"A good meal is like a present, and it can feel goofy, at best, to give yourself a present. On the other hand, there is something life affirming in taking the trouble to feed yourself well, or even decently. Cooking for yourself allows you to be strange or decadent or both. The chances of you liking what you made are high, but if it winds up being disgusting, you can always throw it away and order a pizza; no one will ever know." (Jenni Ferrari-Adler)

Monday, January 31, 2011

This weekend in photos

Have I mentioned i love my new cellphone?

Nothing like ending the workweek like this

This was friday nights dinner, my favorite lazy meal, I call it breakfast for dinner.

Fresh of the stove top...  sunday night

Not documented were my saturday sushi date with M. Gastronomic challenge of the night.... sea urchin... (tastes like ocean dust.... whatever you can imagine ocean dust tastes like); and wine tasting at the portuguese restaurant in Sherman Oaks :D, it was a blind tasting.... my favorite wine was actually from Spain.... ups!

I also baked a batch of brownies.... not too happy with the result.... will bake another batch tomorrow..... either i really suck at this baking thing or i really rather have sea urchin than brownies

Oh and MAJOR highlight of the weekend....... one of my dreams came true... I'm now the owner of a Kitchen aid Artisan stand mixer just like this one...... :D

Thanks MOM!!!! you are the "Best-est". I'll take really good care of your baby!

Am I a lucky bitch or what?
Good night everyone!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

On my mind

Tax season is just barely starting and I'm already lacking the time to have a life. Busy is good, but serious????

I need time to decompress and people to feed.

On my list:
2 LC tester recipes (to be accomplished this coming weekend)
poached salmon
seared scallops 
vegan chocolate cake
tea-smoked duck (cranking up an improv smoker, this will be fun)
no-kneed bread

Now back to work and accounting duties :D

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Zucchini Ricotta Cheesecake

Before I ventured into baking this cheesecake I had no idea cheesecakes could be savory. A couple weeks ago on food network there was a show about  cheese (Alton Brown's show i cant remember the name). Anyway Alton invited us to try baking a savory cheesecake. The challenge was on, I jumped online and found this recipe off www.101cookbooks.com

Zucchini Riccotta Cheesecake

2 cups zucchini, unpeeled & grated
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
zest of one lemon
2 large eggs, well beaten
1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
drizzle of olive oil

Preheat oven to 325F degrees, racks the middle. Butter/oil a 7-inch springform pan.
In a strainer, toss the shredded zucchini with the salt and let sit for ten minutes. Now aggressively squeeze and press out as much moisture as you can. Set aside.

In the meantime, combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, shallots, garlic, dill and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Stir in the eggs and continue mixing until well combined. Now stir in the shredded zucchini. Fill the springform pan with the ricotta mixture and place on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for sixty minutes. If there is any moisture left on top of the cake at this point, carefully use a bit of paper towel to dab it off. Now sprinkle with the goat cheese and return to the oven for another 20 -30 minutes or until the goat cheese is melted and the cake barely jiggles in the center (it will set up more as it cools).
At this point, if the cake is baked and set, but the top isn't quite golden, I'll zap it with the broiler (just about a minute) to get a bit more color on top. Remove from the oven and let cool five minutes, then release the cake from its pan. Cool completely, serve at room temperature drizzled with a bit of olive oil and a few sprigs of dill.

(this recipe was copied from here )

The end result?

Zucchini Ricotta Cheesecake

I baked it for Christmas dinner at my Mom's

Here is a picture of the cheesecake at our table

It actually turned out surprisingly good. The use of the ricotta cheese gives it a quiche like consistency. I did follow the recipe to the dot... next time i'll add some more onion, garlic and fresh herbs. A slice of this cheesecake with salad could be the perfect office lunch.

How about you? have you tried any savory cheesecakes?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy new year !!!!

2011 is finally here... 2010 is done buried and forgotten.
today will be the beginning of a new life.... even the air seems lighter.

The year is just beginning and i already have news.... i was chosen to join a group of recipe testers for an internationally acclaimed chef, and to me this is not only an honor but a dream come true :D.  To all of you out there who have a dream.... don't give up!!!!!! Miracles to happen! I'm excited and at the same time nervous this is the first time i'll be doing something of this kind. It will be a challenge to follow strict directions (something I'm horrible at, I love leaving room for the imagination).  Though I won't be able to disclose any of the recipes or talk openly about the experience i'll be sharing photos of the completed dishes.  This will be my first culinary real job and I'm very excited about it.

Last month there was no time for much writing, december is a very busy month and between dodging holiday, anniversary and birthday parties there was not much time for cooking.

My family went on a wonderful one week vacation to central california (just got home a couple hours ago). This has not happened since 2004 and this was the first new years we spend together since 1999. We had tons of things to celebrate, and even tho we are short one family member, she was very much missed by all of us.

Oh and i shall not forget to share with you my 2010 gastronomic breakthroughs. For the first time in my life i had the courage to try clams, lobster, crab, scallops and lamb and loved every single one of them.  I baked my first sweet cheesecake, my first savory cheesecake (will be sharing this recipe and picture), my first Flan, and prepared a Chocolate stout- coffee beef rub.

And finally I'm starting the new year knowing that as long as i set my heart and mind to something there is nothing i cannot conquer, it took me going thru 10 days of the master cleanse to realize that :D.... Speaking of the master cleanse..... my body is asking for another one ...  serious this holiday season was crazy.

Will begin 2011 on a positive and healthy note challenging myself to eating more fresh produce and fish, less carbs and less junk food (this one is for sure, tho fries or 16 dollar burgers do not qualify as junk in my bible ehhehehehe)

Alright everyone, lets step into the new year with a smile. I wish you all a wonderful and blessed new year filled with good food and family and friends to share it with.

Let 2011 begin!
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