Monday, April 30, 2007

The roof, the roof, the roof is on FIRE!

Well not the roof exactly, more like the neighbors place down the hall. Early Friday morning our building had a fire in one of the units on my floor. We really lucked out and only had minimal water damage to our floor but it was exhausting. Luckily the sprinkler system is on a closed circuit and only the ones that are needed go off. Thank goodness, because I would be a total wreck if my place was soaked. The unit with the fire was damaged mainly due to the water as was the unit below it. I will try to cook a new recipe by Wednesday of this week.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Comforting Curry with Broiled Polenta

Here's a quick recipe for a curry I made this past weekend. It's very easy and very good for you. They even say curry has healing powers. I'm not sure but I do know that an bowl of piping hot curry makes me feel very satisfied. I love the flavors in the S&B Oriental Curry so I normally use that. You could also use the Golden Curry cubes that you can find in Asian Markets but be weary they have a lot of fat in them (but they are tasty!)

I served this with broiled polenta cubes, which if you haven't tried polenta before it's extremely easy and really versatile. If I had a grill, I would have grilled the polenta. I think the smoky flavor from the grill would be a nice addition to the curry.



3 tbls olive oil
1 lg onion
3 celery stalks
3 large carrots
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cubed
6 cups chicken stock
2.5 cups pureed tomato
4 cloves garlic minced
2-3 tbls S & B Oriental Curry Powder
1/4 habanero pepper or any hot Chili pepper
4 med potatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil (torn into large pieces)
1/4 cup minced fresh cilentro
2 tsp Italian herbs
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

Fat-free yogurt optional

Saute onion, celery and carrots in olive oil in a large stock pot. When the onions are translucent and just beginning to brown add in cubed chicken breast. Brown chicken. Add in chicken stock and pureed tomato. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Add what ever veggies you have on hand. Simmer curry for at least 2 hours. Serve over rice or the following polenta recipe. I like my curry hot so I serve it with yogurt on the side to cut the heat.


1 1/2 coarsely ground yellow corn meal (you want corn meal the consistency of fine to medium-grained sand, not flour, and if possible stone-ground)
3 cups of water
1 tsp salt
2 tbls butter
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Bring the water to a boil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. When the water is boiling add the corn meal in a slow steady stream constantly stirring. Lower the heat and continue stirring until the polenta is soft and the raw taste is cooked out of the corn meal. After about 20-25 mins it should be done. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.

Now you can serve it now as a soft polenta side dish, or you can grease a 9 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray and spoon the polenta in to the dish. Even out the top with the back of a spoon and put in the fridge. Let cool completely, several hours to over night. It will solidify and now you can do alot of things with it. You can cut it into shapes, or just slice it into servings. You can bread it like a cutlet and bake it then serve it with a marinara sauce. Or you can broil or grill it. Brush both sides with a bit of olive oil, then grill/broil till crispy on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Chocolate Angel Food Cupcakes with low fat custard and raspberry coulis

My goal with this dessert was to make it as guilt-free as possible. I found some great recipes online and constructed this dessert that is pretty impressive and has very little fat. It tasted great! If you want to cut out all the sugar, you can replace the sugar in these recipes with Splenda. However I would look for a recipe for angel food cake that is made specifically with Splenda.


Chocolate Angel Food Cupcakes (makes 25-30 cupcakes)

  • 12 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup chocalate shavings

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat egg whites in a large bowl for a few minutes before adding the cream of tartar (a standing mixer helps, if you don't have one prepare for a great arm workout). Beat until egg whites stand in stiff peaks. Combine the sugar and salt (if using granulated sugar, instead of superfine bar sugar, sift it twice). Slowly add the sugar to the beaten egg whites and also add the vanilla. Continue beating until peaks are not only stiff but shiny. Sift the flour and the cocoa powder together and fold into the mixture (try to deflate the egg whites as little as possible). quickly fold in the chocolate shavings until evenly dispersed.

Spoon into a paper-lined cupcake tin. Fill the cupcake tins 2/3 full. Using a spoon make sure the batter is pushed all the way to the sides and that there are no air pockets.

Put in oven on a middle or lower rack (so it doesn't brown too quickly) and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Place on the counter to cool.

adapted from from this recipe

Basic Low-Fat Custard (Makes 1-1/2 cups):

  • 1-1/2 cups 1 percent low-fat milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 2 inch piece of whole vanilla bean

Mix together sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Add egg and whisk to combine; then gradually whisk in milk. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until custard thickens to the consistency of thick cream, about 25 minutes.

Strain if custard has lumps. Transfer to a large bowl, and add vanilla. Cover surface of custard with plastic wrap to prevent a skim from forming, and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 2 hours.

note: if you use a vanilla bean, scrape vanilla into the milk mixture, add the bean and leave in the mixture until it's thickened, remove the bean, then cool.

Adapted from Low-fat Recipes by: The Healthy Oven Baking Book, by Sarah Phillips, Doubleday, 1999

Raspberry Coulis

  • 2 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Puree raspberries with sugar and lemon juice in a blender or food processor. Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing on solids.

Coulis keeps 3 days, covered and chilled.

adapted from the Food Network


I dusted the plates with cocoa, then drizzled a bit of coulis. A dollop of custard to keep the cupcake in place and a dollop on top. Drizzle more coulis and top with sugared raspberries. But this is where you get to be creative, so have fun.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Wine Watch

I am an avid wine drinker and thought it would be interesting to have a wine section on the blog. I love finding great deals on wine and feel that great wines can be found for under $10. Here are a couple of really good wines I picked up at the local grocery store here in LA:

Nobilo - Sauvignon Blanc 2006 - Reginal Collection - Marlborough, New Zealand. The grocery store sommelier recommended this one, it was on sale for $8.99. If you like Sauvignon Blanc this is a great little wine. Light, refreshing and crisp - it has the most amazing fragrance of passion fruit. The texture is very light and drinkable with flavors of lemongrass, grapefruit and passion fruit. Very tropical and great for a hot summer's day.

Hunters Grove - Chardonnay 2005 - Napa Valley, California. A robust Chardonnay I found on sale for $9.99. Full bodied and refreshing. It has a fragrance of apples and pears and flavors of apple, pear and creme brulee. It is creamy and finishes with a light citrus note.

I'm alway looking for recommendations, please leave yours in the comments section!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Porcini Mushroom Risotto

I LOVE porcini mushrooms, and if I see them at the farmer's market, I will buy $30 of them then eat them for a week. The fresh ones I feel are best sauteed with a bit of garlic and butter. Put them on eggs, steak or my favorite: mashed potatoes. They will make your eyes roll back in your head.

Here is my off-the-cuff recipe for my dried porcinis, it's delicious and not too unhealthy, which risottos can be if ordered in a restaurant. Give your self 45 minutes for this recipe.


  • 5 oz. packet dried porcini
  • 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms (ex: crimini)
  • 1 large shallot minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups short-grained rice, for example Arborio or Vialone Nano
  • 1 cup dry white wine, warmed in a pan on the stove
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano
  • 2 tablespoons non-fat sour cream or non-fat yogurt (optional)
  • 6 cups water the mushrooms were soaked in, filtered using cheesecloth or a coffee filter
  • 3-4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed and minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steep the porcini in a 6 cups of boiling water for fifteen minutes. Remove mushrooms, filter and reserve the fragrant mushroom broth.

Meanwhile, mince the shallot and sauté it in 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Stir the rice into the shallots and drippings in the pot.

Sauté the rice for 2 minutes, until it becomes translucent, stir constantly or it will stick and burn.

Stir in the mushrooms and then the wine. Continue stirring until the wine has evaporated completely. Then stir in a first ladle of mushroom liquid. Add a pinch of salt after each ladle of liquid. Continue adding the liquid a ladle at a time as the liquid absorbs, stirring occasionally. Watch the salt and taste as you go, I would rather have bland risotto, you can add more salt later. About five minutes before the rice is done, check seasoning. As soon as the rice is al dente, turn off the heat, stir in the sour cream, 1 cup of the cheese, a little bit of ground pepper, the thyme, and cover the risotto for two minutes. Serve with the remaining grated cheese.

We served this with a nice soy-marinated broiled salmon and a raw broccoli and radish salad.

Bargain Shopper

This past week my boss sends out a company wide email that a store near work was closing for renovation and had everything 50% off. Of course I had to high-tail it over there and see what was left.

It was mayhem, people were running around with shopping carts full of food. I wandered around for a bit before I figured out what I couldn't live without. So I bought a couple weeks worth of Lean Cuisines for lunches at work. Then it hit me. I ran to the spice aisle and grabbed every bit of saffron and all of the whole vanilla beans I could. Then the sickness spread and went to the mushrooms and grabbed every pack of dried porcini mushrooms they had. So I made a nice Porcini Mushroom Risotto last night. The recipe will follow this post.

All of my recipes that I post on here will be made as healthy as possible. I try to make everything tasty, without resorting to high fat. Of course, occasionally there will some treats, as I love to make desserts.

So if you come across my little blog and you decide to try my recipe, let me know what you think and give some suggestions on how it can be made better.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Blogs. They've become a dime a dozen. So of course I figured I'd join the revolution on the downswing, which always seems to be the case with me. Let me introduce myself...I'm Bill. I'm 36 years old, I live in downtown Los Angeles with my best friend and roommate Levant, and two cats.

I'm starting up my little experiment here to have space to explore the fetish of food. This does not mean sexually but to explore the pleasures of cooking, eating, experiencing food. I will be updating the blog as often as possible with recipes, restaurant reviews and basic thoughts.

I am an art director for an advertising firm. Which is here nor there, but I thought you might be interested. Comments are open so feel free to ask me any questions you may have.