Category Archives: Food Porn

for the voyeur in all of us

Banana Sour Cream Bundt Cake

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I’m a little weird about bananas – I love them, but only really like eating them out of hand if they’re mostly bright yellow with still a little green at the top. Go figure, considering I only really enjoy plantains when they’re really ripe. So a lot of bananas around here end up in the freezer waiting to be made into muffins or cake or some other recipe that calls for the puree of very ripe bananas. This cake recipe, which I happened upon by accident when browsing Recipezaar (now Food.com) a while back, is the best banana cake I’ve ever had and is now my “go to” recipe. So, so moist and delicious. Next time around, I may add a few chocolate chips to the batter.

Banana Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Banana Sour Cream Bundt Cake
recipe courtesy Recipezaar

1/3 c. butter, softened
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
2 c. flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. sour cream
3/4 c. chopped walnuts

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Stir in vanilla and bananas.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to banana mixture alternately with sour cream. Stir in nuts.
Pour into a greased and floured 10″ bundt pan. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 50 minutes or until tests done with toothpick. Cool, then dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Restaurant Week Columbus 2012: Spagio

I haven’t been able to attend Restaurant Week (614 or Dine Originals) in more than a year either because I was in the hospital or just plum couldn’t afford it. My loss, too – I’ve heard stories of many fabulous meals at many fabulous restaurants on a variety of newer food blogs that have started up since my last time covering Restaurant Week. And they’ve picked up the slack quite nicely, as their entries had me yearning for meals that I missed. But I’m back, baby, and I’m really hungry.

I’ve been missing Spagio’s goulash for ages. They took it off the menu a few years ago, and other than a seasonal reappearance a while back (of which I had none, because I didn’t make it there in time), we’ve been reliving that particular meal time and time again in the interim. So, having said that, the goulash (which appears on this week’s Restaurant Week menu) was what drew us in this time around. About Restaurant Week: 614 Magazine’s version of the concept encompasses a wide variety of chains *and* independents, at many different price points ($15-35 per person) for 3-4 courses. Spagio’s menu is somewhere in the middle with 3 courses for $25. And well worth it, too – given the amount and quality of the food.

We got there when they opened to a very empty restaurant. One of the waiters joked that even though they’ve been busy all week, today was particularly dead because it seemed as though Columbusites have forgotten how to drive in snow. I actually enjoyed getting there and not having the place be as packed as it usually was on my last few visits. Our waiter brought us out a nice basket of crusty rolls, which were fantastic with a bit of butter – you can opt for olive oil if butter isn’t your thing.

Crusty Rolls @ Spagio

For my appetizer, I chose the Prince Edward Island Mussels, which were steamed in a cast iron cocotte with a heady broth of smoked bacon, white wine and cream. The combination of flavors was outstanding – the juices released by the mussels made for a great “pot liquor” (so to speak) and they were cooked perfectly. Easily one of the best preparations I’ve ever had of the dish. The number of mussels given were quite substantial, and it took me a while to finish them.

Prince Edward Island Mussels @ Spagio

P. (not a mussel fan) went with the Minestrone Soup – nothing about it stood out, really – it was solid interpretation of a classic recipe.

Minestrone Soup @ Spagio

About the goulash – while the flavor of the dish was just as we remembered, there were a couple of things about the preparation that were a little less than perfect: namely, a small puddle of oil near the bottom of the dish, and a few tough beef cubes (while others in the same pot were melt in your mouth tender). Still, it’s a dish we would order again because despite its inconsistencies, it’s still a stellar dish. P., especially, used the rest of the crusty rolls to mop up the flavorful gravy.

Hungarian Goulash @ Spagio

For dessert, P. chose the multi-layered Chocolate Pot au Crème, a nice take on the recipe which topped a rich chocolate pudding with a layer of Crème Anglaise and whipped cream. It was rich enough that we were able to happily share it. Because of the way it is prepared, this is one dessert you’ll want to eat in-house.

Chocolate Pot au Creme @ Spagio

I chose the Cherry and Cheese Strudel, which was a strudel made in the same way that my German great-grandmother used to prepare hers – a flaky, layer upon layer strudel crust, filled with a cherry and cheese combination that didn’t really stand out in its flavors – but isn’t strudel all about the pastry anyway?

Cherry and Cheese Strudel @ Spagio

We were quite pleased with the attentive and well-paced service, and went home with enough food for me to get another meal out of it (guess who’s having leftover goulash and strudel for a midnight snack tonight?). A great value, as we both left thoroughly stuffed and happy with the overall experience. Definitely worth checking out before Restaurant Week ends this Saturday night. Just be sure to make reservations if you’d like to check it out, given that Fridays and Saturdays are usually very busy for restaurants in Grandview.

If you’d like to go: Spagio, 1295 Grandview Ave., Columbus 43212, 614-486-1114. More information on other restaurants participating in Restaurant Week Columbus (along with their menus) can be found on their site.

Mediterranean Chicken & Hummus Meatballs in Apricot Glaze

Once in a while I get intense cravings for a certain kind of food (Asian, BBQ, soups and stews, to name a few examples) – when those cravings hit, I pretty much eat nothing else but that type of food for a week or two at a time. During a recent craving for Middle Eastern food, I came upon this recipe from the Curry and Comfort blog – we decided to try it out, and it was so delicious that we’ve made it a couple of times since then. This one is truly a show stopper. The meatballs are where it’s at, with hummus being a greater addition than I would have even imagined. For the record, we used Sabra Red Pepper hummus the first time, and Sabra Garlic hummus the second time, and both were great. Their blog also has a ton of other ethnic meatballs ideas that I’m dying to try. We, too, served it with Israeli couscous, which was a perfect suggestion.

Mediterranean Chicken and Hummus Meatballs in Apricot Glaze

Mediterranean Chicken and Hummus Meatballs in Apricot Glaze
recipe from Curry and Comfort

Ingredients for Meatballs:

1 lb of ground chicken
15-20 mint leaves
small handful of parsley
1/2 Tbs of ground cumin
1/4 white onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp of lemon juice

Seasoning Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 container (about 5oz) of your favorite hummus and the center flavorings.

Directions for Meatballs:

In a food processor (or you can do this by hand) grind up or finely mince your parsley, mint, garlic, onion and lemon juice. Then mix with all the ingredients listed above. Form into your desired size of ball. Do not over work the meatballs mixture. The meatballs will be a little soft, but they form well.

Heat a large skillet with 2Tbs of canola oil. Once heated add your meatballs and brown on all sides. Once they are browned, set aside on a plate to finish cooking in the sauce.

Ingredients for the Apricot Glaze/Sauce:
1-2 cups of chicken broth or water/bullion equivalent
juice if one lemon
1 tsp of ground cumin
1/4 tsp of ground all spice
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 jar of Apricot Jam (12oz). ** See note
1/2 cup of green olives
1 bell pepper cut into strips or sweet chili peppers cut into strips
Salt Seasoning

Notes: I ended up using all the jam because I used the two full cups of chicken stock and made more of a sauce than a glaze. If you want a thicker glaze you can use 1 cup of stock and half the jam.

Directions for the Sauce/Glaze:

In the same skillet you cooked the meatballs, saute the garlic. I also bloomed my cumin in the oil for a few seconds.
Now add your chicken broth, juice of your lemon, your spices, cinnamon stick and the apricot jam. Stir well until the jam melts into the liquid. Season with salt (or soy sauce). I do love the flavors of apricot jam and soy sauce. Since I was making a Mediterranean theme dish, I opted for seasoning salt. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Then add your peppers and olives and finally the meatballs to finish cooking. Simmer on the stove for 15 minutes. If you decide to use less chicken stock, you may need to keep an eye on your glaze. I added more stock so I just let it simmer. Taste for seasoning and turn off the stove.

Serve with savory cous-cous or as an appetizer. Enjoy.

Yet Another Arroz con Pollo Recipe

In the process of trying to catch up, I’ve been going through photos of dishes I made quite a while ago – with many of them, it’s reminded me that there are some great recipes out there that are worth making more than once. Looking at this picture has whetted my appetite for this particular preparation of one of my long time favorite dishes, arroz con pollo (rice with chicken). Guess what’s going to be made in the Boyer household soon?

Arroz con Pollo

Arroz con Pollo
recipe from For the Love of Cooking

4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 chicken thighs with skin and bones
Paprika, to taste
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
Dried oregano, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste
Cumin, to taste
2 tsp olive oil
1 small sweet yellow onion, diced
4-5 baby bell peppers, diced (I used yellow, red and orange)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
2 cups of chicken broth
1 pinch of saffron
1 cup of rice
3 tbsp cilantro, chopped (divided)
1 cup of frozen peas, thawed

Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven. Once the bacon is cooked, drain on a paper towel and then crumble, set aside.

Season the chicken thighs with a bit of each seasoning, to taste. Cook the chicken thighs, skin side down first, for 4 minutes each side. Remove from pan and set aside on a plate.

Add the olive oil to the Dutch oven over medium heat, once hot add the onion, bell peppers and a bit of each seasonings to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add the garlic then cook, stirring constantly, for 60 seconds. Add the diced tomatoes, chicken broth, saffron, rice, crumbled bacon and half of the cilantro. Stir until mixed thoroughly, taste the broth and re-season if needed. Add the chicken in an even layer and simmer over medium low heat, partially covered for 25 minutes. Make sure to stir occasionally so the rice doesn’t’ stick to the bottom of the pan.

Sprinkle the finished dish with the thawed peas and the remaining cilantro. Serve and enjoy!

US Patent Issued to DAIHEN on Sept. 14 for “High-Frequency Power Supply System” (Japanese Inventors) go to web site power supply calculator

US Fed News Service, Including US State News September 15, 2010 ALEXANDRIA, Va., Sept. 20 — United States Patent no. 7,796,368, issued on Sept. 14, was assigned to DAIHEN Corp. (Osaka, Japan).

“High-Frequency Power Supply System” was invented by Hiroyuki Kotani (Osaka, Japan), Hirotaki Takei (Osaka, Japan), Yoshifumi Ibuki (Osaka, Japan) and Hiroaki Oichi (Osaka, Japan).

According to the abstract released by the U.

S. Patent & Trademark Office: “A high-frequency power supply system includes an anomaly detector 3 which detects an anomaly occurring in a circuit on the side of a load L as from an outputting end A of a high-frequency power source 1. The anomaly detector 3 includes a first detector 21 which detects a voltage value Vf of a high-frequency forward wave, a second detector 22 which detects a voltage value Vr of a high-frequency reflected wave, a reflection coefficient calculator 23 and a differentiator 24 which calculate a reflection coefficient differential value d.

GAMMA./dt from the forward wave voltage value Vf and the reflected wave voltage value Vr, and an anomaly determiner 25 which determines of an occurrence of an anomaly based on the reflection coefficient differential value d. in our site power supply calculator

GAMMA./dt. When the anomaly detector 3 outputs an anomaly detection signal to the high-frequency power source 1, high-frequency power source 1 stops its power output operation.” The patent was filed on Nov. 26, 2004, under Application No. 10/580,815.

Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=7796368&OS=7796368&RS=7796368 For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at htsyndication@hindustantimes.com

Bangers and Tatties

I found this recipe on another food blog a while back, and made it according to her recipe, without changing a thing. Good thing, too – as it was pure perfection as is. A quick and convenient meal for a chilly winter’s night that ends up being much greater than the sum of its parts. I would make this again in a heartbeat.

Bangers and Tatties

Bangers and Tatties Robin Sue’s Way
recipe from Big Red Kitchen

Saute a 10 ounce bag of shredded cabbage with one thinly sliced sweet onion, fresh ground nutmeg and black pepper, and kosher slat to taste. All in a bit of butter of course- about 1 1/2 T. While that cooks, in a huge skillet with lid, steam 12 bangers (from Trader Joe’s) and 3 boxes of Mrs. T’s Pierogies in 1/4 cup Murphy’s Stout, 1 1/2 cups water, and 2 T. butter. Once the pierogies are soft- takes about 10-12 minutes, pour the broth off into a pot and add to it- 1 T. Dijon mustard, 1 T. horseradish, kosher salt and pepper to taste, and 1 T. corn starch mixed with 1/2 cup stout. Also throw in a few pinches of sugar to soften the bite of the stout. Gently heat the sauce until thickened while the bangers and pierogies continue to fry in their original pan with 2 T. butter thrown in to prevent sticking. Place all components decoratively on a platter and serve immediately. Serve sour cream on the side. Serves 8.

Garlic Chicken with Creamy Tomato Pasta

Paul and I have always had a lackadaisical approach to dinner – it wasn’t unusual for us to eat at midnight or later, just because we were so busy doing other things that the fact we hadn’t eaten dinner yet didn’t cross our minds until our bellies protested and demanded to be fed.

All of that changed when my sister moved in with us, along with the rest of her family (boyfriend and 3 kids, ages 6, 8, and 10). With kids in the house, dinner has to be on the table fairly early, because the kids go to bed at 8pm on school nights. What this means is that to remain practical, we need to have a stack of recipes that can be prepared in a half hour or less. This is one such recipe, and it has a few nutritious ingredients (such as olive oil, lean chicken breast, shallot, bell pepper, garlic, and tomatoes) that mean that the kids get a full serving of veggies and protein too. You can make it even healthier by using whole wheat pasta. I wouldn’t skimp on the heavy cream though – because it is the key ingredient that makes the whole dish work so well.

What are your favorite dishes to prepare on a night where you’re pressed for time?

Garlic Chicken Pasta

Garlic Chicken with Creamy Tomato Pasta
recipe courtesy Cooking with Paula Deen magazine

3 c. uncooked rotini pasta
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 shallot, sliced
¼ c. finely chopped red bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
¼ c. heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp. Italian herb blend seasoning
2 c. packed fresh baby spinach
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain well, set aside and keep warm.

In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken, shallot, bell pepper, and garlic; sauté for 7 minutes or until chicken is done. Add tomatoes, cream and herb blend; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and stir in pasta and spinach. Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Immigration Reform is Doable, A Key Symbol of Change, Say Religious, Labor, Latino, and Immigrant Advocacy Leaders

La Prensa San Diego January 16, 2009 | Anonymous Washington, DC – Key leaders who will be pushing the new Administration and Congress to enact immigration reform expressed optimism that broad reforms thwarted in recent years in Congress can and will be passed this year. Speaking on a conference call for reporters organized by the National Immigration Forum, a non-partisan pro-immigrant advocacy organization in Washington, the speakers, representing a diverse spectrum of constituencies engaged in immigration reform efforts, said comprehensive immigration reform remains an important priority for the country and that they were encouraged by early indications coming from the President-elect and Congressional leadership that reform was achievable.

The speakers included Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, who has been an outspoken advocate for immigration reform that includes legal status for undocumented immigrants who meet certain criteria and a critic of immigration raids which split up families. He was joined by John Wilhelm, President/Hospitality Industry, UNITE HERE!, a union that has lead others in labor in supporting immigration reform and which represents garment workers, hotel and restaurant employees, and other workers in heavily immigrant industries. Latino civil rights leader Janet Murgu?a, President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, a leading Latino civil rights organization, also spoke; as did long-time pro-immigrant leader Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, an advocacy organization supporting comprehensive immigration reform. The call was moderated by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. immigrationreformnewsnow.net immigration reform news

“Our current immigration policies-intermittent worksite raids, local law enforcement involvement, and a wall along our southern border, among other enforcement actions-have lead to the separation of immigrant families, an increase in fear and mistrust of law enforcement in immigrant communities, and discord and violence along our southern border,” said Cardinal Mahony.

“As a nation, we cannot have it both ways,” he continued. “We cannot accept the toil and taxes of immigrants while relegating them to a permanent underclass subject to abuse and exploitation. The issue of immigration is an economic and social issue, for sure, but ultimately is a humanitarian one and should be viewed through that lens.” “The American people have embraced the proposition that has always been true about our country: that we will succeed as a nation if we put our divisions aside and work together,” said John Wilhelm, President Hospitality Industry, UNITE HERE! “As we work to rebuild this country, it is important that all workers and all employers are on an even playing field. We will not fix this country if we are not all in this together.” “The face of America has always had immigrant features and the way we treat immigrants and approach their integration into U.S. society holds important implications for the future progress of the country,” said Janet Murgu?a, President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza (www.nclr.org), a Latino civil rights organization. “Reform it not only possible, we as a nation are ready to do it.” “The nation’s dysfunctional immigration system is a symbol of how our leaders have failed to tackle and solve tough problems,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice. “We are hopeful and confident that this year immigration reform will become a symbol of a new commitment to delivering on the promise of change.” “Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is reportedly already talking to his caucus about immigration reform. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) included an immigration bill as one of his first ten bills; a traditional sign from Senate leadership that it sees the issue as a top priority,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “Immigration is shaping up as an issue on which the new President and the new Congress can come to agreement in a bipartisan manner and actually accomplish something.” Anonymous go to website immigration reform news

Hoppin' John and Other New Year's Superstitions

Part of the joy of being a part of the food blogging community comes from being exposed to flavors that may be foreign to your own palate, but are mainstays somewhere in the world. This particular recipe for Hoppin’ John Soup is traditionally prepared on New Years Day, to bring luck and prosperity to those who are eating it.

This recipe is a variation of traditional Hoppin’ John in that it is served like a soup. I’m not usually fond of black eyed peas, but I enjoyed this. We usually have pork and sauerkraut on New Years Day, but this may end up as an addition to our holiday table. What New Years traditions do the rest of you engage in?

Hoppin' John

Hoppin’ John Soup
recipe courtesy Saveur Magazine

1 lb. dried black-eyed peas
1 smoked ham bone or two hocks
1⁄4 cup canola oil
1⁄2 cup finely chopped cooked ham
1⁄4 tsp. red chile flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded,
and finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 lb. collard greens, ribs removed,
leaves roughly chopped
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground
black pepper, to taste
5 cups cooked long-grain white rice
Chopped tomatoes and scallions, for garnish

1. Bring peas, ham bone, and 8 cups water to a boil in a 6-qt. Dutch oven. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, skimming foam occasionally, until peas are tender, about 45 minutes. Drain peas, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid along with ham bone; set aside.

2. Heat oil in a 12-qt. pot over medium-high heat. Add chopped ham, chiles, garlic, jalapeños, carrot, onion, celery, and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add reserved black-eyed peas, ham bone, and reserved cooking liquid, along with collards and 12 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until collards are tender, about 1 hour. Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Spoon rice into bowls and ladle soup over rice and add garnishes.

SERVES 8 – 10

Roads gridlocked? Have fun close to home

Daily News (Los Angeles, CA) July 11, 2011 The San Fernando Valley’s main gateway to the Westside will be shut down this coming weekend, but don’t let it affect your social life.

Many of Los Angeles’ hottest hangouts – beaches, nightclubs, theaters – might be out-of-reach for Valley residents, but there’s plenty to do here.

Following are a few ideas for singles, couples and families who plan to stay put in the Valley during the 405 Freeway closure period – scheduled to last from late Friday through early Monday morning.

Families Los Encinos State Historic Park’s Living History Day, held on the third Sunday every month, coincidentally falls during the freeway closure. Jennifer Dandurand, park interpretation specialist, said the event still makes Los Encinos a great option for local families to walk to while avoiding traffic.

Costumed volunteers will dress in 1870s garb, play games with children and teach them about 19th century life. The park’s normal self-guided tours of an 1849 abode house and duck feeding will also be available.

Los Encinos State Historic Park is located at 16756 Moorpark St., Encino. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Those who like fresh fare from farmers markets can keep their kitchens stocked and their stomachs full over the weekend with local vendors throughout the Valley. go to website 405 freeway closure

“My co-workers and I were just talking the other day about how people in the Valley should take the opportunity to shop and explore locally,” said Amber Fuellenbach, volunteer and intern coordinator at ONEgeneration, which organizes the Encino Farmers Market.

Encino hosts its market every Sunday on Victory Boulevard between Balboa and White Oak avenues. In addition to food and art vendors, the market has a number of children’s activities, including face painting and a bouncy castle.

Encino Farmers Market is located on Victory Boulevard between Balboa and White Oak avenues. It is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Social Reaching trendy Hollywood nightclubs using the 101 will not be impossible, but heavy traffic could make the trek more trouble than it’s worth. Instead, there are plenty of spots in the Valley to drink and dance the night away. Some are even offering drink specials and planning themed parties in honor of the freeway closure.

Coda Bar and Lounge in Sherman Oaks recently announced its “405 Carmageddon” weekend-long party. Along with the normal late night happy hour from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., Coda will offer three special drinks all night long named after the weekend: The Carmageddon, the Carmarita and the Carpool. Live DJs will be spinning Top 40, 80s hits, dance music and hip-hop, and there will be no cover charge.

“We’re right off the 101, and if you live in any of the closed off neighborhoods, you can just take local streets to get here,” said Farah Casis, Coda’s event manager.

Coda Bar and Lounge is located at 5248 Van Nuys Blvd., Sherman Oaks. It is open from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Page 71 Lounge in Studio City is also hoping Valley residents who normally go into the city will check out the nightclub. Owner Bryan Suckut said he would guess there might a 10 percent to 20 percent increase in business over the weekend.

Before the freeway closure was planned, Page 71 snared a popular Miami-based DJ, Justin James, to play on Sunday night for one of only three shows in Los Angeles. Now, the club will tie promotion of James’ show into Carmegeddon.

Page 71 Lounge is located at 11916 Ventura Blvd., Studio City. It is open from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Theater Valley theater fans will have to plan to see “Les Miserables” at the Ahmanson Theatre or “Shrek: The Musical” at the Pantages Theatre on a different weekend, but venues in the North Hollywood Arts District have a number of shows to tide them over.

“NoHo is pretty active every weekend,” said Pegge Forrest, manager of the El Portal Theatre. “But business should increase because everyone should stay off the freeways if they can.” “Boomermania” at the El Portal is entering its last two weeks before it moves to a larger theater to accommodate sold-out crowds. The musical comedy recaps the fads and events of the 50s, 60s and 70s through six vignettes. Though the show usually sells out, there are still tickets available for the weekend through the El Portal’s website or ticket discounter Goldstar.com.

The El Portal also features a free art gallery open to the public. The current show, “A Passing State of Mind,” displays the work of Lola Scarpitta, whose art is described as ironic and plays with visual cues throughout art history.

The El Portal Theatre is located at 11206 Weddington St., North Hollywood. The show is at 8 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets can be purchased at www.elportaltheatre.com or www.goldstar.com. this web site 405 freeway closure

A collection of seven short plays and musicals by playwright Stephanie Hutchinson called “The Start of Something Real” is showing at the Secret Rose Theatre. Theatergoers can expect a night of light- hearted comedy, said owner Mike Rademaekers.

“The nice thing about a collection of short plays is if you don’t like one, the next one’s coming up in a couple of minutes,” Rademaekers said.

The Secret Rose Theatre is located at 11246 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. The show is at 8 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets can be purchased at www.brownpapertickets.com.

NoHo Arts Center will feature the one-act comedy “Departures,” which tells the interweaving stories of eight people waiting for their flights in an airport. In one plot line a gay couple is about to leave for China to adopt a baby, and in another a father heads to Iraq to pull his son out of the war.

NoHo Arts Center is located at 11136 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. The show is at 8 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets can be purchased at www.thenohoartscenter.com or by calling 818-508-7101.

Or …

If none of those Valley locales sound appealing, there’s always what most of the country will probably be doing anyway: flocking to the nearest movie theater to see the final installment of the “Harry Potter” series during its opening weekend.

rebecca.kheel@dailynews.com 818-713-3719

Chicken a la King

After the weeks upon weeks of outrageously hot days, the more temperate weather we’ve had the past couple of weeks has had me going coocoo for comfort food. Soups & stews, pasta – you name it. If it’s seasonally inappropriate it’s been going into my mouth. This recipe for chicken a la king makes great use of roast chicken leftovers.

Chicken a la King

Chicken a La King
recipe adapted from Recipezaar

3 tbsp. butter
6-8 fresh mushrooms, sliced
1-2 tbsp. minced fresh garlic (or to taste)
2 1/2 tbsp. flour (or 3 tbsp. for a thicker sauce)
1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1 c. canned low sodium chicken broth
2 tsp. chicken bouillon powder
1/2 c. heavy cream
2 c. cubed cooked chopped chicken
1 c. frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp. chopped pimento
salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add in mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are tender, about 6 minutes. Add in garlic and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add in flour and cayenne (if using) and stir for 1 minute.

Slowly add in broth and bouillon powder; cook stirring until thickened. Add in heavy cream, chicken and thawed mixed vegetables; simmer stirring for 5-6 minutes. Mix in grated Parmesan cheese and pimento, and then season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, or biscuits.

Visiting the Farmers Markets Vicariously

I’ve been sick for so long that being able to a farmers market is a dream to work toward. In the meantime, i’m going to post some yet-unpublished pictures to remind myself and you all of what to look forward to.

Check out all my pics from last year’s markets in the slideshow below.


 

Paul has been hitting the markets the past few weeks so stay tuned for ongoing market reports from the 2011 growing season.

Easiest and Tastiest Pot Roast Ever!

As you all know, I’ve had some health problems over the last few months, so when I’ve hunted for recipes, it’s mostly been for old classics, that survive the test of time because they’re just that good. I’ll be honest – I didn’t have high expectations when I first saw it – but after having the combination of tender pot roast, root veggies, cream of mushroom soup and onion soup mix, I was blown away. It all converts over time to an awesome roast with a nice creamy gravy. This recipe goes in the keeper pile and is added to the regular rotation. After having New England Pot Roast like this, I’ll never cook it any other way.

Recipe note: It calls for a top round roast, which we used the first time we made it. The second time, we used a chuck roast, but the final result was far too fatty to recommend. Stick with the top round or another similarly lean cut of beef.

Pot Roast

Buzzards Bay Lipton Onion Soup Pot Roast
recipe courtesy Beef Cooking

4 to 5 lb. top round roast
Cut up potatoes, carrots and onions (enough for 8 people)
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 cans water
1 pkg. Lipton onion soup

Put pot roast in center of large baking dish. Add cut up vegetables. Add 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup, 1 1/2 cans of water and 1 package of onion soup. Cover and cook for 2 hours (or until tender) at 325 degrees.