I had a great time visiting friends and family in the Los Angeles area. Pictured above, good friend Jackie and new friend Thomas.
I had some awesome beach time at Zuma, Oxnard and Santa Monica beaches. I always feel better and more centered when I can spend time near the ocean. And luckily there are plenty of opportunities. (Click any photo to start slideshow)
There was a great afternoon tea with old friends and catching up with lots of family. I have the best cousins (and my Aunt and Uncle are pretty special, too).
I started my trip in Camarillo, which is a beautiful, quieter oasis north of LA. We went out to eat some pretty amazing food – prime rib, fresh fish, fresh veggies. Then I headed down to LA for the weekend. My first night there was cooking and cooking lessons. But first we had to buy a frying pan.
Then it was a trip to Trader Joe’s for supplies for the menu of Chicken Piccata, Butter Potato Pie and Chocolate Walnut Flourless Cookies. After that we were ready to start the cooking lesson. Chicken Piccata is definitely a good choice if you want to make something simple that looks elegant and tastes amazing. It’s usually served over buttered egg noodles, but this night I let them loose on the blog to pick what they wanted me to cook. It all went together very well. (Click any photo to start slideshow)
The after dinner view was pretty amazing, too.
The next night we went out to eat again. An amazing place, Mercado La Paloma near USC and South Central LA. A place where restaurants can rent a small space in the food court to try out 5-star menus. Flavors abound. The atmosphere is casual and fun. Check out the link here.
We also saw Monuments Men, which despite lackluster reviews I recommend heartily. Good movie, excellent cast and an amazing piece of history. The book is now in my Kindle queue.
Then I wrapped up the trip in Santa Monica, probably my very favorite place in the Los Angeles area. I’ve been lucky enough to spend a great deal of time there and it’s always special. I think that wraps up my travel diary for this trip. Except..
…did I mention there was a cow? And one final picture:
Grateful for good people in my life…..
We were quite taken with the store-bought baked potato salad we bought the other day at the market. I was determined to make some and today seemed like a good day. Alas! I could only turn up a handful of small yellow potatoes. I did have a little bag of Brussels sprouts so I thought “why not”? I quartered the potatoes and halved the sprouts and set them to roasting on a tray at 400 in the oven, drizzling a little olive oil over them first. When they had a little brown on them I dumped the lot into a big bowl, adding sour cream and mayo, about a cup each. Also add chopped crisp bacon, I used six slices, and a fair measure of cheese. I have about one and a half cups of mixed cheddar and jack cheese. Chopped green onions are in the classic recipe but I had none, and judged the sprouts sufficient. I did rethink and add a bit of chopped parsley for a garnish. The crisp outer leaves of the sprouts go great in this, don’t try to pick them off!Some roasted chicken thighs set the salad off perfectly, I brushed them with bbq sauce at the end, and glopped a little more on them for the table. Yes, we keep napkins at the table. LOL
Mrs J grabbed a big roast at the store the other day and we went with the crockpot to cook it. She was wanting a basic pot roast supper and that is what she got. I did tweak the menu a tad and made her mash her own potatoes but she didn’t mind. The roast nearly filled the crockpot but I squeezed in carrots, onions, and celery and filled the rest of the space with beef broth and red wine. I didn’t have any fresh herbs so dried thyme and bay leaves went in for seasonings, along with black pepper and salt, natch.There was still plenty of meat and gravy left so I added a few more veggies and broth for the next day’s stew. I still have a fair sized lump of beef, I may slice it for sammiches before the day is out. Speaking of that, it may reach above 70 degrees here today, which should melt the last traces of snow. Just in time for more snow tomorrow! Ahhhh!
Farm raised tilapia is becoming common at the market and is pretty good. These I fried after a quick dip in Andy’s Cajun Breading. The slaw is the usual cabbage plus whatever else I can find, this one has onions, Anaheim peppers, carrots, celery, celery seed, celery salt, and seasoned rice vinegar. The tartar sauce is heavy with chopped green and kalamata olives plus horseradish sauce, sweet pickle relish, and lemon juice.
The beans are from a can with added this ‘n that, more onion, peppers, bbq sauce,ketchup, garlic and etc., and then baked in a medium sized cast iron skillet until it bubbles. We bought the potato salad ready made from the deli section and we are suddenly aware of a thing called “Loaded Baked Potato Salad”. I am flabberghasted to learn of this just yesterday. Where has it been all my life? We will be making this stuff shortly.
This voice always stops me when I’m channel surfing in the car:
I have been so busy, I’ve barely been in my kitchen to eat, much less cook, and I’m holding onto several items to post, which hopefully I’ll get to eventually. But until then, once again Joshua D comes to the rescue with another recipe. Thanks Joshua!!!
This is an oldddd dust-off recipe from the long-forgotten files! It’s inspired by a restaurant in Spokane, Washington called Niko’s that serves great Greek food. If you’re one of those unfortunates for whom cilantro tastes like soap, just use Italian parsley. The effect won’t be the same, but I understand the why. This can also be spiced up with a chile if desired.
- 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 bunch cilantro
- 1/2 cup olive oil
Break up beans in the food processor. Add in lime juice, sesame seeds, garlic, and cilantro. Blend until well-ground. Pour in olive oil slowly through the feeding tube until it’s the consistency you want. A wonderfully different take on a Mediterranean classic!
Joshua De Mers
From frequent contributor, Joshua D:
A discussion came up on Balloon Juice about the benefits of cauliflower. Recipes got bantered about but this one made me salivate the most! My only contribution is formatting, otherwise full credit goes to Ruemara
Cauliflower Beer Cheese Soup
- 1 med onion
- 12 oz beer
- 1 pint broth (chicken is preferred, but suit your taste)
- 1 head cauliflower, cleaned & roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp salt-free seasoning
- Salt & Black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
You start with sauteing onions in 1 tsp oil until translucent, add beer, broth ( I prefer chicken, since it’s clear) and all of a cleaned, roughly chopped head of cauliflower. Add garlic, salt free seasoning, and black pepper to taste. Once cauliflower is tender (about 10 minutes) turn off burner and use your handy, dandy immersion blender. Blend until smooth. Mix in cheddar shreds and smoked paprika. You can also go with smoke seasoning and tortula yeast for the cheez flavour. Stir. Salt to taste. Drink up. I think that’s what I did. It was good.
Just a note – Getty is now allowing embedded images in WordPress posts, which I think is kind of fun – TaMara