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Monday, August 1, 2011

Brunch It Part 1. ~ Eggscellent




One of my favorite parts about the weekend, (and life) is getting to enjoy a leisurely breakfast. Which is why I have decided to do a series dedicated to exploring all things related to morning meals.

Sometimes I visit my favorite brunch spots like Gjelinas for their Neiman ranch BLT with a sunny egg, or the Beverly Hills Hotel Fountain Coffee Room for silver dollar buttermilk pancakes with a vanilla milkshake. Decadent? Yes. Costly? Hell yes! Which is why I often prefer to spend my weekend mornings preparing a deliciously simple and cost effective brunch at home.

The Usual Suspects

Eggs
Avocado
Tomatoes
Arugula
Pesto
Spinach
Zucchini
Thyme
Tomato Sauce
Chicken apple sausage
Tofu sausage
Herbed goat cheese
Whole wheat english muffins
Whole wheat toast
Fresh Fruit (whatever is in season)
Swedish Pancake Mix
Butter
Milk
Fresh Maple Syrup
Fresh Orange Juice
Champagne

Of all the items listed, (Swedish Pancake mix being one of my favorites and a future Brunch series topic) the most common dish I tend to make involves eggs. As I don't have a super sweet tooth, I prefer flavorful and creative egg dishes with gourmet additions.

My favorite egg dish is inspired by Huckleberry's Green eggs and ham - Poached eggs, prosciutto, pesto & arugula on an english muffin. I don't eat much pork*, so I substitute the prosciutto with avocado and add sliced cherry tomatoes. In my opinion there is no better tasting egg dish than when it is topped with homemade pesto, arugula, avocado and fresh cut tomatoes on a crispy english muffin. Unless it had bacon! My only weakness. (*Ignore statement and see An Ode To Bacon).

Depending on what is in my fridge, I use this basic recipe to play around with other combinations. Also keeping in mind that eggs are one of the most versatile ingredients to work with I know that I can be creative as I dare. This past Sunday, having only wilted arugula and some heirloom cherry tomatoes, I decided on a resourceful start to my day. Thus arugula pesto was created and drizzled over a fried egg with sliced tomatoes. Simple and succulent!

Other mornings have seen eggs topped with sauteed onions, bell peppers, and tomato sauce. Or a scramble of zucchini, mushrooms, goat cheese, chicken sausage, and fresh thyme. Why not make your own breakfast sandwich with sliced cheese, avocado and tomato? I did! The possibilities are endless and the outcome always the same. Eggscellent ;)


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

~ When in Doubt, Pinky Out ~



Pippa has swept the world with her smashing good looks, the Royal Couple are enjoying a fabulous honeymoon and Harry Potter has finished his brilliant battle with the Dark Lord. The world has been taken with British culture and bloody hell, so am I. But alas, I can not afford to travel to Europe, sit on patios, sip wine, and gaze at Big Ben. So why not bring Europe to you by celebrating with one of Britain's oldest traditions? High Tea. Here is a recipe for some simple tea sandwiches that you can pair with your favorite tea. Feel free to use this as inspiration to create your own unique sandwiches with whatever suits your fancy. You'd be mad not to dahhhling.

Tea Sandwiches

Ingredients:
2 slices good bread (whole wheat for healthier sandwiches)
cucumber sliced
smoked salmon
fresh dill chopped
cream cheese (softened)
salt & pepper to taste

Preparation:
Soften the cream cheese by putting it in the microwave for 10 seconds. Cut the crust off of your sliced bread. Spread the cream cheese on both slices of bread. Top one side with cucumbers, smoked salmon or both. Sprinkle dill and salt and pepper to taste. Place the other slice of bread on top and cut into cute small rectangle or triangle shapes. Enjoy your brilliant creation with a cup of tea, (pinky out).


Favorite tea kettle from MacKenzie-Childs


Monday, July 11, 2011

Sun Kissed



I love summer. It's the time where I come to life. All winter I sit inside, cold and lethargic, reading books and sipping tea. I often feel like I'm 80. Or a sloth. And then one day the sun is shining, the air is warm, and I wake up! I have energy, I smile more and just feel happier. I take advantage of the sunny weather and beautiful warm nights.

And this summer is no exception. Which is why I kicked it off with making my first batch of Sun Tea. Fresh iced tea that is easy, fun and environmentally friendly to make. You'll also feel pretty handy that you made it all-natural. If you ask me the tea tastes fresher and more delicious than any store bought tea and you don't have to heat up your kitchen to make it. Plus you can be creative and use fun teas like white peach with mint for a great summer refresher. Enjoy the power of the sun!

Sun Tea Recipe

Courtesy of Simple Recipes

Method:

Put 4 to 6 tea bags into a clean 2 quart glass container. Fill with water and cap. Place outside where the sunlight can strike the container for about 3 to 5 hours. Move the container if necessary to keep it in the sun. Add a few tablespoons of sugar. When the tea has reached its desired strength, remove from sun and put it in the refrigerator. You may or may not want to remove the tea bags at this point. I usually don't.

The tea will probably taste more mellow than what you are used to from using boiling water. The slow seeping has a way of bringing out a slightly different flavor from the tea. Also, because you didn't use boiling water, you should refrigerate the tea and drink it up pretty quickly - a day or two. It will not keep as well as iced tea made from boiling water.

I usually make sun tea with various forms of herbal tea. Sometimes you can put in a few sprigs of fresh mint as well.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Red White and Yellow


In preparation for the big day, I'm psyching my mind and gut for all things unhealthy, un-wholeful and ALL AMERICAN! And what better way to start than with a Let's be Frank hot dog. At least their made from pasture-based livestock free from hormones, steroids, and other junk.

And for all you non red meat eaters and vegetarians such as myself, they got you covered with their homemade turkey and spicy veggie dog. Ask for the grilled onions and homemade spicy devil sauce if your into that sorta thing. The only downside? No dill relish.

Which brings me to my next thought.

Which relish is more "American", Dill or Sweet?

Happy Fourth of July Weekend!!!





between Washington Blvd & Venice Blvd
Culver City, CA 90034
(888) 233-7265
Spoondilicious Rating: 7 our of 10 spoons (it's a hot dog cart man!)

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Little Taste of Healthy Heaven- Acai



For years I have searched high and low for the best Acai bowl in Los Angeles. From the beaches of Venice to the breakfast nooks of Hollywood, I have ventured, tasted, and left (disappointed). But now my friends, I have found the bowl with the tastiest blend of Acai, freshest topping of berries and bananas, and yummiest granola this side of the Rocky Mountains. I present to you (drum roll) Liquid Juice Bar.

Not only do they have an Acai bowl, they have 4! Each one more healthy than the next. But if your not into kale and fruit, the bowl for you is the Tropical Transfusion. So good I think it may be the best Acai concoction I've ever had. And just so I don't sell this place short, they have a full juice, smoothie and food menu. Smoothies without frozen yogurt! In LA!? Can you even imagine? Thank you Liquid Juice, I love you!!!

Tropical Transfusion
BLEND: Fresh organic apple juice or almond milk, acai, coconut meat, banana, strawberries, pineapple and mango

TOPPING: Granola, banana, blueberries, strawberries, goji berries, coconut flakes, and raw honey

Liquid Juice Bar
8180 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 300-8070
liquidjuicebar.com
Spoondilicious Rating: 10 out of 10 spoons

Monday, June 20, 2011

Favorite Finds



Found these colorful ice cream bowls from Crate & Barrel. Love them to organize my chopped veggies for taco night, or fill them with yogurt, fruit, and granola for a yummy breakfast. But the best reason for buying these beauties is their perfect size as cereal bowls for a less guilty midnight snack ;)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A-Frame is A-OK



Last week I had the chance to finally visit the new A-Frame in Culver City. Created by Roy Choi, the man behind the Kogi Truck, A-Frame packs a Korean and Hawaiian punch with a side of comfort. Community tables, easy to share plates, and plastic dinnerware make this my new favorite homey spot. It doesn't hurt that they have great inventive dishes that keep your taste buds happy and surprised either. Good food, unpretentious, coo,l and open until 12am are all reasons enough to check out this refreshingly unique spot. I'll definitely be back to try their cracklin beer can chicken.


Furikake Kettle Corn = popcorn, corn pops, dried seaweed, sesame seeds, drizzled butter. Could have eaten 3 bowls of this.


Swordfish Brochette on tzatziki. Wasn't sure how I felt about seared swordfish beforehand, still not sure.


Their take on the "clam chowder". Similar to a green curry but one of the best damn chowders I've ever had.


Spicy Asian Baby Back Ribs with hoisin-chili glaze. Delicoius but spicy. Very spicy





A- Frame
12565 Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 398-7700
Spoondelicious Rating: 7.5 out of 10 spoons

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Battle of the Banh Mi #1



Definition of Banh Mi: Vietnamese Baguette Sandwiches, most commonly filled with thinly sliced pickled carrots, daikon, cucumbers, cilantro, chili peppers, mayonnaise, and various meat or tofu.

Competitors: Pho Lang Thang vs. Nom Nom Truck

Story: Ever since I tried my first Tofu Banh Mi at Pho Lang Thang in Cincinnati, I've been:

A) Craving it
B) Addicted
C) Wanting to see how LA compared.

So this week I decided to check out the Nom Nom truck...

Findings: Nom Nom's bread was great but there was hardly any delicious filling! Not only does Pho Lang Thang have great bread, they really know how to stuff their Banh Mi. They also use a delicious garlic sauce that makes it soooo delish!

Conclusion: Sorry Nom Nom but Pho Lang Thang killed it. So I'm still on the hunt for the best Banh Mi in the West. Let the battle continue...

Shout out: If your a foodie and find yourself in Cincy, check out Pho Lang Thang located in the bustling Findlay Market- Ohio's oldest public Market. It's authentic, delicious, and cheap.



Nom Nom Truck's Tofu Banh Mi

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Date With Myself / How To Spend Your Last Day On Earth




Once in a while I need a ME day. A day where I can do whatever I want, when I want and move as slowly as I like. A day with no set plans. No "meeting up". No one else to please. A day where I can be as selfish as I like. A day where I can be me. And what better time to do this than the "last day on earth?" (Which for those who didn't know, was last Saturday.)

Nervous, insecure to be alone? Rubbish! Follow these simple steps below and find out how rewarding a day alone can really be. Whether its the end of the world or not...

Start the day off with a workout followed by a juice or smoothy from my favorite Beverly Hills Juice Co. I suggest the coconut and carrot shake. Don't be surprised if you hear fellow customers calling this small juice shack "the best place in LA". It is.

Later, after soaking up some sun, check out the Beverly Hills Art Show. There are tons of talented artists to excite your senses ranging from jewelry to sculpture and paintings. Don't miss Thomas Barbey whose work will make you laugh, and ask the relevant question, "why are we here?"

Even though there is an abundance of food trucks at the art show, don't be tempted. Because one should enjoy a much grander last supper. I recommend a late lunch at Bouchon in Beverly Hills. Time your arrival so that the moment before the earth erupts into earthquakes, tsunamis and hot lava, you will be sitting at the bar, delicately enjoying a Fanny Bay oyster, with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Is there really a more perfect way to go?

While there, enjoy meeting other people who have also chosen Bouchon as their final destination. If by chance the world does not end, turn you late lunch into a dinner/ "We are still alive!" celebration with your new best friends. Spend roughly 6 hours eating, drinking and being merry. Get home a little tipsy, full of new hope & contemplation for the wonder of life, before passing out on the couch to pajama jeans infomercials.



Tangelo & Coconut Juice from Beverly Hills Juice Co.



The Beverly Hills Art Show



Heirloom tomatoes, burrata and arugula salad



The Bar at Bouchon

Bouchon Beverly Hills
235 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, California 90210
(310) 271-9910

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Shuck It


Spring has sprung. And with it comes spoils. Oysters being one of my new favorites. A platter, a patio, 75 degrees and a bottle of white wine = perfection. One of the best places for such a day is Gjelina's in Venice. Trendy yet unpretentious, the real reason to come here is the food. And that's the way I like it. From squash blossom and burrata pizza to roasted heirloom cauliflowers, everything is done right. So unique. And did I mention I like their oysters? Thank goodness for those curious little guys.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New Find! My Favorite Sticky Balls


It all came about so unexpectedly. I believe it was a Saturday. I was strolling Main St. in Santa Monica, minding my own business, when the couple I had been eavesdropping on for 5 blocks about their explicit late night adventures came to a sudden and rude halt. Fortunately my grace and superb cat-like reflexes kept me from spilling my apple juice all over their backs. "Oooh lets go in here" said the blonde. Not wanting to miss the finale of the story I followed them in. So I stood in line, enthralled by the talk of who did what to whom, where and for how long. Just as the story ended and I was contemplating over the horror of it all, I heard a voice. "what?" I shouted. "what would you like?" said the cashier behind the counter.
And that's when I noticed that I was in the cutest little shop where they were serving rice balls wrapped in seaweed!


Well, technically they're called Omusubi (O-MOO-SU-BE) - Japanese rice balls with different fillings inside, wrapped with or without nori. I glanced up at the board which offered 7 options. Hmmmm, Tuna with Mayo, Miso Beef, or a more authentic choice such as the Hijiki, a mixture of seaweed, shiitake mushrooms, green beans, carrots with soy sauce. The cashier suggested I go with a beginners ball so I chose spicy salmon. I noted how small the place was, not even a chair to sit in, but that everything was fresh, made to order and created right in front of you. This I liked. Just before they handed over the warm sticky ball, they sprinkled it with a sesame and seaweed seasoning and wrapped it in dried nori. It was honestly one of the best things I've ever had and for $2.50 it made for a perfect mid day snack. I will 100% be back and next time I intend to try their frozen yogurt!

Sunny Blue
2728 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Neighborhood: Santa Monica
(310) 399-9030 Spoondleicious Rating: 5 out of 5

Friday, January 28, 2011

My Pantry Secrets- A fresh start to the New Year


(My sister and I taking control of the kitchen)

This New Years I made a resolution to take the clutter out of my life. So where did I start? My kitchen, naturally. The first thing I did was tackle the pantry. Between finding 2 year old flour to discovering a jar of expensive oil to realizing I had 5 bags of identical chips buried under all the mess, cleaning my pantry felt so right. Now I can actually see what's in there. And while I was at it, I decided to substitute some staples for their healthier cousin. For example, I needed to stock up on a grain so I chose quinoa instead of white rice. You know, for that healthy new years resolution crap. If you haven't taken the moment to discover what is hidden deep inside your pantry this article is meant to encourage you and give you suggestions on what to stock up with.

Here's what I bought, tossed and always love to have on hand:

Out: Bottled lemon juice
In: Fresh Lemons - I use lemons on EVERYTHING! I squeeze them in my soups, sauces, salads, fruit, sauteed vegetables, fish and chicken. This is my most used and all time favorite ingredient. It really adds a complexity to just about anything.

Out: Dusty smelling spices
In: New spices- Do yourself a favor and throw out any spices that are over a year (or smell like they are) I know spices can be expensive but its better to use nothing than to season your food with dust.

Out: Fake pancake syrup
In: Real Maple syrup- You think this is the 80's? Sorry Aunt Jemima but you just don't cut it anymore. Especially now that we've found out the truth about corn syrup. Spend a little more $ and go for the real thing, it is SO worth it.

Out: Flour pasta
In: Quinoa pasta- As much as we don't like to admit it because it's so freaking good, we know pasta is nothing but empty carbs. And whole wheat pasta is just kinda nasty. Behold a miracle- quinoa pasta! Tastes very similar to regular pasta but is so good for you.

Out: Canned vegetables
In: Frozen vegetables- If you can't make it to the grocery store every 2 days for fresh produce go the frozen route. Canned veggies are soft, mushy, and lump. 3 words that are negative in more than one way.

Out: Grated Parmesan
In: Real Parmigiano Reggiano- If you wrap this properly it can keep for a year, (just scrape off mold). Great for making anything decadent and delicious from potatoes, salads, grilled veggies, pasta, apples, eggs or whatever you can think up.

Other things I like to keep on hand:
  • Nuts- Walnuts or pine nuts are great to have. Especially for impromptu pesto.
  • Miso paste- Whip yourself up a quick miso soup or make a paste with mirin vinegar and sesame seed oil to marinate fish. Life expectancy seems to be close to that of a twinkie.
  • Dried cranberries or currents- Whether I want to whip up scones, a spinach dish or a sweet sauce for chicken and duck these dried fruits are a must.
  • Capers- Love, love, love these. Pasta, chicken, fish- all great accompaniments to these salty little gems.
  • Canned coconut milk- I always have a can or two of these handy. Just add to some veggies, tofu/meat and curry powder and you have a complete meal.
  • Yeast- One of my favorite ingredients. Does wonders for tofu and popcorn
  • High end olive oil and vinegar- Mix with salt and lemon juice to make a far better tasting and healthier salad dressing than any you can buy.
  • Spike- Best seasoning ever! Use it on tofu, avocado, salads, and meat.
Here's to a happy healthy and ORGANIZED New Year!

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