And The Man Brought Lobster

Photo 5

What a magical world we live in...

We were just about to sit down to lunch on the Flo the other day with a nice glass of pinot (crazy delish tuna niciose along with some Puy lentils with burrata and basil oil - these lentils are the best nuggets ever cause they dont turn to mush when cooked), when over pops my diver.  He has some cool ideas he wanted to share about the wine hatch in the middle of the living room floor and since he's motoring around the marina all day on his dinghy...well, it's easy to just jet on by on a boat.

Anyhow...we catch up, brainstorm a bit, talk about his little mini farm here in the marina, and I just happen to mention that it's spiny lobster season.  He's like - oh, do you like lobster and I'm like - ummmmmm, for sure LOVE IT.  Well, that turned into him leading us over to his dink all non-chalant and opening up the lid to a big fat mess of lobsters he'd just dove for that AM down in Redondo.  YAHOO!   Now, I've never cooked a live lobster, but it was high time to learn.   

First off (as per Nigel the Diver), we tossed him in the freezer for a minute while we gathered our thoughts and knives.  Stunned him a bit, I'm sure.  Next up, the grill was fired up and some garlic butter got to being shook down on the stove (thanks Robin for the fresh garlic from the garden)!  Minka was already drooling and she didn't even know what the hell was happening yet.  A fresh glass was poured and the par-tay began.

Out came the just sharpened butcher knife and with a quick stab thru the eyes and a long slow slit down the entire body...welp, we had ourselves a dead lobster to clean.  Once scrubbed, we smeared it with loads of the bubbly butter concoction, double fisted squeezes of fresh lemon, and just tossed it on the grill for about 10 min.  

SO SO SO SO amazing.  Next day, the leftovers turned into a delightful mayo and celery laced lobster roll piled high on a butter toasted whole grain hot dog bun.  Funny, silly, sunshiney magical world.  Thank you mama ocean, and thank you saint Nigel.  

Photo 4

Photo 2

Photo 1


A Bit About Why I Never Post Anymore

Mail Attachment-7

Well, it's called a homemade life.


That's the reason why.  It's cause on a daily basis on the Flo, something homemade has to happen - and usually it's multiple elements in the kitchen. 

Typical day of cooking - some kind of delish soup (not just all fresh from the farmers market...but also there's gotta be shaved corn, roasted tomatoes, topside snipped basil, just made spicy chile oil); a nice sauced up old fashioned is usually somewhere in the mix; been rockin some really good breads - gluten free cornbread & flatbreads; and for real, who attempts homemade TOFU!  Oh, but I did it...and I fried em...and I honey'ed em...and it was just like New Orleans beignets!  And this was straight out of the Burma cookbook.  So easy & so good.  And from chickpea flour, no less.  Which I just happen to have laying around.

Then, the daily Food 52 email pops up with potato salad that must be made immediately (they use pickle juice and mayo, for the love); throw in the daily Remodelista email which gets me all jazzed out and reminds me to head over over to Gardenista for the daily doins'; cut to Homeland is on and we've got a few eps of The Voice and SOA to catch up on; Lis pops in a text - she's got Nashville on her TIVO and a bit of homemade winter whisky on the me and Pea stroll on down to her place for some good watchin'.  Oh right, still editing...but that's why I have insomnia - I can go to bed early (uh, sundown), wake up at 3 am and just get back to it in the pilot house.  But not before reading the latest issue of Garden & Gun.  Man, what an AWESOME magazine.  Soul of the south is right.

And, here's the kicker - I am for certain I'm gonna get every wilder with it in the new year.  I wanna make my own yogurt and cheese.  Rock some tinctures.  Dabble in way more breads and salad dressings (the house dressing is a kind of dill'ified ranch that is totally drinkable, but I'm gonna lighten things up a bit in the new year).  I need to pickle some shit.  Like everything.  Also - esp. since I managed to kill a no less than a few tubs of Mayfield's french onion dip and lots of bags of chips in a 24 hr timespan in TN, I've realized I might have a mayo problem.  So gonna try to make my own (mayo and french onion dip) and maybe I wont like it as much!  Highly doubt it, but why not.  Try it all!

Ok - back to editing.  For real.  I'm so close!

Mail Attachment-5


Mail Attachment-6


Mail Attachment-8


Mail Attachment-9


Hands Down, The Best Sandwich I've Ever Made


Sunday's are my crazy day. 

All hell breaks loose in the kitchen, every home project is in a half state of completion, various new cocktail concoctions flow all the live long day, and I'm just generally a happier person once I get home from the farmers market and can just wile away the day. 

I tend to pull all the old from the fridge, combine it with all the new and draft up some new things to munch on.  I start out with the best of intentions - maybe something REAL healthy...but after one rye drink, the condiments pop out and the world is a mayo/homemade chili oil fest.

This sandwich I whipped up last Sunday literally took our breath away in its simplicity and deliciousness.  The toasted ciabatta was slathered with butter before being tossed in the broiler, then both sides layered with incredibly generous amounts of Kraft mayo.  The tuna I made about an hour beforehand was the good stuff - the kind that is poached in olive oil in a little glass jar.  I mixed it up with capers, fresh parsley, lemon juice, tiny bits of celery and rosemary infused feta cheese.  Once that was plopped on a mayo rich piece of bread, it was topped with sliced hard boiled egg, slivered red onion, sliced cucumber, fresh basil and a generous lug of the chile oil.

This is the sandwich that legends are built around. 

Now - the shrimp & cauliflower pasta on the other hand.  Delish in its own gluten free pasta/I love tumeric way...but don't you know it was even better cold the next day with guess what?  A boatload of mayo and some fire-like chili oil.

What does your Sunday hold?  Mine is just starting!














Next Level Eggs Found in Bali


I'm an big time egg fiend. 

I eat them any which way they come - hard/soft boiled, scrambled, over easy, omelette, poached, chopped in egg salad with a boatload of mayo, for breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack - any way at all.  They are just the best food in the world for a vegetarian.  

That all said, the best I might have ever had for breakfast is at Alila in Bali.  It's a small but filling portion of egg gold.  Imagine a Balinese crumpet topped with sauteed mushrooms, 1 simple poached egg and a drizzle of lemongrass butter sauce.  Dear LORD.  Talk about a taste sensation.

The chef was kind enough to note my obsession and tossed me the super easy recipe as I was checking out.  Good news - the crumpet is made with rice flour and the butter sauce is a piece of cake to whip up.

I haven't had a minute to try and make it yet - but once I do, I'll post the recipe cause this is some insane dish.

Tempered Butter, Cleanses and the Art of Making Your Own Grub


My new fiscal year...

Been on a bit of a cleanse lately.  1000 days in Jersey will do that to you.  I'm just over feeling grody when I eat.  So, I cut it all out for a bit.  Killed off the gluten, the dairy, the sugar, the caffeine, the grease :).  Feeling pretty good and gonna rock it til the end of the month, see what that does for the mind fog. 

Of course, this has me literally day dreaming about what I will toss back the minute months end is here (and PS just before I go back to Indonesia, finally!!).  Eggs with cream cheese?  Spaghetti with loads of butter?  Taco fest galore?  I dunno, nothing even sounds that good right now cause I've been making all kinds of good stuff.  Homemade celery salt - it makes the jarred kind taste like ashes.  Last night I did a veggie lasagne (the noodles were squash and zucchini) with a Vitamix whipped up cashew cheese.  Literally delish.  I was floored.  But, ya gotta think about it, and plan it and shop for it.  The Mar Vista farmers market on Sunday and my CSA is the best place to get it all done.  It you could even witness my smoothie revamp.  Every super food from S. America is tossed into the AM one...not that I feel like a mil - but way, way better than before.  Whenever before was...

Oh yes - I was supposed to lay off alcohol, but that ones been a tad hard - at least it's just been really good Pinot Noirs'.   Not 1/2 dozen margaritas (I do use good tequila though).  Interesting to see what all jacks the mind and bod - and clearly, it's all that I cut out.  Cause not once in this little sojurn have I been sick from food.  Real amazing to know.  This will tell me all that I'm allergic to once I get back on the regular life eating.  But, good thing is - I'll just have to be thinking about what I eat more than not.  I've always been the best eater I it will be primo to see how I lay out my decision making process, especially when I'm taking some long trips later this year.  Where, oh where, shall I end up?

Meanwhile, ever had tempered butter?  I had some down at Casa de Mita in Mexico with each meal and it was like God's candy (as Lisa would say).  Every meal, I would solo house this creamy/thick butter and just knew it was from another land.  This is not the way normal butter tastes.  Of course, leave it to CdM to come up with next level butter. And, leave it to me to figure out how to re-introduce it to my every day at the end of this journey.  It's something to behold.


A Word About Chili Oil


I used to loathe spice - now I'm obsessed.

Is that from getting a bit older?  All I ever used to crave was sweets, sugar, things of that nature.  Now its spice, salt and texture.  I can't even really eat tempeh, soy crumbles, fake shit any longer.  It's more like I take real stuff and jack them up with fire. 

Homemade chili oil is so easy to make.  Roast a few in the oven on high, sling them in the processor with peanut oil and voila...something to drench on everything, which a liberal sling of salt.  This mixed with mayo takes a late night scrambled egg sandwich to a new level.  It's like I have to Dish Doctor up everything.  Should be my next show.  Take a chef's special dish...and ramp it up to the next level.  What fun.

Been on the hunt for Schezuan food everywhere I land these days.  It's a spot in China that's so damn frigid, they have to blaze up their food to trick themselves into believing they are warm.  They use liberal amounts of the Sichuan peppercorn which is wild in the mouth.  Like a tingling/numbness that's difficult to describe.  Hot pots filled to the brim with the most delicious aromas hit up the table at authentic Schezuan joints.  Frogs legs in chile oil.  Pan fried noodles in chili oil.  Baby dumplings in sweet/spicy chili oil. 

It's all about this dang oil.  Throw in a bit of brown God, it's enough to drive someone mad with desire.



I Shall Perfect the Tamale in Mexico...

Dscn2537To the average eye, this may look like an ordinary tamale with a small smattering of beans and rice.  Ahhhh, not so.  In reality, this is an award-winning (well, at least in my heart) Cuban tamale--one from my fave place in Chicago, La Unica.  I've raved about it, I've posted about it, I've dreamed about...and now, when I go to Mexico, I'm making it one of my Top 5 goals to learn to make tamales.  I know they can't be that difficult and I'm going to obsess about it until I have eaten my fill of my own homemade tamales.  Other things I want to concoct in Mexico are mole, perfect chipolte salsa, ranchero beans, and fish simmered in coconut milk (it's a Brazilian recipe, but still, I'm gonna give it a go).  I have no oven in the trailer, so all eats will have to be slung together on the stovetop.  Should be a piece of cake~

Yea, That's Right...Sometimes I Cook At HOME~~

Img_2499I know it may seem like I eat out every single meal every day of the week, but it's just not so.  There are times when I cook up something in my own kitchen (many times, I'm churning out stuff that's better than I can get at a restaurant anyway--well, not my fave ethnic places, but you know...).  I sometimes make buttery soft biscuits, over-medium fried eggs and homemade sausage gravy; other times its a big fat pot of Ecuadorian potato stew with slices of soft avocado on top; sometimes I'm craving pasta and whip up some noodles (usually gluten free) and toss in a bit of cheese, a splash of heavy cream, a hunk of real butter and BAM!  I've got mac and cheese (more often than not a rip of thyme
and some fresh tomatoes go into my final bowl); hearty veggie chili sometimes shows face; lots of thick Greek yogurt and honey is consumed and I mean LOTS...well, you get the drift.  So you can see, some of my meals are made at home, all with great excitement and it's good to know I'm not just some eating machine that takes down every restaurant I come across in a wild stuff-my-face frenzy.  Well, I don't know, maybe I am.  I guess I'm just hungry all the time. Ahhh, a pattern has emerged--clearly I favor comfort food.  What to do with this knowledge, what to do.....


Vegetarian Sun-Dried Tomato Italian Sausages are Almost Too Good to Be True~

Img_2148I guess I love the texture of meat because these little vegetarian Italian sausages I've been making lately have been off the charts.  They have the exact same feel as the regular meat kind and I have literally perfected the perfect dog set-up.  I take one sun-dried tomato veggie dog and char it in an old cast iron.  Now this is after I have managed to cook down a half of a vidalia onion in butter in that cast iron.  Imagine the scents wafting through my kitchen after that! Anyway, I then toast up a whole grain bun (with butter, mind you) and slather it with some spreadable Swiss cheese (the kind that comes in those tiny triangles).  After the cheese is sorted out, on goes a hit of mayo, some Dijon mustard, a bit of ketchup and then the dog.  Top it with the onions and some fresh ground pepper and watch out man!  You'd never know there was no meat involved.  I love frying up a side of golden potatoes with fresh rosemary to go along with it.  I've been eating this dish with alarming frequency and finally, I ran out of the 6-pack of dogs the other day (I had the entire kitchen at work smelling like a million bucks).  I'm almost scared to get more, they're that addictive and I just got a little too obsessed with them.  Time to move on to greener pastures...I mean, jeez, I feel like this meal is meant for a giant and I'm shoving it down with wild abandon...

Egg Fried Rice with Pesto Tofu~~

Dscn2874_1When I returned from Bali last April, I came back with a full-fledged addiction to rice.  The lovely folks over there eat it for every meal (nasi goreng is the most main meal) and there couldn't be more beautiful, healthier looking people in the world (everyone claims that rice makes you overweight...well, tell that to the Balinese Nana whose been eating it for 90 years and is thin as a reed with not a wrinkle in sight). Anyway, earlier this week, I had some leftover rice in the fridge and decided to whip up my favorite dish--egg fried rice.  Now, if you can believe it, I've never made fried rice before, so it was just a bit of a sling together and I tossed in some pesto flavored tofu that I'd just picked up at Sunflower Market...can I just say that I was so happy with my meal, I was hopping? It was the most delightful (and simple) dish and will now become an instant staple in my home.  Here is the recipe:

Continue reading "Egg Fried Rice with Pesto Tofu~~" »