Saturday, September 26, 2015

Fall Vegetable Creamy Polenta!

Happy Fall!!!! Now if only it would cool down in Los Angeles so that I would know it is Fall, in the mean time I will just sit under the AC and have a fan blasting in my face.

For our first fall dish of 2015 we have made creamy polenta topped with fall vegetables and a balsamic reduction. I love the fall because some of my favorite vegetables are at their best, such as mushrooms, squashes, Brussel sprouts, and so many others. Enjoy

Ingredients: * To make completely vegetarian use vegetable stock. **Serves 2-4 based on if it is an entrée of side.

Kosher salt
Olive oil
Package already cooked polenta (because why not)
¼ cup cream
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup grated parmesan
1 cup Brussel sprouts
6 mini Portobello mushrooms or 2 large ones
½ butternut squash
2 medium leeks
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons honey

What is great about this dish is that you can make all of the components at the same time pretty much, which is lovely. Or you can make all the vegetables ahead of time, mix them together, and reheat them before plating.

Start by preheating oven to 400 degrees and prepping all of your vegetables, listed below is how to properly prepare them:

Cut the end with roots off, and where the leek turns from white to green. Slice the leeks in half length wise. Run the leeks under water, making sure to get any bugs or dirt out. Chop leeks into small half circles by laying the cut side down.

Butternut Squash:
 Cut in half lengthwise. This can be challenging the bigger the squash, so I insert knife on the thin side, cut through the stem and it should make it easier to wiggle the knife around. Since we are only using half, you can wrap up and store one half. Peel the squash with a strong peeler until the squash goes from white to dark orange. Remove seeds with a spoon, and using a sharp knife, cube the squash. Toss with two tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Brussel sprouts:
Trim the ends off and peel outer layer of leaves. Cut into quarters, and rigorously rinse under water to remove any dirt or bugs. Toss with two tablespoons and a pinch of salt.

Run the mushrooms under4 water and rub the inside and outside with your thumb to remove all dirt. Slice thin using a very sharp knife.

Now we can prepare everything. Place Brussel sprouts and butternut squash on separate sheet trays and in over. Set timer for 40 minutes, and flip tray halfway through. This is a good time to make your balsamic reduction. In a small sauce pan bring your balsamic to a boil, and then add honey. Turn the heat down to a small simmer and let simmer until you reached desired thickness. The reduction will thicken quite a bit while cooling so keep that in mind. I did mine about 7 minutes. Set aside when done.

At the 20 minute mark you can start putting everything else together. Heat up one tablespoon of oil on medium high in a large non-stick pan and place leeks in. Let soften, about 2-3 minutes, and pour in a ¼ cup of chicken stock. Let cook on low-medium heat until caramelized, about 15 minutes. While that is going, place one tablespoon of oil in a different non-stick, place mushrooms in. Cook until completely softened, about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

Once you start all of your vegetables, or after everything is done it is time to start the polenta. Cube your polenta and place in sauce pan on medium high heat. Add ½ cup of chicken stock, and mash up using a masher. Try to mash it up as much as possible. Add cream and cheese and stir until the polenta has absorbed all the liquid and all the cheese is melted.

Time to plate! Put down your polenta, pile your vegetables on, and using a spoon drizzle your reduction!

This dish is so delicious as a side or even your entrée!



Welcome Fall 2015!!!

Happy Fall!!! This fall better start cooling down! All we want to do is wear a sweater without fainting from heat, so we are keeping our fingers crossed. We have some awesome stuff planned for this fall.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Back to School Lunch!

Happy Back to School! I don’t know about you guys, but it seems earlier and earlier every year. That being said, adults get a little bit of freedom back, and kids get to catch up with old friends. First day of school screams new outfits, summertime tales, fresh notebooks, new teachers, and old haunts.

We came up with a great back to school lunch delicious to kids (it has been child tested) and it is chock full of great things such as broccoli, yam, apple…but it is all snuck in with a twist!

On the menu we have: broccoli cheese whole wheat pasta, yam chips, and cinnamon apple rice krispy treats. Enjoy!

Ingredients will make about 5 servings

1 box whole wheat pasta (we used rotini because it is fun)
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded cheddar
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large head broccoli
Kosher salt

Yam Chips:
1 large yam
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt

Cinnamon Apple Rice Krispy Treat:
5 Cups Rice Krispy Cereal
5 cups small marshmallows
1 Large green apple
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter + some for greasing
¼ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Bring a large pot of water, and a small pot of water to a boil. In the meantime cut the large head of broccoli into smaller pieces. When large water comes to a boil, pour in pasta. When small water comes to boil, pour in broccoli. In a medium sized pot start melting butter right before pasta is done, cook pasta 9-12 minutes or until slightly al dente. Cook broccoli about 5 minutes or until tender when poked with fork.

Once butter is melted, strain and pour in pasta. Stir pasta so that it gets coated in butter, pour in broccoli and stir more. Pour grated cheese in thirds and stir so that it doesn’t melt in clumps. Sprinkle salt in to your liking.

For the chips I suggest using a mandolin, because they are awesome! Preheat oven to 415 degrees.

Clean outside of yam before slicing. Slice yam relatively thin, not so thin that you can see light through it, but no so thick that they snap in half…they should be able to bend. In a bowl, toss with olive oil.

Lay out on cookie sheets and very lightly sprinkle with salt, they get salty very easily.

Bake about 10 minutes, or until you see little brown spots pop up. Rotate halfway through.

These Rice Krispies don’t hold together as tightly as the old fashioned kid without apple, so we are adding a bit more marshmallow…but who cares, they won’t be around long because they are so quickly devoured!

Before doing anything, make sure to grease bottom and sides of 9”x11” pan.

Start by cubing apple into pretty small pieces about a centimeter cubed. In a small sauce pan melt butter and sugar. When melted pour in apple pieces, stir to coat, then add 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Stir frequently for about 10 minutes until apple is soft. Set aside.

In a medium/ large deep sauce pan melt marshmallows while stirring constantly. Add teaspoon of cinnamon and stir for two more minutes. Add in apples and stir in completely. Then add in cereal and stir that in completely.

Using a greased spatula, pour mix into your already greased pan, pushing mix in as tight as possible. Let cool, and then slice!!

This is such a delicious combo, I suggest that adults enjoy it too!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Avocado Shrimp Toast

Happy Summer! Hello WORLD! Michael and I have been a bit off the grid for a bit, hence the no posts since February, Michael is head chef at a new fabulous restaurant, I have been doing some work with a gallery in the Santa Fe Art Colony, showing my paintings. All in all, it has been pretty busy, but a wonderful time!

That being said, we have put together a simple yet delicious dish inspired by summer and my recent trip with my family to Puerto Vallarta (Michael couldn’t make it because he is el jefe and needed). We have made avocado shrimp toast. This is such a simple dish, yet very complex in flavor, and is great for brunch or even just a snack.


½ Lb. peeled and deveined shrimp (about medium size)
Sourdough baguette
3 avocadoes
1 lemon
1 lime
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoons kosher salt plus some pinches

Start by preheating oven to 400 degrees and slicing bread a ¼ to ½ inch thick, depends on your preference. Put bread on sheet tray and in the oven when the oven reaches temp. Toast bread about 12 minutes, flipping half way. Since all ovens are not created equal, just keep an eye out on toast burnage.

I like to buy my shrimp peeled and deveined to save the time, but check to make sure it is completely deveined because I know it's childish but it's just guhross if they are not completely cleaned. Heat oil and juice of a lemon inn a skillet on medium high heat, until it starts to slightly brown….SUPER CRUCIAL, don’t let oil burn, just let it slightly brown. Place shrimp in skillet, season with a teaspoon of salt, and cook about 3 minutes each side, or until shrimp turns pink. Remove from heat.

To assemble this glorious masterpiece get all of your ingredients ready; have your bread out, open your avocado up, pick some rinsed cilantro, slice your shrimp down the middle length wise, and roll and then slice your lime.  The reason you roll the lime is to open up the juiciness inside!

Start with your toast, then layer slices of avocado, and the pinch some salt on top. Next lay 3-4 shrimp slice on top, squeeze some lime on top, sprinkle some chili flakes, and lastly top with some cilantro!