Apr
25
2011
0


Why Did You Eat That: Someone’s in the Kitchen with Dinah

So, for Easter brunch, my dad came up and visited us.  We took him over to Dinah’s Restaurant for some eggs and outdoor seating.  Because you already know how I feel about brunch, I found it alarming that they had no idea what I was talking about when I requested a bellini.  They came back later and asked if I would instead like a mimosa.  Who am I to say, “no”?  Above is a photo of the mimosa that was brought to me.  I’m not complaining, because it’s three times the size of a normal mimosa and for seven dollars, you really can’t beat that.

However, all of this made it incredibly clear that I needed to make sure everyone knows how to properly prepare two of the best brunch beverages out there.  (A Bloody Mary would round out the list, but that’s far more complicated and deserves a post all to itself).  Below, please see the simple arithmetic of a boozy brunch:

Mimosa:

Bellini:

Now that’s an equation to which I have the solution.

xx,

WhyDid

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Apr
18
2011
0


Why Did You Eat That: Luna Eclipse

When I moved from New York, I thought the days of mornings extended into late afternoon brunches and bottomless mimosas were long gone.  In Los Angeles, brunch wasn’t really taken as seriously.  You see, in NY, brunch is treated as an Olympic sport.  This past weekend, however, we met up with some new friends in San Francisco (they call it “the city” here, but I feel adulterous doing so) for a ver lovely, very official brunch reminiscent of those in the Big Apple.

We ended up at a place called Luna Park and if you squinted your eyes (to block out the planted palm trees) you’d swear you were somewhere in the West Village.  After passing through a heavy velvet curtain, we were seated in a warm, crimson painted room.  Immediately our very pleasant waitress got us started on $12 bottomless mimosas (they also have 2 for 1 Bloody Mary’s) and each couple ordered a fried egg sandwich and the “Big French Toast.”  When I saw the “Big French Toast” I just thought they were being silly, but when my plate arrived, I realized they meant “big” quite literally.  While there was absolutely no way I could finish what was in front of me, I certainly tried.  It was like eating dessert for breakfast.  Top that off with a never depleting mimosa (the nectar of the gods) and I’m not sure what could make a Saturday morning much better.

Wanna throw a brilliant brunch of your own?  Check out this unbelievably delicious (and easy) French Toast recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) mascarpone, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 ounce 62 percent semisweet chocolate (to taste), melted and cooled
  • Twelve 1/4- to 3/8-inch slices day-old brioche
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons (1/2 to 1 ounce) unsalted butter
  • 62 percent semisweet chocolate for grating
  • Maple syrup, warmed

Directions:

  1. Combine the mascarpone, cream, and sugar in a small bowl. Add the melted chocolate, and mix until incorporated. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the mixture on one slice of brioche, and top with another slice. Repeat with the remaining slices, making 6 sandwiches.
  2. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and half-and-half.
  3. Preheat a nonstick griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter. Dip each sandwich in the egg and half-and-half, turning to soak both sides. Let any excess drip back in the bowl. Place the sandwich on the griddle. Repeat with only as many sandwiches as fit comfortably in the griddle, and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until golden. Transfer to a platter and cover to keep warm. Add more butter to the pan as necessary and cook the remaining sandwiches.
  4. Slice each sandwich in half on the diagonal, and serve 3 halves per person. Using a microplane, grate chocolate over the top. Serve with maple syrup.

bottoms up!

xx,

WhyDid

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Apr
11
2011
0


Why Did You Eat That: The Trouble with Truffle

I’ve mentioned my love of Cecconi’s and their goat cheese & black truffle ‘pregiato’ pizza and sadly, while I’ve moved to suburbia where I don’t have to choose between Five Guys and In N’ Out (we’ve got ‘em both), I also don’t have the liberty of strolling into Cecconi’s and ordering up the $48 dollar pizza of my dreams.  Being the resourceful girl that I am, I was able to do some reconnaissance work and find a (more than) suitable fill in.

Clearly, I couldn’t find the exact Cecconi’s recipe.  It’s not really up for sale and even if it were, it’d probably cost me a pretty penny.  I found a really great similar recipe from Guilty Kitchen and I must say, it very well may be the best dang pizza you’ve never made… yet.  It is a bit labor intensive, but it’s worth all the blood, sweat, and tears once you taste this heavenly pie.

The Best Dang Pizza You’ve Never Made… Yet.

For the crust :
(makes one large rectangle crust)

1/4 cup warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
2/3 cup water,  room temperature
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups whole grain whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
baking spray, butter or other fat (for greasing your bowl)

1. Place 1/2 a cup of water in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Sprinkle in yeast and add tsp. of sugar, stir and let rest 5-10 minutes.
2. Add room temperature water and olive oil to yeast mixture, stir.
3. Place flour and salt in bowl of electric mixer, fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on low for a few seconds.
4. Slowly pour yeast mixture into flour, mixing on low speed. Mix until dough begind to form and sides of bowl are clean. Rest for 5 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, change out the paddle attachment, for the dough hook. Mix for another 5-10 minutes, or until dough becomes smooth and elastic.
6. Oil a medium sized bowl, plop dough ball in, cover in plastic wrap and let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours in a warm place.
7. Punch down, roll out into a rectangle and fold edges in on themselves to make a small crust.

For the toppings:

1 large sweet onion (Vidalia, Walla Walla, etc)
1 tsp olive oil
1 12 oz bottle of amber (or darker) beer (minus three or four swigs for the chef!)
salt & fresh cracked pepper
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 cups brown mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp olive oil salt and fresh cracked pepper
2 fresh black mission figs, diced
2 oz. fresh goat’s cheese (chèvre)
sprinkling of black or white truffle oil

1. Peel onion, cut in half from top to bottom, slice into thin half moon slices.
2. In large, heavy bottomed saucepan, add oil, onions, s & p and sugar.
3. When onions have begun to soften, begin adding beer about a 1/4 cup at a time. Allow liquid to cook out completely before adding more. Essentially, you are deglazing the pan over and over again.
4. When all the beer is gone and pan has been deglazed a final time, set onions aside.
5. Slice mushrooms and grate, mince or crush up your garlic cloves. I’m not picky…
6. Add mushrooms and garlic, plus 1 tsp olive oil into saucepan (you could use the onion pan if you don’t want to clean more than one, I know that’s what I would do).
7. Sautée until mushrooms are fully cooked, set aside.

Time to get grilling!

1. Heat your grill to almost high. Brush olive oil onto the top of your crust (the side your toppings will eventually rest on). Toss onto oiled grill for 3-5 minutes.
2. Oil the bottom as the crust is grilling. When ready, flip over and grill the other side for another 3-5 minutes. Be gentle when flipping!
3. When done, remove to large baking tray.
4. Take your goat’s cheese and rub it all over the crust, kind of like a sauce. The heat from grilling will melt the cheese a bit and make it easier to spread.
5. Sprinkle on your onions, mushrooms and figs and more goat’s cheese if you want.
6. Here is where you can do two things to finish your pie. 1) Return to grill on medium heat and bake until cheese is melted and crust is golden and crispy OR 2) Set in 450-500°F oven and bake for about 10 minutes. Either way is fine.
7. When your pizza is ready, drizzle truffle oil over (not too much), cut into 8 pieces and serve. Delicious!

You can try it without the figs if you’d like, but I think they add another layer of flavor.  The pizza is fantastic either way.  As usual, you’re welcome.

xx,

WhyDid

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Apr
04
2011
0


Why Did You Eat That: Hunger, Party of One!

While I’m hopping on the Caltrain to San Francisco this morning, I am munching on a morning meal and thinking how happy I am my stomach isn’t rumbling.  Without food in my belly, I turn into a raving bitch.  (If ever we meet and I’m a bit irritable, it’s best to slip me a snack).  Most of us have very little time in the morning.  Whether we are commuting to work, heading to class, or off to an importtant appointment it’s crucial to take just a little bit of time to feed our faces (and brains and bodies) before starting our day.

While many people are under the impression that cutting the calories will cut their waistlines, the exact opposite is true.  Skimping on your first meal in the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day.  Your body spends the night slowing down in order to conserve energy.  This is also why you can go for hours without getting hungry.  In the morning you need to “break the fast” by waking up your metabolism.  People who have lost and successfully kept weight off start their days with a healthy breakfast and reports have repeatedly shown this.

Now, I understand that we not only don’t have time to fire up the griddle for pancakes but also can’t exactly travel with flapjacks and syrup in tow.  And I’m also aware how offensive snacking in public can be.  So, finding a happy medium is key.

Here are three “on the go” ways to start your day without ruining your diet or pissing of the passenger next to you:

Strawberry Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 banana, broken into chunks
  • 14 frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar

Directions:

In a blender, combine soy milk, oats, banana and strawberries. Add vanilla and sugar if desired. Blend until smooth. Pour into reusable mug and hit the road.

Low Fat Berry Parfait

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups greek yogurt
  • 2 cups your lowfat granola
  • 2 cups fresh berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries (sliced)
  • 4 tablespoons honey

Directions:

I take a cue from the deli’s of NY and make my yogurt to go in a plastic cup.  Add a layer of fruit covered by a layer or yogurt then granola and honey and repeat. Plop in a spoon and you’re good to go.

Healthy Harvest Breakfast Muffins

(Obviously, make these the night before and stash some for a snack in your bag).

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups oatmeal (whole grain)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ginger (fresh or powdered)
  • 2 cups bananas, ripe & mashed (about 4 medium)
  • 2/3 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup carrot, shredded
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almond
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Line muffin pan with cups, if desired.
  3. Squirt each cup with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Combine first 8 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well blended.
  5. In a separate smaller bowl combine next 5 ingredients (bananas – butter), stir until well blended.
  6. In another separate small bowl, combine next 6 ingredients (almonds – nutmeg) for muffin topping.
  7. Add banana mixture to the flour mixture along with the raisins, if you desire.
  8. STIR JUST UNTIL MOISTENED. Do not over stir.
  9. Fill muffin cups 2/3 way full.
  10. Press enough of the brown sugar-nut topping into each muffin to cover the top, and to your taste. About 2 Tbsp per muffin.
  11. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes, until the muffin springs back when lightly touched.
  12. Makes 16 small muffins, or 8 giant-sized muffins.

You can’t rule the world on an empty stomach.

xx,

WhyDid

Photo via Nick Suydam

 

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Mar
20
2011
0


Why Did You Eat That: Follow the Yellow Brick Road

This past weekend we met some friends for dinner in Culver City.  We tried a place that none of us had been – to save the embarrassment it will remain nameless.  The company was great.  The food, not so much.

To try and make up for our hellacious dinner, we headed over a few blocks to the Culver Hotel to grab a drink.  I obviously had never heard of the place, but was pleased upon arrival.  It looked like an old building in Tribeca and the room where the hotel bar was located had soaring ceilings and all of the old world charm from when it opened back in 1924.  Not only is the room impressive, so is the history.  With more rumored scandal surrounding it than Lindsay Lohan, just being in the place makes you feel like a part of the legend.  Some of the stories include hidden passageways during prohibition to sneak in women and booze, housing the munchkins from the Wizard of Oz, and late night high stake poker games.  Talk about old Hollywood.

I would definitely try and avoid showing up during the “live entertainment” however.  There was live singing halfway through our visit and not only did it clear the place out, it didn’t suit the vibe of the room or the crowd.  We couldn’t wait to finish our cocktails and hit the yellow brick road.

Can’t make it to the Culver?  Sip on this:

Marilyn Monroe:

  • 1oz apple brandy
  • 4oz champagne or sparkling wine
  • 1 dash grenadine syrup
  • cherry

off to see the Wizard!

xx,

WhyDid

 

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