Things You Make in Your Kitchen

I get really flattered when people send me emails containing photos of their attempts at making my recipes. I love to know that what I produce is able to be re-created.

Katie and I making Sunday dinner

Today’s fan decided to take an Italian spin on my Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good.
Can you say Holy Meatball?

Looks delicious! Keep cooking my friends, and please share your photos with me. Who knows, you could get your very own blog post :)

Recipes

Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner

This post is in response to some questions people have been asking me recently. My closest friends know that I cook… a lot. But what even surprises them most is how much of what I make comes from my head. I never went to culinary school, but I payed close attention to my parents cooking my whole life. And I was always the girl that asked questions.

I guess what I am trying to say is, these recipes come from me. Or my family. Unless otherwise noted, like my most recent Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good. That was a variation of a recipe from Epicurious. But this goes without saying, that even with inspiration, I always “doctor” what I do. And even without culinary school, I have a great understanding of baking and cooking basics. Hopefully this comes as some inspiration to those of you who want to cook. You can always be self taught and learn from observation.In fact, I find that to be an even better way; once you have the fundamentals, your creative genius really is endless.
Look at this trick… on how to cut Cherry tomatoes. I actually saw this for the first time done on Rachel Ray, and it is the BEST idea ever… Watch this video, about the 50 second mark, on how to cut cherry tomatoes (about 20) in 5 seconds.This is exactly how I learn, by watching. And I take from things what I need. You don’t have to memorize everything you see on TV or in the kitchen. But get creative. I have made a few meals before and served them to people that were NOT good… like this one time, when I thought you made cream sauce by just boiling milk, and totally did not think that you had to put a rue base first… I am talking about noodles swimming in warm milk. SO. NOT. GOOD. But that is how you learn.

This is exactly how I learn, by watching. And I take from things what I need. You don’t have to memorize everything you see on TV or in the kitchen. But get creative. I have made a few meals before and served them to people that were NOT good… like this one time, when I thought you made cream sauce by just boiling milk, and totally did not think that you had to put a rue base first… I am talking about noodles swimming in warm milk. SO. NOT. GOOD. But that is how you learn.

No, those aren’t roasted chickens from the store. I cleaned, gutted, and cooked those puppies myself to a golden perfection!
Find the chef inside you, and get to cooking :)

The Blue Dog Beer Tavern

 
For all the amazing places I have written about, I can’t believe I haven’t written anything on the Blue Dog Beer Tavern. For one, its 2 blocks from my house. And for how amazing it is, I am lucky to have this within walking distance. If you are in the LA area, more specifically Sherman Oaks, this is a place you have to go to.   

Hours
Mon-Fri 1130am-11pm
Sat, Sun 11am-11pm  
 
Bar Address
4524 Saugus Ave
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403 
818-990-2583
Are you a beer fan? The Blue Dog Beer Tavern has an always changing Beer menu, which means a constant surprise. But don’t be scared; everything on it is good, there is always something new for you to try, and they have weekly specials. Like IPA night on Wednesdays, where limited IPA is available and anyone who enters the tavern get a raffle ticket to win a bottles of that IPA. To get an idea on what they offer, here is their current beer list: Updated: 10/20/2011
 
Beer Flight
The Blue Dog doesn’t just have exceptional beer, it has exceptional food. If you are into burgers, this is the place to go. Most of the meat comes with your favorite fixings ground right in; bacon, jalapenos, cheese, etc. And even with stuff inside the meat, they don’t forget about what goes on top. Just see for yourself….
 
 
Whether its fries, coleslaw, or their addicting broccoli salad you put next to that burger, you will always be happy. However, it isn’t just the burgers that make me smile. How about BIG’s Mac which has jalapenos and bacon? Or what about breakfast, where they have a French Toast that is dipped in melted vanilla ice cream (this will be returning after NFL season). And who could pass up some amazing ribs? Or something they like to call a deep fried pizza? Yes… a deep fried pizza. And when its your Birthday, you don’t get a scoop of ice cream. You get a GIANT homemade ice cream sandwich with in house fresh made cookies. What did you just say? You died and went to heaven? So did I.
 
 
Great food? CHECK! Great Beer? CHECK! Great staff? CHECK! What else do you need? Well… there is one other thing. Let’s talk about something that really sets Blue Dog apart from the rest. The Blue Dog allows you to bring you dog to eat with you. Anywhere outside and on the back patio, your furry little friend can dine while you dine. Not only, the inside of Blue Dog is littered with photos of customer’s pups, most done artfully in black and white and covering the wooden rafters. This makes coming here so easy… instead of having to leave your dog at home for a nice lunch, bring him. Or, if you are me, Brody gets to go on his walk, and I get to make a pit stop at the same time.I am sure most of your would walk your dog more often if you got to get a beer in the end. All in all a win win.
 
 
So why is this place so dog friendly? The Blue Dog isn’t just a name… in fact, its named after owner Paul Scrivano’s Blue Great Dane, Olive, who truly is the Queen Bee.
 
 
Whether you want to catch a game and have a beer, or go out on a pretty cool date, The Blue Dog Beer Tavern gives you what you need everytime. If you happen to go, tell me how you like it. You may even see me there :)
 
Olive says “Get to Grubbin’!”

The Blue Dog on Urbanspoon

Butternut Squash and Barbeque Charred Chicken Lasagna

Trying to deny that fall is here when you still wish it were summer? You know I am. Which is why this recipe is a great meld of the two seasons. Introducing my Barbeque Charred Chicken and Butternut Squash marriage in this delicious lasagna. Perfect cold evening yummy-ness.

This recipe may sound odd but let me tell you why it works. Think about how most of the time, when you get a butternut squash ravioli for example, it is partnered with burnt butter. Why? Because the smokiness and the fat of the butter balances out the sweet of the squash. So how was I inspired? I went to my boss’s annual BBQ this past weekend and walked away with 3 large pieces of long time barbecued chicken, and started thinking about what I was going to do with my leftovers. 

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons salted butter
 
5 tablespoons flour
4 cups whole milk

2 cups shredded, barbecue (wood) smoked chicken (this is not chicken with BBQ sauce on it)
2 teaspoons nutmeg

1 box no-boil lasagna noodles
2 1/2 cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
 

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash and toss to coat with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour water into the skillet, about half way up the squash, cover and simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender. Stir occasionally for about 20 minutes. You should be able to split a squash in 2 with a spoon when it is done. Cool slightly and then transfer the squash to a food processor or blender. Puree thoroughly… you don’t want lumps in this recipe. Season the squash puree, to taste, with more salt and pepper.

Curried Pumpkin Seeds, etc

I did a similar post to this one last year. My recipe is good, but this recipe from epicurious.com is REALLY good. Why? Because it is spicy and also adds this citrus flavor that is just so delicious. This was another recipe sent to me by my amazing friend Shira who obviously knows what I like. So this year, instead of making the same old boring pumpkin seed snack, try this! You will thank me.

This recipe was followed exactly except for one thing, the lime juice. I did not have any on hand, so I used lemon juice.
Curried Pumpkin Seeds
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
12 ounces hulled pumpkin seeds (about 2 1/2 cups)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with parchment; spray with nonstick spray. Whisk egg white, lime juice, and oil in large bowl.

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Pumpkin Carving Party continued…

The party was a success! And I am glad I did it. I feel like if you are going to do something fun by yourself, like carve pumpkins, why not extend the good cheer to your friends and all come together to share food and ideas. Because of course there has to be food. Delicious food.

Halloween themed wines: World Market and Trader Joes

My contribution this year was my Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good.It was unbelievable. I suggest you try it. I also made Pumpkin Bread and various pumpkin seeds. It was just a pumpkin filled day. Our spread included some cheeses, breads, chips, dips, wines, and beer. These all seem to equal the perfect Pumpkin Carving fuel.

Here is a recap of the night. Enjoy!

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