The California Dish

Food, like love, should be entered into with abandon, or not at all

Sunday, July 3, 2011

4th of July Party Recipes - Chicken & Beef Fajitas

Well, our party was a hit. We wiggled two families into our back patio area for an afternoon of water and watermelon.

We swam, ate, talked, relaxed, and swam some more.

 The highlight was definitely when 4 little munchkins asked to be spun around on floaties in the pool. And the squirt guns. And showing off our garden. And swinging in the hammock with Becky. It was a lot of fun!

Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken Fajitas with Mango Salsa!

As promised, here are recipes for the fajitas I made last night. They were a hit. First, Chipotle Flank Steak Fajitas that I borrowed from the Pioneer Woman. Her recipe goes a little something like this.

Chipotle Marinade
  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil
  • 2 whole Limes, Juiced
  • 4 whole Canned Chipotle Peppers, With A Little Sauce
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Peeled
  • 1 whole Handful Of Cilantro
Toss these lovely ingredients into a blender and whirl for 30 seconds or until all have properly pureed together into one spicy, messy, red and green dotted soup. Then pour this mixture into a gallon-sized ziploc bag with your flank steak. (I used about 2 pounds but you could probably add up to three with this amount of marinade.) I added a teaspoon or so of salt and didn't peel the garlic (it didn't seem to matter since it was all being pureed anyway. Sometimes I'm a little lazy that way!).

***WARNING*** This marinade gives this beef a little kick, so tone down the chipotle peppers if you want it a little milder.

Grill the flank steak to your preference - rare, medium rare, or well done. We went with well done and it was mighty fine and tasty!

Tequila Lime Chicken Fajitas
This recipe is lovely. One bite and you'll know what I'm talking about. Hints of garlic and lime peak through with explosions of cilantro. Again, I borrowed this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten.

  • 1/2 cup gold tequila
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (5 to 6 limes)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeno pepper (1 pepper seeded)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (3 cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 whole (6 split) boneless chicken breasts, skin on
I did a few things differently. I added an entire cup of Tequila (whoops!), replaced the orange juice with lemonade (citrus+sugar), couldn't find any chili powder so I added chili flakes (the kind you see in pizza parlors), and used boneless, skinless breasts instead. I also added a whole bunch of cilantro because it begged me to join the party. And who am I to turn down a talking herb?

If you have never marinated chicken or fish in citrus, you will notice that it changes the texture. Cooking is all about chemically altering our food. We add salt to break down cell walls so that flavors reach our tongues more quickly. Citrus will also do this (which is why lemon juice can often perk something up if you can't add more salt to something). Dry heat (ovens, grills) cooks differently than wet heat (braising, boiling).

I marinated 4 large chicken breasts in this marinade overnight. When I pulled it out, the breasts no longer looked pink but white. I wish I had taken a picture to show you. Ceviche works the same way - add a little citrus to raw fish and Presto Chango the fish starts to "cook," or more accurately, change ever so slightly on a chemical level. This is what happens when you marinate protein in citrus, so don't be alarmed if your chicken looks white instead of pink. The result is highly flavored, tender, juicy meat. Throw those breasts on the grill and pretty soon they will be white through and through.

Look at all that lovely cilantro! So glad I gave in to her!
Then slice it up!

And put it on a taco!

I also sauteed some bell peppers and onions in a skillet the night before. During the party, while heating tortillas and making quesadillas, I reheated the veggies. It went faster that way. My friend Michelle also made a fantastic bowl of Mango Salsa. I think she used this recipe. It has 5 ingredients and it tastes even better after its been sitting for a while and flavors have a chance to meld together.


Happy 4th of July!

Friday, July 1, 2011

4th of July Party

I only know one thing for sure about cooking meat: slower is better. In fact, cooking any protein slowly is the way to go. Cooking protein fast makes it rubbery, which explains why scrambled eggs turn rubbery instead of light and fluffy if you coax them to the finish line with heat, and why slow roasted anything is fall-off-the-bone tender.

The only exception to this hard and fast rule is Asian stir fry. But, if you think about it, they usually slice meat in thin slivers and across the grain, which helps the fibers pull apart in your mouth faster and gives the illusion of tenderness even if it's not really there.

And then there is the possibility that they just add MSG or another flavor enhancer.

Funny story about MSG. I tutored a girl from China for a while. Wonderful gal. She told me she was very sad because she couldn't find  MSG here in the states and that it was her favorite spice. After giving her directions to the local Asian food store, I attempted to explain that Americans wouldn't consider MSG an actual spice, but rather a food additive that many avoid because of the side effects (headaches, nausea, etc.). That didn't seem to deter her one bit, as she told me that her dad had taught her how to cook with it. "But you don't put it on eggs," she explained, "my Dad said eggs have enough flavor without MSG." Ironic, since I can't stand eggs without a little dash of salt.

Tomorrow I'm hosting a 4th of July party and we're grilling fajitas. Tequila lime chicken and chipotle flank steak fajitas! And they're slowly marinating in the fridge right now. They'll cook a little faster than slow roasting, but marinating adds a lot of flavor when a dish is cooked more quickly. And we'll cut the meat cross grain to maximize tenderness. I wish I could take credit for the recipes, but I shamelessly borrowed them from the Barefoot Contessa and the Pioneer Woman, two women I have come to trust for recipes. I'll share the recipes and pictures later this weekend.

The key to successful entertaining is to be present with your guests. That's something I haven't always been good at. Sometimes, I've been so caught up in preparing a dish, that I spent more time in the kitchen than with the people I invited over. I'm learning to prep as much as I can ahead of time, so I can swim with my nieces and nephews tomorrow, which is so much more important than chopping vegetables.

Years ago, I did a little Kay Arthur Bible study about hospitality.  It was about the book of Ruth.

Somehow, Ruth's ability to uncover Boaz's feet in such a way that made him feel right at home conveyed her incredible gift of hospitality. It wasn't until much later, in an English Literature class of all places, that I heard that uncovering a man's feet is a euphemism for another kind of hospitality. Either way, uncovering a man's feet, in any sense of the phrase, didn't make a lot of sense to me in terms of entertaining.

What did stick with me is a little phrase that was buried in this booklet. It said a truly hospitable person can open a can of chicken soup and make you feel like are the most important person in the world, whereas another could spread a feast fit for kings and you could feel charmed, but not nourished. Entertained but not loved. Full but not satisfied. Since then, my goal has been to nourish people.

I probably learned the most about entertaining from a couple I went to Bible school with. They're older than I am by a few decades with just enough wisdom and experience and love that I couldn't help but spend hours at their home, nestled in their kitchen, laughing, tasting, and eating with them. We spent hours typing menus on parchment paper, collecting unique china dishes, popping into every grocery store in town on a quest for the right ingredients, dicing, simmering, and nibbling.

I learned about serving with excellence and the value of quality ingredients: imported chocolate, fresh fish and meat, organic produce. Often, the guests would have little idea that we had spent 8 hours making something they had eaten in under an hour, but we knew. And, in our own little way, it was our way to honor our guests.  Good food is a labor of love. And a smile and a compliment from our guests went a long way.

So, I ask you dear friends, how will you nourish the people you love this holiday weekend? What will you cook? What will you share? How will you honor?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Home & Going Granola (recipe too!)

Greetings from Chicago Park, California. I've relocated since my last post! I'm no longer confined to a two-bedroom apartment in Chico. Instead, I type this from the room I grew up in, surrounded by 10 lovely acres of lush, fertile land in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. It's good to be home.
This is the view from my bedroom window. It's a little cloudy in this shot, but our weather has been unusual this summer!

At the beginning of the year, I had a deep sense that this year would be different. Sometimes I sense things on a deeper level than I can observe with my eyes; I dwell, invest in, and perceive just as much in this invisible reality as I do in the world I can tangibly touch. This year marks the beginning of a new decade, and with it a transition for many into a new season. Did you feel the shift? :) Many of us did. I felt more secure in acknowledging this shift when dozens of others weighed in saying that that this year would set a new course for this decade. Surprisingly, my shift brought me home. Where is it leading you?

Corn Shoot. It's about an inch tall here!

So, here I sit, more rested, relaxed, and creative than I have been in years. Literally years. This morning I told my mom, my new roommate, that I feel like a geyser - spurting out creative ideas on a semi-regular basis now. Among them are new art projects (painting, crafting, sculpting, sewing), homesteading ideas (beekeeping, raising chickens and turkeys, gardening, raising goats), books (a memoir about a grandma I know who devoted her life to good food and a book about how to get God to notice you), and business ideas (christmas tree farm, nursery, paris chic decor). And ironically, I have felt less like cooking than I have in a really long time, which is my usual outlet for creativity.

So, instead of sharing a new recipe, I'm going to share a recipe I go back to time and time again. Homemade granola. This actually feels a little descriptive of my life right now. I'm intrigued by sustainability, being eco, going organic, homesteading, and living a slow life. I'm conscious that the first decade of my life was characterized by busyness. I'm contemplating the tension of doing something to actively bring God's kingdom to earth and simply living, knowing that wherever I am, whatever I'm doing, whomever I am with will be naturally influenced by God's hovering presence in my life. I am less drawn to being involved in organized structures, and more compelled to whittle away the things that pull my energy in so many directions.

So here is a picture of my new garden and a recipe for granola. Enjoy!  

Homemade Granola
If you have never made your own granola, you are going to be surprised at how easy it is, and I promise that you'll never buy granola again after you've tasted this. If you eat gluten free, you will need to use gluten-free oats; Bob's Red Mill sells them and they're grown in dedicated fields and processed in dedicated factories. No cross-contamination issues here!

You can vary this recipe greatly by adding different kinds of nuts and fruits to your own batch. Flavor with vanilla or almond extract. Shake cinnamon or nutmeg into it. Dot the mix with dried cranberries or currants. 

 Splash cold milk over this granola or plop a generous spoon of Greek yogurt into a bowl with fresh berries and enjoy! 

5 Cups Gluten-Free Oats
2 Cups Nuts (Any Kind)
1 Cup Coconut (Shaved in large pieces, unsweetened, usually available in health food stores)
1 Cup Dried Fruit (Craisins, Raisens, Goji Berries, Currants, Blueberries)
1/3 - 1/2 Cup Sweetener (Honey, Brown Rice Syrup, Agave, Maple Syrup)
2 Tbs Canola Oil (Optional

Preheat the oven at 325 degrees. Use a 6x9 metal roasting pan (the kind you use for brownies or roasting chickens). Metal works best and the darker the better for toasting the oats!
Measure oats, nuts, coconut, sweetener, and oil directly into roasting pan. Fold ingredients into a cohesive mixture. (Tip: Spray non-stick cooking spray onto spoon for stirring and into measuring cup for sweetener. The spray helps keep the spoon from collecting a giant gob of granola as you mix things together, and the sweetener will slide out more easily with a little barrier between it and the cup).

Slide the pan into the oven onto the top rack. Toast the granola in the oven for 30-40 minutes total. Start checking after about 10 minutes. Pull the rack out of the oven and rustle the oats so that they won't burn and will toast evenly. When granola looks evenly golden brown, remove it from the oven to cool. Then add dried fruit (if you add it before toasting, it will dry out and chip teeth!).


Sunday, January 9, 2011

And for Good Measure

I'd like to introduce a reoccurring feature on my blog as a tribute to my friend Kayla.

Every week Kayla razzles and dazzles me with her eloquent, articulate ponderings and musings about life. These have become what I like to fondly call, Kayla's Quotable Quotes.

Here's the first of many Quotable Quotes by Kayla:

I like all vegetables, just not the weird salad.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year: Sun-dried Tomato Basil Cream Sauce & Clue

It was Mrs. White in the ballroom with the lead pipe!

Who doesn't love a good game of Clue? I have fond memories of pulling this game out of the closet as a young kid and trying desperately to figure out who did what and where before my sister sharked us all and correctly solved the crime! Recently, I was thrifting (my favorite hobby) and found a brand-new game for only 50 cents. I was super excited to see that Hasbro has upped the ante on their new release and included little three-dimensional characters to slide (or hop!) around the familiar game board.

Every Thursday night, for 2 years now, I have been hosting a weekly dinner party for a group of gals I am honored to call close friends. We laugh, we cry, we de-stress. We share, we connect, and we go deep. We feed our stomachs, our souls, and our guilty pleasure and (my!) ridiculous obsession with Fox's Fringe and Bones. In the best of times and the worst of times our weekly gatherings have remained a constant source of support and affection. Last night we ate Sun-dried Tomato Basil Cream Sauce and played Clue.

Every week plays out the same way. On Monday or Tuesday I decide on a dish to cook and send out a quick text with the details. As each gal RSVP's, I reply with an ingredient to bring. I figured out a long time ago that spreading out ingredients over 5 people is a lot easier on my pocketbook and it satisfies both my culinary creativity and everyone's stomach! It was the only way to do a weekly dinner party on a college budget and it works.

I have roasted chickens with rosemary tucked under their crispy skins, rolled out homemade gluten-free pasta, whirled pesto in the food processor for gourmet pizza, whisked melted chocolate and eggs into decadent brownies, and tested many gluten-free recipes on my obliging friends. Thursday nights are a good thing.

I was Mrs. Peacock, and I accused Professor Plum in the Conservatory!

This week I had a special request to make one of my classic and signature dishes: Sun-dried Tomato Basil Cream Sauce over pasta. I'm not even sure what defines a "signature dish," but this dish is one of my most-requested recipes. It is damn good and definitely worthy of a New Years Celebration!

Sun-dried Tomato & Basil Cream Sauce With Gluten-Free Rice Noodles

Eating in Italian Restaurants

Trying to eat Italian food in a restaurant is a big of a challenge for someone with a gluten intolerance, which is ironic because I hear that it's pretty easy to eat gluten-free in Italy. (They have one of the highest rates of Celiac disease in the world and now screen children at five years old for gluten intolerance. Awareness, acceptance, and accommodation are apparently normal in Italy now.) However, us Americans still have a way to go in learning how to accommodate those with food allergies.

When I do brave an Italian restaurant, I usually call ahead to find out if they have a gluten-free menu available. A phone call will tell you a lot about how knowledgeable and accommodating an establishment is. I often order sauces over a bed of polenta or steamed vegetables in place of pasta if gluten-free pasta is not available. I avoid chain restaurants because I find that the only gluten-free options are high-end grilled entrees like steak -- when everyone else expects to pay $10-14 for a bowl of spaghetti, I expect to spend $20-30 for a cuisine the restaurant doesn't specialize in. So, for the most part, I get my pasta fix at home (or in Thai Restaurants - Pad Thai! Yum!)

As a side note - if you live in the Grass Valley, California area, I can highly recommend a delicious Italian restaurant. Villa Venezia Restaurant is located in a peach-rouge Victorian house and owned by a delightful family. "Papa Pasta" visits every table and ensures you have everything you need, and they are very accommodating to those with food allergies. The prices are reasonable, the atmosphere is incomparable, and the food is incredible every single time I go there. 124 Bank Street. (530) 273-3555.

French & Italian Cream Sauce Basics

Cream sauces can be made in two ways - in the French roux style, or in the Italian heavy cream style. The French cream sauce is usually constructed using a roux, which is a mixture of 3 parts flour and 2 parts fat (usually butter or meat drippings). Roux is cooked in a sauce pan until the raw flour taste is gone. If you whisk cream (or a mixture of milk, half-n-half, or cream) into roux you have cream sauce. If you whisk milk or broth into a roux you have a lighter cream sauce or gravy.

Italians make cream sauce without flour, by cooking cream down until it gets thick and soupy. It is usually higher in fat, more expensive to make, and I don't think it keeps well if reheated the next day (the cream separates). Some American Italian restaurants use a roux cream sauce recipe, while others, like Villa Venezia, use only cream.

A Note on Buying Cream: Whipping or Heavy?

When you peruse your dairy section, you'll notice that there are two or three different kinds of cream available: Heavy Cream, Light Cream, and Whipping Cream. The difference is the fat content so flip the container around and look at the fat grams. I personally tend to use the lightest available (whipping cream) as it will have enough fat to create a smooth and thick sauce without making every bite drip with guilt. But really, who am I kidding? In case I haven't said this already, this is no diet sauce.

The Recipe: Sun-dried Tomato Basil Cream Sauce

3 Cloves of Garlic minced or finely chopped (you can use less, but this is surprisingly not an   overpowering amount)
Olive Oil (feel free to use oil from the sun-dried tomato jar--it's very flavorful!)
 3/4 Cup Julienned Sun-dried Tomatoes (oil-packed are more flavorful so use those in this recipe)
1 Pint Whipping Cream
1 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
3/4 Cup Basil (loosely packed, sliced in thin chiffonade* pieces)
Sea Salt & Freshly Cracked Pepper 

*Chiffonade is a a technique for cutting herbs. Stack your basil leaves and roll them. Thinly slice your roll and little piles of basil chiffonade will tumble onto your cutting board.

1. In a small, stainless steel saute pan drizzle about 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and heat to medium. Add minced garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes (be careful not to let garlic burn). Turn heat down to low-medium and add sun-dried tomatoes to pan. Let them soften and gently heat through so their flavor starts to release into the pan, about 2 minutes.

2. Add whipping cream and raise heat to medium. You need to watch this sauce and you want the temperature to come to a slight simmer so that the cream will reduce and condense without burning. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon.

3. After about five minutes, the sauce will start to reduce and turn a slight pink color from the tomatoes. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. Trust your instincts here. You can't really ruin this sauce by undercooking it (it will just be thinner), but you can ruin it by burning it so be careful to stir. Taste the sauce and note the texture, consistency, and flavor. If it has any hint of raw cream flavor, keep cooking. If the sauce tastes like the sun-dried tomatoes have made love to the cream, it's done.

4. When the cream has reduced, add the basil and stir. Sprinkle the cheese over the sauce while stirring and turn the heat off. When the cheese has fully melted and incorporated into the cream, it is time to taste. Parmesan cheese can be salty, so you want to taste and season after you add it. I think I add about 1/2-1 teaspoon salt (but this will depend on the cheese you use). One or two quick twists of freshly cracked pepper are enough.

I toss this sauce over gluten-free brown rice pasta. I like Tinkyada Brown Rice pasta - it's not mushy! You can also drizzle this over chicken, vegetables, or dip chunks of bread into it as an appetizer. It's rich, so I would serve it with a leafy salad, or along with vegetables. Enjoy!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dancing with Gluten Free Girl and the Chef

Learning to dance is a lot like learning to cook. When I was a kid, I used to “dance” with my Dad in the kitchen on commercial breaks while our air popper exploded kernels of white perfection.
We used to sing “Barbara Ann” by the Beach Boys but with our own lyrics—Pop, Pop, Papop. Pop, Pop, Papop. Pop the corn. You got me rockin’ and a reelin’, rockin’ and reelin’ Popcorn! It wasn’t until just a few years ago, years after I had grown up and heard Barbara Ann apart from my father many times, that I realized that the Beach Boys weren’t actually singing about popcorn. As we danced, I would hop onto my dad’s toes and he would lift me around in circles, keeping time to the off-key, personalized lyrics we sang as a part of our popcorn making ritual. It was as ridiculous and special as it probably sounds to you.

Learning to eat gluten free was a similar experience. For a long while I stood on the sidelines humming along with the music of allergy-friendly cooking, checking out every possible library book I could find on the subject, and desperately trying to figure out how to become fluent in the language of flours with names like teff, potato starch, quinoa, and brown rice. For a long time I felt like I was dancing with two left feet, albeit passionately dancing with two left feet, but still not quite mastering the art of creating food that I could eat that wouldn’t make me lose all love for the culinary arts. My feet would tap in rhythm with the recipes I would read, but when it came right down to actually giving it a go on the dance floor myself, I felt as awkward as Steve Urkel.

Until I stumbled upon Gluten Free Girl’s blog. Gluten Free Girl's Blog
I’m sure everyone writing a post similar to mine feels obligated to share their anecdotal story about how and why they began following Shauna & her husband (whose name I still have a hard time remembering because Shauna so frequently and affectionately refers to him as simply “The Chef”), but mine is rather simple really. One day I knew nothing of her, and the next I was hooked. My attitude changed after “meeting” Shauna.

As most of her followers, I have been eagerly anticipating the publication of her cookbook, Gluten Free Girl and the Chef:  A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes, and jumped at the chance to get a sneak peak at a couple of her recipes ahead of schedule.

Shauna sent me four recipes: Seared Shrimp with Garlic-Almond Sauce; Gluten-free Pasta; Pasta with Anchovies, Lemon, and Olives; and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Brownies. And oh boy are they good.

What immediately struck me about the recipes that Shauna sent me is that combined they meet a certain set of criteria I try to meet when I give a cooking demo: a recipe that people really want (a gluten-free cooking/baking secret!); a naturally gluten-free recipe; and something that you can serve to anyone without having to preface it with “I’m on a special diet….”  She gave me a recipe I REALLY wanted – Gluten-free pasta. I’ve attempted home-made gluten-free pasta several times and in one word, it sucked! Shrimp are naturally gluten free and those Brownies are little pieces of heaven in your mouth.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Brownies

If you still make brownies out of a box (or did before you went gluten free) you are seriously missing something. The recipe doesn’t seem too different than the one I usually make with a flour substitution or two and the addition of peanut butter. You slowly melt chocolate and a whole stick of butter over simmering water until it resembles liquid velvet. Then there’s some sifting, whisking, and pouring before you draw your knife through globs of peanut butter to create swirls; it is reminiscent of cheesecake technique. The finished product is rich and all my tasters said they would have never known they were gluten free. The recipe suggested slicing them in half and spooning jam for Peanut butter and Jelly brownies, which sounds clever, but they were already so sweet and rich that I didn’t want to send myself into a sugar coma. My only critique of the recipe was the description of unsweetened chocolate – does that mean those unsweetened Baker’s chocolate squares? If I want to use one of those gourmet bars, what percentage can I get away with? I went for a 60% Cocoa Ghiradelli’s Chocolate bar and there were no complaints!

 Seared Shrimp with Garlic-Almond Sauce

I really wish I had taken a picture of this masterpiece because it was so ridiculously simple and so good. As I read the recipe description – a sauce that someone wants an entire vat of so they can eat their way out? – I was intrigued. The recipe has a short ingredient list: Shrimp, Marcona almonds, and Olive Oil.
I was impressed with the side notes and details that Shauna and the Chef included. I probably would have tried to cut corners by using a less expensive almond instead of the Marcona, salt slicked, almonds that they recommend which set me back $6.11 for one cup. But the Chef anticipated this and urged me not to. When people really understand food and ingredients they’re honest with you about which you can skimp on and which are necessities. I felt confident following his advice. The sauce was rich – something that could easily be served at a high-class wedding in San Francisco – but it was simple to make and I began dreaming of different ways to use it. Over pasta, drizzled over roasted or grilled asparagus, as a crudités sauce, mixed with a splash of Balsamic vinegar for a unique dipping sauce, or in a vat that I could swim out of. I want to keep playing with it.

Gluten-Free Pasta
I was most excited to play with this recipe and dust off (literally) my old pasta machine. I inherited my Grandmother’s old stand mixer which has no paddle attachment and does not do well with dough.

After watching the yellow dough creep up the beaters, I coaxed it out of the bowl and began mixing and kneading it by hand. Just a few turns on a cutting board to get the ingredients fully incorporated. This is, after all, how Italians make pasta, but I was worried that the texture wouldn’t turn out. Sometimes your backed into a corner (wishing again for the Kitchen Aid stand mixer) and you have to make do. The texture was fine, but I found myself adding more potato starch when I rolled it on the machine to keep it from sticking. You also need to add a little potato starch to get it to roll out thinly.
I was surprised to see both guar gum and xanthan gum in the recipe and would have liked to know why the combination. I loved the flavor and would have liked to spend a little more time rolling it thinner as pasta always cooks thicker and some of my tasters thought it was a little chewy. I can’t wait to make Ravioli! :
Pasta with Anchovies, Lemon, and Olives
Let’s get this out of the way: I served this at a dinner party and had a back up plan (pesto!) for the non-anchovy eaters (a vegetarian, a vegan, and a gal with the palette of five year old). I was captivated by the description: “indelible taste of the Mediterranean, indolent summer warmed by the sun.”
So I gave anchovies a go and I had two adventurous people to try it with me. All three of us liked it, but probably wouldn’t have ordered it in a restaurant (unless we were in another country and trying to get the flavor of the local cuisine!) The sauce was a classic sauté of shallots, garlic, chopped olives, anchovies, and capers. A little white wine to deglaze the pan, a few herbs, nuts, butter, and toss into a bowl of homemade pasta. I was surprised that I liked it as much as I did. I watched a one year old maneuver pieces of pasta into her mouth and marveled at her sophisticated palette. A solid dish. Worthy of a restaurant special. The technique in the dish spurs creativity for other dishes.

I can't wait to get my hands on this book - I already have plans to dog ear these recipes!

It's available anywhere fine books are sold, but here's the link to Amazon's website:

Dishing it up in California,

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Thanks for dropping by The California Dish! I'm so glad you've come to visit.

You'll have to imagine that I've just moved and have boxes stacked up around me and many, many empty cupboards beckoning me to fill them.

That's a little how I feel about this blog. I'm not quite settled into the blogging world yet, but I hope to be very, very soon. And, I have lots of things to say....just trying to figure out where it will all fit best! :)

In the meantime, I'd love to hear what you'd like to see published in this space! Drop me a comment, say hello, and if you have any blogging experience and want to swap an amazing meal for an evening of your time, I'm totally game!

I'm hoping to be up and rolling by the beginning of July. 

Dishin' it up,