Raw Kale Salad With Blue Cheese and Sweet Balsamic Vinaigrette

Salad | June 2, 2011 | By

Raw Kale Salad

Raw Kale Salad With Blue Cheese

I finally got around to harvesting the last of my heirloom Kale today and decided to make a raw kale salad with blue cheese. I made the mistake of not planting enough so I’ve been saving these four bunches specifically to make this salad.

The key to this simple salad is to roll the kale leaves and thinly slice them. Raw Kale can be a bit woodsy, so slicing it super thin is really crucial. Also, I make my standard balsamic vinaigrette for this only I add a pinch of sugar specifically for this salad. The slightly sweeter vinaigrette pairs really well with the subtle bitterness of the raw Kale.

Lastly, I made sure to crumble a large amount of blue cheese to top it all off.  Crisp, refreshing, and bold, this salad is a perfect way to end my Spring harvest and welcome in the new Summer crops!


Rainy Morning In The Garden

Uncategorized | March 26, 2011 | By

It’s been raining cats and dogs in Los Angeles recently (Ok not really, but ANY rain in LA seems like a lot) and during a small break in the rain I snapped these pics of my garden.

My Nasturtium has been exploding recently and has finally started to flower which means lovely orange flowers in my salads!  I found a perfect water droplet on one of the Nasturtium leaves and had to take a picture.

Wild Dill grows all over Los Angeles and I was lucky enough to have a plant pop up in my garden last year.  This year a new plant popped up and the image above is of the young plant hanging over the edge of my raised bed.

And lastly my heirloom Butter lettuce is almost ready to harvest.  Doesn’t it look delicious?!

Shaved Fennel Salad with Tuna, Cannellini Beans, and Red Onion

Salad | March 6, 2011 | By

Ok, I know this salad sounds more like a Summer salad, but I live in Southern California.  I can’t help that our “winters” are actually warm making me crave refreshing salads like this.  It’s not my fault.
A spin on the classic Tuna and Cannellini bean salad, this salad adds shaved fennel as the star ingredient giving it a crunchy and refreshing contrast.  To round out the flavors I chopped some wild arugula using it more like an herb than a lettuce green.  The arugula gives it a nice peppery spice that plays off the sweetness of the fennel.

To top it all off I made a basic red wine and mustard vinaigrette that really helped to bring all of the flavors together.

Once again, not much of a recipe here…just throw all of the ingredients together and serve. 

Making Tartine’s Basic Country Loaf

Bread | January 31, 2011 | By

Tartine Country Loaf

Finished Tartine Country Loaf

Tartine Country Loaf

I’ve been a huge fan of San Francisco’s Tartine bakery. Whenever I make it up to the bay area I make it a point to plan my trip around the bakery. A couple of years ago I bought the Tartine cookbook and it’s been one of my favorites ever since.

Tartine Country Loaf

This last Christmas I was lucky enough to receive the new Tartine Bread cookbook and this loaf was my first attempt at Chad’s recipe.  This recipe is complicated, so if you’ve never made bread with a natural levain, this book is probably not for you.  The trick to this bread is learning how to do the “turns” and having patience with your sourdough starter (watching this video really helped to see how the folds and shaping happen).

I ended up killing my first starter and later realized I was under-feeding my second.  I quickly figured out the right flour/water ratio and I was good to go.

Tartine Country Loaf

Although I was extremely happy with the appearance and flavor of the bread, the texture was not exactly what I wanted, so I’m making a new loaf as we speak. 

One thing that making this bread lead me to was the fantastic bread forum and community over at The Fresh Loaf.  The people over there are so friendly and I learned an ENORMOUS amount just from reading the posts on the various forums.  A true resource!


Making Homemade Ricotta Cheese In 5 Minutes

Uncategorized | January 18, 2011 | By

Over new years vacation my friend Mark made homemade ricotta cheese.  It was simple and delicious and I was truly shocked at how easy it was.

I later did some research and found this fantastic post on Serious Eats that breaks down the process….not much to it really.  Just stir some acid into milk and you’re on your way to having homemade ricotta cheese!