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Foodsnob In LA

Obervations of a food snob.

Updated: 2018-03-05T15:51:06.988-08:00


This is pathetic


So, I just can't stand how pathetic my blog has become. ONE entry all year long? And only SEVEN last year? That's no blog...

I must admit I have a new passion--it's gardening, and it's taken over my life. I'm going to phase out (yeah, no sh*t) this blog and start another one on gardening. We'll see if I actually follow through!!!

Thanks everyone for humoring me. Hope you enjoyed FoodsnobInLA and trust me--my snobbery just got a hell of a lot worse since now I'm GROWING my own food!!!

Wish you could have a garden,

Recession Session: Asparagus


(image) How can you tell if someone's rich?

By how much asparagus is thrown away.

Yes, the tips are the best. Yes, they're beautiful and delicious, but are they necessarily more nutritious? I'm gonna venture to say no. And with that said, I think you should eat as much of the stalk as possible, even if you're too rich for it.

Instead of breaking off all the hard bottoms, try trimming off just a little bit, and then peel the rest. It doesn't take that long. You'll get more bang for your buck, and your urine will smell just as bad. And, it looks beautiful. I love roasting asparagus in a 425 degree oven with just a little olive oil until al dente. Easy, simple, healthy. Save the trimmed stalk for veggie stock. Or not (you bourgeois you.)

Wish you could have a snappy, stinky bite,

That Freshly Baked Bread Smell


(image) Here's my once every 5 months blog entry. It's not very exciting. Sorry.

I could never give up bread. No way, man. I've been trying to cut down on bread intake over the last couple years, telling myself, "OK, I'll have to MAKE it if I crave it." Of course, as we all know, bread isn't one of those in the mood foods you can whip up in 15 minutes. Try more like, 15 hours. Especially if you make a sponge. Now we're talking 2 DAYS.

So, I had one of those cravings, and since it's been hot in Los Angeles lately, I decided to heat things up another 500 degrees. If I'm gonna spend all this time making bread, might as well make 2 loaves, right?

Just try to let the bread cool down for 2 hours before you cut into it...

Wish you could have a bite,

Salt Makes EVERYTHING better...


(image) Even caramels. And chocolate. And men. Especially men...hmm I take that back. Men are salty enough.

Fleur de sel on caramels. There are so many recipes out there, just experiment. I put a little salt INTO the caramel mixture, and then some on top before cutting. Can't go wrong.

Even covered some in dark chocolate.


Wish you could have a bite,

Lovely Leeks


(image) I've talked about burrata a lot. And I won't stop talking about it, and you can't stop me. YOU are! Hmph!

Last night I prepared the ol' burrata and prosciutto drizzled in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper blah blah blah, but to spruce it up I made a leeks vinaigrette. Not the fancy French vinaigrette with capers and egg and whatnot, just a little bit of red wine vinegar (because I'm out of champagne vinegar), S&P, some olive oil, and that's it.

Yum. SO EASY. Clean leeks. Boil for 10-15 minutes in salted water, and give them the shocker...I mean, shock them in ice water? Add your oil and vinegar and you've got yourself an antipasto that'll ruin your main course which you slaved over for hours and hours. Serves you right. DAMN YOU leeks over prosciutto and burrata. Damn you for being so sexy and delicious.

Wish you could have a bite,

Wascaly Wabbits


(image) I was at the poultry shop the other day and decided to make some rabbit, since I hadn't prepared it in a long time. I definitely was not in the mood for frog's legs and I didn't want to fuss with squab, so rabbit it was!

I prepared it in much the same way I would coq au vin...I seared all the rabbit, removed the meat and cooked a mirepoix with the brown bits, made a wine reduction, added some stock and slow cooked the rabbit in the oven at a very low temperature.

OK, so it's pretty fussy, probably much fussier than the squab would've been, but it was well worth it. Mmm...rabbit on a bed of creamy polenta with spinach and a nice glass of vino nobile. Can't go wrong...

Wish you could have a bite,

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie


(image) (image) Here's a link to a New York Times article about the perfect chocolate cookie. I made this recipe, but altered a couple things...

I used almost a quarter cup LESS white sugar than they called for.

I chopped my own Valrhona 71% dark chocolate.

I melted half of the butter and didn't whip it as much. I think fluffing it (in the baking sense) makes cookies more "cake-like" so I compromised.

And presto, the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Time to go running now.

Go make yourself a bite,

Top Scallops


(image) I don't know if anyone else watches Top Chef, but there's a chick on it who makes scallops any chance she gets. So, I decided to make scallops after watching an episode and laughing when the Italian chef exclaimed, "This is Top Chef, not Top Scallops!"

Scallops are so so so easy to make, and yet, they seem to impress people. All you need is a f-cking hot preheated pan and like, 5 minutes. Depending on the size, you can sear them between 1-3 minutes per side until JUST cooked through. It might take a couple tries, but you'll get it. The key is to not move them in the pan so you get a nice sear, but how many times have I said that before?

This time, after searing them, I deglazed the pan with shallots, white wine, added a little pat of butter off the heat, then some torn tarragon and orange zest. I roasted asparagus and brussel sprouts with olive oil in the oven at 400 (for 8 and 20 minutes respectively) and had a complete meal in 25 minutes. Eat it Rachel Ray.

Wish you could have a bite,

Pasta Belly


(image) So, it's been a while, Mr. Bloggie, but I'll make it up to you I promise! My belly is full of all sorts of goodies these days, and since my trip to Italy back in October I've been trying to perfect my pasta fresca.

Using the well method is perhaps the most satisfying technique I've ever employed, and poking properly rested dough can make even the toughest dude giggle. I love to poke. Poke poke poke.

I've found that just over 3 cups of flour to every 4 eggs and a teaspoon of olive oil makes a very tender pasta. If I'm feeling up to it, I'll knead it by hand for 10 minutes, but after a couple minutes of doing it by hand I cheat and throw it into the Kitchen Aid with the dough hook and then finish it by hand. Letting it rest is the most important part, however, and I find the longer the better, but at least 30 minutes.

Mmm...I love my pasta belly.

Wish you could have a bite,

PS In honor of NYT's Top 11 Foods, I've been making a SWISS CHARD and sausage sauce to go with the pasta fresca, although anything simple is better, since the pasta is the highlight of the dish!

Not Top Eleven but I had to post...


(image) Dear Food Blog,

I made a chocolate cake yesterday. With rum buttercream. And raspberries.

It was good.

The end.

I'm going to Italy now.

Wish you could have a bite,

Top 11 Foods: Sardines


(image) High in phosphorus, omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D and calcium, sardines are totally overlooked. I've stocked up on enough sardines to last me through the impending economic depression. Filtered tap water and sardines. What more could you want? (Please don't say bottled water. PLEASE.)

It's really hard to find fresh sardines, so when my local fishmonger tells me he's getting a shipment in from Italy, I stock up! The hardest part about eating them is in the prepping, though. They're pretty delicate, so handle them with care, less they disintegrate whilst cleaning.

I like to sautee them in some olive oil and serve them over salad. No salt. No nothing. Just a couple minutes per side, and presto!!! Instant health benefits! Beets, pumpkin seeds, sardines, what next?

Wish you could have a bite,

Top 11 Foods: Pumpkin Seeds


(image) The only time I think about pumpkin is during Thanksgiving, but ever since reading that article I've been obsessing about, all I can think about is pumpkin, since it made the list TWICE. Once as plain old pumpkin, and again as pumpkin seed! So, it must be good for you, right? I mean, it was published in the NY Times, so it must be true...

I don't think I've ever bought pumpkin seeds, and now I'm buying them every week. However, since I'm not really much of a "grazer", I've incorporated them into my meals, adding seeds to my granola and sprinkling them on salads. A recent conversation with a friend led to the possibility of adding the raw seeds into carrot cake and then toasting them for a crunchy topping on top of the icing. Mmm...can't go wrong!

Here's how I make granola:

4 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup crushed raw almonds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup canola oil

Whisk together honey and oil. Stir together all ingredients until evenly coated. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, stirring frequently. As the granola bakes, it'll reach a point where it'll start to toast really quickly, so make sure you keep an eye on it. It's like toasting pine one likes burned nuts!

You can add chopped dried fruits like figs, cranberries, mangoes, whatever. Store in an airtight container. Yum!

Wish you could have a bite,

BEETS: The New Spinach


(image) Is RAW better??? Is the raw movement just another fad? Well, in some cases there does seem to be some scientific evidence that raw IS better. Take beets, for example. I love beets. I love preparing them wearing a white long sleeve shirt and white linen pants. I love cleaning up my white tiled countertop. I love how easy it is to prepare roasted beets.


And not only do I despise roasting them, it makes me not want to buy them...until now. I recently read a NY Times article about the "Top 11 Foods You're Not Eating", and lo and behold, beets make the cut. But not cooked beets. Raw beets. Yep. Apparently cooking them minimizes their goodness. Makes sense.

So I wondered, how the heck do you eat raw beets? Duh!!! Foodsnob!!! You grate them, make a shallot vinaigrette and let it macerate for a few minutes and presto, you're eating one of the top 11 foods as described in that article you've been obsessing over!

Try it. It's awesome, except, don't be scared when you...errr...use the restroom and think you're bleeding from...well, you get the gist. Oh, and the best part is, you can use large beets. They are just as good and are much easier to clean, lazy people.

Foodsnob's Raw Movement:

about 2 cups grated beets
1 T champagne vinegar
1 T extra virgin olive oil (it has to cost a LOT of money)
1 T fresh orange juice, or 1/2 T fresh lemon juice
minced shallot
zest of orange or lemon
freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together all ingredients except for beets. Pour vinaigrette over grated beets and let sit for at least 30 minutes. The longer it macerates the better. You can also add basil chiffonade and/or goat cheese right before serving just for the hell of it.

Wish you could have a fresh, tangy bite!

PS I wrote this post last week, and in the meantime, this article came out a couple days ago in the NY TIMES. WTF? I swear I did not plan this...funny how they roast them...



(image) So when I was in South Africa summer of 2006 I became addicted to rooibos. In particular, there is one brand of rooibos which really stood out as having the cleanest, most complex flavor.


Named the best new product of South Africa in 2006, this stuff is available NOW at Whole Foods. Get a bag and tell me you don't love it!!! And the best part of it is, it naturally contains NO CAFFEINE. Can you believe it?

Try it and let me know what you think. Treat it like a coffee substitute. Make espresso. Make cappuccini. Make latte.

Make love.

Wish you could have a sip. Oh wait, you CAN!


Ciabatta 'N' Burrata


(image) Sorry all my readers! I've been working incessantly for the past several months, but I am back with more snobbiness than ever!

Sometimes you just want a sandwich because you're just too lazy to cook, and other times you just want that perfect bite--a little bit of peppered salame, some burrata, some basil, some heirloom tomato...

This sandwich ain't easy to assemble. In fact, you have to really plan out your laziness. I don't know about you, but even I, Foodsnob, do not have burrata cheese in my fridge at all times. I've already written about a couple ways to enjoy this cheese, and so this is just one of the many ways.

For my sandwich craving, I toasted some ciabatta bread, rubbed it with garlic, then drizzled with my dwindling supply of Morgenster olive oil from Cape Town, South Africa. Then I layered heirloom tomatoes, peppered salame, basil and burrata, which I drizzled with more olive oil and gray salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

OK, so maybe this sandwich ain't for the lazy...maybe more for the crazy? In any case, it was mighty delicious, especially with a glass of Barolo wine. So next time you're too tired to cook, plan that a day ahead and make this fabulous sandwich!

Wish you could have a bite,

Just a Thought


After waking up at 10:20 AM this morning only because of daylight savings hem...I had a hankering for blueberry muffins. An hour later, as I was sipping my oolong tea with a hint of jasmine (a gift I just received) I realized that the combination of the slightly acidic yet sweet blueberries were perfectly complimented by the delicate flowery notes of the tea.

And so I wondered, why aren't there more tea and food pairings in restaurants? I went to Providence on Sunday (more on that later) and by the end of the tasting menu I was already too tipsy to truly appreciate the chocolate cake with ganache, made from of course, Valrhona chocolate, and mushroom ice cream. Yes, I did indeed say mushroom ice cream. DIVINE. Served with port. I think it would've gone better with a delicate oolong, not that I'm complaining, right?


Just a thought,

Cobble Cobble


(image) Blueberry cobbler, that is, only the best kind of cobbler in the WORLD because it combines one of my favorite foods--BISCUITS--with another one of my favorite foods--BLUEBERRIES (which I've written about many other times, as in blueberry pancakes and blueberry muffins. I just wish I could incorporate BACON into the recipe somehow...) I'm berries for blueberries, or "bluebs" as I like to call them. Rhymes with boobs. Or moobs (man boobies.) Call me immature.

Anyway, I wish I could lay claim to this particular recipe but I actually follow a real recipe from Baking Illustrated (not that my other recipes aren't REAL.) This just works extremely well and I love the added crunch from the corn meal, and the addition of vanilla. I never would've guessed to use vanilla in a biscuit topping. Luscious.

For biscuit topping...

Combine dry ingredients:

1 cup AP flour
2 T cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar

Wet ingredients:
1/3 cup buttermilk
4 T melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla

Set aside.


6 cups bluebs
1/2 cup sugar, depending on the sweetness of the berries
1 T cornstarch
pinch salt
pinch cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp grated zest plus 1 T juice from lemon

Preheat oven to 375. Combine blueberries with the rest of the filling ingredients and place in ramekins or a 9-inch glass baking dish. I think the ramekins make a sexier dessert, with all the juices running over the side. Hot. Place in oven until blueberries are bubbling around the sides, about 25 minutes.

While blueberries are baking, mix the dry ingredients together. Combine the butter, buttermilk and vanilla and set aside. As soon as the berries are ready, combine the wet and dry ingredients until JUST mixed, and spoon or pinch over the berries.

Increase oven temp to 425 and bake until biscuit topping is golden, about 15 - 18 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes and serve with homemade French vanilla ice cream, or handwhipped cream. I bet a little mascarpone would be good as well...can't go wrong.

Wish you could have a sexy bite,

If you want it then make it


(image) I've gotta just face it. I'm getting older, and the metabolism is slowing down damn it. Plus, I'm not practicing martial arts twice a day and walking 5 miles like I used to. It's so tragic, really. Why am I being a whiny chick? My birthday just passed., it was actually amazing, as I was in Maui. I went scuba diving, saw humpback whales and sea turtles, and drank a lot of pina coladas. (Didn't really get drunk, though. For some reason none of them contained alcohol!)

However, the food was terrible! The best thing I ate was sashimi. Such a pity, because with all that fresh fish, you'd think they'd know how to grill a fish to perfection. I mean, why list the name of Joe the Fisherman who caught your Ahi this afternoon at 4 PM when you're going to drown the fish in soy sauce or smother it in a creamy oversalted sauce until it's inedible? For real.

I might have to say that fish and chips was one of the best meals I had. Can't go wrong with frying fish (and I wonder why I need to lose 10 lbs.) and serving them with chips. So, I've decided that this year, if I want something, I'm going to have to make it. Exempli gratia: POTATO CHIPS.

After the Super Bowl, where we gorged on pizza, chicken wings, club sandwiches, and chips, I've had a hankering for Kettle Chips. Oh man I hadn't had chips in AGES, so today for lunch I decided I should make steak sandwiches with caramelized onions and gorgonzola with fresh potato chips and continue that Super Bowl theme.

To make chips, you do need a mandoline, unless you want to spend a lot of time slicing those potatoes paper thin...I sorta just cut them and dropped them in oil, and when they were done I drained on paper towels and sprinkled with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper. Make sure you don't overcrowd your pan or else it'll drop the temperature of the oil (around 350). Divine. Crunchy and delicious(ly bad for you). Oh well, you only live once. Guess I'll never be a ninja.

I'd better go on that run...

Wish you could have a sea salty bite,

Variations on a theme of lemongrass


(image) Since I still have a billion stalks of lemongrass, I've been trying to think of ways to use it up. I just made some more lemongrass vodka for my 5 PM smart cocktail and rubbed some bruised lemongrass on my neck and wrists. I also just made some lemongrass hand and cuticle cream, so what else? What else?

While in Laos I never sampled the grilled fish stuffed with lemongrass for one reason or another, and while I sampled plenty of the $0.30 oh-so-cheap-and-delicious dark Beerlao, I always told myself I'd try the fish. I guess I was too drunk or something.

Anyway, tonight for dinner I made a one-pot meal consisting of whole rainbow trout stuffed with lemongrass stalks and asparagus. After preheating my broiler I patted the fish dry and seasoned the inside and outside of the fish with salt and pepper. Using the back of my knife I bruised the lemongrass and stuffed it in the fish. To prep the asparagus I just drizzled with some olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.

I hate hate hate cleaning, so I used aluminum foil to cover my baking pan. Six minutes per side and the flesh was perfect. I usually only broil asparagus for 7-9 minutes total but I was too lazy to add it later, hence the one-pot meal, or should I say one-baking pan meal. Still delicious, though!

Seriously, if you aren't squeamish about whole fish, try this one out let me know what you think. The fish is juicy with the most subtle hint of lemongrass. Takes me straight back to Laos...or what I think the fish would've tasted like had I actually been smart enough to eat it. It almost doesn't need the lime, but I love acid. Especially in the forest...what?

Wish you could have a bite and you should!

Rainy weather, hot chocolate


(image) Having lived in New York before heading to Los Angeles, I'm ashamed to say that I get cold when the weather dips below 80 degrees. However, it's a great excuse to drink plenty of hot liquids, especially during this rainy "season." I know a couple of people who don't enjoy hot drinks. That makes me sad, but then I'll make myself an earl grey latte and be happy again. Yippee!

So my brother asked me for a hot chocolate recipe, and because I change it up every time I wanted to make sure I could give him exact measurements. Here's how I made mine (the other day...). Who knows what today may bring?

1 cup milk (whole if you want to be super indulgent)
1/4 cup half & half
2 oz. freshly chopped dark chocolate, preferably 71% Valrhona
1 heaping T unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Valrhona or Scharffenberger
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 T sugar, or to taste
pinch of salt

Whisk together ingredients over low heat until melted and hot and delicious. Top off with freshly whipped cream and a sprig of mint. Or just drink it like I did, but don't burn your tongue (like I did.)

Wish you could have a cocoa-licious sip,

LEMONGRASS: I can't get enough


(image) First it was lemongrass deodorant, then lemongrass vodka, and now lemongrass beef? What next? (Probably lemongrass tea, which is SO hard to find, right? Guess I'll have to make it myself.)

Anyway, you think I'd be sick of Vietnamese food after eating it for a month straight...well, I guess I cheated a lot. Man, I was surprised by the pizza in Vietnam. Quite delicious, actually! A huge improvement over when I was there 6 years ago when "lasagna" was nothing more than slices of American cheddar cheese and a can of Campbell's tomato soup. But ANYWAY, lemongrass beef is one of the easiest dishes you can make.

Here's how I make it...but I don't really measure stuff out so here's an approximation:

3-4 T of minced lemongrass (use a Cuisinart...huge time and CTS saver)
3-4 cloves of minced garlic
2 T Hoison sauce
1 T fish sauce
freshly grated black pepper
3 T Canola oil
1/2 lb. of thinly sliced beef

serve over:
rice vermicelli, cooked al dente

serve with:
Thai basil

fish sauce:
2 parts fish sauce
1 part lime juice
2 parts hot water
sugar to taste
Thai chile, sliced
1 clove of garlic, sliced

lime soda:
2 T simple syrup
2 T lime juice
sparkling water

I used skirt steak this last time and it was amazingly delicious. Cut against the grain and you'll have the most tender beef ever. Placing it in the freezer for an hour also helps you maintain control over your slices.

Mix all ingredients. Saute in a hot hot dry skillet for just a few minutes until just done.

Serve over rice vermicelli noodles and drizzle with fish sauce. For the fish sauce, dissolve about 2 T of sugar per half cup of water. My fish sauce changes every time because I don't accurately measure, but it's always good :) Fresh lime juice, ALWAYS.

For the lime soda, same thing...equal part simple syrup to lime juice, ice, and sparkling water. Yummy. A popular Vietnamese drink accompaniment to this dish as well as pho, except for some reason, no one ever uses simple syrup so all the sugar settles on the bottom!!! Don't make this mistake, unless you want to be really authentic :)

You can probably find more accurate measurements, but I'm too lazy to measure stuff (unless I'm baking.) Enjoy!!!

Wish you could have a bite,



I remember when I was in Italy 8 years ago (wow) enjoying breakfast when an American voice boomed out, "Do you have REGULAR orange juice?" Oh my goodness I wanted to punch them in the freakin' face. Io non sono Americana...errr...Ich bin ein Berliner?

There's nothing more beautiful than the marbling of an arancia rosa. Che bella. And when you squeeze that juicy goodness into a martini, it's like drinking in the sunset in Sorrento. Or 3rd Beach in Cape Town. Or Angkor Wat. get the point.

Apparently today is the most depressing day of the year, so make yourself a martini!

Here's how I make mine:

2 parts vodka (plain or mandarin)
1 part Cointreau or Grand Marnier
1 part fresh lime juice (please none of the bottle stuff)
1 part fresh blood orange juice

Shake vigorously with ice and serve in chilled martini glasses. Or not. Garnish with zest of orange.

Wish you could have a sip,

Happy New Year!


I'm back in America...thank goodness. Although I'm an extremely adventurous food eater, I am so glad to be back in my own kitchen cooking my own food. Eating out for 6 weeks isn't as glamorous as it sounds.

Pictured here is an evening picnic I enjoyed in Siem Reap, Cambodia. We ate every single part of the chicken...intestines wrapped around livers on a stick with the heart and the egg. Mmmm...???

Happy new year to everyone! Many blogs to follow I hope :) I feel like 2008 is going to be a good year for food.


Valrhona Cake


(image) (image) (image)
(image) I made a cake from 71% Valrhona chocolate. It was labor intensive. Here are some pics.

Wish you could have a room temperature bite with some port,

Soup for the Soul


What do you do with a turkey carcass, 5 lbs of carrots, and fresh herbs? Duh, turkey soup...The great thing about roasting the turkey is that half the work is done for you, so it's just up to you not to f&#% it up!

I start with sweating a mirepoix in some olive oil, then add the carcass and whatever turkey trimmings didn't make it into my belly (reserving some meat for the finished soup), turnips, parsnips, parsley, thyme, whole black peppercorns, a couple goldfish, my cat if I had one, and of course some fresh water. (BTW, for the record I do not like cats, even though I had a couple for 2 years but not by choice. No offense cat lovers.)

Then I boil rapidly for a few minutes and skim off the impurities (scum), lower the heat and simmer in my 7 quart Le Creuset Dutch oven until I forget it's on the stove and exclaim, "OH S$%#!!!!" But by then my stock is perfect.

Strain into my 4 quart All Clad stock pot, add fresh veggies, thyme leaves and torn turkey meat and I'm in business, 10 hours later. Now that's soup for the soul.

Wish you could have a sip,