A Hearty Tomato Soup with Sausage and Spaghetti Squash

Wintery Tomato Soup with Sausage and Spaghetti Squash

A Hearty Tomato Soup with Italian Sausage and Spaghetti Squash

flavored with fennel, oregano, red chile flakes, garlic, and a hint of cinnamon
topped with roasted spaghetti squash with olive oil, salt & pepper
garnished with parmesan and basil

The addition of spaghetti squash is mine, but the tomato and sausage soup idea comes from one of my favorite books…and can you believe it – it’s NOT a cookbook?

It is An Affair With A House by world-renowned interior designer Bunny Williams. She talks about being mortified when guests showed up at her (uber-fabulous) home at 11 AM and happened to be starving. She had planned to give a tour of the house and serve coffee since their schedule was tight, but all of a sudden, she had twelve people for lunch and was completely unprepared. But being the ultimate hostess, she made it work, with ease I might add… Bunny advises keeping a few cans of San Marzano tomatoes in the pantry and some Italian Sausages in the freezer. Add a simple salad and a loaf of French bread and you can be a hero too.

A Hearty Tomato Soup with Italian Sausage and Spaghetti Squash

I thought you might say, squash? On top of soup? But it is actually a refreshing complement to the soup. Lighter, lower carbs than pasta with a nice roasted flavor and pretty color too. It makes a delightful December luncheon…

Roasted Spaghetti Squash Recipe

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A Fresh California Twist on Brussels Sprouts

California Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

Cal-Style Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad


Lentils, Cranberries, Walnuts, Chestnuts, and Orange Zest
Orange Tahini Dressing

Imagine serving a Brussels sprouts side dish for Thanksgiving that appeals to all your guests. Unfortunately, that’s probably not possible as these seasonal mini cabbages are one of America’s most-hated vegetables.

Brussels sprouts can have a slightly bitter quality, especially the large older ones, which can be off-putting to many. And then there is that childhood memory of mushy overcooked Brussels sprouts with their lingering cabbage-y smells. No wonder this little brassica has a bad reputation. But we’re putting an original California spin on that old cruciferous vegetable this holiday!

In recent years we’ve seen lots of fabulous recipes for roasted Brussels sprouts, which have changed some peoples minds about this vegetable. We’re refreshing our Thanksgiving menu with a California Style Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad. It is bright and flavorful – the perfect foil to all the rich heavy dishes on the buffet. And it is naturally nutritious, gluten-free, and vegan too.

Most of the U.S. production of Brussels sprouts comes from California where plantings began in the 1920s along our Central Coast. The combination of coastal fog and cooler temperatures is ideal for cultivation. This Cal-Style Brussels Sprouts Salad invokes the flavors of the holidays – cranberry, walnut, orange, chestnut. Shaved Brussels sprouts are blanched in boiling water for only two minutes, then shocked in an ice bath to retain their crispiness and color.

The flavor is fresh and bright. The texture is light and crunchy. I add earthy lentils for balance. The lively dressing is a blend of creamy tahini (sesame seed paste), olive oil, and orange juice. Pairing these little leafy cabbages with legumes, fruits, and nuts is the key. You might just convert some haters this holiday. And as a bonus – this salad frees up much-needed space in the oven…

Cal-Style Brussels Sprouts Salad Recipe

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Braised Oxtail for Halloween?

braised oxtail with korean jeju mandarin orange, yuzu, and gooseberry

Braised Oxtail

in a sauce flavored with
Shiitake, Star Anise, Red Wine, Tamari, Garlic
Radish, Ginger, Chile, Brown Sugar, Beef Stock

garnished with
Dried Korean Jeju Mandarin Orange, Cape Gooseberry
Yuzu Zest, Cilantro, Scallion

Serve braised oxtail for Halloween? Well, you certainly could. With its rich spicy flavors and warm autumn colors… Oxtails are browned then braised for 3 hours in a two day process resulting in a sauce that is deep and layered and unctuous. Shiitake imparts earthiness while hot chiles give it a kick.

The oxtail is butter-tender but it is really the garnish that puts this dish over the top. Dried Korean Jeju mandarin orange slices add that crispy texture and a sweet-tart component that brightens the meat. Cape Gooseberries add a flavorful pop while yuzu zest adds bitter-citrusy freshness and cilantro and scallions bring the vegetal notes.

 Braised Oxtail Recipe

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Bison & Heirloom Bean Chili with Poached Egg

Bison Chili with Poached Egg

Bison & Heirloom Bean Chili with Poached Egg

What food did Elizabeth Taylor have shipped to her while filming Cleopatra on the set in Rome?

Ten quarts of chili. Yes, chili from Chasen’s Restaurant in West Hollywood! When she could pretty much order up anything she fancied, she chose the humble bowl of chili. That spicy stew with a history that goes back to the American frontier days has endless variations. Based on geography, legend, personal taste, and availability of ingredients recipes for chili vary widely but the passion for this beloved dish does not.

Bison & Heirloom Bean Chili with Poached Egg

Bison & Heirloom Bean Chili Recipe

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Spicy Korean Beef Soup with Smoky Baby Oyster Mushrooms {Yukgaejang}

Spicy Korean Beef Soup with Smoky Baby Oyster Mushrooms {Yukgaejang}

A Spicy Korean Beef Soup with Smoky Baby Oyster Mushrooms

Yukgaejang 육개장

Beef, Mushroom, Bean Sprout, Leek, Fiddlehead, Chili

Yukgaejang is a haunting red-hued beef soup that is simultaneously spicy, smoky, earthy, and addicting… The rich color comes from gochugaru, a Korean red chili powder that is definitely spicy – but also has a balanced fruitiness, slight smokiness and depth of flavor from the sun-dried red peppers.

In addition to the gochugaru, the pronounced smoky flavor in my non-traditional version of this soup is derived from the charred baby oyster mushrooms. Earthy notes come from gosari (charmingly referred to as beef-of-the-mountains) along with the shiitake. Gosari are young fiddlehead stems harvested from moist wooded forests when the fronds emerge from the ground. Beef flank and beef stock bring the deep meaty component while garlic, leek, and toasted sesame oil round out the flavor profile.

Yukgaejang Recipe

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LA Galbi and Pickled Korean Pear

LA Galbi and Pickled Korean Pear
LA Galbi and Pickled Korean Pear
Seasoned Chiffonade of Perilla, Ssamjang, Rice, Kimchi, OB

LA Galbi are grilled flanken-style (cut across the bone) beef short ribs in a Korean marinade. Curiously, this cut of short rib was popularized by Korean cooks – not in Seoul – but right here in Los Angeles, hence the name.

The magic of Galbi 갈비 is in the marinade. Asian pear tenderizes the meat and adds a hint of sweetness. Pear – combined with garlic, onion, and ginger, plus soy sauce, mirin, honey and sesame oil result in a full Korean flavor explosion. This entire marinade is made in a food processor, it couldn’t be easier.

weber grill

Hours of marinating result in the tender yet chewy texture. Grilling imparts a wonderful smoky note to the already complex flavors of the marinated meat while the honey and sugar caramelize into a slightly sweet glaze – making this an absolutely irresistible barbecue dish.

LA Galbi Recipe

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