Monday, July 28, 2008

Gone are the days

Occasionally we do a restaurant review and since I've been spending my Fridays in downtown Los Angeles here is a quick review of a famous favorite. If you've never been to Olivera Street put it on your things to do in LA.

La Luz del Dia
1 Olivera Street
Los Angeles, CA 91024

Growing up in the Los Angeles area and working downtown LA, I've been to Olivera St. more times than I can count; so I know the food. My usual haunt is Cielito Lindo's at the opposite end of the street but my dad's favorite was La Luz so this week I decided to have lunch.

First off they've replaced the abuelita (grandmother) slapping masa into fresh tortillas with two women mashing the dough with a tortilla press. Not the same texture at all. When I asked one of the owners why he honestly told me it just got too expensive and he knew it wasn't as good but, what can ya do?

The whole meal was just average but nothing like it use to be. My tamale was tender as was the meat in my soft taco but the sauce flat and uninteresting. The fresh salsa was as mild as you could get it. The missing chilies seemed to be replaced with onion.

Their cafeteria style of service does move quickly and it was quite busy because it's tourist season there on the calle. I was glad to see they still have the vieja señoras to take your tray of food to a table and it's quite funny to see tourist try to wrestle away that tray. They are very insistent and frown upon anyone saving a table before your food is ready. Their system has worked for 49 years so don't muck it up. I just wish they hadn't mucked up the food.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Unique Flavor Combinations Win Salad Contest

We'd really like to toot our own horn today, maybe shout from the rooftops; how about a sky-writer? What's the reason? Our own, Doodles is a Grand-Prize winner in a recipe contest. You can find her and her recipe for the truly unique Cantaloupe and Gorgonzola Salad on page 4 of the August/September 2008 issue of Cook's Country magazine. This is most exciting and well deserved and we couldn't be prouder.

Edited to add the original post of the recipe

Cook's Country is from the editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine and the TV cooking show, America's Test Kitchen. Also in this issue they talk about their new show coming to Public Television. That would be very cool if they made Doodle's salad on the show.

Message from Doodles: Boy that would have been way cool … maybe since they are starting a new show they will highlight winners recipes from their past contests. Oh am I a dreamer HA!!!

When Moon called to tell me I had won, well let's just say, I was over the top with JOY. Funny they don't let you know prior to publication they let ya sweat it out until the magazine hits the stands. I have never won anything like this in my life; thrilled beyond imagination.

OK, now a little plug for the magazine … it's quite nice and NO ads, none, nada. They do have a few "tearouts" for their magazine subscriptions. The magazine layout is quite good and handy to keep as a reference guide for future use as is their other publication Cook's Illustrated. As you can see I am quite fond of the magazines and no they didn't pay me to say this however I did win $1,000 Wooooo Hooo!!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

tasty vitamins

Originally uploaded by lornababy
when we were in vancouver and seattle, i must have had a salmon burger at least once a day. the salmon burgers up there weren't patties, though, they were slabs of salmon on a bun. yumalicious. my favorite one had an asian slaw instead of lettuce on the sandwich. i've been enamored of that flavor combination and trying to recreate it ever since we got back. here's what i came up with for the slaw:

6 c. shredded red & green cabbage and carrots
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil

this slaw is good and good for you. it's lite on the mayo so it's only about 80 calories for a cup of slaw. that cup, however has tons of vitamins, as cabbage, especially red cabbage, has tons of vitamin c and carrots have even more vitamin a. so mix up this slaw and enjoy your vitamins!

Friday, July 18, 2008

House of Moon Chinese Dinner

Most of the food I've been cooking lately is old favorites. I made my chocolate cake for a dinner party last one day last weekend and my green chili quiche for the other so that's why I've not posted much. Here at PBE we are very lucky to be able to rely on each other in times like this.

My task for Thursday, though it's more of a joy, was to cook dinner for our darling friend Sandi and her husband Mike. She's mid-way through her chemo treatment and her friends have insisted we help and she's finally acquiesced. My contribution for dinner was:

Chicken Stir-fry with Bok Choy and Steamed Rice
Baby Broccoli with Lemon Garlic Sauce
Pineapple Buttermilk Meringue Pie (posted by Nicole @ Baking Bites)
I added a very light chicken soup with fresh homemade egg noodles just in case she wanted something less spicy.
I called to make sure they were ready for dinner and my beloved and I made a quick delivery. Sandi called later to thank us and I told her it was done for the "love of it." I wish I could do more, she is a dear sweet lady who is going through a very rough time but she believes in prayer and I think there is someone out there praying for her.
Gotta say something about this pie. It is so easy and so damn good you can't imagine. I always seem to have buttermilk left over from some other recipe and don't know what to do with it. Now I know I'll whip up this beauty. Visit Baking Bites for the recipe and especially the recipe for cooked meringue. Fantastic!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


It took me a very long time to wrap my taste buds around this item, but once I did I haven't stopped trying all kinds of new ways to eat yogurt.

Sweet husband wanted some ice cream one nite, no ice cream on hand but I did have some vanilla yogurt in the freezer, let's see if I can pull this off, cause ya see husband says "I don't eat yogurt"!!! Oh OK no problem....hahahaha!!!

I get out my little food processor and thaw/whip up the vanilla yogurt, while melting some chocolate chips in the microwave, After the chips are melted I fold them into the the vanilla yogurt added some toasted chopped pecans I had on hand and there ya go.

No I never told him it was yogurt and you better never tell him either OK!! Oh and his comment was "this is nice and smooth, what kind is it"? Never did say but I did mention I think it's a new brand I found at the market.

What else can you do with yogurt, I think it's endless where and how. Any ideas leave me an email and I'll post them and credit your creativity.

I have mixed in some salsa and a good amount of cilantro and used that for a baked potato instead of sour cream.

No I didn't get a photo, the man likes his ice cream.......maybe next time.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dip or spread

Call it whatever you want, but I call it versatile. A friend reminded me that I hadn't made this in awhile.

1 15 0z. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained well
3 - 4 cloves whole garlic cloves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
splash of lemon juice
fresh ground pepper

Place the beans in the food processor make sure they are thoroughly drained, peel and mash the garlic with the wide blade of your knife, add the garlic to to bean mixture along with the splash of lemon juice and salt to taste. While whirring the bean mixture in your processor slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Let it go until it was all smooth. Put well blended mixture in a bowl, add lots of fresh ground pepper.

Now I have been known to do the following with this basic mixture...........

  • add a tbls of chipotle sauce to the mixture
  • add a small can of chopped green chiles after adding the olive oil
  • use the mixture instead of mayonnaise on sandwiches or wraps
  • use roasted garlic instead of fresh
  • smoky paprika is a good addition
  • I bet you could make this with black beans
  • add caramelized onions
  • I would put cilantro in just about anything
I made a grilled veggie wrap of yellow & red peppers, ribbons of zuchini and a slice or three of avocado & cilantro,for lunch yesterday and used the spread instead of mayo or any other jarred spread.

Monday, July 14, 2008

take that pinkberry

had a craving for some yummy frozen yogurt with fresh fruit, a la pinkberry, but didn't really feel like taking out a second on my house. so, ice cream maker? check. quart of trader joe's non-fat yogurt? check. cup of sugar? check. mixed up the yogurt and the sugar and froze it up in the ice cream maker, then "decanted" into a container for a few more hours in the freezer. a few hours later, busted out a pint of voila! cold, creamy, sweet and tangy. really hits the spot on a warm summer evening. good and good for you, with all those antioxidants in the blueberries and calcium in the yogurt. and at about 150 calories and no fat per 1/2 cup serving, not too shabby for the ol' diet, either. i think you could even stand to cut the sugar (maybe up to 1/2) and it would still taste good. take that, pinkberry.

Smoke ring; I've got it!

There is a big long explanation of why slow cooked smoked meats have this nice pink ring but I'm not going into that here. Just take it from me, it's delicious. This is my latest from the smoker, a whole brisket. I had a little more success with this try but I still have a difficult time keeping the smoker hot enough. I've found out it's because I have the cheap one and I'll deal with it for now. I've been watching Craig's List and hopefully one will surface.

I've been reading lots of bbq blogs lately and next time a smoke a brisket I will try wrapping it in foil mid-way through the cooking. I believe mine dried out a bit for my taste though everyone that had eaten it said it was great. I'm going for a moister texture to the meat. I'll get there. I do think the smoking takes place in the first four or five hours so there shouldn't be a problem with the foil wrap.

What I did come up with was a great rub and I not only used it for the brisket but a few steaks I threw on the grill the other night. Mix this up to have on hand much better than the rubs you buy at the store. Those seem to be too salty for my taste.

Moon Rub
2 tablespoons course cracked pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon powdered onion
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon powered ginger
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons Spanish Paprika
3 teaspoons powdered garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle
1/2 teaspoon oregano

Mix this together and store in an airtight container. Rub this into your meat before you bbq. The longer it sets on the meat the better it is. If it's more than a few minutes, rub and wrap it in plastic and keep refrigerated until you are ready to cook it.

Now you can fuss with this to suit you tastes and though I didn't think I'd like the sugar on the steaks it really gave them a nice crust.

Pork ribs are next!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Baked Apple BUT.....

with a it in a smoker. Hellooooooooooooo Seester Moon!!!

I just saw this on my local NPR Saturday morning cooking shows.

Take an apple must be one that will hold up to cook for one and a half hour approx.

Remove the core but do not cut thru the bottom as you are going to stuff the apple with the following:

a spoonful of apricot jam
a spoonful of cream cheese or mascarpone cheese
a spoonful of brown sugar
and finish off with a healthy (HA!!) pat of butter

Make a ring out of foil to hold the apple off the grate of the BBQ. Add apple chips if you happen to have any..........cook for an hour to and hour and a half.

VOILE!!! a baked apple with a twist. I bet you could do this while smoking something else. Try is cause I know y'all like baked apples.

Has anyone else done this - sure sounds tasty!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

New diet: low carbon

The Cafe of the Getty Center has started something quite interesting. It's called a Low Carbon Diet. This is a committed program by Bon Appétit, a nationwide food management group to lower their carbon footprint. Basically they are will be buying local and reducing the amount of waste. This Palo Alto, CA company has over 400 cafes in 28 states, usually large companies and Universities.

Tired of feeling like you can't do anything? Here's a great way to get started in your own kitchen, What you can do. I also love their Top Five Low Carbon Diet Tips and a cool little search page for local, sustainable food in your area. Eat Well Guide. And finally, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has a pocket seafood guide so you know what fish is ocean-friendly and safe to eat. Don't forget to ask restaurants where their seafood was caught or raised and don't buy seafood that has to be flown in buy frozen when caught. Shipping fish uses less energy than flying it into your market, fresh-caught. If you can't see the ocean don't buy fresh-caught.

If you have some good ideas to lower your carbon diet, let's hear about them.