Monday, February 28, 2011

puppy love

If you are a dog lover and want to give your furry friend a little doggie indulgence and puppy pampering then these healthful biscuits are the trick.  These biscuits are appealing to fussy-eater dogs that use everyday wholesome ingredients you probably have on hand.  Using a fifty-cent biscuit cutter and a little time (no need to work like a dog) you can be treating your puppy to a delicious all-natural oven baked snack that will not only delight but is so good he’ll be begging for more.  It will definitely put the “wow” into bow wow.


Champs' Biscuits 

1 cup uncooked oatmeal 
1 tablespoon bouillon granules (beef, chicken or 
3/4 cups powdered milk 
1 egg, beaten 
1/3 c margarine 
1 1/2 cups hot water 
3/4 cups cornmeal 
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 325 F. 

In a large bowl pour hot water over oatmeal, margarine, and bouillon granules: let stand 5 minutes. 

Stir in powdered milk, cornmeal, cheddar cheese
 and egg. Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. 

Knead 3 to 4 minutes, adding more flour if necessary to make a very stiff dough. Pat or roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into bone shapes and place on a greased baking sheet

Bake for 50 minutes. Allow to cool and dry out until hard. 

Makes approximately 1 3/4 pounds. Store in an airtight container 

Storing Dog Treats 
In general you should store dog treats the same way you would homemade people cookies. That being said, there are two main variables that determine storage time - the amount and type of fat in the recipe and your local weather conditions. If your recipe uses fats such as butter, or meat bits or juices then it will be more prone to rancidity than a recipe that uses
some vegetable oil or shortening. Your treats may mold or spoil much faster in humid or very hot climates. 
Refrigeration and Freezing - Refrigeration will prolong the life of more fragile dog treats. Make sure to store in a tightly sealed container or zip lock bag. You can also freeze most treats in zip lock freezer bags. Allow to thaw completely before use. 

Champ was so excited about his biscuits!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

3rd and Fairfax

What began as a dirt lot for farmers to congregate and sell their fresh produce has now grown into a renowned dining paradise combining nostalgic charm for natives and tourists alike.  L.A.’s Original Farmers’ Market is the place where visitors can experience authentic cuisines from around the world, enjoy old Hollywood stories and maybe even catch sight of a celebrity or two.  Fresh produce, meats, seafood, cheeses and baked goods abound in this condensed area.

If you want to grab something for either breakfast, lunch, dinner or anything in between you can find it here.  From Mexican to Middle Eastern to Brazilian and even good ol' American diner fare the Farmers' Market has something for everyone.

We hit the market at lunch time so we decided to try the famed Pampas Grill.  It is a Brazilian barbecue joint that seems to always have a line at least 10 deep.

In the center of the restaurant, you’ll see a large mesquite barbecue, where the finest cuts of meat are simply prepared and spit-roasted to juicy perfection. 

The food is priced per pound, customers select dishes they want as they walk along and pay by weight at the end.  

The fried plantains, braised collard greens and black beans were the perfect choice with the succulent lamb for my lunch.

After lunch we headed over to stall 150, Monsieur Marcel’s Gourmet Market.  Where carefully chosen imported fine foods and private label groceries are stocked to over flowing.  You’ll find over twenty five varieties of extra-virgin olive oil, impressive wines, fine cheeses and top quality essentials such as black truffles, beluga caviar and hundred year-old balsamic vinegars.

After narrowing down our purchases which wasn’t easy, we finished up our afternoon with something sweet from Littlejohn’s English Toffee House, it was the perfect ending.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

i won what?

When Ally, a marketing coordinator for Condé Nast contacted me via email to say that I had won the Epicurious Farm Fresh Recipe Contest I was skeptical.   My first thought was that this was some sort of “your name has been entered into a drawing” sort of thing or that it was a marketing promotion.  And honestly, I didn’t even remember entering any contest for Epicurious. But after a little research sure enough it was legit. And the winning recipe was for my Rhubarb & Strawberry Crisp.

After a little back and forth communication with Ally, I thought for sure that this award would catapult me into some sort of rhubarb hall of fame…or that maybe Bobby Flay was going to fly to Orange County and personally hand me my check and with his camera crew in tow wanting to challenge me to a rhubarb crisp throw down.

Sadly, my check arrived with little pomp and circumstance.  But my check did arrive none the less.  And it is going into the fund for the “eating my way through Paris” this spring with my daughter.  So for that I’m very grateful.

So just in case you’d like to make this Farm Fresh Recipe Challenge Winning Recipe here it is (drum roll please!)


Rhubarb & Strawberry Crisp
Serves 8

1 lb. rhubarb, sliced in 1 in. pieces
2 pints strawberries, hulled, sliced in half
Zest and juice from 3 blood oranges (or whatever oranges you have on hand)
¼ cup flour
¼ cup sugar
1 stick butter, chilled, cubed
¾ cup all purpose flour
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup oats
Pinch of salt
¼ cup toasted hazelnuts, skins removed, chopped coarsely

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease an 8 x 11 baking dish and set aside.  In a bowl combine sliced rhubarb, strawberries, zest and juice from the oranges, flour and sugar.  Toss gently to incorporate flour and sugar throughout.  Pour into prepared baking dish.
For the topping I like to use a food processor, but a pastry cutter, fork or even your fingers work as well.  Combine chilled, cubed butter, with the flour, sugar and salt, pulse a few times until butter is the size of small peas.  Add oatmeal and pulse once or twice, just enough to get it mixed through, but not chopped too small.  Crumble mixture over the top of the strawberry rhubarb mixture.  Top with the roasted hazelnuts and bake for 45 minutes until the top is browned nicely and the mixture is bubbling through the cracks.
Serve warm with freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Friday, February 4, 2011

don't touch my pork belly!

Confession. If you would have asked me maybe five years ago what Charcuterie was or even how to pronounce it, I couldn’t have said.

Who would have thought that in a relatively short period of time I would now be, dare I say, a little obsessed with the topic.  To the point that when the mention of pork belly comes up I start clapping.  Yes, clapping.  Sadly I’m now one of “those” (whatever those are).

Just yesterday someone found out that I have a food blog and was asking me about it and what I’m working on now.  They should have known better.  I began on this dissertation with such animation, throwing terms around I figured everyone knows and was quite chagrined when they began to glaze over the conversation quickly diverted to something else..I think the weather.  Am I the only one that gets so passionate about pork belly?  Am I alone?

Well, in any case I am plunging head first into this meat adventure.  And yes, if you come over you might just see meat hanging from a rope in the kitchen, curing.  And no, 8 lbs. of pork belly hanging from a rope in the kitchen is not strange.  Believe me when it is cured and ready to be eaten it will be all worth the raised eyebrows.  I hope.

So today, thanks to Drew at The Meat House I am picking up my fresh pork belly that is flying in from a Quaker farm in South Dakota.   The book Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn arrived yesterday.  I am dangerously close to beginning my meat adventure.

I’m so excited!