Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I don't usually pop for over $10 for most bottles of wine, particularly a rose,
but this one called to me from the wine racks at Whole Foods. Gorgeous deep color, fruity and balanced,  $13 of summer, to the very last drop.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hyperbole and a Half's Cake

 Blue? Tired? Despondent?
You must read this. Now.
It should make you forget your troubles
for as long as it takes to read it, and then some.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Moules Mariniere

Does cooking seafood frighten you?  Does just looking at it give you the shivers?

I remember going to Tijuana as a kid and watching them crack open clams, adding lime, onions, hot sauce,
cilantro and making a spectacular cocktail.  Or, digging on the beach and coming up with those wildly
iridescent interiors of mussel shells. Shell fish was always an exotic item, and never served at home.

But mussels are easy!  Sustainable, and relatively inexpensive:

In a soup pot saute two tablespoons of butter.  Add and saute a minced shallot.  Splash in a half cup of white wine and let it boil down a bit. Bring to a simmer. Throw in your pound of freshly rinsed mussels (somehow they no longer have beards, those bits of grit you have to pull out of them) cover, and cook--5-7 minutes on low, until all the mussels have opened.

Garnish with parsley.  Serves one mussel hungry person.

Monday, August 8, 2011

August Recommendations

5. Key lime pie at La Grande Orange
4.  Fried duck egg on grilled asparagus at Kings Row Gastropub.
3. A free concert at Farnsworth Park amphitheater in Altadena or the Levitt Pavilion in Pasadena.
2. Caprese salad with home grown tomatoes.
1. Drinks on the veranda with family or friends or both.

What delights do you have to recommend for this wonderful month?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Simple Things

You probably already have your favorite grilled salmon recipe.  Maybe thick steaks, lightly salted,
grilled long enough to cook the exterior and keep the interior medium rare.  Heaven.
Perhaps  filets, marinated for an hour or so in orange juice, parsely, salt, pepper and a splash of olive oil. 

Here's my latest pick, courtesy of a favorite friend.

Make or buy your batch of pesto.  If you're using Marcela Hazan's recipe here, just blend the basil, salt, olive oil and pine nuts. You won't need the butter or Parmesan cheese.

Take your one to two pound salmon filet, skin-side down, and spread your pesto gently to cover the top of the fish.  Carefully place, again, skin-side down, on pre-heated grill, set to low low low.

Cooking time depends on the heat of your grill and the thickness of the fish.  If you like it cooked thoroughly the fish is done when flaky on top.
Remove from grill; if removing it in one piece seems tricky, remove it in serving portions.
I guarantee you will love the contrast between the pink salmon and the dense green pesto.

Serve with a luscious potato salad, and some sliced tuscan melon.  It's summer, after all!