Saturday Brunching

Saturday I drove east to Silver Lake for lunch with my awesome cousin Joe. Joe is actually my mother’s cousin which makes him my first cousin once removed (I think). I love hanging out with Joe because 1) he’s been in LA forever and knows a ton about the city 2) he is a great conversationalist and is up on politics AND popular culture 3) he reads Dlisted which automatically makes him good people. We had brunch at Local. I’ve been to Local before but never blogged about it.

Just like last time I ordered this amazing apple and pecan pancake.

Guys, this pancake was insane. The roasted apples with cinnamon and pecans? Yes, please. This is one of the thickest pancakes that I’ve even had. I didn’t eat the whole thing because obviously I had to save room for this glorious plate of bacon:

Food porn. I’m not even kidding. I know a few weeks ago I said The Griddle has the best bacon ever but I think I need to revoke the title and give it to Local. This was the perfect combination of crispy and chewy. Amazing. If you are on the east side or just want a great restaurant in LA to try, you should hit up Local.

After brunch we hit the Silver Lake FM which had blood oranges! I haven’t seen them on the Westside in a few weeks. Literally, my heart skipped a beat and I bought like 7. Overall, a wonderful way to spend Saturday morning and early afternoon.

Tomorrow LCCDad arrives in LA and Saturday I leave for San Diego! I’m starting to get excited and a little bit nervous for Sundays half marathon. Fingers crossed it goes well!

Anyone have awesome weekend plans?

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Roasted Shrimp and Orzo Salad

Don’t call it a comeback. I finally took to my kitchen today for the first time in longer than I would like to admit. My eating habits during finals were pretty terrible. There were endless trips to the hot bar at Whole Foods and random snacking. I’m pretty sure that I didn’t get proper nourishment for two weeks with the exception of a few meals and truthfully, I wasn’t that hungry. My appetite came roaring back during yoga last night (a 3 min head stand will do that to you) and today I took back my kitchen with this lovely summer dish.

Today felt like January in LA. It was cool (60 degrees, and yes I realize that there was a WIND CHILL in Chicago today so I won’t complain too loudly but I did see a women in a parka today so we’re going to count it as a ‘cool’ day). I think this dish would be great at a picnic, as a bbq side dish or, you know, whenever you want to feel like it’s 4th of July weekend. This recipe is a Barefoot original so feel free to pretend you’re in the Hamptons drinking a pitcher of mojitos with Jeffery as you eat it.

Ingredients:

Serves 3

3 servings of orzo pasta

1 lemon

10 shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 minced scallions

Generous chopping of fresh dill (I used a lot because 1) I love dill and 2) I bought an obscenely large stalk at the FM this week)

1 small hot house cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and diced

1/4 small red onion, diced

Generous sprinkling of Feta Cheese

Salt

Pepper

EVO

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take 3 servings of orzo (as directed by packaging) and cook until al dente. Once the orzo is done, drain and set aside in a large bowl. Then in a small bowl, combine juice from 1 lemon (make sure to remove any lemon seeds that escape in the process of juicing), a 1/8 cup dollop of EVO, plus salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together.

Combine with the orzo in a large bowl. Make sure to stir in thoroughly.

Next, chop the dill, onion, scallion, and cucumber. Set aside.

See, the dill I bought was SO freakishly large that it didn’t fit in the camera frame!

Get your shrimp out!

Put the shrimp in a baking pan, sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper and EVO. Make sure the shrimps are covered in salt, pepper, and EVO and roast in the oven. This should only like about 7 mins at the MOST. Make sure the check on them so they don’t get overdone. If leftover shrimp freaks you out like it freaks ME out you could, in theory, wait to do this step until you are going to serve. The orzo stores well and you could just cook the shrimp right before you want to consume it.

Toss the shrimp in with the orzo. Then add the chopped ingredients (dill, scallions, red onions, and cucumbers). Top with the feta cheese and toss.

At this point, you can refrigerate the salad or let it sit at room temp for an hour like Ina instructs. But, if you’re like me, you photograph and eat as quickly as humanly possible because it is so tasty!

This pasta salad is delicious. The lemon and dill together felt like summer and the crispness of the onion, scallions, and cucumber was amazing. Can you promise me that if you make this you will only use the freshest of the fresh farmer’s market ingredients? Because using anything less or subbing out an ingredient just wouldn’t do the flavors justice. Roasting is by far my favorite way to cook shrimp (ok, I lie, I also have a special place in my heart for grilled shrimp) and it puts a great extra-special touch on this dish. This is the kind of thing I can see myself making on a Sunday and then bringing to work for lunch throughout the week. Oh yes, I see jealous co-workers in my future.

What meal just reminds you of summer? I could use the upper- another overcast day that requires boots might put me over the edge.

Vay-cay!

Fact: everything is better when you’re on vacation.

After having two majorly lazy days (and when I say lazy I mean literally not leaving the couch until 1 pm) I woke up today ready for action. I decided to indulge in some of my favorite things: the farmers market, running, coffee, and the Sunday paper.

In my opinion, there is only one paper on Sundays:

Cover to cover, this is my favorite thing ever. I have a method: I always start with the Style section, move to the front page, and then read Week in Review before reading anything that is especially interesting. Then I wrap up with everything else. And I when I say I read everything, I mean everything. I might not closely read the whole thing but I make sure the scan every page. You never know what you’re going to find.

Today this was interesting and in a section of the paper I generally barely touch:

An article about food products claiming health benefits and, legally, what they can claim or not claim. It bothers me when products claim to be very healthy when really it’s just more processed crap. Unprocessed food all the way! It made me think I should take food law.

In that spirit I hit the farmers market. I didn’t go last week and in the week since I last went it seems like the market has totally blossomed!

Beans and peas are in season.

Beets are still around, at a great price.

Here is something new: Apriums! That would be an apricot and a plum hybrid. I hadn’t had them before so the stand owner gave me one for free. The one I got was a bit too ripe (if that is possible). I loved the flavor but the consistency wasn’t my thing. If you live in So Cal snap these up fast, they’re only going to be in season for a few weeks.

The strawberries were amazing today! I didn’t buy any but I indulged in a liberal number of samples. Cherries are also in season finally and I did end up buying some. I even broke my own rule and bought something because the sheer size was impressive. Let’s just say I’ll be putting fresh dill into everything I make this week. I had a long list because I have a ton of awesome meals planned for this week. I cleaned out my fridge yesterday and went on an epic shopping trip to Whole Foods. Vacation means that I’m going to get back into blogging with a vengeance. Let’s just say the Flour Cookbook is going to be making repeat appearances this week! Chocolate Chip macaroons: it’s happening.

Now that I’m getting back into my blogging groove are there any special requests for what you’d like to see on the blog? I’m open to suggestions for restaurants, recipes etc. You name it, I’ll try it!

all hail kale

The detox day 2 started with Vans toaster waffles and a wonderful 4 mile run. I felt super speedy! The treadmill running I did last week paid off. There were a lot of branches down and my legs got a little bit scratched up but nothing too bad. It felt great to get back into outside running after nearly two weeks “on the inside”. Outside > treadmill but I can see how the treadmill has its benefits.

I’ve been on vacation for two weeks now and I’m having a strong desire to spend time in my kitchen. Just you wait. I have so so so many cooking plans brewing for the next week. It’s so nice having nothing else to do other than putter around my kitchen cooking. No readings to worry about and no deadlines. Today in the spirit of my post holiday detox I puttered around and made Skinny Bitch Kale and Sweet Potato Pizza!

Because I’m a lazy bitch I used Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat crust. I checked, and it is vegan! Then I gathered and chopped my ingredients and preheated the oven.

I give you a heart of kale. Am I the only one who thinks Kale is glorious? Not to mention it was only $2 a bunch at the FM!

I chopped kale, sweet potato, onion, and garlic. The recipe called for leeks but I didn’t have any so I omitted them.

I cooked down the onion and then added the kale, sweet potato and some seasoning!

A little bit of cumin makes all the difference in taste! Love me some cumin.

I let all the ingredients heat up and cook together. I love how green kale gets.

I added in the garlic and let the kale mixture cool. While it cooled I rolled out the pizza dough.

One thing I really liked about the Skinny Bitch recipe was that she recommends coating the pan in grape seed oil instead of flour. This made the crust extra crispy and I liked it a lot better then simply cooking the pizza on flour. I didn’t have grape seed oil so I just brushed canola oil on the pan.

I have canola that I rarely use because I’m so devoted to EVO. it was nice to use it up a little.

Time to construct the pizza!

And let it bake.

Plus two traditional add ons to top it off…

Ta Da!

This pizza was delicious! The pizza made 8 slices at 210 calories a slice. It was completely vegan. The kale made the pizza hearty but the sweet potato added so much flavor and played well off the kale. This is definitely going to become a staple of my kitchen. If you read this blog while I was training for my half marathon you know that homemade pizza is my favorite recovery meal! This pizza was nourishing and left my system feeling clean. I also had left overs to munch on all week which is good because I have an aversion to making lunch.

I have some kale left and I think I’m going to make kale chips. Before today I hadn’t really done too much on my own with kale but I will be using it more from now on. It’s good and good for you! 

Do you cook with Kale? If so, what do you like to do with it?