Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I Can Eat Again ... The Election is Over

Kudos to the Amateur Gourmet for reminding me of one of the greatest musical and patriotic moments of our time -- Whitney Houston singing the "Star-Spangled Banner" at the Super Bowl. Her passionate rendition of the classic stirs a thrill in my veins like no other song has -- a reminder that we can be proud to be Americans on November 5. While this has nothing to do with food, Barack's win signifies not only the returning of my appetite, but also the start of a new beginning. Fifty years ago, I would not be able to eat in the same restaurants as whites, drink their water or stay in their posh hotels. I wouldn't have been able to enter the same restaurants or go to the same gyms. I wouldn't be able to work at the same corporations. The Chef Jeff Project (my new favorite addiction) wouldn't be possible. And now a black man is the President. Despite my elation (and sleepless night) I know that the battle isn't over.

But this is a really good start.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What I Hate about Election Day

The top five reasons I can't wait for it to be over.

I know, I know. As this is a food blog, I am supposed to write about food, yes? However, this political election has left me so frazzled that food is the last thing on my mind. Thus, I bring to you the top 5 things I hate about Election Day:

1. Celebratory libations consist of alcohol, alcohol and more alcohol -- at work and on the blogs. Can we say sparkling cider? I hope to get home before the election is called so that I can avoid drunken idiots on Los Angeles' already crowded roads.

2.I got up so early to vote that I didn't have time for breakfast.

3. I am so nervous that nothing seems tasty. Doesn't a Naked Juice count as a full meal?

4. Food creativity? Please. Tonight I will be so glued to CNN that dinner will most likely consist of Ezekiel bread spread with peanut butter.

5. Businesses like Ben and Jerry's and Krispy Kreme are giving out tons of free stuff all over the country. And I am soooo tempted.

UPDATE 9:30 p.m.: Barack Obama took the presidency!!! I can now have my glass of wine in peace.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pan Seared Salmon -- With a Little Extra

I am beginning to love children again. I must admit that I didn't always -- the whining, the tantrums, the fatigue, the dirt, the poop, the stretch marks and extra weight -- not to mention the fact that the women around me discuss the disasters and crazy ordeals of parenting more than the joys, definitely haven't made me want to become a mama.

Maybe my sudden baby "oots" could be the batch of hormones that is coursing through my veins -- or quite possibly, the man who kissed my knee cap earlier this week totally won me over like no one else could have. As for the for hormones, who knows? But as for the man, his name is Jett -- and he was going to be my food critic for the week.

Jett is super handsome -- he has creamy cafe au lait skin, dark eyes, spiky hair, a great laugh and a deep affinity for parmesan cheese. He literally jumps up and down when I walk through the door. But before people think I'm getting too serious, I have one more description to add: He's two. And he WAS going to be my food critic -- until I realized that the salmon fillets I bought for the pan seared salmon had bones. I figured his parents wouldn't appreciate it if I threatened his life with my dinner.

As for the salmon, the lemon juice-based marinade was a light but flavorful seasoning for the fish. Combined with an arugula salad with bell peppers, grape tomatoes, bell pepper and cucumber, I was ready to eat. However, (like always) my manic tasting during the cooking process left me without an appetite.

As for Jett, he was more than happy to eat a less life-threatening meal (sausages with pasta), play Wii and try on his Halloween turtle costume (again) and parade it for all of us to see.

Life is so much simpler when you're two.

Check out my junior gourmet (and me):

Pan Seared Salmon
(Adapted from
2 center-cut salmon fillets (6 oz. each)
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the salad:
3 cups baby arugula leaves
2/3 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup thinly slivered red onion
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp red-wine vinegar
A Pirouette addition: 1/2 cucumber, 1/2 medium-sized red bell pepper.

1. Place the salmon fillets in a shallow bowl. Toss well with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Let rest for 15 minutes.

2. Cook the salmon, skinside down in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the pan and carefully lifting the salmon with a spatula to loosen it from the pan.

3. Reduce the heat to medium. Cover the pan and cook until the salmon is cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes more. The skin should be crisp and the flesh medium rare. (I like to make sure my salmon is VERY well done, so I cooked mine for close to 15 minutes total).

4. Meanwhile, combine the arugula, tomatoes and onion in a bowl. Just before serving, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil and vinegar. Toss well.