Monday, October 24, 2016

Choose Your Own Adventure

I am so proud to say that this recipe was featured in Basirah's weekly email.  Follow the link to subscribe! Holistic Yogi.
This week's recipe will come in handy and if you are like me, you won't need a recipe and you can go on feeling.  How will this come in handy? Well have you ever run out of pita chips but had half a tub of hummus or randomly made bruschetta and forgot the baguette. You're at a party and the table is all dip and not an edible vessel to get the dip into your mouth your mouth.  Oh the humanity! This will get you out of this pickle anytime of day. And the beauty of this recipe is that you can either have a crispy cracker or a shortbread like flatbread to carry any dip into your mouth. 

Flatbread or Crackers.  Choose Your Own Adventure.

  • 1 3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

1. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add the oil and then water and mix and combine to a firm dough.
2. Divide into two and roll out the dough into desired thickness and cut into desired shapes.  Cookie cutters or into squares or circles.
3.  Brush tops with olive oil and bake for 8-10 minutes.

What's that you say? You wanted more of a cracker than a shortbread flatbread?  Leave out the leavening agent, baking powder and roll the dough out paper thin and bake for the same amount of time. 
Oh you have extra herbs? Throw them into the dry ingredients! It will only make it better. Ever wanted to know how to make a Cheez-It? Add cheese into the dry mix and BOOM!!!!

What makes a good topping? Well, cheese, hummus, black bean dip, mushroom pate, salsa,  jam, anything your heart desires! You do you, chose your own culinary adventure.

I made mine with fresh thyme and rosemary.  I mixed it in the dry ingredients and then rolled it into the dough to make it look pretty!
 Rollin rollin.


 What's that? Why, yes, those are Guggenheim and the Sydney Opera House shaped flatbreads.

Monday, October 10, 2016


It's pumpkin spice season again. Don't get me wrong Fall is my favorite time of the year. I think I like it because people in Southern California want it to be the fall the rest of the world has come to accept as the idea of "Fall." I feed on that disappointment. See, in California, it gets hotter. For example, I got married in November and it was 90 degrees in Huntington Beach or like last year when I ran the Long Beach Marathon and it was 99 degrees in October.  Take the picture above.  What if I told you it was taken last week? 
Well, it wasn't.  It was taken like 2 months ago.  But if I didn't tell you that it was you would have been like, "Oh yeah, that was totally last week." You know why? BECAUSE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA LOOKS THE FUCKING SAME ALMOST ALL YEAR ROUND.  We have no seasons. We have perfect weather all the time. It's gross. But nature finds a way. As soon as the day turns September 25th and the temps drop to a crisp 65, it's brown knee high boot season. I love the idea of sweaters and boots and layers but it doesn't really happen here.

I feel like this summer was so fast and I can't remember what I wore the day before.  It's like I'm drunk everyday and every morning I have to recount the events from the previous day so I don't walk out of the house with the same outfit I had on yesterday.  It's like I'm hungover. Every. Morning.

Anyways, since it has been a minute I thought I would play catch up.  It has been a warm one this year but I made every attempt to cook at home.  Mainly salads and one pot meals. I have eaten some really good meals at other places too.

Went to Silverlake to Pine and Crane 

 I made cupcakes and cakes for a baby shower. It's a vanilla cake with a blueberry rose water jam.  I also made a cake, but I'm a bad food blogger and I didn't take a picture. I actually made two cakes and a handful of cupcakes.  The second cake was blackberry and mint.

Took a trip to the Redondo Beach Pier.  I love it there.  It reminds me of Oxnard.  I took home some friends too.  Cooked said friends and then consumed them.

They tasted great!

I also picked up some reading material because you all know that I need more cookbooks.  New reads include, Prune. I love Gabrelle Hamilton.  Blood, Bones and Butter is one of my favorites.  It's a cookbook but from the restaurant.  I love the notes and the footnotes for the kitchen.  

Lucky Peach and Bon Appetit are my two subscriptions. 

Then there is Everything I want to Eat by Jessica Koslow from Sqirl.  Sorry guys, I couldn't wait till Christmas so  bought it myself.  That and I also got a tote and an insert! I had to.  It's my favorite restaurant that I have only eaten at once.

Made a pie. Met a hero. Oh you know.  Jonathan Gold.

Then got some props on the Internets

Small victories.

 LA Weekly

The downside of making pie There is no downside of making pie. But there is the is the "WTF am I going to do with all the extra stuff I bought?"

Bonus Track Recipe: Leftover Broccoli Cheddar Soup

So at the end of the day, all the pie is consumed but you are left with a surplus of, like in my example, broccoli and chicken broth. 

You'll need broth, broccoli, cheddar cheese, chopped garlic, chopped onion, cubed potatoes, chopped carrot

In a soup pot I put oil and butter and heated it on medium heat.  When the butter has melted, I add the carrot, onion and the garlic and sweated them out.  Then I added the the potato and the broth.  Bring it to a boil, then add half the broccoli. When the potatoes and the carrots are cooked, remove from the heat and blend. I used a hand blender. Once thoroughly blended, return to a low heat and add the cheese.  I also had some of the amazing homemade cream of chicken and I threw that in there too.  I cooked it until the cheese melted into the broth.  Season to taste. Let it sit a minute to marry.  Get yourself some good bread, preferably from Lodge Bread Co, and eat. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Cook It Yourself: The KCRW Pie Contest #2

 After an absence from last year, I'm back! The 8th Annual KCRW Pie Contest had come and is now gone I can't say it was easy, at times it was frustrating but I am happy with the result.  I didn't win but the feedback and the reactions I got from the people who tried my pie was all worth it. I feel like I won and for that I am so thankful.  So so so thankful for Melissa, who kept me company and to Judy and Ryan! To the person who asked me for the recipe, the couple who randomly tried my pie and when they walked away I watched them creeply and caught a smile from both of them. To the photographer from LA Weekly (see slide 55) who liked the silly name of the pie and took a picture. To the guy who gave me one ticket and then came back and gave me his second!!! I want to hug you all!  

I think I'm really emotional because I am a week out from my period, but these emotions are all very real. My pie was humble and unpretentious, unassuming and warm. I will try try again.

Enough with the mushy stuff, time for you to Cook It Yourself!

Disclaimer: I did all the parts in the span of three days. 

Rock Out With Your Broc Out, Broccoli Chicken Casserole Pie

Ritz Cracker pie crust
Cream of Mushroom
Cream of Chicken
Roasted Chicken Thighs


Roast your chicken 
I laid out the aromatics on the bottom of a sheet pan. I used, leek tops, carrot ends, lemon, thyme, rosemary, parsley, onion butts, celery.  Toss the chicken in a bowl, pour in some oil and salt and pepper and mix it up with your hands. Lay it out on over the aromatics.  Sprinkle more salt and pepper and dot with butter and roast for 45 minutes at 375 degrees. Halfway through, take the juices from the pan and baste it over the partially cooked chicken. Rotate the pan and cook the rest of the way. 

Once cooled, cut into small pieces, reserving the fattier parts for later.  


Roast your Broccoli
 Cut the broccoli in small pieces, separating the florettes and using the stems making sure the tougher outer parts are peeled off.  Oil, salt and pepper the broccoli and place the sheet pan into a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes but no more than 35.   
A little bit of water is okay from washing, you don't want to completely char the broccoli. 

Make your cream of chicken and mushroom
This part is a bit more complex, but stick with me.

I made my own chicken broth in the pressure cooker. I call it garbage stock.  Why? You'll see. I used, chicken bones that I saved in the freezer from a roast about a month ago.  I save the tops from carrots, butts of onions, aging celery, old parsley, basically anything that can go in broth in a bag in the freezer.  So like, the greens from leeks or Parmesan rinds.  I put whatever I have in the pressure cooker at the time and add water salt, pepper and bay and follow the lead of the cooker because I have a fancy digital one. With this broth, you can now make the appro cream of (insert meat or veg)

The base for both of these is a roux. Equal parts butter to flour.  In this case, I used about 4 tablespoonsThe #majorkey is to infuse the butter with whatever flavor cream of you want to make.  So for mushroom, I chopped up a combination of button and crimini mushrooms, garlic and shallot and infused that goodness in butter.  When it felt right and smelled right, I added the flour and whisked it all on low.  
 Disclaimer: There is a feeling when making a roux.  It can be measured but sometimes, you have to go with your gut and not let it smell your fear.  It looks like a paste and smells sweet. Then you add the broth slowly, while whisking.  I used about 2+ cups added some heat, then mixed in so heavy cream about 3/4 of a cup to a cup.  Whisked it upAs it heats you will feel it getting thicker When it reaches a consistency of loose lava, season with salt and pepper and remove from heat and cool.  

Remember the fatty/not so pretty parts of the roast chicken you saved?  Use that to infuse the butter for cream of chicken.  Do the same thing yo did for the mushroom, just don't use the mushroms. DUH! 

 Make you crust
So I used the 3-2-1 Pie Recipe from the Ratio Book. It was really simple but I I had a few issues because I added Ritz Crackers in place of some four.  It made it crummy and in hindsight, I would change this and just roll the cracker straight into the dough. Or I would Just make the Cooks Illustrated Foolproof Pie Crust and add the Ritz in the inside of the pie.
 Make enough for a top and a bottom. The 3-2-1 will make enough for a 9 inch pan.

Put it all together
If you are like me and expericed trauma from pie crust don't worry it's all down hill. Roll out the dough. Breath, and carry on.

So take your cream of mushroom and chicken and mix it together.  I got a big spoonful of mayo, but no more than 3/4 cups and mix it in.  Then add the curry to taste. 
 Then, layer the broccoli, chicken, and cream mixture in the pie pan that has a layer of pie crust.

Take to the contest, serve.
I loved my pie server.  It was from an estate sale. 

Thank you again to KCRW and everyone that tasted my pie.  It means the world and so much more to me! See you next year!