Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Lessons from Andrew Zimmerman :: When it comes to crab cakes, simple is best

Having crab meat at home always feels like a little bit of a splurge to me, even though in reality it makes so much more sense to make it at home if you consider the cost benefit.  And if you make these crabcakes, your everyday dinner will turn into something a little bit more special :)  Because Andrew Zimmerman, you are right, this is the best crab cake recipe hands down. Frankly better than what I've had at some fancy restaurants.  When it comes to crabcakes, simple really is best.  There is no need for all the creams, the parsleys, and other such extra fillers.  Just binding ingredients with simple flavors so that the crab takes the main stage, squeeze a little lemon on top with a little bit of tartar sauce and you're set.

The meal was easy to make, delicious to eat - what more could you need?  Served it with rosemary roasted potatoes and some fresh veggies bagna cauda style - Cy was a happy person that day.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Three Ingredient Salad :: Roasted Fennel & Orange Salad

We finally got some much needed rain in Los Angeles this weekend.  Even though it was only for a measly two days, it wreaked some havoc in my neighborhood with the power going out for a bit, and some trees getting knocked over from the winds.   I saw people decked out in their down coats and boots...I may have heard some snickers from east coasters...

I know spring is around the corner and the sun is already coming back out here, but when I saw this recipe from Molly Steven's cookbook All About Roasting introduced on Food52 I knew that I had to make it.  It only requires three ingredients that I happened to have all on hand, and I love the combination of fruit in savory dishes.  The citrus is a perfect complement to the red onion and fennel and when everything is roasted together, it creates a perfect harmony of flavor that makes me think of warm meals by the fire on cold nights. And the best part - it's so easy!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Easy & Delicious Cookies :: Butter & Eggs NOT required

I really really love this cookie.  I'm a big fan of oatmeal cookies to begin with, except this one is taken to different level with the addition of carrots and a kick of ginger.  Neither Cy nor I are vegan, but the fact that it's so easy to make with absolutely no eggs and no butter only makes it that much better.  I am always amazed at the perfect consistency - the somewhat crispy outside with the super moist inside.  I love this cookie with the currants and ginger, but really you can do any combination of flavors.  White chocolate chips, cinnamon instead of ginger, the possibilities are endless.  I used a combination of almond and whole wheat flour here, but you can also use regular flour, or whatever flour that floats your boat.

It's a perfect snack for when Cy and I are craving that sweet bite :)

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Cruciferous Salad

To be honest, I've always seen and been curious about this salad at the Whole Foods Deli, but I have never actually tried it.   When I saw that there were a plethora of homemade versions out there on the interweb (the one that particularly inspired me was this one), I figured it would be a good opportunity to try making it for myself.  This is a great salad for those days you feel like "detoxing" after not eating so great ( Like me, at work...) or just a great side dish to have on hand.

I've talked about the benefits of eating raw cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, etc. with all of their vitamins, fiber, and disease fighting phytochemicals before on a post.  In fact, Cy's Broccoli Salad is still one of my favorite salads, but this one is a good one to have in the arsenal.

If you notice, this recipe uses Kelp granules - a new ingredient for me.  I've always known that sea vegetables have amazing nutritional value, and they are a major part of Japanese cooking, but I didn't realize that they offer kelp in granule form - kind of like a healthier version of salt I guess, almost like furikake. You can find them in most grocery stores and read more about them here.  I think it's great that they make this so that benefits of sea veggies can be incorporated into western dishes. I will definitely be doing more posts on Japanese dishes that feature sea vegetables in the future :)

In the meantime, eat more cruciferous veggies!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Chia Seed & Coconut Pudding with Raspberry Sauce

Chia seeds are so interesting.  It's hard to imagine that something so tiny has so much energy and goodness packed into it.  There's actually a long list of benefits to consuming chia seeds, including omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, and protein just to name a few.

I'm especially interested in the fact that chia seeds have been shown to improve blood pressure in diabetics, and that they are currently being studied as a natural treatment for diabetes.  Because of its nature of turning gelatinous when mixed with fluids, they have the ability to slow down digestion helping to prevent sugar spikes in your blood, and this in turn can help fight insulin resistance as well as help lower LDL and TGL cholesterols!  

Needless to say, I'm always looking for ways to incorporate these little seeds into our diet.  Sometimes I'll sprinkle it in our morning yogurt, or throw it into whatever I happen to be baking. I've also made the Mint Cocoa Bars with Chia seeds in the past.  This particular panna cotta like dish, is one I discovered over at Le Pain Quotidien.  It tasted so creamy and delicious I knew I had to try to recreate it.  It was a happy day when I discovered that the recipe is actually incredibly simple with really only 3 ingredients, and requires almost no sugar  :)  This makes for a perfect snack or dessert when you want a little something indulgent without it actually being too indulgent, or even for breakfast!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Green Juice: Mojito style

Juicing is a trend that I think has now become a mainstay in the busy and health-conscious culture of metropolitan cities.  There's a nice convenience to knowing that if I feel like I'm not getting enough servings of veggies, I can just run to the nearest cold-pressed juicery (I think there are at least 4-5 in my neighborhood alone) and drink down my daily servings worth.   I haven't bought into the idea that the average person needs to go through a juice diet to in order to "detoxify" our bodies, but I do think that the occasional, if not daily veggie juice helps me feel like I'm doing something good for my body.

When we first bought our Omega Juicer, we were so excited we juiced pretty much every morning, but nowadays we make green juice only occasionally - when we feel like our fruit and veggie intake could use a boost.   I've posted about making homemade Honey and Vanilla Almond milk with it before, but I've been meaning to put up our green juice recipe.   We usually like to make something that's inspired by the Greenest #3 over at Juice Crafters, and I'll post that sometime in the near future, but this one which is reminiscent of a mojito with the fresh mint and lime, is another version we enjoy.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy ♥ Day!  
V-day is interesting - it seems to bring a wide range of emotional response from people.  Anything from, "Omg I'm going to be so upset if he/she doesn't plan something for me!" to "V-day must die because it's something the commercial card industry cooked up to trying to make more moola off of me", to "I could care less".  Me, I probably lean toward the latter but would not be opposed if someone wanted to shower me with sweets and gifts ;)  In either case, I've said this before but I don't think you need a specific day to show your love and appreciation for someone you care about...that being said, I always enjoy having an excuse to make something sweet. And the excuse to make something with penguins and hearts? Even better.

Last year I made these penguin cookies for Cy, but this year I really wanted to challenge myself to the French macaron.  Definitely NOT a health food, but it's a holiday, and they're so sweet and rich, even just having one can satisfy any sweet tooth - in theory of course. There are tons of amazing food bloggers out there who seem to have perfected this finicky cookie and I am determined to get there some day.  In the meantime, despite some bumps along the way, these came out relatively well.  A shout out to miss S, my helper that day :)

I saw them on this beautiful blog and just had to recreate them, though I didn't use her recipe for the macaron.  I did plan for them to be black, but realized I bought the wrong color a little too late...oh well, at least it was still a color associated with penguins.  Remember Tuxedo Sam!?  As for the filling, I decided to go with passionfruit, because I love how the tart creaminess cuts through some of the sweetness and I had found some dehydrated passionfruit powder.  The fruit also seemed somehow appropriate for a day that's supposed to be about love.

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