Sunday, September 26, 2010

Weekend Cocktail

I have a very dear friend, Steve Love who has been co-creating recipes with me for many years! Emma and I enjoyed brunch at his house this summer and he made the most amazing and refreshing cocktail! Thank you Steve for being a constant source of culinary and cocktail inspiration!

The Leland Palmer was created by Damon Boelte, bar manager at Prime Meats in Brooklyn. "I was in Los Angeles visiting my girlfriend, enjoying my favorite hangover drink, the Arnold Palmer, and watching an episode of Twin Peaks, where Leland Palmer almost whacks Agent Cooper with a golf club. Sometimes things just make sense," says Boelte. For his adult version of the popular drink that's half lemonade and half iced tea, Boelte combines gin, jasmine tea, Limón cello, lemon juice, and grapefruit juice in a pitcher. It's summer's essential back-porch sipper, and, Boelte adds, "It's definitely much better than a golf club to the head." Makes 6

Sometimes for gifts I make homemade Limóncello! It is super easy and ever so tasty and with all of the Southern California lemons I get it is a real no brainier! I have included the recipe. If you are planning on making it for the holidays you need to start mid October so it is ready for gifts in December. Cheers!


· 1/2 cup honey

· 1/2 cup hot water

· 3 cups freshly brewed jasmine tea, cooled

· 3/4 cup gin

· 3/4 cup Limóncello

· 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

· 1/2 cup fresh grapefruit juice

· 1 cup chilled club soda

· Ice cubes

· 6 lemon slices (for garnish)


· Stir honey and 1/2 cup hot water in small bowl until honey dissolves. Cool completely.

· Combine honey water, jasmine tea, gin, Limóncello, lemon juice, and grapefruit juice in large pitcher. Add club soda and stir to blend.

· Fill six 1-pint mason jars or 6 tall glasses with ice cubes. Divide tea mixture among jars; top each with lemon slice.


17 large lemons, preferably Meyers when in season- If not always organic

Two 750-milliliter bottles grain alcohol or 100 proof vodka

5 cups water

6 cups sugar

Wash and dry the lemons. With a paring knife, remove the ends. With a vegetable peeler, remove only the yellow rind, leaving the pith intact. (Squeeze juice from the lemons and reserve for another use.) Place the lemon peel in a 4-quart Mason jar with a rubber-seal lid. Add the grain alcohol, making sure the lemon peel is completely covered. Store in a cool, dark place, shaking the jar once each day to agitate the lemon peel.

On the 14th day, bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the sugar and remove from the heat, stirring until it is dissolved. Cover and let cool to room temperature. Place a colander on top of the saucepan and strain in the contents of the Mason jar. Discard the lemon peel. Stir to combine the liquids, about 1 minute. Transfer back to the Mason jar. Store for 1 month in a cool, dark place, shaking to agitate the liquid twice a day. After 1 month, transfer the Limóncello to smaller bottles that can be sealed with rubber stoppers.

This time of year is rich, full and more than just a bit busy! Since our Los Angeles weather has barley changed since last spring some hardly notice anything, but many of us are going through huge milestones! My daughter started high school in a new part of the city with all new friends. Some send their babies off to pre-school or kinder while others are simply adjusting to new grades and more structured days and that thing called homework!

While I am still busy it certainly feels like I have more time for me. I don’t say that lightly as I can fill up my days quite easily, but I say it with determination that I spend more time on myself! It goes back a few weeks when I looked in the mirror and really paid attention to what I saw. I love food, I am after all a chef, but I was really not happy. Now usually I prefer to go under the radar with these things and just have people wonder if I changed my hair or did something and not announce to the world that I am actually trying to loose weight! There I said it! OK so here goes. Exercise daily for at least 30+ minutes- Non-negotiable. I love to hike, dance, do yoga, play tennis and ride a bicycle. I think thirty minutes is a fair gift to myself! I went to my collections of DVDs and dusted off some of my favorites! I have everything from yoga to Pilates to “Dancing with the Stars.” My all time best is a series called Yoga Bootie Ballet. You can zip over the hill to Serve Studios and take a class or if you are short on time put one of the many different workouts on and have a party in your living room!

The last thing is what I call mindful eating. I get to play with wonderful recipes that are just a little bit lighter. I would never be the one to not eat or give up a certain food group, but we all know how to make better choices and being mindful allows for that.

So find some time to get your groove on and enjoy these mindfully delicious recopies and your friends and family may never know exactly what you are doing, but you will look and feel fantastic!

Asian Marinade for Vegetables
This simple marinade works well with chicken or fish. Eggplant, summer squashes, asparagus, inions, beets, corn. Just to name a few.
Be creative and look for fun veggies to grill!

6 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 inches Ginger, finely chopped
1 bunch Mint leaves, chopped
1 bunch Cilantro, chopped
1bunch Basil, chopped
3 Green onions, sliced
2 Serrano chilies, finely chopped
1/2 cup Olive oil
1/2 cup Rice wine vinegar
Juice of 4 Limes and zest
1/4-cup Soy sauce
1/4 cup Honey
1-tablespoon Chili sauce

Remove and grate zest of limes and juice limes. Prepare 12 cups of vegetables for the grill. Combine ingredients and marinate for 2 hours rotating occasionally. Grill vegetables, brushing with marinade.

Cajun Grilled Salmon

6-6 ounce salmon fillets

2 tablespoons Paprika

2 tablespoons cayenne pepper

1-tablespoon pepper

6 cloves of Garlic, minced

3 tablespoons onion flakes

2 tablespoons dried oregano


Mix all the ingredients together with a mortar and pestle until powdery. Rub all over the salmon fillets on both sides and leave for 1 - 2 hours. Heat BBQ until hot. Spread some oil over the salmon fillets and place on the grill flesh side down. Cook for 5 minutes. Turn over and cook until done.

Wasabi Salmon Packet

1 salmon fillet, about 1 1/2 pounds

1/2 stick butter, melted

1 red bell pepper, julienne

1 small white onion, chopped

3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce

1/2-teaspoon wasabi paste

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat grill for medium-high heat. Place salmon fillet, skin side down, on a large piece of aluminum foil. Combine butter, teriyaki sauce, and wasabi in a small bowl. Spoon over salmon and top with julienne red bell pepper and chopped onion.

Seal fish with foil to form a packet. Place on grill and cook for 12-15 minutes, or until fish has a flaky center Cut into 4 pieces. Place the salmon fillets on top of the Gingered Slaw.

Shrimp on rosemary skewers
A very simple and amazing way to prepare shrimp. I have the biggest rosemary tree in my yard so I am always looking for ways to use it. Cutting 2 inch pieces of rosemary strip stem starting about 1" from top of stem. Using a very sharp knife cut points at the end of the stem. You will need about 25 for this recipe.

1/4 cup finely chopped garlic, mashed to a paste with 1 teaspoon coarse
3 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves plus sprigs for garnish
4 tablespoons olive oil plus oil for brushing shrimp
2 pounds jumbo shrimp, cleaned with tails on

In a large bowl stir together garlic, minced rosemary, and 3 tablespoons oil and add shrimp. Marinate shrimp, covered and chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight. Thread the shrimp with the rosemary skewer.
On an oiled grill or a stovetop grill arrange shrimp so that the rosemary skewers are away from the flame.
Grill 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until just cooked through. Serve with lemon wedges

Swordfish and Veggie skewer
1 large lemon
1 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup of Dijon Mustard
1/2-cup pinot gringo (or any light) vinegar
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-2 inches of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 a teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1-pound swordfish
1 large red onion
16 mushrooms
2 yellow or green bell pepper
8 cherry tomatoes

In a small bowl juice the lemon and add 2 teaspoons add two teaspoons zest. Combine the oil, mustard, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and black and red pepper. Cut the swordfish into 24 equal pieces.
Cut onion in half and each half into quarters. Cut the bell pepper in half and de seeds it and cut into 16 pieces. Clean the mushrooms. Dividing equally and then alternating them, thread the swordfish with all the veggies ending with the cherry tomatoes on 8- 12-inch skewers. (Don’t forget if using wood they need to be soaked in water for about one hour. Brush with half the marinating mixture and let sit in the refrigerator for one hour. Prepare your grill. When it is ready, Brush the skewers with half the remaining marinade. Grill the skewers about 5 inches from the heat for five minutes. Turn over and grill about 5 more minutes until fish is lightly colored, firm to the touch, and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Serve at once.

Grilled swordfish in a Black bean Sauce
2- 15 oz cans of black beans
1-tablespoon peanut oil
1 red onion chopped
2 red peppers, chopped
3 garlic cloves chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1-cup chicken or vegetable stock
Fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
6- 8 oz swordfish steaks
Peanut oil for brushing fish
In saucepan heat peanut oil and sauté onions and garlic for 5 minutes. Add peppers and cook until softened stirring constantly. Add the black beans and stock stir over medium heat until thicken and sauce reduces about half. Puree with an emulsion blender. I like to leave it a little chunky. Cover while preparing the fish. Prepare grill. (These can be done on the stovetop grill o broiler as well.) Brush fish well with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill or broil until cooked through about five minutes per side.) If you made the sauce a head reheat. Place fish on a plate and spoon over sauce and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Grilled Tuna Steaks with Pineapple Salsa
! /4 cup of olive oil
Juice of one lime
Juice of one lemon
4 tuna Steaks, 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick.
Prepare the grill. Mix the oil and lemons and lime in a small bowl and brush over the tuna generously. Grill the tuna steaks 5 inches over the heat for about 6 minutes per side until they are firm to the touch. (Many people like there tuna rare…that would be about 3 minutes per side. I personally, like all of my fish cook through. Not over cooked, but cooked through. Believe me I have taken much flack about this from chefs over the years, just another lesson for being true to your own tastes no matter what the “experts” say. Remove from grill and serve immediately with a generous amount of salsa.
Pineapple Salsa
1 medium sized pineapple
Juice of 2-3 limes
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup very finely slivered fresh ginger
1 white onion, cut into thin slivers
1 to 2 small red chilies, dried or fresh stemmed, seeded and cut into
Very thin slivers
1/2 cup coarsely cut cilantro

Peel pineapple, remove the "eyes,' then core. Slice and cut into
Thin, matchstick slivers. Add lime and lemon juices, sugar, salt
Ginger and onion. Taste for intensity of flavor; add additional
sugar and/or salt if needed. Add chili slivers very sparingly,
tasting until you reach the degree you prefer. (Caution: The heat
will intensify as the salsa stands.) Just before serving, stir in
cilantro. Best served within an hour or two of mixing.