Monday, April 28, 2008


For those of you who check in regularly you've probably noticed I've been MIA for a while. We've been to Ireland for a quick trip and I've been doing a lot of private parties, so as much as I want to do more blogs, finding the time is tough. But enough excuses. I'm back and hopefully you're back with me and ready for a new recipe. This is one I made for my clients last week which they loved. If you've been reading my recipes you know that I aim to make healthier meals so rest assured this is no different. Using Veganaise or light mayo is an excellent healthy option for substituting the high-calorie high-fat original, just in time for bikini season. The Mrs. told me that one.
1/2 lb. fresh crab meat
1 lb. medium shrimp - peeled & de-veined
1/2 med. red pepper - fine dice
1/2 med. yellow pepper - fine dice
1/2 med. red onion - fine dice
2 tsp. chives - finely chopped
1 lemon - zested
1 tbsp. chopped capers
1 tbsp. veganaise, light mayo, or homemade mayo
olive oil

Start by sauteing the peppers and onion on medium low heat in 1 tbsp. olive oil 'til soft. In a food processor, pulse raw shrimp for a couple of seconds. Don't puree as you want a coarse texture. Add to crab meat and refrigerate. Once pepper mixture is cool add to seafood along with remainder of ingredients. In medium saute pan, saute a small portion on medium heat in a drizzle of olive oil to test for seasoning. Once tasted, season with S&P. Form crabcakes into individual size portions.
To finish dish, pre-heat saute pan on medium heat with 1 tbsp. olive oil. Sear each side 'till golden brown, 3-4 mins. approx. Once all cakes are seared cook in pre-heated 375 degree oven for 5-6 mins.
These are great either for lunch with a salad or for dinner with rice and vegetables.
TIP: Buy FRESH crab meat. It's a bit more expensive but the flavor is worth it especially since it's not going to be slathered in mayo so you'll actually taste it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

TOP CHEF The Cookbook

I'm not a big fan of reality tv and I only like a few cooking shows mainly 'cause I think they're over the top and just not that interesting. I did however get into watching Top Chef on Bravo. I like it 'cause it actually focuses on the food and isn't just a glorified soap. Anyway they came out with the Top Chef The Cookbook. No surprise there! I decided to pick up a copy for my other half's birthday in the hopes of inspiring her with our dinner choices. (She's had to take over dinner duty since I took on my new job, the poor crater.) Not exactly subtle I admit but she did tell me how much she likes reading recipes so who am I to dis-agree!
It doesn't take long to read from cover to cover. It's got lots of behind the scenes stuff but more importantly has a bunch of recipes from the contestants or chef-testants as they call them. Those of you who are fans of the show will definitely enjoy reading the bios of some of the players as well as their best recipes.

Besides the insider stuff and recipes I found myself reading up on Tom Colicchio, who also wrote the introduction. He's a smart guy who definitely knows food. He's equipped with old-school values and passions yet works with one eye open on the new up-and-coming chefs, much like Gordon Ramsay. These are the values I admire and follow as well (can anyone arrange a lunch with the three of us??!! Better yet, can I have his job?!)

Monday, April 7, 2008


Our neighbour Erica has been an avid gardener for longer than I've been around here. She's grown everything from artichokes to corn to tomatoes and so on. But this time something clicked and I found myself wandering over there to take a gander at what she was up to. It was brilliant. She had lettuce, cabbage, swiss chard, mint, oregano, carrots...the whole 9 yards. It reminded me of growing up in Ireland, where growing your own veg was the norm. You didn't need a hugh selection maybe some carrots, potatoes and onions. Enough to make soup or an Irish stew.

This got the juices flowing to start blogging on Urban Gardens. Myself and herself try to eat local as much as possible so this idea is right up our alley. And even more surprising, it has spread like wildfire throughout our neighborhood. Erica kindly lent a portion of her garden to our other neighbours Chris and Jen, who have planted even more veg like eggplant, leeks, arugula, beets, pole beans and zucchini. Herself the elf decided to jump on the bandwagon and starting small, she planted some herbs such as cilantro, thyme, oregano and basil. On the other side of us Cristina and Dave are trying their hands at heirloom tomatoes so by summer we should be in good shape to salad party!

The best part about this though is that we're a beach neighborhood in Los Angeles, CA. For those of you at home still shivering, tough! It's great to see the community bonding together over home-grown organic food. I've decided to keep track of the growth spurts in both gardens in hopes of inspiring some of you out there to try your own Urban Garden. I'm going to pass on all the info I get from these two and any of you out there who want to pass on any insights, don't be afraid! Let your inner jolly green giant pop out.

It feels great to be surrounded by these organic veggies (cabbages and all) and my fellow beach foodies.

Check out the video!

Saturday, April 5, 2008


I'm still around everyone and lucky for you I have some great recipes coming your way. I made this one at work a couple of days ago and was a hit. It's one of those dishes that's very easy to do but as you can see looks brilliant. So if you're entertaining, make this and you'll get some serious brownie points!
Serves 5-6

1 lb. medium shrimp (25-30 count) - peeled & deveined
1 tbsp. orange zest
1 tbsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. honey/agave
juice of 1/2 an orange
1 tsp. fresh ginger - grated
2 bunches of asparagus
S&P to taste

Begin by mixing the zests, orange juice, ginger & honey in small bowl. Set aside.
To prepare asparagus, trim 2 inches from end of stalks. Cut remaining piece in half. This is going to act as your skewer which will be put through each shrimp. Cut a small piece off each asparagus spear on a diagonal as if sharpening a pencil. (refer to photo if my English has turned into Irish) Basically you want to create a sharp end to thread through the shrimp. Curl the shrimp together in a u shape and pierce with a small thin knife. This is to help feed the asparagus through without breaking. Lay all your skewered shrimp on a baking sheet and set aside 'till ready to grill.

Once ready, brush each shrimp with the citrus marinade, season with S&P and grill on medium hot heat. Brush both sides. As an alternative, you can roast them in 400 degree oven for 4-5 mins though I prefer to grill them as you get a better looking result.
You can skewer the shrimp ahead of time and refrigerate covered 'till needed.
NOTE: You don't want to cook your asparagus ahead and then try to skewer the shrimp or they'll break.
I served the skewers on a gorgeous mango salad which makes this dish a great starter or small meal in itself. Go on and impress your friends!