Food, Cookbooks, and Amazing Wine

Next Saturday, I will be cooking, speaking, and signing my cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh, at De Tierra Vineyards for their day of Wine and Food where they will be sampling wines that have not yet been released to the public.

Today,  I will be testing some of those wines and evaluating what exactly to make in order to reach a perfect pairing of food and wine.

With pounds and pounds of fresh produce scored today from the Hollywood Farmers Market and double shot Latte by my side, I’m ready to begin working.

Just one question: will I see YOU on Saturday? Hope so!

Saturday Night is Alright

Got plans tonight?

Either way, set your DVR or pull up a chair (or a couch) and check out a new episode of my show, Good Food America, on Veria Living (Dish and Verizon) at 9pm.

And… if you’re in L.A., check out my buddy (a super talented musician, chef, restauranteur, and famed History Channel’s Food Tech host), Bobby Bognar, for his band’s show (The Piper Downs) at Molly Malone’s in Hollywood at 10pm.

Don’t worry, if it feels too late to brave the night, I have just the solution for you.  It’s starts with an “L” and ends in an “atte” and is best said when you add the words “double shot” beforehand.

In the meantime, here are a couple photos from last week’s Good Food America episodes.

Enjoy and see you tonight!

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Simple Things

Last year, Super-sous and I enjoyed the best cantaloupe of our lives from our farmer buddy, Alex Weiser of Weiser Family Farms.

Needless to say, as melons are coming back in season here in California, we have been keeping our eye on Alex’s farm stand at the Hollywood Farmers Market each Sunday.

Today, with hope to re-create last year’s experience, we took home 3 different types of melons to try. With great anticipation we will break into one of these beauties later today after our afternoon hike.

Other than a double shot Latte, what more does one need than some fresh summer fruit and a dream?

 

 

 

Happy Father’s Day

It’s Father’s day!

Happy Father’s day to all the great fathers out there. Especially YOU, Dad! Thank you for ALL of your amazing love and support. I love you.

On the agenda for today – one (possibly two) double shot Latte(s), an outing to the Hollywood Farmers Market and a day of cooking delicious, fresh, seasonal produce.

This afternoon, I’ll be cooking/grilling over at my best friend, Scott’s, house. THE Scott from my cookbook. (I mention him about every 10 to 15 pages, if you haven’t noticed already.)

On the menu:

Grilled artichokes

Sauteed mustard greens with a mustard vinaigrette

Bright vinegar-based cabbage apple coleslaw salad

Eggplant mozzarella crostini

Grilled fresh sardines

Slow cooked baby back ribs

What’s the secret to that fall of the bone goodness, you ask? Removing that tough membrane. I give detailed instructions as to how to do so in my cookbook and I have also created this video to show you as well. Fool proof. These are a goodie. Page 175 from my cookbook.

(Hope this is all enough for the 4 attendees. Anyone hungry?)

Have a wonderful Sunday and a wonderful Father’s Day, my friends.

Happy cooking!

Spring is in the Air

Flowers are blooming, peaches will soon be here, herbs are growing like weeds, farmers markets are overflowing with fresh produce and all around town the smell of roses, honeysuckle, and jasmine fills the air. Not to mention the thought of grilling and barbecuing is on everyone’s minds. In fact, Super-sous and I went to a barbecue get-together last night at a friend’s house and will be grilling again tonight as well.

Being on the road for that past 3 weeks,  the thing that we have missed the most, undoubtedly, is the Hollywood Farmers Market, which takes place every Sunday from 8am to 1pm. Ever since we got back to L.A. last week we have been dreaming of, talking about and planning our Sunday at the market. Juicy strawberries, bunches of fresh kale, farm fresh eggs, pounds of sweet oranges, crisp asparagus… so much to enjoy in the few days before we take off again (for another 3 weeks of filming for my new show).

Last night, at our friend’s barbecue get-together and over a delicious raw kale salad (with delicious crisp apples and shaved almonds) that the hostess Julie made, we all got into a discussion about organic versus non-organic foods, local versus imported foods and the importance of asking questions to your local farmers when shopping at the farmers market. There are such markets in L.A. called uncertified farmers markets where (amongst local farmers) there are vendors selling produce from other countries (e.g. mangoes from Mexico). Also, not every farmers market sells organic produce. It is usually a mix. Another thing to add to the mix: many farmers follow organic farming practices, however cannot afford the certification process to be labelled organic. So, again, ask your local farmer questions about the produce they are selling, where they farm, etc. If you don’t get a clear answer, move on!

Today, Super-sous and I went to a small farmers market to get our fix with a few fruits and vegetables before our outing to the Hollywood market on Sunday. She wanted to buy organic strawberries, so I asked a farmer selling $5 baskets if their product was organic or not. Their response was, “no pesticides.” Super-sous and I looked at each other curiously. No pesticides? Well, organic or not, pesticides must be used for farming if you want to yield any produce (and therefore make a profit). Next question, “what exactly do you spray with?” His response, “we don’t spray with anything.” No spraying? No pesticides? It just didn’t make sense. Needless to say, we did not buy the strawberries. We would rather wait it out, knowing that non-organic strawberries take on some serious chemicals to be able to make it to the consumer. (Hence the reason it is at the top of Sunday’s list.)

Spring is in the air. The weekend is well underway and farmers markets around the country are popping up, opening for the season, and growing exponentially. So, my Latte loving friends, grab your shopping bags – I think I see an artichoke and some lemons with your name on it. Because when is the last time you had grilled artichokes brushed with extra-virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice squeezed on top? Might I say, if you don’t have one in your hand right now, it’s probably been too long.

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Creatures of Habit

We are all creatures of habit – some good, some bad. It is my hope that over the years we will all replace one bad habit for a good one. What’s my favorite habit? Well, read on my friends.

For the last (give or take) 15 years, I have been in the habit of going to the farmers market every Sunday, the Hollywood Farmers Market, that is. In fact, I think of the farmers market as my second home because I used to work at the one in Hollywood for over 10 years selling fruit for one of the farmers… my buddy Ken Lee.

Not only is it filled with every possible fruit and vegetable that you could possibly want, but so many people, from so many different walks of life come to shop every week – from the city’s greatest chefs, to tourists, to famous actors, to everyday shoppers. I love it!

This Sunday, my sous-chef and I were making our plans for what to buy, when we remembered that the L.A. Marathon was taking place. (Gasp!) Translation: roads closed everywhere.  A-ha! (pointing skyward) What a great opportunity to walk. I love L.A. without any cars. Ahhhhh.

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And with this fancy little rolly cart, care of my friends at Lucini Italia Olive Oil, we were able to cruise to the market in style!

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What have we here? Oranges, Fresh Herbs, Snap Peas, Flowers, Tomatoes, Lettuces, Cabbage, Greens….. Everything is so fresh and delicious. Starting with amazing produce makes my job as chef so easy! I love supporting my local farmer friends. Also, (come closer) …near the end of the day you can find a few really great deals!

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ImageImageImageImageImageOh, and how cool is this – remember the little jaunt to Houweling’s greenhouse that my sous and I took last week? Well, look what we found. Turns out the cucumbers and tomatoes we have been buying all these years are from Houwelings! No wonder we like them so much.

ImageAll said and done, we were all filled up with fresh goodness and ready to go.

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But, wait! What about our weekly loaf of fresh sourdough bread?! Our favorite bakery, the Village Bakery, couldn’t make it to Farmers Market because of the L.A. marathon. No sourdough bread? Not on my watch! So, we walked (briskly) back to my apartment, dropped off the fresh produce, grabbed some fleur de sel, a few thin slices of butter – and in the car we go! (cue very cool driving music)

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Needless to say, we arrived just minutes before they closed. Praise Latte! So there we sat, my sous and I, in the front seat of the sunny car, tearing that delicious loaf into pieces – slathering them with butter and dusting them with fleur de sel. With free street parking to boot!

Now this is a habit I can get used to.