Friday, August 20, 2010

Cucumber Gimlets!

It's been a while! Since school ended, I've gone to New York, got hired and not hired at Pinkberry, danced at Faith Evans' CD release party at Compartes Chocolatier, back to New York again, spend the day in Santa Barbara, and been a lazy person at the beach! So thats why updating has been a little challenging....

Anyway, this week in Los Angeles has been the hottest this year and people are out everywhere! I have also noticed Happy Hours popping up everywhere. The Lobster in Santa Monica, Sor Tino in my very own Brentwood, and Martini Mondays! With Kevin's request for Cucumber as a featured ingredient (specifically not in a salad) I have decided make Cucumber Gimlets. The crisp cucmbers brigten the summer drink and leave you wiht someting crunchy! (Guilt free? hahah!)

Cucumbers are grown vinelike, with leaves that grow over the fruit. They're grown and can be eaten raw from the ground..after being washed! ;) In the US they are mostly grown in greenhouses' and in Europe, outside where they are are pollenated by bees.

They originate from India and have been cultivated in Western Asia and by the Romans for thousands of years. Roman Emperor Tiberius ate cucumbers throughout the year, due to his own greenhouse method of growing them. Romans also used cucumbers to heal scorpion bites, improve eye sight, and to scare away mice.

There are many types of cucumbers that range from size and taste. English Cucumbers are very large and almost seedless, commonly found in most supermarkets wrapped in plastic! Asian Cucumbers have darker green skins and are smaller and mild. Persian Cucumbers, my favorite; are crisp, small and seedless. All cucumbers can be prepared savory, and for a surprise to compliment something sweet! (Have you tried Watermelon Pinkberry with persian cucumber?? Delish!)

Ok! Drink time!!

Cucumber Gimlet

2 english cucumber
1 persian cucumber
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon simple syrup (boil equal amounts of water and sugar, let cool)
mint leaves
1/2 cup gin

Peel, and cut cucumbers. Use a juicer or food processor to make a puree. Strain puree so it is smooth, and clear.

Add gin, simple syrup, and lime juice to cucumber juice and stir.

In individual glasses, place mint leaves, and ice, and pour cucumber juice over it.

Take a yoga class or a run at the beach!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ice Cream...yes please

I want ice cream I think.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Why do we eat Matzah?

Matzah, matzos, matzah balls, brei, meal. I don't care I love it. This unleavened bread or cracker bread is a comfort food for me, and a very serious symbolic food that is mandatory for Jews to eat for seven days during the holiday of Passover.

This bread is made simply of water and flour and is made in a quick baking process. Because the Jews leaving Egypt had no time to wait for their bread to rise, Matzah was born! Today it symbolizes redemption, and freedom. Matzah is the most popular Passover food because for all carbohydrate addicts (thats me) this is withdrawal week and Matzah is the only bread like food allowed to eat. I don't mind though because 'm not strict and I really enjoy Matzah.

Top this flat bread with butter, honey, tomato sauce and cheese, cheese. Get creative. Or not your choice.
I don't believe there are any health benefits of Matzah. Maybe lower calories. Sorry I should have researched better.

My cousin Becky gave me an idea to make a Matzah Lasagna so here is my take!

Vegetable Matzah Lasagna
4-5 pieces of Matzah
2 cups tomato sauce
1 onion chopped
2 small zucchinis cut
1 small yellow squash cut
1 cup spinach
1/2 cup cheese (Mozzarella, for dani vegan cheese)
2 tbs olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste (Red pepper flakes or Italian seasoning good too)

In a sauté pan, cook vegetables in olive oil until cooked. (Add salt, pepper etc.) Add tomato sauce to vegetables. Now, assemble the lasagna substituting pasta with matzah alternating matzah and tomato sauce vegetables. On the top layer, add excess tomato sauce and top with cheese. Bake for 15 minutes at 350. Okay see ya!!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Artichokes are in Season

Hello artichokes!!!!! I've missed you!
This morning the Brentwood Farmers Market was filled with large artichokes! They are not only delicious but beautiful and really interesting. Sometimes you get lucky with reddish colored flowers towards the center. I wish out artichoke plant grew properly but these are just fine too :) (Also, I am trying to figure out the sunchoke. Will get back to that)

Artichokes are native to Southern Europe and the Mediterranean and are made up of the flowers with edible buds and heart or choke. They are eaten and grown everywhere, but cultivated in Sicily during Greek and Roman rule. They are also cultivated in Naples, where artichokes are popularly used in appetizers and entrees.

Today, artichokes are eaten and grown almost everywhere. In the US, they are popularly eaten with butter, lemon juice, hollandaise, or garlic and olive oil. In Italy, artichoke hearts are eaten in oil, alone or to top a pizza. In Spain, artichokes are mixed in paella, sauteed in olive oil, or in a frittata. YUM!

My recipe is for a dipping sauce to accompany a boiled artichoke.

Ginger Garlic Olive Oil
1 tbs fresh peeled ginger
2 garlic cloves peeled
3-4 tbs extra virgin olive oil

In a a semi heated sauté pan, add olive oil. Before it boils, add garlic and ginger. Let the flavors catch without burning the ginger and garlic. Do this for like 3-4 minuets. Transfer the oil into small dipping bowls (with or without the gingergarlic your preference). Serve this with a boiled artichoke and you will please your guests and yourself with a spicy fresh tasting treat!

And this is how you prepare an artichoke.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Smells Like Summer!

This is weird because my last post was for cold weather, but that is what you get in Los Angeles! Its 90 degrees today and I love it!!!! It's extra nice because after eating grilled cheese and tomato soup, this weather calls for lighter food.
I have wanted to give a good broccoli recipe and here is my chance!

Broccoli is a fairly large plant that is fully eidible from its flowers to stalk. It is green in color and from the cabbage family. It resembles cauliflower but is much different in taste!
Broccoli is high in Vitamin C, K, and Agood for preventing some cancers, and heart disease. Purple broccoli and brussel sprouts are also from the same family.
I mostly prefer Broccolini, but broccoli is also great when done up like this.

Lemon Roasted Broccoli
1-2 cups broccoli, cut up and washed
olive oil
lemon juice
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes (if you like some spice)

Place cut broccoli on a baking sheet with parchment paper or silkmat, and coat lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast them at 300* for 15 minutes. When you remove the broccoli, add lemon juice and red pepper flakes. Serve warm! Crunchy, flavorful, and a good summer meal! YUMM

Thursday, March 11, 2010

YUM! im cold

Eat this while its still cold out. The perfect winter meal. Maybe i'm getting sick or something I dont know.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Delicious! Edamame are not only tasty but important! I guess not so much when there drenched in garlic and oil but there tasty like that. I like them because there fun to eat and the texture is nutty and creamy.

Edamame are are Japanese green soy beans almost always prepared boiled or steamed. They can be cut from their pods or eaten whole.
Dr. Oz, and I (of course) recommends to eat edamame because of all its health benefits. Edamame is a source of fiber, protein, Vitamin C, iron, Vitamin A, and calcium! They're great! Just like all things, edamame shouldn't be eaten solely but sparingly if you eat a lot of other soy products. Edamame is one of my favorite sources of soy because its natural and can be eaten in different ways.

BLD restaurant on Beverly Blvd.. serves a delicious vegetable salad with edamame beans as the main ingredient. Its not only delicious but beautiful!
Everyone should check this place out, and if you don't like edamame or salad, you will enjoy anything you get there. Pancakes? Yes please!!

BLD's Vegetable Salad ( a little different)

1/2 cup edamame beans, whole
red bell pepper
any nut or seed (cashews, almonds, pine nuts, sunflower seeds) would be good!
Whole Foods ginger vinaigrette dressing

Cut up all ingredients and toss with dressing. Add as much or as little of each ingredient as you like. A pesto dressing would also be great!!!!(i love pesto)

Heres BLD's website:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Blood Orange versus Orange-Orange

I love all types of oranges in general but blood oranges especially. They're distict color and bitter fruity taste are unique from an "orange" orange, so they really only share a smillar texture.(At least I think so) They aren't available year round so look out for them at your farmers markets and grab them while they are in season!

There are three types of Blood Oranges that are popular from where they are grown. The Tarocco is grown throughout Europe but mostly used in Italy. The Sanguinello is from Spain, and the Moro is what is grown in the US. These three types vary by rind color, seeds, size, and taste. MMM I just got sidetracked. "blood orange-cello"

Anyway, blood oranges like most citrus have a good amount of Vitamin C, fiber, iron and calcium. Because blood oranges are a dark fruit, they are an antioxidant. They also reduce risk of heart disease, some cancers, and lower high cholesterol.

When I think of blood oranges I think of Di Dio's Italian Ice in Santa Monica. ( They're Blood Orange ice is incredible. I don't know much how they make it, but its worth a try if your in the neighborhood. Really! I haven't tried anything like it.
I also don't really have a recipe of my own for this ingredient because I like it all by itself! It is a perfect treat!
I did grab this recipe when doing some research though

Blood Orange Fennel Salad
1-2 blood oranges cut
1 "orange" orange also cut
1 fennel bulb chopped
olive oil

Toss this salad together for a light (on the oliveoil) spring salad! If you want more Blood Orange to this, try juicing it instead of "orange" orange juice for a Mimosa! YUM!

(this entry might sound crazy-I'm tired so goodnight!)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Avocados la di di da da

First, I apologize, its been a while.

So, one of my all time favorite ingredients is avocado. I enjoy this buttery fruit alone. Kind of crazy and I know this isn't normal because i've seen the filthy looks when I eat avocado halves plain. Oh well! Anyway, avocados are so diverse, I just don't know where to begin!

Avocados are in fact FRUIT! That seed cant hide! It grows in trees from the Caribbean, Mexico, South America, Central America, and good for me, also plenty in California!
There are many types of avocados including the most popular, Hass which is grown year round and become medium sized with a nutty butter flavor. The Gwen, Pinkerton, and Reed are some other less popular but delicious type of avocados.

Avocados were known as the fertility fruit by Aztecs. It also can be used to clear skin as a natural facial masque.

For me, avocados are a big part of my diet as a vegetarian and is a great meat or cheese alternative. I especially like it in salads for great texture and heartiness. For any vegetarian, avocado sushi is the easiest way to enjoy the sushi experience without being left with a unsatisfying salad. Check out Shojin Restaurant, their sushi is vegan and worth a drive to Little Tokyo!
So we are missing THE avocado dish.

for 2 people
1-2 large avocados
1/2 onion chopped (sauté these if you want to try your guacamole differently)
1/2 cup fresh cut cilantro
1/2 or 1 jalapeno, cut in half with seeds removed and chopped (keep some seeds if you like it hot!)(but don't touch your face after handling!)
Lime juice to taste (you can use lemon whatever just remove the seeds)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Remove the avocado meat from the skin and seed. Put avocados in a bowl and start to mash to your texture preference. Add the onions, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice and salt and pepper. Enjoy with some chips, carrots and celery, or to top your burger, salad, quesadilla, the options are unlimited! - summer took me here and we cant wait to go back. take us. we will love you a little.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Watermelon Man

Watermelon is so good!!!! Everyone has seen or eaten watermelon..(I think), it's big oval shape, and striking color contrast is recognizable from a distance. Watermelon is the perfect summer treat, decoration, and family favorite!

Watermelon is a plant and a fruit, because it is grown vine-like but is also a melon. Interesting!! Watermelon is originally from Southern Africa, where it is grown wild. Watermelons was the first fruit to be cultivated outside of its origin and grown in the Nile Valley, recorded as early as 2000 BC and later grown in China. Today, China is the largest growers of watermelon. As watermelon became popular around the world, it was introduced to North American Natives in the 1500's, who grew it along the Mississippi Valley. Today, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California are the largest watermelon growers in the United States.

Watermelon contains 6% sugar and 92% water and is a source of Vitamin C. Although the rind is not usually eaten, it is edible and contains many nutrients. In China, the rind is popularly eaten in stir fried dishes, stewed, and pickled. In Vietnamese culture, watermelon seeds are eaten for good luck on New Years. Watermelon is also Oklahoma State's official vegetable. From my research, I think everyone has seen or eaten a watermelon!

This recipe is suppose to be eaten as a snack, side dish for a breakfast, or an after dinner light dessert.

1 Full Watermelon, cut into large pieces, or small pieces (depends on what you like)
1/2 cup pistachios chopped
1/2 lime or lemon, whatever you like (lemon lime soda works too and its nice)

Cut watermelon and put onto a large serving platter removing extra juice. Add chopped pistachios and lemon or lime juice or lemon-lime soda and toss gently until watermelon is coated thoroughly with pistachios.

(By the way, sorry for the pause in posting. I don't understand computers.)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Beets, Beets, Beets

Wow! There is so much information about beets! Where do I begin?!
Beets are known for their stainable red juice, that is a little lighter than pomegranate juice. Beets are plants that are grown with long leafy stems, called chard that are also rich in flavor and used in many dishes. Beets have been traced back to Babylonia and and China from dates 8 BC to 850 BC.

The entire plant can be eaten from the Swiss Chard to the beet, which is all beneficial to humans. The chard can be eaten boiled, or stir fried. The beet can be boiled, cooked, cold in a salad, pickled, or prepared where it is the main ingredient in the famous beet dish, Borscht.

Beets are used as alternative medicine to protect diabetic livers, fevers, as well as lowering blood pressure. It was used in the Middle Ages to help blood and digestive diseases. It was also used as an aphrodisiac. Who knew?!

My recipe is drink that makes you feel better and can only benefit you!

For one serving,
1 beet
2 small carrots
1/2 orange
small amount of ginger root

Juice all ingredients with juicer and enjoy a spicy drink!

Pink Lady Apple: The blushing apple crossover!

On my list of favorite ingredients, the pink lady apple is one of the only red apples (besides candy apples) I enjoy. It is versatile enough to be eaten alone, with a little honey, or in a salad. If the pink lady apple is the star of the dish, or used as a garnish, it always stands out for its unique tart taste, blushing color, and juicy crisp bite!

The pink lady apple is a cross between a Lady Williams and Red Delicious originally bred by John Cripps. The pink lady apple is also named Cripps Pink, after its breeder.

Pink lady apples are shaped ellipsoid, large enough for a heardy snack or to be used sparignly as they are rare to find throughout the world. They are mostly grown in Austrailia, but are also growing in New Zealand, Washington, and California.

For my Pink Lady apple recipe, I wanted the apple to be a component in a salad to be enjoyed for its texture in comparison to a lettuce.

Pink Lady Apple Goat Cheese Arugula Salad
1 large Pink Lady apple, washed and cut in long pieces
1/2 bunches of Arugula, washed and dried
Enough goat cheese as you enjoy (use carefully, its good but can overpower your meal)
2 tbs good olive oil
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
little bit of fresh lemon juice

Construct your salad with arugula at bottom, pink lady apples tossed in, and goat cheese on top. Separately, make your salad dressing string with a fork and add however much you like ;)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fennel & Mint Iced Tea! Oh My!

I am having a lot of ADD problems today so it has taken me a while to start this entry but here I am! Okay! I have not moved from watching the Jersey Shore all day and I was thinking "Giudo's drink a lot" then i thought, "I'll" write about Fennel and Mint Iced Tea!!" So thank you Pauly D and Snookie for drinking a lot, because I wouldn't know what else to write about today.

I love fennel! The natural licorice taste that's fresh, subtle, but adds a distinct flavor to anything its added to. Fennel comes from the Mediterranean and is grown near seas and rivers. Fennel has a bulb shape root with stems that have leaves and small flowers. It's licorice flavor comes from anethole, also found in anise, another individual ingredient with a stronger licorice flavor.

Fennel is used as an medical alternative to numb teeth aches, improve eyesight, digestive system, and concentration! (that would help about now)

Fennel can be eaten cooked or raw, in salads, risottos, breads, and more. In this recipe, the fennel's flavor is highlighted by the mint for a refreshing drink!

Fennel and Mint Iced Tea
4 cups water
1 large fennel bulb, cleaned and cut into small pieces (no stems or leaves)
1/4 cup fresh mint
4 tea bags of your choice

Bring water to boil. Add fennel pieces, mint to water. Stir for 3 minutes. Add in tea bags until water turns color. Remove tea bags and let tea cool. Transfer your tea into glass pitcher and refrigerate. Let cool for a couple hours and enjoy!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Green Bean, String Bean, Haricot?! What's the difference?!

I wondered what the difference between green beans and string beans is. All I knew before my research was that, I do not like the beans that are in the can, already cut, sometimes sour and full of water, but I do like the fresh, rough, long beans that are bagged at Whole Foods! But why would they have two names for the same thing? Is that a cruel joke they want to play on the consumer? Here we go!

Well the difference is... Green beans are the canned beans, topped on salads, put in casseroles, and look like something that can be put next to martini onions. String beans, are the bagged ones I like! And Haricots are also string beans (only longer and thinner) but are special because they are prepared by the French. Oh lala! Thank goodness for!

String Beans are high in vitamin C, when raw or slightly cooked, but loose a lot of the nutrients naturally in them when baked in a casserole surrounded by cream of mushroom! yuck! (not that I have anything against it..) There are over 130 types of string beans and each are distinguished by they're own flavor, color, and shape of those cute little pods!

So...Green bean casserole? No thank you. But I will take gingered string beans! MMM MM MMM!
My recipe for gingered string beans can be eaten alone, over rice, or as a side dish to refresh your palate. And the recipe is super easy so anyone can try it!

Gingered String Beans
1 bag string beans, cut and washed
1 whole ginger, fresh, peeled, and chopped into slices
2 garlic cloves, fresh, crushed
Olive oil
cayenne pepper
sea salt
fresh ground pepper

In a sauté pan, begin with olive oil to coat the pan thinly on medium heat. In hot oil, add garlic and ginger for oil to take on flavor of these also, special ingredients.(don't taste the oil, just don't let the garlic burn) Add in beans and continue mixing until fully coated. Allow beans to cook until they don't look raw anymore, but still have a firm texture. Here, you can taste your beans and decide CAYENNE OR NO CAYENNE! A little wont hurt you, but some people are sensitive to the spice the ginger already gives. So, once you've decided, add your cayenne, salt and pepper to taste and enjoy you healthy, sinus clearing, vitamin C giving ingredient! String Beans!

Rhubarb: The Crimson Celery

Rhubarb: The "Red Celery" Looking Plant

I chose Rhubarb as the first ingredient for individual.ingredients. Honestly, my mom bought some a couple hours ago and I thought "I hope she makes something with it right now so I don't eat a bag of oreos and ice cream". I enjoy a Rhubarb pie, or Rhubarb marmalade, but thought...what else can be done with it. I was also curious about where it came from, why it looks so much like celery, and why its sweet?

When Rhubarb is in the produce area of the market, it is cut from its toxic leaves, cleaned, sometimes packaged, and always starred at with confused looks. The big questions are "What do I do with that?", "Why is that celery red?", at least in LA, anyway...

Rhubarb is grown in hothouses for the consumer to make into a gooey pie filling overflowing onto flakey crust with vanilla ice cream melting slowly on top. But, it originally was grown in Asia, wild by the River Volga, and later grown and used as medical remedies by the Mongolians. Rhubarb came to America with European settlers and moved to be grown in the heated areas of the West.

Well, thankfully my mom did make something out of this interesting plant! Rhubarbsauce with white chocolate sauce! (not the best health option either but it will do)
I am not quite sure what she did, but this is what I would do!

1-1/2 pounds Rhubarb cut in 3 or 4 inch stalks
1/4 cup water
1 to 1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 tsp cornstarch and water

Arrange the rhubarb, water, sugar, and salt in a pot over the stove. On Medium heat, allow the ingredients to become a sauce. Add cinnamon and nutmeg. Add a small amount of cornstarch water mixture to the sauce to thicken. Stir until consistency is how you like. Put rhubarbsauce into small glass cups and set in refrigerator. Let cool!

White Chocolate Sauce
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 tbs butter

In a double boiler, add butter to top pan until melted. Add white chocolate chips to melted butter. Stir until chocolate is continuously smooth and shiny. When rhubarbsauce is cooled, remove from refrigerator and drizzle white chocolate sauce on top in any beautiful design your heart desires.


Food is not only something you grab quickly so you don't have a headache later, or a "material that provides carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals", but when stripped down to the basic ingredients is something unusual to the busy city people that take for granted what they eat everyday.

individual.ingredients' goal is to explore, and experience, new and familiar foods by understanding where the ingredient comes from, and how it can be cooked to to enjoy its flavor to its fullest capacity.

Through this blog, I want to learn and share what pleasures the world has given us, in its most basic form, and how these ingredients can be enjoyed by everyone with a simple recipe.