Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween on the Vegas Morning Blend

It's Halloween and time for some spooky but ultra cool looking food.  I'm one of these people who feels like less is more...and when I was asked to do something ghoulish for the Morning Blend...I had some ideas in my head and ended up finding Adam's Spooky Apples on Mattbites.com.  I fell in love with it and of course...had to share this with everyone!

You have to see the amazing pictures that Matt Armendariz took of Adam's apples.  I just love the look...so gorgous!

Anyhow...here's the clip from the show!  Enjoy!  You can all easily make this at home. Click on the link to see the video.

Adam's Scary Apples
recipe courtesy of Adam Pearson

Red & Black Candy Apples
8-10 medium sized apples
8-10 wooden twigs, trimmed
3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup of water
several drops of cinnamon flavored oil
1/4 teaspoon of red food coloring
1/4 teaspoon of black food coloring

Clean and dry the apples. Try to remove as much of the wax as possible. If you purchase them from your local farmer’s market then chances are they have not been treated with the food grade wax that makes then shine. Remove any stems or leaves and insert a twig into the end of each apple. To facilitate easier twig entry you can carefully sharpen the end of the twig or use a candy stick to create a guide hole. Set apples aside.

Heat and stir sugar, corn syrup and water in a saucepan until sugar has dissolved. Boil until the syrup reaches 300 degrees on a candy thermometer. Don’t go over 310 degrees or your candy burns and then you’ll be sad.
Remove from heat and stir in flavored oil and food coloring.

Dip one apple completely in the syrup and swirl it so that it becomes coated with the melted sugar candy. Hold the apple above the saucepan to drain off excess. Place apple, with the stick facing up, onto a baking sheet that’s greased or lined with a silpat. Repeat the process with the remaining apples. If your syrup thickens or cools too much, simply reheat briefly before proceeding. Let the apples cool completely before serving.

A note about the black apples: Lighter colored apples (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious) work well in making the red appear bright and glassy; darker apples like red delicious help the black candy appear as dark as possible. Muy spooky!
Also, Adam made one batch with red food coloring and after he had a few red apples he reheated the candy mixture and added black food coloring. Adding black to red will make it darker. He repeated the dipping process. Black food coloring can be found online or at specialty baking stores.

* My Notes
1.  Adam found his cinnamon oil at a cake supply store or it's also available online.  I wasn't able to find it, so I just used cinnamon extract.

2.  If you can't find black food coloring you can make it. 
Mix 3 parts red, 3 parts blue, and 2 parts green.  

3.  Always keep a bowl of ice water near you when working with sugar.

4.  It will take about 30 minutes to get your sugar to 300 degrees.

5.  The corn syrup is used to prevent the sugar from crystallizing making it smooth and easy to dip.

Dao and Shawn having some fun on set!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Get Fraiche...cause it's all about the happy hour!

9411 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 

Happy Hour:
Sunday - Thursday from 5pm to Close
Friday – Saturday from 5pm to 7 pm

Happy Hour Menu!!

Let's be honest...times are tough and we are ALL looking for a great bargain!  Ok, maybe some of you are well off and don't need to worry, but who still doesn't love a good deal?!  

Anyhow...I've been wanting to check out Fraiche for quite some time and a friend of mine, let's just call him Jon, works there told me many a time to go down and check it out.

Lucky for me...Kerri and Noriko were free to hang out and of course...we were looking for something cheap to eat...but good of course!  So off to Fraiche!  Plus we had some other recommendations to go there...

So we were just going to get a few items, keep it light and just enjoy some tasty morsels. 

salmon tartare - $6
basil aioli/avocado/chives/shallots and crostini

This was so light and delicious!  My only wish...more crostinis, but I didn't even use one and it was still super good and I loved it.

baby beets - $6

Yum...who doesn't love baby beets cooked to perfection?  The little bit of ricotta and orange was just refreshing and so lovely to eat.
crispy chickpeas - $3
lime/chili/sea salt

Just an easy crispy little tid bit that's great to munch on.
truffle burger - $9
onion/boschetto/truffle aioli 

I just want to same yum...yum...and yum!  The burger was juicy and tender and cooked perfectly.  (medium rare for me)  It wasn't overwhelmed with a bunch of crap and you can just taste that beautiful essence of truffle.  Some people don't like truffle, yes it is true...some people think truffle smells like ass, but not me.  Truffles are heaven to me!!!  And I can never get enough of it!  It was so juicy that it was just dripping down my arm.  I swear...this is better than any Carl's Jr. burger commercial burger!  I'd rather lick truffle flavor off my arm than pineapple juice!  

Anyhow...loved it!
french fries - $4
aioli duo/parlsey/sea salt

These were delish!  Great with the burger!

So you can see, we had a nice assortment of food for three of us...and then...Vito and company went nuts!!  These next items were not on the happy hour menu and were sent to us compliments of the house (Vito) because of my friend Jon.  
caprese salad
heirloom toms/burrata/pesto/crispy shallots

I freaking love burrata!!  If you have never had it, you need to go somewhere (reputable) and eat it!  This was so great!  Love pesto with tomatoes and burrata.  You cannot go wrong with this dish!  
house made agnolotti
wild mushroom/Mascarpone/truffle butter

The pasta was perfectly cooked, loved the abundance of mushrooms and again...more truffle heaven in my mouth!  But wait...there's more!
truffle risotto
need i say more?

This was turning into a truffle feast...and look at how much fresh truffles we got!  Holy moly!!  I couldn't stop the fork from going to the dish and then into my mouth!  It was sick!!  
seafood tower
oysters/mussels/clams/shrimp/calamari ceviche/tuna ceviche

Ok, when this tower came out...I thought my stomach was going to bust!  Thank God I was wearing a big airy dress or else, I would've been forced to unbutton my pants so the button wouldn't fly off my pants!  
Yes...they sent us another truffle burger!!  This is what the entree portion will look like when you order it.

We didn't eat this extra burger, because Noriko and I already ate half of the first one and we had all that other food...so lucky Nathan got this one!


I can't name all the desserts but I can tell you what's in it!  We were soooooo freaking stuffed...it was disgusting how much Noriko and I ate.  So much great food and so little stomach space.  But you will be proud to know that we ate almost everything!!!  

The triangle dessert is like a...uh...ok..it had ricotta in it I believe.  Then chocolate lava cake...and a mascarpone dessert!  OMG!  Ok...I like!  I'm sick with the flu and can't remember what was in it! I didn't mean to lie.  But just so you know...it was all damn good!  I'm sorry Vito I couldn't remember the names of all the desserts.

Beyond saying thank you to Vito and Jon for the spectacular service...my hats of to Chef Gerardo Perez!  What a delicious meal that the three of us completely enjoyed and were stuffed to the gills!  Can't wait to go back!

The 3 Musketeers (more like 3 stuffed pigs, ok...2 stuffed pigs, Kerri didn't eat that much).  Happy hour menu changes...so try something new and delicious and won't cost you and arm and a leg!  And of course, don't forget the drinks!  Great deals!  $5 and $6 for drinks...so check the menu!


Thank you Kerri and Noriko for sharing this delicious eating feast with me at FRAICHE!  I can't wait for the next happy hour here!