Sunday, December 9, 2007

Hot Potatoes

I love discovering produce I've neither tasted, nor cooked with. Especially when it begins by looking as intriguing as this:

And then presented as beautifully as this:

These Argentinian fingerling potatoes are quite colorful and delicious. I just love the pink stripes and the bright greens and oranges. At our cooking class at Federal restaurant, we soaked them in cold water for 45 minutes; drained them, dried them and sliced them in half to serve raw. Drizzle a bit of corn oil (the oil of choice in Argentina) and sprinkle with salt and you won't be disappointed. Now to figure out how to order these suessian-striped little guys in the states...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Pink Spoon TRAVELS!

Here I am in Mendoza, Argentina, in the middle of a malbec vineyard. I am officially a world eater! But that's getting ahead of myself.

There is so much to say about my last 10 days in Argentina eating, drinking, cooking, eating and drinking that I must start at the beginning and leave nothing out. Allow this post to be the introduction, as I won't be able to download any photos to accompany my posts until this coming Wednesday when my travel companion returns with our shared camera.

However, I did manage to capture a few shots of the first dinner we had at Resto, a little restaurant just north of our hotel we stayed, in the Recoleta neighborhood of Buenos Aires. It's considered the French quarter of the city, and is just as charming as anything.

We began the B.A. dining scene after unintentionally filling ourselves on cheese and meats as an evening appetizer along with a glass of wine. So we walked about 20 blocks to Resto, where we had a 9pm reservation. As in Europe, dinner is eaten late, and we were still the early birds.

The menu offers three set dinners, each including a salad, main course, and a dessert. You are able to mix and match to your liking however. Each item looked fantastic, and my two lovely travel companions (Beth and Ginna) and I all agreed to order different plates and switch. Because we had eaten (unfortunately) too much prior, we weren't all able to eat a full three courses.

We enjoyed:

The Ensalada de Ranas -grilled frog legs served on watercress in a light vinaigrette and drizzled with a hazelnut pesto. They were as delicious as they sound, and perfectly cooked. There was a nice, subtle "grill" flavor that gave the meat a char characteristic I have not had on anything grilled before. Perhaps it's the Argentine grill pan/BBQ...who knows. Either way, it's delicious.

The Roasted Chicken Terrine-Beautifully served over watercress with Dijon mustard, roasted tomatoes and a light balsamic vinaigrette. Great flavor, especially the roasted tomatoes.

Pan Roasted White Salmon
with olive tapenade, olive oil and lemon pesto, served over french green beans and peas. This was unbelievable. Every bite was balanced and the olive oil lemon pesto was perfect with the white fish, which isn't as fishy tasting as pink salmon.

Dessert was: Basil Mango & Lemon sorbet- Amazing texture and the fruit was excellent; the basil was not overpowering.

Earl Grey Ice Cream
topped with fresh blueberries. Very different, not too sweet, but refreshing.

Truly, everything was delicious, and the presentations were lovely. The service was very attentive and friendly given our hacked spanish and many questions about what EVERYTHING was and how the chef did EVERYTHING. (We liked to write down notes so we could make things back in the states, after all...)

The highlight of the meal, however, was the bottle of Rose that was recommended by the sommelier. All three of us admitted to liking a good rose, but that good rose was hard to find or buy on a guess. So you can imagine our absolute delight at the Brumales Classico 2005 Malbec Rose, available at

It was balanced, dry, crisp with an outstanding finish. A wonderful start to a very delicious two weeks.

Sociedad Central de Arquitectos
Montevideo 938
Tel: 4816-6771

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tomato Challenge 2007

One ingredient. Three courses.

Gazpacho Gazpacho!

Garden fresh tomatoes
A hint of vinegar
Zest of lemon
Perfectly diced red onion
A smattering of pepper
Clove of garlic, minced
Handful of cubed bell pepper, celery, zucchini, corn
One basil leaf garnish

Blanche tomatoes, peel, seed, chop, and process until desired consistency.
Add in all other ingredients except the basil. Top with the basil as garnish.

BLT of Champions:
(With basil mayo, of course)

And Gelato di Tomato:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Vintage Kitchen: Style Watch

I know it's been a while since I've posted, but as the summer draws to an end, I've been inspired by this years delectable fall fashions to dedicate my first post in awhile to some amazing kitchen style I discovered: Vintage -inspired aprons!!!
The designers behind the line Jesse Steele is a mother daughter duo, and their current collection, which I discovered via a web surfing session while VERY bored at work, is delicious! They are available at Jesse Steele

...I want this one: Very chic domestic goddess-y:

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Pinch Me, seriously, I'm Dreaming

The Nancy Drew COOKBOOK!!!!!!!!!

I still have, in my ownership, every hardcover original Nancy Drew book ever written. Obsessed with these novels would be a gross understatement of about four years of my childhood. In my mind, I was her. She was me. We were one.

The complete convergence of two worlds couldn't get any sweeter.

Note to Krissy Wall and Joanna Calo, this does not offer any consolation to the fact that Veronica Mars (the modern day TV version of Nancy Drew and the best show on television) was recently cancelled.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Slightly Obsessed: Bleu Cheese & Tarragon, Take I

So, I’m sort of a tarragon junkie. And the source of this bad good habit is pretty embarrassing: Starbucks. I spent last summer doing a graduate program at NYU in the Barclay building downtown in Manhattan; Starbucks was the drug provider of choice right next door. So it happened that one lunch break, on a whim, I bought the Tarragon Chicken Salad Sandwich. It was one of the best days of my life. It was so surprisingly delicious I didn’t know what to do with myself. So I bought another on my way home as an appetizer for dinner. I sort of hated myself for buying not one, but two sandwiches at, of all places, Starbucks, in one day. But I was way too smitten with my discovery to care. My love affair with tarragon had begun; the challenge to integrate this sweet little herb into as many different dishes was officially on. When I moved back to L.A., I began working a second job at the Edendale Grill. They had, to my sheer delight, Blue Cheese Tarragon French Fries on the bar menu. After working there nearly a year, and munching on these delicious bits during each shift without fail, I’m still not sick of the combo. So, as I’m now living with my parents, 500 miles from the Edendale, I’ve had to take matters into my own hands. I’ve decided to see how many different variations on the Blue Cheese/Tarragon/Potato theme I can manage before my parents refuse to allow me to cook for them anymore. What else is a stir-crazy girl gonna do on a Friday night when she moves back to the oh-so-quiet-suburbia that is Los Altos? First up was the Twice Baked Potato version. F-ing Fantastic.

Twice Baked Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Tarragon

6 Russett Potatoes, scrubbed
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
¼ C. Half & Half
¼ C. Low-Fat Milk
6 oz blue cheese, crumbled
2 oz blue cheese, reserved
4 Tablespoons roughly chopped fresh tarragon
3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Give the potatoes a fairly generous coat of olive oil. Using a fork, gently poke holes in the uncooked potatoes. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. You can also place them directly on the rack. Bake until tender, about 35-45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Cover hand with a dishtowel to handle the potatoes, and, using a serrated knife, slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the baked potato into a large mixing bowl, being careful not to tear the skins. Repeat for remaining potatoes. Mash potatoes well, until smooth. With the exception of the reserved blue cheese, add in remaining ingredients, and mix well, adding salt and pepper to taste. Scoop mixture back into skins, and top with a bit of the crumbled bleu cheese. Pop back into the oven at 375 until warmed through. I like to put them under the broiler for about 3-4 minutes, or until the cheese is gooey and browning, before serving.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Re-Introducing: The Artichoke

Circa 1961: Julia Child breaks down the boiled artichoke for the American cooking public "Hot or cold boiled artichokes are served as a separate course, either at the beginning of the meal or in place of a salad."

But really, when was the last time you ate a cold boiled artichoke in place of a salad?

Circa 2007: My mom craves the now-retro dish as the salad for a small dinner gathering the other night. And she commissioned my help for the "stuffing." Which was cold little shrimp tossed in a simple herbed vinagraitte. At this point, I couldn't help but wonder: "Does anyone ever serve cold boiled artichokes anymore?" As I stuffed the chokes with the marinated mini cocktail shrimp, I couldn't help but imagine this was more the type of dish a downtrodden smiling housewife circa 1965 would whip up when her hubby's boss came to dinner. For a second, I wondered if we should be serving a nice pot roast instead of organic roasted chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese, but as I finished up with the chokes, I became more intrigued with the concept. I arranged them on a platter, and they actually looked great. As we sat down, with the chicken, a light, Mediterranean-style pasta and the artichoke salad, it actually fit quite nicely. And I have to say, they were delicious. Strange, but delicious.

Cold Artichoke Salad with Shrimp Stuffing:

4 large artichokes
1 lb cooked, chilled baby cocktail shrimp

Herbed Dressing:
1 C. Olive Oil
1/3 C. champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tablespoon freshly chopped Thyme
1 Tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil the artichokes until tender. Strain and let cool. In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Reserving 3 Tablespoons, generously coat the shrimp with the dressing, and allow to marinate while the artichokes cool. When the chokes are cool, slice them in half lengthwise, and scoop out the hearts, creating a small hollow in the center of the choke. Firmly stuff about 2 Tablespoons of shrimp into the hollow. Drizzle the resrved dressing over the chokes, and serve. These can also be prepared ahead, and chilled until ready to serve.