Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cooked: Pistachio Crusted Tilapia with Angel Hair Pasta & Herbs

If there is a great advantage to being a Single chick is that your time is your own baby... work! A lot of my time is spent with my friends, friends that aren't that big into cooking or are recently inspired. I love the challenge when I'm over & they complain they have nothing to eat. I open the cupboards, freezer & fridge & voila a home cooked meal in 30 minutes! Fierce. 

The shock never gets old I  it, but what I  even more than impromptu entertaining is the fact I predominately get to use ingredients I wouldn't normally buy. I can't tell you how much money I have saved over the years by testing out recipes using ingredients & spices I have literally discovered at a friend's home, free test kitchens... cha-ching. 

This is such a great culinary secret of mine & I can't express enough how cool it is. My Philly girl Andrea is dating my best friend Kenny, who is Korean, loves food & is a sucker for home cooked Korean meals. Andrea prior to dating him was grilled cheese sandwiches, fettucine alfredo from a box & pizza delivery (she's still a size 3/4!!! grrrrrrrrr, I must cut her!) 

When she fell in  she really stepped up her culinary game, she even has a VAT of Kimchee in the fridge... awesome. So now she has all these cool spices & always has chicken & fish in the freezer. She went off to school & let me hang at her house to catch up on all the Food Network show's I missed, damn you Bush for making me cut off my cable! I got to finally check out 5 Ingredient Fix with Claire Robinson. 

I like her, she's super approachable, her food is simple yet flirty, she looks healthy & not emaciated like the skinny chefs & her personality is fun & fresh & not frighteningly loud or big to cover the fact the heavier chefs are, well heavy! Ooh & I  that her set has a real fridge. 

So, I wanted to say thank you to Andrea & seriously... I wanted to raid all those cool spices I decided to make Ange dinner to come home to after school.

I'm a crunch girl, but I didn't want to fry anything. She had a bag of these super cool salt & pepper seasoned Pistachios. Honestly I've only had Pistachios in Baklava or as a garnish to a dessert so when I thought about breading some fish with it I swear I thought I was brilliant! She had Salmon, Tilapia & Chicken breast in the freezer. 

I decided to go with the really delicate & juicy Tilapia I wanted the flavors of the Pistachios & spices to pop. I added lime juice, soy sauce, butter, garlic, sesame oil, oregano & Korean vinegared red pepper paste. I didn't need any salt & pepper because the Pistachios were already beautifully seasoned with them, the black pepper was really spicy I loved that! 

She didn't have a food processor so I got to chopping, thank God the bag was from Costco because I ate so many as I chopped them. For the pasta I used some white American cheese she had (the only cheese that was available) butter, oregano & lemon zest... YUM! 16 minutes later dinner was ready. 

I almost did a back flip it was so good & now is in my repertoire. I really thought I invented this, couldn't believe I have never had this before. I try to come up with a name for it. I always google potential names because I don't want to have the same name of a dish as another cook.

Lo & behold on my search I find that I just reinvented the wheel... bummer. I'm not the first to rock the Pistachios with fish BUT mine was the only one with a Korean feel, I feel good about that. Now to come up with a name... "the pressure of coming up with a name" QUICK what movie is that from?

I decided to pass on the Lemon Pepper seasoning after I crushed the peppery pistachios & swapped for garlic instead

Brain Food/Ab Work: I ♥ a little bit of Marilyn in the morning

Maybe I'll make some thing in Marilyn tonight

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cooked: Black Rice, White Beans & Haitian Baked Chicken

If there is anything I love more than shoes it is  rice & beans  . I'm an Island girl born in Brooklyn raised in Miami & now live in LA so I have had so many variations of rice & beans from several Cultural influences, Jamaica, Cuba, India, Zambia, Ethiopia, Trinidad, Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Louisiana oh the list goes on & on but not because I am partial to my Haitian roots, Haiti's vast repertoire of rice & beans are the BEST!  

Whether it is cooked with rice or poured over rice separately our beans are more al dente & the usage of aromatic spices POP & oooooooh wee the addition of the spicy scotch bonnet or habanero pepper is what makes ours the clear cut winner! 

It's bolder than even Louisiana's own & definitely not smoky like theirs is. Our food is also heavily influenced by French cuisine. Perfect marriage between the flavors of the Yoruba Diaspora & European techniques. 

Cooking Haitian food has such an incredible respect for the past & I love toying with different ways of making it so it is fabulously current & my hope for the future is that it is as accessible in this Country as it's culinary counterparts such as Mexican, Italian & Chinese food & I will gladly lead the brigade. Every time I have a bite I seriously feel bad for those that have never had it. 

I bought some Forbidden Rice (black Chinese rice) on my field trip to Little Tokyo. Black rice has more fiber, a nuttier taste & gluten free. It's a much healthier alternative to the heavily processed long grain white rice. 

As per Wikipedia it got it's name "Forbidden rice" based on two theories. One theory as to the name is that it was reserved for emperors in ancient China because of its nutritiousness and rarity. Another theory is that when the Greeks took over parts of the Middle East, they had it banned due to the belief that it was being used by their enemies to aid them in battle. 

However, the most likely theory is that the name is simply a marketing ploy. I like the taste much more than brown rice & figured how cool it would be if I can take a Miami staple, Black Beans & Rice & flip that baby on it's head. 

I had a can of Cannellini Beans on hand & some fab sliced pork belly (uncured bacon) & because of it's peasant nature & hello I'm broke I made a Cassoulet... I'm still burping it, good googly moogly it was SO good!

I've been saving some pink peppercorns I bought from Monsieur Marcel in the Farmer's Market at the Grove. That's a BAD habit I have, I save stuff for dates that never happen *snort* mostly lotion, gourmet ingredients, soaps & panties... with the exception of my panties they all go bad before I get to use them... terrible! 

Not doing that anymore, so I figured I would add them to my Haitian style citrus marinated baked Chicken with garlic, peppers & cloves. The sauce in the chicken is really rich so the sweet & pungent flavor of the peppercorns were such a FAB addition & I'm glad I added these pretty pink & flavorful berries to what I already thought was a perfect dish. I am tickled pink it all worked out.

♥♥I was thoroughly inebriated the night before at Perri's party hence the rich dinner to soak up all the liquor. I left my camera at the bar & had to use my iphone to take pics... sorry♥♥

Marinating the Chicken

This is why being a Single cook rocks I busted out & broke in my Hello Kitty Rice Cooker & baked the Chicken in the toaster oven. No stovetop or oven to clean... FAB!

3 slices of pork belly for the Cassoulet


Baked: Perri's Buttercream Red Velvet

My very good friend/pole teacher Perri♥ turned 26 this weekend & wanted me to host her party at my bar. I told her I would bake her cupcakes & she told me red velvet are her absolute FAVE!. I wanted it to be special because she is so I made a Buttercream base, added cocoa powder, some grated dark chocolate & red food dye. 

The buttery flavor with the subtle hints of chocolate really popped & it was so moist *she shudders* (ew... that word) & truly decadent it had to be enjoyed piece by piece. Watching a room with some of the most talented & stunning pole dancers around mop up my cupcakes was so AWESOME!!! 

My battery was dead on my camera so I don't have the ingredients shot but check these bad boys out, so pleased it came out well and check out my girl Leigh Ann's pole studio http://bespun.com/ and check out more videos on my girls on their youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=leighannorsi 

Perri & Leigh Ann Orsi, owner of BeSpun Studio

My little Tart loved the bottle of citrus Belvedere I got her

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Of course I had to be the ring leader

I don't know what I was coveting more? Her Metallic Loubou's, Herve Leger Bandage dress or her rocking bootay!
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ My friends RULE!♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Brain Food/Ab Work: Spice Up Your Life

Here's a little shoutout to my Pole Crew. I can seriously watch this all day.. so funny! 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Who's Your Mama?: It's Oysters... bitch!

I went to see Britney Spears last minute on Sunday with my 305 Bestie Michele. She had an extra ticket she got that day! She's a PHENOMENAL dancer, she danced for Justin for YEARS here she is, the one with the bob that gets to dance with him & gets her stockings ripped off by him... dam *swoon*:

We went to dinner before the show & 2 Miami girls near a seafood spot means 2 things Vodka & OYSTERS!!!! We killed it, I almost didn't want to go to the show I needed a nap, like Britney did on stage

It was a wrap!

Well not really, decided to splurge & get the Cold Seafood Platter... yum, except for the fact the promised us Stone Crabs but ended up giving us Alaskans... oh well

And now on to the show! The access & where we were was SICK!
Backstage... under-aged

Word on the streets is that apparently Brit's "Little Man" is a PORN STAR! His Circus themed Porno is slated to be released in the Fall... nice. Oh Brit, you really know how to pick them.

Michele & I having a moment remembering our Angel & former Britney dancer Gabriel that pased away last year...
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ MISS YOU GABE! ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I've got problems... HA!