Wednesday, February 18, 2009

only in LA

Only in LA will you have lunch at a small neighborhood sushi restaurant and end up having an admiring chat with Cleve Jones and the brilliant writer of "Milk". And only in LA will that very sushi place have a dish called "biscotti" that has nothing to do with biscotti, and everything to do with Mark Bittman's recipe of the day.

MB's post this week is about grains, and about how to get more of them in your diet. And Ajisai's "biscotti" are not biscotti in the italian definition. Their biscotti are crunchy rice cakes (I'd like to think oven fried, but I am afraid it might just be fried fried) covered with a divine dollop of spicy tuna. Filling, protein and fiber laden, perfect with an espresso for breakfast, a diet coke for lunch or a beer for dinner.

In reference to MB's recommendations for left over rice and oat recipes, this one is replicable: take left over fiber of any kind, cut and shape into 3 bite sized shape, stick in oven or toaster.
Add an egg, or an egg white and scallion, or a slice of tuna or chicken or cheese or any other form of protein, sprinkle with sea salt/tamari/gomasio.

I can't promise the remake of these rice cakes will immediately put you in the company of Gay Rights Movement heroes and brilliant writers, but they will certainly make a lovely light meal.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

eat here now

Look who's talking about us (! Click on her February 10th review about a GREAT restaurant in LA. And yes, that would be us with the crush on MB, and yes, I would take him there. Truly, the world needs more great Ethiopian restaurants. There's nothing like a sharing a plate with friends, eating with your hand, washing a fabulous meal down with Harar beer.

Come to think of it, this wouldn't be a bad Valentine's day meal... Happy hearts and all that.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

update on Blakes and more

Not a week after I posted my memories of things past at Blake's, guess who was photographed there just recently, looking very odd but strangely weird? Mickey Rourke! All wrestler-ed up with what looks like tatooed facial hair. He's got a few rather edgy (ish) shots in the NYT magazine. No cheddar cheese/chutney/avocado crackers in the shots though...

On another memory lane posting, the Melrose Place Farmer's Market is a small affair. A few flower stands, about ten vegetable and fruit stands, a very good mobile cheese monger (an rather eccentric Dutch man), and the bread man. His loaves are okay, I prefer crustier stuff, but he has a brioche toast loaf that takes me back, aaaaall the way back. It is a square loaf, perfect for finger sandwiches (you see where I am going?).

So if Mark and I ever had tea on a rainy Sunday afternoon, we'd sip dark PG tips tea with a splash of milk from my grandmother's old transferware cups, talk about the demise of Domino (the magazine) and nibble on cucumber sandwiches made with the Melrose Place bread guy's brioche loaf, european butter, thinly sliced cucumber and a sprinkling of Maldon salt.
Come to think of, I don't think Mark would be into that. But I know my co-blogger would be (wouldn't you????)!

square brioche (egg bread) loaf
thick full fat (not excuse) european style butter
english cucumber
salt (any kind, but use sparingly)
+ one good bread knife


put kettle on

- have butter at room temp
- slice load into thin slices
- butter to slices of bread
- slice cucumber thinly and layer on on slice of bread
- sprinkle salt on other slice
- put one slice on top of other (butter facing cucumber)
- slice into 1-inch wide strips

brew tea, warm the milk

sit down & enjoy.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Don't fall over . . .

I know. It has been such a dry time for posts on this blog and then bam, two posts in the same week? One from each contributor. Careful, grab that chair back to steady yourself and take a deep breath.

I just made something I call "Mama's Mash". Dad is away on business, and we just got our first CSA bag for 2009. Fingerling potatoes, celery root, butternut squash, onions, garlic and brussel sprouts. So for a quick dinner for les filles, I whipped this up.

Toss in large, ideally cast iron, skillet that has been preheated and has about a tablespoon of olive oil shimmering in the bottom.

One onion, chopped
Two cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
5-7 potatoes, coarsely chopped


Add a bunch of bacon, chopped into one inch wide pieces.


Add small chopped pieces of broccoli


add salt and pepper


Cover with lid. Stir every five minutes or so until everything looks cooked and is slightly caramelized.

Turn off heat.

Grate a nice layer of cheddar cheese on top. Put lid back on so cheese will melt.


Plates were cleaned in a matter of minutes.

Not terribly inventive, but a great mid-week, rainy evening meal


Monday, February 2, 2009

Blake's, ca. 1984

A long long time ago, when Mark and I were much younger, I spent a w-e in London at what would become a rather hip hotel. Blake's is still is hip, the grande dame of hip, if that is possible.
The hotel had old Vuitton suitcases for side-tables ( a staple of boutique hotels in the 90's), dark walls, heavy chntz and moder furniture, Annick Goutal room scent diffusers, bowls of all-sorts licorice candy, retro drinks at the dark and smoky bar. I was too young to drink, at least when traveling with my parents, but not too young to appreciate the cheddar&chutney nibbles that came with them.

The appetizers, which are sadly no longer on the Blake's menu, don't take mych work or talent to compose. Instructions are as follows:

Take Carr's water crackers
Spread a bit of good mango chutney
Add a slice if sharp cheddar
Layer with a piece of avocado.
Eat. Repeat.

It has the simplicity of the Bittman creed, and it is utterly addictive.