Monday, March 29, 2010

Sarah's Sexy Salmon

This recipe was passed on to me by my most fabulous friend. She's the kind of girl who cooks in heels, never has a bad hair day and cleans like Mary Poppins*. Sometimes I wish I could be as fabulous as her, but I'm too lazy. Whether it's a holiday party with cranberry martinis or a 3:00 am snack of baked pineapple with cinnamon, her food is always delicious. This salmon recipe is no exception. It is super tasty, very simple and good for you too. Salmon has tons of health benefits as it is high in Omega-3 fats, Vitamin D and B12. And with a fresh marinade of onions, garlic, dill, sun dried tomatoes, olive oil and lemon, its extra healthy and scrumptious. I like to make this recipe when I'm in my athletic mode, have precious little time, or want to impress someone special. You can prep the marinade 1 day ahead and then add it to the salmon a few minutes before it goes in the oven. Could it be more simple?

WARNING: Consuming this delicious and healthy meal may result in unexpected sexiness

* Mary Poppins is one of my favorite Disney movie. Click here to view it's upcoming sequel!

  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 3 tbs FRESH dill chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 7 sun dried tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • half a lemon juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb salmon
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Combine first 7 ingredients together in a bowl and let marinade
  3. Season fish with salt and pepper
  4. Cover a baking pan or dish with foil and place fish on top
  5. Scoop the marinade on top of fish with a fork or spoon until the whole fish is covered with the marinade
  6. Wrap the fish in foil and bake for 25-30 minutes or until tender and not bright pink in center.
  7. Serve with a side of brown rice and vegetables like bok choy, asparagus or broccoli and enjoy!
Recipe courtesy of Sarah Davis
Season salmon generously with salt and pepper

Preparing the marinade. Make sure the onion and sun dried tomatoes are chopped roughly the same size. This will allow them to cook evenly and it looks nice too ;)

A beautiful and colorful marinade with a great combination of citrus and salt. Feel free to add more of your favorite ingredient whatever that may be. I usually add extra dill and a few more sun-dried tomatoes to kick up the flavor a notch. Do not use dried dill in this recipe, the fresh dill is what makes it extra tasty.

The salmon just before it is covered and goes in the oven. Don't forget to cover it with foil, this will allow the fish to stay moist and soak up all the yummy flavors and juices in the marinade.

You can see the salmon is done when the outside become a white-ish pink and the onions on top look soft

A perfectly simple and perfectly healthy meal. I made a side of garlic bok choy but almost any green vegetable would be a nice accompaniment.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bull's Feet, A Beer and The Beach.

And we're back! It has been far too long since my last post but how can you blame me? A week of kayaking, beach bumming, camping, relaxing and stuffing yourself with local food and drink from the Caribbean... can sidetrack you.

Although my vacation was technically spent in America, the US Virgin Islands felt anything but familiar. I guess I would describe them as a much more cool, relaxed and drunk America. I spent most of my time on the Island of St. Croix, but did hop a sea plane and ferry to St. John, for a 2 day camping excursion. St. John was absolutely beautiful but the 2 day adventure made me realize that I do enjoy the finer things in life, (3 days without a shower can do that). Here are some of the things I saw, enjoyed, contemplated and experience on my island adventure.

10 Things I learned in the Virgin Islands:
  1. People drive on the left side of the road
  2. You can walk around with your beverage. Bars give you convenient plastic to-go cups to take to the next bar, or for your ride home.
  3. When driving home at night, be weary of wild horses standing in the road
  4. Food is ridiculously expensive. Their supermarkets are like Costco with Whole Foods pricing. I'm talking $6 for a box of Cheerios and $4 for a small bag of Doritos. Their selection is also very limited. We went to 3 different grocery stores to find Buttermilk and still came up empty handed.
  5. Do not bury your feet deep into the wet sand at night to hide from mosquitos. Though the mosquitos will go hungry, the sand fleas will feast.
  6. If you are going camping, bring a flashlight... and toilet paper.
  7. A beer for breakfast is OK.
  8. If you hear about a tsunami warning do not be alarmed! It is probably a rumor started on twitter earlier that day.
  9. They do not have official tsunami alarms so you should probably listen to that rumor, just in case.
  10. The only cheap product is rum, and lots of it.
What I ate and saw in the Virgin Islands:

A local plate lunch of rice and beans, macaroni and cheese, stewed conch, fried sweet plantains, and johnny cakes which are fried cornmeal flatbreads.

A Mango Colada from Glady's Cafe. Fresh mango, coconut cream, hint of lime and rum. Honestly, the best drink i've ever had.

Conch in garlic butter with a side of sweet potato, plantains and fungi- a cornmeal mush

Papayas the size of melons

Trunk Bay on St. John. One of the most beautiful beaches I've been to

A local trying to open a coconut from the wrong end

Ginourmous dogs that wanted to eat me

Cool taxis

Guava Paste! A slice of this on a cracker with cream cheese = a slice of heaven

Fancy Police Officers

Bull Foot. A popular lunch item

No dining experience is complete without a Homer Simpson dark chocolate

Check back soon for a review on
Bacchus, a fine dining restaurant on the Island of St. Coix

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bon Voyage LA... Hello Caribbean

Sushi with Chef Andy Matsuda

Photos courtesy of Jason Yeh

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of assisting Chef Andy Matsuda in a sushi making class at Sur La Table. Chef Matsuda has worked in the finest sushi bars and hotels in LA, Aspen and New York and has consulted for many fine japanese restaurants and sushi bars. In 2002 he established The Sushi Chef Institute in Los Angeles where he teaches the art of sushi making to beginners and professional chefs from all over the world.

If you are like me, when you eat sushi, you aren't thinking about the detail and careful preparation that went into each roll. You stuff it in your mouth, chew it up, and focus on whether the freshness of the fish lives up to your expectations. Watching a professional sushi chef make a california roll, then watching 15 unprofessional people immitate him, will change this. Suddenly you appreciate the detail and precision that goes into every slice, placement, roll and cut. You realize that even nigiri sushi is a 7 step process.

The only way to understand how difficult sushi making is, is to try it for yourself. Here is what your first time may be like...

1. You watch the sushi master as he breaks the process down, speaking clearly and moving slowly, as if you are senile.

2. You think, "Hey, that looks easy." It does. He makes it look easy, fluid, obvious.

3. You go back to your table where
you have the same ingredients, the same amount of fish, the same rice and suddenly, your mind goes blank. You begin to have a mental meltdown. Do you roll the rice in your left hand? Do you push gently on the top of the rice, then reverse it? Why is your rice sticking to your hands? They didn't stick to his hands. Maybe his water is better? His rice less gooey? How come your fish won't stay on? Were you supposed to put wasabi on the fish or the rice? Does it matter? Which side of the seaweed should be up? Is your fish facing the right way? Which end do you roll first? What did he say about soy sauce? Why is everyone else's looking so much better? Did I remember to take my birth control? AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Relax. Remember the important thing is to FOCUS. Sushi making may be tedious, difficult, and mentally hazardous, but it is well worth it in the end!

Click here to watch Chef Matsuda demonstrates his 7 step process to making nigiri sushi.

For those ambitious people interested in making sushi at home, Chef Matsuda gave me a few names of top Japanese markets to shop for sushi grade fish. The three markets below have multiple locations, not only in LA but San Diego, San Jose, and even New Jersey.
Nijiya Market
There are also several small Japanese markets on Sawtelle near Olympic that have excellent selection of fresh seafood.

Chef Matsuda demonstrates the 7 step process of nigiri sushi making in Sur La Table's kitchen

Chef Matsuda's perfect spicy tuna and california rolls

Carefully placing the spicy tuna in the seaweed before using a Makisu to roll the sushi

Chef Matsuda's california rolls topped with spicy tuna and wasabi sauce

The students finished masterpieces. Not too shabby eh?
Look for more of Chef Matsuda's classes at Sur La Table in the Grove.

Photos courtesy of Jason Yeh

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Downtown Dining at Bottega Louie

700 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Spoondle's Rating: 7

This past weekend I went to the Kings vs. Canadiens hockey game at the Staples center downtown. After the game we decided to grab a bite at Bottega Louie. I've heard a lot about this Italian eatery, its on Jonathan Gold's 99 Essential L.A restaurants list, and one of the most popular dinning spots downtown. Needless to say, I was eager to see what all the hype was about.

This place is fun, hip and huge. It has the feel of a Dean & Deluca, complete with high ceilings, gourmet market, patisserie and an open kitchen. Unfortunately they don't take reservations, and it being a saturday night, the wait was half an hour. But with so much to look at and all the hustle and bustle going on around, we hardly noticed. The food is good, not spectacular, but good. Since I love trying lots of different things, I was really excited by their large selection of side items like white polenta and chanterelles, burrata and grape tomatoes, portobello fries, and pumpkin squash. The food was fresh, the atmosphere fun, and the prices right. I would definitely suggest checking it out at least once, even if its to try a french macaron.

The Lively bar and waiting area at 11:00pm

The deli counter that is filled with savory goodness at lunch time

Cheese selection

Gourmet oils, vinegars, tomato sauce, salts and more

sweet treats

Macarons from the patisserie

The open kitchen

View of the kitchen from the dining room

Appetizer of clams oreganata- baked clams stuffed with a mixture of breadcrumbs and fresh herbs. Initially they were a bit flat so we asked for a side of lemon wedges to help lift the flavors. We had to ask 3 different people for the side of lemon but when we finally got them, the result was perfection.They were so delicious and addicting we ordered a 2nd round.

First course, Modena salad. Salad of butter lettuce, candied walnuts, crumbled goat cheese, shallots, fresh herbs drizzled with a creamy balsamic vinaigrette. This was a nice salad but a bit overwhelming because it was large, difficult to eat and the cheese overpowered the more delicate flavors.

Finally, a good pizza in LA! Their wood fired pizza had a crispy outter crust but was chewy on the inside. We tried the Napoli- red onions, mushrooms, olives, tomato sauce and mozzarella. The tomato sauce had a nice sweetness to it which complemented the saltiness of the olives. The pizza's are large, we ordered one and shared it between 4 people as an appetizer.

Lentil soup- green lentils, vegetable stock, herbs and brunoise of vegetables. A nice lentil soup, a little bland but tasty nonetheless.

White beans and sausage- grilled sausage, cannellini beans, escarole and oregano. Though I didn't try the sausage I know it was very good because I did try the white beans that were covered in its juice, oregano and lemon. They were absolutely delicious. These beans may have been my favorite part of the meal, next to the pizza.

We didn't feel right about walking away from dinner without ordering dessert so we decided on the chocolate Soufflé . One thing you should probably know about me is that I'm not a chocolate lover. (Gasp!) I know, I'm not a real woman. The only reason I enjoyed this dessert is because I drowned the chocolate-ness in the crème anglaise.

Chocolate bars! How cute are these? I'm Keeping these locked in my memory for future gift ideas

Monday, March 8, 2010

Gadget of the Week- Spaghetti Measure

I'm not saying I'm against gadgets. I love fun kitchen accessories as much as the next foodie. But you have to know where to draw the line, and when to close your wallet. Gadgets appeal to our insecure, shopaholic, lazy sides. Remember, you make the magic, not the gadget. This spaghetti measure with an adjustable ring that rations out 1-4 servings of noodles just seems silly. Come on people. We invented the wheel, created an electric nose hair trimmer, and find our soul mates on the internet daily. We can't figure out how many noodles to cook for two? Seems a little insulting if you ask me...

Find it at: Sur La Table
Price: $ 7.50
Spoondle's rating: *

Friday, March 5, 2010

Tea with Alice

It's here, it's here, it's finally here! Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland hit theaters today and guess whose seeing the 12:30 am showing?

3 things you must know about me:

1. Alice in Wonderland is my all time favorite Disney Movie (sorry Mary Poppins)

2. I am a huge tea fanatic

3. I love Wonderland themed decor

Therefore, this post is a tribute to an Alice inspired tea party. The key to an Alice themed tea party is mismatch, mismatch, mismatch! The wackier the better. (It also doesn't hurt if you have a mad friend you can invite over to set the mood.) Here are some of my favorite Alice-like tea paraphernalia. These items may be a little pricey but they're just some inspiration to get your creative juices flowing. Enjoy ~

Tim Burton, make me proud!

Butter dish, sugar bowl and two tier sweet stand by MacKenzie- Childs

Mushroom plate, Cardiff cup and saucer, and Dew Drop spoons by Anthropologie

My 3 favorite exotic teas:
1. Coconut Chai by Zhena's gypsy tea
2. Egyption Licorice by Yogi tea
3. Acai White Tea by Two leaves and a bud

Neat tea spots in Los Angeles:
8686 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 815-1723

Royal/T Cafe, Sore and Artspace
8910 Washington Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 559-6300

Le Palais Gourmet
410 North Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 271-7922

Inside out hearts by Yedi
Perfect for the Queen of Hearts, wouldn't you agree dear?


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