Food Art Friday: Candy Corn by Dan Goodsell

Halloween is just around the corn row. I’ve got pumpkins on my doorstep and I keep smiling whenever I see my little candy corn painting by Dan Goodsell. I am a fan of real candy corn as well, but this little painting has zero calories!

Candy Corn is happy here

Candy Corn is happy here

Dan Goodsell is the creator of The World of Mr. Toast.  He has many products you can buy including plush Candy Corn, Vampire Candy Corn and Indian Candy Corn.  Perfect gifts around the Fall season.  He is also the writer of Krazy Kids Food.

Photos: Dinner at José Andrés Bazaar at SLS Hotel

It took me a year to get to José Andrés outpost, The Bazaar at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills.  I don’t know what I was waiting for!  The meal was a real treat.  It was exciting, delicious, unexpected and beautiful.  Here are some images of just about everything we ate during this evening’s feast.

Tortilla de patatas "new way"

Tortilla de patatas "new way"

Cotton candy foie gras with Philly cheesesteak

Cotton candy foie gras with Philly cheesesteak

King crab, raspberries, raspberry vinegar

King crab, raspberries, raspberry vinegar

Olives modern and traditional with Jamon Imberico de bellota Fermin

Olives modern and traditional with Jamón Imbérico de bellota Fermin

Mussels with olive oil, vinegar and pimentón

Mussels with olive oil, vinegar and pimentón

Papas Canarias, salty wrinkled potatoes with mojo verde

Papas Canarias, salty wrinkled potatoes with mojo verde

Watermelon tomato skewers

Watermelon tomato skewers

Boneless chicken wings with green olive pureé

Boneless chicken wings with green olive pureé

Norwegian lobster, seaweed salad and soup of itself

Norwegian lobster, seaweed salad and soup of itself

Ottoman carrot fritters

Ottoman carrot fritters

Crab meat steamed buns with pickled Japanese cucumbers

Crab meat steamed buns with pickled Japanese cucumbers

Tuna ceviche and avocado roll

Tuna ceviche and avocado roll

Pisto vegetable stew, tomato, egg 63

Pisto vegetable stew, tomato, egg 63

Hot chocolate mousse with pear sorbet

Hot chocolate mousse with pear sorbet

Passionfruit marshmallow, After eight, White chocolate with red peppercorn

Passionfruit marshmallow, After eight, White chocolate with red peppercorn

White chocolate lollypop with black olive

White chocolate lollypop with black olive

Somehow we inhaled the three gum drops before I got a shot (vanilla, raspberry and passionfruit). But they were my favorite dessert. And I will be back to photograph more of this stunning place that is more than a restaurant, bar and patisserie. It is a portal to another place away from LA. It is a scene, but with many nooks to seek out and surely a different experience to be had each time back.

And props to my lovely dining companions who waited for me to take photos of each mouth watering dish before they dove in!

Food Art Friday – Baconoki

I found this little handmade plush at a craft fair last summer and could not say no to it.  Just when I thought I had every food plush I could find along came a Bacon wrapped Enoki on a skewer.  He’s just sweating sitting there on the grill.  Whew…

Baconoki is made by Melissa B. Hsu.  She’s got a bunch of cute things in her Etsy store called Susuten.  Or just check out other cute things she’s made on her Flickr page.

Baconoki can't take the heat

Baconoki can't take the heat

Recipe: Tomato Soup

It’s starting to cool off and feel like Fall in Los Angeles.  It feels good.  I pulled my black sweat pants from the bottom of the pants pile and feel pretty comfy sitting here writing this.  People always say that there are no seasons in Los Angeles.  Not true, they’re just not harsh seasons.  It always seems that one day in October it goes from being shorts to sweats.  I know I still don’t need snow shoes or anything, but the switch is flipped.  And it flips in the kitchen too.  It’s time to make soup.  On Monday I was so ready for soup that I made black bean for lunch and tomato for dinner.

My sister stopped by on Monday night and said to me, “Should we have dinner?”  I took this to mean, “Make me dinner,” although she would never say that.  I finished folding the laundry and headed up to the kitchen to make her something to eat.  She’s vegetarian and almost vegan and always appreciates a home cooked meal.  What could I throw together quickly?  Roasted zucchini rounds, roasted cauliflower florets (why not the oven is on already) and Tomato Soup.  I got the veggies roasting and set out on the soup.

Here’s my soup.  It’s versatile, easy and uses basically pantry ingredients so it’s a great last minute fix.  Plus it’s vegan – so feed your veggie pals!

Tomato Soup

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – to coat the bottom of pot – about 2 tablespoons
  • 3-5 cloves of Garlic sliced thinly (like garlic – use more – not a huge fan – use less)
  • 1 – 28 oz can San Marzano whole Tomatoes
  • Water (about 1-1/2 Cups – use it to rinse out the can and then add to soup)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • About 10 Fresh Basil leaves – chiffonade
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)

First assemble your ingredients.  It will make your life easier and is a great habit to get into.

Everything you need!

Everything you need!

Got your pot?  I use a 3-quart stainless steel pot.

Put it over medium high heat and add your olive oil.  Use good olive oil, it tastes better.  Let it heat up for about 30 seconds.

Browning the garlic

Browning the garlic

Add the sliced garlic and let it get golden brown in the oil.  Swirl it around – no need for stirring.  Do not burn it – it’ll ruin everything and you’ll have to start over.  I speak from experience.

The tomatoes are in!

The tomatoes are in!

Once your garlic is nice and toasty (but not dark brown) add your can of tomatoes.  Careful with that hot oil now!  Turn the heat down to low low low.  I also rinse out the inside of the can with a little water (about a cup and half) and throw that in there too.  Let the tomatoes cook slowly and when it starts to barely bubble around the edges (about 15 minutes) season it up with salt and pepper and throw in your basil and a few shakes of red pepper flakes if you like it a little spicy.

Basil added to soup just before blending

Basil added to soup just before blending

Take the soup off the heat and grab your immersion blender.  This will get everything blended up nicely.  Take it as smooth as you like it. Don’t have an immersion blender?  You can use a regular blender.

Blending is about to go down!

Blending is about to go down!

Taste for seasoning and serve with a garnish of basil leaves.

That’s it.

The finished soup...yummmm

The finished soup...yummmm

Now get ready for this:

“This is so good.”  “Oh my gosh.”  “Is there cream in this?”  “Yum.”  “Must be Parmesan cheese.”  “How much butter is in here?”  “Can I have some more?”

You can decide how you want to answer the questions yourself.  I stick to the truth…usually.

Use leftovers on pizza, as a dipping sauce for shrimp, pour it on eggplant, cook eggs in it, or just heat it up and have it with a grilled cheese sandwich.  Perfectly satisfying, perfectly Fall.

Food Art Friday – Frank Kozik’s MechaNana Bronze

Here’s a piece from Dov’s collection.  But I have been enjoying it so much I wanted to include it this week for Food Art Friday.

It’s a bronze sculpture called MechaNana.  Part steam-punk, part Kaiju, this tricked out 10 inch banana designed by Frank Kozik looks like it could be from the future or dug up from underground.  It was released this year in an edition of only 22 pieces and 2 artist proofs.

Get yours here!

MechaNana chillin' with Treeson on the bookshelf

MechaNana chillin' with Treeson on the bookshelf

Food Art Friday – Roast Chicken

In early February of 2007 The Project Room at CSUF Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana showed PICTURES OF THE GONE WORLD: FROM THE COLLECTION OF LONG GONE JOHN just before Long Gone John up and left the smog and his home in Long Beach, California to Olympia, Washington.  Some friends and I drove down see some of John’s incredible collection housed in this cool space.  Having fumbled up steps lined with gnomes and gawked at his incredible art collection in his home it would be fun to see everything lit up with lights in a museum setting.

After the show we grabbed something to eat (something not memorable) right next to the gallery.  My friend Shane Geil popped by and handed my husband a brown cardboard box and looked at me and winked.  A gift for me?  Dov said he was planning on giving me this for Valentine’s Day, but he handed it over.  I opened the box and pulled out a plastic rotisserie chicken container like you would find the grocery store hot case.  And inside the plastic, a plush roast chicken.  I couldn’t stop laughing!

The Roast Chicken by Shane Geil

The Roast Chicken by Shane Geil

Shane made this chicken for me.  Through his company, Purple Flavor he has made both handmade plush items and mass produced items including his hit toy Hello Maggot.

Kisses to you Shane!! xoxo

Wednesday night menu – Pork Tenderloin

I’m working the kinks out with this whole blogging thing.  Just on a logistical note it looks like Wednesday cooking days will be every other Wednesday.

We have officially entered the world of house fixing around here and it is eating up my time chomp chomp chomp (no fork required).  So I only had time for a quick meal Wednesday.  With dinner called for 6:00 pm and a disaster in the kitchen at 4:00 pm it was time to cut my work day a little short and head down to the kitchen for clean up before I could even start cooking.  By the time I was happy with my kitchen set-up it was 5:00 pm and I was really going to have to hustle to get dinner on the table in just one hour!!

Canele's Pork Tenderloin over Corn and Black Beans

Canele's Pork Tenderloin over Corn and Black Beans

Inspired by a pork tenderloin I ate at Canele a couple weeks ago I stopped off and picked one up on the way home from my work out Tuesday night.  Everything else was going to have to be in the fridge or pantry or garden!  I didn’t even have time to write a menu down.  I flipped open The Joy of Cooking and read quickly about pork tenderloin.  It told me that I should have bought the smallest one and I should have bought two of them.  Instead I had bought the biggest one, weighing just over a pound, and I only bought one.  No time to worry about that.  This was going to be a speedy whip up dinner!

I rinsed the pork tenderloin and patted it dry with a paper towel and put it on a clean plate.  I remembered my trusty Zuni Café salting equation and threw about 1 teaspoon of salt all over the pork plus some fresh ground black pepper.  I left it on the counter while I dug around the kitchen to decide how to present this.

Here’s what I found:

  • 1 ear of corn
  • half a red pepper
  • a handful of sugar snap peas
  • a bunch of asparagus
  • some basil
  • garlic
  • heirloom tomatoes
  • and some mint growing in the yard

I would follow the technique for preparing the pork from Joy of Cooking, make a quick veggie stir-fry, plate the sliced loin over the veggies and top with a Dijon vinagrette.  And it would be great because had to be!

I used to cook a little more manicly.  I would turn the heat on the pan and start chopping.  But I learned about getting all my ingredients together and now I am a much happier cook!  I cleaned and prepped all my veggies and herbs and then I turned the heat on high.  Let it heat up a bit, poured in some olive oil, patted the loin dry one more time and, using tongs, placed it into the hot pan.  Sizzle.  I wanted to get a good crust on there.  And thanks to Joy for pointing out that pork tenderloin can dry out very easily due to its low fat content (only slightly higher than boneless, skinless chicken breast!) so high heat is essential for this pan roasting method.

With the loin in the pan cooking away I had some time to make a quick vinegrette.  Shallot, apple cider vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, Dijon, salt, pepper and a little agave nectar.  Great sear on the pork, ready for flippage.  Set the table.  Then I checked the pork and got a little more crust on it by holding it with the tongs to get the sides.  It was looking great.  And smelling great too.  Stuck it with the instant read thermometer, 150, get it out of the pan!  I moved it to a plate and covered it loosely with aluminum foil.  Deglazed with white wine, poured glass of white wine, added white wine to salad dressing.  Then I added a little more olive oil and the garlic to the pan.  Then the rest of the veg went in one at a time until it was time to turn off the heat and add the tomatoes and herbs.  Short cooking time for crispy veg!  Plenty of salt and pepper.

Time to slice the pork and serve it on top of the veggies and top with vinagrette.

Pork Tenderloin over quick stir-fry veggies

Pork Tenderloin over quick stir-fry veggies

I was really pleased with this dish as were my eating companions.  It is light and easy to make.  So tasty.

After dinner we cleaned up and talked about dessert.  I had made a rose apple granita a few days prior.  My parents have a prolific rose apple tree in their impressive yard.  Rose apples have a very floral taste and can taste a little bit like…well…soapy.  I added lime juice and agave to the mix to sweeten it up.  Click for rose apple fruit facts.

Then we made white chocolate apple cookies together.  Recipe coming soon!

White Chocolate Apple cookies with Rose Apple Granita

White Chocolate Apple cookies with Rose Apple Granita

I’m thinking about what to make for the next cooking adventure.  Feel free to leave comments if you’ve got ideas.

Food Art Friday – The Beet Farmer

Today I’m featuring a prize piece from my collection.  This is a customized Blow Up Doll by Michelle Valigura.  She turned the the bomb head into a beet for Vinyl Pulse‘s, Vinyl Elements show which premiered in LA on May 18, 2007.

The Beet Farmer by Michelle Valigura

The Beet Farmer by Michelle Valigura

Michelle most recently had a show featuring her ceramic creations at Rotofugi in Chicago.

Thanks Michelle!  I love my Beet Farmer!

An Open Letter to Umami Burger

Dear Umami Burger,

There are so many things I like about you. Your burgers are tasty and cooked to perfection. With a fluffy bun and delicious toppings. I enjoy the Hatch burger with roasty toasty hatch chiles and gooey cheese. The Manly burger with its yummy fried onion strings, beer cheddar cheese and bacon is irresistible. The Truffle burger is decadent and rich while the SoCal burger seems familiar. And the namesake Umami burger is a must-eat boasting 6 Umami flavors. The French fries are fried multiple times creating a crispy exterior and a soft tender interior. House-made pickles are seasonal and impress me every time.

But…

Why does there even have to be a “but”? I wish there wasn’t one. I wish Umami Burger could deal with people the way it deals with food. Last night my eater-in-crime partner, my husband and I could barely make it through Entourage while we frequently paused the TiVo to discuss what might be for dinner on this fine Sunday night. I wasn’t much in the cooking mood after having gotten up early to attend my first cooking class back in school and I couldn’t help thinking of Umami Burger. I said it out loud. It was over, the words had been spoken and now it was time to race south across town to the 800 block of La Brea to make it to Umami before they closed at 10:00 pm. It was just after 9:00 pm so there was no fear of their doors being closed. Or was there?

We arrived at Umami just after 9:30 pm where we walked in and were stopped at the door by a server. “We’re closed,” he said waving his hand back and forth in front of his neck.

“But your website says you’re open every day until 10:00 pm,” I said.

“The website is wrong,” he said.

“We just drove over here special and we know what we want,” I said cheerfully.

Then another guy outfitted in the signature brown Umami t-shirt came over and gruffly said, “I know you do, but the kitchen is closed.”

“But your website says you’re open until 10:00 pm,” I reiterated.

Then he went on to say something about how they are having a meeting with their web designer and they have to fix that.

We walked out, deflated, hungry and irritated. Another couple was getting out of their car in the parking lot. I told them they were closed. And the other couple was upset too. We felt each other’s pain. No Umami for us.

If this were an isolated incident I might be able to let it go. But (another “but”) it’s just a continuation of the weird service we’ve been hoping would get better the longer they stay open. Umami runs out of stuff. Iced tea, dessert, certain burgers, even fries. The wait staff forgets things. Where’s my special sauce? Where’s my drink? Sometimes this works to your benefit though, we have gotten free fries when we didn’t order them. They were hot so they just gave them to us. Long waits also afflict Umami patrons, even after being seated.  There’s just something about this inattentive dude energy that permeates the place.

I love to eat these burgers. I just want the service to up up up its standards so it can meet the food. I haven’t given up on you yet Umami. Please don’t make me.

Thanks for listening,

Sarah Jo
Getafork.com

Food Art Friday – olive47’s Produce Paintings

Today for Food Art Friday I am showcasing a collection of 9 paintings from the one and only olive47. It was love at first sight when I saw her tomato painting (top center) in her etsy shop. I bought it up right away. And then, my man surprised me with 8 more of these babies. We hung them in the kitchen where I enjoy them everyday. olive47 also designed the Get A Fork logo and this website! Thanks girl!  Smiling food always makes my day!

9 paintings by the talented olive47

9 paintings by the talented olive47

PS: Want to pick up some of olive’s characters for yourself?  Her Miss Cupcake toys are now available!  Check it!

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