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Deviled Egg Dip

29 May

Presenting your favorite dip for summer.
Something so easy shouldn’t taste this good. 

Deviled Egg Dip

deviled egg dip

I have a theory about food…
… well, I have quite a few theories about food, but for once let me try to focus:

Theory: most foods have great versions, good versions and bad. Take a cheeseburger. There are a few incredible cheeseburgers out there (like Hilary’s Smash Burgers!) and there are terrible cheeseburgers but most cheeseburgers are just fine, thank you.

There are other foods, though, where there seems to be no in-between. It’s either amazing or crap and these foods don’t lend themselves to the average. Meatloaf, for example. When you get a tender, flavorful slice of meatloaf, it’s heaven sent. But most meatloaf is god-awful.  There’s no middle ground. Cake is another example. There are few things better than a really moist, perfect slice of cake. Yum. Most cake, though, is dry and ick and I’ve never had cake where I thought, “Yeah, fine, that’s a decent piece of cake.” Cake is awesome or it sucks. Done.

Deviled eggs fall into this latter category. There are few things I love more than a great deviled egg. Damn. I could eat a dozen in one sitting. (This is not a theory.) But I rarely eat them because 1) I won’t make deviled eggs myself as I haven’t the patience to peel hard boiled eggs without destroying them and 2) good deviled eggs are not easy to find. Even at the finest restaurants they tend to be dry, chalky and without taste. 

Imagine my thrill, then, when a close friend of mine, Jeff, who is a wonderful and creative cook, shared with me a recipe called “Egg Chive Dip.” I of course messed with it, the way I do, to move it towards deviled eggs and came up with a tweaked version of Jeff’s already stellar recipe that gives you all the wonderfulness of a deviled egg without all the hassle!

Trust me, you will be dipping into this all summer long.

Deviled Egg Dip

deviled egg dip

DEVILED EGG DIP

Doubles easily!

Ingredients

4 hard boiled eggs (I confess, I get mine cooked and peeled at Costco or Trader Joe’s…)
8 oz block of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 T Duke’s Mayonnaise
1 T Dijon Mustard
1 T Wooster (Worcestershire Sauce)
1 T cider vinegar (red wine vinegar or even pickle juice will work)
1 t salt
1 t black pepper
1/2 t cayenne (or paprika)
1/3 to 1/2 cup minced chives (one full packet of chives from the store works)

Directions

In the bowl of a food processor, chop the eggs pretty fine. 

Add everything else to the food processor but the chives.

Blend the crap out of it. I like this really smooth, but you can play with your own favorite texture. If it’s too dry or thick, add a little more mayo and/or heavy cream. A splash of your vinegar component will help, too.

Taste for seasoning! What else do you need?

Remove to a bowl and stir in your chives. And then, if you’re me, add more chives!

Serve with crackers, crudite’, potato chips… or just with a spoon!

 

 

 

Hilary’s Smash Burgers

22 May

a simple and glorious burger for your Memorial Day

Smash Burger new

Double Smash Burger

I love friends who cook!

I told you previously about my good friend David Henden, and his wonderful salsa and marinara. I will inevitably write about my friends Tiffiny and Jeff, both marvelous cooks. But for your Memorial Day weekend, I’m bringing in my good friend Hilary (and her partner Pilot) to tell you about these amazing burgers

Hilary and I work together on Guy’s Grocery Games. She produces, I edit. We’ve become fast friends and are both obsessed with cooking. (I told you about Hilary previously in this post about the marvelous Panang Curry we discovered how to make while working on Guy’s.)

She’s a terrific cook and a wonderful friend. We, along with every burger fan in Los Angeles, fell in love last year with a specific burger made at Burgers Never Say Die.

Whoa. Probably my favorite burger ever.

Hilary and Pilot figured out how to make them at home! Let me tell you, these burgers are %#$@ incredible. So here is Hilary in her own words. You will thank us both by Monday Night.

Smash Burger new

Double Smash Burger

DOUBLE SMASH BURGERS Continue reading

Farmer’s Market Chicken Soup

8 May

Healthy and fresh, with a surprising amount of flavor

I’ve never been a fan of chicken soup for a very specific reason. When growing up and home sick from school my mom, like any good mother of the era, served me Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup. I’m not going to bash Campbell’s! Their soups make casseroles divine! And if nothing else, a benefit of the Covid crisis has been a revival of the company that was about to go bankrupt. Suddenly, everyone wants Campbell’s Soup!

But … even now when I even smell that distinctive flavor of Campbell’s classic Chicken Noodle Soup, I almost throw up. It makes me think of being wracked with fever and chills, and being rubbed down with alcohol (I often would get 104 or above fever when I had the flu.) The smell brings back nothing but terrible memories.

So I never made chicken soup. Yuck!

Then a couple of years ago a friend made some chicken soup for me and I had no choice but to try it. I was amazed by how good it was! It was light, fresh and healthy. Delicious. Not what I remembered.

In the intervening couple of years, I’ve been playing with various versions on my own, trying to find the perfect recipe. I think I’ve finally found it.

Chicken Soup 2

Farmer’s Market Chicken Soup

There are a two keys to this recipe:

– Freshest best ingredients possible (straight from the Farmer’s Market, natch)

– Taking the time initially to cook the chicken while making an incredible broth that becomes the basis for this wonderful soup.

The recipe may take a few steps and a little time, but it’s easy and you can make a lot of the elements in advance, even a day or so ahead. While I love the recipe exactly as presented, you can add any other vegetables  or fresh herbs you find at the market. I’ve added a few suggestions here myself. 

Give it a try! It’s killer good and made even better served over my garlic rice. Continue reading

The Only Blue Cheese Dressing Recipe You’ll Ever Need

17 Apr

I’m not ashamed to say I eat this with a spoon…

 

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Jar of blue cheese dressing

Our family loved blue cheese. We ate it on crackers, in things, on other things, all alone, crumbled in salads and also as a dressing. Blue Cheese!

My grandmother, Honey, loved it so much she had a big wheel of Stilton delivered every year during the Christmas holidays. It sat on her butcher block in the middle of the kitchen in a round wooden crock and you could dip in whenever you wanted. (It didn’t last long.)

I love blue cheese so much I love even intense blue cheeses. The first time I ever tried a cheese cart/course at a restaurant was at Gramercy Tavern in NYC, one of the best and most beautiful restaurants ever. I was on a date and we decided to go for the cheese course between the main course and dessert. The waitress, who was amazing, rolled the cart to the table and went through twenty-three different cheeses! Describing where they came from, what they were like, etc etc. I was in awe. Not only by what all she knew, which changed daily, but having waited tables ten years myself, I can’t imagine having to take that much time with a table, particularly on a busy Saturday night when in the weeds. Stress. Anyway… she described the cheeses from soft and lush to intense. The last cheese was a blue cheese that actually had mold on it. She said it was “only for people who love blue cheese and then maybe not.” I of course had to try. It may have had mold on it but was so incredible like young Oliver I asked for more. 

I’m not saying you need to use moldy blue cheese for this dressing! (Hey, it’s just penicillin, right?) But if you like blue cheese of any kind, this is the dressing for you. I’ve played with it for years and perfected it to what I love.  So I give you my dressing, as well as my favorite salad with the dressing.

Heaven.

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Blue Cheese Salad

THE BEST BLUE CHEESE DRESSING  Continue reading

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

10 Apr

A creamy spicy dreamy one pot dish perfect for a weeknight dinner

Two shrimp posts in a row? Yes indeedy.

I grew up on the Gulf Coast (Port Arthur, Texas, if you’re new to the blog) and there are few things I love as much as fresh shrimp from the Gulf.  We were all so lucky to have so much fresh seafood from the Gulf and shrimp was always my favorite. I may not always be able to get Gulf shrimp in Los Angeles, but I grab it when I can! Even when it’s not from the Gulf, though, shrimp is delicious and incredibly versatile. 

When you decide to get some shrimp, I recommend two pounds. Then, in one week, you can have two excellent dinners! Last week’s Spicy Sautéed Shrimp with Coconut Milk Rice, then a few nights later this delicious comforting shrimp pasta you can make in one pot.

Garlic Salad, Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Penne, and a crisp gin martini

If you can find fresh shrimp, get it with the shells. Yes, you will need to clean it, but cleaning shrimp is easy and you can make a quick shrimp stock that adds to the flavor of this dish.

Quick Shrimp Stock: Continue reading

Spicy Sautéed Shrimp with Coconut Milk Rice

5 Apr

One of the best main dishes I’ve ever prepared

This is the first time I’ve ever posted two days in a row, but dinner last night was so mind-glowingly wonderful, I had to share this recipe.  With a simple extra step, the coconut milk rice is as luscious and creamy and divine as imaginable. It’s the perfect counterpoint to the light, incredibly flavorful shrimp on top. 

Trust me. Make this soon.

Spicy Shrimp

Spicy Sautéed Shrimp with Coconut Milk Rice

 

SPICY SAUTEED SHRIMP AND COCONUT MILK RICE

This will feed 2 hungry people. It will double easily.

Ingredients

1 lb Gulf shrimp, peeled and cleaned

1 Serrano pepper, thinly sliced on the diagonal

1 Fresno Chili, thinly sliced on the diagonal

(or whatever red chili you can find… don’t miss the red)

1/2 sweet onion, halved then thinly sliced into half-rings

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 small knob ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

juice of 1 lime

1 cup jasmine or basmati rice, rinsed in cold water

1 1/2 cup coconut milk (or 1 cup coconut cream mixed with 1/2 cup milk) mixed with 1/2 cup water. Remember, rice ratio is easy… twice the liquid as the amount of rice.

4 T butter

2 t. salt

NOTE ON SPICE: with the chilis, spice is in the seeds, flavor is in the pepper. So if you don’t like a lot of spice, don’t be afraid of using Serranos and Fresnos. Wash the seeds out of the peppers, being careful with your hands… if you get the spice on your hands and wipe your eyes (or elsewhere!) it’s not pleasant. Do note the coconut really tempers the spice. So at least leave a few seeds in!  Continue reading

Lockdown Dinners

4 Apr

cooking during the pandemic

I’m lucky during the COVID 19 lockdown to live with one of my best friends, Rob. He’s been working from home since January. I’m now working from home for the duration of the pandemic. During the day, he works in the office upstairs, I work in my office downstairs (set up in the kitchen) and we come together for dinner and binging after dinner. (Binging TV! Not drinks… or, well…)

Rob says cooking is my ‘Happy Place” and I guess he’s right. Cooking stresses some people out but it de-stresses me. After a long day, to make a martini and cook a great meal relaxes me entirely. Hell, it relaxes me even without the martini! The kitchen and food were always a comfort for me growing up. A safe space, if you will, to use a modern phrase. I guess that just continued into my adult life.

I also learned to cook because I love to eat. I remember realizing in High School that when I went to college, I wouldn’t be able to keep eating all the wonderful food my mom and grandmothers prepared. So I decided to learn how to cook their food before I graduated so I could make the food in college. I’ve been cooking ever since.

Additionally, my mind is on constant overdrive, I can’t turn it off, which is one of the reasons I don’t sleep much. Cooking is one of two things I’ve found (painting is the other) that clears my head of anything but the process. When I cook, all that shit rattling around in my head goes away, for a time. It’s a balm. And so, in this incredible and difficult time, I’ve been cooking like crazy.

If you click over to the Facebook Page, I’ve been posting photos and recipes of the dinners I’ve been cooking. I’m going to continue to do more frequent posts there, particularly of other chefs’ recipes I’m trying, while I’ll also post my own inventions here.

On Food And Film FB page

In the meantime, I’ll give you a couple of recent favorites. There are also some killer recipes upcoming here as the lockdown continues! So stay tuned and if you haven’t subscribed, sign up! You will not get pelted with emails, promise.

A book I’ve been cooking through that is terrific is Alison Roman’s Nothing FancyI’ve tried a lot from this book, including a killer dip I love, and I highly recommend her book.

Here is a dinner I made from Nothing Fancy, her salmon and green beans:

Salmon Green beans

Alison Roman’s Buttered Salmon and Walnut Green Beans

This is the best salmon I’ve ever eaten. Made with lemon, red onion and brown butter, it is ridiculously simple and divine. I’m linking to Stacy Snacks wonderful food blog for the recipe:

Alison Roman’s Buttered Salmon with Lemon and Red Onion

Her green beans were also a revelation:

Alison Roman’s Mustardy Green Beans with Anchovyed Walnuts

Another dinner was my Mushroom “Farroto” (risotto made with farro), with a light salad and creamed kale:

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Mushroom “Farroto” and Creamed Kale

These are easy dishes that are fairly healthy and very comforting.

You can find the recipe for the Mushroom Farotto here:

Mushroom Farrotto

You can find the Creamed Kale recipe here:

Creamed Kale

And for the salad, simply use mixed greens and my vinaigrette, which you should be making all the time ; ) 

Perfect Vinaigrette

So! Keep in touch on the FB page for fun stuff during the week, and once or twice a week my goal is to post some new inventions and discoveries here. As always, let me know what you think… and what you are cooking!

Blessings in this unbelievable time.