strong, smart women. Lucky for us, last night we encountered both at the celebrated opening of the first Balducci’s Gourmet on the GoCafé at the Hearst Tower.
In between sampling some delectable tasty treats, we chatted with Gossip Girl star Kelly Rutherford, who is an absolute sweetheart.
Looking stunning, we asked her what her secret was, and modestly, she replied: “I don’t really have one, I’m a single mom-of-two and I just try to get everything done. That’s what is important.”
As an FYI, the Café features Balducci’s gourmet foods and was created to meet the needs of busy, on-the-go New Yorkers, including finest roasted coffees, fresh crepes, artisan breads and pastries for breakfast and hearty gourmet soups, sandwiches and custom prepared fresh salads for lunch and dinner.
If you’re ever in NYC, be sure to stop by- they are bringing back their famous roast chicken, which by far is the best in Manhattan.
Last weekend marked the unofficial commencement of “Food & Wine Festival” season in America. The Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival (SOBEWFF) presented by FOOD & WINE kicked off the season in the sun and sand of Miami Beach.
Other headliners, like the Charleston Wine and Food Festival, the Russian River Valley Barrel Tasting, Savor Sonoma Valley, and the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival, will draw in crowds of foodies and oenophiles alike from across the country starting in March.
In my own state’s capital city, we will have a smaller scale event in two weeks- the Annapolis Food and Wine Festival. There are celebrations from coast to coast, North to South. From Aspen, CO (FOOD & WINE Classic) to Sarasota, FL (Florida Winefest), San Francisco, CA (International Chocolate Salon) to New Braunfels, TX (Wurstfest), and Seattle, WA (Taste Washington) to Boston, MA (Food Truck Festival), there is a venue and a menu for everyone! Check it out online- there may be a festival near you! If nothing else, the Share our Strength “Taste of the Nation” kicks off in San Francisco this month, continuing with 30+ events across the country through the end of the summer.
The SOBEWFF, famous for its pristine white tents on the beach, is one of the most recognizable names in the Food and Wine Festival circuit and is definitely the most stylish of the venues. Hundreds of local restaurants, bars and distributors participate, as well as many world-renowned chefs. Celebrity Chef and Restaurateurs Emeril Lagasse and Bobby Flay shared the spotlight with reality TV stars Guy Fieri and Melissa d’Arabian (winners of “The Next Food Network Star”). Seasoned stars and household names Anne Burrell, Rachel Ray, and Alexandra Guarnaschelli proved that women are a force to be reckoned with in the industry.
One of my personal favorites, Michael Chiarello (famed Food Network Star, restaurateur, vintner, and founder of NapaStyle) made an appearance in the kitchen. Chef Chiarello represents the best of California and Italian cuisine. He makes a living showing everyday Americans, regardless of where they live, how to entertain in a casual, classy, wine country style. This recipe draws inspiration from a few recipes in his beautiful cookbook Casual Cooking. This version of panzanella is light yet hearty Italian-American fare. It is simple to put together and easier to enjoy. Buon Appetito!
Butternut Squash Panzanella
☐ 1 small loaf of Italian bread
☐ 1 garlic clove, peeled
☐ ¼ cup + 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
☐ salt and pepper
☐ 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed into ½” cubes (about 1-1 ½ lbs)
☐ 2 tbsp. champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
☐ 2-3 cups arugula
1. Slice the Italian bread into ½” thick slices. Spread out 12 slices of bread on the rack of a toaster oven or conventional oven. Lightly brush one side with olive oil (about ½ tbsp olive oil). Toast for about 4 minutes in the toaster oven, or broil in oven until lightly golden. Remove from oven at first sign of browning- you want the bread to be toasty, but not entirely crispy. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Rub one side of each slice with the garlic clove.
2. Meanwhile, prepare butternut squash. When bread is finished, preheat oven to 400F. Spread butternut squash on a rimmed baking sheet. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil, minced sage, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 30-45 minutes until tender and caramelized. Stir once half way through.
3. Meanwhile, heat ½ tbsp olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook for 3-5 minutes until translucent.
4. Transfer shallots to a mini-prep or food processor. Add remaining ¼ cup olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Process for about 5 short pulses until well combined.
5. Once bread has cooled, cut into ½” cubes. In a large bowl, combine butternut squash, bread cubes, arugula, and sliced Brussels sprouts. Add vinaigrette and toss to combine. Sprinkle with fresh thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss once more to combine and then divide evenly onto serving plates. Serve warm.
Serves: 2-3 people as main course
Note: I used part of a 1 ½-2” diameter loaf of fresh Italian bread. I ended up using 12 slices (the max capacity of my toaster oven), which once chopped totaled about 4 cups. Try not to overcook your bread. The bread shouldn’t be “croutons.” You want the slices to be toasty, yet retain a little chew so they will readily soak up some of the vinaigrette.
To find more delicious recipes by Katie, click here.
She’s a renowned culinary and entertaining expert, and now, Katie Lee is partnering with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!® to toast Hollywood’s Biggest Night with award-worthy recipes that help movie fans celebrate with festive at-home viewing parties.
We sought her advice in how to throw the perfect party for tonight’s biggest bash– if you’re already in the throes of getting things together, these tips will help with your last-minute preparations.
Celebzter: Oscars is the biggest night of the celebrity calendar. If we were to plan a party, what tips can you provide us?
Katie: Bring the glamour of the red carpet into your living room! I suggest using the best picture nominees as your inspiration for both the dishes and the décor. I created five finger foods – three appetizers and two desserts themed to this year’s nominees. From Unfried Chicken and Homemade BBQ Sauce inspired by “The Help” to Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes inspired by “The Descendants,” my recipes will be a crowd-pleaser at home viewing parties. You can find them at www.facebook.com/icantbelieveitsnotbutterusa
Celebzter: What is the perfect food to serve up?
Katie: Finger foods are great for Oscars viewing parties since you’ll be sitting in front of the TV. You don’t have to mess with a knife and fork! Also, I like to serve healthier foods to my friends since it’s easy to overindulge. These recipes feature I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, which has 70 percent less saturated fat than butter.
Celebzter: The perfect drinks?
Katie:Anything with bubbles! I also love making a signature cocktail or punch.
Celebzter:In terms of settings, what would you suggest?
Katie: Drape a buffet table with a festive table cloth. You can create different heights for your platters by placing upside-down vases under the cloth. I also like to add fresh flowers and votive candles throughout the tablescape to add a little color and sparkle.
Celebzter: What has been your most memorable Oscars and why?
Katie: I grew up watching the Oscars with my mom, and we would chat for hours about the fashion on the red carpet. Those shows with my mom are the most memorable to me.
Celebzter: What should we avoid on Oscars Night?
Katie: Try to keep your food and décor as fuss-free as possible. Avoid anything that is too labor intensive. You want to have fun too!
Celebzter: Can you tell us a little about your current project?
Katie: I’m partnering with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! to help celebrate Hollywood’s biggest night. I created these recipes to serve to my friends Carson Kressely, Brooke Burke, and Molly Sims at Toast to the Red Carpet – LIVE! on Sunday. You can view it on I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter’s Facebook page at 6pm EST.
Celebzter: Any more books on the horizon?
Katie: I hope so! I’m working on ideas for a new novel. My first work of fiction, Groundswell, will be out in paperback just in time for summer. You can buy it in stores on May 29th.
Celebzter:What makes you happiest Oscars night?
Katie: I love throwing viewing parties with my friends. We have so much fun hanging out in front of the TV together and enjoying the glamorous moments on the red carpet.
“Comfort food.” Just saying it out loud makes my shoulders relax. I love comfort food. You probably respond the same way to the term. Perhaps you can instantly place yourself in your Grandma’s (or Mother’s) kitchen, helping her put dinner on the table. For some of us, helping meant peeling the veggies or stirring the pot, while for others the only helping they did in the kitchen was to taste the samplings offered up in a piping hot spoon or on the tip of Grandma’s finger. The smell of certain foods- lasagna, chicken parmigiana, meatloaf, pot pie, roasted vegetables- brings me right back to the kitchen of my childhood. For me, lasagna is the ultimate Italian-American comfort food. Most people think that their mom makes the best Lasagna. I grew up on Long Island, NY, where every mom makes the best lasagna. They were all different and fantastic, but delicious in their unique way. My own parents (not Italian) made a noteworthy version. My best friend Kathryn (Italian) and her family made some enviable Italian Food. I still remember her late Grandma’s cutlets and “gravy,” and when I hear Giada DeLaurentiis pronounce ricotta, I time travel directly to her dining room circa 1996. Lucky for me, there was always an extra seat at the dining room table for a good friend. But you never stepped into my childhood kitchen. And you never met Kathryn and Grandma Lombardi. So while I may envision lasagna and smell tomato sauce at the mere thought of “comfort food,” what do you imagine? What table does it bring you back to?
If you are in need of a culinary hug this weekend, try this updated dairy free version of lasagna. You can stew your sauce as long as you’d like. Just make sure you cook it long enough to take a break, smile, and remember why you loved those meals growing up. Allow this experience to comfort you with the memories of home. I hope you enjoy my version of comfort food- a reassuring dish that might even make some Italian Grandmas smile down upon us.
Pesto and Cannellini Bean Lasagna Rolls
☐ 9 lasagna noodles
☐ ½ tbsp olive oil
☐ 1 small onion, diced
☐ 1- 14.5 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
☐ salt and pepper to taste
☐ pinch of crushed red pepper
☐ ½ cup prepared pesto (recipe follows)
☐ 2 cups warm prepared sauce
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F
2. Bring large pot of water to a boil. Cook lasagna until al dente, according to package instructions. (Note: This lasagna does not wet-bake in the oven like other lasagna recipes you may be familiar with, so you want to make sure the lasagna is not undercooked before you drain the pot.)
3. Prepare pesto, if using homemade. (Recipe follows)
4. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion. Cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add beans to the skillet, and cook for a few minutes just to get them a little mushy/crispy. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper, salt and pepper, and cook 1 minute more. Set aside.
5. In the bowl of a food processor (or working in batches in a mini-prep, or mashing by hand with a potato masher), combine bean and onion mixture and pesto. Pulse to combine, about 5 short pulses.
6. Once pasta is drained (and cool enough to handle) lay them out on your clean work surface. I use an oversize cutting board, although you can use your counter if it’s clean! Spread a few tablespoons of the pesto bean filling evenly over each lasagna noodle. (Make sure you ”eyeball” the filling from the get-go. Make sure that you have enough to fill each lasagna noodle. This should be about 2-3 tablespoons per roll.) Using a small rubber spatula or the back of a spoon, spread the filling evenly from end to end. Starting at either end, carefully roll the noodle up, trying not to squish out the filling.
7. Place each rolled lasagna seam side down in a 13×9” baking dish. Spread about ½- ¾ of a cup of warm tomato sauce over the rolls. Cover dish with tinfoil, and bake for about 20 minutes to heat dish through.
8. Serve 2-3 rolls per person with extra sauce spooned on top.
Basil- Walnut Pesto (Dairy Free)
☐ 3 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
☐ 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
☐ ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes (in olive oil, or rehydrated in hot water), roughly chopped
☐ ½ cup walnuts
☐ ½ tsp salt
☐ ½ tsp pepper
☐ 1/8 – 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (the tasty kind)
1. Place basil leaves, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, walnuts, salt and pepper in the food processor. Process 5-7 short pulses, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Pesto should be evenly mixed, with small chunks (It should have a grainy, almost gravel-like consistency).
2. With food processor running, add olive oil (2 tablespoons at a time, if you are worried) in a steady stream through the topside hole. Process quickly, stopping to scrape down sides and judge if you need to add more olive oil. Once olive oil has been incorporated and you have reached your desired consistency, taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside ½ cup for lasagna recipe.
3. Store the remaining 1 cup of pesto in ½ cup servings in freezer-proof Tupperware, covered in a thin layer of olive oil.
We’re introducing yet another food writer, Katie Colgary, who has whipped up something especially for tomorrow’s big game.
This weekend plays host to a game of the most epic proportions. Sunday’s Super Bowl in Indianapolis will undoubtedly provide a testosterone driven show-down, fueled by a burning desire for “revenge” on the part of the Patriots, and a true longing for a Giants victory to repeat their 2007 success.
Although a quick Google search can show us what the lucky fans visiting the Super Bowl Village will be enjoying, the most die-hard fans at home will be enjoying their own celebrations to rival the streets of Indianapolis. The “Epicenter of Awesome” as the NFL has so modestly named their celebration, will boast such venues as The Huddle where guests can enjoy the offerings of the vaguely named Chef’s Table, as well as the ambivalently billed Fire and Ice Lounges. It is, of course, Varsity Tailgating season, certain to deliver some awe-inspiring culinary showcases in the parking lots, tailgate towns and impromptu tent cities. I can only wonder what the fans at home will be cooking up for their festivities.
While most of us will be intermittently lounging on the couch and leaping to our feet to cheer on a touchdown (or a great tackle), we will inevitably be shoving our faces full of horribly unhealthy game snacks, all washed back with a few hundred calories of beer. Being a football fan, especially a social football fan, is not exactly figure friendly.
In celebration of the game this weekend, I plan on making a huge pot of chili for my friends and family. This isn’t just any chili, though. It is lean, spicy, and Vegan. Yes, that’s right. It is a hearty, flavorful, meat free version of a classic Super Bowl party mainstay. This is a dish that even Tony Gonzalez (Atl. Falcons tight end and one time vegetarian), Ricky Williams (controversial Baltimore Ravens running back and proud vegan and PETA supporter), Joe Namath (Hall of Fame NY Jets QB and long time vegetarian) and Carrie Underwood (vegetarian ex-girlfriend of Cowboys QB Tony Romo) would serve at their own Super Bowl parties. It’s a healthy meal for the figure conscious ladies, and tasty, hearty and filling enough for the hungry beer-guzzling gents; I hope you enjoy!
Super Bowl Chili
☐ 1-2 tbsp oil
☐ 1 green pepper, chopped
☐ 1 red pepper, chopped
☐ 1 large yellow onion, chopped
☐ 1 jalapeno, diced (½ seeds removed and reserved)
☐ 1 Anaheim chili, diced (some seeds removed and reserved)
☐ 1 poblano chili, diced (some seeds removed and reserved)
☐ 3 cloves garlic minced or pressed
☐ 2 tbsp cumin
☐ 3-4 tbsp chili powder
☐ 2 tbsp Emeril’s Essence (or more chili powder)
☐ 1 ½ -2 oz tequila
☐ ½- ¾ Corona (or any light beer)
☐ 1- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
☐ ¾ tsp salt, plus more to taste
☐ ½ of a 6 oz can tomato paste
☐ 2 tbsp brown sugar
☐ sprinkle of cayenne pepper and chipotle chili powder (optional)
☐ 1 can white beans (any kind)
☐ 1 can kidney beans
☐ 1 can black beans or pinto beans
☐ Quinoa or Brown Rice
1. Heat oil in dutch oven (or heavy pot) over medium to medium-high heat. Add chopped red and green pepper, diced chili peppers, jalapeno pepper, and onion. Cook until onions are barely translucent, but not brown.
2. Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, and essence. Stir and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 more minutes.
3. Add tequila and beer to deglaze pot. Cook until foam subsides, about 1 minute more.
4. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add crushed tomatoes, salt, tomato paste, brown sugar, and sprinkle of cayenne and chipotle (optional). Simmer to allow flavors to combine.
5. Rinse canned beans. Add to chili with at least 15-30 minutes of cooking left to ensure they heat through. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until ready to serve
6. Serve over quinoa or rice with reserved jalapenos, avocado, and cornbread.
Note: You can use any kind of beans you want. I normally use whatever I have on hand. This chili can get very hot very quickly if you’re not careful. I don’t like it that hot, I just like the added depth of flavor from using a few types of mild and hot peppers! Save any extra peppers you have to serve sprinkled on top of your bowl of chili.
Recipe and Post by Katie Colgary of Annapolis, Maryland