5 days out in LA

The kids went to camp away for 5 days and this is how we coped.

Pizzeria Mozza — Best pizza crust I’ve tried in LA but the Butterscotch Budino with caramel and sea salt (pictured bellow) was the highlight of our meal. And I don’t even like butterscotch! I’d do it all over again and again and again! Grazie Chef Batali and friends!

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Mud Hen Tavern –Ahhh…The Kaya toast, a Singaporean style dish made with toasted bread slathered in coconut jam, topped with a soft fried egg and soy sauce. Sweet, salty and weird…but so good. The Green Deviled Egg with homemade green Sriracha was the best $3 we spent all week.

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Mud Hen Tavern

The Happy Hour at East Borough in Culver City was surprising good! Probably not the best choice for authentic Vietnamese food but we wouldn’t know any better. The spicy fish sauce chicken wings was our favorite dish, but the Bahn Mi and chicken grapefruit lettuce wraps were excellent too!

East Borough IMG_3122

Bestia– Hype? Yes, no doubt. Regardless, we had a great experience. Our cocktails were perfection. The Veal Tartare Crostini and Roasted Bone Marrow did not blew me away but I’ll come back just to taste the Cavatelli alla Norcina (Ricotta dumplings, housemade pork sausage, black truffle) one more time.

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Perch LA— Traditional cocktails, a view and live music. I feel in love with Perch.

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The Hungry Cat Santa Monica– Parking is tough and valet service was not available at the time we got there. I asked the hostess where to find parking around there and she innocently said “I don’t know. My mom drops me off.” What can I say? It was 5pm on a Tuesday. I had high expectations for this place but the food was ‘just’ ok and the cocktails were ‘just’ not good. Average oysters, fishless ceviche, a strange tasting Michelada and we move on to our next eatery. Glad we didn’t valet!

The Hungry Cat SAMO IMG_3165

Flores + Sons–Sure there’s Kale salad in the menu but we have no shame. We ordered the potato rolls with maple butter and guilt free crudo with crab and avocado. Both excellent!

IMG_3161Fores and Sons

Mccormick and Schmicks— It was late, we were hungry and childless for one more night so we headed out to M&S late happy hour. It has been 18 years since my first time here and it still remains one of my favorites.

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I’m thankful for the tasty memories but I’m happy to have my little Frys back.

Now…Where do I sign-up for spinning classes?

Cooking with kids and easy Thai Curry recipe

Cooking with Kids

Here is the raw truth. I cook but I don’t cook well with others. Especially when they are my own children. So I’ve decided to make a great effort to face my cooking selfishness and share this skill with my kids. I do it once in a while and require a lot some wine prior to the cooking commences.

Cooking is a life skill on the verge of extinction. I want my kids to know how to cook—not to impress but just to survive…not in the wild…just in the real world. Maybe I’m just too optimistic, but if they can throw some fresh ingredients together without losing any fingers and getting burnt I’ll be happy. Apart from that, there’s always cereal and milk.

I poured a glass of wine and got cooking with my 12-year-old son. He loves Thai food. So do I. Since my 9-year-old daughter (the picky eater who hates Thai food and seafood) was out on a sleepover we decided to make Thai Shrimp/Squid Curry. It may sound fancy, but it’s easy and quick. We finished the dish before I could finish my second glass of wine. Check it out!

Thai Shrimp Curry with kids

This recipe was for two so it only required one pound of shrimp and squid combined. My son chopped the onion and sliced the bell pepper with my supervision. I sipped my wine when he was done. Big sips. He also washed the shrimp+squid and gathered the ingredients. I chopped the lemongrass, a totally optional ingredient.

The real challenge was watching him try to open the can of coconut milk. O.M.G. More wine, please. How many of you out there have taught a kid to open a can? Specifically a boy? It wasn’t going well for us so I gave up. I opened the can myself. The “how to use a can opener” lesson would have to wait.

We started by sautéing the onions, bell peppers and lemongrass in hot coconut oil for about 3 minutes. Next, we added the shrimp+squid which let out some liquid. We used the liquid as a base to dissolve the curry paste and peanut butter. Then we added coconut milk, salt, and some sugar. We tasted. Not sweet enough. More sugar, a dash of pepper flakes and some basil leaves.

Thai Shrimp Curry

We let it simmer for about 5 minutes and served immediately over jasmine rice. My son plated and garnished it and this is what we ended up with:

Thais Shrimp Curry

No finger casualties. Only happy and spicy memories (despite the can opening moment.) Cooking with kids can be fun but here is the deal: keep it simple, cook something they like to eat, and let them do most of the work (including the cleaning!)

Cooking with kids Thai Curry
 
Cuisine: Easy Thai
 
This recipe works with any protein (beef, chicken, seafood and even tofu) It's easy enough to do it with kids. Make the rice before you start the curry.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound shrimp, seafood, chicken, beef or tofu
  • 2 tablespoons refined coconut oil (can be replaced for vegetable or canola oil)
  • 2 tablespoons red Thai curry paste
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 stick of lemongrass chopped (optional)
  • ½ red/purple onion, peeled and diced
  • ½ red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons basil leaves, chopped
  • cilantro, chopped or whole to garnish
  • 1 lime cut in quarters
Instructions
  1. Rinse shrimp or seafood getting it ready to cook (if you using beef/chicken/tofu just cut it in 1 inch cubes.)
  2. Heat the coconut oil on a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion, peppers, lemongrass and cook until softened.
  3. Add the shrimp or whatever protein of your choice. Cook it until ready (for seafood no longer then 4 minutes.)
  4. Add curry paste, peanut butter and a little bit of the coconut milk mixing it until all is dissolved and combined.
  5. Add the remaining coconut milk, basil, ginger, salt, sugar and pepper flakes.
  6. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer.
  7. Serve over rice or noodles. Garnish with more cilantro and basil, and a splash of lime juice.

 

 

New York City Spring 2016

Our New York City family trip this spring break was by far one of the best experiences we had as individuals and as a family. Sure, the pizza was great and the skyline incredible but what really got me about New York City was the people.

New Yorkers are not rude. They may be abrasive but they are also helpful and kind. They are constantly moving, molding and holding on a little tighter and a little closer. No matter how crowded the streets, the subway or the coffee shops are…in New York you find a spot. You get where you want to go.

We got to see all the main ‘touristy’ attractions we planned to visit. The Statue of Liberty, 9/11 Memorial and Museum and Central Park were the highlight of our trip. We took pictures. We got souvenirs. We made memories. But it was the chat with the gentleman at Central Park; the unsolicited help that a total stranger gave us at a subway station—despite my defensive attitude–; the smile on the kids faces when they tossed a dollar to the acapella singers on the subway car; and randomly seeing friends from back home at Times Square busy subway station that really showed us what New York City seems to be all about.

Some of our NYC favorites:

NYC Pizza

Don Antonio by Starita

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Lombardi’s Pizza

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Dough @citykitchen

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Bill’s Bar & Burgers Irish Coffee Shake with Jameson Irish Whiskey

Hashtag whole360Fry

Dealiciouscooking instagram https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/whole360fry/

It took 129 posts and a lot of commitment to clean up my cooking-and eating- style a little bit. I love all things food but 365 days ago I decided to make a more conscious but still delicious shift. Less rice more quinoa, whole over processed, lots of clean eating in many colorful ways and a hashtag to hold me accountable.

I’ve learned a few things from this #whole360fry ‘thing’. Clean and healthy options are way easier to choose than what I expected and saying NO to dirty options is awfully hard. So I ate eat a lot of clean and a bit of bad because life is short and curly fries make me happy.

This may sound cliché, but clean foods are easier to choose when my mind is also clean of all that junk that surrounds my everyday life. I eat my best when I feel my best. So if you happen to look at my hashtag journey you will see not only lots of raw fish and quinoa but also wine and the beach…Ahhh the many miles I have since walked, ran and even dragged myself at times.

I no longer hate running, but I still don’t love it. What I really like is the way it makes me feel afterwards and the fact that it doesn’t leave me famished. Running works when everything else failed didn’t!

Looking back at my #whole360Fry posts some of my favorite clean dishes where the easies to make; quinoa tabouleh, kale salad with tahini Sriracha dressing, roasted curry cauliflower and watermelon salad with feta and basil. My kids love kale chips and they’re learning to enjoy sweet potatoes. After all, this #whole360Fry ‘thing’ became a Fry family ‘thing’…and we all win!

Eating whole and clean doesn’t have to be hard. It’s a change that can actually be fun if you allow yourself to try new things. Documenting it here and on Instagram has helped me to continue to make healthy choices and to have fun with it.

 

The Fry Kitchen is OPEN!

Nearly three months after demo, our kitchen is done and we’ve started to cook again, even though the work isn’t completely finished, and, as I write this, we still have unpacked boxes waiting for me in the garage.

I’m sure you heard that “The kitchen is the heart of the home.” Well, as much as our old kitchen was ugly, non functional, and outdated it was still the heart of our home.  And with that heart scattered all over the garage, I felt lost.

It’s definitely gratifying to have this brand new kitchen now! The cook in me, caged for what felt like a decade, is already use to the new setting. I love almost everything about the new kitchen but being able to cook on a GAS range is by far the best thing EVER!

So now that the heart of our home is once again beating, there are some things I don’t want to forget:

Our timeline doesn’t mean sh*t. We are at the mercy of ‘others’ time and they live on a different planet than us foolish non general contractor mortals.

It’s going to get worse…way worse before it gets better, so don’t mind the dust, the noise and the smells.

There will be music playing constantly so learn to love – or at least tolerate – Hispanic tunes.

Trying moments are inevitable.  For those there is always a nice craft beer, a favorite bottle of wine or straight up ice cream.

In the final stretch, things are beyond stressful, and I swear to G-d I will NEVER EVER do this again. Agh the painful home stretch just like childbirth and then finally… you have this beautiful creation!

Fry Kitchen Remodel dealiciouscooking.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fry Kitchen Remodel dealiciouscooking.com

Can I cook yet?

We’ve finally pulled the trigger on our kitchen remodel! After so many years of dreaming, months of planning and hours of pinning ideas – the remodel is ON!

FryKitchenRemodel dealiciouscooking.com

Tile countertop, painted cabinets with misaligned doors, exposed hinges, ancient ceramic cook top, no hood, no counter space, jammed drawers, tiny sink, and the worst of it all…disgusting and fugly linoleum floors. This old shoebox kitchen had it all!

FryKitchenRemodel dealiciouscooking.com IMG_9103

Demolition was the easiest and most rewarding part. When you love cooking and do it everyday in a kitchen you have very little love for, seeing it being hammered down piece by piece is orgasmic highly enjoyable!

FryKitchenRemodel dealiciouscooking.com

This kitchen was the worst part of the Fry shack and even with all the family memories we’ve made in it I was so satisfied to see it just like this…totally naked!

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FryKitchenRemodel dealiciouscooking.com

I’m thankful for my awesome grill and great SoCal weather which it was perfect for the first 3 weeks of the remodel. We barbecued a lot and ate in the patio. Now that the weather has cooled down, the crockpot and toaster oven have been lifesavers!

We were hoping for our kitchen to be at least useable by Thanksgiving but it looks like we’ll have to barbecue the Turkey. Keeping our fingers crossed to be able to bake cookies for Santa in our new kitchen.

Put an apron on!

I love to cook but hate to clean up. I know a lot of people identify with this statement. And I’m not only talking about the amount of clean-up I do just to prepare the meal. I’m referring to all the cleaning involved with cooking, including the clean-up waiting for me as soon as everyone has left their seats and disappeared from sight.

Cooking is messy, and splashy, sticky, and gross at times. It takes a fair amount of space, tools, planning, patience and cleaning. But then there is the flip side. Chaos precedes creation. Somehow in all the mess making I create something good. Something tasty enough to make my kids go hmmmm and that makes up for all the clean-up I did or still have to do.

Yesterday’s Chaos

dealiciouscooking.com

The creation

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Hot weather calls for cold noodles

Oriental Cold Noodles for dealiciouscooking.com

It’s searing hot and it has been that way for a while. The kids are perpetually cranky, the dog doesn’t know what to do with himself and even my tropical self can take this weather anymore.

Cold noodles are just perfect for lunch or dinner when the last thing you want to do is stand over a hot stove. They’re easy to cook, delicious eaten straight out of the fridge and the perfect leftover to pack in the kid’s lunchboxes.

For these recipe I used the veggies I had available (spinach, celery, tomatoes and green onions) but anything goes. The noodles were regular Barilla angel hair but it can be done with any type of noodles oriental or not.

Start by chopping the veggies and mixing it in a large bowl.

Cold Oriental Noodles for dealiciouscooking.com

Prepare the dressing while the noodles are cooking.

Cold Oriental Noodles for dealiciouscooking.com

Rinse the cooked noodles with water until cold. Mix noodles, veggies and dressing. Refrigerate for at least one hour allowing the noodles suck in all the flavors. Eat it straight out of the fridge. Repeat!

Cold Oriental Noodles
 
Author:
Cuisine: Fake Asian
 
Ingredients
  • For the noodles:
  • 4 cups chopped fresh raw vegetables: spinach, celery,snow peas, bell peppers, scallions
  • 16 ounces Chinese egg noodles or long pasta like linguine or angel hair
  • For the dressing:
  • 1 small garlic clove (minced or crushed)
  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup (or 1 tbsp sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • Sriracha or Tabasco sauce to taste (optional)
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Prepare the vegetables: wash, trim, peel as necessary and cut into sizes and shapes of your choice. Mix in a large bowl.
  2. Cook the noodles in the boiling water until tender but not mushy. When they’re done, drain and rinse with cold water. Reserve.
  3. Whisk together the dressing ingredients.
  4. Toss the cold noodles and veggies; top with sauce and stir to coat.
  5. Refrigerate for one hour before serving.
Notes
This dressing goes wonderfully with chopped salads too!

 

Slow roasted tomato relish and whipped lemon truffle ricotta crostini

Roasted Tomato Relish and whipped truffle ricotta crostini

This idea is all about the whipped ricotta. It really doesn’t matter what the topping is, because this creamy and tangy base can handle anything. I just happened to have a fresh batch of Roasted Tomato Relish and it was a dealicious topping to this easy to make appetizer. Other toppings that may work well with the whipped ricotta are: roasted pears with basil, fresh figs and walnuts, prosciutto and arugula or even smashed green peas and bacon.

This “whipped ricotta recipe” is hardly a recipe and just requires a few steps for a fluffy. I used truffle salt, lemon zest, lemon juice and  pepper with the ricotta.

Roasted Tomato Relish and whipped truffle ricotta crostini

I placed the ricotta cheese, lemon juice an truffle salt in the food processor and whipped until smooth – about 1 minute. I manually mixed the lemon zest to the whipped ricotta and started to assembled the crostini. For the crostini I used pre-sliced ciabatta bread, brushed with some olive oil and baked for 15 minutes at 380F.

Topped with the roasted tomato relish, balsamic glaze and baby basil leaves and flowers from our garden bed.

Dealiciouscooking.com

Whipped lemon truffle ricotta
 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta
  • ¼ truffle salt
  • ¼ lemon juice
  • dash of lemon zest
Instructions
  1. See post for details.

 

Roasted Curried Cauliflower Steaks

Roasted Curried Cauliflower Steaks

Although there’s no better way to eat cauliflower than deep-fried or swimming in a creamy cheese sauce, this roasted cauliflower recipe is pretty satisfying and ‘dealicious’ (yup, this unpopular veggie is usually affordable and I’m totally surprised that it didn’t make the Gwyneth’s SNAP challenge list.)

This recipe is more of a ‘way to prepare’ than an exact recipe. If you like heat, I recommend using a hot curry powder like Madras. Try it with a splash of lime juice. The citrus highlights all the flavors and adds the perfect zing!

Start by preheating the oven at 400F. Wash the cauliflower and remove some or all of the leaves. Slice the cauliflower into 1/2 inch thick slices. And yes, you’re seeing right, I didn’t core the cauliflower and you don’t have to do it either. The core holds the florets together and tastes as good as the rest of the cauliflower to me.

Cauliflower Steaks

In a small bowl, mix the curry powder, turmeric, cardamom and salt.

Cauliflower Steaks

Place the cauliflower steaks on a non-stick baking sheet (or a baking sheet lined with foil.) Coat the steaks with refined coconut oil (it can be substituted with olive oil or any oil of your choice) on both sides. Sprinkle the spice mix on both sides.

Cauliflower Steaks

Roast it 15-20 minutes each side. I broiled each side an additional 2 minutes just to give the florets a bit of a sexy tan. This step is totally optional.

Roasted Curried Cauliflower Steaks
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons refined coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon mild curry powder
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 large head cauliflower
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Wash the cauliflower and shake it dry.
  2. Cut the cauliflower in long slices, about ½ inch thick.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the spices.
  4. Spread steaks in a single layer in a large non stick baking sheet or a baking sheet lined with foil.
  5. Coat the cauliflower steaks with the coconut oil on both sides and sprinkle the spice mix generously also on both sides.
  6. Bake until cauliflower 20 to 30 minutes. Stir after 15 minutes, flipping the slices over.
Notes
Served with a splash of lime.