Butter Lettuce Salad, Smoked Salmon Rosettes

Butter Lettuce
Shell Pasta
Thin Asparagus and Petite Peas
Tarragon, Basil, Italian Parsley
Dijon Vinaigrette
Crumbled Feta
Smoked Salmon Rosettes

Cook frozen petite peas in boiling water with salt for about 3 minutes. Add thin asparagus spears and cook for one minute longer. Drain then shock in an ice bath.

Tarragon, Italian Parsley, and Basil
Jacques Pepin’s Vinaigrette in a Jar:
2 tsp chopped garlic
3 Tbs Dijon-style mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 c red or white wine vinegar
1 c extra virgin olive oil
I also add 2 tsp minced shallot.
Put all ingredients in a jar, screw on the lid, and shake very well.

Toss torn butter lettuce leaves with cooled cooked pasta shells, peas and asparagus, lots of chopped fresh herbs, and Dijon vinaigrette.

Serve with crumbled feta and smoked salmon rosettes made by slicing the smoked salmon into strips with one end thicker than the other. Roll the thick end towards the thin end to make a rosette.
Pretty. Summer. Salad.

Another Colorful Side

Colorful Side Dish #3
Spinach and Feta
Israeli Couscous, Orzo, Baby Garbanzo, Red Quinoa

Sauté chopped garlic, chopped scallions, and red pepper flakes in olive oil. Add fresh baby spinach to wilt. Season to taste.

Toss spinach mixture with cooked Israeli couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo, and red quinoa. This blend is called Harvest Grains Blend and is available from Trader Joe’s. Crumble feta on top. This recipe was inspired by one in Gourmet magazine some years ago, they made theirs with Acini di Pepe (tiny pearl pasta) and used frozen spinach.
Something New at Home

I am very excited about this change that cost nothing but makes my home feel dramatically different for the new year. I switched the dining room and family room. The former family room is considerably larger and has a fireplace in the corner. I moved the dining table here so now there is a more open and casual space for dining, and we can eat in front of a beautiful crackling fire.

The former dining room is now a cozy den. The chandelier which was above the dining table is above the coffee table, so you can still walk by without hitting your head. Makes a great spot to sit and read cookbooks! I also switched some artwork around, and that has freshened up some of the other rooms in the house.
Have you made any changes to your home or kitchen for the new year?

Roasted Walnut Oil – Huile de Noix

Organic Baby Greens, Toasted Walnuts, Kalamata Olives, Feta
Dressed with Roasted Walnut Oil and a Splash of Red Wine Vinegar
La Tourangelle handcrafts this Roasted Walnut Oil in California strictly following the 150-year-old traditional methods of its French sister oil mill. It is slowly roasted, expeller-pressed and lightly filtered.
I have to admit I was in an oil rut. Olive oil will still remain number one in my kitchen, but this flavorful roasted oil is exceptional in salads and I also look forward to using it in pasta dishes as well. I plan to try their Roasted Pistachio and Toasted Pumpkin Seed oils, too.
How do you like my fabulous new platter? 
A gift from Father Adam. Thanks FA! 
It is Mikasa China, Venice Pattern, Made in Japan.  
I especially like the way the food reflects off the black rim.

An Extraordinary Dinner with Fellow Bloggers


A Salad of Steamed Baby Beets, Frisée , Cumin-Paprika Fried Organic Garbanzos, Shallots and Greek Feta

The inspiration for this dish came from our dinner at AOC. Here, organic garbanzo beans are fried in olive oil with diced shallot, smashed garlic clove, hot paprika, and ground cumin.


Organic frisée is layered with very thinly sliced shallots, steamed baby beets splashed with good red wine vinegar and sea salt and freshly ground pepper, topped with Greek feta cheese. Warm garbanzo beans with the cumin-paprika olive oil is spooned over the top. The red wine vinegar on the beets plus the fragrant olive oil on the beans makes a great “deconstructed” vinaigrette. (I am excited to submit this dish, too, to “My Legume Love Affair” Event by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook Blog).


Last week, the folks at Foodbuzz invited Featured Publishers to dine at Suzanne Goin’s awesome AOC restaurant in Los Angeles. Ben of Château Petrogasm blog selected the refreshingly esoteric wines to pair with this extraordinary meal including one of the few domaines that make excellent red Sancerre, Domaine Vacheron 2005. Ben’s wine blog of tasting notes through images is pure genius…

We dined together on a fabulous multi-course menu of:

  • chicken liver crostini with pancetta
  • roasted dates, parmesan and bacon
  • marinated beets, olives, fried chickpeas and feta
  • leek and cantal tart with thyme and pancetta
  • smoked trout, persimmon, endive and creme fraiche
  • petrale sole, split peas, ham hock and truffle butter
  • grilled skirt steak with roquefort butter
  • rabbit ragout with dijon, chestnuts and tarragon
  • chanterelles, ricotta gnocchi and sherry cream
  • sweet potatoes with bacon, romesco and spinach
  • sheep’s milk cheescake with cassis compote and almond croustine
  • chocolate and hazelnut dacquoise with gianduja mousse and salted caramel ice cream

  • Strangers just a few hours earlier, we departed after hugs and well wishes.

    Wonderful photos of all these dishes are posted at Foodbuzz Los Angeles by Jen of eating plum blog. If you think these dishes sound delicious, you must see her outstanding photography.
    You absolutely must visit Evie, she is hilarious. In her post on Mushroom Barley Soup, her advice on serving the soup is to “use a bowl, not a plate. These decisions can be so difficult.” Go to Hot Dish! to see what I mean.
    And Kat of Dirt Cake blog is the Pastry Cook at Spago Beverly Hills, lovely and very passionate about her craft…be sure to check out her yummy post on Oatmeal Cream Pie with a crème brûlée center.
    What is Foodbuzz?
    Foodbuzz: the first-ever community site devoted exclusively to food and dining content—an unparalleled resource for searching, surfing and sharing with fellow foodies everywhere.

    Maybe you already know Ryan the Girl, of The Pink Spoon blog and Managing Editor at Foodbuzz.com? If the future of Foodbuzz is determined by the quality of the people involved, it cannot help but be a smashing success.
    Before leaving AOC, I bought Suzanne Goin’s cookbook, Sunday Suppers at Lucques in which she penned, “Don’t wait til Sunday.” In addition to her fabulous recipes, she tells many charming personal stories. Her cooking style is pure and fresh and the book is an inspiration to cook local, organic, seasonal dishes using all the senses.


    A heartfelt thank you to the folks at Foodbuzz for hosting this event and especially for fostering a unique camaraderie among strangers with a like passion for all things food related.