Fava Beans with Meyer Lemon, The Vegetable Diva

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fava Beans, the Vegetable Diva
Fava Beans with Meyer Lemons

It's Fava Bean season! It's a bit early (the farmer's market vendor says it has been so hot in Central California that things are burning up and coming up early). The season is pretty short so get them when you see them.

And get them when you are full of peaceful zen and patience.

To me, Fava Beans are vegetable divas. They require TWO peelings. But there is a reason why Mother Nature gave it so much padding - to protect it's yummy center.

Fava Beans, the Vegetable Diva
Russ Parson's of the Los Angeles Times recommends buying a POUND of fava beans PER PERSON. Serious. There is a lot of organic compostable waste in fava beans.

First, you remove the pods from the bean.

Then, blanch the pods in boiling water for a minute or so.

The pods look milky white. But you aren't done. You need to remove that white layer to grab the beautiful green fava bean.

Fava Beans, the Vegetable Diva Fava Beans, the Vegetable Diva
To get the bean out, I split the white layer with my nail. You can't just pop it out. You need to peel/slit the outer cover. Dude, I warned you. DIVA VEGETABLE.

Finally, after getting to the fava, you might be exhausted. So go simple and saute the beans with some olive oil and Meyer lemon zest. Finish with some good sea salt and cracked pepper.

Here are some other pretty things I found at the Farmer's Market. I'll post something I made with these strawberries this week!

Fava Beans with Meyer Lemon

Fava Beans, the Vegetable Diva
1. Listen to an audiobook and get the fava beans out of the pods.
2. Blanch beans for a minute or so.
3. Remove the outer milky layer to reveal a bright green bean.
4. Saute beans in olive oil.
5. Zest a lemon into the pan, to taste.
6. Top with sea salt and cracked pepper. Serve immediately (well, after you take a photo! :)

Here's some other recipes:
LA Times: 6 Recipes for Fava Beans
The Kitchn: 5 Ways to Cook Fava Beans
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red | seven restaurant - Wolfgang Puck - West Hollywood

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

red | seven restaurant, west hollywood
red | seven by wolfgang puck
west hollywood

The other day, I enjoyed lunch at red | seven restaurant in West Hollywood. Located in the Pacific Design Center (blue building), it's one of Wolfgang Puck's restaurants.

I have so many memories of the Pacific Design Center. Oh no. Not what you think... I was definitely not shopping there with an interior designer (non-profit salary = garage sales & Ikea). But my former workplace, Project Angel Food held an annual fundraiser called Divine Design in the PDC (they still have it every December, but the location has changed). We received donated fashion and furnishings and sold it at discounted prices. My co-workers and I (you know who you are Safe Cozy and Zipper Friend) were in the PDC for days on end - setting up for the special event, training volunteers, selling merchandise and carrying walkie talkies all day (this was 17-18 years ago and no one had cell phones). Before that, I was in the PDC volunteering for The NAMES Project: AIDS Memorial Quilt exhibit. Sorry to go take you on a stroll down memory lane when all you really want to hear about is my lunch...but the PDC holds very different memories than most, and they don't involve $10,000 foot stools. 

Anyway, back to lunch! It was my first time at red seven and I really enjoyed it. It's only open for lunch M-F.

There were several people at lunch and they indulged me in taking photos with my cell phone and the VSCO Camera app for Android. I've trained my friends and family well. :)

Here is what we had:

red | seven restaurant, west hollywood
The balsamic reduction is delicious in this rich olive oil.

red | seven restaurant, west hollywood
Miso Salmon
rice gnocchi, stir fry vegetables, miso aioli (i scratched the aioli) $16
This was my meal and it was very good. The menu had "rice gnocchi" and I didn't know what that was...turns out it is mochi or rice cake slices (you can find them in Chinese and Korean cuisine). What? A combo of salmon, miso and my favorite mochi? Deliciousness. 

red | seven restaurant, west hollywood
red | seven Burger
cheddar cheese, pickles, bacon, remoulade, brioche bun, with fries $16
Two of the guys got this. They said it was tasty but the "medium" they ordered was more on the "medium rare" side. The choice of sides include fries, sweet potato fries, or a mix. I'd like to try the sweet potato fries one day. I'm a sucker for them. The bun is brioche and I told them about making brioche - and discovering it's just a butter delivery device. But don't worry, one of the guys ran a 5K obstacle course over the weekend so he already worked it off. :) (And that was a completely random "review" of the burger)

red | seven restaurant, west hollywood
Turkey Cobb Salad
with avocado, egg, bacon, tomato, blue cheese, balsamic $12
Lovely presentation on the cobb salad and a perfect portion for lunch. 

red | seven restaurant, west hollywood
Quinoa and Beet Salad
goat cheese, orange, arugula, pistachio, citrus dressing $15

red | seven restaurant, west hollywood
Tuna Salad Sandwich
avocado, smoked bacon, rustic roll, with fries $14

The restaurant wasn't crowded on a Monday for lunch, and the decor is subtle and relaxing. The wait staff was super friendly too. 

If you are in West Hollywood, try the red seven restaurant. It's in the PDC, which is across the street from the beautiful new West Hollywood Library - you should definitely go to the second floor and see a great view of the Hollywood Hills. (My plug for libraries of the day - Done.)

Pacific Design Center
West Hollywood, California
Monday-Friday for Lunch
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Nigella's Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Nigella's Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

I can't find my digital scale. Eeck.

Due to some home improvements, things were moved around and crammed in other areas of the house and the garage. And I don't know where the digital scale went! Eeck. I use it all the time and feel like my arm is cut off when baking without it. Oh, and I can't find my camera too. It's kinda a disaster in the making. I'm lucky to have gotten these muffins out the door. I'll keep you posted on the lost and found that is the house.

Nigella's Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins
These are Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins. They have some cocoa powder and chocolate chips. I switched regular chocolate chips for mini chips because mini chips are cuter.

Nigella's Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins
I really liked this recipe. Super easy to make and the texture was very good. I made them two days in a row and will definitely make them again in the future!

Let's hope my scale and camera show up soon!
(These photos were taken on my Samsung 4S phone with the VSCOcam app)

I slightly adapted Nigella's recipe from the Food Network

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons good quality cocoa powder (I used Callebaut dutch chocolate)
3/4 cup superfine sugar (one time, I used granulated sugar and it turned out fine)
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling on top (1 cup total chips - I used mini semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1 cup milk (I used whole milk)
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Line a muffin tin with liners.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
3. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, sugar, and 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips.
4. In a measuring cup, mix together the oil, milk, egg and vanilla together.
5. Pour the liquids over the dry ingredients and mix together. Don't overmix - it's fine if it's lumpy.
6. Scoop into muffin tin.
7. Sprinkle the 1/4 cup of chocolate chips on top.
8. Bake for 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
Makes 12 muffins.
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Sour Cream Bisquick Biscuits

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sour Cream Bisquick Biscuits
Sour Cream Bisquick Biscuits

This is total comfort food. 
Sour Cream.
Old school recipe. 

After all that happened this month so far, I needed comfort food and these are the ticket.

My mom used to make these biscuits when I was little. My cousin makes them small and I think they are better that way (and you can eat more).

My cousin has an index card written by her mom. I'm sure you can make this all from scratch, but Bisquick has a special place in my memory and it's foolproof.

Sour Cream Bisquick Biscuits
On Sunday, I went to my parent's house and made some little ham and egg biscuits.

Sour Cream Bisquick Biscuits
This is super easy to make. Just some Bisquick, sour cream, a bit of sugar, baking soda and an egg.

Sour Cream Bisquick Biscuits

I made mini biscuits with a one-inch (or so) circle because they are cute and you can eat a bunch. Sure, if you count the calories, it's all the same, but I'm always more satisfied if I can eat four small ones instead of only one big one.:)

By the way, I only had my cell phone camera to take these photos. Sorry about the quality. But the quality of the biscuits? Yummmmmmy.

Sour Cream Bisquick Biscuits

Mix together in one bowl:
2 1/2 cups Bisquick
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Mix together in a small bowl:
1 cup sour cream
1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Pour the wet mixture onto the Bisquick bowl. 
3. Stir until just combined. Don't overmix.
4. Knead dough 5-7 times on a flour or Bisquick covered surface.
5. Pat or roll out and cut into desired shape.
6. Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown on top and bottom (depends on how big you make them - around 12-20 minutes)
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My March Madness: Hospitals, Family and Comfort Food

Hello Spring.

Hello Spring! My last post was about winter...and now we are in spring. Where have I been? (Thanks to the readers who checked in with me during my absence!)

Here's a short rundown of my March so far:

81-year old father falls.
Fractures ribs.
Trip to the ER.
Passes out at home.
Ambulance to the hospital.
"Well, there is fluid by the lungs...Let's figure that out."
Blood cell count very low.
Blood transfusion.
"Turns out that fluid is blood. Let's stick a massive needle in and drain it." (For future reference: You should never watch this like I did. Just saying.)
Three nights in Kaiser with my mom and dad. Great doctors and nurses, not so great cafeteria.
So many more trips to doctors (internist, lung specialist, neurologist, physical medicine).
Dad gets a Parkinson's diagnosis and new medications.
Stay in my old room at my parent's house helping out.
Hire a home health aide to help my mom.
Fill out FMLA paperwork at the office.
My friends, family, parent's neighbors were awesome! We've received food, care packages, cards, visits and my friend brought be best give ever to the hospital: Tall Decaf Soy No Foam Latte.
And... I've talked, texted and saw my brother more than I've ever seen him in my life!

Whew. That's the basic family stuff.

The other reason I've been off the blog? My cousin is doing some home improvements and we had to empty areas of the house for painting and wood floor refinishing. No kitchen = No baking.

But I'm starting to move some items back into the kitchen (when I'm here and not at my parent's house) so I have a little something to post. Coming up next - total comfort food. Sour Cream Bisquick Biscuits.

To those who follow me on Instagram and Twitter and followed my dad's tale, thank you for the support! My parent's don't get that strangers were sending them prayers and love when I read them the messages. But it worked! :)

Hope to come back to the blog soon! Thanks, Mary the Food Librarian

 My cute mom and dad say "Thank You!" for the prayers and support!  Dad liking his cake brought over by the neighbors
Left: My parents after they got home from the hospital.
Right: My dad's appetite isn't great, but he can sure eat cake! :)

P.S. Go UCLA Bruins! Sweet Sixteen! That's the much better March Madness.

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My Winter Vortex

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Dry Chocolate Muffins
I can't believe it's February.
And February 8th.
What happened?

Anyway, I tried a recipe for double chocolate muffins. See above. Pretty, huh? Well, they were dry. I thought it was me so I made them again. Dry again. So...that recipe needs some alterations, or I'll try another cookbook.

So, instead of a recipe, I'm leaving you with photos of our Los Angeles winter. We finally had some rain earlier this week (we so need rain as we are in a MEGA drought), and it cleared everything up. The Farmer's Market was packed and the beach was full of volleyball players, runners, bikers, and sailboats in the ocean.

I'll probably never be able to afford the real estate here, but I can't imagine living anywhere else. If you are in a cold place, I hope it's not too bad...and come out to visit us in Los Angeles when you get a chance. :)

Go Olympics! I support the athletes and respect their hard work and dedication, but Putin...so wrong.

- mary

Farmers Market in February 2014 Farmers Market in February 2014
Farmers Market in February 2014 Farmers Market in February 2014 Farmers Market in February 2014 Farmers Market in February 2014 Farmers Market in February 2014 Farmers Market in February 2014  Farmers Market in February 2014 Farmers Market in February 2014 Farmers Market in February 2014 Farmers Market in February 2014
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Spreads Cookies by Pioneer Woman

Monday, January 27, 2014

Spreads Cookies (Pioneer Woman recipe)
Spreads by The Pioneer Woman

On Saturday morning, I turned on the DVR and found a new episode of Ree Drummond in The Pioneer Woman Food Network show. It was all about football camp with her making 120 sandwiches and these "Spreads" cookies for the football camp boys.

Spreads Cookies (Pioneer Woman recipe)
Spreads are the often requested treat of Ree's older brother and it's basically a cookie dough topped with melted chocolate chips. In her 2009 post on her blog, she doesn't top it with extra stuff, but on the show, she went crazy and filled it with toppings.

Spreads Cookies (Pioneer Woman recipe)
On this spread, I topped it with two types of candy sprinkles.

Spreads Cookies (Pioneer Woman recipe)
This was topped with Heath English Toffee Bits. I just love these. They go great in scones too (see this recipe)

Spreads Cookies (Pioneer Woman recipe)
The dough is very close to a cookie dough and you simply spread it on a baking sheet. After it bakes for 15-20 minutes, you take it out and place chocolate chips on top. Then it goes back in the oven for 1 more minute (just long enough to soften the chips) and then you spread them out with your offset spatula. Seriously easy peasy.

Spreads Cookies (Pioneer Woman recipe)
After they chill out, you can cut the spreads into any size pieces. I found it helpful to refrigerate them for 15 minutes before cutting.

Spreads Cookies (Pioneer Woman recipe)
I made one batch and split it between two quarter-sheet pans. You can make one big spread, or smaller individual ones too. On the show, she topped one with this crazy s'mores gone wild: crushed graham crackers, mini marshmallows, M&Ms and caramel sauce.

Cidney the Girl Dog
Cidney the Girl Dog was hanging out on her Costco doggie bed (the cover was in the wash) while I made the Spreads. I'm not sure she liked me interrupting her rest. :)

Spreads by The Pioneer Woman
See her original recipe (2009) and from the Food Network

1 cup (200 grams) light brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 large egg
2 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda (I added this, not in the original recipe)
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 - 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used 8 ounces, but I think 6 ounces would be fine)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place parchment paper on a half-sheet or quarter-sheet pan. The Pioneer Woman does not use parchment, but I find the clean up easier with parchment.
3a. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.
3b. With an electric mixer and paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add the egg and blend together, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
5. Add the vanilla and blend.
6. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour and salt and blend until just combined.
7. With an offset spatula, spread dough on the baking pan to a thickness of 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Don't spread it the edges of the pan.
8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown on the edges.
9. Pull out of the oven (leave the oven on) and sprinkle the chocolate chips on the cookie.
10. Return to the oven and for 1 minute. Remove and spread the chips over the top with the offset spatula.
11. Spread your selected toppings on top.
12. Let cool before cutting into squares. Enjoy!

On yesterday's episode, @thepioneerwoman made Spread cookies. I tried them today! Heathbar topping & Sprinkles
From @instagram - My account is @foodlibrarian - follow along! (it's 85% food, 10% dog and 5% more ridiculousness).
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Meyer Lemon Glazed Cookies

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Meyer Lemon Glazed Cookies
Meyer Lemon Glazed Cookies

Our coasts in the US are polar opposites right now. Los Angeles has been going through another heatwave...we've been in the 80's. And the East Coast is getting hit by a snow storm. What to do?

Make cookies. That's the answer for everything.

The best part of LA's "winter": meyer lemons from my folk's tree #nofilter
My parent's have a great Meyer Lemon tree and come winter, it's bursting with lemons. Meyer Lemons are very fragrant and sweeter than your regular lemon. They've gotten super popular in recent years and they deserve the attention! I hope you are able to find some...and I hope they are from California.

Meyer Lemon Glazed Cookies
This is a simple cookie to make. I made it while watching Sherlock. Oh, I love that show. Don't you? I tried really, really hard to stay up to watch it after Downton, but didn't make it so I watched it the next day while baking these cookies.

I made smaller cookies - the original recipe from Martha Stewart has about double the yield.

Meyer Lemon Glazed Cookies
Both the cookie batter and the glaze include lemon zest.

Meyer Lemon Glazed Cookies
Fresh from the oven. Let them cool completely before glazing the cookies.

Meyer Lemon Glazed Cookies
After glazing the cookies, let the cookies rest for an hour so the glaze sets up.

Meyer Lemon Glazed Cookies
Recipe: Meyer Lemon Glazed Cookies
Adapted from: Everyday Food/Martha Stewart Glazed Lemon Cookies

2 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda (original recipe was 1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely grated meyer lemon zest (I used two meyer lemons)
2 tablespoons fresh meyer lemon juice
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Lemon Glaze
2 cups confectioners'/powdered sugar
zest of 1 meyer lemon (about 1 Tablespoon)
1/4 to 1/3 cup fresh meyer lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
2. In a small bowl, mix the sugar with the lemon zest until damp and fragrant. This will release the lovely meyer lemon flavor.
3. In an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter with the lemon zesty sugar until light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down the sides. Add egg, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat until combined. It may look curdled but that's okay.
4. With mixer on low, beat in flour mixture until just combined.
5. Drop dough onto cookie sheets (I line my half-sheet pans with parchment paper). I used a small cookie scoop and got 42 cookies. The originally recipe uses one heaping tablespoon and yields 24 cookies.
6. Bake until edges are golden, 12-15 minutes for small cookies or 15-20 minutes for larger cookies, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool 2 minutes on cookie sheets, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
7. To make the glaze: Whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest until pourable. Spread glaze on the cooled cookies and let sit for an hour until the topping is set.
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