Hello Dear Friends

Chocolate Croissant and Coffee from Chaumont Cafe

It’s good to be back.  As I shared in my last post, over 2.5 months ago, the full-time work life has not been conducive to food blogging for a variety of reasons, the prime ones being shortage of time and desireable natural light.  However, since I evangelize that there is a way through every block, I am now on a creative mission to see what fun ways I can “hack” time and light.  It may either result in lots of dark, moody shots, or a slant towards stories and food journaling . . . . or a little bit of both.

Let’s begin our reacquaintance with a somewhat rambling update.

First, we had a couple of birthdays, (mine and M’s).  We are precisely 14 years and 14 years apart.  I tried to put everything I know he really really likes into one cake:  bananas, molasses, chewy dense grains like farro, barley, steel cut oatmeal, more bananas, buckwheat flour.  The only favorites missing are savories that do not belong near cake, namely pork chops and calamari.

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For my own birthday my girlfriends took me out to a hole-in-the wall burger joint newly opened in downtown Los Angeles, by a couple of chefs who hung up their fine dining aprons to open the invite-only pop-up dinner club Supper Liberation Front, as well as a taco joint, Tacos Puntas Cabras, in Santa Monica.  I am very very fond of their taco joint, so not surprisingly I found the burger joint tasty and fabulous too.  They’re both a little bit punk, a little bit mom and pop.  Even more fun, I rode my bike into work, then to the Metro, and actually rode the Metro downtown.  Remarkably easy.

After the burger experience we walked around the Financial/Banking District and landed at the famous Nickel Diner, home of the original Maple Bacon Donut.  The Nickel Diner is old school diner with a little bit of retro-glam-tattooed-biker hipster vibe.  There’s really no other way to describe it.  It didn’t start that way, it was just a good old classic diner; then to survive over the years it picked up some modern attitude and food.  We ordered a root beer float, a piece of smores pie, and a scoop of ice cream between the four of us, and our waitress, who was hip to my birthday, also fixed us all up with 4 maple bacon donuts to go.  The crown jewel of the evening was the uncontrollable laughter at watching our waitress repeatedly touch and poke with her hands, the fake or sprayed dessert sample tray, explaining the what and how and where of each item.  At a certain point we realized she was egging us on and putting on a show, caressing and poking the plastic food to elicit laughter.  You had to be there, but I’ve at least got a video of the torching of the smores pie:

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This is a Fish Taco, Tofu Taco and Shaved Cauliflower Tostada from Tacos Puntas Cabras, all for less than $11

I also had the wonderful good fortune of being treated by my parents to a dinner at one of the best restaurants in Los Angeles right now, Rustic Canyon.  Unfortunately it was too dark in there to take good photos, but WOW.  My favorites were the mortadella from the charcuterie plate and the potatoes and gravy (yes you heard that right).

Here are a few galleries highlighting what we’ve been up to.  More detail and recipes to follow!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Here is the birthday gallery:

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Here are examples of the only types of things I’ve been cooking:

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Here’s a gallery related to things in my sureall-y beautiful and clean work neighborhood and my rides on the way to work:

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Lastly, here’s a sampling of some fun places we’ve visited for food and fun:

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Miso Tuna Burgers in Muffin Form with Sprouted Mung Bean

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I’ve got a nice solution to the the dilemma of what to eat for dinner or pack for lunch during a busy work week when your cupboards and refrigerator may not be overflowing.  You could call it a Murger (muffin + burger). Or a Mini Burgatatta (burger + fritatta).

I regret that it’s been scarce in the birgerbird blogosphere lately, because:

1.  I’m now working full-time and when the commute is added, I’m gone from home and all cooking fun for approximately 12 hours.  If I work out or do something else in addition to work, it’s more than 12.

2.  Lack of natural light during the hours I am home, as well as a lack of artificial light camera tools.

3.  The last thing I want to do on the weekends when I am not working, is do anything with food other than cook and enjoy it.  Meaning, no photography or plating and styling acrobatics are happening.

However, I did have a spontaneous blog moment this morning, just in time to join one of my favorite party hosts Elaine when I decided to fix something for dinner tonight with the dregs of our kitchen cabinets and refrigerator so that I wouldn’t have to shop on the way home, and took advantage of the early “summer” we’re having with bright early sunshine.  I am also so excited about our new host Caroline.  I just discovered her blog recently and have been reading through it this morning.  I love, love her blog . . . . the food is really my style.  And I wish she would post some videos because I love a Scottish accent.  Anyhow . . . .

In the kitchen we had tuna, arugula, eggs, flour (millions of kinds of flour, always), garlic, ginger, onion and a handful of sprouted sunflower seeds and sprouted mung beans from the farmer’s market.  I thought these ingredients would make for a great tuna burger with the addition of miso, but I didn’t want to flip burgers . . . . enter my trusty silpat muffin cups.  Everything went into a bowl (1 can tuna, 4 eggs, 1/3 cup brown rice flour, 1 cup mixed sprouted mungbeans and sunflower seeds, 1 clove garlic chopped, 1 inch piece of ginger, “zested,” salt, pepper, 1 Tbsp. miso) and into 2 muffin cups.  They baked in a 350F oven on a cookie sheet I poured about a cup of water into, so as to keep muffins a little moist, for 30 minutes.

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I think I’ve found a new lunch and dinner idea in these savory “muffin”/burgers.  There’s no frying mess, you can freeze them, and a meal is as easy as popping one into the oven to re-warm over a mound of greens or roasted veggies, or sliced and onto bread or bun, or broken up and tucked into a pita pocket.  Fabulous.  And this particular combination, I confess, is really really delicious.

Have a great Fiesta Friday and weekend!

 

Roasted and Raw Citrus Fennel Salad

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One of the things I’ve been doing a lot of since returning to work full time is roasting vegetables at night, after dinner, while I’m on my evening stroll. Read More

Getting Eggsxcited

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I am honored to be co-hosting this week’s Fiesta Friday #55 (click to join) party with my dear friend and talented cook Suzanne@apuginthekitchen. I hope you will consider joining us if you haven’t already, for one of my favorite weekly events started by our friend Angie@thenovicegardener where we get together online and share food, stories, memories, recipes, encouragement, and laughs. Read More

In My Kitchen February 2015

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It’s been a while since I inventoried what was In My Kitchen, but my recent awesome success with the progeny of Celia@figjamandlimecordial’s sourdough starter Priscilla (Celia is the wonderwoman with a blog that’s a trove of cooking information, recipes and fun and who hosts In My Kitchen monthly), reminded me to pitch in. Read More

Whole Grain Fennel Pollen Bread (Sprouted Wheat & Buckwheat Flours Loaf Made with Sourdough Starter)

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I am thrilled to report that, thanks to the generosity of Celia @figjamandimecordial and Selma @selmastable, I have a sourdough starter that is a perky and virile. Read More