Saturday, January 30, 2010

Lunch In a Box, a great, green way to eat

Biggie, the writer of Lunch in a Box, lived in Japan for nine years and was resistant to the bento box.

Here she is years later, a bento box blogger extrodinare. Her kitchen a bright fun place filled with bento boxes and accessories galore. So much galore in fact, that some of it was falling on her when she opened the very neatly organzied cupboards!

I realized that a bento box is one of the greenest meals you can ever create, and we both grew more excited as we talked about the possibilities that exist for making a healthy, well rounded and filling lunch.

This is one of the funnest chats I have ever had, with one of the coolest, most amazing women I know.

I purchased all the stuff for the Bento box test but have only done one so far. On the other hand, I am really being more conscious of eating by color, so thanks Biggie!

She also reccommends Kawaii Bento Boxes for help, since most of the other books are in Japanese. Oh yeah and she sings th cutest song....!

Sit back, relax and listen as Biggie teaches how to make Lunch in a Box!

Luna's Kitchen Magic airs 7 pm EST, 4 pm PST on Radio Denata! podcast

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Duo Dishes on Luna's Kitchen Magic!

We are two young, passionate eaters and experimental cooks based in Los Angeles. We are not professional chefs, as our culinary training solely stems from our ability and desire to cook fearlessly. With roots that span from the North and South tips of the East coast, we love to mix and match everything that speaks to family traditions, regional fare and new ethnic flavors when we create meals for ourselves and others. We have catered graduation parties to baby christenings, and we host frequent dinner parties for 10-15 of our closest friends.

In the last year, we have been able to give thousands of people a glimpse into our kitchens. The most recent showcase was a live demonstration of our winning recipe selected by Bertolli Test Kitchen chefs at the 1st Annual Foodbuzz Blogger Festival on November 7, 2009. We also won First Place in KCRW's 1st Annual Good Food Pie Contest in the "Savory Pie" category.

We are also food bloggers with a popular cooking and recipe blog,, that has become the easiest forum for us to share what we cook with friends, family and other readers. For us, cooking is meant to be a pleasure, and food is meant to be enjoyed. Everyone is invited to grab a fork and sit down at our table.

Luna's Kitchen Magic airs 7 pm PST, 4 pm EST

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Makin' Bacon

It’s a bacon kind of day: I get up early enough so that Heather and I can meet Michael (Winnike, of Happy Goat Caramels) over at Dynamo Donuts. By some the gift of some magical fairy looking out for us, we manage to get the very last of the lauded Maple Bacon donuts.

I have to say that they live up to their reputation and are pretty damn good. I will also say that I thought the caramel was delicious but that the vanilla bean was a real standout. To be a ‘plain Jane’ among so many exotic flavors, it was a perfect mélange of flavor, and quite well loved!

So once we had donuts and coffee, we were ready to head on over to the class. Two major bonuses of the day: there was wine to drink with our sausage. And my backpack smelled delicious!

First off, I'd like to just say, the actual learning to make bacon portion of the class was pretty short and most of the class was really about sausage. I would have liked to spend some more time on the bacon theme, as I felt the flavor ideas were just getting good.

That being said, it was a fun and informative class. We learned what to buy, the acceptable price ranges and some of the teacher, Rick Abruzzo's, preferred places to purchase ingredients, which were helpful tools for anyone who really wants to make their own cured meats.

We also learned the difference between American style and European style bacon, the importance of keeping everything cold and how to clean sinew from your gears, and once you are done washing up, using a diluted bleach solution just to be safe. Oh and makes sure your fat to meat ratio is at least 25 to 30%.

I was unaware that pork ‘butt’ and pork ‘shoulder’ are the same cut and that is just the type of information people need to make informed choices when first starting out.

I used to make sausage patties at work, but it was a great refresher on how fun and simple it is to make sausage at home. While I love the idea of grinding our own meat, I am not sure that is something we will be doing in our current apartment. Also, since neither of us likes the casing, that will save us a lot of work!

One of the things that came up in the class was the difference, between nitrite and nitrate, with Rick saying they are essentially the same. Nitrates can actually increase your high blood pressure, where as nitrites don't necessarily have the same effect. I wanted to touch on that, as I personally suffer from pre hypertension and have had to learn the difference.

I enjoyed learning about the different types of equipment that are available, and that there are so many different types of chips available if you plan on smoking meats. I also got a lot of great ideas for keeping the bacon theme pretty fresh.

Sausage in and of itself offers a lot of outlets to get creative with flavor, so the only thing that will really limit you is your own imagination, or lack thereof.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happy Goat Caramels: the Magic of Michael Winnike

What's fun about sitting down with Michael Winnike is that it soon degenerates into a verbal orgy about food.

I met Michael the Saturday of the Foodbuzz fest with my friends Arnold and Stephanie when he randomly gave us samples of his goat milk caramels in the parking lot...

This, for me, was fortuitous, as I have had since had the pleasure of making a new friend who just happens to work some serious magic with caramel. The first afternoon I spent with him actually turned into my favorites kind of day: a food adventure.

We started with tea at Roger's in the Mission and then stopped for a honey tasting at HMS Beekeeper. I have been missing something vital on my world cause I gotta tell you: Fireweed Honey is kickass good! After purchasing some honey sticks, we headed to Michael's place for some tastes of the sweet gooey stuff.

I originally went for the caramels so I was delighted to discover that he has been working on some bean to bar chocolates at home. We tasted the 70% bars alone, with wine and believe it or not, Nordlinger cheese, which gave me a tasty idea....

I was also lucky enough to get to try his goat milk chocolate bar and compare it to one he had purchased. Michael's was a wonderful balance of not too sweet and creamy which paired beautifully with wine. It is truly exciting to sit and chat with others who are excited about eating, creating and enjoying delicious foods and dreaming up new flavor comibinations. For example: he used Orange Blossom honey and made honey almond butter caramels. Talk about true love!

I can't wait to join Michael in his kitchen the next time he is doing bean to bar chocolates, which will be a total first for me! Though he his currently focused on his deliciously interesting goat milk caramels, I trust that his caramel sauce and chocolate bars will be a huge hit.

With great pleasure I give you: Luna's Kitchen Magic's very first giveaway!! Michael has generously handed over two of these, one small and one medium!

here's how to enter: Leave a comment on the blog. For an extra entry, Tweet this: "Win Happy Goat Caramels from Luna’s Kitchen Magic!

It would also be really cool if you would sign up for the Happy Goat Newsletter!

You will be able to enter from now until midnight January 23rd at midnight. The winner will be chosen at random January 24th. The contest will be open only to US residents so I don't get into any trouble for shipping food out of the country. Be sure to include your email address so that I can actually get a hold of you if you win!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Feeding a Yen by Calvin Trillin

Feeding a Yen is one of the best books I have ever read. That being said, the next time I read anything by him, I will need to have a lot of delicious food handy.

Having never read Trillin before, I had no idea what to expect. Calvin Trillin now has a big fan in me for a basic reason; he's not a food writer, he's a man who writes, rather passionately, about food.

Each essay has funny and delicious moments that make the book such an enjoyable read. In 'Magic Bagel' Trillin scours New York in search for lost a pumpernickel bagel with which to bribe on of his daughter's to move back East.

In 'Pepper Chase' his focus is on peppers, but all I could focus on was that "Galacia has seafood of a variety and quality unmatched by any place I've ever been."

He then proceeds to talk about eating octopus, oysters, crab, oh and peppers. His passion for peppers is matched by his desire to eat fried fish in the Carribeian, discover the ingredients of a green sandwich and the hunt for the perfect pan bagnat.

His 'Desperately Seeking Ceviche' essay, which involves eating lots of it in Ecuador, sent me to the store for fresh cracked crab, salsa and chips for a make shift version.

The crab actually finished as a fantastic crab soup....

Trillin's writing makes me crave things I have never heard of, like cancha (pan friend salted corn kernels), Chinese Flowering Chives with Shredded Duck, leek dumplings, amba & carne adovada, for example.

And then there are the things I guess I just never imagined: Sweet Potato Cream Curry Soup, and Chicken Tortilla Avocado soup from Shopsins, shrimp wrapped in rice noodles, pan bagnat, tiradito and tourte aux blette.

and just what is Empire's Favorite Concubine Chicken, anyway?!

Regardless, I have recommending Feeding a Yen to anyone who will listen. Or basically, who walks past me. If Calvin Trillin's passion for the food he writes about doesn't move you, I diagnose you a lost cause.

I am inspired to travel further a field and pursue one of my major passions further, thanks to this marvelously enjoyable series of essays!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

An Offal Conversation: Chatting with Nose to Tail at Home

I met Ryan at Foodbuzz and a serious friendship was born. Some people you connect with immediately & deeply, which we certainly did! We talked about so many things in just over a day: food, writing, photography, blogging, champagne, wine, you name it, we talked about it.

Then the Offal conversation began. Ryan's blog is Nose To Tail at Home, where he cooks, well, offal. Now he was having a tough time convincing me until he pulled out his phone and showed me this: Sweetbreads.

It looks so tasty, I thought maybe I better invite him onto the show and help others who, like me, might be intimidated by the whole offal mess. Ryan talks about the recipes he's made, which ones he hasn't and the fact that he still can't get his hands on a Woodcock.

Based out of Central Texas, Ryan S. Adams has worked in the tech industry for seven years. Late in 2007, he was inspired to "cook-the-book" and write about it after reading Carol Blymire's "French Laundry At Home" blog. He's currently working his way through the award winning St. John's cookbook, "The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating", written by Fergus Henderson.

He is also a columnist for Eat Me Daily and an all around geniunely great guy, so please make sure to tune in!

Luna's Kitchen Magic airs 7 pm PST, 4 pm EST podcast

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Foodbuzz Fest: The Final Word

At the streetfood fest, I met @TheDuoDishes, @Biggie, @chefthinks, @liquiddouglas, @alphaprep, @inuyaki and @biteandbooze, among others.

FoodBuzz fest was certainly the most organized of the fests I attended last year and I issue a huge, gigantic thanks to the folks at Foodbuzz and everyone who helped, the chefs, the cooks, the vendors, all of you are fantastic and deserve serious accolades.

The dinner at Greenleaf was so amazing that it is truly beyond words. Eating dinner with Ryan, Arnold, Patricia was fun and so enjoyable.

The foodbuzz fest gave birth to the Bay Area Food Blogger group. I was inspired by Kristi, who told me that they meet up in Austin once a month.

I mentioned that to Stephanie and she then created the google group which has allowed us to form a network of people who support and care about each other.

What I took away from foodbuzz fest is that each of us is writing in a unique way, and there are a lot of us, but room for each and everyone.

There are people I didn't meet, and people I look forward to seeing during the next big festival. Thank you foodbuzz for being so super awesome!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Blood Orange Cake

zest of 3 blood oranges
juice of 1 blood orange
1 1/2 stick butter
1 c cane sugar
1/2 c turbinado sugar
3 large eggs

-Cream together and then add

2 c whole wheat pastry flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp poppy seeds

Bake at 325 F. for approx 30 minutes. Cool. Once cool, combine for drizzle:

2 blood oranges (already zested for cake)
1/4 c sugar


created 2/14/09 :)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Well, everyone knows what a vegetarian is….right?

As a pastry chef, food lover and writer, I take it for granted that people I encounter have the same knowledge that I do. So when I ended up in a conversation (yet again) with someone who was unclear on the rules of vegetarianism, let alone veganism, I thought it was time to have a chat.

On this as yet to be named new show for Radiodentata, Stephanie Stiavetti of Wasabimon, and I sit down and have frank talk for those who honestly don’t know what any of that means.

Stephanie is a former vegan and I am former vegetarian. On today’s show, we talk about why we were and why we aren’t now, what the terminology means and how you can incorporate more vegetables, fruits and other healthy foods into your life. Even if you aren’t ready to make the vegetarian leap.

Join us today at 4 pm PST and 7pm EST for an open discussion about vegetarianism!

Luna’s Kitchen Magic
Bryant Terry
Ani Phyo