a new thing!

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a cleanse of sorts

we just got back from NOLA. NOLA was fabulous. we were there for NYE, which wasn’t as crazy as i thought it was going to be. we ate amazing food, had too many beignets and sazeracs and walked so much…boy did we walk.

we did have a terrible meal, which was sad, it was our first real meal out in NOLA…we went to Emeril’s Delmanico. i know, i know why did we go to an Emeril restaurant? well, first of all because we thought it would be good and second of all, everyone makes bad decisions once in a while but hey, 2014 is over and that’s behind us now.  the meal was just mediocre but the ambiance was THE WORST. we sat us in the back room, so lucky us, we got to walk through the kitchen. i love that kind of stuff because it makes you feel like you’re getting a little peep behind the scenes. this made me think we were going to some fancy fun back room – i was so wrong. the back room felt like a conference room at a hotel, a cheap one nonetheless. it was cold and the music was up WAY TOO loud. our starters we’re ok, nothing fancy, rory got their gumbo which was tasty. then we waited for what felt like forever to get our entrees. we even heard someone drop a plate full of food behind a door and then there was a pause and then our food was out next…either they dropped our food and re-plated it or they gave us someone else’s order. i had salmon, it was way too salty and rory had the pork which was eh. and they had a habit of refilling our water glasses the second you took one sip, which became quite annoying. it was sad but it happens.  we had fabulous meals at restaurant r’evolution, bacchanal and cochon. all around it was a pretty great food experience, i’d gladly go back and do it all over again, exploring more of the city!

needless to say when we returned to LA we needed a little respite from the heavy fried foods, especially before our trip to hawaii (in a week!). and i know someone will hate me for it but we are sort of doing the goop annual detox. and when i say sort of, i mean, i picked a handful of the recipes that seemed great and we’re only doing 6 days of it. i bought SO MUCH produce.  i wish that the website broke down a shopping list for you and made their recipes for 2 people doing the cleanse; beggars cannot be choosers, i get it. it was a lot of work and a few trips to the grocery store.  we started today off with a juice, i doubled the recipe because the original said it made 1 12oz juice. i figured rory and i each wanted a juice. again, people make mistakes.  the doubling of the juice made well over 48oz of juice and i didn’t even use all of the ingredients i was supposed to!  now i fear having bought way too many greens for juices and smoothies…thanks, gwen.

for dinner we had soup…we all know how much i love soup, and this soup is so good. it’s a recipe for a roasted kabocha squash. i used butternut instead and added a sweet potato. dang, man. so tasty. you should seriously try this.

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
adapted from goop
serves 3-4

1 med. butternut squash, seeds removed and cut in half (peeled and chopped if you so choose)
2T of olive oil (for roasting)
2T coconut oil
1 sweet potato, chopped
1 lg. onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4T chopped gingers (this was about 1.5 1″ pieces of fresh ginger)
1t cumin
1/2t ground coriander
1/2t garam masala (i fudged this with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg)
3C chicken stock

1. the squash (I did this midday because I had the time, which made making the soup go much faster): preheat oven to 400. season the squash halves generously with salt and pepper. i was a little heavy handed with this but it was the smart thing to do because there isn’t much salt in the rest of the dish. drizzle the squash halves with olive oil and place flesh side down on a foil lined baking sheet. if you chopped, just toss it all in olive oil after seasoning in your roast pan. bake until brown and tender, about 35m…i’d say 40-45m.
2. while this is cooking, heat your coconut oil in a dutch over or similar pot over medium heat. add the onion and a pinch of salt, turn the heat down to medium low, cover the pot and cook for about 20 minutes. stirring every so often until the onions are translucent and sweet.
3. add the garlic, ginger and ground spices (i like to have bowls of ingredients that are going in at the same time ready to go, so i chopped it all up while the onions were cooking and put it in a small bowl to dump when ready), turn the heat back up to high and cook for about 1 minute. add the sweet potato and cook for another minute. when the spices are fragrant and not burnt, add the stock and let simmer for about 15m (or until the squash is ready if you’re doing it all at once)
4. when the squash is cooked, let it cool a little then scrape out the flesh. The recipe says 1/2 but that’s bc you’re saving the rest for another recipe…i say do the whole thing!  so you have extra soup, you won’t regret it! add to the saucepan, you should have about 2C’s cooked squash. bring the soup to a boil then reduce to a simmer, partially cover and cook slowly for 10 more minutes.
5. be so careful and use your immersion blender to make it smooth, season it if you must and dig it! mmmmmmm.

enjoy. xo

soup!!!!

IMG_0893 duh it’s october so therefore…it’s soup season. i just read an article about green soup which looked divine and was vegan, don’t worry it will show up here soon, you can count on it. but let’s begin by talking about getting healthy. i’ve been doing a lot of yoga and just jumped back on my bootcamp train and then today, rory and i joined LA Fitness. we be getting healthy.  we’ve given up caffeine, cut back on booze and sugar and are trying to take meat out of our diets. when making our shopping list earlier this week initially both of us has wanted deli meats to have in the fridge for lunch, etc.  but then we both realized we could make veggie sandwiches and be just as satisfied.  this seems like a no brainer but these baby steps matter to us. they make all the difference.

it’s still a little warm here in LA but our nights are getting colder so i wanted to make soup that we could keep in the fridge all week. years ago my boss, michele, gave me mark bittman’s HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING VEGETARIAN. it’s great and i don’t use it as often as i should.  after looking through a handful of my cookbooks i fell back to this trust friend. they have everything and even the simplest recipes branch out into fun variations. i found a winter squash soup recipe and in reading all of the variations i decided to go with the Argentinian version but did leave a handful of things out; both intentionally and unintentionally. (oopps)  natalie, if you’re reading this, i suggest trying this soup, it’d really good.  here’s the thing, this recipe calls for no puree-ing and i wanted a smooth soup, so i left a handful of things out.

Pumpkin (or Winter Squash) Soup (I used a Butternut Squash)
from Mark Bittman’s HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING VEGETARIAN
4 servings

INGREDIENTS
3T butter or neutral oil
3 lbs sugar pumpkin or any winter squash (a med-large squash), like acorn, butternut, calabaza, hubbard, kaboucha, or turban peeled, seeded and cut into 1-2″ cubes
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
2 or 3 waxy potatoes (I forgot potatoes), peeled and cubed
2 or 3 chopped tomatoes (I forgot tomatoes)
1C chopped dried apricots (I used about 1/4C)
1 medium onion, chopped
1C fresh corn kernels, or frozen (I forgot corn)
1T fresh chopped sage
Salt + pepper
5C veg stock or water
1C cream or half-n-half

DIRECTIONS

1. melt the butter or oil in a large dutch oven (or whatever you are cooking the soup in) over med-high heat. when melted, add the pumpkin, onion, bell pepper and potatoes (if you don’t forget them) and cool.  stir occasionally, until onion softens, about 5minutes. add the sage and some salt and pepper, continue cooking until fragrant, which should be about a minute. I had to stick my nose in my pot to see if it was fragrant…quite the task. add your stock, tomatoes and apricots and bring to a boil. lower the heat to a gentle simmer, partially cover and cook for about 30 minutes or until the squash falls apart.

2. once to your satisfaction, place a trivet or thick towel on your counter, take the soup off of the heat. using an immersion blender puree the soup in the dutch over.  alternatively, you can cool the soup slightly and pass it through a food mill or put it in a blender. if you used the blender, you’ll have to do it in batches.

2a. If you are following the real recipe and not omitting things like I did, you wouldn’t use an immersion blender you’d just let it cook.  if it gets too thick, you can thin it down with more stock or water.  during the last few minutes of cooking add those corn kernels…if you went this route. (cream is optional)

3. put the soup back over the heat and bring it to an almost boil.  stir in the cream but DO NOT boil (it will cuddle…and that’s just unpleasant).  taste and adjust seasoning and serve with a swirl of nice olive oil and maybe some toasted pepitas or nuts of some sort. you do not have to do this, i just think it makes you feel fancy and who doesn’t like to feel fancy?  you can also do a swirl of sriracha – it was so good.

the bonus of this soup is it just keeps getting better in the fridge. i ate it for lunch for 3 days! i love fall and i love soup and while we may not get a real fall or winter here in LA, i do what i can to feel the essence of the season.  … essence = soup. duh.

One whole year

We did it!  Rory and I celebrated our year anniversary yesterday.  A year!  It went by so quickly and it has been so fabulous.  Everyone asks what has changed since we’ve been married and the truth of it is not much. We have been together for almost 10 years and you get to know a person pretty well over the course of 10 yrs.  We’ve lived together for most of our relationship so there aren’t really any secrets we have to discover.  I hope I don’t sound cynical about it, I just feel like we’re pretty solid.  Of course we change over time but when you’re best friends with someone and know them so well, you sort of shift and change with them.  There’s a great deal of acceptance in our relationship – we both respect who the other person is and what they want in life and appreciate the changes that come about.  I would have to say that the coolest thing about being married is, well, just that…you’re married. I have a husband.  I am someone’s wife.  I think we both look forward to being a mom and a dad and that day will come eventually.  We’re pretty happy being permanent girlfriend and boyfriend.

Now – on to food! We had some people over to watch the SEC game this weekend (Univ. South Carolina vs Vandy), Rory wanted finger foods…I’m not great at apps so I made meatball sandwiches!  They were very filling and very tasty, unfortunately, for me I had eaten too much cheese and couldn’t eat all of my sandwich.  I found this recipe on David Lebovitz’s blog.  I kinda love him.  We read all of his tips and ideas for our trip to Paris and I think some friends even went to some of his restaurant recommendations!  I doubled the meat…you don’t have to unless you are serving a lot of people.

Meatball Sandwiches
45 Meatballs – 8 to 12 sandwiches
Inspired by a recipe on David Lebowitz’s blog!

Tomato sauce
2 medium onions, peeled and minced
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 cups (35 oz) canned crushed or diced tomatoes, along with their juice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
one bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Meatballs
1 large onion, peeled and minced
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 pound (450g) ground beef (not too lean)
1 pound (450g) ground pork
3 large eggs
1/2 cup (25g) grated Parmesan, Asiago, or Pecorino cheese
1/2 cup (15g) chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs
2 teaspoons salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 cups dried breadcrumbs
3/4 cup milk

Additional ingredients
salt and black pepper, for seasoning the onions
Mozzarella or provolone cheese
Bouncy Rolls or Crusty Italian or French bread

Tomato Sauce
1. Sauté the two minced onions in a good pour of olive oil in a Dutch oven or very large saucepan, season with a little salt and a few turns of black pepper, stirring frequently, about 3-5m. Add the garlic and cook until the onions are completely soft and translucent,
2. Add the canned tomatoes, the tomato paste, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, the bay leaf and the sugar, and let simmer over low heat, stirring everyone so often. You can simmer for 10-12 m then set aside but I just kept mine on low until I needed it.

Meatballs
1. Sauté the onion in some olive oil in a large skillet, seasoning with a bit of salt and black pepper, stirring frequently, about 3-5m. Add the garlic, and cook until the onions are completely soft and translucent. Remove from heat, scrape into a large bowl, and let cool to room temperature. (I did this step first first before tomato sauce!)
2. To the onion bowl, add the ground beef and pork, the eggs, cheese, parsley, herbs, 2 teaspoons salt, a few generous turns of black pepper, the breadcrumbs, and the milk. Time to get dirty and use your hands to mix everything together thoroughly. This, for me, is the best part – I love touching my food makes it more of an entire process.
3. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or grease them with olive oil.
4. Form meatballs a little smaller than size of a ping pong ball and place them evenly spaced apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven. Find the bay leaf in your sauce and remove it and slowly add all of your meatballs to the sauce.
5. Heat the sauce with the meatballs in it until everything is warmed through. If the sauce is very thick, it can be thinned with a bit of warm water.

Making the Sandwiches!
1. Take whatever type of bread you decided on and cut it open almost all the way through. Slice some of the meatballs in half and put them between the bread, pressing down with a fork to meld them with the bread. Top with slices of cheese and heat in a hot oven (about 400ºF), or under a broiler, until the cheese melts. (We didn’t do this step, though I wish we had! So, you should defiantly do it.)

So, so good. I hope you enjoy these with wonderful company! xo

caffeine withdrawal?

I stopped drinking coffee, cold turkey, on Friday.  I had been limiting my caffeine intake for a little under a week and then just decided to do it – throw it all in.  Man that headache.  I mean, MAN that headache.  It was so bad.  We were sitting at the airport and I couldn’t handle it so I went and grabbed some dark chocolate – I know this is cheating, but I had to do something to at least ease it off a little. This helped, but not by much.  I drank a ton of water and once we landed in Vegas and got settled, I was finally feeling a little better.  I guess I should be thankful that it didn’t really get much worse.  The net day I just drank tea and a lot of water, there was a semi-dull headache but nothing intolerable. Then next day was easier, and then the next…I’ll admit I snuck a sip of jasmine tea when Rory went to the restroom at dinner the other night!

Tea.  I think I’ll try to make herbal tea my thing. Or shrubs (drinking vinegar). I had a ginger molasses shrub this morning at breakfast and it was SO good. I might try to make some for myself but I need more quart mason jars! I like the idea of preserving things, not to mention its good for the gut.  An old friend from high school, who I recently re-connected with in LA, said that apple cider vinegar also helps get rid of the candida in your colon or gut! I didn’t know this was a thing; and I wonder if many people I know suffer from candida overgrowth!  In order to reduce the candida overgrowth in my household – I might turn to shrubs.  Rory and I both are trying to cut back of drinking booze, so this might be a nice addition!

I also made 4 different types of overnight oatmeal yesterday.  So tasty!  And, so easy. I started here and made a few of her versions! I’ll let you know if I like them or not!

For dinner last night I made an easy lemon and garlic chicken thigh, a simple salad and farro w. mushrooms and herbs!  The farro was delish, almost like risotto. Below is the recipe for you.  I will say that this is a very rich dish, so I would serve it with something very light and fresh.  The chicken thighs felt a little rich too – it was a good dinner but could have had a grilled fish or a big fresh salad and would have been even better!

Farro w. Wild Mushrooms and Herbs
adapted from epicurious
serves 4 small servings

ingredients
2 C semi-pearled faro
Kosher salt
2 T (or more) olive oil
4 C (8oz) assorted mushroom (I just went to Whole Foods and picked up a trio medley, you can really use ANY kind!), cut into 1 in. pieces
Freshly ground pepper
1 C low-sodium chicken broth
3 1/4 C (1/2 sitck) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 in. cubes
2 T chopped flat leaf parsley (who uses curly parsley anymore!?)
2 T chopped chives
2 T chopped thyme
a few grates of fresh Parmesan

directions
1) Cook farro in boiling salted water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, let cool, and set aside. (DO AHEAD: Farro can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.)

2) Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers (the oil needs to be very hot to crisp the mushrooms). Working in batches, add a single layer of mushrooms to skillet. Cook, turning once, until crisp and cooked through, 4–5 minutes. Transfer to a plate; season with salt and pepper.

3) Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add farro and cook, stirring often, until heated through. Season farro with salt and pepper. Add butter and stir vigorously to combine and create a creamy texture. Add the parmesan. Add mushrooms, parsley, chives, and thyme; stir just to evenly incorporate. Serve immediately.

reel things

Ahh! Fun things.  I’m in Santa Barbara shooting a short thriller – terrifying. It’s been really fun thus far, our shoot was fun last night, the crew is pretty great and I’m loving my cast.  When I have any footage I’m allowed to share, promise I will.

I also finished my reel with new footage and everything.  Movin’ and shakin’, ya’ll, movin’ and shakin’. Watch! (please?)

Jordan Scovel HD Reel – 2014 from jordan boughrum scovel on Vimeo.