Fuji Apple, Caramelized Onion and Crispy Bacon Arugula Salad

My sister always says that I make really good salads and I always shrug my shoulders and say, “Whatever! It’s just a salad.” But sometimes a really good salad is hard to come by. Some are just too traditional, others just run of the mill—lacking balance, flavor and texture and just haphazardly putting vegetables together with some dressing. I say this vision of salad must be changed so we are more comfortable eating things that we desperately need in our diets such as leafy greens, fruits, bright colored vegetables and balanced fats. I know bacon isn’t healthy—you could definitely omit the bacon— but the idea of this added lusciousness from just one piece of bacon adds depth of flavor and heartiness to this delicious salad. Avocado and sliced fuji apples give this salad great balance of creamy and sweet notes accompanied by the simple white balsamic vinaigrette that dresses the salad. I hope you find balance in your own ways to eat the vegetables and fruits our bodies so desperately need.

 

1 ½ cups arugula, washed and dried

½ cup baby spinach, washed and dried

¼ red onion, thinly sliced

1 slice bacon, small dice

½ fuji apple, cored and thinly sliced

½ avocado, small dice

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Black pepper

Salt

 

In a small non-stick sauté pan, place 1 tablespoon olive oil in pan and cook diced bacon over medium til crisp, about 4 minutes. Take bacon out of the oil and set on a paper towel to drain.  Using the oil in the pan, place the red onions to cook till tender, about 6-8 minutes on medium heat. Take out of the pan and drain excess grease on paper towel.

 

In a small bowl, mix together white balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard, combine well. Add a pinch of salt and a little black pepper.

 

In a larger bowl, add arugula, spinach, avocado and apples together, then toss with vinaigrette adding a little at a time and tasting for your preference of dressing. Adjust seasoning to your liking. Plate on a small platter and sprinkle over the top crispy bacon and onions. Add a couple of slices of apple and enjoy.

cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Why Write Recipes When You Can Just Cook?

I cook often. If I could blog as easily as it seems for me to whip something up to eat in the kitchen, I’m sure I could fill another four blogs with my recipes. But as most of you know, I cook with more intuition than I do with recipes. Recipe writing is an art, a skill, a talent and I’m trying my hardest to be able to do more of it, but sometimes it’s very difficult for me to do so because I was never taught to cook from recipes; I was taught by watching the people I love, make the food they love.  I hope even if there aren’t recipes per se on my blog about everything I cook, if you’re curious about how to make something or how I’ve made something, you do a little research – say hello, drop me a tweet, facebook comment, e-mail, or whichever way we chat, let me know and I’ll come up with a way for you to make it happen. Here are some of the dishes I’ve photographed in the last week of ideas and meals we’ve enjoyed at home. I want to come back and write recipes for them all, hopefully one day I will. But here are the descriptions and a couple of quick recipes. I hope you enjoy these tasty ideas.

 

Romaine Hearts and Arugula Salad with Minced Beet, Pears, Pistachios, Avocado, Cucumber and Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 romaine heart, cored and sliced into small pieces

8 oz arugula

1 large beet, boiled or roasted, peeled and minced into small pieces

1 avocado, diced

1/4 cup of shelled pistachios

1 pear, peeled and thinly sliced

½ hot house cucumber, sliced

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Black pepper

Salt

To make dressing

Add balsamic, honey and Dijon together and add a pinch of black pepper and salt. Mix together well and then slowly pour in extra virgin olive oil till incorporated. Use less or more oil for your desired consistency.

Combine all vegetables in large bowl, except for beets, and toss with vinaigrette.

Before serving, sprinkle on minced beets and consume.

 Black Pepper and Herb Roasted Turkey Breast with White Wine Cherry Tomato Basil Sauce and Lemon Zest served aside Roasted Red Potatoes

Roasted Red Potatoes

Approx. 3 lbs of medium to small-sized red potatoes, quartered and washed, but not peeled

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons minced sage

1 tablespoon minced rosemary

4 cloves garlic, minced

Salt

Pepper

In a large pot, add red potatoes, cover with cold water and add salt to taste.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook potatoes in water until almost done, about 15-20 minutes, but still having firmness when poked with a fork.

Drain water from the potatoes.

Place the potatoes in large bowl and add a couple pinches of salt, pepper, garlic, herbs, and ½ of the oil, incorporate well and place on a large baking sheet. Then pour the rest of the oil over the top of the potatoes.

Put the potatoes in preheated oven and cook for about 15 minutes. Take potatoes out and shake and stir them loose to roast other sides another 10-12 minutes, till crunchy on the outside, but soft on the inside.

Serve with your favorite meat or vegetables.

Carrot California Chile Colorado with Braised Beef served over Black Rice with Roasted Beet Greens and Garlic and Romaine topped with Avocado

Sliced Turkey, Roasted Zucchini, Mushrooms, Almond Butter, Spicy Carrots and Rice Noodles topped with Almond Cilantro “gremolata”

New York Strip Milanese (New York Steak seasoned with cumin, coriander, black pepper and lemon, then breaded in panko and deep fried) served with Slow-Cooked Black and Pinto Beans with Roasted Garlic and Tomato Spanish Rice

Potato, Sausage and Kale soup with Red Pepper Flakes and Parmesan

Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

 

Sol Y Luna

On a street corner of Ventura Blvd. in Tarzana, lies a valley find unlike many others. As I approached Sol Y Luna on Saturday night, second thoughts were in order, a crowd of well to do ladies and gentlemen surfaced, even before we were inside, about 20 people deep. As we approached the hostess, we were kindly asked to wait an hour if we’d like to eat there. Inclined to see what the wait was about, Stephanie and I decided we would just hop over to the local bowling alley and have a beer, catch up about over the holiday adventures and take her outfit photos for her blog. As we waited, it was clear that we would be around for a little while, so finally after about 45 minutes, we decided to take a seat at the bar, which opened up two seats just in time for the two of us to snag them. We were greeted kindly by a very sweetly natured bartender named Jessie. You could tell it was getting to the part of the evening to wind down a bit by the time we were seated, which I appreciate because I know the middle of service in a large busy restaurant it hectic for everyone.
We ordered house margaritas, which were poured from the gun; nothing over the top, but not a bad drink for the price. I’d probably order a Cadillac next time, if I were to have margaritas there again. The bar was studded with fancy decorations, mirrors and lots of different types of tequila and draft Mexican beer. Jessie asked us if we’d like to start with guacamole as an appetizer, which we were inclined to do because it looked so good. The avocados were perfect and creamy, and the large bowl was made right aside us for us to put in whatever it was we’d like to make it mild, medium or spicy.  We were also served two types of salsa: a pico de gallo, which is a more chunky tomato, onion, and cilantro sauce, as well as a smokey spicy salsa with flavors of chipotle. Both salsas were delicious, the chips were perfectly crunchy and light, not too hard or too soft for breaking in sauces or thick guacamole.
As we enjoyed our huge bowl of guacamole and chips, along with our margaritas, we perused the menu to see what our main courses would be. By this time we had decided that we’d just continue to sit at the bar. I decided I would order the salpicon tostada with shredded beef and refried beans. Stephanie had a black bean and cheese burrito. My tostadas were huge and very delicious. The refreshing, light dressing of just simple oil and vinegar and not overwhelming presence of cheese, was an important factor in the overall delightful nature of the dish. This was a refined Mexican-style dinner. Everything just seemed to fall into place and after all the food, we hardly realized we had waited so long. It was an amazing meal with a great friend, awesome service and even the mariachis came by to serenade us. A great place for good food, but I’d say to head in around 9:00 p.m. or later if you don’t want to wait, or go on an off day, but even then, I’m sure some wait maybe in order for this very desirable Mexican cuisine.

Birthday celebrations, food, friends and good beets

I love food as a celebration. Large parties, huge spreads of tons of food that have peoples eyes opening wide and mouths salivating and pleasant aromas and sights to only be quieted by the shoveling of food in to mouths. Those are the times I am extremely happy. Life is one big celebration as we know but those days where we can really come together talk about things, people, and places we love and just enjoy the company of those close to us are really something amazing to cherish.

Tonight I did just that.

It was one of my best friends from high school, Michelle’s birthday was last Sunday. She had some mid-terms to finish up so we couldn’t celebrate on her actual birthday but I asked her what she’d like to do, she said nothing which tends to be a growing trend amongst us as we get older, we don’t want to party, we just want to hang out and be mellow. So I said we’re not going to do nothing silly how about I cook for you, she agreed upon request and already my head was thinking about things I wanted to make but haven’t gotten to for a while.

I also informed a good friend of ours, Guy, of the little food party and he said he would join us. I was really excited and happy to have them both over to my place and to be able to cook for them would be really fun. I’ve known Guy since the 6th grade. I’m so grateful to have such amazing friends  who are so supportive in my cooking so I took an early morning yoga class and got on my way.

This is the menu I ended up finishing;

Roasted garlic, basil, and Pinot grigio steamed clams & mussels
Braised Chicken, Cacciatore style severed with creamy manchego & smoked gouda white polenta
Thyme Roasted Red potatoes & asparagus
White Zucchini, Organic Red beet, and Avocado Baby Spring Mix salad with White Balsamic Tangerine Vinaigrette
Pineapple and Strawberry Shortbread Tart with Almond Strawberry Curd (no picture)
White Sangria with fresh pineapple, berries and tangerines

Kinda annoyed I didn’t take a good picture of the salad but after all the work i do taking pictures is hardly the priority, I need a photographer but anyway…

I have to say the salad was the most simple delicious thing. Tangerine and parsley along with lovely subtle white balsamic and extra virgin olive oil you have to try it, I think you’ll love it. The creaminess of avocado and the raw white zucchini marinated in the dressing a little ahead of time really makes for something wonderful but different.

White Zucchini, Organic Red beet, and Avocado Baby Spring Mix salad with White Balsamic Tangerine Vinaigrette

Slice 1 white zucchini which is also called Mexican zucchini, I like this particular kind because it doesn’t taste bitter like Italian zucchini tastes sometimes, into pieces that are long and skinny but pleasant to eat
1 avocado ripe sliced
2 hand fulls of spring mix
1 beet boiled and peeled then sliced into thin circles

Dressing
Juice of 1 tangerine
about 3 tablespoons white balsamic
extra virgin olive oil to your preference
salt
pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced parsley

Dressing needs to be done with your taste in mind, so put it all together and season!

Mix the zucchini sticks with about 1/2 the dressing or enough to coat and let sit for about 15 minutes, it pickles them a little and makes the dressing stick add the avocado to the mixture when ready to serve and  toss together

plate mixed greens and beets arranging as you’d like, then toss with a little more dressing and top with avocado and zucchini

Easy light simple salad.

I hope you enjoy

I’m so tired I think i could sleep all day. I knew i was gonna be tired tomorrow so i put a roast in the slow cooker for tomorrow :) always thinking ahead.

Remember about the Online Bake Sale For Japan

here’s the link to my auction items that I’ll be supporting the cause with!

Unrivaledkitch
Twitter and Foodbuzz

Turmeric Turkey Gyro style wraps w/ cilantro lemon “tzatziki”, basmati rice, &smashed avocado

I’ve been wanting Persian/ Greek/ or middle eastern food. But getting my sister to go to the middle valley after she gets off of work is the last thing shes been feeling like doing and I haven’t felt like having lunch by myself lately so I just let it slide. Today while thinking about the things i could possibly do with a fridge full of food that I need to get rid of because I have already confirmed 30 people for my sisters baby shower on February 20th and am going to need lots of space. As you know if you’ve seen some of my older holiday entries. I love feeding a lot of people in a family style setting or even not in a family style setting. The idea of making lots of anything makes my blood race its one of those things I miss the most about the restaurant 30 tickets in and 20 different pastas on the fire 30 other dishes made waiting ready to follow, a perfectly executed line of tickets. That is crunch time and only to proceed to make 200 more dishes the rest of the night. That rush is one of the most brilliant things that someone who wants to be a chef must experience in their life. I loved spinning around the kitchen calling out orders, yelling, throwing things, all those fun things that aren’t normally acceptable in home kitchens. They are in a “professional” kitchens. We were just kids making food, living a dream that sometimes turned into a nightmare.

Anyway sorry I get a little nostalgia every once in a while and then I realize I love it, would love to cook in a another restaurant probably some day then i remember working for close to minimum wage, never seeing my family, not being recognized, always working holidays, never seeing my friends, not taking care of myself and i remember why I’m taking a break but there’s something so magical and freeing about home cooking. I don’t have to be confined to the dishes I would working in a restaurant, I love tired and true food as much as anyone does but the things that give me the most pleasure regarding food are finding the new things that can be incorporated into every day diets that share a common welfare with the people you share them with. Seeing a hot plate of food light up someones face is the best feeling, when you put out 150 dishes of the same things it starts to get monotonous. Four years of making the same Tortellacci de zucca I’ve had enough of that. I’ll teach you guys one day.

I always fight to learn more and more  so this recipe here kind pushes my boundaries a little.  Sounds weird tastes good.

Okay so i looked in the fridge and this is pretty much where i got going. I have always a lot of Mexican spices and herbs in my kitchen. I am in California and i am part Mexican so that makes sense to me. But as i mentioned earlier i wanted something kind of  eastern-esk but also i have to disguise the food a little because my brother in law is a bit picky

Tonight I made  Turmeric Turkey Gyro style flour tortilla wraps with cilantro, green onion, lemon “tzatziki”, basmati rice, and smashed avocado

Okay that’s a mouth full… and literally it is. Its kinda fusion I guess? Middle eastern Mexican burrito thing with turkey. But its so wonderful that i just wanted to write about it so i can remember what i made. So its pretty much ground turkey( i never buy ground turkey so this was perfect to use for it but chicken or beef or lamb i think would be nice too)  made with the spices you would see in gyro meat and Kubideh which is an Iranian ground meat dish that i love that has lots of turmeric to make it yellow and delicious, the turkey is also seasoned with garlic, and onions, cilantro, green onion, rosemary, dill, and Marjoram  which to me kinda has a tea-ish flavor. I love spices so much so i kinda just put the lot in and it came out pretty good.  Here’s what i remember of it all.

Turmeric Turkey Gyro style wraps with cilantro lemon “tzatziki”, basmati rice, &smashed avocado

Basmati Rice

Put two tablespoons of butter and two good pinches of salt in the bottom of a small pot.

Using whatever kind of measuring device you’d like put rice in at a ratio or 1 cup of rice to 1 and 1/2 cups of water.

But 1st was the rice out a couple of times to get the extra starches out and then toast the rice a little in the butter coat all the grains stirring a bit then add in the water

Bring it up to a nice boil

Pop a top on it cook rice on low for 20 minutes leave lid on for about 5 minutes then fork up

Turmeric Turkey Seasoned Meat

about 1 1/2 # of ground turkey just one of those packs you get at your market like jenni-o or whatever that is.
1/2 medium/large onion minced
2 cloves of garlic
1 small hand full of cilantro chopped fine
2 green onions chopped to the white
2-3 good pinches of salt
1/2 cup of matzo meal or you could use bread crumb (i used unsalted if you use salted adjust seasoning)
1 egg
one shake of dried Marjoram
two shakes of dill
one shake of dried rosemary
three shakes of black pepper
three/four shakes of Turmeric
2 tablespoons of olive oil

Preheat oven 375 about 20 minutes before you finish making the last sauce

place in bottom of pot oil and add onions, garlic, green onion, and cilantro sweat till onions are translucent about 5-7 minutes. then add spices into the mixture so that there’s enough turmeric that the onions turn a nice yellow color, taste and check for salt and the reminiscent flavor of the spices its supposed to be subtle not over powering. If the onions are too your liking salt wise if using unsalted matzo a little over salted if using salted bread crumb a little under salted. turn off and set aside to cool make sure veggies cool completely before you proceed so the egg doesn’t get scrambled

when that’s cooled add ground turkey, matzo, and egg and mix everything together form into balls which will be smashed into patties

If you have a grill pan I’d use one of those which is what i used or a grill outside is nice too or a pot with some oil in it make sure you spray it with some kinda non stick spray if using a grill or grill pan because there isn’t much fat in turkey.

Grill about 4-5 minutes on each smashed patty side and then take off and place in a baking dish. cover with foil and set aside

Cilantro, green onion, lemon “tzatzik”

I really liked this, My brother in law would go no where near yogurt unless its frozen with strawberry and gram cracker. Especially if it had herbs in it! So i disguised some herbs in the sour cream spread it on the bottom and he had no idea. Plus I didn’t have plain yogurt you can sub yogart it would be really good but then i’d say cut back on the lemon and red wine vinegar put a little in and taste and then add more

a little goes a long way with this sauce

about 1/2 a head of cilantro finely minced
1 green onion only green cut
1/2 a lemon zested and juiced
1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt
pepper
3 large spoon fulls of sour cream

put it together and adjust for salt and pepper  mix it up

Smashed avocado
2 avocados
1/2 lemon squeezed
salt
pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


mash avocados

and mix everything in set it aside

so now you have all the components except I wanted shredded lettuce and some tomato also

Your going to heat up your meat by placing it in the oven for about 5-7 minutes to make sure the turkey is all the way warm and cooked through but not dry.

Oh also for the tortillas you should use your gas stove and heat them directly on the fire. that blurt flame flavor of the tortilla is perfect with this.

So what i did was i took two tortillas per sandwich cause its like a pita

spread the avocado on on then put the other tortilla on top

then put down some of the tzatzik

add a couple spoons of rice so it sticks and spread it out

then a couple pieces of the turkey on top

lettuce and just a little more tzatzik and avocado if you’d like then i topped with tomato for color

a little bit of salt and pepper on the tomato

and here you go

A sophisticated fun burrito type gyro or if you wanted to cut out the tortilla all together this is perfect over the rice with the condiments :)

I could only eat half my brother in law and sister had smaller seconds

Even if you get nothing from this but the courage to try something different sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t but you’ll never know until you… do it!

If your looking for the most authentic of foods maybe this isn’t one to try but if one day you happen to have some left over things try it out. I really liked it

Also I really like the idea of this without the turkey and with seasoned grilled eggplant , zucchini, or bell peppers. yum

Lots of variations can be made have fun!

Cheers

Unrivaledkitch

Twitter and Foodbuzz