Chef Debbi & The Debettes
would like to send you warm and safe wishes for the upcoming holiday!
I’m reposting this great appetizer recipe for you to enjoy. Cheers to a New Year!
While it’s still pretty hot out in So. California it’s hard to go into the kitchen to cook. Here are some light recipes that are quick and easy to prepare. Mangia!
Summer is almost here! Not that you would know that by the weather we’re having. The rain is nice and it makes the garden grow but my other half is craving those warm summer days. Even though here in Southern California we grill all year long, Memorial Day is the official start of grilling season. Whether you grill on gas, charcoal or wood these recipes are easy do ahead recipes for cooking outdoors and picnics. So clean up that grill and set the table because dinner is served! Check out this simple cheese platter, get A Little Book of Cheese to learn all about cheese and how to make a platter!
This cooking class demo is being held at a private home, everyone’s invited! Address will be given upon paid reservation. North Long Beach area
Saturday, June 22
4:00 – 7:00
Chef Debbi’s Pickled Vegetables
Grilled Artichokes with Walt’s Wharf Dip
Sweet ‘n Sour Surf and Turf Kabobs
Cold Green Bean, Tomato and Watermelon Radish Salad
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Register here for Credit Card
If you prefer to pay by check,
Contact Debbi @ 562-243-3926 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Spring is nearly here and with it comes lovely artichokes. Artichokes are perennial plants in the same family as dandelions and sunflowers, they are a thistle plant and, in most artichokes, there is a center that’s inedible, the ‘choke’. In cooler climates, such as California’s northern coast they can be grown as annual’s. Spring and fall are times when you can find fresh artichokes in the markets. An easy plant to grow, they do require full sun and will take up a large space, 3 feet or more. Be sure to cut the artichoke before the leaves begin to open and it blossoms into a flower.
When you choose your artichoke, you want to make sure that it’s firm when you press the sides and you’ll often hear a squeaky noise, that’s good. The leaves should be tight and closed. If there is a little bit of brown on the leaves that’s ok, it just means there was a little frost during its growing season but that’s not a bad thing. The inside will be perfectly delightful. You also might want to consider only organic artichokes since you’ll be eating parts of the plant that may have been sprayed with pesticides during its growing season. Pesticides cannot be washed off with water or vegetables soaps, they are oil based and you know what happens when oil and water mix! If you can’t find beautiful California Artichokes in the market, here is a great local source where you can order them, Melissa’s Produce, http://www.melissas.com/Organic-Artichokes-p/1375.htm
To store your artichokes, you could place in a plastic bag and store in the produce drawer of your refrigerator or just pop it into the drawer itself. They will last up to 7 days but best eaten within a few.
Rinse the artichoke under cool water; pull off the lower, smaller leaves and cut the stem at the base of the choke. If you have a nice long stem, you can cook this separately and eat it like you would the heart, it tastes the same. If desired, with a sharp chef’s knife cut across the top third of the artichoke and snip the sticker off the remaining leaves. Even though there are many ways to prepare a fresh artichoke, most people fall back to either boiling/steaming them, although it takes quite a while, up to half an hour or more. You could put them in a microwave bowl or in an Instant Pot adding a cup of water and cook for 10 minutes, cover the microwave ones, or grill them over hard wood. Anyway is fine with me.
Here’s the traditional method:
Put them into a large pot and cover with cool water, squeeze two lemons into the water and a little sea salt, bring to a boil and simmer until you can run a small knife through the bottom part of the artichoke, 30-45 minutes or longer depending on the size of the vegetable. Remove from the water using tongs and picking up the artichoke with the top facing down so not to spill hot water all over yourself, drain and serve with my favorite sauce from Walt’s Wharf in Seal Beach.
Get the recipe here,
1 cup mixed olives
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs, ground
1 wedge triple cream brie
1 small jar of fig jam or fruit spread
8 ounces aged Gouda
8 ounces aged sharp cheddar, thinly sliced
1 baguette, sliced 1-inch thick
1 round of boursin, any flavor
2 packages of interesting looking crackers
1 wedge blue cheese, partially crumbled
1 small jar of honey
1 package mixed Italian meats
1 small bunch red seedless grapes
4 ounces nuts, mixed or single
1 package, 4 oz. of dried apricots
2 apples, cored and sliced tossed with lemon juice to prevent browning
Mix together olives, olive oil and ground Italian herbs, let rest for at least an hour or longer.
Don’t crowd the cheese on the platter, make the board big enough to accommodate all ingredients.
Put the mixed olives in a small bowl and place on the platter.
Place the triple cream brie on the platter and arrange the fig or fruit spread next to the brie.
Place the sharp cheddar and gouda on the board next with the baguette slices nearby.
Then arrange the boursin near the baguette slices with the crackers next.
Add the blue cheese and honey on the board filling out the outer edges of the board. Tuck in the Italian meats all around the board, add the grapes in clumps and spread the nuts throughout the board with little pockets of dried fruit. Place the apples near the cheddar cheese.
Are you hankering for some romaine lettuce? Well, there are tons of alternatives here in So. Cal for you. From the CDC website here’s what they are saying about the current outbreak of e coli on romaine lettuce.
‘Based on new information, CDC is narrowing its warning to consumers. CDC is advising that U.S. consumers not eat and retailers and restaurants not serve or sell any romaine lettuce harvested from the Central Coastal growing regions of northern and central California. If you do not know where the romaine is from, do not eat it.’
Here’s the link for more information, CDC.
Personally, I like a mix of lettuce mostly, a little crunch, a little color and a tangy dressing. My favorite is a good old Italian dressing made with a very good red wine vinegar. I love a little cheese as well, blue, parmesan or goat goes well with a tangy Italian dressing.
Just mix a little Dijon mustard, like Maille, with your red wine vinegar, add a little minced shallot, some fresh ground Italian spices and whisk in a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper and you’re done.
Local lettuce varieties are usually more plentiful during the winter as most lettuce prefers to grow in the cooler weather. Here are some varieties that will offer no only color but flavor to your salad bowl.
Choose lettuce that is bright with no brown edges or spots. Try and get them not too wet, if they are wet, they have a tendency to go bad faster. Pick whole heads of lettuce rather than bagged lettuce. The more lettuce is handled from field to bag the greater chance it can pick up any bacteria. Bagged lettuce can also be washed with chlorinated water and tends to be older than a non-bagged lettuce. Are you tempted to buy the bag that says triple washed and leave it at that? That lettuce may be contaminated with more than just chlorinated water and if it’s wet at all it will likely rot within a couple of days in that bag. Buy un-bagged lettuce, wash and dry well before storing. You might notice that if you purchase your lettuce at a farmers market that it lasts longer than a store bought lettuce, it’s because your farmers market lettuce was probably picked within a couple of days. I’ve had lettuce last up to 2 weeks from my farmers markets. So here are just some of the lettuce types you should be able to pick up anywhere.
Arugula (Rocket)-spicy and peppery, the larger the leaves the more bite it will have
Batavia is a loose-leaf lettuce similar to red or green leaf lettuce with a mild flavor
Belgian Endive-these can be a tad bitter, but they will add crunch to any salad mix
Butter-a very mild lettuce with big cupped leaves, great for serving topped with a crab salad
Frisee (Curly Endive)-Sometimes called chicory, the leaves are thin and curly with a little bit of a bite, aka peppery.
Iceberg-A dense head of lettuce with lots of crunch but little flavor
Leaf Lettuce, Red or Green-Another loose leaf lettuce with mild flavor but both add a lot of color to a salad bowl, great on sandwiches as well.
Little Gem-This lettuce looks like a mini version of romaine but it’s not as crunchy, mild flavor
Oakleaf-Another beautiful bi-colored loose-leaf lettuce that has a mild taste
Radicchio-There are numerous colors of radicchio, most have a little bitterness but a great addition to any salad.
Spring Mix-Usually a variety of small lettuces, some are mild, and some mixes can be spicy.
Watercress – Although probably a little difficult to find it makes a nice addition to a mixed salad or added to a rustic piece of bread slathered with some soft cheese. It has a peppery bit, much like Arugula. Use smaller leaves for less intense flavor.
Join us in Seal Beach
Thur. Jan 10th
Tue Jan 22
6:30 – 8:30, approximately
Pink Grapefruit, Avocado & Watercress Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Chicken Cordon Bleu
Spaghettini with Vodka Cream Sauce
Winter Roasted Vegetables with Basil Vinaigrette
Lemon Curd Cream Puffs
Taking reservations now, call:
Temecula Olive Oil, 148 Main St. Seal Beach
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