A passion for food + fashion

Posts Tagged ‘herbs’

Grilled Flatbread

In Food, Recipes on August 1, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Our neighbor Marc grilled up the best flatbread seasoned with fresh sage and rosemary a few weeks ago at our block party. I’d never had flatbread off the grill before, particularly flatbread this good. It disappeared in SECONDS. But had we neighbors not been so greedy and gobbled them up still warm on the spot, Marc says these are a great alternative to a bun for hotdogs or sausages. I can’t wait to try it. But in the meantime, here’s the recipe which he says is “completely and thorough plagiarized from Mario Batali’s grill book.” Hey, we’ve all been there, Marc.

From Mario Batali’s Italian Grill

3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting)

2 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast

1 tbs salt

1 tbs sugar

1 ½ tablespoons fresh sage/rosemary, etc.

1 cup warm water

½ cup dry white wine (room temperature)

1 tablespoons plus 7 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

Oiled large bowl for dough to rise in.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, yeast, salt, sugar and herbs, and mix well.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the warm water, wine and olive oil. Using a wooden spoon (I just used my fingers) stir the we ingredients into the dry until the mixture is too stiff to stir, then mix with your hands in a bowl until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Lightly dust a work surface and turn the dough out. Knead gently for 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, elastic and only slightly sticky. Add the dough to the large oiled bowl, turning to coat the dough. Cover with plastic wrap or towel, and leave to rise for about an hour.

Gently punch down the dough, turn out on a cutting board or work surface, and cut into 10 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, and place on a lightly oiled sheet. Cover loosely and let sit for another 30 minutes.

Flatten with hands and/or a lightly floured rolling pin, and grill! 1 ½ minutes on each side, and you’re done.

Here Comes the Sun: Shrimp Rosemary Spiedini

In Food, Recipes on July 7, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Whoa. What a week—and it’s only Wednesday. So, this whole taking-my-baby-to-preschool situation has really taken it out of me. Anxiety. Gloomy weather. In July. In LA. Earthquake. I’m sorry, but I’ve been kind of down. Tiny G, on the other hand, is up up up. He ate his first sandwich today in preschool. It was pretty damned cute. To that end, I’d like to turn my frown upside down and share a sunny dinner we enjoyed a couple of weeks ago with our dear friend Darris. (For days after said dinner, Tiny G was asking “Where Dis? Where Dis?”) I wish I could deliver Darris and his conversation to your dinner table should your day need brightening, but in lieu, here is the next best thing.

Mario Batali’s Shrimp Rosemary Spiedini Alla Romagnola ©

The rosemary skewers, which are easy to make, impart an herbal fragrance to the shrimp, and they look both rustic and elegant at the same time. Alla romagnola means that these spiedini are a specialty of Romagna, the eastern part of the region Emilia-Romagna.—Mario Batali, Italian Grill


1 bunch Italian parsley, leaves only (about 2 cups loosely packed)

1 bunch basil, leaves only (about 2 cups packed)

2 cups fresh bread crumbs

1 teaspoon kosher salt [need to check this amount again]

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 pounds large shrimp (21–30 per pound), peeled and deveined

2 lemons, cut into wedges

12 large rosemary sprigs, prepared as skewers (see BELOW NOTE) and soaked in water for at least 2 hours, or overnight

Toss the parsley and basil leaves into a food processor, add the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and ¼ cup of the olive oil, and zap until the herbs are chopped and the bread crumbs look green.

Transfer to a pie plate or wide shallow bowl, add the shrimp, and toss to coat well. [FOODINISTA NOTE: I TOSSED IN A PYREX BAKING DISH]

Skewer 4 or 5 shrimp on each rosemary sprig (the easiest way to do this is line up 4 or 5 shrimp—“spoon fashion”—at a time on a work surface and run a skewer through them; then separate them slightly so they will cook evenly). Dredge on both sides in the bread crumb mixure, place on a platter, and put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. [HERE IS MR FOODINISTA SHOWING US HOW IT’S DONE:]

Preheat a gas grill or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill. Put a piastra (FOODINISTA NOTE: OR GRIDDLE) on the grill to preheat.

Spritz or brush the piastra with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place the skewers on the piastra and cook, turning once, just until the shrimp are opaque throughout and some of the crumbs are browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with the lemon wedges.

Rosemary Skewers It’s easy to make skewers from rosemary sprigs. Choose large sturdy sprigs that are about 8 inches long. Pull off most of the leaves from each sprig, leaving a nice tuft of leaves at the top (use the remaining leaves in the dish you are making, or reserve for another use). Using a sharp knife, cut off the bottom of the sprig on a diagonal to give you a sharp point. The skewer will slide easily through the shrimp when you skewer them.

Cherry Tomatoes and Bocconcini

In Food on June 28, 2009 at 3:49 pm


We have a ton of basil—both sweet and purple—so I’ve been using it almost every night. This super easy salad has been in heavy rotation. Grab a box of cherry tomatoes, a tub of bocconcini (small balls of buffalo mozzarella) and toss with aged balsamic, salt and pepper and fresh basil. We have a “Black Cherry” tomato plant, and I can’t wait for the cherry tomatoes to ripen to use in salads and on pizzas and tarts!


Far Niente: Sweet Doing Nothing

In Food on June 23, 2009 at 8:57 pm


In addition to being the name of a winery that turns out killer Cabernet, far niente translates roughly to “sweet doing nothing” or as Webster’s says “pleasant relaxation in carefree idleness.” I was reminded of the value of far niente the other night when I decided to put an Italian spin on dinner, when in fact I should have let the produce relax pleasantly in carefree, unadorned idleness. We had defrosted two awesome bone-in New York steaks (we have a freezer full of beef from Heritage Foods USA) and had picked up some corn and red onions from the farmers market. Our newly planted herb garden is totally out of control—who knew Italian parsley multiplied like rabbits?—so I plucked a handful of Italian parsley, basil and lemon thyme for a makeshift pesto with leftover Marcona almonds to go on the steaks.


Meanwhile, my husband grilled our loot to perfection. 


Inspired by a Mario Batali recipe I’d seen, I brushed the grilled corn with balsamic and olive oil, sprinkled with mint from the garden and some red pepper flakes. For the onions, I’d made a balsamic glaze stovetop with more lemon thyme and crushed garlic. And here’s the deal. The pesto on the steaks was great, but did the steaks need the adornment? No. And the corn? I’ll take my corn on the cob with plain old melted butter ANY day. And the grilled onions with the balsamic glaze were certainly enjoyable, but the onions were so perfect, so sweet that again, they didn’t need to be “dressed up.” So next time, I’ll save the herbs for a salad and serve the rest of dinner far niente.

This Bud’s for You

In Design on June 4, 2009 at 8:07 am


Here are a few of my favorite things: Heath Ceramics bud vases and lavender from our garden. Sometimes I’ll put sprigs of rosemary or sage in them instead. I love how the simplicity of freshly picked herbs complement the clean lines of these vases.

Herb Garden

In Design, Food on May 24, 2009 at 11:58 am


We’ve been very, very busy the past few days and have torn up our entire backyard. We’ve planted flower beds, boxwoods and trees, put in gravel, sod, a fountain and brick patio—and over the next few days I’ll post pictures of the progress. But in the meantime, one of my favorite new additions: a redwood raised bed in which we’ve planted tomatoes and herbs. I got up early yesterday morning and got to the Santa Monica Farmers Market about 15 minutes before it opened, as Hayground was unloading their herbs. I loaded up on basil, purple basil, chives, Italian oregano, Italian parsley, Vietnamese cilantro, cilantro, red vein sorrel, marjoram, sage, lemon thyme, thyme, tomato plants, tarragon, mint and lemon verbena. Then the lovely Sess from Verdant Garden Design (verdantgardendesign@hotmail.com) built a beautiful 6 x 2 redwood raised bed for the herbs:

redwoodbedThis morning I went to Hollywood Farmers Market to pick up some chervil and shishito peppers to round things out, but neither of the herb guys will have either for at least another two weeks. So instead I got some gorgeous farm fresh eggs and made breakfast, and then sprinkled the eggshells over the herb garden to keep the snails out:

eggseggshellsMore on the garden tomorrow!

When Life Hands You Lemons, Add Vodka and Rosemary

In Drink on May 18, 2009 at 11:12 am


On Saturday night we had our friends Chris, Alyssa, John and Mia over for dinner. The menu made ample use of rosemary (sprinkled with garlic on lamb chops, tossed with olive oil and roasted potatoes, and featured in a bud vase on the dinner table), so why not drink it as well? I found this simple recipe for Vodka Rosemary Lemon Fizz in the May issue of Gourmet, and it is undoubtedly going to be in heavy rotation this summer. It was a huge hit with both boys and girls the other night, and couldn’t be easier to make. Just boil lemon juice, sugar and rosemary in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves, then reduce heat and simmer for a couple minutes and then let cool for an hour or so.


To assemble fizz, each glass gets about 2 TBSP of the syrup, and generous splash of vodka and then top with club soda. A rosemary sprig makes a gorgeous garnish.

Balsamic-Marinated Radicchio with Fresh Ricotta and Basil

In Food on May 2, 2009 at 4:26 pm


Here’s another winner from the current issue of Gourmet. It’s INSANE! We made this Balsamic-Marinated Radicchio with Ricotta and Basil last night to go with the lamb. Start it a little early because you broil the radicchio for a few minutes and then it marinates in the balsamic marinade with crushed garlic for at least an hour.

rad2marinadeThen you simply toss the radicchio with fresh basil leaves. The fresh ricotta gets a drizzle of olive oil. Serve together.


Thankfully we have leftovers. Tonight while my husband goes to a friend’s to watch the Pacquiao-Hatton fight, my sister, Tiny G and I will make pizza with last night’s radicchio and ricotta! Check back tomorrow for results…

Long-Cooked Broccoli

In Food, Recipes on April 19, 2009 at 11:11 am


A couple months ago, I was at a friend’s birthday party with beautiful slow-cooked vegetables and beautiful people. The birthday girl, Carolynn, is an amazing cook and has a way with vegetables. Among the many platters of gorgeous produce offerings procured from Chino Farm was an INSANELY good dish of long-cooked broccoli. I’d never had anything like it—sweet, earthy, nutty and decadent all at the same time. It’s a dish Carolynn learned from Nancy Silverton, who features the method in a recipe for Soft-Scrambled Eggs, Long-Cooked Broccoli, and Feta Cheese in her eponymous sandwich book.

Last night, I decided to try it out with two heads of broccoli. I figured with that kind of time commitment, we should get at least a couple meals out of it. All in all, it takes about 2 hours to stew the broccoli with onions and garlic. Once it was finished, we grilled up some heritage pork chops and enjoyed with half of the long-cooked broccoli. 


Then this morning we walked over to Larchmont Farmers Market to get some whole grain bread from La Boulangerie, and some farm-fresh eggs and chives to make the best breakfast sandwich I’ve tasted. EVER.


For the sandwich, we grilled two pieces of bread doused with olive oil in a panini press, soft scrambled 6 eggs, and then assembled with broccoli, topped with scrambled eggs, topped with crumbled feta, chopped chives and cracked black pepper. We had plenty of leftover broccoli for three sandwiches (Mr. Foodinista polished off a second). We are already planning our next rendezvous with the long-cooked broccoli.


Adapted from Nancy Silverton’s Sandwich Book

2 heads broccoli

1/4 cup, plus 2 teaspoons, kosher salt, divided

4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

1 small yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 whole dried red chile

Cut the head of broccoli off the stalk, leaving about 1 inch of the stalk still attached. Slice outer layer of fibrous peel off main stalk, and cut it vertically into long, flat slices, about 1/4-inch thick and 1-inch wide. Slice all the way through broccoli florets, cutting it vertically into 1-inch-thick pieces. You should have a bunch of long pieces of broccoli. 

In a large pot, bring 8 cups of water and 1/4 cup salt to boil. Cook all of cut-up broccoli in water for 2 minutes, until broccoli turns bright green. Drain broccoli and place in large bowl of ice water to chill. Drain well, and pat dry with kitchen towel.


In a large, heavy skillet, combine broccoli, onion, garlic, chile, olive oil and 2 teaspoons salt. (We didn’t have any large dried chiles on hand, so I threw in a couple of chiles de arbol instead.) Over very low heat, cook broccoli, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it’s very soft and tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Herb Salad

In Food, Recipes on April 16, 2009 at 3:48 pm


What can I say? I love this herb salad, and I make some version of it a couple times a week. It’s especially good at providing a bright counterpoint when you’re serving something heavier like pasta or risotto, or alongside potatoes dauphinoise. The inspiration comes from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon in Yountville. Keller uses herbs that are more subtle in flavor, and the vinaigrette is light and refreshing (note: it uses canola oil instead of olive oil; red wine vinegar instead of balsamic). Or to quote Keller himself on Epicurious.com:

This salad is all about freshness. Use plenty of freshly picked fines herbes: parsley, chives, tarragon, and chervil; harder herbs, such as savory, rosemary, and marjoram, would be too strong. Finish it with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Bouchon Herb Salad

Adapted from Thomas Keller’s Bibb Lettuce Salad

Head of Butter (Bibb) Lettuce

Tarragon, chopped

Italian parsley, chopped

Chives, chopped

Chervil, chopped

Canola oil

Red wine vinegar

Dijon mustard 

Salt and pepper, to taste

Lemon juice, fresh squeezed

Cut off core of butter lettuce, and then tear up leaves and place in bowl of cold water to refresh them and remove any dirt, then lift out and spin-dry in a salad spinner.

To make vinaigrette, mix three parts canola oil, one part red wine vinegar, and a dollop of dijon mustard in a blender for 15 seconds. 


Place the leaves in a bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, a few grinds of pepper, chives, and 1 tablespoon each of chopped parsley, tarragon, and chervil. Then toss gently with 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.