Sustenance Stew

Sustenance Stewby Tess Masters
The Blender Girl

I’m a sucker for stew, and this one is seriously delicious and so quick and easy. The combination of rich, creamy almond butter, sautéed sweet potatoes, and spices will make you mmmm your delight at every bite. This hearty dish, loaded with protein (the optional greens and seeds add even more), is an alkalizing, immune-boosting, chlorophyll-rich crusader.

Serves 5 to 6

Cauliflower Eice

2 medium heads cauliflower, cut into florets
¼ cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon natural salt, plus more to taste

Stew

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
Natural salt
3 cups (720ml) vegetable broth
2 (14.5-ounce/411g) cans whole tomatoes with their juice
1½ tablespoons minced fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cups (570g) peeled and roughly diced orange-flesh sweet potatoes
3 cups (210g) chopped broccoli florets
4 cups (120g) Swiss chard, stalks removed, leaves cut into ribbons (about 1 large bunch)
1/3 cup (43g) roasted almond butter
½ cup (14g) loosely packed finely chopped cilantro
1 medium avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced
½ cup (80g) sliced raw almonds

optional boosters

¼ cup (35g) shelled hemp seeds
1 tablespoon chia seeds (black or white)
¼ cup (10g) pea greens

To make the cauliflower rice, preheat the oven to 375°F (180°C). Line a large baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper.

Put the cauliflower florets in a food processor and pulse about 5 times, until the cauliflower has the texture of couscous. You may have to process in two batches. Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl and stir in the oil and 1 teaspoon of salt until well combined.

Transfer the “rice” to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon and continue to roast for another 15 minutes, until the “rice” begins to brown. Set aside until ready to serve.

To make the stew, in a large pot over medium heat, warm the oil and sauté the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.

Meanwhile, add the broth, tomatoes, ginger, and red pepper flakes to your blender and pulse a few times on low until rustically chopped and combined but not blended. Stir the sweet potatoes and broth mixture into the sautéed onion. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the sweet potato is just tender. Add the broccoli and simmer for another 5 minutes. Stir in the chard and almond butter and simmer for another 5 minutes, until the chard is just wilted. The broth should be absorbed and you should have a creamy vegetable dish. Stir in the cilantro and tweak the salt to taste.

To serve, spoon equal amounts of the cauliflower rice into bowls and spoon the stew next to or over the “rice.” Top with the avocado and sliced almonds and sprinkle with the hemp seed and chia seed boosters. Finish by topping with the pea greens booster.

Nutritional Facts (per serving, based on 6 servings)

calories 126 kcal | fat 9.6 g | saturated fat 1.4 g | sodium 324.8 mg | carbs 8.8 g | fiber 2.8 g | sugars 4 g | protein 3.6 g | calcium 68.6 mg | iron 1.8 mg

CREDIT: Reprinted with permission from The Perfect Blend, copyright 2016 Tess Masters. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Photography Copyright 2016 by Anson Smart

Appreciating Lobster

Everything you’d want to know about enjoying Lobster.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake by Chef Elizabeth Whittby Chef Elizabeth Whitt

Makes one 9 or 10 inch cheesecake or 1  9×13 dish

For Filling:
3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cups brown sugar
2 lbs cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups pureed pumpkin (canned or homemade see below)
1/4 sour cream
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt
5 eggs

For crust:
10 whole graham crackers, crumbled
1/4 cup pecans
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp. melted butter

For Topping:
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup candied or regular pecans, chopped

Crust: Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare crust in a food processor. Pulse graham crackers until crumbled evenly, then add nuts, sugar and salt and pulse a few times. Pour in melted butter slowly while pulsing. Transfer to a 9-inch spring form pan and evenly smooth crumb mixture, leaving about a one-inch space between the crumb mixture and top of pan.  Bake for 10 minutes in center of oven on a rimmed baking tray. Remove from oven.

Filling: Cream the room temperature cream cheese together with the sugar in an electric mixer using the paddle attachment on high speed for about 1-3 minutes until smooth scraping down the sides frequently. Next add pumpkin and mix until combined. Add sour cream, spices and vanilla and mix until combined. Add in eggs one at a time and do not over mix, just until combined. Pour into crust.

Bake for 10 minutes on a rimmed baking tray at 350 and then reduce oven temperature to 325 F and bake for another 1 hour. Turn off the oven and open the oven door.  At this point the center should jiggle but not be soupy. Let the cheesecake sit in the oven with the door open or ajar for 15 minutes, remove and let cool at room temperature until cool.  Refrigerate 4 hours before serving. Pour sweetened sour cream and pecans over the top just before serving.

Homemade pumpkin puree: Use a 3-4 pound sugar pie or baking pumpkin. Cut off stem and cut in half carefully using a rocking motion. Remove seeds and keep to toast or discard.  Sprinkle with some salt and place cut side down on a parchment covered baking tray. Bake in oven at 350 F for 1 hour. Turn off oven and let sit for an hour or two.  When cool, scrape flesh from the skin and mash with a fork until smooth or place in a food processor.

July 13: Mary Sue Milliken, Bill Chait, Anita Lau, Jet Tila on Sushi

Podcasts

Segment One: Dining discoveries of the week with Chef Jet and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Restaurant Impresario Bill Chait Part One
Segment Three: Restaurant Impresario Bill Chait Part Two
Segment Four: Mary Sue Milliken, Executive Chef & Partner of Border Grill
Segment Five: Anita Lau, creator of the Mad Hungry Woman Blog
Segment Six: Chef Jet Tila with “Sushi 411.”

Previews of potential dining adventures…

Khao Soi at Spicy Thai BBQChef Jet somewhat reluctantly shares his recommendation for Northern Thai food in Los Angeles. It’s a small place with 15 seats but worth seeking out. Their signature dish is khao soi.

Producer Andy highlights Marche Moderne’s (Penthouse @ South Coast Plaza) annual Bouillabaisse festival running nightly until July 18th. It’s an authentic Marseillaise-bouillabaisse with all the fish flown in from the South of France. Spoil yourself with the very best and a glass of Rose! Reservations are a must…

If you dine-out in Los Angeles you’ve no doubt heard of Rivera and Bestia in Downtown Los Angeles. You probably also know the Italian favorite Sotto and the Peruvian-flavored, Picca located just East of Century City. How about Short Order and Short Cake at the Original Farmers Market at Third & Fairfax?

Bill ChaitWhat you probably don’t know is that all of these popular, chef-driven restaurants are ventures put together by low key restaurant impresario, Bill Chait. Bill joins us to discuss how he has created a string of successful, and enduring, restaurants (done on a budget) with talented celebrity chefs in a very tough business environment.

In the pipeline for Chait are Chef Walter Manzke’s Republique in the former Campanile space on La Brea Avenue and Neal Fraser’s Redbird in the former Vibiana Cathedral space in Downtown Los Angeles.

Mary Sue Milliken of Border GrillOn Monday, July 22nd at 6:30 p.m. at Border Grill Las Vegas Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger, and Border Grill Executive Chef Mike Minor are teaming up with Chef Rick Moonen of rm seafood and Chefs Collaborative to host a Trash Fish Dinner. The cocktail reception and dinner will feature tasty alternatives to the seafood we love and, unfortunately, eat too much of. Understand the fish is delicious…

Mary Sue Milliken joins us to preview the fun evening with a purpose.

Time for Fair Food!

Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe from Chicken CharliesThe OC Fair is on through August 11th! Mad Hungry Woman blogger, Anita Lau, is with us to discuss what extreme foods are new at the Fair for 2013. She will actually be judging some Fair food contests during the event.

Fair food vendor, Chicken Charlie’s, always is always out there with fab fried food items. Eagerly anticipated is his new Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe’s and Bacon A-Fair’s Wild Boar on a stick (an OC Fair exclusive.)

According to the Orange County Register’s Nancy Luna, Chicken Charlie sold 50,000 deep-fried Twinkies last year at the Fair!

Other Chicken Charlie highlights are a deep-fried bacon pickle and a waffle dog.

SushiDo you crave sushi but feel somewhat compromised about proper manners and ordering technique in a sushi restaurant? When do you use the ginger, soy sauce, and wasabi? Is omakase (“trust the chef”) the best way to go? If you sit at the sushi bar how do you convey respect to the sushi chefs?

Listeners to the “SoCal Restaurant Show” are in luck. When he was helming Wazuzu at Encore Las Vegas, Jet had some of the most highly regarded sushi in Las Vegas on his menu. Backing it all up was in-house master sushi chef (and his highly trained team.) He will give us the 411 on ordering, and enjoying, sushi.

Podcasts

Segment One: Dining discoveries of the week with Chef Jet and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Restaurant Impresario Bill Chait Part One
Segment Three: Restaurant Impresario Bill Chait Part Two
Segment Four: Mary Sue Milliken, Executive Chef & Partner of Border Grill
Segment Five: Anita Lau, creator of the Mad Hungry Woman Blog
Segment Six: Chef Jet Tila with “Sushi 411.”

Show 5: November 3, 2012: Chef Alfred Prasad Part One

Chef Alfred Prasad of Tamarind of London in Newport BeachAt the tender age of 29 Chef Alfred Prasad was awarded the prestigious Michelin Star for the original Tamarind in London. He was the youngest Indian chef to earn that distinction. He started at Tamarind in 2001 and was elevated to executive chef the following year. The first branch outside of London was opened about a year ago in Newport Coast at the Crystal Cove Promenade. It’s an elegant space with an open kitchen. Chef Alfred supervises both locations.

Chef Alfred discussed the components of one of his favorite dishes, Butter Chicken. It’s chicken thigh tikka in pureed fresh tomatoes flavored with ginger, honey and fenugreek leaves. It’s a very involved preparation.

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