Yes, my name really is spelled that way.


eggplant and chicken vindaloo.

Fall usually gets me in the Indian cooking mood!  The spices, the veggies, steaming basmati rice, the hot naan skating around a plate picking up sauce....  I saw a bunch of eggplant at the farmer's market and had a craving for eggplant vindaloo.  I decided to mix it with chicken which isn't exactly traditional but Indian food is so forgiving, I'm sure the eggplant won't mind.  Piled high in a bowl-like plate, I was ready for movie night on the couch with my Maximilian.  
 Quick side note: I made rice in my pressure cooker for the first time and it worked out great!  Rice and I have an uncomfortable relationship - mostly because rice doesn't cooperate and needs to work on its communication skills.  The pressure cooker coupled with my new burner plates (to distribute the heat evenly, instead of burning everything) worked perfectly.  Basmati rice took just 7 minutes in the pressure cooker!  

eggplant and chicken vindaloo.  
*makes enough for 2 servings
1 chicken breas, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 eggplant, drained and pressed, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
grape seed oil
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
  Put onion, tomatoes, vinegar, tomato paste and spices into food processor and blend.  Heat a tbsp or two of oil in a large pan.  Add contents of food processor and cook about 3 minutes.  Add chicken and cook 1-2 minutes then add eggplant.  Cook for another 5 minutes and add stock.  Cover and cook about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until liquid has absorbed.  Serve on top of basmati rice with a side of chewy naan. 


first days of fall.

I've been in a funk lately and the only thing I can do to drag myself out of it is to make a giant mess in my kitchen and buy things I "need" at Trader Joe's (like those Halloween gummies, lots and lots of wine and beer, extra flowers and the salty snacks I usually try to avoid).  Oh and more mini pumpkins than one person in a one bedroom apartment should have.  My place needed a little fall-readiness anyway....  LA has had the first week of milder, autumn-like temperatures and I'm ready to say goodbye to summer! 
Succulents and pumpkins on my front porch (complete with fallen leaves)....
 Fall fruit from my favorite farmer's market....
 Japanese Kyoho grapes (the best) in a big bowl for snacking....


kitchen gadget love.

I think I am in love.  With my new pressure cooker, no less.  I read an article recently about pressure cookers and didn't consider them before that.  By time I finished the article, I told my mom I wanted one.  She read it and said the same thing.  I always thought they were stodgy, dangerous and old fashioned.  The inner rebel in me asks what is wrong with that but the inner realist researched to find the newer models are definitely 21st century!  
So far, I've made carnitas (fantastic) and a chicken tomatillo chile - both super easy and fast.  The chicken tomatillo chile is the ultimate weeknight meal, taking only 10 minutes to cook!  With things so busy these days, I need this kind of help!  
chicken tomatillo chile.
*enough for leftovers
2 chicken breasts (boneless skinless)
4 tomatillos, husked and quartered
1 small can mild green chiles
zest of one lime
1/2 onion, chopped
red pepper flakes to taste
salt and pepper to taste
To marinade chicken: place chicken in a bowl and add green chiles, lime zest, pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Cover and stash in the fridge at least a couple of hours.  I did mine in the morning before work, then took it out in the evening.  

 Heat a neutral oil (canola or grapeseed) over medium heat. Add chicken and green chile mixture, then onions and tomatillos.  Secure lid and bring to full pressure, cooking for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, turn off heat and allow pressure to come down.  Remove lid and spoon out chicken and veggies over rice.  Add a squeeze of lime juice for a little brightness. 


Chicago photo diary.

I made it back from Chicago (just barely) and have been tossed back in the frying pan for Art Platform this week in LA.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to see much of Chicago, other than the Expo Chicago venue (Navy Pier), the cab rides, 30 minutes in the Art Institue of Chicago and a few good restaurants.  I had a bit of free time one morning so I took a walk down Michigan Avenue.  Can't wait to go back and explore more! 



midweek brunch.

My friend Lisa and I have found the perfect solution for catching up when we have opposite schedules: midweek brunch.  It feels truly decadent to start the day with fresh juice, a full table setting and girl talk!  It was my turn to host so I put together a simple brunch with my foolproof frittata recipe to go with avocado on toast, fresh peaches, iced coffee and kale citrus juice....  
 egg white frittata.
6 egg whites or 1/2 container liquid egg whites
1 tsp whole wheat flour
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 summer squash, sliced thin with a mandoline
2-3 tbsp goat cheese, crumbled
splash milk 
fresh chopped herbs
dried herbs
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a baking dish with olive oil spray and place in oven.  The dish will need to heat up at least 10-15 minutes (at least 5 minutes at full temp) before adding ingredients.  Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk eggs, milk, herbs.  Season with salt and pepper and add squash.  Remove baking dish from oven and pour egg mixture then sprinkle the top with goat cheese.  Since the oven is hot, it will cook quickly - maybe within 10 minutes.  For a little crust on top, place under the broiler for a minute or two.... 
 kale citrus juice.
1 bag chopped kale (cuts down the time spent washing and chopping!)
juice and zest of 1 orange
juice and zest of 2 lemons
juice and zest of 3 limes
generous drizzle of honey
In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until kale is chopped fine.   Place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and pour juice over the sieve.  allow to drain and pour the remaining contents of the blender.  Transfer to a pitcher and chill.  To serve, pour over ice and garnish with a citrus wedge.

Good morning!  


fall art season.

Fall art season is upon us!  Other than my own opening this past weekend, I haven't seen too much but I cannot express how fantastic the new Tomory Dodge show at Acme is.  The moment I walked in, the color, pattern, texture and unexpected elements of the Los Angeles-based abstract artist took me in.  On view until October 6th and more information can be found online here.
Acme Los Angeles
6150 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles
Open Tuesday - Saturday 11 am - 6 pm


Chicago bound.

Today, I am heading to Chicago for the week for Expo Chicago, the contemporary art fair.  While I won't have much time to myself, I was inspired by Jaclyn's posts (of Stay in the Lines) here on the city and hope I can squeeze in some of the spots she mentioned....  

Back in a week! 


homemade pasta with wonton wrappers.

I love homemade pasta but since I am a horrible baker and don't know where my rolling pin is, I have to rely on shortcuts.  Dough is not a strength for me in the kitchen, it is a weakness! I love chefs like Giada de Laurentis because she makes ravioli with wonton wrappers all the time and it seems so luxe.  I made these the other day in the morning and then finished them off in boiling water when it was dinner time - so simple!  
homemade ravioli with lemon ricotta beet greens in fresh tomato sauce.

wonton wrappers
egg wash - one egg mixed with water

ricotta cheese (I used the fat free)
zest of one lemon
1 egg
parmesan cheese
sauteed beet greens, chopped fine

fresh tomato sauce:
1 large tomato (I used a big heirloom brandywine), diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
drizzle olive oil 
splash of red wine
splash of balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
sprinkle of sugar

For top: 
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

To make the filling:
In a small bowl, combine ingredients and stir to mix. 
To assemble pasta:
On a flat work surface, lay out wonton wrappers.  Top with a tablespoon of filling in the center of each square.  With a small pastry brush, brush the edges with egg wash and place another wonton wrapper on top.  Brush the edges with egg wash again and press to seal the wrappers together.  Finish until the filling runs out!  
To cook pasta:
In a very large pot, bring water to a boil.  To avoid sticking, only cook about 5 raviolis at a time.  Cook only 2-3 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon.  Handle gently to avoid tearing.  Continue with remaining pasta.  
To make the sauce:
In a stainless steel pan, add olive and heat 1 minute.  Add garlic clove and cook until fragrant.  Add tomato and raise heat to medium-high.  After a few minutes, add wine and vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar and continue cooking until tomatoes are bubbling, sauce is thickened and edges of the pan are turning brown.  Remove from heat. 
 I made so much, I ended up having it a second night, inviting my friend Vicki and Maximilian's best friend, Felix over for dinner!  The uncooked ravioli keeps surprising well.  Instead of a tomato sauce, I did a brown butter sauce and drizzled it on top.  Perfect with grilled summer veggies and crisp white wine....


end of summer.

Yes, I have taken a bit of a haitus.  Too busy, too hot to cook, too much time away from home and a summer romance kept me away from all things blog!  

But I ended the summer with a fantastic little trip down to San Diego for a brewery crawl with dear old dad (mom was the designated driver).  I forgot what a great town San Diego is!  The breweries are exceptional and worth the trip for any craft beer lover.  A photo diary....

  One of the most beautiful art museums in Balboa Park (great example of Spanish Churriguera architecture)....
Lovely patio for sangria (and I couldn't resist picking up some papel picado for my outdoor space)....
 Scruffy puppy after an ocean dip....
 The interior of the gorgeous Hotel Del Coronado....
 Sun drenched Hotel Del Coronado....
 Margaritas with mom and dad on the sand - patio outside Hotel Del Coronado....


life on repeat.

I was lucky to have a couple days off in addition to the July 4th holiday and the added time meant I did the things I like most repeatedly - eating, hiking with Maximilian and catching up with friends.  Unfortunately, I can't take credit for the beautiful spiderweb photo and the snap of Maximilian below - those are courtesy of my friend Angela....

I also made my mom's 4th of July dessert, a frozen yogurt pie with blueberries and strawberries.  Since this dessert isn't exactly a) gourmet or b) much of a recipe (think assemblage), I didn't take a ton of pictures.  Just like the last slice (pictured below), the pie is sweet and simple!

Picnic and wine tasting....
Early morning dewy web....
Morning waffles....
 Happy and muddy pup....

In the spirit pie....
super easy frozen yogurt pie. 
1 graham cracker pie crust
1 small container Cool Whip
3 containers of yogurt (strawberry)
strawberries, hulled and halved

Mix together Cool Whip and yogurt and pour into pie shell.  Arrange blueberries and strawberries on top.  Freeze until firm (usually overnight).  Allow to thaw at room temp for about 15 minutes before serving.  

The best part about this pie is you can substitute any kind of fruit and use any flavor of yogurt!  The possibilities and variations are endless...