Julia Child and Loup de Mer

Julia Child and Loup de Mer

Julia Child and Loup de Mer

As Julia Child tells the story, “Simca, Paul, Patricia, and I… penetrated into this beautiful courtyard and were seated at a little white table beneath a leafy trellis.

It was a splendid lunch, moving from apéritifs to pâté of fresh duck livers and truffles, thick slices of pain brioche, a timbale, tomatoes and a green salad. But the real reason we were there was for the loup de mer, a Mediterranean sea bass.

If you’ve been cooking for a long time, you can usually guess how a dish is made. Simca and I studied every detail of this remarkable loup, and tried to deduce its secrets.

The waiter appeared, and I asked him a few questions, which he was only too happy to answer. It’s delicious, we agreed, as we polished off our lunch. And it really shouldn’t be too difficult to make.”

Excerpted from My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme.

How to Cook Loup de Mer Fillets

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Pretty Petite Potato Salad, Vinagre de Jerez Dressing

Pretty Petite Potato Salad, Vinagre de Jerez Dressing with Grilled Okra, Celery, Peperoncini, Radish, Cucumber, Red Onion, Herbs and Edible Flowers

Pretty Petite Potato Salad, Vinagre de Jerez Dressing
Petite Red Skin Potatoes, Grilled Okra, Celery
Peperoncini, Radish, Cucumber, Red Onion

Herbs and Edible Flowers

Complex and assertive, Vinagre de Jerez turns up the music on ordinary potato salad. Chef José Andrés says, “…you add just a touch of (sherry) vinegar and you have this wonderful flavor that sparkles.” Vinagre de Jerez is one of just three vinegars in the EU from a designated appellation. Spain’s classification system, Denominación de Origen, regulates the quality and geographical origin of the product.

Okra is excellent grilled. (Use a grill pan so it doesn’t fall through the grates). The mucilaginous properties that make people say they “hate” okra are mitigated by quickly cooking over a hot fire. Combine grilled okra and petite red-skinned potatoes with lively peperoncini, peppery radish, crunchy celery and cool cucumber. Toss with a vivacious dressing and an array of complementary flowers and herbs for a show-stopping summer salad.

Vinagre de Jerez Dressing

Recipe for Vinagre de Jerez Dressing. Excellent with Potato Salad. #saladdressing

  • 1/4 c. good quality mayonnaise
  • 1/4 c. yogurt
  • 1 T. vinagre de jerez
  • 1 t. dijon mustard
  • 2 T. fruity olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper. Thin with warm water so the dressing will make a smooth elegant coating for the vegetables (as opposed to a thick, gloppy mayo).

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Fun Little Baked Potato Shooters

Baked Potato Shooters with Bacon, Crema, Cheese, and Chives

Baked Potato Shooters
Bacon, Mexican Crema, Cheese, and Chives
Chive Blossoms Too

I credit Graham Elliot with this idea. A couple weeks ago, we had a wonderful meal at his eponymous bistro in Chicago. On the menu – baked potato soup / traditional accompaniments, untraditional ways.

At a recent party, I served liquid baked potato untraditionally in 2 oz. shot glasses with traditional accompaniments of bacon, sour cream, cheese, and chives. They were a big hit. Thanks, Graham.

And with their savory garlic-oniony flavor and pretty lavender color, chive blossoms from my garden added a charming untraditional finishing touch.

Baked Potato Shooters! Bacon, Mexican Crema, Cheese, and Chives, Chive Blossoms Too

Baked Potato Shooters Recipe

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Blackened Barramundi and Sea Scallop Salad, Blackberry Vinaigrette

Blackened Barramundi and Sea Scallop Salad, Blackberry Vinaigrette

Blackened Barramundi and Sea Scallops with Frizzled Leeks
Red Leaf Lettuce and Radicchio
Asparagus, Purple Potato, Fresh Corn, Red Onion
Fresh Blackberries and Blackberry Vinaigrette

Remember back in the 80s when “Blackened Redfish” was all the rage on restaurant menus everywhere? The late Louisiana Chef Paul Prudhomme’s recipe caught fire around the country.

Moist, succulent barramundi is an excellent stand-in for redfish with its mild buttery flavor and texture that is flaky yet firm, perfect for this blackened preparation.

Australis farmed barramundi from Vietnam received a “Best Choice” recommendation  from Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. Native to the Indo-Pacific, this omega-3 rich fish is a healthy choice as well as an eco-friendly choice. Farmed barramundi is often marketed under the names “Asian seabass” or “giant seabass.”

BLACKened barramundi and BLACKberries contrast each other in this striking salad. It’s vibrant, colorful, savory with a hint of sweetness and a balanced spicy character – I think the Chef would approve.

Blackened Barramundi and Sea Scallop Salad, Blackberry Vinaigrette

The blended vinaigrette is such a pretty shade of purplish-pink, be sure to serve extra on the side in a clear little pitcher.

How to Make Blackened Barramundi and Sea Scallops

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Love & Craft Beer

Love & Craft Beer: Brouwerij West

Love & Craft Beer

The brewing process is an art that can capture the ebb and flow of the seasons; express the whimsy of the brewmaster; communicate the vibrant essence of its natural ingredients. It is, at its core, a love potion.

Whether pale, amber, copper, brown, or even purple haze in color. With wild aromas and flavors ranging from that of bread, to fruit, spice, flowers, citrus, caramel, nuts, and beyond. A well-crafted beer is way more than a simple combination of malt, hops, and yeast – it is a magical elixir.

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Brouwerij West Beer Dinner with Chef Kyle Powers

Beer Dinner @ Brouwerij West with Chef Kyle Powers

Brouwerij West Beer Dinner with Chef Kyle Powers

San Pedrans and Angelenos from near and far have been anxiously awaiting the grand opening of one of Los Angeles’ most important breweries (according to EATER!). Belgian-inspired craft beer production has recently commenced in Warehouse No. 9, a repurposed massive WWII-era building at the Port of Los Angeles. For the last few years, Brewmaster Brian Mercer had been producing his signature beers in other peoples’ facilities, now finally the impressive first-time home for Brouwerij West is set to open on February 27th.

Just prior to opening to the public, the Brouwerij West space has been a hip-trendy-cool venue for some very special private parties (including our fabulous holiday party here). Recently, a lively group of beer aficionados gathered for “Dinner in the Tanks,” a beer tasting/food pairing/birthday party catered by Chef Kyle Powers of Fork in the Road Catering.

It’s no secret that the pairing of food with beer has a synergistic effect. Add the cutting-edge ambience of a long, jauntily dressed wooden picnic table nestled between huge stainless steel tanks under glimmering string lighting, and the dining experience becomes magical. Chef Powers masterfully highlights the interplay between his food and the various beers by either contrasting or mirroring the flavors, bitterness, acidity, richness and sweetness.

Angelenos are in for a real treat. Complex, harmoniously balanced beers, produced and served up in an alluring 1940s warehouse…Brouwerij West has definitely been worth the wait!

Dinner in the Tanks

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Sustainable Seafood Expo & Chef’s Table Dinner at CRAFTED

Last weekend I wrote about our fabulous holiday party held at Brouwerij West in Warehouse No. 9 at the Port of Los Angeles.  Due to the overwhelming local response and interest in the new brewery and Crafted, I decided to share another event that I attended at Crafted a little while back. Crafted is right next door to Brouwerij West, located  in Warehouse No. 10. The event was the 2nd Annual Sustainable Seafood Expo and Chef’s Table Dinner, hosted by the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and Friends.

Mermaid Linden

The Expo was designed to help consumers choose the right fish for their dish – one that’s healthy and good for the environment as well. Choosing the right fish can have a positive impact on the marine environment and the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium leads the way in educating local consumers, chefs, and restaurateurs on this topic.

Chefs, Fishermen, Local Experts, and A Real Mermaid were on hand to explain fisheries, habitats, and species management to promote and sustain wild, diverse, and healthy ocean ecosystems that will last long into the future. Ongoing seafood sampling and educational opportunities were available at booths throughout the Expo. The dinner was a stunning al fresco farm-to-table dining experience, featuring locally sourced seafood and seasonal fare prepared by Chef Paul Buchanan of Primal Alchemy.

BROUWERIJ WEST is a SAN PEDRO BREWERY & TASTING ROOM  – Brewing Belgian-inspired craft beers in a restored massive WWII- era Warehouse No. 9 at the Port of Los Angeles.

CRAFTED AT THE PORT OF LOS ANGELES  is a large-scale permanent handmade artisan marketplace. The classically restored Warehouse No. 10 is home to more than 100 individual artists, crafters and food makers, each presenting their unique handcrafted goods in a vibrant patchwork of shop spaces.

Sustainable Seafood Expo

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Brouwerij West: A Unique Venue for Our Holiday Party

Brouwerij West along with Jay's Catering Co. provided a Unique Venue for Our Fabulous Holiday Party

It was my pleasure, once again, to host our annual Rolling Hills Country Day School holiday party. Workplace events can be challenging to plan, given the wide range in age and interests of the guests. We are so fortunate to work with a wonderful group of gracious, talented, fun people. And with the help of fabulously creative colleagues, an extraordinary caterer, a cool venue, and attention to the party details below…this gala was another huge success.

Brouwerij West along with Jay's Catering Co. provided a Unique Venue for Our Fabulous Holiday Party

Guests were invited to begin the evening at Crafted, a marketplace where local artisans sell one-of-a-kind creations, then make their way next door to Brouwerij West, a restored 1940s-era warehouse where craft beer production has recently commenced. The massive industrial building came to life with sparkling lights, glittery Christmas trees, and pizazzy beer-centric decor. Brewmaster Brian Mercer gave personalized tours of the sprawling production brewery.

Waiters passed trays of delightful fig tarts and mini beef wellingtons. A bruschetta bar where guests helped themselves to an array of toppings helped kick off the cocktail-hour where various beer tastings and wines were offered while the DJs played a mix of Christmas and party music. Jay’s Catering Company custom-designed an informal dinner buffet of delicious foods that pair well with beer. Toasts of gratitude, fond memories, and good cheer led into the holiday gift giving. After a visit to the All-American dessert bar, guests took to the dance floor where DJs Chris and Christian rocked the house.

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Palos Verdes Pastoral: A Garden-to-Table Dining Experience at Terranea Resort

Palos Verdes Pastoral: A Garden-to-Table Dining Experience at Terranea Resort

Palos Verdes Pastoral
A Garden-to-Table Dining Experience at Terranea Resort

Al fresco dining with magnificent views of Catalina Island, on a warm Autumn evening at sunset – this is Palos Verdes Pastoral…a vibrant fall meal created by Executive Chef Bernard Ibarra, showcasing the best of California-grown food expertly paired with hand-picked wines.

For the fourth year in a row, it was my honor and pleasure to serve as food photographer for the premier garden-to-table dining experience that took place at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California on Sunday, October 18th.

Palos Verdes Pastoral: A Garden-to-Table Dining Experience at Terranea Resort

Palos Verdes Pastoral is a fundraising event to support the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy’s mission to preserve and restore habitat for the enjoyment and education of all.

I also happen to be a beneficiary of the Land Conservancy’s work, as we’ve been hiking the local trails and enjoying our open spaces here along the coast for decades. Since its founding in 1988, the Land Conservancy has preserved 1600 acres of open space with nearly 42 miles of public trails.

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THIS IS HOW WE VEGAS

THIS IS HOW WE VEGAS

THIS IS HOW WE VEGAS

Yes, we have an ongoing LOVE AFFAIR with French Cuisine. And Italian, and Spanish, and California and so on and so on. We also have a LOVE AFFAIR with Vegas. THE Foodie Paradise where gorgeous restaurants are designed as if money-were-no-object, with the highest concentration of World-Class chefs, and our favorite alfresco-dining galore. Yes, we love to play blackjack (thanks Dr. Thorp), take long walks along the strip early in the morning, spend time at the spa and pools, and take in the fabulous shows  – but truth be told, it’s the food that is our main attraction. THIS is how we Vegas, last weekend:

Bardot Brasserie by Michael Mina – Aria

Lavo Italian Restaurant – The Palazzo

Lago by Julian Serrano – The Bellagio

Giada by Giada De Laurentiis – The Cromwell

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