Rediscovering the Joy of Cooking

September 29, 2008

Palomino (Westwood, CA)

Filed under: restaurant review — Emily @ 2:46 am

Before heading across the street to the UCLA Hammer Museum for a discussion entitled “Is there such a thing as L.A Cuisine?” moderated by my food hero Jonathan Gold** (Pulitzer prize winning food critic for L.A Weekly magazine), I met up with friends Alisa and Melanie for happy hour at Palomino in Westwood Village. It was also great to be within walking distance of work! Palomino’s happy hour is from 4PM-7PM and every night after 10PM. It features 1/2 off appetizers, $5 pizzas, $4 Budweiser drinks, House Merlot, House Chardonnay and Cosmic Ritas. Get there early—it gets crowded quickly!

**see my L.A food blog: FollowingGold

We started with the King Crab and Artichoke Dip with Parmesan, sliced onions, and served with cracked pizza crust ($14, but $7 at happy hour!)

Alisa and I each sampled the sangria—red and white. They were both excellent.

We finished off with the Rotisserie Chicken Pizza with roasted red peppers, sliced onions, marinara, Mozzarella and Parmesan (ordinarily $11, but only $5 at happy hour!)

10877 Wilshire Blvd # 150
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 208-1960


September 23, 2008

Red Wine Beef Stew with Potatoes & Green Beans

Filed under: beef, soup — Emily @ 3:45 am

This beef stew recipe was simply amazing. The red wine (my $2 buck Chuck shiraz worked perfectly) was mouth-watering, not at all overpowering. It was one of the best soup recipes I have ever had. Pay attention to the time though—while it is relatively easy to throw together, it requires some simmer time (all in all, probably 2 hours total prep) to get the flavors perfect. So keep that in mind before you start this dish! I was also excited to have an opportunity to use my new blue Dutch oven that I got on clearance from a Linens ‘N Things closeout sale.

Red Wine Beef Stew with Potatoes & Green Beans


2 pounds beef chuck for stew, cut into 1-inch cubes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons butter

4 medium carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise, and cut into 1-inch chunks

3 small onions, diced

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2- 14.6 ounce cans reduced-sodium beef or chicken broth

2 cups dry red wine

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

1 6-inch sprig fresh rosemary

2 medium russet or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

2 handfuls green beans, ends trimmed

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Season the beef cubes lightly with salt and black pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy 6-quart pot over medium heat. As soon as the butter starts to turn brown, add half the beef and raise the heat to high. At first, the beef will give off some liquid, but once that evaporates, the beef will start to brown. Cook, turning the beef cubes on all sides until the pieces are as evenly browned as possible, about 5 or 6 minutes after the water has boiled off. If the pan starts to get too brown at any point, just turn down the heat a little. Scoop the browned beef into a bowl and brown the rest of the beef the same way using the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.

Scoop out the second batch of beef, then add the carrots and onions and adjust the heat to medium-high. Cook until the onion starts to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour until it has been worked into the veggies and you can’t see it any more. Pour in the beef or chicken broth, wine, and crushed tomatoes , and toss in the rosemary. Slide the beef back into the pot and bring the liquid to a boil. Turn down the heat so the liquid is just breaking a gentle simmer. Partially cover the pot and cook 50 minutes. Stir the stew several times while simmering so it cooks evenly and nothing sticks to the bottom.

Stir the potatoes into the stew, cover the pot completely and cook until the potatoes and beef are tender, stirring occasionally, about another 45 minutes. Add the green beans and cook for another 5 minutes until they turn bright green and are cooked through but still have a nice snap to them. Stir in the parsley.

Yield: about 10 servings

Source: Food Network Favorites: Recipes from Our All-Star Chefs

September 20, 2008

King Crab Dinner

Filed under: seafood — Emily @ 10:46 pm

I recently went to our local Ralph’s supermarket and discovered that they had awesome looking King crab legs for $13.99/lb! What a deal! So that Friday night Aaron and I decided to make our own instead of paying top-dollar for going to a seafood restaurant. We both love crab legs! We topped off our meal with corn on the cob seasoned with Old Bay and a baked potato with Sargento Baked Potato Topper (the au gratin version). It was a perfect meal.

September 17, 2008

Dodgers All-You-Can-Eat Pavilion

Filed under: Events, restaurant review — Emily @ 1:19 am

While it definitely isn’t gourmet food, you can get a pretty good deal at the Dodgers games. It is definitely a good choice for families or those wanting to avoid some of the high prices of ballgame food. For $28 (one of the discount games), we were able to see the Dodgers play the Rockies and eat unlimited

• Dodger Dogs
• Nachos
• Peanuts
• Popcorn
• Coca-Cola products
• Water

Not a bad deal! Although I will always be a Cubs fan—I still enjoy going to a baseball game in person, and so the Dodgers it is!

Taco Soup

Filed under: beef, soup — Emily @ 1:07 am

This soup is delicious! It is perfect for a cool, Fall day or a football-watching party. It is very similar to chili, except it has more veggies! The recipe makes a TON, so save some to freeze. I like to serve with an assortment of toppings: Fritos, sour cream and cheese.

Taco Soup


2 pounds ground beef
2 cups diced onions
2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can pink kidney beans
1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles
2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chiles
1 (4.6-ounce) can black olives, drained and sliced, optional (I omit these–not a fan of olives)
1/2 cup green olives, sliced, optional (I omit these)
1 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix
Corn chips, for serving
Sour cream, for garnish
Grated cheese, for garnish
Chopped green onions, for garnish
Pickled jalapenos, for garnish


Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain the excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker or a stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, black olives, green olives, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove. To serve, place a few corn chips in each bowl and ladle soup over them. Top with sour cream, cheese, green onions and jalapenos.


Source: Paula Deen

Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

Filed under: soup, Uncategorized, vegetarian — Emily @ 12:33 am

This soup was absolutely delicious. The flavor of thyme was perfect! Aaron and I both loved this dish and will definitely be making it again. It was a little time consuming—you need to make the mushroom stock (you could make it ahead of time and it would definitely make the process a lot quicker). But this is perfect for some of the cooler days ahead (well, not so much in Los Angeles….)


Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

5 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms
5 ounces fresh portobello mushrooms
5 ounces fresh cremini (or porcini) mushrooms
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1/4 pound (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 carrot, chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme plus 1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley


Clean the mushrooms by wiping them with a dry paper towel. Don’t wash them! Separate the stems, trim off any bad parts, and coarsely chop the stems. Slice the mushroom caps 1/4-inch thick and, if there are big, cut them into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

To make the stock, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large pot. Add the chopped mushroom stems, the onion, carrot, the sprig of thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add 6 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid. You should have about 4 1/2 cups of stock. If not, add some water.

Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat the remaining 1/4 pound of butter and add the leeks. Cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the leeks begin to brown. Add the sliced mushroom caps and cook for 10 minutes, or until they are browned and tender. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the white wine and stir for another minute, scraping the bottom of the pot. Add the mushroom stock, minced thyme leaves, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the half-and-half, cream, and parsley, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and heat through but do not boil. Serve hot.

Source: Ina Garten

September 10, 2008

Everyday Chic Giveaway!

Filed under: blogging events — Emily @ 8:26 pm

One of my closest friends, Nikki, is doing a give-away on her blog. She received a really cute apron by a company called Everyday Chic and is now giving one away to a reader!

Click here for details!

And stay tuned! I have a ton of blogs coming (as soon as I get my rear in gear).

Blog at