Saturday, July 26, 2014

Recipe - Breadless Potato Kale Gratin

There's a bit of pride when you watch a seed you had planted grow up to be a bountiful, delicious vegetable or fruit plant. What had started as the bare whisper of health to come was cultivated into a full-fledged kale plant, producing beautifully perfect leaves. Duc had started the kale seed long ago and then transplanted it in my parents' side garden where it flourished under the shaded sun. We had a large harvest recently so I had to think of a way to use it. I sketched out a potato kale gratin whilst thinking one day and decided we'd make it! This dish is like a big bowl of comfort food, wholesome and healthful. I noted that it is breadless because a lot of gratins have added breadcrumbs and cheese on top but this one doesn't (though you can add if you'd like!).

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Event - Pulmuone Foods Cooking Demo

Founded in 1981 in Seoul, South Korea, Pulmuone Co. was built on Won Kyung Sun's dream to develop a farming cooperative with the first organic farm in South Korea and a store that sold organic vegetables. Fast forward a few years and a subsidiary is born as Pulmuone Wildwood Inc. (also referred to as Pulmuone Foods USA) in the United States. The US company has also split into several brands, Wildwood and Monterey Gourmet Foods, and has offices in both California and New York (headquarters are in Fullerton, CA). It was at the headquarters that I joined a group gathered to see what meals could be cooked using Pulmuone products. The chef of the evening was Executive Chef Nathaniel Nguyen of The Prince & Pantry.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Take Out Stress with solita Take-Out (and Giveaway!)

[Giveaway details at the bottom of this post] It is no secret that Duc and I really like eating at solita Tacos & Margaritas at Bella Terra in Huntington Beach. It's just a tad too easy since he just lives up the street from the restaurant; when in doubt, we go to solita if we aren't planning on cooking. I'm sure this is the same case for those who luckily live above the establishment and the other neat places at Bella Terra. When solita unveiled that they would be offering to-go as well, it made it even harder to resist them. If you haven't heard of solita, it's by the same people who brought SOL Cocina to Newport Beach but this location is more casual and inspired by Baja street fare (read more from our past post here). The food is great and the atmosphere like a friendly neighborhood favorite. The takeout service just makes it even easier to expand the restaurant's reach and bring the party to others elsewhere. We were invited to try out their take-out just to see what new things they had in store.

Test Kitchen - Poppy Seed Peppercorn Salad Dressing

The first thing that usually jumps to people's minds when you talk about poppy seeds is some kind of pastry. Well, that or the fact that it is an opiate but that's not the point of this post. Wait no, I take that back - that part is relevant. Don't take a drug test right after having this salad dressing lest you want to test positive for something and look like a heroin addict. Practice safe eating! Anyhow, I have been liking poppy seed dressings lately so when this became our Test Kitchen ingredient, I thought I ought to go in that direction. Who needs fattening pound cake when you can have a creamy, smooth dressing over some fresh greens? The recipe's simple but the taste is complex. Enjoy making this one, folks!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

LA Spice Cafe Continues Sought-After Legacy

The award-winning LA Spice Catering Company located in Los Angeles and servicing much of southern California recently hit another home run with their newest development after more than 25 years of being in the business: LA Spice Cafe. The neighborhood-centric wholesome and hearty restaurant was started by the catering company's CEO and founder, LeAnne Schwartz, a little more than a year ago and has already become a community favorite. It's a joint that promotes a casual feel to gourmet food, welcoming others to give their breakfast and lunch dishes a try and inviting guests to get a little more healthiness for their buck.

LA Spice Cafe also fits right into the Culver City puzzle (where it's located) which is currently being reworked to revitalize the area and bring people in. City council members can frequently be spotted here for breakfast meetings. The restaurant features a seasonal menu with fresh ingredients and a slight spin to classics that don't detract too much from what others are used to; don't be afraid of getting experiments here! Just expect great food. We sat down one Saturday morning to speak with Chef Chris DeVillier, learn about what drives the menu, and taste what made the whole company as successful as it is.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Giveaway - OC Fair 2014 "Summer Starts Here" Tickets!

The OC Fair 2014 began last Friday to many cheers and hurrahs. Last year was the first time that I have been to the fair and stayed long enough to indulge in some food. This year, their theme is "Summer Starts Here," and that sounds just about right. It isn't truly summer in Orange County until you know the fair is upon us all. I've heard that there are several new food items that are practically challenges in themselves. If you're looking to stick your face into any fried food place, here is a food guide to check out online. I'm looking forward to looking at the Best Of food competition entries again this year - there were some gorgeous and delectable entries for sure! If you haven't made plans yet, there are two tickets waiting to be won at the bottom of this post.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ayara Thai Cuisine Allows Only the Best in Los Angeles

What defines good food for you? Does it have to be plated well, using the latest techniques, and sourcing exotic ingredients? The components are important and so is the culinary skill in making a dish work but there is some level of culture that plays a large impact on how well (or not well) received a plate will be. The memories evoked and the emotions alongside those are all important. For me, Thai food somehow found itself in my realm of go-to comfort foods. After a long day, I want to settle down with some red curry and tofu, a glass of creamily smooth Thai tea, and a small side of spicy papaya salad. What I don't necessarily expect when those comfort food moments hit is that the food not only satisfies the cultural factor of what makes food good but also the culinary. We found that at Ayara Thai Cuisine in Los Angeles though. I had been reading about it every now and then but when we decided to turn a day into an LA trek, we put this on the list and ventured out to meet with them. What a fine decision that was.