Belated Father’s Day

It’s not too late!

If you didn’t have time to get something or never found just the right gift for your Dad for Father’s Day, I have the perfect thing!

How about a cookbook with over 135 recipes broken down into the 5 seasons (the usual 4 plus Chocolate, of course)? Or, how about a cookbook with a whole section dedicated to how to shop at farmers markets and how to pick and store produce? What about a cookbook that has breakfast, appetizers, sides, mains, and desserts?

Interested? I have just the cookbook for you! It actually makes a great gift for any occasion. Oh my Latte, it’s a goodie, I promise. And I know just where you can get it…

Right here!

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Summer Delights

For those of you planning your weekend: where you will procure your double shot Latte, the details about your trip to the farmers market and what you’ll be cooking, don’t forget to check out my Warm Nectarine Blackberry Cobbler recipe from Great Food Starts Fresh is in this month’s issue of Natural Health Magazine!

You can also find my Slow Cooked Baby Back Rib recipe (with homemade barbecue sauce) on page 35 in this month’s issue of Today’s Diet and Nutrition.

And… keep your eyes out for a little something about yours truly in the next issue of Jamie Magazine.

Actually, as my Super-sous keeps saying, “the whole summer season from the cookbook is downright delicious.” So, pick your dish and let me know how it goes!

Back in Action

After a week of ocean bliss in Hawaii and a handful of days to get settled back in L.A., Super-sous and I have hit the ground running and are back in action.

It’s been a great couple of weeks. We’ve been hitting up at least 3 farmers markets a week, cooking up many new recipes (finally getting back in the kitchen), and getting down to business.

Yesterday, I was in the studio recording an episode (on healthy restaurants) for The Splendid Table! (TBD as to when it will air.) The recording studio was in the American Public Media Marketplace Offices in downtown L.A. and I got to meet and give a cookbook to my Marketplace hero, Kai Ryssdal!

After that, we zoomed over to another studio to do voice over work for my new show, Good Food America, which starts airing on July 7 (with a little sneak peak on July 4).

Up next: the slow sipping of my double shot Latte, a trip to the gym, a visit to a nearby farmers market to get kale and fresh blackberries, and an evening of recipe development in the kitchen.

Dinner plans, anyone?

TWO DAYS!!!

Today, I’m in Berkeley, California. We’re shooting all day (two different locations) and then we zoom back to the hotel for a quick round of shut eye before my super-sous and I head off to the airport early Sunday morning to fly to NYC.

Then, Monday at 8:45AM EST… it’s…

Latte, prepare yourself. I’ll be cooking up 2 recipes from the Spring season of my cookbook and I’ll be talking all about my new show, Good Food America.

Get ready for fun behind the scene photos!

Until then, here a few pics from the last few days on the road.

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Cookies for Breakfast?

Last night, as I was shopping for ingredients (at my local grocery store) for the recipes I have been testing in preparation for the Monterey Bay Aquarium Cooking for Solutions Event that I am participating in, I spotted, in the frozen section, a “Toaster Breakfast Cookie.” A what? Yes, a “breakfast cookie,” and made with whole grains, to boot. Fascinated, I looked at the nutritional information on the back of the box. 1 cookie has about 6 grams of fat, 300 calories, 230 mg of sodium, 19 grams of sugar… and so on.

It reminded me of ANOTHER amazing food product I saw in the aisles a couple of weeks ago.

Seriously? An “excellent source of calcium, iron, vitamins A, B….” I almost grabbed the whole lot off of the shelves. I NEED this – for my health! It’s a cookie. How could I resist? Well, cop a squat and let’s read the ingredient list, shall we? The first ingredient is sugar, followed by a number of other “nutritious” ingredients such as vegetable oils (likely GMO canola oil), polydextrose (processed sugar that mainly comes from corn these days and is likely GMO), corn syrup (um, GMO?), dextrose (mainly comes from corn these days and is likely… say it with me, GMO?), natural and artificial flavors (which ones, please), etc.

With processed foods being marketed as nutritious with fancy packaging and colors, it can be so difficult shopping at grocery stores (and I can’t even imagine how much more difficult when you have kids).

As my Director of Photography, Carl,  on my PBS show (Growing a Greener World) once said while we were shooting an episode in a small town (comprised of many overweight people) where there were only fast food restaurant options for dinner, “these people have no chance.”

No chance? What’s wrong with this picture, Latte?

It is becoming increasingly hard to navigate the way through the maze of food marketing and gimmicks: the lack of proper food labeling, the money and politics behind food lobbyists, the fact that so much of the government farming subsidies go for GMO mono crop corn (which we can’t actually eat without processing it first), the news that some fast food restaurants now accept food stamps… and on it goes.

My wish is for people to know that it is fresh food that is synonymous with nutritious and delicious. Maybe even subsidize food that doesn’t need processing before we can eat it. Real food. Now, that’d be something.

This is why I dedicate a whole section in my cookbook to discuss how to shop safely(!) at the grocery store (perimeter shopping) and why I love shopping at farmers markets. At least, when shopping at your local farmers market, you can ask the grower where the food comes from, how it’s grown, and even visit their farm.

Education is a start, however I know it’s complicated. The problems weave through the socioeconomic lines to the political streets to the media train to our education system. And when we are told that a cookie has as much vitamin E as two cups of carrot juice, what chance do we really have?

What was I thinking?!

When I embarked on the journey (5 years ago) to write my seasonal cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh, I always planned to self-publish so I could take my time with each recipe – ensuring deliciousness, make sure each photo was perfect, and (therefore) design the cookbook of my dreams.

I never really thought about what this would mean on the distribution end, though. I mean, 10,000 books isn’t really THAT many books, is it? Actually, it is. Translation: 4 storage units underground (climate controlled) about 45 minutes outside of L.A. (cheaper), many boxes of tape, sharpies, and return labels, and countless trips to post offices all around the country (I love making new friends!). Today, I had to replenish my stock which means my super-sous and I drove (in separate cars) to the storage unit to “grab” some books (read: 396 books or 1,188 pounds) load them into our cars (read: sweat) and subsequently unload them into my apartment (read: very time consuming).  I look forward to the day where I can reclaim my apartment (or as we have been calling it – the office supply/book warehouse) and walk freely without a fun book maze taking me everywhere (have you ever seen the movie Labyrinth?).

Oh, Nathan of years ago, if I could only have a wise word with you now…

Thank goodness for my super-sous who always makes things more fun and, of course, trusted Latte who is never more than a sip away.

A Bittersweet Bite

I must say, this kale salad (from my cookbook) has been my go-to salad this entire winter. It’s hearty, tasty, oh-so filling, but not overly so (I mean, I still have an amazing piece of slow-cooked olive oil poached salmon in the oven!). It has a subtle bitterness (from the kale), it’s pleasantly sweet (from the oranges and dried cranberries) with a great crunch (read: nuts, kale, apple) and is finished with a splash from the dynamic duo: red-wine vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil (kale’s best buds). Fresh, delicious, and fast.

Yet, now that the LA rains have arrived, and winter is coming to a close, I must say, I will miss the winter produce and all the magical one-pot wonderness that can be enjoyed with cool weather. Recipes that last for days, often times getting better – more flavorful with time (if they’re not devoured by your guests, of course). Rustic soups, stews, and slow-roasted root vegetables.

As the weeks pass and the first fava beans, artichokes and asparagus arrive at the farmers markets, those winter veggies I embraced so lovingly will slowly fade from my Rolodex of recipes – making way for quicker, simpler cooking techniques.

But for now, my tasty bowl of kale salad, it’s just you and me, a blanket, a book and some tea.

Thank goodness Latte is always in season.