How you doin’? It has been very sad to see Beverly Hills closed up tighter than a drum, but things are starting to open up once again. One bright spot has been that you could still get the “legendary” Italian Chopped Salad from La Scala.
Back in the 50s, Chef Jean Leon served a popular chopped salad at La Scala Boutique in Beverly Hills. The classic dish combined two kinds of lettuce, salami, chickpeas, and cheese.
Over the years, the salad has been nibbled on by movie stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Julia Roberts, and Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as JFK. La Scala still features the original version. The secret ingredient in the vinaigrette dressing is the dry mustard. The original salad was hard to eat so the salad was chopped into small bite-size pieces. So… ready, set, pull out your mezzaluna and get to rockin’ and choppin’.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Yield: 2 servings
For the secret chopped salad dressing
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup light olive oil
For the salad mix
1 cup iceberg lettuce, chopped
1/2 cup romaine lettuce
4 tablespoons Italian salami, chopped
4 tablespoons cooked chicken, chopped
4 tablespoons garbanzo beans, chopped
4 tablespoons jicama, small dice
2 tablespoons carrot, shredded
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup of provolone, chopped
1/4 to 1/3 cup Chopped Salad dressing
For the toppings
1 tablespoon scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon black olives, chopped
2 tablespoons tomatoes, chopped
To make the salad dressing
ChefSecret: By no means do you have to abide by these salad mixin’s suggestions. You can use most any leftover in the refrigerator to add to a great salad, i.e. bacon, fried onion strings, croutons, etc., and that goes for the salad dressing as well. So, put on your Italian chef’s coat and knock yourself out—create a masterpiece.
To you and everyone dear to you, be strong, be positive, stay well, stay safe, be kind and always give thanks to our many first responders on the line who risk their lives for us. And, if you have a little extra in your pocket to share with others at this difficult time, please consider donating to Feeding America. Thanks for reading.
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#ChoppedSalad #LaScala #Salads #Entrees #PerspectivesTheConsultingGroup #QuarantineKitchen #Covid19 #BeverlyHills
©Perspectives/The Consulting Group, Inc., 2020
How you doin’? It has been suggested that I lighten up a bit. It’s not the first time I’ve heard that suggestion, but I think this time they are referring to the recipes. After all it is really getting warm in Los Angeles and people just want to eat a little lighter. Also, it’s time we starting losing the “Covid-19”… the number of pounds many of us gained during the lock down. So, I’ve decided to share with you one of my favorite salads that was inspired by Houston’s Restaurant.
The original date on this recipe was 1992. I had just lunched at Houston’s and my entrée came with a couscous side salad—it was delicious. I asked our server if he could get a copy of the recipe from the chef. He took down my address (we didn’t have email in those days) and about a week later I got a handwritten recipe in the mail. Over the years I added two ingredients—chopped peanuts and lemon zest. The peanuts added a little texture and the lemon zest gave it a vibrant citrus halo. Yummmm!
What is couscous, you ask? Couscous is a word that comes from the classical Arabic word0 “kouscous” (pronounced in English as /kuskus/) and from the Berber word “kseksu,” that designates both the durum wheat semolina and the traditional dish of which it is the main ingredient. However, some think that the word “couscous” could be derived from the classical Arabic word “kaskash” (to pound small), that means crushing and grinding.
Actually, couscous is a Berber word and pasta dish. As such, it’s funny to hear several rumors about couscous history and how it might have originated in China—it didn’t.
Utensils required to make the delicious semolina-based dish date back to the 7th century. The first written evidence of its existence was found in an Andalucian-Moroccan cookbook from the 13th century (thank you Wiki). While some think the origin of couscous is unclear, there is archaeological evidence its origins are in well-rooted in eastern to northern Africa, and that Berbers ate couscous by packing the it in the tips of their fingers. If you want to be invited back, use a fork.
For the couscous salad dressing
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1-1/4 cups fresh lemon juice
1-3/4 cups yogurt, low fat or no fat
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups lite olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
For the couscous salad
2 cups prepared (cooked) traditional couscous
1/2 cup grated red radish
3 tablespoons confetti-cut carrot
2 tablespoons scallions tops, circles
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1/2 to 3/4 cups couscous dressing
2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
1 teaspoon lemon zest
For the couscous salad dressing
ChefSecret: When making a salad dressing or marinade always add the oil in last. That gives the herbs and spices a chance to blossom before being sealed by the oil. The leftover salad dressing works well on any green salad as well.
#Couscous #Houstons #Salads #Entrees #PerspectivesTheConsultingGroup #QuarantineKitchen #Covid19 #ComfortFoods
How you doin’? Did you ever try my recipe for Texas Cowboy Casserole (Lesson #14) using Original Bisquick? Why not? Don’t be a slacker. You’re at home with the kids and baking and cooking are great releases from all the stress you are going through. Okay, I’m going to give you another chance to be a “baking hero.”
Cheddar Corn Cakes make a great accompaniment to a nice dining room dinner or an informal outdoor cookout. It all starts with a box of Jiffy Corn Muffin mix and a box of Original Bisquick. Skip the standard bake-and-serve, store-bought dinner rolls and try these quick-to-fix biscuits studded with cheddar and corn kernels. It's almost impossible to resist eating one right from the oven!
Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 20 minutes
Yield: 16 to 20 biscuits
Food release spray (Pam)
1 box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix (8.5-oz.)
1 large egg
1/3 cup milk
2-1/2 cups Original Bisquick Baking Mix
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground dry rosemary
8 tablespoons cold salted butter, cubed
1/2 can (14-3/4 ounces) cream-style corn
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons milk, plus more for brushing the tops
1/4 cup melted salted butter for brushing the tops after baking
How you doin’? I recently heard from Spencer, our former R&D chef. Chef Spencer is now the executive chef for Chatrium Hotels in Bangkok Thailand. Chef Spencer tells us that tourism in Thailand has slowed considerably due to the pandemic, so, I guess I’m not going to be traveling to Thailand any time soon. I’m really missing great Thai food. There are only a few decent Thai restaurants in Los Angeles that have food that is even close to authentic Thai food.
A little history about the chef… We first met Chef at the Mandarin Oriental on the Chao Phraya, the major river in Thailand that flows from the north through Bangkok and out into the Gulf of Thailand—a beautiful setting. Chef Spencer is a Brit with over 30 years of culinary experience in high-end hotels, restaurants and resorts across the globe, including America, Australia, Barbados, England and Thailand which is what attracted us to him, aside from the fact he is such a very likable guy.
So, when you’re missing good Thai food and none of your favorite restaurants are open, what do you do? Create and innovate. Here is my easy recipe for a salad with an elegant Asian flair and good for even the fanciest party meal. I think Chef Spencer would approve. Most Thai noodle salads have a peanut butter infused dressing—this one doesn’t and is much lighter. It's not only a healthy alternative but is delicious. It is zesty and pairs well with some Thai barbecued chicken and a bottle of Singha Thai Beer. I like to sprinkle some additional peanuts right before serving.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour
Yield: 4 servings
15 ounces dried Soba noodles
1-3/4 teaspoons dark sesame oil, divided
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
1 lime, zest (microplane) and juice
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons Sambal--chili garlic paste, or to taste (optional)
1 cup finely shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons green onion top rounds
2 tablespoons cucumbers, julienne cut
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped roasted, salted peanuts
8 ounces grilled chicken breast, julienne cut (optional)
2 tablespoons crisp bacon bits (optional)
ChefSecret: What is Sambal? It is an Asian chili sauce or paste typically made from a mixture of a variety of chili peppers with shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, shallot, scallion, palm sugar and lime juice. It is native to Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Brunei, Singapore and Country Thai cuisines. It is quite spicy, so use sparingly.
What is a microplane? A Microplane grater originated as an excellent smoothing tool for woodworkers, and it has proved to be an indispensable grating tool for chefs and cooks. It is a great tool for quickly zesting citrus fruits and even grates the hardest Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
#Salad #ThaiNoodleSalad #SpencerKells #ChatriumHotels #Brunch #Lunch #PerspectivesTheConsultingGroup #QuarantineKitchen #Covid19
How you doin’? Do you have a lot of time on your hands? (Warning: If you are working from home or home schooling the kiddies, this may be too much for you to handle—Ben & Jerry’s Frozen Yogurt may be a better option and more rewarding.)
Do you want to feel that you really accomplished something beyond just pushing buttons on your Instant Pot? Well, here’s the 2020 Quarantine Kitchen Challenge—making yogurt from scratch in your Instant Pot.
As fair warning there are other, simpler ways to get your daily dose of yogurt. If you don’t mind all the sugar and additives there are plenty of brands at your local grocer. Check the labels… some may be cleaner than others.
Or, you can always purchase a single use appliance—a yogurt maker. They cost between $27.99 to a couple a hundred bucks. They are not very complicated to use. They are fairly automatic but take up a lot of room on your kitchen counters or cupboard and will eventually wind up in the same place as your juicer, automatic bread maker and slow cooker.
Let’s face it, you already have an Instant Pot that you are using for everything else, why not take a flier and make some yogurt in your trusty Instant Pot?
Here are some tips for making homemade yogurt. I do guarantee—homemade yogurt tastes so much better than the store-bought stuff. Now that you have plenty of time on your hands, give it a try.
Yogurt Making Tips
For your yogurt culture, you can use either store-bought plain yogurt with active cultures, a freeze-dried heirloom starter, or yogurt from a previous batch of homemade yogurt. A yogurt starter culture contains live bacteria that convert milk into yogurt—that’s a good thing. The bacteria feed on the lactose and convert it into lactic acid. This ferments the milk, making it thicker and giving it that tart flavor associated with yogurt. Every starter culture has its own blend of bacteria which gives the yogurt a specific taste and texture—it’s alive. Check out the internet to find the style of yogurt you prefer.
If you are using freeze-dried heirloom starter for the first time, read the directions that come with it. Instead of adding 2 tablespoons of yogurt, you’ll add the entire packet of freeze-dried starter in step 3.
Smell your Instant Pot gasket before you begin. If it carries a strong aroma of chili or curried lamb, you may want to order an extra gasket, as the yogurt can absorb those smells. Reserve the neutral gasket for making yogurt only.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 4 to 12 hours, plus chilling time (most good things take time)
Yield: about 6-1/2 cups of homemade yogurt
1/2-gallon pasteurized milk (we like organic, whole cow’s milk)
2 tablespoons yogurt culture
Hey, you did it! You made homemade yogurt for the first time in your Instant Pot. Isn’t that rewarding? I am so proud of you!
#InstantPot #Yogurt #HomemadeYogurt #PerspectivesTheConsultingGroup #QuarantineKitchen #Covid19
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