Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Raspberry Jasmine Tisane

There is never a bad time for a Tisane! This is a simple and refreshing treat for spring or summer! Always cool and refreshing, it would also be wonderful with a splash of vodka should you be ready for a drink.

1 c Jasmine Tea, cold
1 c fresh or frozen raspberries (partially thawed)
Simple Syrup

In a shaker, combine the tea and berries. Shake to mix and then pour into a glass. Add the simple syrup to the desired sweetness and enjoy!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Street Food Crawl, episode 1

Tuesday as we chatted on Twitter, I got a message from my friend @eastbaydish asking if I wanted to go have street food. I threw on some clothes, grabbed the recorder and was out the door before I even had the chance to realize I had said yes!

We started with getjerked and their delicious tacos. Christina preferred the chicken's spiciness, while I loved the fish taco's zippy creaminess.

Then we moved on to Vamos Primos where had a fantastic empanada. It has the kind of crust that made me think of an enclosed mini pot pie.

Then we had an alfajor, the most delicious of dulce de leche filled cookie sandwich. If you can't see, its rolled in coconut. Next time, we will be sure to get two!
 When we got to Seoul on Wheels, all that was left was meat, veg and kimchee! So Christina went for Chicken and broccoli, while I went for the rib eye and kimchee.

Want to know what we thought? Listen to the show!

Luna's Kitchen Magic airs at 4 pm PST and 7 pm EST!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Following the right path, and the giveaway winner!

Being called out by someone you admire has the potential to be horrifying. If you don't listen.

When I got called out by Traca, aka, Seattle Tall Poppy, I got quiet.

She has some valid points: the blog has in fact been a mess the last two years. More of a reflection of who I am in times of frustration rather than who I truly feel like or want to be. And I realize that people care or they wouldn’t be sharing what they think in such way a that I hear, and not let my feelings get in the way of the truth.

I don't give myself the chance to shine the way I could. The way I deserve to. That's right, I keep myself from shining through.
I get irritated and rant, which truly does nothing to showcase my best self, or my many talents. Being focused and cohesive is better for myself and for my readers. Heather has expressed to me that she really enjoys the direction my writing is taking, and I think it becomes easier to be more objective as I step back and see where my focus needs to go.

So it feels good that the conclusions I have come to are supported by my friends and readers. I may still get off track time and again, so please feel free to give a shout and say “Hey Luna….what the hell are you talking about?” Trust me, I won’t get offended.

Now to the really good stuff! I had a giveaway of the book I have started cooking my way through and I am delighted to announce the winner is…….. @julieako! Congrats Julie and I look forward to comparing notes with you once you try some of the recipes.

Thanks to all who entered the contest and stay tuned for more from “Witch in the Kitchen”!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Witch in the Kitchen: Seductive Spice Mix

We stopped over at Lhasa Karnak the other day so I could gather supplies for the first recipe in the "Witch In the Kitchen", which is the Seductive Spice Mix.

I actually changed the ingrediants just a bit to see how it would taste. I chose not to use Paprika, replaced the cayenne with ancho chili and took out a half teaspoon of cinnamon.

3 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ancho chili powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp saffron powder
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground ginger
3 tsp salt

As you assemble this mix, think loving thoughts. Remember your soul and love go into everything you make!

It feels and looks beautifully warm and I excited to make Moroccan Chicken with it! Stayed tuned and don';t forget you have until Thursday night to enter the giveaway!

Just to clarify: entry is a comment. Extra entries of tweeting only count if you comment first. Thanks!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Luna's Kitchen Magic turns 2!

One of the best gifts I have ever recieved is from my long time other half, who generally buys me things that I wouldn't buy myself but truly want.

I believe in magic, in spirit and in putting the best of yourself into your food. Today is the second anniversary of Luna's Kitchen Magic and it has been a bumpy ride. I feel though for the first time, that I am finally in a better place, both in life and with the blog.

So in honor of my blogday and to honor the gift I was given, I am giving away a copy of Witch In The Kitchen by Titania Hardie.

When I was at the Winery I made Lavender ice cream from the book, that is absolutely heavenly! I was inspired to candy Borage flowers for a white chocolate flourless cake, and at home I have made a cordial of fruit and vodka that was amazing. I got excited about using flavors such as lavender and rose, and made fresh pasta for the first time, all from ths book.

I love the sweet pastry cooked in a pan, which comes out perfectly every time and one of my saddest stories is when my oven broke on Thanksgiving while I was trying to make Damper Bread!

Next I really want to make the Thai King Prawns and the Blackberry Plum Jam. Oh and the Lavender Panna Cotta is just lovely! Hmmm...I think I just found some exciting new inspiration!

Thank you for reading LKM and I hope that I will continue to keep you entertained and well fed. Always remember that the most important ingredient in magical cooking is you!

Now for the giveaway!

Okay, well here are a few rules:

here's how to enter: *Leave a comment and let me know what you think or what you would like to see in the future. For an extra entry, Tweet this: "Win Witch in the Kitchen from Luna’s Kitchen Magic!

You will be able to enter from now until midnight March 25th at midnight. The winner will be chosen at random March 26th. The contest will be open only to US residents at this time. Be sure to include your email address so that I can actually get a hold of you if you win!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Luna's Kitchen Magic: growing pains

The hardest problems I have had with LKM are sort of silly; one has been time. The other is a two fold problem of finding both my voice and inspiration.

Before I went to school to beome a pastry chef, I was baking and cooking a lot at home. Once you are a working chef that changes dramatically. Between being tired and all of the people who would be so happy to taste test for you yet never want to pay, the world of being a chef can be a draining one.

No matter how much you do it for love, we do live in a society that requires money.

I have moved more towards the writing side of things, which is no real surprise as I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I love writing about food, even though sometimes the inspiration and ideas are just not there.

I have taken some wonderful classes, many of which are not practical for someone with a) not a lot of disposable income and b) a tiny apartment. I feel though, as is I have finally got my footing and can move forward with the sort of grace I like to exude but don't always feel.

So, what would you like to see more of? And what are your brilliant ideas on making it happen? I am open and ready to listen, so please feel free to share with me.

Oh and make sure you pop in two days. March 18 begins a giveaway!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Women in the Kitchen

This article "Why are there no great women chefs?"   and this one, "Have women chefs turned invisible?" are two more reasons I think that women, in general are highly under rated. And in the kitchen, it can be even worse. It is strange how in the home world, it is considered the woman's domain, yet in the porfessional world it is believed that women can't cut it.

If a woman yells at you, she is a bitch. If a man does, he is assertive. A woman is pms-ing, a man is a good leader. I have seen this time and time again. Even in culinary school, males (I hesitate to call many of my former classmates 'men') would talk an incredible amount of smack and get patted on the back by teachers who believed the same backward philosophy.

I am one of many people who is confused about something. Why are women so unwelcome in professional kitchens? I watch shows like Hell's Kitchen, but it pisses me off to no end when these guys are on the show like "Dude, whatever, chicks suck, go cry bitch." And before you say anything, I have seen the same behavior on Top Chef.

WTF?! Honestly, I have been a pastry cook, a grill cook, I have done apps, large events and been the pastry chef running my own kitchen. I have been lucky enough to work for not one but two very talented female chefs, had one female sous chef and acted as a sous chef without the title.

Seriously, you think I don't have skills?!

To watch men diss women and then get taken down by them, (hello boys, try checking your ego at the door. If I am better than you, don't get all mad because I am a woman. Get mad because you suck!) is good for those of us who have been picked on and talked down to.

In 2010 it is crazy to me that women don't get recognized as often as they should. I have worked for many chefs and honestly the women have been superior in many ways.

We as women have to fight these sterotypes everytime we step into a kitchen. Hell, we have to fight them everytime we walk into a room! I think that is a real shame, but I still love cooking. If I can help teach more girls and young women that love it as well to be strong and go forward with graceful confidence (or spatula skills) on their chosen path, I will be happy.

I don't believe there is a lack of strong, talented female chefs; I think there is a lack of respect for those talented people, who many times must work harder, not just smarter, than their male counterparts.
If you love to cook and do so professionally you are helping to make beautiful food that is delicious, so good on you and keep up the great work. Please be sure to check out WCR, Women Chefs and Restuaranters to support a strong, talented group of women!

Also check out: Top Female Chefs Dish  on why they are such a rare breed

It is my hope that as these shows continue, more women will be inspired and more men will grow accepting that there is a room for all of us.

"I'll make this easy to remember: keep your station clear, or I WILL KILL YOU!"
~Colette (Ratatouille)

Friday, March 12, 2010

What makes you special?

In November, I was asked by a man I not only like immensely, but trust absolutely "What makes you special?"

This is the sort of question that, when asked by the wrong person, can shake up your entire world. Instead, it made me contemplative. The reason is that I recognized that what he was asking was "I know why you're special, do you?"

So, flash forward to a few days ago. I was feeling tired, agitated and just wrung out. An opportunity came up that I considered passing on. When I presented it to my friend Kelly, her response was "You can sleep when your dead. This is your career!"

With that in mind, I was able to interview the amazing and very interesting Warren Brown. This was a truly invigorating conversation. He has a passion for cake, but a passion for life as well.

The other thing that had been worrying me was if I am a good interviewer or not. Am I too relaxed, too unprepared?

This interview made two really valuable points for me. 1) I am a great interviewer and 2) What makes me special is, well, me.

My natural verve makes an impact on people that I don't always recognize. People can just be themselves around me, although that doesn't always make them comfortable. I am very open and always just myself.

 My conversation with the Cake Love man himself showed me that even when I am feeling a bit shy and in awe of the subject, by just allowing the conversation to flow I allow each of us to shine the way we need to.

I am so excited about writing up this article and it will be in next months Cuisine Noir, which has some unbelievable features you will not want to miss! Thank you for all your love and support!

Now...what makes you special?!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Food & Memory; an ode to remembering some favorite foods

Gearing up for the SF Chocolate Salon, here is an ode I wrote last year that was inspired by one of the chocolates I experienced at the Fancy Food Show, which happens just before the Salon.

Each of us has memories that are tied to food. Lately, a lot of those memories have been surfacing for me. There are so many foods associated with memories, good, bad and otherwise.They can deeply affect how you eat later in life.

As a girl, I hated soul food, to my aunts disgust and ate mostly fruits and veggies, as well as seafood (to my older sisters' horror). Now, more willing to try new things, I also try to eat enough protein,, drink enough water and skip white bread.

But, oh for the days when we would eat toast (burnt for my family, they like it that way) & jam, light pouring into the dining room. Sitting around the table laughing, enjoying each others company.

Or Saturday morning cartoons, my grandmother yelling at us for eating cold pizza. Okay, well, I don't miss the yelling. But those moments, the innocence of childhood and eating with abandon....

Every Saturday, I got to go to my dad's work meeting. We would stop at the gas station, where he would buy me a small carton of orange juice & the box of chocolate cookies with the cat on the front. I was born to be a chocolate addict! And I lived for Saturdays.

Or going with my grandfather to the Dairy Queen, then owned by my family, for a cherry dip before my sisters' came home from school.....

Can anyone not say they have enjoyed fresh fruit, sun warmed and thought "This is what heaven might feel like"? Peaches, blackberries, strawberries, loquats, cherries, tangerines!

The Chuao Firecracker bar reminded me of something else: my grandfather used to sneak us poprocks! and soda! He thought it was hysterical and silly that his own daughter thought our heads would explode.

Food and memory serve us well, thus we should remember to honor both. The joy of what it feels like for the first berry of spring on your tongue. The memory of the first time you drank a glass of fresh cold lemonade.

The taste of fresh cut green onions on lemon seasoned fish.

A sip of wine or a sparkley drink. Take the time to slow down & enjoy your food, your memories will pay off in amazing ways.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ricotta cheese is versatile and yummy!

When you think of Ricotta, do you think of your favorite Italian treat?

Cannoli, manicotti?

Well there is so much more to these cheese than that! There are many types available, for lots of purposes. Here are just a few:

Smoked Ricotta (Ricotta Affumicata) is great grated over pasta or salad. It has a rich essence due to being smoked that adds a nice layer of flavor. This can be a hard cheese to find, but well worth the effort!

Factory produced Ricotta is the one we are the most used to for dessert, lasagna and of course manicotti.If you can mae your own Ricotta, which I have not yet had the chance to do, I am willing to bet that it is absolutely divine!

I have yet to try Ricotta Impastata, a whipped pastry style that sounds divine! The possibilities of this one are absolutely endless!

Ricotta Salata has become more popular over the last few years. It is aged cheese that offers a nice salty crumble for salads, pasta or even soup. It is also pretty good on sandwhiches, but unless you grate it or cut it fairly well, it doesn't always have the best melting quality.

With this many (and more) varieties available, why not try one for your next meal. The versatility will surprise and excite you.

got a favorite recipe featuring ricotta? I'd love to hear about it!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Luna's Kitchen Magic talks the Sandwich!

I love a good sandwich. Flavorful, fresh warm bread and the right ingredients make for an unbeatable combo.

If you want to know what it takes to make a sandwich good, well, that's too bad, because I want you to make them great!

Join me as I talk the best ingredients, eating seasonaly & by color, even when you have to be on the go. Being busy is no reason to sacrifice flavor and quality. Luna's Kitchen Magic will help you break down the fundamentals of a delicious and underrated food, the sandwich!


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

Friday, March 5, 2010

Herbs, Flowers and dessert: redux

This post was inspired by the wonderful @PurpleFoodie last year and I thought I would polish it up and repost it since it was a such a fun one. Look for recipes with herbs and flowers with the Spring! 

At my last gig I was the Pastry Chef at a small boutique winery. There was a small garden & I spent a lot of time experimenting with herbs and flowers in my desserts.

I will likely take the White Chocolate Rose cheesecake recipe with me to the grave. Why? One of my server's fell in love with it and sold the whole thing in just a few hours!

I made a flourless white chocolate cake & decorated it with candied flowers to test it out for my soul mother's birthday and it was delicious as well as pretty.

I made strawberry sauce to accompany the light and lovely Lavender cheesecake.

Simple syrup is also easy to flavor: take 1 cup water + 1 cup sugar and boil clear. Turn off & while hot, drop in your flavoring. I love Lemon Verbena, Rose, Coffee Beans etc and let steep to the desired flavor. Strain before using.

During a conversation on Twitter today, @aldente mentioned to @PurpleFoodie, Rosemary Ganache.

Rosemary White & Chocolate are as natural a combo, to me, as Dark Chocolate and Lemon.

If making white chocolate ganache, simply add a sprig of fresh, clean rosemary to your cream as it heats. Do not boil. Strain out before mixing cream into chocolate.

I am seeing more herbs & chocolate everyday, so don't be afraid to experiment and come up with new combos. I can't wait to hear what they are!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hibiscus Watermelon Tisane

A Tisane is a mixture of herbs, spices, and/or juices. Sometimes called Tea, it is not a true tea, as it contains no actual Tea Leaves:

Hibiscus Watermelon Tisane

1 tsp dried rose petals
2 tsp hibiscus
2 c watermelon juice
5 c cold water
simple syrup to taste

Bring the water to a simmer, then add hibiscus and rosepetals & let steep. Once cool, chill throughly and then stir in watermelon. If you feel it needs some sweetner, add to taste and serve. If you want it to be colder, I would make the ice cubes from the Tisane or watermelon juice.

I make the juice myself, its very easy!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

BBC: British Bankers Club

From the outset, the BBC looks like a pub style retaurant. With Chef Tim and Chef Paul at the helm, though the BBC is a shining star in the making.

Take nine women, a couple digital and 1 video camera, add a commercial kitchen and two chefs and you get...a Starry Eyed Foodi adventure.

Spoons and a box of love made for a delightful start to a feast! We started with cheesecake from the fabulous Anti Cupcake Co, my personal fave being the coconut. I could easily picture it with a passionfruit or pineapple coulis for a bit of color...mmmm...! Thanks, girl!

Chef Paul created a seared tuna sashimi salad with daikon and an onion soy vinagrette. The tuna is perfect, melting in the mouth, the vinagrette a beautiful melange of flavor. If one could only eat tuna everyday for the rest of their lives, it would be best like this. No really. I could definitely eat this everyday!

Chef Tim rubs black pepper, salt and coridander on steak and after letting them rest, sears them to serve on a bed of wild arugula.The steak is perfectly cooked and made even more gorgeous with the addition of thin, crispy fennel and shaved truffle.

Then the piece de resitance: bread pudding with whiskey suace. You gotta love a meal that begins and ends with dessert!

This was the first of many such events, and with chefs and company like these, its not to be missed! It is amazing to be a part of such a diverse and amazing group of women who, share and support each other!

Want to see more pics? Go here: Foodie Fempire

Big thanks to the BBC, Foodie Fempire Crew and to @ladyleet, who let me steal her fabulous pictures!

Doll's Shortbread

Traditional shortbread is plain and doesn't have eggs. This one has one egg for a binder and is quite delicious. It is basic and simple, a treat that you can enjoy warm or room temperature, alone or even serve with fresh fruit and a side of cream!

Doll, btw, is one of my many nicknames!

Doll's Shortbread

1 stick butter, room temp
1/2 c walnut oil
2 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c demerrera sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 c chopped pecans
1/2 c chopped semisweet or dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Combine butter, oil, sugar, flour and salt until combined and crumbly. Add egg until just combined (do not overmix!!) Add in nuts and chocolate, you can use a wooden spoon or plastic spatula for this, just make sure that it is all evenly distributed.

Bake 25 minutes, then enjoy!