Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In the Mix/Can Cocktails be Healthy?

My friend Sam had a birthday gathering recently at the Hollywood Roosevelt's intimate Library Bar, where her friend, DJ Tatiana Litvin was spinning classic tunes. Some would call them "old skool" but we will avoid that term on this blog as the word "old" implies aged (pronounced with two syllables) and, reality aside, no one likes to associate birthdays with aging. So classic it is. On the subject of classics, bartender Matt Biancanello (pictured above) is one of the talented mixologists that have brought back the classic art of mixing cocktails. No sour mix here. He grabs fresh fruits and veggies from bowls on the bar and whips up custom cocktails, blending classic spirits like Pimm’s and Belvedere (okay, a future classic) vodka with unexpected flavors like white raspberries and fresh ginger. The guy works hard to make these drinks taste good but the quality of the fresh ingredients makes them kinda good for you too.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


S1F Gallery had a big summer group show last weekend (that I had some artwork in). Perhaps to keep the artists and collectors from getting too tipsy on wine, the opening included a performance event by Austrian artist Rainer Prohaska, who cooked traditional Austrian Tafelspitz in a very untraditional makeshift kitchen at the entrance to the gallery. Prohaska uses food as paint in the canvases he showed next to the cooking space. He's here in LA as an artist-in-residence with the MAK center, which owns the Rudolf Schindler designed Mackey apartments, where he will be doing a final cooking performance on August 20th. Additionally there will be a reception at the Schindler house on September 3rd. Go to his website (link in headline above) to RSVP to attend the limited space dinner event or just show up at the reception for Rainer and other MAK artists-in-residence at the Schindler House

835 N Kings Rd
West Hollywood, CA 90069-5409
Exhibition September 3 – 5
Opening reception September 3, 7 p.m. (no reservations needed)
Whether you think cooking is a fine, or just an applied art, you will probably love the Tafelspitz. Boiled beef with carrots and potatoes may sound mundane but it was delicious. Can't get to the art happening? Here's a meat and potatoes recipe for you.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Miso Mayo is not just for soy nuts

I was over at my friend Alice's for lunch and I pulled a squeeze bottle of something called Miso Mayo out of the fridge. Alice's friend Janet, who I'd just met, casually said that she makes that stuff. I thought she meant that she makes her own homemade version, but what she really meant was that she created Miso Mayo. And after tasting it, I'm sure glad she did. Janet's creation went from a home recipe to a small food company, distributing Miso Mayo to Whole Foods and health food stores around the country (see link above to the Miso Mayo site for a list of stores). There are three flavors but I'm most partial to the Spicy Red Pepper version. I substituted it for the olive oil in this recipe for Quick Corn and Black Bean Salad and it added the kick that was needed to satisfy my bland-averse palate.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Freegan Greens

Whenever I go to our local farmers' markets I always ask for free beet greens and other scraps. The farmer's are always happy to give these away since they usually need to truck them back to the farm where they wind up in the compost heap. It amazes me that people buy beets but don't want the greens. Lately I've been collecting the leaves that are trimmed off of cauliflower and broccoli too. There's little difference between these and collard greens. They just take a little more trimming and cooking time. Collecting this kind of discarded produce is called freeganism and with the economy the way it is, more and more people are doing it. And frankly, greens like these are incredibly tasty and full of vitamins and minerals. If you insist on paying for your greens, Trader Joe's has a prewashed bagged mix called Southern Greens that's pretty good.
I cooked up my freegan greens in the Fissler Blue Point pressure pan and flavored the greens with turkey tasso (spicy turkey ham) from Schexnayder's Acadian Foods . I used the pressure pan as a conventional skillet, with the glass lid, but you could use the pressure lid and cook your mess of greens really quickly.

Freegan Greens and Tasso
Saute one chopped onion in olive oil, add two quarts of trimmed, chopped greens (cut out tough stems), or one bag of Trader Joe's greens, or two bunches of store bought greens. Saute for ten minutes, add a cup of broth, water or white wine and a cup of chopped turkey tasso, or pork ham, or smoked tofu (all of which are optional but good for protein). Cook covered for fifteen minutes. Add salt or seasonings as desired.