Spring Bliss: Sugar Snap Pea, Avocado, Tomato, Mint

spring bliss soup, sugar snap pea soup, chilled pea and mint soup

Chilled Sugar Snap Pea & Mint Soup
Mashed Avocado with Lime, Tomato Concassé with Shallot
Fresh Mint, Chili Oil & Creme Fraiche Garnish

A vendor at the Farmers’ Market was handing out samples of fresh-from-the-vine sugar snap peas. Telling people just to eat them as is, no cooking necessary. They were sweet & exploding with flavor, crunchy, the color of spring. Few of us could pass up buying a basket or two. Once home, I turned to my favorite vegetable cookbook Charlie Trotter’s Vegetables for inspiration: Sugar Snap Pea Soup. A simple and refreshing chilled soup. With avocado for richness, tomato for sweet acidity, mint for brightness. Spring. Bliss.

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When to “Doggie Bag?” Your Thoughts?

peking duck, steamed buns, wolfgang puck duck, wp24

Leftovers of Peking Duck with Steamed Buns
Accompaniments: Scallion, Pickled Daikon, Cucumber, Sugar, Hoisin

The concept of a “doggie bag” or taking home leftovers from a restaurant meal is not an American invention. It’s been around since the sixth century B.C. when Romans would wrap up goodies from a banquet meal and take home the leftovers in a cloth. It showed respect and honored the host, implying the food was good and was worthy of taking home. Food preparation way back then could not have been easy, so, seriously, whose ancestors wouldn’t take the bountiful offerings from the big buffet back to their humble abode?

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Brunch. Manhattan. Beach.

post bangin' brunch, mb post
Manhattan Beach Post
POST BANGIN’ BRUNCH

She called it one of the most surprising openings of the year. As one of the Best Meals of 2011Los Angeles Times Restaurant Critic S. Irene Virbila lists her experience at M.B. Post as one of 2011’s most memorable. The upscale Water Grill in Downtown LA with Chef David LeFevre at the helm for years has been our favorite seafood restaurant, and that hasn’t changed. But now this Michelin-starred chef is in the South Bay, our neck of the woods, down at the beach, and we’re thrilled.

manhattan beach post restaurant

M.B Post serves imaginative, artisan global-style dishes in a casually sophisticated atmosphere that purposefully lends itself to a “social house” setting. It’s a fresh brilliant concept where sliding doors open onto the street, with beach-town ambiance, but in a non-stereotypical fashion.

The Chef began offering his Post Bangin’ Brunch in January. Hooray.

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Resplendent Baby Golden Beet Salad

golden baby beet salad
Roasted Baby Golden Beet, Gala Apple, Kumquat
Raw Sheep’s Milk French Roquefort, Pistachio
Dandelion, Butterhead, Roasted Poblano Vinaigrette
Tricolor Viola & Wild Mustard Flower Garnish

Roasted tarragon-scented sweet soft baby golden beets are paired with tart-crisp apple, bitter-spiky dandelion, creamy-smooth butter lettuce, zingy kumquat, tangy Roquefort, rich pistachios and a playfully-spicy poblano chile vinaigrette. It’s a very refreshing, harmonious, and somewhat surprising salad – which I submit to this month’s 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group Challenge featuring BEETS.

The 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group hosted by Natasha the 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! is an outstanding monthly event for sharing ideas and creating gourmet makeovers of selected classic dishes or flavor combinations. It continues to be a great source of inspiration and my absolute pleasure to be on the team. Please visit their blogs this coming Friday to enjoy the round-up of super-creative beets recipes from this talented cooking group.

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A Special Dinner Honoring President Lincoln

abraham lincoln honorary dinner, tribute to lincoln dinner

A Toast to Abraham Lincoln

Excerpts from the Address of Hon. Robert G. Cousins
On the Twelfth of February, Nineteen Hundred

In every part and in almost every city in America, on this last anniversary
in the century which produced him, a grateful people meet to pay their homage to
the memory of Abraham Lincoln.

Not that it is possible for human speech to add to his renown,
but rather that we may dedicate ourselves and the Nation which he loved

to a better understanding of his character and the principles for which he lived and died.

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One of Chicago’s Most Elegant: RIA

What are your three favorite dining towns?

Topping my list are…

  • Chicago
  • Las Vegas
  • Paris

…in order of where I happen to be visiting at the time, and were the next reservation will take us. I recently returned home from Chicago, experiencing nothing short of culinary nirvana.

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